Best used back for technical cameras?

Questions, comments and suggestions regarding Phase One P+ series and P series digital camera backs.

Best used back for technical cameras?

Postby NNN636579587009230395 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:44 pm

I'm in the market for a used digital back, to be used in a custom built technical camera, that will allow the back to slide around X and Y axis so you can then go back and stitch the images to form a single large format image, to try and get some sort of true 5x4 digital image.

I'm an engineering student, so with that comes the limited budget, so at the moment, ideally I want the largest sensor possible, resolution isn't really an issue because anything over 20mp is fine, and when its stitched the final image is going to be pretty big whatever (lets say for now that it'll consist of 9 images). So any recommendations would really be welcomed, at the moment I'm looking at a P25+, at the moment, around £2500 is the budget.

At the moment, because this is for a project at uni, and I don't even have any designs yet, but they'll likely be determined by the shape and size of the back. I don't have any experience with any form of photography besides 35mm digital ( if you're interested), so any insight that anyone can provide would be really helpful. I appreciate these are likely very stupid questions, but if anyone could just indulge me I'd really appreciate it.

Could any digital back work using the PC cable from a leaf shutter lens (obviously with the right cable, but are they all compatible with some sort of cable, to work like an alpa camera)?
Does the live preview on P+ backs only work when tethered?
Is live preview *good enough* to focus with(I know its not 35mm DSLR live view standard), or would you likely still need a ground glass plate in a technical camera with a P+ back (IQ or anything more recent is wayyyy out of my price range)?
Does a product already exist that would let you take large format style panoramas that I can take inspiration from (I've seen the flex adapter)?
Lastly, am I correct that Hasselblad H compatible backs go on the modern looking DSLR ones and the V ones go on the classic 500 cameras?

And if there's anything else that would jump out to you about these backs that I should really know before trying to get one to work in this way. Just being as the only time I'll likely be able to try one hands on (with the ones I'm able to afford being old) will likely be after I've committed to buying one.

Cheers for your time, really appreciate it!
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Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2018 11:18 pm

Re: Best used back for technical cameras?

Postby C-M-B » Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:07 pm

To my knowledge a PC cable connection should allow the shutter from a LF lens to trigger the back. Keep in mind that those cables are quite expensive as well, I think they go for about 200-300€.

The live view only works when tethered and is not excellent, requiring at least some experimentation to really make use of it. But you should note that it will really warm up the back and suck your batteries dry pretty fast.
And it has a low resolution and very low refresh rate/frames per second rate (with it being a CCD based technology).

Personally I'd prefer using a ground glass to get the basic composition and sharpness but if you're not sure you should always check your images on a Laptop and shoot tethered anyway (if possible.
However there's another thing to consider: P+ backs require a FireWire connection. So you'll need to think about how you'd want to connect your back to your laptop.

Your assumption regarding H and V are correct.

Also if you want to use your back for stitching you should use LCCs to correct for vignetting and colour casts on your sensor, especially in the corners.
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Re: Best used back for technical cameras?

Postby FPL » Sat Mar 31, 2018 6:24 pm

You can use quite simple PC to P+ DB cable when you will set your back to "Zero Latency Mode". It will eat battery, but it isn't that bad. And whike shooting in studio you can use FireWire connector to supply power to your back.
There are cables which can send Wake Up signal to back (I'm using one from Kapturegroup) - it's more covenient, but that's all.

Life View is IMHO unusable for cosusing.

There are adapters for technical cameras, allowing movement in one direction (search for moveable adapter).

I would avoid Hasselblad mount and use Mamiya - you can then use your back easily on cameras like Mamiya AFD/DF for ral pictures, when this project will be finished.
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