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Hasselblad lxpress V96C Digital Back


Hello All:

Has anyone "test driven" or purchased the latest V Series Digital Back? I'm looking for user reviews. I see the sensor dimensions are 36x36. Does that mean, therefore, that all CF CFi CFE focal lengths will be different with the back in use?? That is, wide is not so wide, etc.

(Sorry, digital used to mean something to do with fingers and toes during my first 50 years !! I am still a digital virgin :-( )

Thanks. Colin
Yup, a sensor that is smaller than the size of what the lens was designed for (54x54mm if I remember that right) will cause a focal length multiplication effect. Or in other words: your standard lens will suddenly give a short-tele effect etc. Bad news for the wide-angle fans (like me).

Good solution for the money. It's tethered to a image bank, so it's not as easy to get around with. Software leaves a bit to be desired, and I wish it were supported by Adobe RAW. Been shooting it on a 503CW for commercial stuff. Image Bank holds like 1,100 images... so it's good for high volume jobs. Batteries for it weren't easy to find (Radio Shack had a couple and a flimsy charger). Battery power last a good while.

Have you used it through all of the iso ranges? With/Without a flash (i.e. Metz)? What are your impressions in this area with flash and the higher iso's if you have given it a run. I just have not found much info anywhere on this. Thanks in advance.
Michael, I've used it during over-cast Michigan Winter days & in the rain @ ISO 200 & 400; in the studio with Profoto strobes @ ISO 100; and @ all ISOs with a Hasselblad D40 Flash and various Quantum light modifiers... all to good effect.

In addition to the V Imacon Back, we also use a Kodak 645C digital ProBack on a Contax 645 ... which is a totally tethered free unit that uses CF cards for capture and a small but powerful clip on Lith battery; Plus, we use an original Kodak ProBack on a Hasselblad 555ELD and Mamiya RZ Pro II that also uses CF cards for capture, but requires a Large Quantum battery when not hooked up directly to the computer.

The 645C ProBack is the best of the bunch, including the Imacon, because it is totally tether free, and uses the excellent Kodak software AND is supported by Adobe RAW including all the latest upgrades.

So why did we also secure the V Back? Because it works directly and easily on the Hasselblad 503CW (thus extending the functionality of that most favored camera) ... where the 645C is a dedicated back for Contax 645C only, and the Original Kodak ProBack requires a lot of costly adapters and added complexity to be used on the 503CW. While the V96 has the disadvantage of being tethered to the Image-Bank, that is also one of it's strengths ... you can continuously capture 1000 RAW images without fussing with CF cards. Very good if you want to shoot unstopped like at a wedding or when pumping out catalog shots one after another without waiting for image transfer to a tethered computer. I've used it to shoot 100 product shots in rapid order.

IMO, the images from the Kodak backs and the V96 are comparable, with the edge going to the Kodak backs due to much better software. The faster you can get the Imacon images into PhotoShop CS, the better. The software sucks compared to C1, Kodak's Photo-Desk, and especially PSCS. In short, the V96 requires more post work to achieve similar results as provided by the Kodak backs.

Here's a V 96 shot @ ISO 400 on the 503CW using a 50mm @ f/4, taken in the rain during the Winter in pretty bad lighting conditions with no flash. I underexposed by about a stop, so it's similar to using ISO 800. There is some noise due to pushing the ISO and lifting the image in PhotoShop, but nothing significant up to a 18"X18" print (as large as my Epson 2200 Ink-Jet printer will go). In reality, I like the V96 images because they seem to "feel" more like film when viewed as prints. BTW, the blue fringing around the trees to the left is not apparent in the print, but instead a result of compressing to a 790 pixel wide, 125K J-Peg. The print is fine.

This is exactly the explanation and ex&le I was looking for. I make fine art prints of street scenes, graffiti and urban landscapes so most of the time I do not get to pick my lighting conditions. Here in Chicago photos may be there for me one day and gone the next, snow, rain, or sunshine. I absolutely love my 503cw and 40mm. I dont understand the hub bub about being tethered to something that goes on your belt but hey thats personal preference I guess. Going to rent a V96C in the next few weeks. Thank you so so much for taking your time out to reply and post an actual ex&le. I havent found ANYTHING on the web really.
I have tried out Imacon back, but for my H1 and it works perfectly. You may want to try their 4shots back also. The results are just phenomenal. Since you shoot street scenes, Graffiti & urban landscapes, as long as the subjects are just still life, than one cannot go wrong with 4shot back. Tethered is not a problem, since a belt hook is enough to carry. When on tripod, then use a Velcro straps to secure it to one of the legs, so if you walk away from the tripod, then you aren't dragging down the tripod. Some of the ex&les of the either V96c or 96c (both are same) or even the four shot 384c can be found on Imacon site. Try this link;
Hello All:

Thanks for so quickly and selflessly providing some very helpful insights into the V96C.

(I was also reminded that these Digital Backs do not actually change the focal lengths of the lenses ... just the apparent focal length. Heck, for a while there I thought all my lenses might just get smaller and lighter.. heh heh heh.

Thanks again. I will investigate. But I hate that my 40mm gets 'downgraded'.}


Colin Clarke
You can also, via the 132c adapter plate, use the V96C for the H1 if/when you upgrade.
Yes, the V96C

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I now have the V96 digi back. Questions: can I download a "raw" format image with Flexcolor 4.0.2? Can I color balance from one image and apply the adjustment to other images (batch file)? I only know how to balance from a white-gray-black card if it is in the image frame. My images have a consistent greenish tint when downloaded from 5500K flash strobes. There's a lot for me to know about this digi back. Can you gurus help? Thanks}
> Hi Fletcher First off any files that you download with flexcolour are indeed the RAW files (FFF) so any adjustments you make will be calculated from the raw data (which remains untouched) when you save out a tiff. Secondly Flexcolour has very powerful batching abilities. Grey balance one image then highlight a bunch of others that you want to have the same balance and select "modify/neutralise" Nick-T
I am interested in finally putting a digital back on my 503 CW. Any suggestions for acquiring a used one, and on specifics to look at when buying? Also, I understand that other brands are compatible... Any views on that? I appreciate all of your inputs.


Xavier from Paris, France
Xavier, tell us more about your shooting style with the 503CW. If you want to be very portable then that will determine recommendations.

Currently there are a few excellent choices, the CFV digital back from Imacon Hasselblad being the best for the money IMO because it matches the 503CW and works without any cumbersome cords and storage drives. But that back is relatively new and will most likely not be availble used for quite some time.
In fact, I "only" shoot 2 types of pictures: portraits and specific tea related situations (Japanese tea ceremony, tea gardens, tea houses, etc...) Portability is definitely a must. I also have a linhof master technika 2000 for some not so quick shooting...

What do you think of the V96C?

I am impatient to read on

Thanks Xavier
Basically, a $10K back is out of reach of normal amateurs...

My portfolio only has 2 classification: nature/architectual and human portraits (be specific, young gals :p). I think CFV or V96C are almost the same, except V96C use harddrive to store pics, whereas CFV, as told in its name, uses CF.

So Xavier, if the sensor is the same size and pixels, you can consider which media suits you well.
I have a V96C to sell, conditions like new, only about 2500 pics on the internal counter. If interested, contact me via email.