Phase One Capture One 3.7.4

Darren wrote this at 1:40 am:

Phase One has recently updated its Capture One RAW workflow software to version 3.7.4: see Capture One for Mac OS X and/or Capture One for Windows.

Features of this update include:

  • support for additional cameras, including the Phase One P45, P30 and P21, Canon EOS 30D, Pentax *ist series DSLRs, and Sony DSC-R1
  • Universal Binary on Mac OS X, running natively on both Intel and PowerPC processors
  • 15% faster RAW processing on OS X
  • 10% faster RAW processing on Windows
  • up to 200% faster capture rate

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Raw Developer vs Capture One

Darren wrote this at 1:07 am:

Digital Outback Photo has published a review note by Charles Cramer, comparing RAW conversions on his Phase One P45 (39 megapixel) RAW files using both PhaseOne Capture One and Iridient Digital’s RAW Developer: Capture One vs. Raw Developer.

While Phase One’s Capture One gives lovely low-noise images, RAW Developer gives more fine detail, especially in low-contrast areas of the image. So Capture One would probably be better for use in portrait and product photography where smooth noise-free results are favored, while RAW Developer would be very well suited to use in landscape photography where fine detail matters most.

As Charles concludes – the winner in this contest is the Phase One P45!

Other RAW Developer articles:

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Digital vs 4×5″ Film

Darren wrote this at 7:15 pm:

The Luminous Landscape has just posted an insightful article by Charles Cramer, a highly-regarded American large-format landscape photographer with 30 years of experience: Phase One P45 Digital Back vs 4×5″ Drum Scanned Film.

Charles reports on the results of a three-way shootout between Jim Taskett with a Phase One P45 digital back (39 megapixel) on a Hasselblad body, Bill Atkinson with a Phase One P25 digital back (22 megapixel) on a Hasselblad H1 body, and himself with a Linhof camera loaded with Fuji Velvia 4×5″ film.

Digital View Cameras On The Go

Darren wrote this at 6:00 am:

Ralf Lange has written an article for The Luminous Landscape titled Digital View Cameras In Use And On The Go.

A short while ago I went on a one-week photo trip to Poland. Because I was not sure which of my cameras would suit me best I decided against all reason to lug the entire collection with me and test the load limit of my station wagon with my Canon, my Contax, and my Arca Swiss. To my surprise it was the view camera which in the end yielded 12 of the 15 quality photos. Of course, any statistic of this sort always depends on the motive – sports and action photographers need not read further at this point. Chances are that those of you who predominantly use a tripod and/or shift lenses on 35mm and medium format cameras have also pondered the pros and cons of a view camera in the past. While most photographers still associate a view camera exclusively with a studio environment, recent developments allow the use of view cameras on the go with ease. This is made possible through the recent addition of wireless digital backs to the market, which can be fitted to light-weight view cameras without difficulty.

Ralf certainly has access to some high-end gear!

Why Full-Frame 35mm Digital?

Darren wrote this at 12:54 am:

No doubt inspired by the attention the new EOS 5D has been receiving, Edwin over at has just posted an article asking why we need full-frame 35mm digital sensors. The posts there don’t seem to have permalinks, so you’ll need to look for the August 24, 2005 entry on either the CameraHobby main page or on the Archives page (if you’re reading this sometime in the future when it’s scrolled off the main page). I think I agree with Edwin’s conclusions, but wanted to elaborate a little.

Besides the two arguments Edwin gives for full-frame 35mm DSLRs (the hassle of figuring out the 35mm-equivalent focal lengths of your lenses, and the problem of trying to shoot wide angle when you’ve got a 1.5x crop factor), there are three additional issues I can see:

  1. A larger sensor gives reduced depth of field, which appeals to some people. I have several fast prime lenses, and love working with narrow depth of field – the fact that I have an EOS 20D with a 1.6x crop factor works against me a little bit there.

  2. A larger sensor has larger individual pixels than a smaller sensor with the same pixel resolution (pretty obvious). This will always mean a better signal-to-noise ratio in the larger sensor’s image, meaning higher quality output (given the same technology used to manufacture and control the sensor and post-process the raw data). The corrollary of this is that a larger sensor with the same pixel size as a smaller sensor will produce a higher resolution image.

  3. A larger sensor is going to cost more to manufacture than a smaller one, even given the same economies of scale, technologies, processes, etc.

If we’re going to question “why choose the 35mm frame size?”, I guess we really need to question “why choose the APS-C or APS-H frame size?” as well. The only reason we currently have them is because they were a reasonable trade-off between cost (larger sensors cost disproportionately more to manufacture than smaller ones) and the practicality of continuing to use 35mm lenses and body designs. Basically the smaller sensors are good enough, but a much better price.

If you could ignore your legacy investment in lenses and accessories, then:

  • if size, weight and cost matter most to you, you’d go for the smaller Four Thirds format and a camera like the Olympus E-1
  • if absolute image quality, resolution, and control over depth of field are your main concerns, you’d go for a medium format digital back like one of the Phase One P series

APS-C (1.5x and 1.6x crop), APS-H (1.3x crop) and full-frame 35mm are just points along the path between the extremes of SLR bodies: Four Thirds format (18mm x 13.5mm) at the small end and 645 medium format (60mm x 45mm) at the big end. Each of those points represents some kind of trade-off between all the factors mentioned above, and so each represents an ideal solution for some group of photographers. As long as each group of photographers is an economically-viable size, various manufacturers will be there to meet their needs.

I can see the niche APS-H format eventually being phased out (it’s only offered by Canon currently, and then only on expensive bodies optimized for sports shooting), but I think the others will probably be with us in DSLRs for a while yet.

What are your thoughts? Do you think there’s a place for full-frame 35mm digital sensors? Are the Nikon guys just jealous? :-)

Leaf Aptus 22 Preliminary Review

Darren wrote this at 9:18 am:

The Luminous Landscape has posted a Preliminary Hands-On Review of the Leaf Aptus 22 medium format digital back.

In this review, Michael Reichmann compares and contrasts the Leaf Aptus 22 with his own Phase One P25 digital back. These two products are direct competitors, so it’s interesting to see both how similar they are and how they differ from each other.

I’d just like to be able to afford one of these medium format digital systems – you’re looking at around USD$30,000 just for the digital back, before you start shopping for bodies and lenses!

Phase One’s Medium Format Digital Roadmap

Darren wrote this at 9:20 am:

The Luminous Landscape has a great article, Phase One Takes The High Ground, detailing that company’s product roadmap for the next 18 months or so.

The most amazing product on their roadmap has to be the Phase One P45, an almost-full-sensor medium format digital back with a 39 megapixel imaging chip. Wow. An uncompressed full-size 16-bit image from this camera weighs in at a whopping 224 megabytes! Fortunately the camera’s lossless image compression format brings that down to a 47 megabyte file. That’s still only 21 images on a 1 GB CF card, though!

Phase One is also introducing the new P30 and P21 digital backs, with 31 megapixels and 18 megapixels respectively.

Usually when a company announces new products this far out from delivery, it kills off demand for current products. Phase One has a very cool way to prevent this. You can buy any of these new backs today, and they’ll give you a P25 (if buying the P45) or a P20 (if buying the P30 or P21) right now. When the new backs are released, you simply swap it for the new one. They also have a great upgrade plan, whereby existing owners of P20 or P25 backs can upgrade to the new ones for a quite reasonable price.

The article also lists some recent Phase One announcements about wireless transfer for P backs, faster CF card performance, Capture One upgrades, and upcoming support for Adobe’s DNG RAW format.

Phase One Software/Firmware Updates

Darren wrote this at 7:21 pm:

PhaseOne has just released Capture One version 3.7.1.

Capture One 3.7.1 PRO now offers RAW file support for Nikon D2Hs, D50 and D70s and the Epson R-D1. Tethered shooting is now supported for the Canon EOS 350D/Rebel XT. There have also been various usability enhancements and a lot of bug fixes/stability improvements. If you use Capture One, this update is worth downloading.

Phase One has also released firmware version 3.3.4 for P-series medium format backs (P20 and P25). This new firmware includes features for enhanced LCD brightness, CF card formatting, CF card validation, and the ability to achieve write speeds of up to 20 MB/s with Sandisk Extreme III 1GB, 2GB and 4GB CF cards.

Phase One Factory Tour

Darren wrote this at 4:06 pm:

Michael Reichmann from The Luminous Landscape has written an article on his visit with Phase One, one of the leading makers of digital backs for medium format and large format camera bodies.

Over the past 35 years I have done business extensively with North American, European, and Asian companies. (I have had a career in several high-tech industries, as well as as a photographer). If I had to rank companies in their willingness to openly discuss their products, business plans and their competitive environment, I would have to rank Americans as the most open, followed by the Europeans, and then Asians. But Phase One is from another mold altogether. We had almost complete access to the company’s facilities, including manufacturing, engineering, product development, and marketing. This included not only walk-throughs of all the facilities, but the opportunity to chat with employees, from the CEO to assembly line workers.

Michael had very open access to pretty much anything he wanted to look at, and also filmed a lot of footage for a report coming up in the next issue of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal.

If you enjoyed reading that article, Michael has also written articles on his tours of the Dalsa and Kodak medium format chip-making factories.