Editorial photoshoot with a chef cook and (review of) a Phase One P30+

Last friday I did an editorial style portrait shoot with chef cook Marcel Bark of de Rijd in Nieuwe Niedorp. For this photoshoot I borrowed a Phase One DF body with a P30+ digital back and a 80mm lens. For a while I am searching for an affordable way to get into medium format photohraphy. I have tested a P30+ back in the past (Read review here), the CVF-50c (click here) and the Hasselblad H5D-40 (Click here). 

The set-up

Beside the Phase One set I am also trying out some Broncolor gear. I love my Elinchrom gear and especially there softboxes, but the bron are just a little more stable on output and white balance throughout the whole powerrange and have a faster flash duration for when you are working with speed/dance. So I had a Siros 400L with the 75 octabox as a key light, the Siros 400S with a strip and a grid as a kicker and a Siros 400 S with the 150 octa box as a fill. 

The Phase One P30+ was connected with a firewire cable to my iMac runing Capture One Pro 9. All editting of teh photo's have also only be done in Capture Pro One 9. I love using tethering during shoot. It helps communication with the client and is a real visual way to get to the result you want.


For the styling we went to the local supermarket and bought some nice food to shoot. Marcel loves working with Fish so a fresh fish and some clamps couldn't be left out of the photo's! Marcel is also really font on green cabbage, so we also photographed him with just the green cabbage!

The Shots

Here a a couple of the final shots of teh editorial photoshoot. 

The Phase One P30+ Back

The Phase One P30+ is a great digital medium format back. The colors are so natural and lovely. It has (only) 31 megapixels. which was huge in the time it was released and is still more than enough. Normally I shoot around 24mp with my Nikon D610 en D750 and rarely use the 36 of the D800, only when I need to print big. 

The point for me for Medium Format is not the megapixel count but the sensor size and look. I don't know what it is but Medium Format photography has a look which is just so much more lovely then 35mm Full Frame photography. I has the look of the photographers I admire like Mark selliger, Martin Schoeller, Erwin Olaf and Anne Liebovitz. They also use Phase One camera's/backs,  

The set up of the back is simple. The menu has just a few options, like ISO, white balance, power performance, and some basic information. just all you need.

The body and lens

The thing I disliked was the body. and especially the autofocus of the body. Getting critical focus with a wide open aperture was hard because of the singel AF point. You had to focus and recompose without chancing the angle. So you had to move up and down or side ways without moving back and fort of chancing your angle. This was hard! And took a while to get used of. But this is also the point for me to not buy the camera. Because of this I can also buy a back for my Hasselblad 500c/m and focus manually. 

Saving up to do

So I decided I have to do some more saving up so I can buy a newer model and also take a look again at the Hasselblad H5D-40 or the X1D!

BTW I got the new Sigma 85mm 1.4 ART lens, I am going to test it soon with a few shoots!

Review: Hasselblad 500c/m with a Phase One P30+ Digital Back

Last week I had a Phase One P30+ digital back on loan from the people of Eyes on Media Amsterdam. To start, I love working with my analog Hasselblad 500c/m camera and a Carl Zeiss 80mm 2.8 lens. But the only downfall is the speed, and not the working speed, but the time before you have your work back. So I started looking for a digital back. Since they are quite expensive (over 8k) I was glad I could loan one from Eyes on Media.

Shot with: Hasselblad 500c/m and Phase One P30+ ISO 100, 1/200 at f11

The P30+ Back

First for the spec lovers, the Phase One P30+ Was released in 2007 and has a 31.6mp, 16-bit sensor with a 100-1600 ISO range. It has a 1.25x crop factor which makes 60mm eqv on 35mm.  Storage can be on a CF card or done by Firewire directly to your computer using Phase Ones Capture One. The back has a 2.2-inch 230,000px TFT display. To connect the display with the camera you need to plug a cord between the lens and the P30+ back. The V-mount back is also designed to have a seamless fit with the design of the Hasselblad 500c/m, but not as beautiful as the Hasselblad CFV-50c. Another nice thing is that you can turn the back 90 degrees to portrait mode. 

Working with the Phase One P30+ back

Working with the Phase One P30+ Digital back is pretty easy, it has only5 buttons. I am not going to explain all the buttons, but believe me if I say they work intuitively. 

I did two sessions with the back, the first was on location, but I didn't like the images. That was not the P30+ backs fold! I used a new Hasselblad 500c/m (another one then the one I use normally) which I did not had tested enough. The photo's where OK, but the photo's from my Nikon D610 where better. The first thing you have to learn that this is not a speedy set-up, especially with focussing. Checking focus on the back is possible but I really think the Screen is not great. Like it's there but I don't really like it. 

Between the first sessions and second session I had some time to do some extra testshots to learn the system. Have the laptop to check the focus was really nice and made the proces a lot easier. 

The second session was in the studio. This is where the set-up starts to shine. I did a few regulair portraits and dance portraits. The first portraits where taken on a Storm Grey background with the standard small Elinchrom Softbox with A Elinchrom RX One flash head. 

After the regular portraits we started with the dance portraits. We changed the light set-up to the Elinchrom Rotalux 150cm Deep Indirect Octa with a Elinchrom Quadra RX and the A-Head. 

The Verdict

After the learning process I loved the images coming out of the Phase One P30+ Back with V-mout. But there are some cons working with the camera and back.

First the screen is really bad for a 8k+ camera back. Secondly I really disliked the cable from the lens to the back and then having to add another for triggering the flash. And lastly the focussing, although this is not the backs fold, but the body has to get a check-up. I had to slightly unfocus to get in focus. 

What I liked was the old and relaxed feel of working with the camera and the image quality between ISO 100 and 400 is really lovely. The compression with working on medium format cameras is so nice! 

So to finish it, will I buy it? Well no, I will keep working with my Hasselblad 500c/m but keep it analog with Kodak Tri-x, Tmax and Provia film! In the mean while I am going to save up for a digital medium Format camera this year!

FYI: All the editing was done in Capture One Pro 8 Only!

More reviews

For more blog on digitalbacks on the Hasselblad 500C/M and medium format camera's: