Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Phase One P65+ on a technical camera Part III

So far I written about upgrading from a Phase One P45+ to the Phase One P65+ and the differences in the backs. I've also commented on using the P65+ with a Schneider 35mm lens and how it compared to the P45+. Today I'd like to discuss the other 2-lenses that I normally use; the Schneider 72 and 120mm short barrel.

First I want to say that I no longer have the P45+. The back was dropped off at FedEx yesterday afternoon and is now on its way back to Dave Gallagher and Capture Integration. I'm now fully committed to the P65+.

I've been using various versions of Photoshop since I believe #3 and now use CS5 (64 bit). I haven't been using Capture One Pro nearly as long partially due to the fact I only moved to medium format a couple years ago and Capture One just recently became 64 bit compatible, Both programs offer excellent processing and I enjoy using both. C1Pro is slowly catching up to Photoshop adding more and more features as it matures.
Workflow: The workflow I've used for the images posted here is very simple. Open the images in C1Pro performing a lens correction on the LCC file to include color cast, light falloff and dust removal. Once the lens correction is completed I then use that file to correct the actual image file. This may seem complicated however it isn't - actually it takes longer to explain it than to do it. The file is then saved. Once the files are all saved I then went to CS5 opening the images downsizing them for the web. I could have done this in C1Pro however I had images I wanted to merge into a panorama and needed Adobe Bridge CS5 to do this. No processing other than the lens correction was performed other than cropping and saving into a jpeg for the web.

 Once I started comparing the 72mm I quickly found the issues of  the 35mm vanished. I've offered 2-completed panoramas taken with the 72mm first with the P45+ then the P65+. The tripod was never moved throughout this process beginning first with the 35mm out to the 120mm lens. The only thing I did during this comparison was change lens and backs after I was done with the lens. I also used a Leica D5 laser finder for distance and focus; the distance as measured for all the images was slightly over 55'. I also used the same setting on all 3-lens, f/8 1/125 ISO 50 and 15mm shifts right and left.

P45+ Schneider 120mm lens
38.7"x 18.1" native size at 300ppi 16 bit

P65+ Schneider 120mm lens
46.6"x22.5" native size at 300ppi 16 bit

Recently there's been some discussions regarding shooting a lens cast correction (LCC) prior to image capture. I submit that if you are using a technical camera you must. The following examples are of LCC files first as they appear then after a correction is applied (color cast, light falloff and dust removal)

By ensuring you have a proper LCC for each image file you ensure you have an image file than can be processed with minimal effort.  The following images are a result of the corrected files shown above.

P45+ Schneider 120mm 15mm shifts right and left

P65+ Schneider 120mm 15mm shifts right and left

While this just about finished the testing phase I wanted to do one more capture.  Walking over to the side of the fence and switching back to the Schneider 72mm I captured this close-up.  The first image show it in color then second was processed into black and white and the last image is a 100% crop.  This was taken with the P65+.

This concludes my comparison for the simple reason I no longer have the P45+. I've checked and double-checked the weather forecast and it remains the same - sunny and no clouds. This really isn't a bad thing as I have work piling up here and as much as I'd like to go shoot the P65+ some more I need to do other things. I'm looking to my return trip to Bluff Utah next month and shooting the Comb Ridge area as well as Valley of the Gods - this time with the P65+.

While I realize there's been much written about the P65+ once again I decided to share my comparison with the P45+. Remember your questions or comments are always welcome.

Thanks for letting me share


Monday, May 23, 2011

Phase One P65+ on a technical camera Part II

I've got 3-Schneider lenses that I use for my landscape work; 35, 72 and a short barrel 120; as I'm no longer shooting with a cropped back I need to re-educate myself on these lenses. An issue I had not heard of until recently dealt with "banding issues" or lens cast when using the 35mm at full shift.

What do you do in Arizona when you want to shoot landscape and the sky is cloudless and dull? Find something to shoot. I ended up inside a coral next to the Arizona Trail in Oracle AZ. While this mightn't be my first choice it did nevertheless afford me the chance to compare the P45+ to the newer P65+.

Set Up: Using a sturdy tripod with the Arca Swiss Cube I attached my Cambo WRS1000. I used the new Leica D5 laser to find a focal point (55') and began with the Schneider 35mm lens with center filter attached. I shot a LCC prior to each image using the P45+ then the P65+. Three images were captured, center, then 15mm left and right. I used the same movements on all three lenses. I also understand that 15mm shifts were to the extreme for the 35mm however I want to experience the outcome of the extreme movements.

The images provided here have had nothing done to them other than lens cast correction with color cast, light falloff and dust removal all in C1 Pro 6.2 (64 Bit). I also utilized the new "Technical Wideangle" choice in the dropdown menu.

The first image is the LCC of the P65+, 35mm 15mm shift right. Notice the banding on the right of the image. The second image is the same capture after running the lens correction in C1 Pro.

These next images are the LCC of the P45+, 35mm 15mm shift right, before and after the correction. And yes I see the dust spots in the first image!

The next image is the image shifted right without lens correction added and then with it added.  The purple/blue banding was noticed equally when shifted to the left.  Please note that while the color cast was correct the image is dark on the right edge which is I believe the result of the extreme amount of shifting; had this been moved to just 10mm we wouldn't have this issue.

I've also included the end results of the stitched panoramas with the first sample being from the P45+ and the second the P65+. The file sizes are interesting; the P45+ native image is 18.1"x38.8" and 360.52MB while the P65+ image is 46.6"x22.5" and 539.60MB. All the images have a resolution of 300PPI, 16 bit depth with RGB color mode and ProPhoto RGB color profile.



My findings: I can readily see the difference in color between the older Kodak sensor (P45+) and the newer Dalsa P65+. The colors seems to me to be more real with the P65+; and since there's no lens cropping the images are truer to the focal length used. All in all even though I need a little extra time in my workflow the end results are well worth it.

Next up will be the results from the 72 and 120mm lenses.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Phase One P65+ on a technical camera Part I

There's been a lot of discussions recently on various forums on how good the new Phase One IQ digital backs will be on a technical camera. I had a chance to actually try an IQ180 on my Cambo WRS1000 2-weeks ago in Phoenix while Dave Gallagher, owner of Capture Integration and Doug Peterson, Head Technical Services conducted an 8-hour intensive training session on Capture One Pro.

The IQ has what I call a "sports-bar" size LCD that enables the shooter to get a better grasp of the captured image. A few of the extra "goodies" included in an IQ180 is a focus mask which gives instant feedback on focus, there's plenty other advanced technology which is great not only for a tech camera shooter but those who use a MFDSLR. Where is this all leading?

I upgraded my digital back from a Phase One P30+ to a P45+ at the same time I entered the wonderful world of technical cameras. The P30+ was and still is a great digital back, however it isn't recommended for use on a technical camera thus the upgrade to the P45+. The P30+ has a lens factor of 1.3 along with a CCD size of 44.2x33.1mm while the P45+ has a lens factor of 1.1 (which is very close to full-size medium film) and a CCD size of 49.1x36.8. The resolution difference between the two backs is 31.6 versus 39 megapixels. Shooting the P45+ gave me less of a lens crop and 7.4 megapixels more resolution over the P30+.

Then came the P65+. This back is the first medium format digital back that has no lens crop - it is a true medium format size. The CCD size is 53.9x40.4 with a resolution of 60.5 megapixels which is approximately 28.9 more than the P30+ and 21.5 megapixels more than my P45+. In other words full frame capture with over 35% more resolution over the P45+. The P65+ also utilizes the newer Dalsa over the Kodak chip.

Reading the metadata on a typical P45+ file shows an image dimension of 7215x5414 pixels with an average file size of 40.56MB. The P65+ metadata on a typical images shows 8984x6732 pixels with an average file size of 77.22MB (36.66 increase in file size).

While the P65+ share the same great menu features as the P45+ there are differences; the P65+ uses the newer Dalsa chip over the older Kodak. (more on the menu features later on)

The P65+ has been on the market now for about 24-months and a lot has already been written on it. My idea here is to document the past couple days as I've become familiar with the new back and how it relates to the older P45+ and my workflow. Simply said, I learn by doing and then expressing my thoughts and feelings into words to ensure I have an adequate grasp.

First off I feel I need to slightly refine my capture workflow. I use an Arca Swiss Cube as my tripod head which I have found to be a wonderful instrument in getting my Cambo WRS1000 leveled with minimal fuss. The addition of the Virtual Horizon gives me an addition tool to ensure I have the camera as level as I can and only adds less than a few seconds to my setup time.

Two new aspects in reviewing images with the P65+ is the ability to add a grid to the preview screen which helps me better understand exactly how the framing was achieved. If I don't like it I have instant feedback and can re-shoot thus saving me time and money.

Working with a tech camera has some drawbacks, one of which is I don't get all the lens information in the Metadata as with a regular DSLR. Since the lens has no electrical connections I loose 2-vital bits of information; focal length and f/stop. The P65+ includes a rating function from 1 to 5 stars as you preview the image. Since I have 3 lenses I'll be adding 1 to 3 stars to indicate which lens was used. As for the f/stop I'll continure keeping notes; the ability to have the focal lenght will be a huge advantage.

My post processing workflow will need to be redefined as well since the P65+ offers a much larger image file to process. A typical P45+ file after processed in C1Pro is 223.52 MB with a native size of 24.1"x18". The typical P65+ on the other hand produces a file of 346.13 MB and a native size of 29.9"x22.4". I did a final processing test on a P65+ image that was sized to 30x40 at 300 dpi and the file size turned out being 618.01MB.

WRS1000, P65+ 72mm Schneider, f/8 1/125 ISO50
Image was processed in C1Pro for LCC only
File size is 346.13MB, 29.9"x22.4" @ 300dpi

WRS1000, P65+ 72mm Schneider, f/8 1/125 ISO50
Image was processed in C1Pro for LCC then converted to black & white
File size is 618.01MB, 40"x30" @300dpi

I went out yesterday to run comparisons between the P45+ and P65+ using my Cambo WRS1000 and all 3-lenses. I did single image captures as well as multiple image captures for use in a stitch panorama and will share what I learned within a day or two.

Finally I want to express again this isn't meant to be an all inclusive review of the P65+ as that ground has already been cover many times. I hope to share my learning experiences here as I move into a newer back and in some way help those who might be thinking of making the same move. The new IQ180's are shipping and people who upgraded from a P45+ and P65+ are sending them to their dealers in exchange. The IQ140 and IQ160 should be shipping soon and like the IQ180 their owners will be returning digital backs to their dealers. Now is the time to get a great deal on a back you might have thought of getting before so you should contact your dealer; of course I recommend my Phase One dealer, Capture Integration.

More to come shortly.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Cambo WRS1000 and Wooden Grips (WRS-250)

What could possibly make the Cambo WRS1000 an even better camera body?  Glad you asked.  The ability to add a set of slightly larger, slightly less weight set of wooden grips makes what I had thought to be a great camera even that much better.  The wooden grips add less than .5 inch to the total width while adding a much better hand grip.

I have had problems with the idea of shooting a tech camera handheld. My basic idea on using a tech camera was put it on a tripod and shoot from there; this sturdy platform is needed to take advantage of what the tech camera does - movements. I had experimented shooting my WRS1000 handheld several months ago while comparing it to the WDS. While it worked, it felt awkward. I've experimented shooting the WRS with the wooden grips and have found it feels much better. The feel is so much better with the new grips I'm now seeing a possibility of shooting handheld in very close/tight spaces and will attempt this next month while shooting in a couple slot canyons.

So far as I understand, Capture Integration is the only dealer offering to replace the grips on a WRS1000.  I'll admit that I nagged Dave Gallagher into letting me install my own.  I met Dave in Phoenix last week during their Capture One Pro training and after Dave informed me that he had the grips I talked him into bringing them with him. 

The installation process should be relative simple or so I thought.  Each grip is held in place by 3-screws.  To remove the original you need to gently lift up the felt/adhesive tape to reveal the crosshead screw.  Then using a PZ1 screwdriver remove each screw.  Remember, "slow is fast", in other words take it slow and do it right the first time.  What I quickly found was these screws for whatever the reason are very tight; almost to the point of being over torque which resulted in 3 of the 6 screw heads being stripped and the pucker factor being raised considerably.  What should have taken 30 minutes or less ended taking well over 2 1/2 hours as I had to very slowly drill each stripped screw head out.  Luckily there was no damage to either the body or the original grips.  The moral of this story is, is if your dealer offers to install the grips for you let them do it.  I was very luck here as any damage would have been mine.

The only mark I left in this process was scrapping the edge of the metal grip while removing a stubborn screw carcass using a flat nose pliers.

Getting past the installation process; the new wooden grips look and feel great.


I got the following information as I was writing this and instead of doing a revision I'm adding the information here (and I'm paraphrasing) :

Cambo sees this as a "dealer only operation". Cambo has informed their dealers that they (Cambo) will assist the dealer should they encounter a problem, however they will not assist the consumer who takes it on themselves to do the replacement. I feel this makes sense. Bottom line here folks is if you want to replace the grips let the dealer do it; saves a heck of a lot of aggravation in the long run. My thought process on this, is that I believe Cambo never thought of offering additional grips to the WRS1000 thus they weren't concerned about the screws; however since offering the new WRS 1050 they felt the need (and rightfully so) of offering the wooden grips for the WRS1000.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Viewing past images from the Cambo WRS1000/P45+

I've found myself in-between shooting having finished processing the images from our last trip (Bluff UT) and waiting for the next trip in June.  I will be taking a couple days off later this week traveling to Phoenix where I'll be attending a Capture Integration Capture One Training (and be getting my new wooden handles for the WRS).

Beach Sunset
Cambo WRS 1000, P45+ 1/30 ISO 50
Single image processed using C1Pro, CS5 and Nik Viveza 2

Having nothing better to do this morning I decided to revisit a couple spots I visited in 2009 while the Cambo WRS was still new to me.  Capture One, Photoshop, and Nik Software have all been updated several times since these visits thus affording me the chance to re-look at the images with a slightly different perspective.

California Redwoods
Cambo WRS 1000, P45+, 35mm, 1/5 ISO 50
Single image processed using C1Pro, CS5 and Nik Viveza 2

I've found that by returning to older image files I see things I've missed before; additionally the software I use is constantly being updated as well as my processing abilities. You never stop learning...

Monument Valley
Cambo WRS 1000, P45+, 120mm 1/8 ISO 50
Single image processed using C1Pro, CS5, Nik HDR Efex Pro & Viveza 2

Every image included here was taken with the Cambo WRS1000 and Phase One P45+ digital back.  The lenses used are all Schneider ranging from 24mm, 35mm, 72, and the short barrel 120mm.  I'll include as much information as I can for each image.

Peeking Through
Cambo WRS1000, P45+, 24mm, f/8 1/125 ISO 50
Single image processed using C1Pro, CS5

I've gotten a few requests to share what a "normal" work flow is for processing images from the Cambo so I decided to share a brief overview here.

The normal work-flow processing when working on images from the Cambo consist of the following:

  • - Opening the images in Capture One Pro and running the Len Cast Corrections (LCC) on each image.
  • - Grading each image with either a 1 or 0 then running each of the images graded 1 to see which is a 2, then regarding the 2 images to a 3 all the way to 5 which will be the images that I'll spend the time processing. Once I've processed the images in Capture One Pro I then open them in Photoshop (currently CS5)
  • - The images in CS5 are further processed into either a stitched panorama, layered into a layered focus image or some cases a single image will be opened.
  • - Each image has it's own way of processing so I do not use any pre-recorded actions (other than the copyright on the web images.
  • - I'll listen to the image and let it tell me when it's finished; spending as little as 15minutes to well over several days.
  • - Then I decide on which image will be used as a sample image for the blog or which will be printed and placed on sale.
This is a very simplified view of the processing of all our images. The only step different from the tech camera and our 35mm is the LCC.

Spyder Woman Rock
Cambo WRS 1000, P45+, 24mm f/8 1/8 ISO 50
Single image processed using C1Pro, CS5, Nik Viveza 2 (cropped)

Cambo WRS 1000, P45+ 120mm f/8 1/125 ISO 50
3-image stitch panorama processed using C1Pro, CS5, Nik Viveza 2 (cropped)
Same image as above however added processing using Nik Silver Efex Pro

Thank-you for visiting and I hope you enjoyed the images. You're comments and questions are always welcome.
Redwood Shadows
Cambo WRS 1000, P45+ 35mm 1/4, ISO 50
2-image stitched processed using C1Pro, CS5 and Nik Silver Efex Pro


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Valley of the Gods

This is a brief video taken from the truck cam of the southern entrance into Valley of the Gods off UT 163.

Valley of the Gods
Canon 1DsIII
EF 17-40 (40mm) f/8 1/100 ISO 50

Located in-between Bluff and Mexican Hat Utah is a 17 mile dirt road running through an area called "Valley of the Gods".  Valley of the Gods is also near Monument Valley which can be seen from various spots from the Valley.

Valley of the Gods
Canon 1DsIII
EF 24-70 (42mm) f/8 1/100 ISO 50

Valley of the Gods is a smaller scale of Monument Valley with tall, red, isolated sandstone mesas and cliffs.  While Monument Valley is on the Navajo Nation, Valley of the Gods is on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and is free to enter and offers free camping. 

Valley of the Gods
Canon 1DsIII
EF 135mm f/8 1/100 ISO 50

The most prominent peaks in the Valley of the Gods have been named and marked on topographic maps including Rudolph, Santa Clause, Setting Hen Butte, Rooster Butte, De Gaulle and His Troops, and Lady in the Bathtub.

Teaser video along the road

The 17-mile road is dirt and for the most part can be driven in a passenger car. Just be careful. If it rains or has rained the road can quickly become muddy and you'll be wishing for a 4x4. While there are no services (gas or water) you will pass a bed & breakfast near the beginning of the road (if entering off UT 261). Make certain you have plenty of water as it is very dry and can be very hot in the summer months.

We've seen clouds and jet vapor trails (contrails) before however this was the first time either of us had seen the shadow of a trail.

Leica M9
Summicrom 50mm f/8 1/500 ISO 250

You'll notice that we converted a couple of the images into black & white.  Looking at the area you'll be struck at how much this area hasn't changed; other than the dirt road there's little signs of civilization stretching out to the horizon.  In processing the images Don was also struck with what he thought of how earlier images would of looked like.

Last teaser video from Valley of the Gods

We only managed to spend a few hours driving through the Valley and wished we had more time. Don is scheduled to return to the area in June and will be spending several days shooting in the Valley of the Gods, Comb Ridge and Monument Valley before meeting Ken Doo in Page AZ for some Slot Canyon shooting so stay tuned.

Thank you as always for visiting.

Sandy & Don