Please Visit the all new Digital Outback Photo

Outback Photo Handbook: Cameras

Phase One 645AF/P45+ Review Diary

review diary by Uwe Steinmueller

Manage the Digital Workflow




Diary Index

Note on image processing:

As usual we work only with raw files.

We mainly use ACR 4.4/Lightroom 1.4 for the P45+.

All images are also treated with the same settings of our new DOP EasyD DetailResolver and some minor tuning with EasyS (sharpening in Lightroom is set to a very low level: Amount 60, Radius 0.5, Detail 0, Masking 0).


9/9/2008 Resolving Details from P45 images

In this article we discuss our workflow to get the most details out of the P45 images.

7/21/2008 Diary Start

Till about 2 years ago most digital backs from all manufacturers were sold for Hasselblad (majority) and Mamiya cameras. Then Hasselblad closed all new cameras for 3rd party backs. At this point Leaf, Phase One and other back manufacturers started cooperation with the few remaining MF camera manufacturers. Leaf and Sinar partnered with Rollei. Rollei even created a brand new body the Hy6 (Leaf calls it AFi and Sinar Hy6). Phase One (we think it is still the market leader in MF backs) opted for a close cooperation with Mamiya and re-branded a Mamiya 645-AFD II as Phase One cameras. The intention is to develop new and improved cameras together with Mamiya in the future.

The Mamiya 645-AFD III is not the most modern design of these MF 645 cameras as of now. Phase One claims that they had quite a bit of input at the engineering level creating the Mark III version of this camera. Mamiya has a great reputation for excellent lenses and offers now even some new digital lenses (e.g. 75-150mm f/4.5 which we use in our tests). The Mamiya is known to be a solid performer. Some of our friends use Mamiya cameras and are quite happy with it.

Note: Still many third party backs are today sold for the existing base of Hasselblad bodies (Hasselblad classic, H1/H2).

Los Gatos test shots

Ristorante @ISO 100

Crop @100% magnification

We used the new Mamiya 75-150mm f/4.5 lens. To no surprise we have never seen this scene with that much detail. Both lens and back are top.

Note on P45+ detail compared to other 35mm DSLRs: The P45+ has 39MP (e.g. the Canon 1Ds3 has 21MP). That is already a lot more pixels. We think that the difference is even more influenced by the fact that the P45+ does not have any AA filter. This may lead in some cases to some aliasing (e.g. moire) but also contributes to more natural sharp images. We would love to have the option in our DSLRs to select AA filter on or off. The Leica M8 is a good example how a missing AA filter can improve natural sharpness.


You can download the original RAW from here (about 28 MB).

Note: Remember that the service we provide is financed by selling our ebooks and PS tools. Also direct donations are welcome.

Antique store @ ISO 200

@ 100% magnification

Very good results at ISO 200 for a digital back. We likely would use the P45+ mainly at ISO 100 all the time. Still the ISO 200 behavior is very good.


ISO Test

We converted with ACR 4.4 (luminance noise removal set to zero) and then sharpened with the same level in DOP EasyD DetailResolver 1.0 .

Note: EasyD DetailResolver shows both more detail and more grain although we activated the Noise Mask option. This way we can see how much real detail is available.


Bear Coffee Shop


ISO 50

ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 800


ISO 50-100 show close to no noise. ISO 200 is still very good. We would not use ISO400 and 800. Not because the noise is so bad but because you don't buy an expensive back to ruin the resolution with strong noise. Also we would use the MF camera mainly on a tripod.

The window was slightly out of focus. But this is a noise test and no detail test so we think the samples are still valid.

Note: Because we use now also the DOP EasyD DetailResolver (with Noise Mask activated) noise is even more visible than in a plain conversion.


First conclusions

We like

  • Amazing detail
  • Excellent lenses available
  • Well integrated package
  • Good noise behavior for a MF back

Things that could be improved

  • LCD could be larger
  • Histogram could be better to read in strong sunlight
  • AF needs solid edges to focus (AF somtimes hunts)

Things we are not sure about

  • We personally like leaf shutter lenses to minimize shake. We of course use the mirror up feature on this camera. On the other side our friends did not see any issues using the shutter of the Mamiya (using Phase One or Leaf backs).





Manage the Digital Workflow




Featured E-Books




Featured Tuning Filters