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Danish manufacturer Imacon have launched a digital camera back that sets completely new standards in quality and functionality. The FlexFrame 4040 incorporates the latest 16 million pixel chip and is the first digital back incorporating this quality level with Imacon's unique Single-shot, Multi-shot and Micro-step functionality within one product. Imacon claim this combines exceptional versatility with larger file sizes and deeper colour definition than any Single-shot only camera back on the market.
The portable FlexFrame 4040 is based on Imacon's renowned digital back technology, which already leads the market in terms of features, flexibility and quality. The FlexFrame 4040 includes a portable controller and can be used in the studio or on location, enabling the photographer to take 48Mb high-quality single-shot fashion images or moir free multi-shots for high-end stills.
In micro-step mode the FlexFrame 4040 creates high-resolution file sizes up to 384Mb. With a colour specification offering full 16-bit per colour, the user also benefits from working with the latest version of Adobe Photoshop 6. Imacon believes that the FlexFrame 4040 offers the best colour definition of any digital back available.
The FlexFrame 4040 incorporates a 16 million pixel chip for which Imacon has
developed its own single-shot algorithms. These ensure the best possible
quality of data, optimising colour rendition and sharpness without disturbing
the perception of the human eye by the artefacts always present in Single-shot
images. Tests have shown the FlexFrame's quality in Single-shot mode to be equal
to leading digital camera backs that are designed to provide Single-shot capture
The second option with the FlexFrame 4040 is Multi-shot capture, and this relies on the ability to move the camera back chip by minute piezo increments. This means that each pixel position receives true, 16-bit, red, green and blue data, making this method suitable for high-end studio work, with no risk of moir. This system also eliminates possible image errors resulting from the use of a filter wheel.
"The heart of the FlexFrame technology is the accuracy of the frame which holds the CCD chip and the registration that can be achieved," says Imacon's founder Christian Poulsen. "Using piezo-controlled movements, the CCD chip can be moved in four directions, to an accuracy of plus or minus one tenth of a micron.
"It is this ability to move the chip so precisely, by only half a pixel at a time, that has enabled us to offer a third option with the FlexFrame 4040. This is the Micro-step mode in which the new FlexFrame 4040 can create 384 Mb RGB digital files."
The FlexFrame 4040 can be mounted easily, using adaptors, to most medium-format cameras such as Hasselblad, Mamiya and Fuji. The Hasselblad adaptor fits the camera back on to view-cameras such as Sinar, Linhof and Horseman.
Imacon say one of the most obvious differences between the FlexFrame models and other digital backs is Imacon's use of a portable separate controller as standard. The controller connects to the camera via a ten-metre FireWire link and offers rechargeable battery operation, so there is plenty of freedom to move around during the shoot. The easy to replace batteries each last up to two and a half hours, which makes the FlexFrame totally mobile.
An internal charger means that batteries are charged whenever the unit is
plugged into the mains, while a warning light indicates when a battery is
running low. Imacon believes that maintaining a portable controller gives
great flexibility and allows it to more easily upgrade the unit as new
electronics etc are developed in the future. The controller can be linked to PC
or Macintosh platforms via a conventional SCSI connection or via the high-speed
FireWire. The portable controller unit comes as standard and is included within
the overall price.
Imacon has redesigned for photographic use their award winning ColorFlex software and incorporate this into the FlexFrame 4040. This provides a unique flexibility, because for the first time an operator can have a high-end scanner and digital camera back using the same ICC profiles. Someone producing a job that entails scanning existing hard copy originals and taking new shots using a digital camera will be able to match the colour balance of all the images accurately, and much more easily, than before.
The ColorFlex software is easy to operate, and incorporates controls and tools for achieving the maximum flexibility in the workflow, with full control of the image capturing process, true RGB inspection, cropping, scaling, CMYK conversion and ICC based open colour operation.
"We entered the digital camera back market with the acquisition of the Danish manufacturer ColorCrisp at the beginning of last year. We spent many months developing the technology, and when we launched the FlexFrame 3020 in January we brought to the market a digital back that offered a range of features and a level of quality that had never before been available in one product," says Christian Poulsen.
"The FlexFrame 4040 is the fourth generation of Imacon digital backs to
incorporate a three-in-one architecture, and we believe its launch heralds
another leap forward in the world of digital camera backs, and will maintain
Imacon's position as a leader in this technology." Shipping of the new
FlexFrame 4040 will commence during the fourth quarter of 2001.
UK Distributor - The Studio Workshop. Tel: 020 7278 7633. Please mention ePHOTOzine.