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Medium Format - My First Month

I want to start off by saying that so far this is the Best/Worst camera I’ve ever owned. The Phase One P65+ back with the 645DF+ body is a weird camera… oh right I’ve got the v-grip air handgrip too which actually makes it a little more odd. My other camera is the Canon 1Dx and it’s easily just about as different as a camera can be without using film. I hear it now… the voices rising from the deep of the internet. This is an apples and oranges comparison. Stop. Stop right there. That is an awful and overused phrase. A battleship and a go-kart is apples and oranges. A unicorn and a starfighter is apples and oranges. These are two high-end cameras from two very respected manufacturers that are often used almost exactly the same way. This my friends. This is apples to apples.

You might think my first complaint would be that the Medium Format is big and heavy. Actually that didn’t even make the list. It’s deep to be sure but I’m used to fast glass and 1 series Canon bodies so it really isn’t that much different. My first complaint is battery life… actually let me revise that statement. My first complaint has to do with battery everything. First off there are three different batteries I can use to power the body. I can use the extremely custom lithium ion battery it came with which costs about $300 if I want a second one. I can use AA batteries. Kinda cool but I hear bad things about using rechargeables. My last option. If I have the expensive V-grip Air(and I do) is that I can use the largely out of production Canon BP-915 which is the same battery that the digital back uses. Phew! Right then. I’ll just use the handgrip and avoid the mess… except I do landscape work too and the handgrip was not well designed or made. It isn’t particularly stable. This is ok for some studio work but otherwise I just stick with that odd custom battery. While I’m on the handgrip topic. It comes loose and it doesn’t really do it all at once so suddenly my my flashes will stop popping or maybe I’ll hit the poorly placed AA-LioN switch on the back and the body will just suddenly shut off. it’s really a bizarre state of affairs for something so insanely expensive. Ok, battery life. I own six batteries. SIX. I burn through one every hour or hour and a half of studio shooting. Yeah. I shoot tethered in the studio and supposedly I can power the back through firewire but my laptop can’t supply enough power and I’ll have to get a hub to see if I can make that a reality. For comparison’s sake I can shoot for days with a single 1Dx battery. I own two… just in case. I don’t think I’ve ever actually needed the second battery. Wow… ok I just read that. That was a lot of whining about the battery problem.

I have other major issues with the system like the atrocious autofocus and how it has the worst screen I’ve ever seen on a camera… and I have 1999 Canon D30 sitting on my desk. Anyway I feel like I should say something nice. I’ve used my 1Dx exactly twice in the last month. The quality of the photos that I’m getting from the Phase One system is so far beyond the pale that I will fight the autofocus, and switch batteries all day long and consider it a good trade.