Kodak DCS Pro Back 645 Review
Features & Controls
The Pro Back 645 attaches on the Mamiya 645AFD just like a regular film back.
It's quick and easy to go from film to digital or to put the back on another camera
body. You just turn and depress the lever on the side to release the latch.
The "belly of the beast," a massive 36.72mm x 36.72mm Kodak "Blue" CCD imager with 4080 x 4080 (16,646,400) effective pixels resolution. It is protected by either a low-pass infrared (IR) filter that is supplied or by the optional anti-aliasing (AA) filter shown here. To give you an idea of just how BIG that sensor is, your average 3-, 4- or 5-megapixel consumer CCD imager is about the size of those "AA" letters!
Because the IR or AA filter is fully exposed when the back is off the camera or
not covered by its body cap, it is very easy to clean. It is also very
easy to make it "dirty" too so the less time it is exposed like this, the better.
You must have one filter or the other installed at all times to produce sharp
and accurately colored images.
On the back is a high-resolution 2-inch color TFT LCD monitor with very true color rendition. I have always been less than thrilled by the color displays on other Kodak DCS pro cameras so it was nice to see that they finally got it right.
The controls are simple and minimal but quite effective. The back is powered up
when the camera is turned on so it does not have its own On/Off switch. To review
a captured image you only have to press the OK button. Go through stored images by
pressing the Right or Left side of the 4-way selector. Pressing Up or Down activates
the playback options, we'll cover that on the next page. The MENU button enables
the menu system. The CANCEL button dismisses the menu or returns you to capture mode.
The TAG button is used to select images for processing or deletion. The lever on
the bottom releases the battery.
I/O ports on the side (top to bottom); serial debug port, good for GPS, the power port for the AC adapter, the IEEE 1394 FireWire data and control port, the Video Out port.
Two AC adapters are included, 8VDC when using a AC outlet to power the camera and a
12VDC adapter for the battery charger. The Video Out signal is user selectable for
NTSC or PAL format. This can be used for displaying stored images on a larger TV
monitor and it can be used to immediately review each shot post-capture as in a
studio environment. The FireWire port is used to download image data to the host
computer ands it can also be used to operate the Pro Back 645 in tethered mode with
the supplied DCS Camera Manager (Windows) or DCS Capture Studio (Macintosh) software.
We'll explain that in more detail on page
And speaking of the battery, here it is mounted on the bottom. On the side is the
CompactFlash (CF) Type II card slot that accepts CF and CF+ cards including the
IBM Microdrives. The 1GB Microdrive is highly recommended and will give you
plenty of portable storage for those massive sized images. The raw images are about
18MB and TIFF files weigh in at 50MB each!
The Pro Back 645 is powered by a lithium rechargeable battery pack. Compared to
NiMH "brick" battery packs of the DCS cameras these are tiny and light. But they
pack a good punch and they're able to be "topped off" whenever you want without
hurting its charge-holding capacity or life span. Kodak claims the batery is good
for about 400 shots (depending on LCD usage.)
The DCS Pro Back 645 Battery Pack is 8.4V and its battery level can be viewed on
the STATUS screen on the color LCD.
Supplied is this compact dual-battery charger unit and its own AC power supply. Fully depleted battery packs are fully charged in 2-1/2 hours. If two batteries are on the charger they will charged simultaneously. One battery is included.
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