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Studio Photography's guide to digital cameras and backs

Joe Drivas

Adam Chinitz

Graeme Bennett

In the February issue of Studio Photography, we took a look at the latest trends in digital cameras/back. Here is an update featuring the newest product announcements, along with reviews from photographers who've used them.

The H3DII, the fourth generation of the Hasselblad H-system, is a high-end DSLR camera system that provides all the advantages of a truly integrated DSLR to the large-sensor format, enabling all photographic parameters to be optimized and resulting in an unsurpassed level of image quality. The H3DII provides improved controls and functionality, better sensor cooling, a new and more intuitive user interface, and a bright 3-inch display. When combined with the new Hasselblad image processing software, the H3DII sets a new standard for digital photographic quality.

"Having used Hasselblads since the early '70s, I chose the H3DII-31 to photograph Natasha because of its fast capture speed (16 bits per channel color) and its incredibly sharp lenses. It performed flawlessly during the shoot, allowing me to concentrate more on directing my model rather than worrying about the camera. There are 150 ways to program the H3DII-31, from exposure control to gray balance. The images produced are amazing. The color vibrancy, sharpness, and tonality blow me away. Having the H3DII-31 at my side, I can rest assured I'll get the job done right."
-Joe Drivas, Longwood, FL

Delivery has begun for the Leaf AFi, a next-generation, medium-format digital camera, the fastest in its class (84 fpm). Designed and developed with input from leading photographers, the Leaf AFi incorporates a newly designed ergonomic camera body and specially designed Schneider-Kreuznach digital lenses for speed and sharpness.

"The most impressive thing about Leaf is the file itself. I looked at all the backs and I looked at all the noise levels, and the Leaf was the only one with a small fan cooling the chip, so the file, to me, seemed much cleaner. I like to light as contrasty as I can, so shadow detail is important to me, as is portability. I was on the rooftop shooting from a ladder for BusinessWeek, and there was absolutely no way we could have used a tethered setup. It was great to be able to just go up there with the camera and a few fill cards and get the shot. The camera is a very organic system, very intuitive, and it feels great in your hand right away."
-Adam Chinitz, New York, NY

Phase One
Phase One's P 45+ camera - one of five configurations, ranging from 16MP to 39MP - is a seamless marriage of lens, body, back, and software. This system is based on the new Phase One 645 camera, the industry's most flexible open platform that supports film or any "M" mount digital back. The platform, also known as the Mamiya 645AFDIII, was co-developed and will be sold exclusively by Phase One and Mamiya.

"The Phase One 645 camera has a solid-feeling rubber grip, making the camera easy to hold and balance. I like how the mirror-up switch is part of the shutter release, providing easy access. Shooting cars with mirrorlike surfaces with lots of reflections and contrast takes lenses to the limit. The lens-correction tools are amazing and clean up purple fringing and chromatic aberration really well. Integration between the body and back is seamless-the camera's simplicity lets me stay focused on shooting. I don't have a lot of buttons, levers, and dials to think about. It just works and feels like a single unit."
-Graeme Bennett, Coventry, U.K.

The Rolleiflex Hy6 is a medium-format camera that can accept pro digital backs, but also 6x4.5 and 6x6 format film backs. The Hy6 features high-speed autofocus, a TTL metering system in the body, three metering modes, and an RGB sensor for white balance when using a digital back.

Sinar Bron
Sinar Bron's eVolution 33MP 75H ditital back works tethered to computer, and is an actively cooled multi-shot (1-shot and 4-shot) back. It connects to computers via FireWire 800. The eMotion 75LV can be used tethered or untethered; offering 33MP resolution, a live image feature, and 6GB of on-board memory for storage of up to 160 compressed images.