Old Dawg – New Tricks
Above is one of my Favorite Old Dawgs brought into the digital age with the help of a H-20 Phase One digital back designed to fit the Hasselblad V system . . Most of the major manufacturers make backs that are direct connect to the Hassey V system cameras, the lenses have leaf shutters so one you lock up the mirror there is practically NO vibration . . . The rig above is set up with an 80mm lens, 32mm extension tube, 501c body and metered prism head. The coiled PC cable attaches to the PC port on the lens and then to the digital back to tell the back when the lens has fired. Image capture / storage is via a Firewire port on the rear of the digital back to a Firewire card/battery in a laptop configuration or Firewire port on a desktop PC, this input also supplies power to the back. More modern Digital backs have on-board data card ports (CF type cards) and on-board batteries. The Phase One H-20 is an early model Digital back originally designed for studio use, there was a portable tablet computer solution available but good luck finding one, so at this point I use a standard HP Laptop with a special Firewire card (Belkin Brand) seems their drivers where written into the proprietary code for this back.
So ok where does this leave us, well I have managed to go afield with the rig and it is not much more difficult to use then most cameras, it’s not quick . . but once you learn the the limitations it’s manageable. I have traveled into the snow covered Yosemite National Park with the system and it has proven itself to be very capable. The question is I guess is why use an antiquated system when one can get a system that rivals modern DSLRs in handling and ease of use? I can answer that with very easily . . cost. Actually for the cost of a top of the line DSLR you can get into an entry level digital back and kit which consists of Lens/Body/Back and if one chooses the right system you can use older lenses (Mamiya & Phase-One). Yes it is an investment, but if you intend to do landscapes or other poster sized prints/murals then it is the way to go. If your retired and poor . . . well you bring older gear out of retirement like this Hasselblad 501c or any of the other V series cameras in this series.
It serves me well and most any Digital back made for the V system will work. So like me yes, you can teach an old dawg new tricks
PhaseOne, Leaf, Mamiya all have backs that can work with this camera series. Shop for used backs, shot count rarely means anything as long as the back has been tested and is good. I would buy from a reputable dealer like Capture Integration or other stores like this. Think investment when you make a purchase of a used digital back. There are many camera formats that these backs can be adapted to, Large Format, Medium Format and other specialty systems like Cambo , Silvestri , and many more . . . a bit of searching and you can get oddities like my True-Wide which marries a V series Digital back with my 35mm Nikkor lenses, or a few adapters for my Horseman 4×5 Large Format camera allowing me tilt shift, stitching, macro . . and many more options. As you browse my blog you will see just how many different ways I have been able to bring older film based systems into the digital age with a single digital back and a handful of adapters . . they are the easiest MODS and it makes sense as these old systems can be had for pennies on the dollar.
Get of yer butts people and go make some pictures . . have fun, don’t be to damn serious (why so serious) I am out taking pictures.
Here is an out going link to my 365 Project, shot mostly (unless I am out of town) from my kitchen window into my little side garden . . I am at # 206 of 365 already . . I may make it 😉
365 – 2013 Album on Google Plus
Please, if you enjoyed this post then pass it on, have questions about something well post it and I will answer you . . thanks for reading this far have fun now go make some pix . . I’m outta here
– – – Tim – – – aka Digipainter