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High-End Capture: Digital Camera Backs

A sourcelist of companies offering 'high-firepower' capture solutions.

Big Picture
Although digital SLRs are getting better every day, some photographers and shops still opt for a high-end digital camera back. Capable of producing extremely high-resolution photos and very large files, digital camera backs are attached to a medium- or large-format professional film camera. The backs allow the film camera to digitally capture the images, and then saves them onto a computer via a tethered cable or a portable memory card (or are connected wirelessly to the computer, depending on the back).

Some other points to factor in when considering an investment in a digital back:
They"?re not inexpensive, ranging from $15,000 to $30,000 on average (some shops are now choosing to rent or lease them versus buy);
Typically, the backs allow photographers to use their existing professional cameras and lenses;
Backs are particularly applicable to projects and applications demanding shot-to-shot consistency, such as catalog photography; and
Evaluate just how much "firepower"? you need; several companies offer a few different series of backs intended for different uses. Also keep in mind that several digital SLRs now offer10 to17 Mpxl (as well as the added benefit of the 35mm format).

Anagramm www.anagramm.com

German company Anagramm offers four scanback camera backs, all of which offer a trilinear array, a 72 x 88-mm scan area, and 1-pass scanning.

The picture gate 8000 daguerre features a 6000 x 7250-pxl maximum resolution, 48-bit color, and a 45-sec scan speed at maximum resolution. The picture gate 8000 production2 offers an 8000 x 9700-pxl resolution, 36-bit color, and a 35-sec scan speed for a full scan at maximum resolution. The picture gate 8000 salvadore is similar to the production2, but features 48-bit color and an 80-sec scan speed at maximum resolution. The picture gate 8000 david offers the highest resolution (14,400 x 17,400 pxl), 48-bit color, and a 4:20 min scan speed at maximum resolution.


BetterLight scan backs are designed for 4x5 view cameras with an image capture area of 72 x 96 mm. Adapters are available for Mamiya B67, RZ67, and Fuji GX680.

BetterLight models include: The 6000 series offers a maximum resolution: 6000 x 8000 pxl, file size up to 137 MB in 24-bit RGB, and is designed for pro photographers, museums, commercial and advertising studios, and art repro companies. The Super 6K-HS combines speed and resolution with 6000 x 8000-pxl resolutions and file size up to 309 MB in 24-bit RGB. The Super 8K-HS is for reprographics requiring large archival file sizes with resolution up to 8000 x 10600 pxl and files as large as 549 MB in 24-bit RGB. The Super 10K-2 offers resolutions up to 10,200 x 13,800 pxl and files of 852 MB in 24-bit RGB.


Hasselblad offers 12 digital camera backs, many of which are custom-designed to be compatible with Hasselblad cameras, but most of which will also work with other cameras through adapters.

Designed to be compatible with the Hasselblad H2 single-shot camera are the CFH-39 and the Ixpress CFH digital backs. The 22-Mpxl Ixpress CFH digital back features a 2.2-in. OLED display, and produces 16-bit RGB files up to 132 MB. The CFH-39 back features 35 captures/min, shutter speeds up to 32 sec, 2.2-in. OLED, and images saved as 3F RAW files.

The Ixpress CF line of backs comprises the single-shot Ixpress CF 132 and the single/multi-shot Ixpress CF 528. Both are 22-Mpxl backs with the Hasselblad open camera interface; the color resolution of captures can be increased by means of the 4*Res module.

The Hasselblad CF-39 and CF-39MS are both 39-Mpxl camera backs; the CF-39 is a single-shot model, while the CF-39MS is a multishot back. Also matching the functionality of the H2 camera, the Multi Shot 4*Res module is standard with the CF-39MS, the 4*Res module can be added to the CF-39 back.

The Ixpress 96C, 132C, 384C, and 528C camera backs feature the Ixpress Image Bank, which stores up to 1150 high-res images; the backs also attach to most medium- and large-format cameras. In the studio, users of the 384C and 528C can increase the resolution of captures via the 4*res module.The Ixpress 96C is a 16-Mpxl single-shot digital camera back with a maximum file size of 96 MB in 16-bit RGB. The Ixpress 384C is a single-shot 16-Mpxl digital back with a maximum file size of 384 MB in 16-bit RGB. The Ixpress 132C is a 22-Mpxl single-shot back with a maximum file size of 132 MB in 16-bit RGB. The Ixpress 528C offers a 22-Mpxl sensor with maximum file sizes of 528 MB in 16-bit RGB.

The 16-Mpxl V96C has similar specs to the Ixpress 96C, but is designed specifically to interface with the Hasselblad V-series cameras. The 16-Mpxl Hasselblad CFV camera back is also compatible with Hasselblad V series and offers 16-bit color and a 2.2-in. OLED.


Jenoptik"?s latest Eyelike eMotion camera back is the Sinarback eMotion75, distributed by Sinar Bron. The one-shot 33-Mpxl camera back offers a Dalsa CCD sensor, resolutions up to 6668 x 4992 pxl, file sizes up to 190 MB in 48-bit color, 40-images/min capture rate, and is compatible with many medium-format cameras. The eMotion22 offers similar specs, but with 22-Mpxl, a capture rate up to 50 images/min, and a maximum resolution of 5344 x 4008 pxl.

The Eyelike MF series features a Phillips 3072 x 2048-pxl CCD sensor: the 6.3-Mpxl Eyelike MF basic is for people, fashion, and portrait photography; the Eyelike MF scan is a multishot back with an extended resolution of more than 25 Mpxl and files sizes up to 144 MB.

The Eyelike precision series, designed for professional photographers, features resolutions up to 10688 x 8000 pxl, and comprises the M6, M11, M16, and M22 backs. All of these backs allow for four shooting modes: 1-shot, 1-shot plus (to eliminate moire in still and moving objects), 4-shot (for intricate still life shots), and 16-shot (finest details, highest resolutions).

The Eyelike precision M6 has a 6-Mpxl CCD sensor, resolutions up to 6144 x 4096 pxl, and can reshoot every 1 sec. The M11 has an 11-Mpxl sensor, resolutions up to 8000 x 5344 pxl, and can reshoot every 2 sec. The M16 offers a 16-Mxpl sensor, resolutions up to 8160 x 8160 pxl, and can reshoot every 2.5 sec. The M22 has a 22-Mpxl sensor, 10,688 x 8000-pxl resolutions, and can reshoot every 3 sec.


Compatible with 4x5 view and medium-format cameras, Kigamo"?s new digital scanning back XP models have a new higher-sensitivity CCDs from Kodak that generate less noise, provide improved tone depth, and double the sensitivity of previous Kodak CCDs. This, Kigamo reports, means faster scans, a smaller f-stop, and an extended resolution feature (that expands the available resolution to 150% by capturing real pixel information for the length of the scan while the width is slightly extended to complete the image).

The Scanback 6000 offers resolutions up to 6000 x 8488 pixels and a 6000 trilinear array CCD. The Scanback 6000XP has the same trilinear CCD, but offers resolutions up to 9000 x 12,732 pxl. The Scanback 8000XP features resolutions up to 12,000 x 16,980 pxl and file sizes up to 1554 MB at 64-bit CMYK.

Leaf America

Previously owned by Creo and now a subsidiary of Kodak"?s Graphic Communications Group, Leaf America"?s latest professional camera backs are the Leaf Aptus 75 and Leaf Aptus 65. The Aptus 75 back features a 33.3-Mpxl (28-Mpxl for the 65) nearly full-frame CCD sensor (the sensor on the 65 is slightly smaller); images up to 6726 x 5040 pxl (the Aptus 65 has images up to 6144 x 4622 pxl).

The Leaf Aptus 17 and Aptus 22 (17- or 22-Mpxl versions) are designed for portable and studio use. They offer resolutions up to 4056 x 5356 pxl, tethered or untethered use, and the new compressed RAW HDR format.

Both the Leaf Valeo 22Wi and Valeo 17Wi are tailored for tethered-to-computer shooting. The Leaf Valeo 22Wi is designed for product and commercial photographers and the Valeo 17Wi is geared to the catalog photographer. The 22Wi offers resolutions up to 4056 x 5356 pxl; the 17Wi has resolutions up to 3576 x 4716 pxl.


The Lieca Digital-Modul-R is a 10-Mpxl digital camera back designed to fit Lieca R8 and R9 cameras. It features a CCD chip, a maximum resolution of 3872 x 2576 pxl, and FireWire connectivity. Files such as RAW, DNG, TIFF, and JPG can be saved onto the SD-card storage media.


The 22-Mpxl Mamiya ZD digital back features a 36 x 48mm Dalsa CCD imaging sensor, 12-bit color, a frame capture rate of 1.2 fps, and the option to store images with either SD and CF media storage cards. It is designed for use with the Mamiya 645AFD and RZ67 Pro IID medium-format cameras. In April of this year, Mamiya announced that it was selling its Optical Equipment Division"?including digital backs, medium-format cameras, and lenses"?to Cosmos Scientific Systems of Japan; the sale is expected to close in September.


MegaVision"?s E/Z Series backs (E/Z-32 6-Mpxl and E/Z-427 11-Mpxl models) are designed for portrait photography. The backs feature maximum resolution of 3000 x 2000 pxl and 4000 x 2700 pxl, respectively.

The E3/E427, E4, and E5 are MegaVision"?s single-shot camera backs, which fit the Camerz Z series long roll film cameras for the institutional portrait community. The E series are thinner than conventional backs to allow the attachment of a small tablet PC. The 6-Mpxl E3 and the 11-Mpxl E427 both come equipped with a 24 x 36-mm image area; the E4 is a 16-Mpxl back with a 36 x 36-mm sensor; and the E5 is a 22-Mpxl back with a 36 x 48-mm sensor.

Phase One

Phase One"?s latest backs, P 45, P 30, and P 21, all offer wireless transfer of RAW images. Designed for the high-load/high-end commercial shooter, the P 45 is a 39-Mpxl back that offers a capture rate up to 35 frames/min. The 31-Mpxl P 30 is designed for the fashion shooter looking to switch to digital equipment, and features a capture rate of 45 frames/min and 48-bit color. The P 21 is an 18-Mpxl back designed to appeal to fashion and portrait photographers, and offers 60 captures/min.

Phase One"?s P 20 and P 25 camera backs are aimed at commercial photographers and feature tethered or untethered use. The 16-Mpxl P 20 captures up to 45 images/min and offers resolutions up to 4080 x 4080 pxl. The 22-Mpxl P25 has a maximum resolution of 5436 x 4080 pxl with file sizes up to 339 MB in 64-bit CMYK.

The H 25 one-shot digital back has a 22-Mpxl CCD, and offers a maximum resolution of 5436 x 4080 pxl and maximum file size of 339 MB in 64-bit CMYK.

The PowerPhase FX+ is a camera back designed for museums, archiving, and fine-art reproduction, as well as copystand use. It offers resolutions as high as 10,500 x 12,600 pxl and file sizes up to 1.01 GB in 64-bit color.

Sinar Bron
www.sinarbron.com Sinarback 54 is a 22-Mpxl digital back that"?s able to capture still, as well as moving objects, and features 1-shot, 4-shot, and 16-shot modes (Sinarback 54M is a one-shot version; Sinarback 54H is offers 1-, 4-, and 16-shot modes). Both Sinarback 54 models feature an image frequency of up to 24 images/min and maximum 1- or 4-shot resolutions of 5440 x 4080 pxl; 16-shot maximum resolution is 10,688 x 8000 pxl.

Sinar is also the exclusive distributor for Jenoptik"?s emotion22 and emotion75 camera backs.

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