Better Light, Inc. has announced a new series of digital scanning backs for large format 4x5 view cameras featuring Hi-Speed USB-2 interface technology for greatly improved connectivity and speed over the previous generation’s SCSI interface.
“Our large format scanning backs are being used more frequently for location, architecture and landscape photography,” said Mike Collette, Better Light president. “As a result, we’ve made our new Hi-Speed Control Box smaller, lighter and faster — with much better connectivity to the laptop computers typically being used on-location.”
Better Light scan backs are widely acknowledged for capturing image quality superior to film or fixed-array digital cameras. Used on a view camera, the capture area is 72x96mm (120mm diagonal), creating and a huge pixel population with the scan movement of its tri-linear sensor. Each pixel receives pure red, green and blue data so there is no interpolation of color data, or typical digital artifacts, or moiré pattern Issues to deal with in post-production.
With the Better Light system, exposure, color balance and other quality judgments are made based on a high-quality preview image on the monitor, prior to the capture of the large, high-resolution file. The new “HS” series control boxes will capture and store the images as 16-bit data files (twice the size of the typical 8-bit file).
The new “HS” Control Box with USB-2 connectivity has data transfer speeds that are four times greater than the speed of the unit’s previous SCSI interface, said Mike Collette, so even though the actual image file is twice the size, the photographer will still have a transfer time less than half the time required by SCSI transfer.–The new system also cuts pre-scan times by half…to as little as 4 seconds, Collette added, depending on exposure settings and light levels.
Better Light’s new Control Box has overall dimensions of 5.5” W x 7.5” D x 1.1” H and weighs 20 oz., versus the previous system’s weight of 82 oz. (5 lbs. 2 oz.) and dimensions of 8” W x 8.5” D x 3.5” H. The system features a 40GB hard drive capacity for original image capture — an optional 80GB drive is available for an additional cost.
Simultaneous to the introduction of the new “HS” Control Box, Better Light has released a new version of the company’s ViewFinder™ Camera Control Software, which will accommodate the new Control Box’s post-processing functions and allow the user to make tone curve changes after the file capture. This new version of ViewFinder is compatible with all of Better Light’s SCSI control boxes, as well as the new HS Series, and requires either Mac OS X or Windows XP or 2000 operating systems. Some existing SCSI scan back models may have some limitations to the features of the new HS Box.
The HS Control Box entirely replaces Better Light’s previous SCSI models, which are no longer being produced. The HS Control Box is $2,995 as an upgrade to an existing system. Contact Better Light for specific details on upgrades.
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