Phase one H20 and Hasselblad 501c/m

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by alejandrorico-gomez, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. Hi everyone!

    I have the opportunity to buy a hasselblad 501cm kit and a phase one H20 digital back for a very low price. I am, however, in the process of trying to find info on actually using the back (noting its age). For software, I am assuming that the current version of capture one will be the best (only?) way to go, as the back requires tethering. For power, I have a 15 inch macbook pro running macosx 10.14.6. Using the firewire to lighting and then lightning to USB-C adapters, will I have a sufficient power supply? I also understand that there are ways to externally power the back, but I can't find very specific information on what that would look like or what things I need to do this. Lastly, regarding portability, I understand that the back must be tethered to my computer, but I'm assuming that would allow me to connect it and throw my laptop in my backpack for a portable (within the limitations of laptop battery-life) setup. Is there anything I'm overlooking in this assumption? I will almost always be shooting on a tripod, so it wouldn't be a deal breaker if I had to actually set my laptop up each time, but it would be nice to have the option of keeping my laptop in the bag, if nothing else just so that I don't have to pull out a 15" "Rob Me" sign whenever I set up the camera.

    I have been shooting with medium and large format for about 3 years, I currently use an Rb67 pros for medium format and a Sinar P for 4x5 and 5x7. After some time with a borrowed 5d, digital has been more and more appealing to me, but I don't feel like I'd switch to any considerable amount of digital work. Thus, having the capability to put a digital back on a hasselblad seems like a good way to play around with digital in a somewhat familiar workflow.

    Thanks for reading!
  2. I used a PCMCIA firewire adapter in my laptop, that had a separate power inlet, and had an external battery connected to that to supply sufficient power. My laptop did not provide enough over the Firewire port it had built-in.
    I do not know any other way to power the back than over the Firewire port, but maybe that (Firewire adapter with extra battery pack) is what you heard of?
    I do not use Apple computers, so: why the Firewire to Lightning to USB-C route?

    Yes, only tethered. There is no storage in the back.
    And yes, it will work with a portable computer. Not a quick thing to use, with lots of cables, and battery life as a limiter. But it works.

    CaptureOne should be free when you register the back. (You get the CaptureOne for PhaseOne DB edition. Same software, no separate download or install. Different activation.) And CaptureOne is good software.
    Though you must pay attention to OSX version compatibility issues.
  3. I fully understand the attraction of a low price and how that can get you into digital medium format, but consider the total "cost" to you in monetary and in convenience terms. If you do a lot of outdoor photography, operating tethered is a real challenge - as you are seeing from your initial thoughts on how to use a tethered but portable arrangement. Additionally, consider that money spent on an older back is at risk if something happens to the back. I believe Phase One only supports backs as old as the "plus" series. I am not trying to discourage you from going the route you are pursuing. I too have an older Phase One back and am learning how to use it. As for Capture One, it continues to amaze me.
  4. Why would you even consider an old H20 back these days? At any price.

    16 Megapixels, and barely bigger than a full-frame DSLR at 36.9mm square? Not to mention looking like it was designed in the 1980s and having to be shot tethered.

    I just saw one advertised online at over £2000 (about $2500 US) by some jokers. That sort of money will buy you an excellent digital camera with at least twice as many pixels that can be used untethered for hours on its own small battery.

    Those 'legendary' 'blad/Zeiss lenses will be completely wasted on a cropped 16 Mp, less-than-127-sized sensor anyway.

    Stick with the 5D, or upgrade to a more modern full-frame digital. Because that H20 back has almost nothing to offer by way of improved image quality.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
  5. Or just shoot film in the Hassy.
    mag_miksch likes this.

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