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"Cheap" digiback for 500 EL/M?

TwoTon

New Member
Hi everyone,

my dad just decided to bestow upon me his complete Hasselblad equipment from the Seventies: two 500 EL/Ms with meter prisms, 500mm tele lens with rifle stock, six other lenses, bellows, ring flash, macro slider and a ton of other paraphernalia – pretty much everything any Hasselblad fan could dream of.

But of course, there’s trouble in paradise: as a digital-only hobby shooter I understand traditional techniques such as film and dark rooms just as much as an elephant understands knitting, ergo I need a digital back for the Hasselblad. While I’m not exactly vegetating below the poverty line, a digital back will still rip quite a hole in my wallet, so now I’m looking for pointers on the cheapest option (I don’t print my photos, so 16 MB already constitutes overkill for me, and the only requirement I have is a built-in display) and where to buy it.

I found a German website listing the following third-party providers for digital backs matching the Hasselblad V series:

Jenoptik, Megavision, Phase One, Rollei, Scitex, Sienna Imaging, Sinar, Leaf, Fuji and Kodak.

Are there others? Which ones would meet my demands? I wouldn’t rule out buying used gear, by the way.

Thanks very much in advance for your kind help!

Hans
 

vandevantersh

New Member
Why not start shooting with film and see how you like the Hasselblad system. Shoot transparencies and have the few that are really good scanned for post processing.

Steve
 

TwoTon

New Member
Hi Steve


thanks for your quick reply!

I'm indeed trying out slide film at the moment - the last rolls my dad had in the fridge. After they're used up, though, I definitely need to go digital: I live in the Taiwanese countryside, hours away from places that sell and develop medium format film. Also, film rots in tropical climes, and I shoot mostly outdoors in wet, hot and muddy environs, which makes film a messy choice :)

I've always loved the genial simplicity, the ruggedness and the fantastic picture quality of the Hasselblad system, and I've toyed around with it during visits at my parents', so I'm familiar with it to a certain degree.
I'm sure once the Hasselblad is up and running my 35mm SDLRs will be mothballed for eternity...

Cheers

Hans
 

vandevantersh

New Member
Hi Steve


thanks for your quick reply!

I'm indeed trying out slide film at the moment - the last rolls my dad had in the fridge. After they're used up, though, I definitely need to go digital: I live in the Taiwanese countryside, hours away from places that sell and develop medium format film. Also, film rots in tropical climes, and I shoot mostly outdoors in wet, hot and muddy environs, which makes film a messy choice :)

I've always loved the genial simplicity, the ruggedness and the fantastic picture quality of the Hasselblad system, and I've toyed around with it during visits at my parents', so I'm familiar with it to a certain degree.
I'm sure once the Hasselblad is up and running my 35mm SDLRs will be mothballed for eternity...

Cheers

Hans

Hopefully one of the experts on this forum will be able to help but I don't think at the present time there is such an "animal" as a cheap MF back. If the selling price is "low" and it is out of warranty, the repair costs can be breath taking if it goes "tits up" (broken). It kinda like "I got a great price on a used Ferrari." You might try looking for a Hasselblad CFV, now that the CFVII is out there might be a few available at reduced cost.

Steve
 

polypal

New Member
Hans, welcome here at the forum.

The oldest digi back will be a Leaf 4 MP yes 4 Mp back from the eighties.
These things are collectors items but most of them still function quite well.
Not exactly an item to carry around but in a studio they can still be useful.
Expect to pay 500-800 USD. for this impressive back.

Later backs have more pixels of course.
The Kodak back might be an option.
Excellent image quality although no high ISO values.
A dedicated back for V series, can be found from 2000 USD.

A word of warning: Do not expect factory back up for these "ancient " backs.

Paul
 

TwoTon

New Member
Hi Steve and Paul

thanks very much for your tips! I assume that those ancient 4 MP digibacks don't have integrated displays? That would be a must for me as an outdoors shooter.

Which model is the dedicated Kodakback for the V series? I've been Googling for a while now and can't seem to find it...

Thanks again!

Hans
 

polypal

New Member
Hans,

The early backs are from the age of the dinosaur.
They still work but are more collectors items.

The Kodak back is a realistic option provided you do not want/need high ISO values.

To give you an idea what an early back looks like and what it does to a camera here a snapshot that I took from a sales brochure.
 

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TwoTon

New Member
Good grief! Very.....early James Bond :) Would you happen to know the model name of the Kodak back you're referring to? Is it the Kodak DCS Pro 16Mpix?

Thanks!

Hans
 

polypal

New Member
I knew you would be in for a surprise!

You are right that is the Kodak back I was thinking of.
I have not got a picture of the Kodak back but I promise you it looks quite decent behind a camera.

No resemblance to the early Leaf back I shocked you with.
Please note this early back is a little over 20 years old.
It shows how fast digital developments have made progress.
The double top hook of a body is not strong enough to hold these early backs.
They are fixed by means of the studs on the body that are normally used for the camera strap.

A true dinosaur....
 

vandevantersh

New Member
Good grief! Very.....early James Bond :) Would you happen to know the model name of the Kodak back you're referring to? Is it the Kodak DCS Pro 16Mpix?

Thanks!

Hans

Here is a nice review of that back.

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For me, a big problem with Kodak backs is that Kodak got out of the back making business in 2004..I don't know if they still support their backs. I am still "hung up" on the idea of buying an older non-supported back. It may be "cheap" on the front end but if it has problems, you end up with a very expensive paper weight.

Here is a link to a recent post about servicing Kodak backs.

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Steve

Steve
 

dirk

MFF-Founder
Administrator
Hallo Hans,

as far as I remember, Marc (fotografz) did use the Kodak 16MP back quite a lot in the "early times". I think he liked it at that time a lot. I can not remember anymore, whether it was on a Contax 645 or on a Hasselblad...

best wishes
 
Good grief! Very.....early James Bond :) Would you happen to know the model name of the Kodak back you're referring to? Is it the Kodak DCS Pro 16Mpix?

Thanks!

Hans

It's the Kodak DCS Pro Back PLUS that you'll want. I owned 2 of them and reluctantly sold them both thinking that the CFV was going to be coming to me. It never materialized and I'm without a digital solution.
 

TwoTon

New Member
Thanks very much again, everyone, for your help - you guys are great!

I'll then waste no more time and start looking for that Kodak back Nathan mentioned, and will report back :)

EDIT: FWIW, I found this discussion on possible risks of this particular back on Photo.net from just a few days ago:
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Cheers, and dankeschoen again.

Hans
 

TwoTon

New Member
Hi again :)

One more question: is there any digiback for the V series that does NOT provide square format pictures?

I find square a very powerful and inspiring format and don't want to get stuck on rectangular only...

Thanks!

Hans
 

polypal

New Member
There are several backs for the V series with rectangular sensors.
The Imacon 22 Mp being one of them.
If you make a square sensor out of that 22 Mp back you get 16 Mp like the CFV has.

Paul
 

TwoTon

New Member
Hi Paul

what do you mean by "making a square sensor out of that 22 Mpback"? How is that done?

Thanks!

Hans
 

polypal

New Member
I did not mean to physically change the 22 Mp sensor.

When you crop the rectangular image from a 22 Mp sensor to a square image
you are left with 16 Mp.

In a way, unless you plan to go for a rectangular print there is no real gain in
the 22 Mp back compared with a square one like the CFV.
 

fotografz

Active Member
Hallo Hans,

as far as I remember, Marc (fotografz) did use the Kodak 16MP back quite a lot in the "early times". I think he liked it at that time a lot. I can not remember anymore, whether it was on a Contax 645 or on a Hasselblad...

best wishes

I had both Dirk.

The original 16 meg Kodak Proback was designed primarily for use on the ELD camera (and with an adapter the Mamiya RZ,) but could not be used on my 503CW. It had two CF slots, and a back LCD panel that could be tilted upwards for overhead viewing. The draw back was that it had to be powered by a huge tethered Quantum battery and featured any ISO you wanted as long as it was ISO 100 : -) I used it primarily on a camera stand in the studio tethered to a computer.

The next Kodak ProBack was designated with a "Plus": the Kodak ProBack Plus could be used on a 503CW.

The second back I owned was the Kodak ProBack Plus 645C, and was available in various fixed mounts: 645C (Contax), 645H (Hasselblad H1), and 645M (Mamiya 645AF.) These were not interchangeable mounts. The difference was that it offered ISOs to 400 and was powered by a proprietary clip-on battery similar to the way the CFV works. The tilting LCD panel and dual card slots were gone.

Many of these 645 type Kodak backs are still in service, and can produce images just as good as any 16 meg sq. back. However, they are long discontinued and no longer supported by any software or firmware updates ... and the batteries are very hard to find.
 
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