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Seitz 6x17 Digital camera

Ilse Jurrien
Photokina report
Thursday 21st, September 2006
Posted by: Ilse Jurrien

Seitz Phototechnik expands the boundaries in digital photography. With the new Seitz D3 scan technology it is possible to create a digital 6x17 image with impressive resolution (160 million pixels) in one second. The Seitz 6x17 digital camera with its D3 digital back is equipped with the first high-speed scanning sensor developed specifically for photography. Over the last years Seitz has worked closely with DALSA Corporation from sensor design to prototyping and production. In this way, it has been possible to tailor the capabilities of the new sensor to the exact needs of the photographer: very high speed, increased sensitivity and very high image quality as required for photography applications.

Seitz 6x17 Digital

Seitz Digital camera - D3 sensor cassette
The new camera system is fully mobile and easy to operate thanks to a handheld device with a graphical touch-screen. For data transfer and communication the latest computer technologies are used. World-class lenses by Schneider, Rodenstock or other large-format brands can be used with the new camera and can be used interchangeably with the new camera. The Seitz D3 sensor cassette can also be fitted to other cameras, such as our new Roundshot D3 360° Panorama camera, which makes the investment in the Seitz D3 technology truly rewarding.

Seitz 6x17 camera - Sensitivity
This scan back 6x17 camera is extremely fast. The image results are comparable to a one-shot digital or film back. This is possible thanks to a very high read-out speed of 300MB per second - 100x faster than for any existing scan back. The fastest exposure speed is 1/20.000 sec. - or just one second for the entire 6x17 scan at full resolution! Compared to previous surface sensors, the sensitivity of the Seitz D3 sensor is significantly higher. Comparing it with conventional scanning cameras, the sensitivity is increased by factor 100. This results in a very broad ISO/ASA range (equivalent) of 500 to 10,000, which makes this camera the perfect instrument for virtually all light situations. Our new stage selection technology allows controlling sensitivity by selecting smaller or larger areas of the sensor. This means: additional sensitivity without any additional noise!

Seitz 6x17 digital camera - Resolution
What few thought possible has now come true: wide-format digital photography. With a resolution of 7,500 pixels vertically and 21,250 pixels horizontally the new Seitz camera creates a 160 million pixel image. This substantial resolution makes it possible to create high quality reproductions. A variety of different formats is possible: 6x6, 6x9, 6x15 or a full 6x17 panorama. No limits for high definition photography!

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Seitz D3 sensor - Image quality
The new Seitz D3 sensor technology is a true technological breakthrough not only in speed and resolution but also in its impressive image quality. The new Seitz 6x17 digital camera corrects natural brightness decrease towards the edge without the use of a centre filter. The image has a 48-bit colour depth and a high dynamic range. When shooting directly into the sun, the sensor’s anti-blooming feature reduces glare and allows a clean passage between highlights and lowlights. The image is further enhanced by advanced optimisation algorithms developed by Seitz for ultimate image quality. Of course the photographer can also work directly on the raw image and apply personalised raw conversion settings.

Seitz digital 3 scan back
The Digital 3 scan back sensor has been designed and developed exclusively for Seitz by DALSA Corporation. In this multi-year project specialists around the world have brought together the best capabilities in digital technology, computer science, image optimisation and knowledge of photography applications to build a camera system that goes beyond the imaginable.

Seitz 160 Megapixel 6x17 digital camera - Operation
The Seitz 6x17 Digital is a pleasure to work with. Thanks to ergonomical hand grips the camera is perfectly stable for handheld images. Operating the camera is easy: a touch screen can be attached to the camera body or removed for wireless control with all camera functions displayed via simple graphical icons. The 640x480 pixel colour screen is the biggest camera screen today and allows perfect preview, editing, zooming and image control.

Seitz 6x17 digital panorama camera - Mobile and Open system
A 6x17 digital panorama (uncompressed) represents about 950MB. To process and store such large amounts of data Seitz created a state-of-the-art computer system. Data is transferred by gigabit ethernet from the sensor to the storage device. The portable storage device is itself a computer with most advanced characteristics in processing, disk space and memory features. Additionally, the camera and handheld control unit take advantage of the latest IP network technology, making it possible to connect the camera to a network and control it remotely. Seitz designed this camera to meet the expectations of those photographers who like to take their equipment on exploratory adventures. All components are fully modular, the portable storage device and the handheld device can be adapted to specific needs of the photographer. The camera can also be used in the studio, running the software from a computer (Mac, PC, Linux) via ethernet connection.

Seitz 6x17 Digital

Schneider and Rodenstock lenses
For best image results Seitz recommends using the advanced Schneider or Rodenstock lenses on a Seitz lens board, though large-format lenses of existing 6x17 panoramic cameras such as Linhof Technorama, Fuji and others can also be used. These lenses are connected to the Seitz camera on an optional adaptor plate. All lens types and brands can be interchanged without any restrictions.

Seitz 6x17 digital camera - Panorama and Medium format
Just like a traditional digital back the Seitz D3 scan back cassette can be removed from the 6x17 camera body and fitted to other cameras, e.g. the new Roundshot D3 360° panorama camera and, in the future, to other large or medium format cameras. The possibility of using the scan back in a variety of different cameras makes the system truly versatile - to the benefit of the photographer.

Seitz digital cameras - Aluminium
With increasing image resolution the engineering precision of the camera hardware becomes very important. All Seitz cameras are made from solid blocks of aluminium as used in space technology and produced with state-of-the-art CNC machinery. Machining tolerances are at the decisive 1/100 mm. Uncompromising precision and perfectly adjusted lenses are our guarantee for excellent results. Every Seitz 6x17 camera is hand-made in Switzerland and is unique.

Seitz 6x17 digital camera - Price & Availability
Presented at photokina 2006 for the first time, the new camera system will be available as of January 2007. The price for the Seitz 6x17 Digital panorama camera with its Seitz D3 scan back (mobile version) is 45’500 Swiss Francs (28’900 Euro) and for the studio version 42’300 Swiss Francs (26’900 Euro). The Seitz D3 scan back can also be bought separately and costs 36’000 Swiss Francs (22’900 Euro).

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