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How To Get 39 Megapixels From a 53-Year-Old Camera

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the was-always-envious-of-ex's-hasselblad dept.

Input Devices 347

G3ckoG33k writes "An article at The Register Hardware describes how Hasselblad film cameras dating back to 1957 can be given a new life using a digital back to get images at a super resolution of 39 megapixels. From the article: 'The CFV-39 digital back allows you to get those cameras out from the last century and use the V-System cameras with their beautiful glass once again, it simply fits in place of where the roll film used to be. Hasselblads have never been inexpensive, but talk about a return on investment. Here is a manufacturer looking after a fiercely loyal user-base and along with it offering what could be seen as the ultimate green camera system.' Oh, by the way most pictures taken during the Apollo space program in the 1960s were taken with Hasselblad." Hasselblad's been making digital backs for quite a while now, but this one's very impressive in speed (and cost — "only" about $14,000) compared to earlier models.

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Hasselblads in space (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31977770)

There's still one out there. Or maybe it reentered already. Ouch!

Scent of a lady's underwear... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31977986)

In my opinion, there is nothing quite like the scent of a lady's underwear.

mmmm... the stink of wet panties.

White with a streak of yellow reek,
A shitty pink,
A most unladylike stink,
From a fragrant, lubricated leak.

Re:Scent of a lady's underwear... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31978044)

personally, I find fucking a lady's tight wet pussy beats sniffing her panties any day.

Re:Scent of a lady's underwear... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31978138)

Posting on Slashdot: It's like sniffing the internet's panties.

Re:Hasselblads in space (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978474)

The Apollo program left a few of them on the lunar surface. All you have to do is salvage them.

Vinyl records and tube stereos too (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31977796)

There's a product to fit any budget. I am doing something wrong here.

Big Deal! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31977818)

In two years from now (according to Moore's law) my 50 dollar cell phone will take 50 megapixel shots.
might just take 14,000 dollars to send out the picture to a friend but what the heck I can afford it!

Re:Big Deal! (5, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31977944)

That's not the point, cellphones can have a ton of megapixels but with their tiny lens setup the image will be garbage no matter how fine grained the sensor is. This isn't about getting more megapixels, it's about getting digital images out of expensive old cameras with very expensive lens setups.

Re:Big Deal! (4, Interesting)

BrentH (1154987) | more than 4 years ago | (#31977968)

One thing you just cannot physically get with small lenses and small CCD-areas like in you phone is plenty of light without too much distortions. There's a reason there's a DSLR market. And i you want to to make a moving picture, you're gonna have to settle with even lesser amounts of light per frame/photo per unit area, which is why almost any good movie camera is an oversized machine on wheels with cannons (not the brand!) for lenses. Obviously there's a good enough for people like you and me, but Hasselsblads are targeted at the high end of high end, for the cases in which physics leaves you no other choice.

Re:Big Deal! (3, Insightful)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978638)

Maybe it will if marketing wants it to but if it does they will be shit 50 megapixel shots.

The trouble is putting lots of megapixels on a small sensor doesn't work very well for a couple of reasons.

Firstly the coverage factor is poor on small high resolution sensors, most sensor types need some space between the active cells for various reasons, so more pixels means LESS active area.

Secondly as I understand it (i've done a little bit on optics but i'm not an expert) depth of field is related to the ratio between aperture and sensor size. So if you want lots of light (and you DO want lots of light because of "shot noise") AND a reasonable depth of field you need a big sensor.

14k buys a lot of film. (3, Interesting)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31977822)

Film. You know, that cellulose acetate image capture and storage medium that uses silver halides? You might remember it from "last century".

Why not just shoot a $4 roll of film, and scan it on a $200 flatbed scanner at a mere 2400DPI for a fat 30 megapixel image, plus you have an in-camera archival backup slide, which can later be drum-scanned at an even higher resolution if needed?

And you don't even need batteries.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31977856)

Medium format film will cost you far more than $4.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (2, Informative)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 4 years ago | (#31977880)

But much less than $14k.

In color? (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978026)

How much are you gonna pay for processing?

Re:In color? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978088)

5 bucks for an 8x10 glossy that has pretty damned-good resolution.

Got several hanging on my fridge of my cat, taken with a Minolta X-700.

Re:In color? (5, Funny)

machine321 (458769) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978114)

Why would your cat have its own fridge, and why would you hang your photos there?

Re:In color? (2, Funny)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978342)

Cat is diabetic, insulin stored there.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31977904)

"Far more"? $20 buys me 5 rolls of Portra 160 NC/VC.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (1)

chocomilko (1544541) | more than 4 years ago | (#31977928)

"Far more"? $20 buys me 5 rolls of Portra 160 NC/VC.

See how much that $4 roll costs when everyone stops making MF film. Also, see how much it costs to get said rolls developed (if you shoot in colour -- developing your own B&W is something every photographer should experience).

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (2, Interesting)

TheRedShirt (1767228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978062)

Wow, you can still find film? I haven't exactly been looking, but I haven't seen any in years...

I don't think that film photography will ever go the way of the dinosaur. It will just be further relegated to the realm of art and to highly esoteric and technical uses.

I think that NASA aught to take a look in storage and see if they have any Hasselblads left over from their old space programs. I have a strong feeling that a $14k adapter for a 39MP camera would be a better investment than the money spent on the R&D for a new system for future space missions.

It would be quite poetic too... Standing on the backs of giants and the foundation laid by our space exploration forefathers and continuing to use (after a fashion) some of the same equipment they did.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (3, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978150)

Nope, they've switched to Nikon D2x and Nikon D3s cameras [nikonusa.com] (at least for the shuttle and the ISS). I really doubt that NASA would try to space qualify the hassy back. Might as well qualify the newer H3 system.

For the total costs involved in qualifying the cameras, the actual camera costs aren't so very important.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (3, Informative)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31977932)

http://freestylephoto.biz/83140981-Kodak-Ektar-100-iso-120-size-Single-Roll-Unboxed

$4.09 for name-brand film that happens to be one of the highest resolution and finest-grain color negative films available.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (2, Informative)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31977976)

I use Fomapan 400 and it sells for $3.09US a roll.

http://www.freestylephoto.biz/420112-Foma-Fomapan-100-iso-120-size?cat_id=403 [freestylephoto.biz]

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978060)

That's B&W though. I think comparing color film with a digital back that takes color would be a fairer comparison. And with film, if you want to take a color shot and there's B&W in the back .....

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (3, Insightful)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978300)

B&W is for Art.....color is for porn.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31978464)

B&W is for Art.....color is for porn.

Porn, and the other day jobs like weddings, portraits and ads. ;)

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (2, Informative)

dwywit (1109409) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978306)

That's why you carry more than one back, loaded with various different types of film.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31977886)

The same reason I don't back up DVDs by pointing a video camera at my TV screen.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31977918)

You seriously don't see the advantages of digital photography? You think it is just a "fad" and we will go back to using film?
Ok, assuming you are completely ignorant, I could try to seriously answer your questions.
First, a medium format film is not $4. Second, the inconvenience of switching rolls of film every dozens of pics is not comparable to switching batteries every hundreds of pics. Third there is no immediate way to view your shoots and every failed shot costs. Fourth, you need to process film, which is something that costs, takes time and could be detrimental to your shots if not done properly (ok, you could do some effects, but still much harder than photoshop). Fifth, scanning a film not only takes time, but also cannot capture the same quality as it is an extra analog->digital step. Sixth, the "archival backup slide" is useless when you can have thousands of non-degradeable perfect copies of what you shot on a digital backup medium.
I could go on...

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (2, Insightful)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978034)

I never made any such claims. I suppose if you can afford 14,000 on a piece of gear that is going to last at most a few years before its obsolete, just so that you can avoid shooting film like people (including NASA and the Apollo astronauts) managed to do for 125 years or so, go for it. I'm sure there are working professionals that can afford to do so.

TFA implies that this miraculous invention 'allows' you to use these old cameras from "Last century". Like they stopped working when the CCD was invented. Nothing is stopping anyone from using them the way they have been used since 1955. You don't have to spend 14k to get a 40 megapixel hasselblad. Shoot film in them like they were made to do, scan the film, and then you can do everything else you can do with digital imaging. Photoshop away.

If people weren't so allergic to tech that still works after a few decades, maybe these old cameras wouldn't be sitting around in closets so much. It's as if actually loading a roll of film in a classic camera reduces your l33tness cred or something, and now, for only $14,000, you can use your Hasselblad without having to ask your lab to send orders in unmarked boxes so that you don't have to face the embarrasment of the mailman finding out that you are ordering Ektachrome through the mail.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (5, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978112)

Do you really, really think that somebody who owns a Hasselblad is going to drop $14k on it just because digital is the new hotness?

No.

They're going to do it if they have a job they can do with the digital back that can't be done with film.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31978142)

39 megapixels is going to last a helluva lot longer than a 'few years'.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (0, Redundant)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978100)

"Sixth, the "archival backup slide" is useless when you can have thousands of non-degradeable perfect copies of what you shot on a digital backup medium."

LOL, you think those CDs are archival? You think magnetic hard drives aren't vulnerable to data loss/corruption? You think flash memory can't go bad?

Holy hell, I've heard some doozies in my life. Yours just got added to the list.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (5, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978218)

LOL, you think those CDs are archival? You think magnetic hard drives aren't vulnerable to data loss/corruption? You think flash memory can't go bad?

Of course you can lose data on a computer. BUT, it's way easier to back up a computer file than it is a film negative. I can copy it to a second USB hard drive and leave it at a friend's house. I can upload photos to Mozy. I can rent a server somewhere and upload my data to that.

Way easier than arranging some way to copy all my film negatives, figuring out somewhere to store it in a proper environment, etc., and even then it wouldn't be lossless like backing up data is.

In the "which is easiest to prevent data loss" wars, digital wins hands down.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (-1, Offtopic)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978348)

"In the "which is easiest to prevent data loss" wars, digital wins hands down."

Not when your camera is storing those shots as JPG. You've just introduced loss before you've even made your first copy.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978446)

Good thing that not every camera stores pictures in JPEG format.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (3, Interesting)

wolrahnaes (632574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978634)

"In the "which is easiest to prevent data loss" wars, digital wins hands down."

Not when your camera is storing those shots as JPG. You've just introduced loss before you've even made your first copy.

And is that really a relevant point when discussing a medium format back for a really fucking expensive camera? I think it's a safe bet that everything done with these things is being originally stored in raw format as dumped from the sensor.

For archival, there is no beating digital. Analog copies will always have flaws where digital copies are theoretically perfect assuming nothing went wrong in the process. Even if something did go wrong, that can be verified and accounted for by copying the damaged portion again.

I have a home server and a rented server with ISP-hosted backup. If I take a photo that I find important, I can drop it in a folder on my laptop that is regularly rsynced to my home server. Within 15 minutes as long as I'm at home it's now stored on at least three hard drives (laptop + RAID1 in the server), plus possibly still the flash memory used in the camera. If I think it's really important (usually reserved for financial data and work), I can put in in a subfolder that my home server automatically rsyncs hourly with my remote rented server. Now it's on four hard drives and one flash device in four different machines and located in two different states entirely. Tonight the server will back up the "really important" directory to the ISP-provided space. Now it's on four hard drives, a flash drive, and a SAN.

While what I do is complicated, it is possible to use tools like Dropbox and Mozy among others to deliver the same functionality in a form more usable to the average person.

Thanks to digital, as long as I am responsible with where I store my files it is practically impossible for anything to be lost. If I had taken them on film, I would have exactly one "original" grade copy and that's it. If the negative is lost, it's gone and there's no getting it back.

Assuming sufficient capture quality, digital always beats analog.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978408)

You seriously think it is easier to back up film? That film will not degrade over time. It is much easier to maintain a backup of a digital photo for ever than permantly preserving a film negative.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (3, Insightful)

imroy (755) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978414)

You think [digital photography] is just a "fad" and we will go back to using film?

No. But I think it has definitely been overhyped. Over the lest several years many photographers have "gone back" to shooting film because they've found digital not living up to the hype. I know the photography world will never go back entirely to film - the mainstream market never will. But there has been a bit of a swing back to film in the professional and enthusiast market.

I clearly acknowledge there are advantages to digital. I can see that photographing events (sporting, news, etc) pretty much requires digital nowadays because of the need/expectation for fast turn-around. And the ability to check every shot is very important to other types of photography, particularly for weddings (you don't fuck up wedding photos).

But film is a tried-and-true medium which still has some advantages over digital. Film cameras can be very simple and are generally much more rugged than digital cameras. Many are all-mechanical designs that don't require any batteries, others only need a battery for the light meter. That's very useful when you're travelling, especially to remote locations. And film offers a huge amount of variability in appearance. Not only do you get to choose a type and emulsion, but in B&W you influence the result by your choice of developer and how you use it (e.g concentration, agitation, etc). You might be able to imitate many of these effects in Photoshop and the like (or maybe not), but it's not the same.

Yes, I admit I am a bit of a film bigot. But I'm not entirely unreasonable. Some digital cameras have started to interest me in the last few years.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (5, Informative)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31977994)

A roll of medium format color film runs a little more than $4 for everything but specials [freestylephoto.biz] but that's just nitpicking.

But to develop said roll of film, will cost you another $5 roughly, $4 if you're just getting processing which you want if you're scanning. [dwaynesphoto.com]

A decent medium format scanner (that will give you the quality of a digital back) runs you $2,200 + S&H [adorama.com] that's assuming you can even get them! Film scanners, aside from the cheap crap, are getting harder and harder to come by. Flatbed scanner kind of suck and get you no where near the quality of a digital back especially a 39 MP one.

So, for the price of a digital back: $14,000 - $2200 = $11,800. $11,800/ 8 per roll = 1475 rolls of film - doesn't include postage.

That medium format back can shoot hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pictures before shitting the bed. So, each shot is less than a penny. Even if you can only get 300,000 shots of a typical pro level DSLR, that's $0.05 per shot.

Digital wins!

$0.67 per film frame. (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978036)

Dammit! I forgot to mention the per shot price for the film.

That camera does 12 shots per roll of 120. So, $8 per roll with processing means $0.67 per shot - not including the price of the scanner.

So that's $0.67 per film frame compared to pennies per digital frame.

Re:$0.67 per film frame. (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978140)

You also forgot to mention all the virus-laden picture frames, all the heavy metals used in batteries, the rare-earth minerals used to make the sensors, and a lot more, which makes digital worse for the environment.

I don't get viral infections from film.

My camera will also work after an EMP - I doubt yours will, and I also doubt your digital pictures will remain intact after such an event.

Ditto my manual-everything lenses.

Re:$0.67 per film frame. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31978274)

virus laden pictures frames? thats the only part i'm not sure what you're talking about.

Re:$0.67 per film frame. (-1, Flamebait)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978366)

Jeeze, I thought people on slashdot were smart?

http://articles.sfgate.com/2008-02-15/business/17139861_1_trojan-horse-computer-associates-security-vendor [sfgate.com]

There. Digital picture frames pre-loaded with viruses. Was it really that hard to understand?

Re:$0.67 per film frame. (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978454)

There is a difference between being smart and being informed. Of course, not all picture frames are loaded with viruses, and not all of us run OSes that are vulnerable to those viruses in the first place.

Re:$0.67 per film frame. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31978582)

lol. you're actually acting arrogant about your esoteric knowledge of electronic gadgets gleaned from the daily newspaper.

bet you are a real big shot down at the local geek squad, brainiac.

Re:$0.67 per film frame. (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978336)

My camera will also work after an EMP - I doubt yours will, and I also doubt your digital pictures will remain intact after such an event.

Ditto my manual-everything lenses.

The photographer on the other hand probably won't survive the nuclear blast that produced it. Yes, there's a few other ways but it's more experimental science than a practical weapon. That goes both if you're going to a war zone or you happen to be a terrorist victim, they prefer the conventional bombs.

Re:$0.67 per film frame. (2, Insightful)

jedrek (79264) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978412)

Are you out of your mind? Every time I finish a shoot with medium format and Polaroids I throw out a small baggie full of trash: boxes, wrappers, polaroid crap, etc. Then I use a couple liters of distilled water (that I burn gas, to get it to my house) and a bunch of chemicals to actually get an image - oh yeah, that generates trash too (film cassettes, 120 film paper backing, spools, etc). The landfill space needed to cover 5 years of shooting is magnitudes greater than for digital.

Hell, they just stopped making Neopan 400 because a toxic chemical was used to make it.

Re:$0.67 per film frame. (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978640)

You also forgot the chemicals used in the manufacturer and processing of film which is also pretty toxic. Color processing is no picnic.

Kodak park is listed as a super fund site and that ain't from making digital.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (4, Insightful)

jjoelc (1589361) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978014)

When you spent $2500-$3000 for the camera body, and close to that much for EACH lens (and photographers, while maybe technically able to get by on 2-3 lenses, usually have several more than that) Plus flash, tripod, other accessories... By the time you get to the full setup, it is pretty easy to get into the $15,000-$20,000 range. And you want them to throw all of that away, because "they should get with the times already" ? Tell you what.. Throw away (NOT trade in) your Ferrari and buy a Prius, and see if you think it was worth it.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (2, Funny)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978146)

This is probably the best car analogy I've seen on slashdot.

And yes, only 2 or 3 lenses is a PITA. I have more than that: http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f349/khyberkitsune/camera.jpg [photobucket.com]

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (2, Insightful)

jedrek (79264) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978426)

Considering that MF backs are a professional tool, the analogy I always use is: I don't see you bitching about the price of F1 cars.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (1)

Anonymous Bullard (62082) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978436)

Wow. That looks almost exactly like my friend's set, down to the hippy strap!

I used to have very similar setup until one trip in Chinese (this one didn't happen in Tibet) countryside when the lenses were destroyed (smashed but not stolen) by the Chinese "Public Security" (aka police). Luckily the body(ies) w/ good normal lens and short zoom were kept elsewhere at the time...

So this system is for Hasselblad and way out of my range, but I kinda hope that one day they'd start making affordable digital backends for the popular Olympus, Minolta, Nikon etc. analogue SLRs as there's a lot of fine glass out there and developing colour film (B&W is always manageable) is becoming very hard indeed (depending on location).

With inexpensive sensors and 40 megapixel range some of the ancient but well-built gear would get a new lease of practical life. One day, one day...

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (1)

luckymutt (996573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978074)

You might remember it from "last century".

You might remember it from "last millenium"
There...fixed it for ya.

That being said, would you really want to invest in $14k worth of film???
How many more roll's worth of shots can be made on the new retro fit 'blad digital back?
Considering that this will retro fit to any of their bodies made since 1957 you can keep this device working and up to date for quite a long time to come.
Not to mention, $14k worth of film doesn't take into consideration the costs involved in processing all that film. As film becomes a lost art, there are going to be fewer and fewer places that you can get film processed and the costs will likely keep going up.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978080)

Ken Rockwell - is that you?

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (1)

kryptKnight (698857) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978110)

Why not just shoot a $4 roll of film, and scan it on a $200 flatbed scanner at a mere 2400DPI for a fat 30 megapixel image...

Because film doesn't have infinite resolution. You can only fit so many of those silver halide crystals on a bit of film, and that limits how much "data" can be stored in the frame. 35 millimeter film at normal ISOs (aka that $4 roll you mentioned) can't really be printed larger than 8"x10" unless you have an artistic attraction to extreme graininess.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978164)

35 millimeter film at normal ISOs

Epic fail. Medium format isn't 35 mm. 35 mm is full frame, and smaller than medium format.

Even the cropped medium formats digitals are much larger than 35 mm (typically 36x24 mm) and starts at around 33x44 mm making it at least 68% larger.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31978378)

Hassleblads are NOT 35mm cameras

Think 2 1/4 square or 6x5cm size negs. These are an awful log bigger than 35mm sized film. The resolution is correspondingly higher even with film.

IF you don't think this is important then you are welcome to come and try my Nikon D200 and D700. Both have similar mega pixel counts but the D700 produces far better piccies even using the same lenses.

If I were a Hasssy or Mamiya user I'd be salivating at the prospect of using something like this.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (1)

nielsm (1616577) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978134)

Last time I had a 35mm film developed (which was late last year), apart from the negatives, I got digital prints of it. I didn't ask for it, but it's what I got. Naturally the negatives were developed chemically, as that's required, but after that most shops will scan the negatives and produce digital prints from that. And it isn't even cheap. Don't get me started on the price of getting low-resolution (about 5-6 MP JPEG) scans burned onto a CD, it's ridiculous.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (3, Informative)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978284)

A cheap, fairly slow film can resolve 140 lines per mm. Even on a 135 (35mm) film, that equates to 17MP. Obviously, a 17MP digital camera does not resolve 17MP, you have to anti-alias, so the actual resolution is less. I have never tested a DSLR, but I have tested the Red One film camera with a 4.5k sensor, with Master Prime lenses, resolution is close to 3.2k after debayering, anti-aliasing and low pass filtering.

This is worth a read: http://www.audioguy.co.uk/files/pdf/Arri_Digital_Camera_Basics.pdf [audioguy.co.uk]

A good emulsion will resolve 25-30 MP on 135.

Re:14k buys a lot of film. (1)

jedrek (79264) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978376)

Because to get 30 quality megapixels with a decent dmax from a film scan you need at least a dedicated film scanner, something along the lines of a Nikon 9000 ED, and even then, you can't see your work as you go.

H3D (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31977854)

Unfortunately, Hasselblad is trying to do away with "old cameras" by integrating everything into a single body with their next generation medium format. For the last decade everything was modular, with the digital back attaching to the body, but now they're integrating those two parts. Still, it's an expensive proposition, starting at $20k I believe, and with the way the economy is going and the direction of art buyers demanding more video rather than megapixels and renderings, I can't justify spending that kind of money for extra sharpness and shallower DoF.

But if you have $20k just laying around, by all means, buy one. My Canon 1Ds is handling the bulk of my business, and a lot of magazines still take 8 megapixel images (if they even care at all).

Re:H3D (3, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31977934)

I own a blad, but there is no way I can afford this back (yet). Nor would it be justified for the shooting I do. That said, if Nikon would offer backs that would fit their older cameras I would be in the market, especially if they were <$1000 and FX sensor size, even if "only" 6 to 10 MP.

Dear Nikon:
I want a digital back for my F3HP and my 90s please.
-nB

Re:H3D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31978244)

I like the way you talk! I'd pay a lot for a digital insert that fit into my Fs. When they built the Nikon F the film guide rails were machined after the lens mount was installed, so the alignment was perfect. As long as the ccd lays against the rails you're golden. All the wiring goes off to the left into a pod that fits where the film cassette goes, and that holds a micro SD card.

But don't expect Nikon to do it-it would cannibalize digital sales something fierce. No, this would have to come from a renegade. (Ooooh Marty, where are you now that we really need you?)

Re:H3D (1)

jedrek (79264) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978442)

I own a blad, but there is no way I can afford this back (yet). Nor would it be justified for the shooting I do. That said, if Nikon would offer backs that would fit their older cameras I would be in the market, especially if they were <$1000 and FX sensor size, even if "only" 6 to 10 MP.

Dear Nikon:
I want a digital back for my F3HP and my 90s please.
-nB

The only way this will happen is if Canon does it first. Let's be realistic, there is no reason for Nikon to shit all over it's most profitable, sub $1k market with a support-intensive, low margin piece of gear.

Re:H3D (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978132)

At 8 MP you can get an 8x10 at 300dpi - which is what 99% of the publishers want for digital submissions - based upon the "2008 Photographer's Market". Some can deal with less, 4x6 print and some, like the poster publishers, want 20x30 inches at 300 dpi - which means based on this chart, [design215.com] you'd need well over 50 MP at least. I guess in that case, film rules.

Nice (4, Interesting)

fauxhemian (1281852) | more than 4 years ago | (#31977900)

It's nice to see a capability like this being added to such an old design. Personally I'd like to see a camera manufacturer or third party come out with digital versions of old manual focus SLR greats like the K1000, or produce reasonably priced digital backs for them.

Re:Nice (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31977952)

apparently we were thinking the same thing...
that would be the most awesome thing ever to see:
The old school workhorse K1000 with a digital back :)
I'd seriously consider trading in a tooth or two, maybe even a pinkey finger for a 10MP FX CCD (not CMOS) for my F3hp...

Re:Nice (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978012)

Good luck finding someone to take the other side of that bargain.

Re:Nice (1)

fauxhemian (1281852) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978124)

I'm just surprised nobody has done it yet. A manual-everything camera seems to be the best way to teach photography skills, but perhaps I'm just living in the past. My little Pentax MX SLR, dating from the 70's, still compares favourably in terms of size and weight with modern DSLRS and I just enjoy the straightforward interface more than any DSLRs I've tried.

Re:Nice (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978188)

What controls did the cameras you tried lack?

Or do you want one with no option to turn on the automatic stuff?

Re:Nice (3, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978280)

What controls did the cameras you tried lack?

Or do you want one with no option to turn on the automatic stuff?

Its the UI. On my old K1000, the front ring on the lens is focus, back ring is D.O.F / F-stop, Mostly-Single-Function rotary dial on the top for shutter speed (and a complicated way to change film speed for the light meter, etc), a film advance lever, and a shutter release. Also a combination film rewind/back opener dial on the top. The UI is physically fast, simple, intuitive, instant to learn, lifetime to master. Like a CLI.

On the other hand, on an automatic digital Cannon from a couple years back, its clicky heaven, definitely a windows style interface. Clicky Clickly Clicky thru the menus and dials, no rhyme or reason, and maybe you can adjust the shutter speed, but not really interactively or easily. Like a GUI. Like trying to use a real camera while wearing oven mitts.

Re:Nice (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978466)

I've only used 1 DSLR and the shutter speed and f-stop/aperture were both settable, using a dial (the same dial, with some sort of mode button to switch between them or whatever, I wasn't really doing anything dynamic, so I don't remember very well). Manual focus was an option, by turning the lens.

It took a few minutes to get comfortable with the controls, but they were there, and they were quite direct.

Re:Nice (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978056)

Yes, gimme a digital back for a K1000. I had one of those in the 90s.

A fairly common set up is a telescope or microscope with an industry standard lens t-mount, then a ridiculously overcomplicated digital camera, complete with all kinds of useless gimmick features. Great, I can now take micro-photographs in sepia tones. Fan freaking tastic. All that junk does is get in the way.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-mount [wikipedia.org]

A dig back for a K1000 would be about perfect, since all I really need the camera for, is to act as a light-tight spacer between the t-mount and the dig back's CCD. It should be cheaper, also?

Re:Nice (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978268)

A dig back for a K1000 would be about perfect, since all I really need the camera for, is to act as a light-tight spacer between the t-mount and the dig back's CCD. It should be cheaper, also?

Probably not. Think of the small number of cameras on T-mounts compared with the number of DSLRs whose owners don't know what a T-mount is. It's easier to put all of the features in that normal users want and have edge cases just ignore them than creating custom cameras.

I use a couple of Nikon DLSRs entirely in RAW mode and usually either in manual mode or aperture priority. I never use the JPEG engine, custom curves or half the very strange auto focus possibilities. So I just ignore them. It would be nice if users could play with the menus in order to hide some of the features we never use, but I don't see that happening.

A noted Nikon writer, Thom Hogan [bythom.com] has been writing about a more modular system and how it would make financial and market sense to Nikon (or whoever adopted that strategy). Probably won't ever come to fruition as the Japanese camera makers are very, very conservative and the cost to enter the market very high,.

Re:Nice (1)

jedrek (79264) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978590)

A noted Nikon writer, Thom Hogan has been writing about a more modular system and how it would make financial and market sense to Nikon (or whoever adopted that strategy). Probably won't ever come to fruition as the Japanese camera makers are very, very conservative and the cost to enter the market very high,.

It also makes no financial sense to create a system like this. A camera company could approach it in one of three ways:
* Put a cheap sensor on a back, price it low enough that people can get it instead of a cheap DSLR and put it on their old manual SLR. Cons: the low-end dslr market is among the most lucrative in digital photography; the support for this item would be a nightmare as thousands of buyers try to mate their backs with cameras that haven't been touched in 20 years.
* Put a cheap sensor on a back, price it equal to the cheaper full frame offerings. Cons: almost nobody buys it as most people prefer to get a modern camera than trying to jerry rig a back onto a manual camera. As vocal as this market might be, it's pretty small and mostly made up of budget conscious buyers, which would limit the market even more.
* Put a great sensor on a back, price it around the top-end full frame offerings. Cons: 20 people buy them, anybody else who can afford it buys a modern camera.

I'm pretty sure Canon and Nikon have both done their homework on this one, and it just doesn't make any sense for them

I read the stuff you linked over at Thom's and I think he's been hanging around the forums too much. Olympus isn't popular because m4/3 is open standard and takes lens adapters, it's popular because Olympus is a camera company (unlike Samsung) and they made a decent-sized splash marketing their new digital PENs. Samsung is such a fringe brand in prosumer digital cameras that I honestly have never seen a Samsung DSLR outside of a store. The whole m43/4/3 standard was really just a way for Olympus to work its way out of obscurity after abandoning SLRs after the OM range. Cause if there's one thing about digital hitting the camera market, it gave a LOT more money to the camera manufacturers.

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31978092)

I missed my old K1000 I ended up going out and buying a K-X after years with a Canon point-and-shoot. It felt like coming home.

Re:Nice (1)

Kentari (1265084) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978204)

Which would turn the great camera into a waste of money...

Do you really think the camera would still be great after they added such a back, with all the buttons, screen(s), ...? Where would they put the battery? The room where the film used to go might suffice; but remember that a lot of electronics has to be fitted as well (add at least 5mm to the back of your camera). Never mind the control lines between the release and sensor. You are replacing a passive film with an active sensor that can't be "on" at all times, but needs to be activated just before an exposure starts and stop as soon the exposure end.

If it would be feasible to produce a back that fits the old film bay it would probably still be extremely expensive when compared to a DSLR. Remember, if this is more expensive than a DSLR no one, probably not even you, will buy it. Honestly, would you do a $1000+ investment (and that is a really optimistic price) on a camera that will not come close to the functionality and ergonomics of a modern camera?

Sorry to destroy your dream, but if you want a good digital camera stop revolving in nostalgia and buy a DSLR and get acquainted with it. You don't have to use all the bells and whistles on them. Otherwise, keep buying film to use with your great old one. Hey, maybe you could even do both...

The reasons that this might work for Hasselblad are: their system is modular, it is designed for this and their optics are so expensive that if you invested heavily into it, this back is probably cheaper than switching to the H system. And they have a very loyal following...

Re:Nice (1)

fauxhemian (1281852) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978402)

The digital back was just one suggestion - I accept that there would be inherent compromises and that it's quite possibly not even a viable option. The other suggestion was a new design manual DSLR, which is perhaps somewhat more likely. I'm 26, so I don't think my preference for manual cameras is one grounded in nostalgia - I just prefer the simple interface, I prefer not having to wade around two dozen buttons on the cameras exterior. I'm happy without the bells and whistles.

Re:Nice (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978548)

All you've said is true, but...
While agree a K1000 is not a likely candidate for a digital back, there are a lot of Nikon owners who have invested heavily in excellent glass that will not work correctly on their newer bodies (Yes, in theory the D300 should work, but it really doesn't). As far as turning on and off the sensor a CCD does not suffer the same limitations, that is an issue with CMOS sensors.

$14k isn't much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31977992)

Lenses start at about $3k each and they're fixed focal length (so don't expect to only need one for everything you shoot - these are point and shoots or consumer SLRs with superzooms). Spend $2500 on a body, probably $20k on lenses, another five figures on lighting equipment and support and suddenly $14k is pretty reasonable.

At that resolution, what will be the lossy format (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978040)

be? Loss-less would be ideal but would run even modern data cards down to nothing in meantime.

Jpeg is okay, but it puts it's pictures into 32x32 blocks which doesn't always make sense (made more sense in the days of 640x480 pics) and jpeg2000 never seems to be implemented anywhere for some reason, especially the browser level.

Re:At that resolution, what will be the lossy form (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31978108)

High-end camera vendors have lossless formats generically called RAW. Usually they're TIFF-based with some extended proprietary information about the camera settings.

Re:At that resolution, what will be the lossy form (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31978144)

DNG is an usual standard today for medium-format equipment. Jpeg is absolute crap for today's cameras - most sensors today will register the image with full 14 bit or bigger depth, so if you use a 8-bit format like jpeg, you're discarding a huge amount of information.

Re:At that resolution, what will be the lossy form (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978152)

Loss-less would be ideal but would run even modern data cards down to nothing in meantime.

Just for curiosity's sake, the review says RAW results are about 50 MB/shot. I expected the back to come with a hard drive to be honest, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

That said, do you really think someone who pays $14,000 for a digital back for their 'blad is really going to shoot lossy? Because I certainly don't. (Especially because of all the postprocessing flexibility you get with RAW images you don't with others. Forget about just the lossy/nonlossy bit.)

Re:At that resolution, what will be the lossy form (1)

imroy (755) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978172)

This digital back would not create lossy, 8-bit JPEG. It would store some sort of raw format (DNG?), either uncompressed or using lossless compression (e.g LZ/LZW), and with 16-bit components.

Re:At that resolution, what will be the lossy form (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31978570)

It would store some sort of raw format (DNG?),

Hasselblad's got its own raw format called 3FR, actually.

RAW (3, Informative)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978178)

It is called raw, but the other reply is otherwise incorrect. Some older DSLRs (early 2000s) used to have a TIFF option, but that isn't the same thing, just a lossless version of the processed image. RAW output is the data read off the sensor, and is pre-bayer, and other processing (usually with some lossless compression applied). Meta-data is also included, like focal length, and exposure settings.

Re:At that resolution, what will be the lossy form (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31978216)

Lossless = RAW format. The bonus of this lossless format is that it takes everything that the sensor saw with no adjustment. All DSLRs have the feature and with temporarily modded firmware, P&S cameras can do it too (like Canons, for example).

Re:At that resolution, what will be the lossy form (2, Informative)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978416)

JPEG2000 never took off because it has problems with it's wavelet compression, details just blur out. Have a read: http://x264dev.multimedia.cx/?p=317 [multimedia.cx]

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/51/JPEG_JFIF_and_2000_Comparison.png [wikimedia.org]

Re:At that resolution, what will be the lossy form (2, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978602)

Loss-less would be ideal but would run even modern data cards down to nothing in meantime.

Lossless RAW is the only way anyone will shoot with such a camera and back, but it's not a problem. A 64 GB CF card would hold over a thousand images, and medium format is used for shooting landscapes, not action. The cameras are big, heavy, used on a tripod and taking photographs with one is normally a process of minutes to hours of setup followed by a handful of shots.

There are a few photographers that use medium format for portraits, but it's rare. And even then you're talking about dozens of shots, not thousands.

goodie (2, Informative)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978072)

There have been digital backs for Hasselblads before. But it's not really such a great deal: you're connecting an expensive digital back to an optical system that wasn't designed for digital image capture, and a heavy mirror box, film crank, and viewfinder that you don't need with modern digital sensors. Oh, and for all that trouble, your lenses don't even work the way you're used to since the sensor is rectangular and smaller than medium format film. And at the rate sensor technologies improve, you can expect that this thing is obsolete in a couple of years.

Sensor size and price (4, Insightful)

imroy (755) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978148)

Two problems. The sensor is barely what could be called "medium format". The article says these sensors are 36.7 x 49 mm. That's basically twice the size of the standard 35 mm frame (36 x 24 mm). Even 6x4.5 is bigger than that.

The other problem is bigger - price. For $14K you could get several medium format film cameras and lenses (e.g Hasselblad/Zeiss, Mamiya, Fuji, Bronica, etc), a very good film scanner (e.g Hasselblad Flextight X5 [hasselblad.com] ), a big server to store your scans on, plus a fridge full of film.

You'd only go the digital route if you need fast turn-around. For everything else, I'd rather go the film option, thanks.

Re:Sensor size and price (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978476)

It's not just fast turnaround, but convenience. How many rolls of film can and will you reasonably carry around with you? How fast can you load one in to your camera? Then once you've shot the photos, do you take the time to develop and scan them all for review?

That is one of the major benefits of digital (fast turnaround being another) is that you can take so many more photos. Getting 16GB+ flash storage devices is cheap and easy, and even when you take extremely large RAW photos, you can store a lot. They are also easy to carry many replacements. You can carry around thousands of pictures worth of storage without a problem. You just can't do that with film realistically. You can also shoot fast and continuous. Since a card will generally hold a couple hundred pictures, even in 14-bit RAW format, you can snap a bunch of shots of something without worry. You don't have to conserve and worry about not getting picture while you are reloading.

Then of course there's the ability to review. With digital you just load the photos on to a computer and you can review them, and choose the shots you like. You can see them in full detail, zoom in, etc. With film you have to develop any shot you want to review in detail, and realistically you have to either scan it in or make a contrapositive print, as you won't be able to see much detail or balance looking at the negative with a magnifier. That scanner you linked to is saying it takes a bit over a minute to scan a frame too. Means you are going to be waiting a good bit.

Digital really does have a whole lot of advantages, it isn't just turnaround time. There's something to be said for just being able to shoot and shoot and shoot and not worry about it. This is particular true if your subject is anything in motion, or is a person. Capturing the perfect moment can be luck as well as skill. Facial expressions are particularly that way. We go through a lot of micro expressions as we speak and can go from highly photogenic to goofy in a fraction of a second, as anyone who's played with a jog dial on video editing software can tell you. If you can take a lot of shots, you have a much better chance of getting a great one than if you are limited.

I'm not saying film is dead or there's no reason or anything like that. I'm just saying there's reasons why people would want to buy something like this, despite the cost. It isn't about trying to save money over film, though you probably would in the long run, nor is it just about being able to have pictures out quickly. It is about being able to take a lot of shots, and then to easily review those shots and find the ones that are the best.

Re:Sensor size and price (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978576)

I don't think you have your prices quite right...

Hasselblad Flextight X5 Scanner

        * Virtual Drum, Vertical Loading
        * Glare-Free Path to Film
        * Scan 35mm to 4x5" Film & Prints
        * 4.9 D-max
        * 8000 dpi Maximum Resolution
        * Fast 300 MB per Minute Speed
        * Batch Scanning Capacity
        * Auto Cropping/Formatting/Naming
        * Rodenstock Optical Lens
        * FlexTouch Dust Removal

        * Mfr #
        * 70380301

        * Price : $ 19,995.00

Girl in Article Picture with Guitar (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978192)

She's got a purty mouth... worthy of a Hasselblad!

"..mfr looking after ....user base" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31978260)

schmuck
they don't care about the user base
they care about sales
if Hasselbad could sell itself to Lenovo and become a seller of rebranded chinese digital cameras, and make more money, they would do it in a flash, like any other company in the world, all they care about is money

More vendors should do this! (1)

KarelK (942760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978394)

Oh gosh. I wish Leica would do something simiilar for their R4 series....

This isn't news. (4, Insightful)

jedrek (79264) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978480)

They've been doing this ever since the first digital backs came out in 1992. You put the back on your 'blad (or, generally speaking, any MF cam you can mount your back on to - I've seen hacks putting them onto Rollei TLRs), connect a cable to PC sync port in the lens (where the shutter is) and you're good to go. If you need to trigger strobes, most backs have their own PC sync. Ta-da.

Seriously, you can put a MF back on a shoebox with a pinhole in it and you'll get a picture, just short the PC sync cable to fire it. Soooo not news.

digital backs aren't anything new (2, Informative)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31978504)

But apparently they're still too bloody expensive.

For the same price you could get a nice full-frame 35mm DSLR, and some good glass. I'd wager it would be a wee bit more usable too.

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