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Are backs with rectangular sensors rotatable or reversible


I am thinking if getting a 645 digital back, such as the iXpress 132C, for my Flexbody but I am concerned that I will not be able to use the Flexbody in its "normal" or vertical orientation and get portrait format images because 645 backs have the sensor in landscape format. If I turn the Flexbody onto one side to get the sensor in portrait orientation, the tilting plane will be across the image.

I want the tilting plane to be up and down, so I get from near ground to distant ground in focus. Does anyone understand what I mean? With a "normal" Hasselblad, you would just turn the camera onto one side.

Am I correct in thinking that I cannot rotate the iXpress or any other 645 back to change the sensor to portrait format?

I guess this means that, on my Flexbody, I will be limited to images which are the square of the smaller dimension of the 645 sensor (usually 4080 pixels) or portrait images “carved” out of that square? Do users find this a severe limitation?

If I can get only portrait format images on my Flexbody from a square of the sensor, there is no need to get a 645 sensor back and I should save money and purchase a square sensor back?

I would appreciate your thoughts.
Marc Williams posted this reply:

There are adapter plates that allow the back to be mounted either way.

You have to remove the back and rotate it manually. This works on the standard V cameras, but you'd have to check that it will work on your Flexbody (not sure if there is something that would interfer with that, but I doubt it).

I know with a Mamiya RZ Pro II, and probably a Rollie ( I think ), you can rotate the orientation without removing the back because both those cameras have rotating ability built in.
Marc, thank you for your info.

The NZ Hasselblad agency also thought there was such an adapter but there is nothing in its price list. Do you know who supplies the part? Is it a Hasselblad item?
Hi Roger.
This was one reason why I bought a Leaf Aptus back instead.
I use it on my 503cw and on a Flexbody. No adapter plates are required, just take off the back and rotate it. The Leaf has a latch for connecting the back on both the top of the DB and the side (so that it ends up in the same position as when attatching a film back)
I am not sure if there are different versions of the Flexbody, ie. if older ones have a different connection mechanism which would prevent it being rotated but that is something you could test with yours.
All the best.
You can get the dual Hasselblad V adapter plate from Jim Arnosky at City Lights Digital 1(248)589-9000.

The leaf Aptus won't work on SWC in landscape orientation because the battery hanging off the bottom interferes with the tripod mount. I'm pretty sure it also won't work as is on a EL camera either. Hasselblad solved that problem with an L adapter battery plate for the CFV, and CF versions of their backs to be used on SWC and EL cameras.

I've e-mailed the Leaf regional rep to clarify all that, and see if they do have a solution for the issue that I don't know about.

An Aptus back that fits directly on a Hasselblad V camera does so because it has a built-in V camera plate. It then won't fit any other camera without factory modification. I have an Aptus 75 that similarly is dedicated to a Mamiya 645AFDII, and fits the RZ because Mamiya made an adapter plate to do that. Aptus backs with the Universal mount will work on any camera that there is a separate adapter for, but may need calibration to match specific cameras.
Thank you all for your help.

I am now more interested in the Aptus backs because Andrew says you can choose which way to put them on the camera because they have latches for both orientations.

I will check them out.
Roger, most all of the digital backs have "Universal Adapter" Plates that allow you to rotate the back from landscape to portrait mode ... it's not exclusive to the Leaf Aptus ... there is no rotating mechanism on the back itself.

However, some cameras have a rotating back mechanism built-in ... like the Mamiya 6X7 cameras, and I believe Rollies do also. This works whether you have a film back on the camera or a digital back.

I use an Aptus 75 back on a Mamiya RZ Pro-II and it's the camera back-mechanism that rotates.

If, for ex&le, I selected a Hasselblad CF-22 digital back, it comes with one adapter plate of your choice ... so if I wanted it for a 503CW, I'd select the dual-mount V camera adapter plate that would allow me to remove the back and reinstall it in the Portrait mode.
What would score points with me is a back that allows me to choose in the field whether to use the sensor in portrait or landscape format without using a screwdriver.

The Aptus backs have latches to suit both formats so, while you cannot rotate the back, you can remove it and replace it in the desired format. That suits me fine. In the next message there is an image of an Aptus back showing the two sets of latches.

Now, I need to understand better how the ixpress backs can be set up in portrait format. Do they also have latches for both orientations?
Hopefully, this is the image of the Aptus catches I tried to upload before:


Thanks for the photo Roger, but I understand how the Leaf Aptus backs work, I use one.

The i-Adapter plate does screw into the Hasselblad CF Digital backs, but is only removed to change adapter plates for use on another MF camera. BTW, you can't do that with the Aptus (or I believe with the Phase One backs) without a factory alteration because they are dedicated. The CF backs on Hasselblad camera such as the H3D/39 are also dedicated and cannot be used on other cameras except viewcameras and a few other specialized units. However, the CF backs are not dedicated and can be fit to any camera with an i-Adapter.

The Hasselblad i-Adapter ("i" stands for "interface") for basic 500 series cameras is called the ELD Adapter and allows the back to be removed, and then rotated for Portrait mode. No screws are involved. It's the older single position adapter plates that didn't allow this.

The ELD Adapter allows direct use on viewcameras, and cameras like the Horseman DigiFlex II as well as a 500 series camera (except the EL series which require their own specific interface plate).

If you then wanted to use that same CF back on an H camera, a Mamiya 645 AFD, or a Contax 645, you can remove 4 screws yourself and replace the i-Adapter plate with one for the H camera, the Mamiya AFD, or the Contax 645.
Thanks for the detail, Marc.

So to make sure I understand you correctly, the Imacon (and the Hasselblad) backs with rectangular senors use an adapter plate which allows users to put the back on to Hasselblad V bodies withthe sensor in portrait or landscape format as users desire out in the field without using screwdrivers, etc.

Once you have the correct I-adapter for Hasselblad V bodies, you can choose to have the sensor in portrait or landscape format as you want simply by removing the back and replacing it with the sensor in the desired orientation?

Please confirm. The literature I have read does not seem to cover this point, which is probably only relevant to Flex-/Arc- body owners and those who want to use their cameras with waistlevel finders.
Yes Roger, this is what has been explained to me by my re-seller. A dual orientation plate is employed on 500 series cameras.

I asked about this recently as I am exploring a rectangle 645 CF sensor back for use on the 503CW camera and SWC because the square CFV back I have doesn't accomidate the wide view.

However, I have NOT seen it in action myself. So I will ask again ... specifically as to how it works, and report back here when I get that info.

Four 22 meg backs are in the running as of now.

The Phase One P25+ because of it's ISO 800 ability, capture speed, self contained battery solution, as well as the excellent software; Downside is price and no deals ... and that it's dedicated to one camera.

The Hasselblad CF/22 because I can use it on the V camera but swap plates for use on a H2 camera (a system I already own) or a my Mamiya 645AFD-II. Plus I get a 10% loyality discount from Hasselbald. Downside is I don't like that the back is grey on a black V camera and the battery hanging off the bottom of the back.

The Sinar eMotion22 because it can shoot to a CF card while backing up specific critical shots to a 3 gig internal drive, and like the CF backs can be adapted to other cameras by the photographer via just swapping plates. It has an internal battery so no hanging battery here either. Downside is a top ISO of 200 ( probably a deal breaker).

Finally the Leaf Aptus 22: because Leaf will upgrade it to a 54s when avalable free of charge. The Aptus 22 is only ISO 200, but the 54s is 400. The Aptus is a joy to use, and while the software is primitive compared to Flexcolor and Capture One, it is directly supported by Adobe Camera RAW. Downside is the hanging battery which forces an external power source when using a SWC.

Frankly, my ideal considering current choices would be a 22 meg Phase One P25+ for the ISO 800 and self-contained battery which eliminates one hanging off the back like the Hasselblad CF and Leaf Aptus backs. It may just cost to much in comparison ... which I still have to investigate.

Continuing to support the V cameras is getting expensive : -( Wish I didn't like them so much.
Hello again Roger.
Also Mark... thanks for your comments... as per usual they are allways helpful and well researched.
When I was looking at the Phase backs to go with my Flexbody, I found out that I would also need a special pre-release cable to wake the Phase back up before the exposure is taken ( make one I think). It has something to do with the way Phase backs save power and not get hot, by staying in a sleep mode of sorts. This is not needed on a Leaf back (as it uses a fan to keep it cool) so it stays awake at all times... maybe Mark you may know if a similar cable is needed for Hasselblad CF backs.
Anyhow Roger, I thought it might be good for you to know in your evaluation.
Thanks all for your input.

It seems to me that the 16 MP square sensor backs are a bit of a trap. They get you into medium format digital at the lowest entry price but when you realise how many megapixels you loose when you crop to a rectangular format and the massive lens factor (1.5) and that there is no upgrade path, you start to NEED a rectangular sensor and have to offload heaps of cash again to get what you should have bought in the first place while probably having to sacrifice the square sensor back to pay for it all.

I have not looked into Sinar backs. They sound expensive because of the internal storage but I notice Marc does not mention pricing for each back so I guess cost is not his prime concern! I thought the Leaf backs go up to 400 ISO but that the output is useless at that level. I notice the Leaf's promotional .pdf does not mention ISO figures at all!

Andrew, I have read that some backs designed for the V series need the pressure of the bar which protrudes from the rear of the body (lower right when looking at the back, with the magazine off) when you press the shutter release. Sorry, I do not know the correct name for the bar or what its function is. I note that it does line up with a slot in the magazine and I think it communicates to the body (to lock the shutter release) when all frames on the film have been exposed.

I would like to know more about digital backs on a Flexbody and in particular whether you can compose through the back's preview. I will start a separate thread for this when I work out the best posting area!
Andrew, thanks for the heads up on the need for a separate pre-release cable with Phase One backs. The Hasselblad CF backs have a fan also, but as far as I know do not "nod off" while shooting.

"It seems to me that the 16 MP square sensor backs are a bit of a trap."

Not really. I used a couple of Kodak 16 meg backs on a 555ELD and a Contax 645 for years. When cropping a square to a 8X10 proportion these backs visably out performed my Canon 1DsMKII cropped to the same proportions. Employing bigger pixels, and being 16 bit, the current square backs are even better than my old 12 bit Kodak ones. MF digital Software is also now better. Besides, many people like the square composition and compose in the viewfinder ... thus use all of the digital area of these square backs.

The only detriment I've experienced is when truly wide images have to be made with a 1.5X lens factor back.

Andrew's reference to the Kapture Group reminded me of their True Wide camera which would not only solve the W/A issue, but provide some T/S abilities. Also, the Stitching Back is of some interest. Check it out at ...

As to the Leaf Back ISO ratings, go to the Kodak site > Professional Photographer tab > Products > Leaf Digital backs. There are complete data sheets for each back. The one for the Leaf Aptus 22 says the top ISO is 200. The notion that ISO 400 and even 800 is useless is old news. Leaf Software/firmware upgrades have significantly improved the higher ISO performance. Even 800 is now quite good.

The 'bar' you refer to that slots into a hole in the back interlocks with the darkslide. Or in other words: it prevens the shutter firing when the darkslide is still in the back. The 'last frame exposed' is determined by the back itself and communicated to the body with the same 'bar'.


The iAdapter for Hasselblad digital backs does allow the back to be detached and rotated from landscape to portrait orientation without any other effort. There are 2 release devices on the plate itself that allows this.

This was confirmed today by my Hasselblad re-seller.

This morning I stumbled on a fab deal locally ... a H2D camera and Prism complete with CFH/132 22 meg back, 2 grip batteries & charger, a film back, a 120 Macro, all cords, cases, caps, and a fitted Pelican hard case ... all like brand new ... all for $15,000. USD. After testing it in my studio it became apparent that the camera had hardly been used at all. This puts to bed any further interest in any other solution. The H system and back-up is now complete.

Since I already have one, I will be selling this like new HC/120/4 Macro for a good price if anyone is interested. Contact Marc Williams:

Congratulations on your purchase. What a gift horse, as they say!
For that money I would have made the switch. I bet you are still smiling.

Perhaps you know if the Sinar HY6 will work 6x6 & 4x5 for digital.

I just read in the March/April Calumet Focus that states. "It is not only an analog/digital hybrid system, but also allows for a choice of format...6x6 & 4x5."

I question if they mean 6x6 film and 4x5 digital.

BTW is also offers a central shutter flash sync of 1/1000 second.


Thanks Gilbert. It was a no brainer decision at that price. I already have most of the glass, and I know the system quite well now. It's a matter of going with what I know and the support I have already experienced.

RE the Hy6: I think they are saying that 6X6 digital is a possibility, but it isn't a reality right now. I hope a 6X6 is a possibility ... if someone makes one for the Hy6, maybe Hasselblad will make a CFV for the our cameras : -)

So I think right now Hybrid means it's a 6X6 film camera, and a convenient 645 digital solution with it's rotating back ... which Rollie already had on it's cameras. Some of the current Rollie lenses also already have a 1/1000 shutter sync. Rollie viewfinders are pretty convenient also since some also rotate for awkward vantage point shooting. I don't have a Rollie, but my pal Irakly does, so I've played with it.
I hope a 6X6 is a possibility ... if someone makes one for the Hy6, maybe Hasselblad will make a CFV for the our cameras : -) >


Precisely my thoughts! With the current discounts perhaps it's on way. However, it still appears that the CFV's were flying off the shelves.

Before I read about your purchase today, I noticed how many companies are offering substantial discounts on trade ins, etc. and that has lead me to believe the used market will open up sooner than I expected. Albeit some of these units are still have unresolved problems, I think the companies are progressing well by offer newer units with the problems corrected or surpassed by new hardware and/or firmware. It seems that the market pricing is high enough that they can offer enticing sums to upgrade and still make some money to perpetuate the state of the art, while keeping customers happy.