Leaf AFI and Rollei Hy6 - some details

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by geoffrey goldberg, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. There has been some discussion about the difference between the Leaf AFI and the Rollei Hy6. THis was posted on another forum, but might perhaps be hard to find. So here it is again, trying to explain the Leaf AF vs. the Rollei Hy6 in some detail
    The Leaf AFI relationship is not immediately simple to understand - but it works simply once you slug through it: here are two things - the camera body and the backs. The camera was originally called the Hy6, made by Rollei (at that time called F&H), and was available with three minor variations - with different names on front - Rollei, Sinar and Leaf AFI. They are basically the same.
    First, the Rollei Hy6 camera and lenses for it are still available through DHW; the Sinar one may be available as well through Sinar. I don't believe they are available from Leaf. AF lenses are still available from DHW - from stock. To my knowledge, they aren't making new ones, but there are still some on hand (nice pricing too).

    The backs for the camera system (for all 3 named versions) are two - the Sinar versions and the Leaf. The basic things, such as lenses and finders work readily on all three versions.As to film - DHW is planning to introduce a 6x6 film back for the camera (the 645 version has been avail) and that works on all versions.

    Selecting a digital back is a bit more intricate: the Leaf backs for the AFI/Hy6 family are called AFI backs, and are not generally available new (to my knowledge). There are still some backs around - in the used or almost new condition, and perhaps some in the pipeline are available. Keep in mind that there were several Leaf backs made for the camera - a 5, 6, 7, 10, and a II 7, and II 10 (which were the rotating backs). All will work. Sinar backs can also be considered.

    With regard to use of the Leaf AFI digital back on view cameras - the following has been stated:
    "There are adapter plates for Cambo, Mamiya RZ, any 4x5 inch with Graflok, and Alpa. Most of the view camera manufacturers made adapters for the AFi backs or they still have some stock left: Arca Swiss, ALPA, Silvestri, Cambo, Linhof, KaptureGroup and MerginX.

    The only medium format camera that the Afi backs can be mounted onto are the Mamiya RZ (with a Leaf-made adapter) and AFi/ Hy6. It cannot be mounted on Hasselblad and/ or Bronica cameras."

    The Leaf AFI back could just go right on an Alpa is an attractive (but expensive) path as well....

    There may be another path to using the AFI/Hy6 backs via Sinar adapters, as Sinar has their own line of adapters, and may provide more alternatives. I've no knowledge of how that works.

    Finally - the relationship of a Leaf AFI back to a Rollei Hy6 body. In general, they just mount right up (leaving the Sinar out of the discussion, but should be similar to the Rollei): The Leaf AFI backs will function fine on Leaf versions of the Hy6 cameras (called Leaf AFI cameras). They will also fit and work on the Rollei Hy6 version of the camera (and probably also the Sinar version, but I haven't done that). All these cameras are physically the same. The lenses are totally compatible across the entire platform, as are all accessories. The changes between the camera bodies (between the Rollei, Leaf and Sinar versions ) are very minor - two that I know of - the nameplate and the battery used in the camera. This is a minor detail, but might matter for some. There are different ways to power the back - either through just the one battery in the camera, or with a second battery on the back (for longer life).

    The Rollei Hy6 (and I believe the Sinar too) typically takes a different battery in its handle than the Leaf AFI. If you are planning on using a Leaf back, the easiest and most flexible answer is to have the Hy6 use the same Leaf battery in the camera, so that you only need to take one kind of battery with you.
    The Leaf AFI already was modified originally in that way. Fear not - DHW will physically modify the Rollei Hy6 version (which they will sell you) of the camera to accept the Leaf battery and at that point, the Rollei Hy6 is like a Leaf AFI. WIthout that, they integrate and work just fine, but then you would need to deal with two battery types. Not earthshattering, but worth noting. Its not the end of the world if this is not the case - but it is better and simpler to have the one battery.

    The Leaf version of the camera (Leaf AFI) is not generally available new. So then if you are interested in the system - find a back first. If you find a Leaf back, then get a camera from DHW (modified for the Leaf type battery). Many lenses (AF too) can be gotten new from them, or in the open market second hand. Then you are good to go.
  2. Dead system.
    Dead companies.
    Dead end.
  3. Actually Q.G. de Bakker you're wrong as the company isn't dead, only it has a new name, DHW fototeknic and I've ordered from them this year. You can easily confirm this by checking the B&H website - you'll see that Rollei parts are available.
  4. Actually, Eric, F&H Mk II is as dead as a door nail.
    A company bought the remaining stock from the bankruptcy, and is trying to turn that into cash.
    Leaf too is gone.
    Apart from a company set up by PhaseOne in Israel, with the consent of Kodak, that will continue providing service for Leaf products for a while, Leaf too is as dead as a door nail.
    PhaseOne (the company that put Leaf out of business) has no interest in supporting an Hy6 (if it would have a future - which it hasn't) because it would be competing with their strategic partner, Mamiya.
    Sinar is still alive, but was set free by their owner Jenoptik, and has to fend for itself.
    Jenoptik ownes the Hy6, and has said they are no longer interested in pursuing the thingy.
    In short:
    Dead system.
    Dead companies.
    Dead end.
  5. Hmmm.... Q.G. does your home page listing Hasselbladhistorica have anything to do with your wishing Rollei were done? It seems the Rollei cameras and lenses really scare Hasselblad faithful. But you are obviously not up on the news. Do check around before posting again.
  6. No, Eric.
    I did wish Rollei a long and succesfull life.
    Even did so when i predicted that F&H Mk II would not make it when first they announced their hair brained plan.
    But i just happen to know how things are. You really don't.
  7. Huh? Here's the contact info for the new company. Like I wrote, I have put two different orders through this year. Give them a ring. I have also bought Rollei 6000 series and X-Act2 items through B&H this year too. The items are available.
    DHW Fototechnik GmbH, Salzdahlumer Straße 196, 38126 Braunschweig
    Telefon: 0531/6800-100 (Zentrale)
    Telefon: 0531/6800-425 (Service)
    Furthermore you can still buy Hy6 kits with new backs from Sinar too.
  8. And by the way, they have announced that the 6x6 film back will be available soon and also two new lenses.
  9. Yes, i know about that company.
    They are the ones i mentioned, who bought up the inventory to turn it into cash.
    They have announced several things. So far done nothing to make it so.
    Only sold old stock.
    My advice: don't hold your breath waiting for anything.
    It's up to you, of course, to take or leave it.
  10. While I would not like to get in the middle of this - can I offer a possible observation? THat in terms of major corporate players, with major financing, it is clear that Phase, Mamiya, , and even Hasselblad are operating at one level above what we are talking about. Of course, compared to Canon and Nikon, I'd venture to say they are small fry as well.
    Then there are possibly some niche players, who have found a way, maybe even a business model, to keep alive and produce specialized products. Some of these are quite fine - Arca Swiss, Alpa come to mind. Sinar may be one of these, DHW is trying to be one.... They don't measure their employee count in hundreds but in double digits.
    There is (IMHO) nothing wrong with this. While Q.G. is correct that most of DHW is started with stockpiles that they are converting, who knows where they might go. To my mind, its pretty clever capitalization. I wish they could get their hands on the rumored hundreds of backs tucked away in other company's storage....
    So please, lets not mix apples and oranges. DHW isn't Hassy, but Hassy isn't Canon either. I'd venture to say there should be room for all, including some bonus points for fortitude and stamina.
  11. Good point Geoff.
    But how is it relevant? Where have apples and oranges been mixed? When were companies compared?
  12. Q.G. - See here: DHW Fototechnik will Rollei-Klassiker produzieren | photoscala
    It's not a case of some scrapper buying up the leftovers and selling them off until gone. Hans Hartje was the former partner and managing director at Franke and Heidecke and a manager at Rollei before that. It's not a "Hair Brained" plan at all, nor is it done or dead - though you may wish it so for some unknown personal reason, that certainly does not make it true.
    I agree with Geoff that the resources the new company have currently are on a lower level than that of Hasselblad and PhaseOne and hope that they can continue to grow. IMHO they have a much better camera platform - even the 6008AF is better than most MF camera systems and lenses are simply superb.
  13. Eric,
    As soon as they start doing what they have announced, i'll eat humble pie.
    And i'll remind you too when they continue not to do so.
    Meanwhile, before suggesting silly things like F&H Mk II not being a hair brained plan, ponder a while
    what it actually means when you write "leftovers" and "former".
    You appear to be in a state of denial you may want to snap out of.
  14. " ...Leaf too is gone". " ... Leaf too is as dead as a door nail".
    Really? Pretty lively ghost I'd say.
    Leaf Aptus backs are currently bundled on the latest Mamiya DF cameras in a number of configurations ... these are the latest Leaf Aptus-II backs, not old outdated ones. These bundles are currently available starting at under $10K. The latest Leaf backs can also be secured for use on legacy cameras such as the Hasselblad V ... like a Leaf Aptus 7v with a rotatable mount (unlike the CFV/39) ... 33 meg for $12K.
    Leaf backs are now fully supported by Phase One Capture One post software ... widely touted as the best RAW imaging software available. Leaf Capture also comes with each Leaf back or camera kit. This assures longevity of application, as software updates are key to constant improvement from your investment.
    Leaf is fully supported by Phase One authorized dealers ... including attractive upgrade promotions to match competitor's efforts.
    Without a doubt, Leaf offers some of the most innovative digital backs on the market .... Including very recent features like rotating sensor design, and flip-up LCD not seen since the 1st version Kodak Proback.
    Phase One is one heck of a life support system ... LOL!
  15. Yes, Marc. Leaf is as dead as a door nail.
    What you are seeing is PhaseOne doing things. There is no Leaf left to decide one thing or another.
    Relevant to this thread: PhaseOne is not going to breath new life into the Hy6 (not even if they could, which they can't).
  16. The real question is what Phase One intends to do with Leaf -- sure, they are still selling them now, as I am sure that there were still products in development and things already made. It would not make sense to just throw them out! But will they continue to develop the line separate from Phase One? I.E. are you going to see an even newer version of the AFI-10 for the Phase DF? My guess is no -- it seems to be the classic acquisition of a rival. Buy their company, sell off their remaining stock while playing up the new "partnership", then raid the company for the best of their technology, incorporate it into your products. I do not doubt that Phase will continue to support Leaf, but I kind of doubt that we will see many innovative new products from Leaf in the future. Maybe we will get lucky and Phase will decide to market their own backs on the high end and make Leaf a lower cost option for legacy/non-Phase systems?
    On the Rollei/AFi/Hy6 front, my heart agrees with Eric and my head with Q.G. Having owned the camera in the past, I know that it is a truly fantastic system, but I would be leery about investing heavily in it as a longterm platform. That said, if the 6x6 film back comes to light, I may consider trying to find a used one. My only criticism with the camera was that it was a 6x6 that couldn't shoot 6x6!! This is a pretty fundamental flaw. I don't really expect to see much from the DHW, but if they can put out a couple film backs and guarantee service and parts for a few years, that would be good enough for me. I did not have a very good experience with the Sinar back and software, so if I ever did consider a digital back for the system again, it would definitely be one of the Leaf ones.
  17. PhaseOne started a new company, called "Leaf Imaging Ltd", based in Israel, to transfer the assets of the old Leaf company to (i.e. the Leaf brand and prouct names, designs and tools).
    They are seeking to enter into an intellectual property agreement with Kodak.
    They will at least continue support for Leaf users. Perhaps go on developing (or rebranding) products as well.
    Not that that is going to revive the Hy6. They (i.e PhaseOne - don't forget!) have no interest in doing so. Quite the contrary.
    The thing with Kodak, having to pay royalties to Kodak, may decide the fate of this new Leaf.
    A similar thing was one of the major reasons the F&H Mk II enterprise failed. It was doomed to.
    "Alt-Lasten" they called it later, after the debacle. Could and should have know that before they started.
    So it's still a wait and see thing. Will it be worth it to continue the Leaf brand when you have to pass on a share of the revenue that might generate to another company?
  18. The point is still lost on me ... Leaf technology for making photos is still available ... who cares who owns the brand name and all the other corporate stuff?
    In fact, with the inclusion of Phase One C1 software, the Leaf technology is even better than before.
    Further technological development? The state of the MFD technology is currently over-kill for almost any application other than some exotic one that amounts to a negligible market share. IMO, people get swept up in what is coming next or not, rather than making the most of what already exists.
    If the next best thing were the criteria, then the Hassey 500 would be a stone cold loser since it hasn't had an innovation in a lifetime.
    The demise of the HY6 platform is regrettable, but those who own one sure are lucky to have it ... probably the finest traditionally oriented MFD camera ever made IMHO and direct experience.
    Pure opinion ...
    I wouldn't completely count the Hy6 down and out. IMO, Phase One was forced into the strategic alliance with Mamiya, or be left with no new bodies to put their backs on (Kyocera killed the Contax, and Hassey [wisely IMO] closed their system to Phase backs once Imacon and Hassey united).
    Now there is an ensuing struggle to shore up the aging Mamiya 645 platform, and add lenses with Leaf shutters for pro flash work ... using a camera that offers NO waist lever finder ... while Hassey innovates the heck out of their system with a new AF system to solve the age old focus recompose issue, and truly practical gear like the HTS adapter.
    There may come a time when the final edge in the market share battle may be a Phase One Hy6 ... so dormant may be a more accurate term than dead.
    I'd NEVER again buy a Mamiya based 645 system in leu of Hasselblad ... been there, done that. But, I have the greatest respect for the Phase One digital backs. A well supported Hy6 platform with a Phase One P65+ and I'd be there in a NY heart beat. I know for a fact, I'm not alone in that opinion.
  19. The point, Marc, is that this is not about Leaf, but about the Hy6.
    Leaf = PhaseOne is, quite simply, not going to do anything that will help revive the thing.
  20. There is no doubt, that the Hy6 remain the only 6x6 camera for film and digital backs. If the management from PhaseOne and Kodak would speak with one mouth, the Hy6 could have a very good chance to survive.
  21. Boy, what a lively thread.
    It started out (OP) as simply a way to clarify the relationship between a Leaf back and Hy6 body - and to ease some of the confusion between Leaf AFI camera bodies and Leaf AFI backs. From there, its become a rather pointed discussion about the vitality of Leaf and the Hy6.
    FWIW, I assumed that the body was a short run, for a period of time. Kind of like the Leica DMR solution. A short production run, you get what you get, and there you are. If DHW adds a 6x6 back, I'm right there in line for it. I have a 645 film back, but I don't like that format and have yet to use it.
    The bonus for me was the Leaf back - as it is not only currently supported (yeah!) but also by the software I like to use (C1). Leaf's software is faster, simpler, more basic, but once used to the C1, its nice to have one software to use broadly. So second points for software support (gee, and I thought this was a finished and closed operation). And there is actually a Leaf support board that answers my questions in less than 24 hours....(now that kind of blows me away). Leica doesn't do that, Hassy doesn't do that, so is this a dancing corpse?
    Finally, there is one more advantage - that even if I throw the Hy6 out the door, there are other uses for the back - and they aren't shabby either. Alpa makes a back adapter, for example. (This system is beginning to look downright flexible....).
    In short, I'd assume the Hy6 isn't coming back. Should it? There may be value in an already engineered design to someone - but that not only would require some financial savvy (probably DHW has that....) and only if the intellectual property rights get straightened out, and I think they ended up with Kodak, not Leaf, Sinar, Jenoptik, F&H or Phase.... but then again, finding real facts are hard in this one. So sure, it would be nice, but don't hold your breath.
    OTOH, why would it matter? Lots of lenses, support for the body exists, support for the back exists, there are all sorts of migration paths available. The only part of this that is dead seems to be the body - and while it may be dead, overall it sure is a lively fellow.
  22. The Contax 645 was killed years ago ... lots of those ghosts still wandering around also : -)
  23. Maybe, we get an answer at the Photokina soon!
  24. I followed a UK eBay auction this week for a Leaf AFi 6 w/ 80mm lens and Leaf 28MP back, 500 actuations, mint condition. This was a 3-day auction; the seller stated in a private e-mail that he was interested in a quick sale and would also consider reasonable offers ("reasonable" being in the vicinity of 8500 US$). No PayPal, only direct bank transfer. I stayed away because I did not have a good feeling about this. The camera ultimately sold for 6300 US$.
    I must admit though that if this selling price indeed reflects the current market value of such a Leaf combo, I might almost be enticed to buying into it, even if it's a dead-end system. I'm still looking for a similar digital back bargain for my Hasselblad V, so far in vain...
  25. As a follow-up to my last post, I just noticed that the auction and seller account have been removed by eBay. Oh well, it was definitely too good to be true then. Too bad that somebody possibly got fried.
  26. Seems just too cheap to be true. The Leaf 6 requires rotating the back, but other than that, is a fine back.
  27. A couple of weeks ago, I had a Hy6 in my hands, what a marvelous camera!
    On the same day, I also checked out the latest offering from mamiya, the DF with a 22M back.
    I'm thinking of buying the Hy6, but with the filmback. The Mamiya is about €7000, with a back, but I didn't like the handling, feel of the camera when compared to the hy6
    It's strange that two of the best camera's ever the contax 645 (and maybe the HY6) have been discontinued. Why didn't phase one use the contax instead of the mamiya.
    The Hy6 with a p65+ would be a nice setup indeed.
  28. Q.G. de Bakker
    Time to eat humble pie! :)
  29. Wim, Phase would have liked to join forces with the Contax, but Kyocera held onto the production rights out of spite (even though they were not using the rights or had any plans to use them). Phase was desperate for a camera platform at the time so they joined up with the Mamiya 645 (worst existing platform, in my opinion). The rights for the Contax brand have recently reverted back to Zeiss but it seems too late now.
  30. Wim, the Hy6 has apparently not been discontinued. DHW Fototechnik has actual improved the camera slightly and is making them plus accessories. See http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/news/1740760/franke-heideckes-ashes-rises-dhw-fototechnik
  31. Eric,
    A very late response (i only now see that this thread has come to life again): you're far too hasty, too impatient.
    It's very much still a wait and see situation. Nobody (!) knows yet.
    You really will have to wait and see whether it's you or me who has to eat humble pie. If it's me, i'll eat as much of it as you like.
    You know, i wasn't wrong about F&H Mk II way back then. I don't think i'm wrong now either. ;-)

Share This Page