Thanks to the staff of PhaseOne Cologne, I had the opportunity to test the high-end black and white Digital back together with a PhaseOne 645DF and a 80mm Schneider-Kreuznach lens. My expectations were high after having read the technical specifications.
"Traditionally, most camera sensors have a Bayer pattern of individual red, green and blue filters for each pixel. These individual colors are then interpolated through numerous methods to create RGB data for each pixel. The Achromatic+ back is designed to be a black and white only product with no color filters on the sensor."
Let’s look at hard facts – which means images.
For obvious reasons, it’s not possible to present the image in full resolution here. The above image is downsized to a width of 1200 pixel (and 2400 pixel if you click). The detail crops below are not re-sized and represent the full resolution of the camera.
Image parts with thin parallel lines are perfectly reproduced, making moire effects much less of a problem.
High contrast areas which usually are critical and often lead to disturbing color fringes and chromatic aberrations are just not visible here.
During this test-shooting all images were shot with the camera on a sturdy tripod, but no cable release was used. In Postproduction no image manipulation or enhancements were performed. You see the black and white image as it comes out of the camera. The main difference between a black and white image that was created by conversion from a color image and the image files produced by the Achromatic back is the much higher amount of detail in the low key parts of the image together with a much higher overall spectrum of tones from very bright to darkest areas of the image.
The sensor comes without any IR filter, which gives easy access to all kind of scientific photography and breathtaking city- and landscapes and the same time. For the above seen images an IR-blocking filter was used.