Earlier this year I was chatting with a friend at the renowned Digital back and now camera manufacturers Phase One
I asked if I could shoot with the new camera back, when they made one, just to see how it performed and hopefully get some cool shots too.
He said 'You should be careful making an offer like that, we may well take you up on it'
Shortly after the Phase One P65+(the worlds biggest at 60.5 mega pixels and the first FULL FRAME medium format digital back)was announced the phone rang, and they invited me to Denmark to shoot with the back and Phase One camera.
As with all pre production prototypes it was really down to the wire with technicians working late the night before the shoot ensuring all was as it should be.
We set off in the morning to pick up the (fantastic!)assistants and equipment from 'The Lab'
and headed to the location for a two part shoot, in the forest and on the beach
We started in the Forest,and I was more than a little nervous about the performance and reliability of an unproven piece of cutting edge technology on its first time out in the field on a full shoot.
I need not have worried.
It performed faultlessly, with quality I truthfully have never experienced before.
It was caught at an unguarded moment initially.
The quality leap from my P45+ was immediately noticeable, to my eyes and the eyes of all of the assistants.Some of whom work with systems too, other than Phase One.
It was not just the detail and sharpness either, which surpasses anything else by a significant margin.
It was the beautiful tonal range,shadow detail which I found to be superlative
Not to mention the speed, it is blazingly fast, way, way quicker than the P30+ I was using at Photokina! (It is set to get even faster too in the new year when 'sensor +' technology arrives allowing scalable pixel and file size too)
As my friend Alex Ray of the Flash centre said 'make-up artists are going to have to really improve their work'
I know these results cannot be considered to be scientific by any stretch of the imagination but to my, and the assistants eyes it was a noticeable step forward.
Just check the spider detail out,truly remarkable,particularly when a spiders thread is considered to be just 0.003mm in thickness.....
And here is the detail shot(note the spider and web on the right are more or less on the plane of focus, the spider and web on the left a little out of focus)
Phase One Camera with 80mm lens
Phase One P65+ back
Shot at 30th sec F5.6
Lit with (as well as the sun!) a Profoto Battery unit,modified with a Medium sized Chimera Soft box,triggered with Pocket wizards
Shot tethered via Firewire to a Lenovo T60 with 3 GB of RAM and dual
core 2 GHz processor running Capture One Pro 4.5 beta
Here are a few shots of the 'forest' shoot,behind the scenes....
A smoke machine,powered by generator always lends atmosphere, but has to be thinned out for best effect(here using a California Sunbounce Pro reflector) .Otherwise the flash or sunlight hits it and it 'burns out' appearing too thick
The beach shot was a real technical challenge,synchronizing the flash at 125th sec,with a leaping running model at sunset
For the record leaf shutter lenses will start to be come available for the Phase camera system in the next few months (the 80mm with leaf shutter was shown at Photokina). Along with series of Leica lenses from the brand new Leica S2. The quality should be amazing.
The high level of ambient light meant I was always going to be dealing with speed blur...so I used the stunning 28mm Mamiya lens.
It is a peach
There might just be a sharper wider medium format lens,with less distortion,straight out of the box without any fancy software adjustment, I just have not yet seen it....
So as well as using a wide angle to minimize the effective distance the leaping model moved across the CCD, I panned the shot
It worked a treat.
Check the video out to see how I did it
Phase One Camera with 28mm Mamiya Lens
Exposed at 125th sec F11
Lit with Profoto Battery unit(from the front) with no light modifier
Triggered with a pocket wizard
Shot to Sandisk ExtremeIV CF card
Processed in Capture One Pro 4.5 beta
Special thanks go to our model Irina Brabrand, Blaaholm Great Danes,Kajsa Bjornberg(first assistant), Frederik Säll, Alexander Kornmåler, Ditlev Rosing (assistants) and last, but not least all the crew at Phase One