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phase one p25 with nikon d3x

andoni mesa bravo , Sep 04, 2011; 07:33 a.m.

Hi all i am new in forum :-)
I have a nikon d3x and i am about purchasing a phase one p25 v mount back with 2200 exposures for 3000 euros.
my question is that if it is and stupid thing as i have the nikon d3x with about the same amount of PX.
I like the medium format field and DOF over the 35mm and i have the hasselblad 503 cw already.

Sorry about my english and thanks for you time


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Wouter Willemse , Sep 04, 2011; 07:51 a.m.

If you prefer working with the Hasselblad, and you can afford it, it's not a stupid thing at all. Quite sure the Phase One back will have different qualities from the Nikon; the amount of pixels is only part of the story.

andoni mesa bravo , Sep 04, 2011; 07:57 a.m.

thanks for the response:-)
I m not very clear about the image quality diferences on thoose two systems.
Some people says that the pixels on MF are diferent than thoose on 35mm.
I shoot fashion and the way i work i dont need speed...so i need opinions :-)

peter carter , Sep 04, 2011; 09:25 a.m.

Generally the larger the sensor the greater the image quality. That would be a full frame sensor. I do not think you are going to suffer image quality loss.

The only other consideration would be your glass. Since you already have the camera, I will only assume you have a decent selection of lenses.

It should be quite a step up.

andoni mesa bravo , Sep 04, 2011; 10:05 a.m.

So... do you think that it would be a nice thing to have the nikon d3x and phase one p25 together?
my hasselblad 503 cw has the carl zeiss planar 80 2.8 CF .
Im getting crazy...y dont now what to do...

Edward Ingold , Sep 04, 2011; 10:30 a.m.

A digital back is an excellent way to continue to use a V system that you already own in the digital era. It is especially appropriate if you shoot fashion or products. Not all pixels are equal. Although the D3x is an outstanding camera, medium format digital is different and in many ways better for controlled photography.

The P25 will have significantly more resolution than the Nikon, for two reasons. The D3x has an anti-aliasing filter, whereas the P25 does not. Secondly, larger pixels mean the lens doesn't have to work as hard to resolve an image*. The net effect is a 50% improvement in resolution compared to the same number of pixels in the smaller camera. Larger pixels are also quieter than those in the D3x, and the dynamic range is 16 bits/channel vs. 14 bits/channel for the Nikon. Both factors contribute to a smoother appearance and more open shadows.

One image that sold me on MF digital was that of a motorcycle - black and chrome. The texture of black leather is reproduced very well, along with the bright contrast of the metal. In other subjects, including portraits, MF renders gradients and textures much better than small format, whether film or digital. I don't have the original, but I couldn't resist taking a similar shot on the street.

* Net resolution is a product of the resolution of each component making the image. If the "errors" in edge contrast were gaussian (a good approximation), the net error is the root sum of squares. In short, if the absolute resolution of Hasselblad and Nikon lenses were about 200 lp/mm (also a good approximation), pixels of the P25 would yield about 40% better resolution.

Aliasing can be a problem with MF digital, due to the lack of a filter. Repetetive patterns, like bricks or fabric near the edge of resolution show Moire patterns, which can be very hard to remove in post.

Cruise Night Motorcycle

John Crowe , Sep 04, 2011; 10:36 a.m.

You only have one Hasselblad lens. The D3X is a much easier system to use. The "look" of the Hasselblad and P25 may be different but I doubt significantly better. Sharpness of images will not be significantly better. Don't forget that the P25 is a "crop" sensor. It is approximately 36mm x 48mm and not 56mm x 56mm that your 503 with 120 film used to be. This is the part I am concerned about. The sensor is twice the size of the D3X sensor and has less pixels with only 22 MP. It seems to me that you can make same size prints at the same print resolution and get very similar results from both systems.

Your 80/2.8 with the P25 will give a similar view to a 105mm lens.

Depending on what Nikon lenses you have I might recommend putting the money into Nikon lenses instead.

John Crowe , Sep 04, 2011; 10:58 a.m.

Edward, my one concern in your post is regarding resolution of medium format lenses compared to 35mm lenses. I don't have all the lpm facts in front of me, but it has always been a known fact that the best 35mm lenses outresolve the best medium format lenses by a significant margin. In the days of film the single biggest advantage MF had was far less magnification of the negative/transparency to achieve the same size print from 35mm film. Since the grain of a 35mm film was the same as the grain of it's 120 format film counterpart, the medium format lens did not have to resolve as well as the 35mm lens to still achieve far superior results.

In this scenario, with different sensors, the D3X it is like using a fine grain Kodachrome 25 film, and the P25 is like using a large grain Ektachrome 100. By the time you enlarge them to the same size print they will be similar.

With respect to your motorcycle anecdote, what was the medium format sensor and what DSLR were you able to directly compare it to.

andoni mesa bravo , Sep 04, 2011; 11:06 a.m.

maybe i should wait another eternity and buy a p45+ or p40 + ....but the p25 back has a very good price with just 2500 exposures...(3000euros)...i would not want to loose the chance .
Another thing i like about the p25 is thas the sensor measures 36x49 and for example the p40+ measures 33x44 with i realy do not understand why they call 33x44 MEDIUM FORMAT.it is not even double of a 35mm camera and has the same micron size as my nikon d3x.
The price of a p40+ is about 16000euros just the back :-0 and the p45+ is about 22000 euros :-0000(

John Crowe , Sep 04, 2011; 11:20 a.m.

There are so few of these around on the used market I have no idea if that is a good price or not. If you know that it is a good price, and you can afford it, then you could purchase it, test/use it, and if you are not happy with it, then resell it for close to what you bought it for. Directly comparing it to your D3X is the only way to truly find out. Anyone who has taken the time, and money, to make this direct comparison is not likely on this site.

I absolutely concur, to me it will not be medium format until there are at least 56mm x 56mm sensors that can use medium format lenses the way they were meant to be used.

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