Kodak DCS Pro Back 645C for Contax 645

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Guest

I am seriously thinking of acquiring the DCS Pro Back 645C for my Contax 645. However, I have not found anywhere a complete review on the DCS Pro Back 645C. Does anyone knows where I can find such a review online or does anyone with experience with the DCS Pro Back 645C can post informations on the peformance of this equipment. Pros and cons ...
 
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Guest

I have never used the Kodak DCS Pro Back 645C but if you already own a Contax 645 with all the lenses and considering the high price and size of the Contax N Digital for a 6 megapixel SLR what would be the technical reasons for you to acquire a N digital versus a Kodak DCS Pro Back 645C. With the DCS pro back 645C you get 16 megapixel instead of 6 megapixel and you end up with only one type of camera body and set of lenses. Certainly the 645 is a bit larger and heavier compare to the N digital but it is still very easy to handle. The price of the Kodak DCS Pro Back 645C is about twice the price of the N Digital but I would assume that the quality of the results should be theoretically far more than twice better.
 
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Guest

try
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and search forums for digital backs. I read very interesting tread about kadak vs phase one. also, check out "eyelike" back from jena.
 
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Guest

Hi Daniel,

these digital backs are for a very narrow costumer base (expensive). Therefore it is difficult to find people with experience in using them. Even at the top place for digital issues, dpreview, I have only seen one thread about this.

So I would recommend you for a quick overview about different digital backs i.e. Kodak, Phase one etc. this thread of dpreview.

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If you find more threads about digital backs please post the link here or even better summarize your impressions here, so others do not have to spend hours in searching/reading.

dirk
 
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Guest

Daniel and all, here is a word of caution that has yet ot be resolved. I have 2 Contax 645s and a series of lenses that I use for weddings and portrait work. When Kodak announced the 645C ProBack, I was delighted to be able to go unteathered. I use the back for some time until one day I noticed a % of out of focus shots when shooting wide open with the 80/2.
At first I thought it was me. But upon doing an in studio test I found that the images were indeed not focused at the plane indicated in the viewfinder, but instead slightly in front of it by a few inches. Placing the back on the 2nd body did not solve the problem. I then called a friend who had just taken delivery of a new 645 and Kodak 645C back.
He found exactly the same problem. We are dealing with Kodak now, and they are slow to respond, asking for endless ex&les to study. If you have a set up like this I urge you to do a controlled test with an 80 wide open and the camera on a tripod. Post your results here please. I'll keep an update as we progress with Kodak toward a solution to this problem.
 
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Guest

On the question of individual perfect fitting of camera to the back - while reading about differnt systems for MF, I stumbled upon one manufacturer that supplies unique system of individual focus microadjustment - you set it once. I think it might be Jenoptic, If I will find it again, will post.
 
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Guest

Marc,

I was gravely disturbed, when I read about your expreriences with the 645C ProBack. I tested mine and came to the conclusion, that my system does not show the problems you described. Focus looks very accurate. Nevertheless I'm very interested about how Kodak will finally react...
 
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Guest

Hi all,

I met today by accident a french professional on the Contax stand at the photokina. He is using the 645 with the KOdak back (16mio. pixel). He showed me quickly some images on his laptop and I must say I was VERY impressed to say the least.

He said he switched from Hasselblad to Contax 645 and with this combination he is totally happy and would not be willing to chnage in any other system.

dirk
 
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Guest

Unless you shoot production mode, like catalogs and school portraits for ex&le, why would any one want a digital back? Buy a medium format film scanner like the Nikon Coolscan 8000ED. Then you will have the best of both worlds at a fraction of the cost!
 
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Guest

Here is an update concerning the focus problem using the Kodak ProBack 645C on my Contax 645:

Kodak had me overnight my entire camera kit and the back in question at THEIR expense. They bench tested the system and immediately replaced the sensor component, then calibrated it to my Contax 645. They then shipped it back along with a detailed service report and all the test prints they had done.
As far as I can tell, the camera/back is now perfect.
I suspect that an outdoor summer shoot I did in 95 degree weather using an IBM Microdrive (which runs very hot), had something to do with this problem happening in the first place. During that shoot, the camera shut down and announced that the digital back was to hot. I STRONGLY suggest anyone with this back not use the IBM Microdrive in warmer conditions or high volume, rapid shooting.

Darryl, you are right, a MF digital back is not an amateur tool ( unless you are filthy rich). But it is a lot more than just a "high volume production tool" as you suggest. I shoot studio portraits straight to the computer and review shots with my clients on the spot. They often leave the session with print in hand. No second meeting and zero re-shoots. When doing commercial advertising shoots with costly models, hair and make-up people, prop masters, prop rentals etc. the digital back assures Art Director/Client approval on the spot, and zero re-shoots or confusion as to what the final shot will look like. Refinements are done real-time and approvals secured during the session eliminating yet another meeting. For wedding formals you can zoom in to inspect whether the subjects blinked and immediately reshoot a set-up that will never be repeated again. And in all these ex&les, a lab cannot screw up the film, which has happened to every working pro I have ever known. One such lab film screw up recently cost me just about half the amount of money it cost to buy the Kodak digital back. And these advantages are just the beginning.
 
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Guest

Hi Marc,

Marc Williams wrote:
<<
Here is an update concerning the focus problem using the Kodak ProBack 645C on my Contax 645: Kodak had me overnight my entire camera kit and the back in question at THEIR expense. They bench tested the system and immediately replaced the sensor component, then calibrated it to my Contax 645. They then shipped it back along with a detailed service report and all the test prints they had done. As far as I can tell, the camera/back is now perfect.

And in all these ex&les, a lab cannot screw up the film, which has happened to every working pro I have ever known. One such lab film screw up recently cost me just about half the amount of money it cost to buy the Kodak digital back. And these advantages are just the beginning.
>>

Good for Kodak! Glad it worked out well for you . That is the way to treat and retain a satisfied customer base. And your know what, to be honest, I was wondering what the film and photo giant was going to do when digital technology ate deeply into their well-established film market.

Kodak, unlike Smith Corona, got on the stick and put their top engineers to work, and are thus still leaders in the field.

(Smith Corona, once a top typewriter manufacturer until the dawning of the PC age, did too-little, too-late, and essentially died out because of lack of vision and the ability to transition to new emerging technology and changing market demands. Kodak, on the other hand, rode the wave to new heights.)

Ron Myers
San Diego
 
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Guest

Calling Marc Williams...calling Marc Williams!

Marc, wonder if I might pick your brain, do you know what is the physical size of the array in the Kodak Proback 645C? I guess what I'm really asking is what is the practical change on focal length when using this digital back? Kodak's brochure and web site are oddly mute on this point.

Regards, Gary Ferguson
 
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Guest

it is 1.4, so the multiplier is 1.4 , funny thing is it will give you a square format as default and the focusing screen is etched with the frame lines. I have heard multiple times now the the back on a contax heats up to point of no use and u have to let it cool down
 
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Guest

I see the price of the Kodak Proback is falling steadily in the UK, a pound or two further and I guess it'll be time to take the plunge. Can anyone answer a couple of Proback questions,

1. With the Contax Proback kit is a mask supplied for the focusing screen?

2. How are the buffer and battery life in practise?

3. Any thoughts on black & white performance?

4. Is the top speed of ISO 400 fully usable?

5. Anyone in the UK want to sell one!
 
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Guest

1. With the Contax Proback kit is a mask supplied for the focusing = screen? =20

>>> a focusing screen with is provided with the 1.4 lines in both square = and rectangular format=20

2. How are the buffer and battery life in practise? =20

>>> both are good, when compared to a medium format film. it is not a = canon 1d. the battery is really good =20

3. Any thoughts on black & white performance? =20

>>>> have not tried=20

4. Is the top speed of ISO 400 fully usable? =20

>>> i have mostly used it in iso 100, i typically use the lowest iso = with digital as the other iso usually bring a lot of noise=20

5. Anyone in the UK want to sell one!=20
 
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Guest

Unlike the Proback for the Hasselbald 555 ELD which just has masks, the 645C has a real seperate focusing screen of its' own.

The buffer is quite good, and while shooting weddings, I've not been held up while waiting for it to load...that's because it only shoots RAW images...there is not a provision to shoot Tiff files. Tiffs are processed through the software.

The battery life is very good, even when using constant review. However, I suggest purchasing a battery kit of 3 or 6 batteries depending on your shooting habits or needs.
I usually use up 2 batteries in a day of shooting a wedding with all the reviews and what not.

Black & White performance is excellent. The software has a provision for B&W conversion.

ISO 400 is fully useable with little noise problems. It will introduce some noise with huge enlargements like 30"X30", but noise reduction programs pretty much eliminate that anyway.

I have a number of shots taken with the Contax 645 and Kodak back in my folder on this forums' Gallery section.
 
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Guest

Hi Gary,
Mask supplied for correct format and buffer is good, im told the battery life is O.K. but cannot confirm as my tests were over 1 hour in a studio.
All change in the U.K. with distribution as of Today, you should speak to Frazer at Contax as he is at Focus next week and ask!!!!
Bob.
 

danlang

Member
For the people interested by the subject, there will be a new series of reviews of digital backs available at
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.

The reviews are supposed to come out starting on August 5. Some of the digital backs will have been tested directly on the Contax 645AF.
 

ruben_blaedel

Well-Known Member
Well he had to test the Kodak back on a Maymia as the shop did not have a contax fitted back on the shelfes - but he has ordered the back for his contax as he was very happy with it - the test on the back is on the luminous landscape today - looks great
ruben
 
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