Using strobes and ES. Is it any good?

Since a couple of months the Rodenstock Digaron lenses have been available in Aperture-Only (AO) mounts. As the era of mechanical leaf shutters is coming to an end, we need to look at other solutions to use these outstanding lenses. Using them in AO is one of the options. An option that requires a digital back with an integrated shutter (ES).

HyperFocal: 0The IQ3-100 was Phase One’s first back featuring the ES function. We’ve got high hopes that the recently announced Hasselblad CFV-II 50c will have a similar integrated shutter. Maybe faster, thanks to the smaller sensor. As it stands now, ES is not suitable for shooting fast moving objects. Not necessarily a problem to photographers using a tech cam. The ES technology has got its own merits. There are no moving parts, so no camera vibration and no wear and tear of the shutter. Shutter times are 100% dependable and the range of available speeds is much broader than a mechanical shutter could ever offer.


ES has a limitation though that does matter to those of you using tech and view cameras: It affects the use of strobes. Some may say that you can’t use strobes at all. But please draw your own conclusions, based on the facts.

As the ES is a rolling shutter, strobe sync is limited to 0.6 seconds with IIQ-L (14-bit) or 1.3 seconds with IIQ-L (16 Bit). When the back is set to these shutter times or longer it will trigger the flash. The flash is connected to the sync port of the back – by cable, Pocket Wizard or whatever you prefer . When the exposure starts, the flash will fire about halfway. In most studio situations switching of the modelling lights during exposure will do. On location use of strobes is also pretty uncomplicated, as long as no short exposure times are needed. Whether that’s a serious limitation or not, every interior photographer needs to judge for himself. HyperFocal: 0

Here’s a quick test – not the most exciting subject – for which an IQ3-100 was paired with a Cambo WRS-1600 and a Digaron-23 in AO.



Side by Side.jpgThanks to the long exposure time for this shot, there was no need to use the 14-bit mode.


Wieker Meule-top_no flash

The next shot – the interior of a Dutch Windmill – required an exposure time of 2 sec. at f8/11. The lens uses was a Digaron-32. All the ambient light was coming from behind the camera. Therefore two small strobes were hidden behind this massive wooden mill wheel.


Wieker Meule ES 2s Digaron-32 f8/11 Fill flash



Wieker Meule_ flash_s.jpg


HyperFocal: 0

This Rodenstock Digaron HR-105 Macro is optimised for a magnification range of 1:4 – 4:1. It’s not a general purpose lens, but superb results can be obtained in close-up photography. It has never been supplied with a shutter, as the lens’ construction doesn’t allow this. So for use with a digital back, the ES is needed.



HyperFocal: 0Here’s that same lens on a Phase One XT. Fitted in a Cambo helical focussing mount with 25mm of travel. As the lens can’t be equipped with the electronical leaf shutter used in other XT lenses, the ES is needed to work with it.



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