Medium Format Family

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I have recieved my CFV back and made myself familiar with all the toggle switches and have already taken my first shots . My first sentence might sound a bit stupid , but for those , who never used any digital gear before , its not quite easy .

I work with MAC OSX 10.4.8 and PHOTOSHOP CS . FLEXCOLOR 4.6.5
I understand , that the captured images are in HASSELBLAD 3f format , RGB and 16 bit depth .
I use a separate card reader , to unload the images from the CF card .

Reading a lot in the net and the documentation , i have learned , that FLEXCOLOR can convert to 2 different formats to be used by PHOTOSHOP. The one is DNG and the other one is TIFF .
As i will not use FLEXCOLOR with a scanner or for teathered mode , i will use FLEXCOLOR only as a vehicle to convert from the 3f format to a format PHOTOSHOP can use .

I have "imported" the images and saved for further use with PS . It is a TIFF format now . When i open that image in PS , it is RGB and 8 bit only . I would expect 16 bit RGB .

What goes wrong ? ? ? How have images to be converted to be available for PS ? ? ?
Can DNG be achieved with PHOTSHOP CS or is PHOTOSHOP CS2 required ? ? ?
What is better DNG format or TIFF ? ? ?

The 6 white balance options can , when set at corresponding situations , only be an average setting . Is a colormeter required , to receive correct color values ? ? ? Like the GOSSEN COLORMETER 3F or MINOLTA COLORMETER IIIf .
Lots of questions ? ? I am shure , there will come up more .


Active Member
As you noted, the Hasselblad shoots it's own propritary file 3f format, and has to be converted to DNG files through Flexcolor. The files cannot be opened in Adobe Camera RAW or Photoshot without doing this.

There is a selection in Flexcolor that is marked to perform this function.

You must select which, or all images, you want to convert in the Flexcolor Browser before the "convert to DNG" function will work. It is not automatic.

In many professional photographers' opinion, Flexcolor is the better way to adjust your Hasselblad digital files. The color is better. If you correct them in Flexcolor those corrections will not (to my knowledge) be transfered with the files when converting to DNGs. However, if you process the corrected Flexcolor files to Tiffs, the corrections are maintained.

If you want to process 16 bit, you must make that selection in Flexcolor before processing the files to Tiff.

Flexcolor is a very sophisticated program and requires some time to learn all it can do and cannot do.

DNG RAW files are like a "digital Negative" and can be reverted to "as Shot" and "re-processed/corrected/resized" any time in the future. They are a lossless compressed file format. Tiffs are more final, are usually full res size, and cannot be reverted to the original like a DNG can.

Use a Macbeth Color chart or at least a Gray card if white balance is critical.



Thanks a lot for your response .

I managed to get the images saved as 16-bit TIFF for further processing by PS .
I also could save them as DNG format files now but they are only 8-bit . I did not find a way to get them saved as 16-bit DNG .


Active Member
Hi Jurgen,

DNG is a RAW file format. It is anything you want it to be. When you transfer a 3f file to DNG, and then open it in Photoshop Adobe Camera RAW there is a small dialog box in the bottom left corner that you tell the program what color space you want (like Adobe 1998 or sRGB), and there is also an opportunity to select 16 bit or 8 bit. When you open the file as a tiff it will be that selected color space and bit depth.

You really should practice at Flexcolor because the color is so much better than with ACR.
I only use PSCS2 ACR when doing huge amounts of wedding images and want to use all the other PS processing options like the Image Processor.

If you are working with PSCS DON"T buy PSCS2 because PSCS3 was announced today, and you can download a free beta copy right now.


Thanks Marc

I appreciate your experinence very much and am very glad that you share it with others .
I lend "VICTOR" to a friend , and i knew , that there was an article about the 3FR format , including a drawing of the workflow . Today , late afternoon , "VICTOR" returned , and i found the workflow on page 34 . So far , i understood everything and i think , i will work in "TIFF" mode . A step from PSCS to PSCS3 might be of interest for me , but i do not see a need for it in the moment . On the other side , it will be rather expensive (from CS to CS3) . I will wait and see .

I have learned , that the CFV back , or any other dgital back , is not just a back like an E12 film back , but it is a complex software machine .

My CFV back has a firmware level of 166 , and i do not know , how i should update to a newer level , if required , and how i can see , if a newer level is available .
I have tried to find this in the FLEXCOLOR documentation and addendum , but without success .



I have it ! ! !

I just connected the BACK to my LAPTOP (first time) , as i used a CF card reader to transfer the images to my computer .
Starting FLEXCOLOR initiated a firmware update to 179 according to FLEXCOLOR version 4.6.5 . I wonder if this is described anywhere in the documentation .


Active Member
So it just goes and upgrades firmware without asking? Hmm.. not what proper software engineering practices are all about.




I don't understand much about software and/or firmware for digital photo gear , because i am a newbie in this kind of photography . But i believe , that there are many things in common between digital photo gear and computers .

Regarding FLEXCOLOR , i think , the newest version , which can be downloaded from the HASSELBLAD pages , holds the firmware update , if any should be available , required or mandatory .
So , as soon as i connected the back to FLEXCOLOR , i received the information , that a firmware update is required . No click to any botton was required , but a detailed information how and in which sequence the back must be disconnected after the update finished . It looks , as if the firmware update from 166 to 179 is absolutely neccessary due to the possibility to corrupt images under level 166 . The update also holds other (minor) fixes .



My anti-virus software just updated its 'firmware' without me asking it to!
I don't think i mind though.


Active Member
Well, my point (as a computer geek by trade ;-) is that things like firmware upgrades should be done only after a manual OK from the user.

Loose power (battery empty..) during a firmware flash operation and you have most likely a dead brick in your hand.. That is just one reason why you want user confirmation.

Virus scanners are a different league.