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Affordable 4x5 digital backs in the future?

Master Faster , Aug 20, 2008; 09:26 a.m.

All of us know that digital age is riding at the highway speed. There are many options for any kind of camera ,but; when do you think the companies will produce an affordable 4x5 inch digital back, and how much will it be for our today's wallet?


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Master Faster , Aug 20, 2008; 09:29 a.m.

The aim of my question is, when the film era is closed, will be be logical to keep my large format equipment to reuse them with an affordable 4x5 digital back?

Guy Tal , Aug 20, 2008; 09:41 a.m.

That really depends on your definition of "affordable". BetterLight scanning backs for 4x5 start around the same price as high-end digital SLRs and are much less expensive than medium format digital backs. They may not be ideal for field work (need to be tethered to a computer) but when you choose LF you have to factor in some limitations anyway. Full-frame sensors may not be financially feasible from the manufacturers' point of view. Considering the cost of development and manufacturing, I doubt the demand will be sufficient to justify the investment.


Master Faster , Aug 20, 2008; 09:57 a.m.

So let me change my question on your reply Guy Tal, do you know any way to built a scanning back from a flatbed scanner? Is this possible?

Guy Tal , Aug 20, 2008; 10:39 a.m.

I remember someone posting about it a while ago - they adapted an inexpensive desktop scanner to the back of an 8x10 view camera (I think that's what it was). Wish I had the link. Maybe someone else here remembers.


Master Faster , Aug 20, 2008; 10:50 a.m.

I've found the guy, professor from an institute. But he says, that they solved the exposure problem (to gain DOF) by using grey filters in front of the lens. I'm not sure they'll work, but he has sample images too. Here is the PDF file he offers to web community: http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~heidrich/Papers/EG.04.pdf

Dennis Carbo , Aug 20, 2008; 11:19 a.m.


who says the Film era is going to Close ? There are still people making glass plate photographs and making thier own emulsions ! It is all in what you like, I am a working professional that uses Digital for most of my PAID work..(not all some situations still call for 4 x 5) And film when I shoot for myself and to do Landscape,Car and Bike portraits.

Just my 2 cents : )

Master Faster , Aug 20, 2008; 11:32 a.m.

I hope the film never ends, in any format , in any way. I love to shoot film, especially medium and large format but, as the people shooting film melt down , the companies leave production. When Polaroid stopped production of instant film, I was shocked, and asked to myself; What if the others? I hope you're right Dennis, and we still have the chance of film 5 years later. Best wishes... MF

Matt Needham , Aug 20, 2008; 08:41 p.m.

"...when do you think the companies will produce an affordable 4x5 inch digital back..."

I think it'd be neat, but possibly never. If 4x5 film quality is reached/surpassed with a much smaller sensor than 4"x5" why bother with the big camera body? Will there be enough demand for using new digital technology with old cameras designed for use with film to encourage the product developers? Right now we are still seeing a lot of digital camera designs based on camera building traditions established because of the requirements of film. The next generation of camera designers may have new ideas about what a camera is and needs to be.

For those who still think 4x5 film quality will never be reached by digital I'll pass on some advice I got from my father in 1992 when I got my first PC. "You won't fill a 170mb hard drive in your lifetime." It seems hilarious now as I look over at my 1.25 terabytes of HD space, but at the time it seemed plausible.

William John Smith , Aug 20, 2008; 10:48 p.m.

...why bother with the big camera body?

Swing, Tilt, Swing, Rise and fall and Back Tilt/Swing.

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