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PhaseOne monochrome medium-format digital back

A bit less than a year ago I tried to arrange a group buy of a monochrome PhaseOne medium format digital back. If you were one of the interested parties, now is the time to act. PhaseOne is building some monochrome P45+ backs within the next two weeks, based on the 39 megapixel Kodak monochrome sensor. These backs are going to well-funded organizations that want them for specific applications—it’s happening. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the 39 megapixels will cost you $872 per megapixel, or US$34,000 (with a 3 year warranty)—you supply the camera and lenses on top of that. Also unresolved are software issues (the aforementioned organizations will be writing their own special-purpose software). I’m awaiting an answer on how the PhaseOne RAW files can be converted into standard 16-bit TIF files.

If you are ready to buy one of these 39 megapixel monochrome backs, contact Jim Taskett at Bear Images.

Setting cost aside, I would love to own one of these backs ($34 from 1000 readers would do it!); they allow full-spectrum image capture from UV through infrared, offering tremendous creative potential, all without quality-degrading demosaicing (Bayer matrix). Sensitivity should be substantially higher than the equivalent color back, and resolution should be notably higher as well. In that sense, it might fairly be called a 60 megapixel back, though actual results will have to prove that theory out. The back can be used on a wide variety of camera systems, including view cameras, PhaseOne, Mamiya and Hasselblad 500 series.

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