Jenoptik EyeLike offers comprehensive range of medium format digital camera backs.

For Hasselblad, Fuji GX 680, Mamiya 645, Contax 645 AF, Rolleiflex  medium format cameras, Jenoptik has 1-shot, 4-shot, and 16-shot digital camera backs in 4 megapixel, 6 megapixel, 11 megapixel, and 16 megapixel versions. Now (2006), a 22-megapixel back portable version has been available since last year.

New Eyelike eMotion22

Jenoptik camera back at photokina 2002
Jenoptik camera back at Photokina 2002. We have kept track of Jenoptik backs during trade shows in 2003, 2004, and 2005.

The new Eyelike eMotion22 uses a Dalsa chip, not Kodak. Accepts only CF storage; but seems to have FireWire connection to a hard drive. There are pros and cons of each system: a portable hard drive requires more battery power.

Rollei now offers a package: the Sinar eMotion 22 with the Rolleiflex 6008 AF camera body. The German company Jenoptik has taken over aspects of Sinar, the venerable Swiss camera manufacturer. Thus the names on the backs are occasionally interchanged.

Older Jenoptic Eyelike digital backs

The 6 megapixel is the older Philips chip. 11 megapixel is the new Dalsa chip which they inherited when they purchased what was left of Philips CCD sensor division. The 16 megapixel chip is Kodak’s square CCD sensor. I am not as familiar with the 2,048 x 2,048 chip. 4 megapixels is a bit small by todays’ standards but you can run it in 16-shot or even 32-shot mode and achieve 36 megapixels.

Jenoptik offers active cooling as do some other comparable backs. I believe it is Phase One which has to turn its sensor off to keep heat down. I have not seen any form of cooling for the Kodak ProBack. Heat causes digital noise to develop.

Previous generations of 4-shot and 16-shot digital backs required being tethered to a desktop computer in order to access a processing card that had to be inside the computer. But if the new generation can function out on location with a FireWire connection to a powerful laptop such as the Mac Titanium, then the system is a tad more portable. Today (2006) photographers won’t put up with any cables, so the new Jenoptik is totally portable

We have looked at the EyeLike at both Photokina 2002 and PhotoPlus ’02, and again at Photokina 2004 and PhotoPlus 2004. We will inspect it again at Photokina 2006. However our personal experience with medium format camera backs shooting in a studio and out on location is with the MegaVision backs, Kodak ProBack Plus, both on a Hasselblad; and the Leaf Valeo 22, on a Mamiya 645 AFD. However all of these are one-shot cameras. Jenoptik also offers a 4- and 16-shot, but we do not have any Jenoptik products at either FLAAR location.

Jenoptik is a well known German company with distributors in major foreign countries.

Last year seemed to be a moment of decision (by photographers) as to whether to go to the 12, 13 and 17 megapixel chips for 35mm SLR, or continue with medium format. Although thousands of photographers have already decided (and tended to select the Canon Digital Rebel or Nikon D70, D100 or D200). Other photographers are choosing the CMOS route for full-frame 35mm SLR: Kodak SLR/c, Kodak SLR/n and Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II. But you might wish to consult with Nicholas before you make this step. Consultation is available to all participants in his course (once you are signed up you have access to Dr Hellmuth’s telephone number).

FLAAR has a perspective dedicated to selecting which camera will do an excellent job producing large format output on a LightJet, Lambda, or wide format inkjet printers such as Epson, HP, Canon, Roland, etc. Thus, so far, the medium format backs are preferable for image quality, albeit at a premium price. The advantage of the Jenoptik Eyelike precision M22 is its 4-shot and 16-shot capability. This is not available with the Phase One or the discontinued Kodak backs. And you don’t get multi-shot capability with the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II.

But few universities or institutes have the full range of equipment to compare them side by side, since that implies having the actual cameras in-house. Thus we have initiated a program to independently access the topical question for year 2006: medium format or switch to 35mm SLR?

Continue on our FLAAR digital-photography.org website for comparative comments on all the other medium format digital backs: Imacon, Jenoptic, Kodak, Leaf, Phase One, Sinar, Mamiya ZD.

Compare prices; is it best to buy by lowest price comparison?

When you shop for cameras be ware of bait and switch scams by some camera dealers. Buy only from reputable dealers.

 

Most recently updated Feb 27, 2006.
Previously updated Dec. 9, 2002; updated March 18, 2003, December 2004, Jan 17, 2006.

 

Gitzo Tele Studex Tripod
Available by october 2008
Gitzo Tele Studex Tripod
Available by octuber 2008
Gitzo Tele Studex Tripod
Available by october 2008
Gitzo Tele Studex Tripod
Available by october 2008
Gitzo Tele Studex Tripod
Available by october 2008

 

Nicholas Hellmuth’s Medium Format Digital Camera Initiative

For over 40 years Nicholas Hellmuth has used Rolleiflex and Hasselblad cameras to record the flora, fauna, and archaeology of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. Now for several years he is extending his medium format experience to digital photography.

Since FLAAR works both in a studio as well as out on location, we are an ideal focus for judging portability. We have experience with large format digital scan backs (the excellent BetterLight) and we also use Nikon and Canon digital cameras. A full-service digital pro should have at least one medium format digital system and should consider large format digital options as well.

Although we started with a Leaf Valeo 22 coupled with a Mamiya 645 AFD body and lenses, we are open to showcasing all bodies as well as other digital backs. Indeed we have tested an Imacon 4-shot back on a Hasselblad H1 body. Then (February 2006 onwards) we are evaluated a MegaVision black-and-white dedicated back for fine art photography. Next we are testing a 33-megapixel Phase One P 30. Since 2008 FLAAR has used a Phase One P25+ (a great way to update an aging Hasselblad ELX body with its excellent Zeiss lenses).

Camera resellers or manufacturers who wish to have their cameras, lenses, and backs included in this initiative are welcome to send their equipment for evaluation.

FLAAR is the de facto source of information because we have been university based, independent, blunt, and we are one of the few review sources that dares to review advertising specs, advertising claims, and advertising hype. We can afford to reveal all the pros and cons because FLAAR is a research institute. Photographers feel they can trust a university research professor who has devoted years to understanding the pros and cons of each aspect of a digital camera system and workflow.

Notice you are not blinded by blinking, flashing, or pesty ads for low-bid camera stores on a FLAAR photography review. I am always amused by a pseudo-review that obviously is simply paid to send you to a camera store.

You can download our colorful FLAAR Reports on our medium format digital camera initiative.

 

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