I am seriously thinking of taking the plunge and buying a 39Mp back.
I have never owned Hasselblad cameras, so I have no bias towards their products. I have always used Mamiya RBs, but if I have to sell them, I will.
Issues of cost aside, why might I consider opting for the PhaseOne back, when the Hasselblad back will give me the same straight 39Mp capture, in addition to Hasselblad/Imacon's patented multishot capture?
Most of my work is fine art documentation for catalogue. Currently, 4x5 tranny is my staple. I have also looked at the BetterLight backs and, while they are much cheaper, they do seem a tad unwieldly and slow.
Research seems to indicate that high end medium format backs are now replacing 4x5 in the museum/gallery world. That's good enough for me.
All the advice given here is dead on, I'd just like to throw my ¢2 worth in.
You mention that your staple is 4X5 tranny so I assume you use a view camera not only for the size but also for the movements. If I'm wrong and you use the RB only that's fine as well.
Going into a museum at 7am to get a few frames before the galleries open, use flash heads because the glass roof doesn't really bring any daylight in at that time, shooting a 10' X 10' old masters with a 3' tripod etc.
You need to be able to get the framing/ composition right (Ground glass or Live View), focusing, DOF and exposure.
So you either use a laptop or a reliable LCD that allows 100% zoom.
Colour reproduction is a lot more critical in this environment then with shooting people. You need a package that offers a good starting point and a facility to create your own profiles, with the available lighting to work with the materials and pigments used.
The way to go forward, as a first step, is to call the dealers in your area and get their reps to meet you outside the museum at 06:45 on a rainy day, with their backs and whatever adapters needed for your RB camera/ lenses (for the RB ask for a rotating adapter), get in, shoot and make the best tiff they can for you to open in Photoshop in a size of your choice.
They should also then leave you the raw files and a copy of their software and if they are serious, they should also spend the time with you to go through the software with any tips and tricks that they mey have.
If any issues occure (diffraction at f32, moire, chromatic aberration, blotchy shadows, missfiring, smearing, blooming...) they should be able to advise on possible solutions/ alternatives and also explain the cause of the problem.
This first step will provide an idea on which system is capable of produces the best result in this environment.
I also suggest that you try talking to photographers who work in museums about the systems they choose. These people invest a lot of time and effort in testing and evaluating these system before purchasing.
They also have vast experience in working in a closed workflow; from capture to print and work closely with the in-house repro department.
Another option is to talk to auction houses. At least the two big ones produce large volumes of catalogue size prints in demanding conditions in terms of time-frames, colour accuracy etc.
The dealers/ reps should be able to provide these references.
If at all possible, try to borrow/ rent a system for a few days to get a more personal "feeling" about the handling, the software and the results. The dealers should have this facility and should offer to take some of the rental money off in case you buy their system.
I hope this helps and good luck with your process. I think you will be amazed at how easily you will forget film once you've settled into the digital domain.
[span style=\'font-size:7pt;line-height:100%\']Yair Shahar | Regional Manager | Leaf EMEA |
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