Phase One's 5 x 4 view camera digital scan back
by John Henshall

The new Photophase FC70 back, which fits into a standard large format spring-back loading system - again, like a normal film cassette. Changing between ground glass, film and digital is thus easy, very useful if you want both digital and film versions of the same subject. Capture area is 2.8 by 3.9 inches, which makes the image format slightly wider than true 4:5 format. Perhaps significantly, this is almost identical to the ratio of European paper sizes.

The user interface has been redesigned and provides a superb preview image which should be a model for all those who write user interfaces for scanners and cameras. One criticism: with a landscape picture the image was rotated through 90° on the screen. It would give me a pain in the neck long before the end of a long day of shooting.

The Photophase user interface

The Photophase user interface is large and clear - but landscape format shots are shown rotated.

I scanned a 26mb file of the set-up on the PhotoPhase booth in just over four minutes, to produce the accompanying illustration. It compressed down to only 368 kilobytes - one seventieth of its original file size - using exactly the same compression technique as that used for the Dicomed shot. The PhotoPhase file compresses more because of the broad areas of gold, black and grey - subjects which would very soon show up any problems with the camera and, to Phase One's credit, a brave subject to tackle. Lighting was by Broncolor HMI softboxes.

PhotoPhase image - a 26MB file scanned in just over 4 minutes

The PhotoPhase image - a 26MB file scanned in just over 4 minutes

The cost of the PhotoPhase FC70, including camera computer and power unit, is $23,470.

This report first appeared in "John Henshall's Chip Shop" in "The Photographer" April 1994.
This document is Copyright © 1996 John Henshall. All rights reserved.
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