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phase one P25 quality


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rencently I bought the phase one p25 digital back adding for my hasselblad 500 cm, how ever, i found that the peformance was not up to my expectation, whne compared to 35mm digital camera, anyone can tell me what is going wrong, or I do not know how to catch up using this back?

 

best

 

ben

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I take it you have experience with the 500c/m with film and already know the basics focusing, metering, steadying the camera etc. - and the issue now is that the digital sensor isn’t blowing you away, compared to 36x24 (“full frame”) cameras? (If you have particular questions, ask away.)

 

Remember that the P25 is 15 years old. Back then I did some architecture shooting with it or a similar model - it was my boss’s - and I didn’t remember which one the P25 was and had to look it up. It has a CCD sensor twice as large as a 36x24, and selling points included that it could operate untethered, shoot at up to 800 iso and nearly a frame a second at 22 MP. That was great at the time, a few years before Nikon even had a 36x24 digital camera, but the technology has come very far since then and if you’re expecting a P25 to beat a modern 36x24 camera on sensor competence you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

 

What’s nice about that now is that it’s a way to make your V system digital at a price that’s not crazy, but if you want the most digital sensor you can get for a couple thousand dollars you should be looking at 36x24.

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Can you be more specific, possibly post an example?

 

I have a 16 MP Hasselblad back, which same as the P25, only square rather than 4:3. In terms of resolution, expect about the same as with a FF 24 MP camera. Color balance, for my Hasselblad back, was dicey unless I used the manufacturer's software (Hasselblad Phocus), until Adobe added the profile to Camera Raw.

 

Focusing the camera is difficult unless you take certain precautions. Modern screens are too transparent to establish a definite focal plane. Make sure your eye is focused on any grid lines at the same time as the image.

 

I've barely touched the Hasselblad since acquiring my first Sony, A7ii (24 MP), five years ago.

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Hi , thannks the input, I had used 6X6 cameras for many years , shoting with film, very satified the film output from 6x6, however, the phase one p 25 made me upset, i am not take p25 to compared with modern 35mm digital output, I am still admired in the past year using the kodak 14n 35mm digital camera, its color is very atrractive, however p 25 still not the same quality with 14n? Both of them are 20 years before products.

 

Andylynn, am i wrong in some case using the p25?

 

see the file shot from p25

 

CF015683.thumb.jpg.67aba82469322513508ad9fe0dabb88c.jpg

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Oh man, comparing that to a 14n - I have no experience with that. The P25 shoots raw... maybe it only shoots raw? How are you working with the files? Are you using Capture One? You should be able to get a lot more out of the color and tone with a bit of tweaking.
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Hi, I did not use capture one, I only use lightroom to adjust the contrast. Do you think that the p 25 photo color is quite dark and colorless?

It’s hard to say - I’d try in more lighting conditions - but I think you should experiment with more raw processing too.

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The tonality of your example is dark, but that is a consequence of the cloudy sky and shade on the building. The foliage looks pretty good to my eye, but not bright enough to offset the overall effect. You can improve greatly by post processing for color and contrast.

 

More important, the face of the building and most of the foliage is out of focus. In fact, the plane of focus seems to be on the retaining wall on the left foreground. This can be due to focusing on the virtual image behind the ground glass, rather than the screen itself. The acuity of digital MF is two or three times that of film, so any errors in focus or camera motion are more easily seen.

 

If your screen has embossed lines, make sure your eye is focused on those lines, which are on the ground surface for Hasselblad screens. That takes some effort on your part, and is not as comfortable as when your eye is relaxed. The WLF magnifier has a relatively high power (5x), but may not be focused properly to accommodate your eye, and you can only see part of the GG at a time. (Don't waste time focusing at waist level.) A prism gives a full-screen view and can be focused, if only at low power (2.5x to 3x). The best (and least expensive) finder for critical focusing is the "chimney" finder. The eyepiece can be adjusted to suit your vision on the screen itself, with your eye relaxed. Unlike with the WLF, the entire screen is visibla at once. The downside is that it is bulky, and the image is reversed.

 

If you don't have a special screen, you may need a mask to delineate the exact field of view. Since the screen is exactly the same size as at the film plane, that mask will be the same as the dimensions of the sensor. I print them with a laserjet on transparency film, and cut them to fit on top of the screen. A dab or two of Magic Tape will hold it in place. A 1 pt line is easy to see, and far finer than anything you can draw with a pen or pencil.

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Be useful to see the raw and it's raw Histogram in RawDigger as I suspect it's quite under exposed, at least based on the JPEG. Or the processing is such the brightness is way down (which of course isn't exposure). Anyway, without the raw, it's not possible to diagnose the issues.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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Hi, I did not use capture one, I only use lightroom to adjust the contrast. Do you think that the p 25 photo color is quite dark and colorless?

 

Agree with everything Ed_Ingold advised re focus challenges with Hasselblad V and digital backs. I would just add:

 

The earlier Phase backs like P25 were designed very specifically for their output files to be processed via Capture One: this assumption was baked into the hardware and raw files. All these years later, third party apps like Lightroom can "handle" the files better than they used to, but they still don't always do quite as good a job as the proprietary Capture One, which has 15 years of optimization for these backs accumulated. Phase constantly tweaked the profiles, sometimes to an amazing degree: there was a turning point a couple years back when comparing a P25 raw file processed with its original accompanying Capture One vs the improved current version of Capture One was pretty dramatic, and notably better than Lightroom.

 

Those new to the digital back scene, primarily picking up bargain old Phase or Leaf backs to digitize a Hassy V system, often don't realize how deeply the CCD hardware was tied into the mfr-supplied software. With some of these backs, you can get mediocre results in Lightroom or other generic apps compared to the optimized Capture One (or Phocus in the case of some older Hasselblad-branded backs). It would be worth contacting a Phase dealer to ask if they still have a corporate policy offering free download of Capture One to any owner of a Phase or Leaf back, just to have an extra tool available. Generic apps like Lightroom can certainly process Phase/Leaf files satisfactorily, but broadly speaking Capture One was/is the "secret sauce" needed for best results with the older CCD backs.

Edited by orsetto
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thanks Ed_Ingold advised, the photo attached is not good in focus, i just take a sample , the day taken photo is cloudy, but I though the p 25 cannot shot satisifed photo, i understand that it can be further adjusted the color and contrast, however, the basic output of p 25 is not good compared to cheaper 35mm casmera like Kodak 14n which i had before, the color was bery good without further process. that is my concern with this p25, here is another sample photo taken on cloudy day. Any comments welcome

 

CF015644.thumb.jpg.d329591bb94c53c0cf5eb8a3a543a349.jpg

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  • 3 years later...

Does anyone here have any experience using  P25 with an older model Hazzelblad SWC? (Biogon lens.) I’ve read on other forums that people have used them with success, so just wondering. Used P25’s are still a couple thousand dollars!! I’d like to rent one to try but can’t even figure out where to do so! (I’m in Pittsburgh PA.) 

Thanks,

Heather

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  • 1 year later...
On 12/9/2022 at 8:53 AM, Hmullphoto said:

Does anyone here have any experience using  P25 with an older model Hazzelblad SWC? (Biogon lens.) I’ve read on other forums that people have used them with success, so just wondering. Used P25’s are still a couple thousand dollars!! I’d like to rent one to try but can’t even figure out where to do so! (I’m in Pittsburgh PA.) 

Thanks,

Heather

Hi Heather.  I have recently bought a mint pre-owned P25 for £1400 having used the classic 500CM for a few years.  Now with film being so expensive I decided to go digital.  The person I bought it from said I must get the free Capture One editing software download.  You get the full Pro version for 1 month then a similar non pro version using a code the Capture team give you.  I have to say I am so impressed with the fantastic quality and resolution for a 20 year old piece of kit that was once over £20k. I have read a few reports where people are not seeing high quality and this is because they are not using Capture One as this de-scrambles the file into perfect clarity.  Even using ISO 200 the quality is amazing.  Highly recommended.  These images have been reduced very greatly to keep to limits but you might get the idea.  

Salcombe.png

Succulant.png

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On 5/28/2019 at 2:25 AM, ben wong said:

Hi , thannks the input, I had used 6X6 cameras for many years , shoting with film, very satified the film output from 6x6, however, the phase one p 25 made me upset, i am not take p25 to compared with modern 35mm digital output, I am still admired in the past year using the kodak 14n 35mm digital camera, its color is very atrractive, however p 25 still not the same quality with 14n? Both of them are 20 years before products.

 

Andylynn, am i wrong in some case using the p25?

 

see the file shot from p25

 

CF015683.thumb.jpg.67aba82469322513508ad9fe0dabb88c.jpg

See my message to Heather below about using a P25.  You may find it useful.  

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Posted (edited)
On 5/28/2019 at 2:25 AM, ben wong said:

Hi , thannks the input, I had used 6X6 cameras for many years , shoting with film, very satified the film output from 6x6, however, the phase one p 25 made me upset, i am not take p25 to compared with modern 35mm digital output, I am still admired in the past year using the kodak 14n 35mm digital camera, its color is very atrractive, however p 25 still not the same quality with 14n? Both of them are 20 years before products.

 

Andylynn, am i wrong in some case using the p25?

 

see the file shot from p25

 

CF015683.thumb.jpg.67aba82469322513508ad9fe0dabb88c.jpg

 

Edited by JohnnyC
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  • 2 months later...

I know this is an old thread but...
My 'daily driver' is my ol' D90 Nikon (which has served me very well). But I have a beautiful Mamiya 645 Pro that I'd love to be using.
Of course film and processing is expensive, and I thought a digital back on the 645 could be great. BUT this thread is a bit scary! I'd hate to spend a couple of grand on a digital back only to find that the results are little better than the D90. Perhaps - for a similar price I should get a Zf? (I really like the 'analogue' look and it's a full frame sensor).

Here's a thing... I used PSD for many years professionally, but I've been flabbergasted by Adobe greed. Having to subscribe now for a monthly cost that used to buy the application forever.
So. Lightroom and Capture One are also Adobe products... I'll never go there. (I use Affinity Photo for all my work now, and it is SO cheap and so good!)
(Note I have no connection whatsoever with Affinity - apart from being a satisfied user).

Actually the D90 is fine for 95% of my needs, but you know how it is... 'Equipment-Envy'!!   Comments?

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Comments about what? 
FWIW: "I have used PSD for many years professionally." That is a file format. One, you never needed to use FWIW. Like Affinity, Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, etc, and more can use TIFF (an openly documented file format) that supports everything PSD can.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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Some of the issue with Ben Wong's images appears to be due to a tilted plane of focus. This could be down to a decentred lens, a badly fitting back or damaged camera or lens mount. Whatever, the focus doesn't appear to be consistent from right to left of the image, which is unlikely to be the fault of the sensor - unless the P25 back itself is out of true. Nothing can be ruled out on the evidence of two pictures and scant other information. 

However, as has already been said; technology has greatly moved on since the P25 was introduced, and CCD sensors have largely (totally?) been abandoned in favour of CMOS, with consequent improvements in dynamic-range, noise and sensitivity. 

To my eyes the red saturation in Ben's first picture is overwhelming and shows some colour blooming and lack of detail and tonal variation. Likewise the greens are quite monochromatic, with almost no subtle variation shown in the foliage. This could be due to an over-enthusiastic use of the saturation slider in post, or to the filtration of the sensor. Whatever the cause, I personally don't like the resulting colour rendering, since it isn't at all life-like.

21 hours ago, JoolsW said:

But I have a beautiful Mamiya 645 Pro that I'd love to be using.

You might not find it so beautiful when the mirror-brake/rest cracks and it just won't focus properly, or when the shutter solenoid inexplicably fails to fire, or when the film back(s) warp away from the body and cause a light leak, or when the metering prism fails to communicate the ISO setting to the body properly. This catalogue of faults have all occurred to my two 'Super' bodies and the ProTL. In fact I don't remember ever having all 3 of them working together at any one time. 

Whereas my old fixed-back metal 645M, J and 1000S bodies have just plodded on year after year without a hitch. - Just sayin'! 

And IME the output from almost any modern full-frame (24x36mm) sensor will outperform MF film in practically any parameter you care to apply. Even when you crop to a 4:3 aspect ratio, or even 1:1.

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