CaptureBack overhead scanning

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PhaseOne captureback overhead scanning station:



The PhaseOne Overhead scanning station is comprised of a medium format camera with a hi-res digital back. The combination of the speed of a film photography camera with a digital image capture sensor make the PhaseOne station the most versatile, fast, and powerful scanner in our digital program.


The PhaseOne captureback can be used for large format materials upwards of 40 to 50 inches, all the way down to very small materials like coins or stamps. Due to this scanners very fast image capture and optimization cycle, our group relies on this scanner to take on all different types on materials. some materials that are scanned on this scanner are; newspapers, manuscripts, maps, photos, large format negatives (on a lightbox). Large collections with many objects that need scanning are completed much more rapidly with the capture back as apposed to a flatbed scanner.

Technical Information:

Default Setup

  1. PhaseOne P45 DigitalBack
  2. Mamiya 645AFDIII Camera body
  3. Kaiser motorized column
  4. Custom made Digital Transitions scan table
  5. 80mm lens at f7.1 and a 1/40 of a second, shooting done in manual focus, "Mirrorup" mode.

Default File/Output Settings

  1. Camera Raw *.IIQ output from the digitalback, these files are then output as lossless *.tif files by the CaptureOne software.
  2. 600 DPI
  3. ISO 50
  4. ICC Profile: PhaseOne P45 Tungsten
  5. "Linear Response" tone curve profile
  6. No digital exposure adjustments

Associated Hardware

  1. Buhl Soft Cube series SC-150 lights, 4300k
  2. Mamiya electronic cable release, with 12ft cord
  3. anti-static wrist strap

Associated Software

  1. CaptureOne v4.5.2


  1. "MirrorUp Mode" drains the batteries!! if you suspect that the mirror is stuck in the up position, and it is not resetting after its timeout period. pulling the lens release lock breaks the circuit connected to the mirrors electromagnet.
  2. If there is a problem with establishing connection between the camera, digitalback, or software, this can be reset by turning off all three components and restarting them in the following order... software -> digitalback -> camera.
  3. The lens on the camera has an autofocus setting useful for quickly aquiring focus of the subject. However because the large lens is oriented in a vertical position pointed down at the scan table, the weight of the lens will cause the camera to become out of focus as the mirror movement vibrates the camera during secsessive image captures! please make sure the lens is securely fastend after your done focusing and that the lens is set to "MF" manual focus before you begin your capture session
  4. If the drivers cannot be installed on Windows XP Service pack 2 or 3, it may be necessary to roll the firewire drivers back to Service Pack 1 firewire drivers, according to the Phase One Knowledge Base.
    • For more information, see:
    1. - a description of the problem.
    2. - the fix recommended by Phase One.
      • Make sure the patch is run on the drive for the computer to which the Phase One is installed.
  5. The camerabody "err db" of which there are a few "db" related errors pertains to either a permissions issue with the directory that the software is trying to write the capture too, or to a lack of sufficient or perception of sufficient disk space on the sessions harddrive. making sure that the permissions are set to write and the disk is adequately empty for the session you are saving to will fix the problem. If you need to clear disk space make sure to empty the session trash folder and system trash bin to free up the space. Also the "err db" error has been seen to accompany the mirror being stuck in the "up" position. to release the mirror you must disrupt electric power to that component of the camera body, this is done by pulling the lens release lock (WHILE HOLDING THE LENS!) or by removing and reseating the batteries from the camerabody.

Resources and Links:

  1. Capture_Back - internal link to workflow
  2. PhaseOne digital camera systems [1]
  3. Digital Transitions overhead camera systems [2]
  4. Mamiya camera 645AFDIII [3]