PHASE ONE 645 AF MEDIUM FORMAT CAMERA BODY

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PHASE ONE 645 AF MEDIUM FORMAT CAMERA BODY

Last updated on September 20, 2020 5:11 pm
PHASE ONE 645 AF MEDIUM FORMAT CAMERA BODY
PHASE ONE 645 AF MEDIUM FORMAT CAMERA BODY

Description

On the surface, the Phase One 645 AF medium format D-SLR is the identical twin to the Mamiya 645AFD III, albeit with the Phase One logo. Step to the rear of the camera and you’ll find what sets them apart. Attached to this body is Phase One’s own P 65+. At 60.5 megapixels, this back, along with those of slightly lesser resolution, marks the turning point between film wannabes and true contenders to the throne.

If it weren’t for the high initial cost, equal to several top-of-the-line Nikons or Canons, I’d say chuck every other camera you own and buy this one. But let’s be practical. Every camera has its limitations, and we can’t simply count our eggs without opening the carton and really seeing what’s inside. Since I’d already tested the aforementioned Mamiya camera in a typical photo studio (see the September 2009 issue of Shutterbug), although with an entirely different back, I thought that I’d take a different tack this time around. So I returned to one of my favorite haunts, the American Museum of Natural History.

As before, I secured the necessary permissions, particularly for the use of a tripod in the exhibit areas. Once again, I called upon the talents of the museum’s photo department, specifically Matt Shanley and head honcho Denis Finnin. We even had an assist from Paul Sweet and the Department of Ornithology, which provided a turkey for us to shoot—photographically, of course. We spent much of our time with the dinosaurs, while reacquainting ourselves with that 94-foot-long blue whale model in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. I also trekked outside to shoot the Rose Center (home of the planetarium) at “magic hour.” When we reviewed the images, Finnin in particular remarked on the superb details the camera captured. But before we delve further into this shoot, we need to take a closer look at the camera and lenses, and that amazing Phase One back

Mamiya 645 at heart and supports optional film magazines.)Then along came digital. Between 2000 and 2006 the digital steamroller decimated medium format. Film was disappearing rapidly and while a small and vibrant business was developing for medium format digital backs, prices were very high. Many pros and not a few amateurs couldn’t resist the 11 then 16 then 21MP DSLR, along with their ever-higher image quality, zoom lenses, long lenses, perspective control lenses, fast lenses, smaller size, lower weight and lower price. With the ever-hastening demise of film, medium format camera makers started having a hard time, and many of them went out of the medium format business, including Contax, Bronica and to a large extent Fuji. Pentax soldered on, but without the ability to accept digital backs was doomed from the start, and though they kept showing a digital body at trade shows for years, this eventually was abandoned. Left in the end, in late summer 2006, were just Hasselblad and Mamiya. (Rolleiflex was a very marginal player in limited markets). th film in its final days there were four and a half companies making medium format digital backs. These included Hasselblad, Phase One, Leaf, Sinar (Jenoptic / Eyelike), and the half company, Mamiya, who had a back for its own camera and also a hybrid called the ZD. More on these soon. Each of these companies had carved out a niche for themselves; Hasselblad making backs for their own cameras (V and H series), and Phase One, Leaf and Sinar making backs to fit on Hasselblads as well as Mamiya’s, Contaxes and a variety of technical cameras and converted view cameras. One upon a time there was a vibrant medium format camera business. Numerous companies, some of them making weird and wonderful devices, vied for our business. Who werewe? For the most part working pros who required higher image quality than 35mm film could provide, primarily for commercial applications and print reproduction. There was also a healthy smattering of serious amateurs who similarly wanted higher image quality for our fine art prints and other purposes.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Brand Name: Phase One
Flash System: Mamiya TTL (Pre-Flash)
Focus Type: Autofocus (camera motor)
Lens Mount: Mamiya 645AF & Phase One

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1 review for PHASE ONE 645 AF MEDIUM FORMAT CAMERA BODY

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  1. Stephen S.

    This lens correction capability could show up in future versions of Capture One for Canon, Nikon and other supported systems as well, in a manner not dissimilar to what DxO does. This is just speculation on my part, but I have to assume that what’s technically possible is then just a matter of marketing intent and development scheduling.

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