[Leaf Valeo] How to set up and use Leaf Valeo digital back (Ver 1.0)

[Leaf Valeo] Leaf Valeo digital back setup guide (Ver 1.0)

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Design and configuration

  • Mechanical interface with Hasselblad
  • Cable
  • Portable pack (hard disk, battery, WiView display)
  • Software (WiView & Leaf capture V8)

 

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   Left: Hasselblad, Leaf Valeo back

   Front: Portable pack (hard disk + 2 battery)

   Right: HP-IPAQ display

Basic setting (use-it-as-film-back)

Basic setting can be used when Mac computer is not available and/or WiView display is not configured properly. If hard disk in portable pack is used one (most likely YES) and if not formatted before you acquired, it contains Valeo back configuration files which needed Valeo operation already inside.

  1. Connect digital back to hard disk through 1394 cable and power on
  2. When digital back connected to hard disk first time, it uploads multiple files to the back and takes 3 to 4 minutes (Orange LED blink). Configuration files and Preset data from LEAF DN folder are copied to digital back to initialize it. When file load finished, you’ll hear 1 beep       and orange LED changed to green.
  3. Connect Synchro cable from X sync port of lens to receptacle of digital back
  4. Try test shot.

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   Leaf Veleo-17 Wi digital back

Check functionality with LED and sound

In normal operation, there’s beep sound (1 time) as soon as shutter released, orange LED blink about 1 second, then LED change to green light blinking about 1 sec (writing to memory sequence) with 1 more beep sound and finally stay in green LED constantly on.

If the back is not functioning properly (in case not capture image), orange LED blink about 1 second, then 4 times beep sound, and green
LED stay on. In this case, there is no green LED blink sequence (no writing to memory).

If not functioning properly, check:

  • Whether X synchro cable connected to the back from the lens securely·
  • Try to push shutter release in short and fast interval (if it works, it is setting issue. Change setting to ‘500 series’ from 553)
  • If problem persist, try different X synchro cable and lens

How to download file when image captured properly

  1. Connect 1394 cable from hard disk of portable pack to computer. For file transfer, you can use 1394 (4 pin) cable or 1394 (8 pin) cable. Meanwhile it the back operate in tethered mode, 1394 (8 pin) cable is the must because it has a power line supplies electricity to the
    back.
  2. File name and extension will be XXXXX.mos
  3. If you successfully download image, but only can see black image from lightroom or photoshop, try ‘auto tone’. Because Valeo’s default ISO is 25, it is easy to make under-exposure during test. With auto tone, at least you can confirm whether picture is taken or not which tells the digital back functioning

Leaf Portable pack

Portable pack is replacement of tethering. Leaf Valeo can be used on location as portable digital back.

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On location shooting

  • Valeo back (and most other digital backs too) is set default in 4600K color temperature based on studio application which uses artificial light in tethered mode. It does not make JPG file as well in assumption any professionals who use digital back will do post processing to get best result   out of file, instead of JPG generated by pre-wired electronics.
  • If you shot in outdoor or various lighting sources which varies color temperature, you need to add grey card or white subject as color reference for post processing
  • In case there is no reference point for color temperature in your shot, set 5500K for sunlight, 6500K for shadowed lighting, and 7000K for        cloudy day as starting point. You need to fine tune as close to your perceived vision on the shot or image.

In summary, basic setting is using the digital back like as film back without extra setting. You can treat Leaf Valeo the same as film back which is loaded with ISO 25 films. Of course, you are not limited for ’12 shot’ or ‘color temperature’ like film.

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  Very first shot of digital back ever… With Valeo-17, Distance view from Datun mountain, Taipei

Setting with Mac computer and Leaf Capture V8

Leaf capture is dedicated software for Leaf digital backs which is running on Mac only. Unfortunate to IBM PC users, Leaf never release S/W for them until they were merged to Phase One. In Leaf capture software V8.4, you can find must-have menu for Valeo back, ‘Arrange > Transfer Portable’.  After V8.4, this menu omitted, therefore you need to stick with V8.4 or below version to utilize the valeo in full capability.

Compatibility with Mac OS:

Leaf capture V8.4 is quite old one (current version in 2013 is V11) therefore latest Mac OS will not support it. There are many cases, new /
upgraded OS does not support old applications. I personally confirm Mac OS 11.5 is supporting Leaf capture V8.4, but cannot tell compatibility with higher version. To be in safe side, you better consider acquiring old Macbook or MacPro which has old enough to run legacy OS, version 11.5.

In this case, Macbook is also dirt cheap. No one is looking for such an old Mac in the used market   :- )    You can buy it for Valeo dedicated
tool without concern much about bank account  (I bought my Macbook at USD85 and run several years until broken suddenly last year).

Setting

When select sub-menu ‘Arrange > Transfer Portable’ in V8, you’ll see multiple choices of factory parameters, user defined presets, and selection
of camera type. For Hasselblad V, you need to select 1 of 3 choices as below

  1. 500 series for 500C, 500CM, 500EL/M, 501, 503 etc. Basically all HASSY except below 2,3.
  2. 553 ELX. This type camera uses 2nd cable which connected from motor drives to digital back to trigger the back
  3. 555 ELD. This camera uses 4 pin data bus at back of the camera to trigger digital back

Hasselblad 200 or 2000 series are not supported due to their difference in shutter mechanism. But if you attach C or CF type lens which used in 500
series and set the camera to ‘C mode’, you can use digital back with ‘500 series’ setting. Practically you change your 200 or 2000 camera to 500 camera in this way.

Alternatively, you can use 2000 series sync signal anyway but limited in 1/90 sec shutter speed which is limitation of focal plane shutter

Develop and process Raw file

Even though sub-menu of portable setting is only found in V8, higher version of Leaf capture support Raw file processing from Valeo back. Only missing is ‘transport’ function which enables camera setting / type changes.

You also know, I believe, ubiquitous Photoshop and LightRoom from Adobe are supporting Valeo’s ‘.mos’ Raw file without restriction, to make our
life easier. Ironically Capture One S/W from Phase One which acquires Leaf is not supporting both uncompressed RAW (Leaf Mosaic) and compressed RAW (Leaf HDR) from Valeo back. Thanks Adobe… and P1 guys, what’d you doing?

Preset

Various presets can be created by user which is handy on location if HP IPAQ used for wireless control of the back. ISO, color temperature,
sharpen, color rendition…& many other parameters can be defined in advance and applied with quick selection in IPAQ menu.

But if you plan to use Lightroom and/or Photoshop, only ISO number and camera type are relevant one. Adobe does not recognize pre-setting of Leaf
Capture specific parameters, and you have to use Adobe’s adjustment anyway.

Important note & information

· Digital back is not working (green LED changed to orange & constant on) even though IPAQ indicate battery remains
Digital back uses power hungry CCD which is much larger than 35mm full frame sensor. Moreover Leaf back operates cooling fan continuously to
dispense heat generated by CCD and electronics, so eat up battery power (Amp) quicker than you imagine.

In case of flesh new battery, Valeo is working until 25% battery remains, but old used one can stop working around 40% remains. It is because
old battery cannot supply enough current (Amp) even though it hold high enough voltage.

If portable pack attached beneath camera, 1396 cables runs only about 10cm. But if you use portable pack like as ‘external battery pack’ as I
normally do, you will need about 2 meter length cable which will causes additional voltage drop. Therefore need to be careful not to extend 1394 cable too long, keep it less than 2 meters. And prepare good battery plan

Using Valeo digital back is quite straightforward and easy like using film back.

You need to do post processing of course, but it is expected to all digital back users, right?

With extreme cheap price and high performance like as Leaf Aptus 22 or Phase one P25, it will deliver the most value-per-dollar and satisfaction to users.

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   Portable back attached to camera.

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   Under set-up process. Valeo-17 has attached to Hasselblad 500C. PDA (HP IPAG) is used as display for Leaf Valeo with DP-67 software. Later I switched to WiView software which is far easier to setup and secure connection in bluetooth

 

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   B&W. 

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   Ultimate Landscape and architecture camera

 

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SW download : anyone need LeafCapture V8.4 dmg file, just let me know leaving message or comment.

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