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Author Topic: Phase One P20 still make sense?  (Read 4851 times)
ChristianRandwijk
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« on: March 19, 2013, 12:57:22 PM »
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Hi all, I have been dying to get into medium format digital, and in my local prostore I came upon a very good condition Phase One P20 that they will sell for what amounts to 2500$. Does this mf back still make sense to get? The megapixelcount is fine for me, and I actually quite like the square format. I know it is old, but will it get that medium format "look", or has it been surpassed by modern fullframe DSLRs?
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julienlanoo
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2013, 01:05:15 PM »
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YES ofcourse it makes sence, even on Pro,  realy the richest images i've made was with a P25, they're just loveley .. and easy to manage and so..

I even still use a H20 in studio on an old blad as for some things i do not need much megapxls, and it works fine, and beautifull quality, ( better than a 1dsmk3) ..

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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2013, 01:28:14 PM »
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P20 is a somewhat small medium format sensor. So make sure the widest lens available for whatever platform you're on will be wide enough for you:
Phase One Lens Visualizer

Resolution is low by today's standards but if it's all you need, then by definition that's not a problem.

High ISO isn't great with these older backs compared to newer backs, but a lot of progress has been made in raw conversion since they were first shipped, so they are significantly better now at non-base-ISO shooting than when they first shipped.

The LCD quality and review-in-the-field options are just "ok" - nowhere near the more modern IQ/IQ2/Credo series or a modern dSLR.

If you're shooting a lot of fabric or repeating patterns you should be aware that you might run into moire (this is a 9 micron back, which are more prone to moire than newer backs).

Still fully supported in Capture One v7 and, judging by the continued software support for every digital back Phase has made, will be supported for years to come.

It would be preferable (warning: highly biased opinion) to have a warranty since at the price any repairs are likely to be a good percentage of the purchase price of the back. The only warrantied P20s at this point would be from a dealer.

Maybe you could tell us a bit about what you'll be shooting (camera platform, types of lenses, types of subjects, tripod/handheld, tethered/untethered).

Color, tonal transitions, dynamic range, pixel sharpness, ability to use with many kinds of bodies, native square format, fast shooting speed. All these make a pretty good case for a P20 even today.
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DOUG PETERSON (dep@digitaltransitions.com), Digital Transitions
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2013, 01:30:24 PM »
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I even still use a H20 in studio on an old blad as for some things i do not need much megapxls, and it works fine, and beautifull quality, ( better than a 1dsmk3) ..

Agreed. I've only used an H20 a handful of times, but have done a fair amount of shooting on H25s and the color and file quality (at low ISO) is even better than a 5D3 which I also have a good amount of shooting experience with. Not bad for backs released in 2001 and 2003 compared to a 2012 dSLR :-).
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DOUG PETERSON (dep@digitaltransitions.com), Digital Transitions
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amsp
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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2013, 01:31:01 PM »
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The megapixelcount is fine for me, and I actually quite like the square format.

Seems to me like you've already answered your own question. But why not just bring your camera to the shop, take a couple of pictures and see if you like the results? For me it's not just a matter of image quality (even though that's the main reason), but it's also among other things the fact that I much prefer working with medium format cameras and I absolutely detest the 2:3 ratio of 35mm.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 01:33:59 PM by amsp » Logged
KLaban
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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2013, 02:46:56 PM »
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Agreed. I've only used an H20 a handful of times, but have done a fair amount of shooting on H25s and the color and file quality (at low ISO) is even better than a 5D3 which I also have a good amount of shooting experience with. Not bad for backs released in 2001 and 2003 compared to a 2012 dSLR :-).

Agreed. I've spent a great deal of time recently viewing 5D3 and D800 files - hate the 5D3, like the D800 - but every time I switch back to viewing my 9 micron Hasselblad files I have to wonder why I'm even considering the Canon or Nikon.

But, to be fair, I use it at 50 ISO, wouldn't even think about going above 200 and have to admit it can be a moiré machine.

Personally I wouldn't go for the P20 as it is so restrictive regarding wide lenses.
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bcooter
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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2013, 02:59:00 PM »
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Agreed. I've spent a great deal of time recently viewing 5D3 and D800 files - hate the 5D3, like the D800 - but every time I switch back to viewing my 9 micron Hasselblad files I have to wonder why I'm even considering the Canon or Nikon.

But, to be fair, I use it at 50 ISO, wouldn't even think about going above 200 and have to admit it can be a moiré machine.

Personally I wouldn't go for the P20 as it is so restrictive regarding wide lenses.


I think it's just a different look and of course everybody has an opinion.

Personally I love the medium format cameras along with the backs, really love my p21+ and though I never say never, doubt if I'd ever get rid of it.

But as everyone says, try it and if you like it it's worth it to you.

The good thing about Phase is they seem to support their backs forever which only improves them.


p21+
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SecondFocus
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2013, 05:11:25 PM »
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And so it goes... "A picture is worth a thousand words".

Makes me want to run out and buy a P21+ and a can of grease.

I think it's just a different look and of course everybody has an opinion.

Personally I love the medium format cameras along with the backs, really love my p21+ and though I never say never, doubt if I'd ever get rid of it.

But as everyone says, try it and if you like it it's worth it to you.

The good thing about Phase is they seem to support their backs forever which only improves them.


p21+
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Ian L. Sitren
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ChristianRandwijk
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« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2013, 07:12:06 PM »
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Wow, thanks for all the quick replies. As for usage, I'm very much into portraits these days, so very wide lenses wouldn't be something I would need with a medium format system (not right away, anyways). Also, since I am shooting with flash, I wouldn't venture into the high ISOs.
I don't have a camera for the back presently, I think the P20 in the store is fitted for Contax 645, and I have a good relationship with the store, so he would throw in a Contax 645 body more or less for free. They give a sixth month guarantee on used products as well. Oh, and they have a deal with some company in Germany that services the Contax. So I guess the kit I would get would be a Contax 645, 80mm lens, and P20 back, which would set me back around 3000$. I know the Contax is old, so autofocus is slow (not a big issue for me), but supposedly the lenses are gorgeous. I guess I should just try it out at the store, and check out the images at home. Any opinions on the Contax 645 by the way?
The store also has a very nice Haselblad H2D 22mp camera, but that would set me back 6000$.
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2013, 08:52:26 PM »
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Wow, thanks for all the quick replies. As for usage, I'm very much into portraits these days, so very wide lenses wouldn't be something I would need with a medium format system (not right away, anyways). Also, since I am shooting with flash, I wouldn't venture into the high ISOs.
I don't have a camera for the back presently, I think the P20 in the store is fitted for Contax 645, and I have a good relationship with the store, so he would throw in a Contax 645 body more or less for free. They give a sixth month guarantee on used products as well. Oh, and they have a deal with some company in Germany that services the Contax. So I guess the kit I would get would be a Contax 645, 80mm lens, and P20 back, which would set me back around 3000$. I know the Contax is old, so autofocus is slow (not a big issue for me), but supposedly the lenses are gorgeous. I guess I should just try it out at the store, and check out the images at home. Any opinions on the Contax 645 by the way?
The store also has a very nice Haselblad H2D 22mp camera, but that would set me back 6000$.

Reputable store with warranty/guarantee, Contax body and lens, P20 all for $3k? If you don't go for it please post the information for the store as I'm sure someone here will.

Seriously. That all sounds very good to me.
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DOUG PETERSON (dep@digitaltransitions.com), Digital Transitions
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julienlanoo
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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2013, 02:58:56 AM »
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The iso thing, for me, in my work i never change the iso, always 50 iso, but i am only working on tripot, ...

Only 1 thing i am missing on phase one backs = multishot,

But hey i prefere using a kick ass software pack than MS,..

If there are any MS hacks let it know Smiley..
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bcooter
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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2013, 03:13:23 AM »
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And so it goes... "A picture is worth a thousand words".

Thanks Ian.

Reputable store with warranty/guarantee, Contax body and lens, P20 all for $3k? If you don't go for it please post the information for the store as I'm sure someone here will.

Seriously. That all sounds very good to me.

A p21+ was about $20,000 new so a p20 wasn't much under that.  With a body and lens . . . as Doug says $3,000 is a deal.

http://www.vistek.ca/marketing/procentre/phaseone/p20+.aspx

16mp seems small and yes moire can be an issue if you shoot garments, but tethering you'll notice it and correct, though 16mp ccd with no aa filter is very sharp.

The Contax is good, keep the contacts real clean, but other than that a good camera especially if you get a waist level finder and mask the screen to square, because the WLF gives a much better magnification than the prism.  You'll have to shop around to find a WLF and they are semi pricey about $500 to $600 if you find them.

Once again as Doug says $3000 is a deal and if you don't buy it and it's in good working order, let us know . . . heck I'll buy it.

BTW:  I liked the non plus lcd better than the plus.  If you put the non plus screen in bright light it's very viewable and more detailed than most people think. 

IMO

BC

« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 03:19:27 AM by bcooter » Logged
torger
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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2013, 06:19:59 AM »
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Hi all, I have been dying to get into medium format digital, and in my local prostore I came upon a very good condition Phase One P20 that they will sell for what amounts to 2500$. Does this mf back still make sense to get? The megapixelcount is fine for me, and I actually quite like the square format. I know it is old, but will it get that medium format "look", or has it been surpassed by modern fullframe DSLRs?

As far as I understand the look is much thanks to lenses, not only the sensor. Also, the sensor technology in the P20 has been used in much more recent backs. CCDs from 2004 and onward has aged well Smiley. If you can recognize the "look", you will get it.
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ChristianRandwijk
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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2013, 07:30:11 AM »
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Wow, seems I am looking at a pretty sweet deal! Do you know of it would be possible, at a later date, to use the back on a different camera? The 1/125 sync speed of the Contax is not too hot. Also, hos easy/difficult is it to correct for moire in Capture One? I shoot a lot of portraits, some of them with quite intricate garments.
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KLaban
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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2013, 07:41:02 AM »
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Wow, seems I am looking at a pretty sweet deal! Do you know of it would be possible, at a later date, to use the back on a different camera? The 1/125 sync speed of the Contax is not too hot. Also, hos easy/difficult is it to correct for moire in Capture One? I shoot a lot of portraits, some of them with quite intricate garments.

As much as I love these 9 micron backs the one thing I wouldn't use them for would be fabrics.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 07:47:39 AM by KLaban » Logged

amsp
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« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2013, 07:55:51 AM »
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As much as I love these 9 micron backs the one thing I wouldn't use them for would be fabrics.


And I would counter that by saying that I've shot a ridiculous amount of fashion and textiles with my P25 over the years and moire has never been an issue. By that I mean moire might be there but Capture One does a stellar job handling it, and a big chunk of that work was done when C1 was much less sophisticated than it is today. The whole issue is blown way out of proportion by some people if you ask me.

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KLaban
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« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2013, 08:45:46 AM »
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And I would counter that by saying that I've shot a ridiculous amount of fashion and textiles with my P25 over the years and moire has never been an issue. By that I mean moire might be there but Capture One does a stellar job handling it, and a big chunk of that work was done when C1 was much less sophisticated than it is today. The whole issue is blown way out of proportion by some people if you ask me.

If I was working with textiles on a regular basis I'd prefer not to see or have to deal with moiré, I'd choose another back. If you, or the OP, or anyone else doesn't have a problem with this then that’s fine.
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2013, 08:56:01 AM »
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Wow, seems I am looking at a pretty sweet deal! Do you know of it would be possible, at a later date, to use the back on a different camera? The 1/125 sync speed of the Contax is not too hot. Also, hos easy/difficult is it to correct for moire in Capture One? I shoot a lot of portraits, some of them with quite intricate garments.

Platform swaps (changing to e.g. A Phase One DF+ with 1/1600 wireless flash sync) is $3k. So relatively sensible for a $30k back, but not cost effective for a used p20). As I often advise people you are likely to spend more in total (over the course of many years) buying additional lenses, accessories, upgrading your back, etc etc) than in your initial purchase. So if you think 1/125 will be an occasional annoyance then by all means jump on it. If 1/125 will be a frequent limitation on the way you want or need to work then consider strongly where you want to put your chips (which platform is best for you). An h1 or h2 with p20h and kit lens would be in the same price ballpark and give you 1/800. A df/df+ with even faster sync would be a good bit higher but might make sense to explore if your budget is a bit flexible.

It is usually better to figure out what's best for you, then look for a deal (considering price, condition, warranty, service) on it, rather than start by finding a deal and asking if it will work for you. In this case I'm a little less worked up about that given my personal love of Contax and the low cost of entry, likely minimal loss if you decide to dump it after a few months, and the good match for your needs based on your posting.

Color moire is very easy to remove in c1. Pattern moire is very hard to remove period. It's something to keep an eye on, but as asmp says the issue can be over-hyped. But as with any of issues it depends as much on you (your subject matter, shooting style, disposition to losing an occasional image to moire) as it does on the camera.

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DOUG PETERSON (dep@digitaltransitions.com), Digital Transitions
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« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2013, 06:13:24 PM »
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Pattern moire is very hard to remove period.
I've created a pretty fool-proofed workaround to remove moire (requires Photoshop, though). I know you can deal with the RGB color chanels but since I am not so super experienced with RGB curves and always try to find a WYSIWYG way to do things I've developped a workflow I've outined here on the P1 forum: http://forum.phaseone.com/En/viewtopic.php?p=63166#p63166
Although in this particular case we mainly see color moire the workflow mostly also works for pattern moire. Not alyways, of course (unfortunatley) ...
If none of the "repair" techniques work satisfactorily you have to retouch the capture ... which can take hours (sometimes days) ...


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photomado
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« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2013, 02:04:32 PM »
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I am interested in the result of this quest. Did you end up buying it and what are your experiences?
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