Using The Phase One System To Shoot a 110 Pound Koran And Other Priceless Relics

James Robinson is photographer at the 114 year John Rylands Library in Manchester, UK. The library is home to thousands of priceless books in every language dating back to 1000 B.C. The library is charged with the task of using the latest technology to turn every word into digital format. To do this, the photography staff uses the Profoto D1 and a variety of Phase camera systems to archive each treasure.

Obviously the task of capturing every single page of written text in their library is no small feat. It's a slow and tedious task but an important one that secures cultural heritage. The library uses some of the best technology in the world and relies heavily on the Phase One medium format camera systems to capture every detail possible. To accomplish this, the photographers staff uses the Phase One 645 DF body, the Phase One iXR body, the IQ180 digital back and the Profoto D1 monolight. The flashes are synced with an Air Sync unit. It's cool to think that from here on out, we can basically have every possible thing we want documented in the highest quality possible.

For more information on the Phase One systems, check out the Phase One Youtube Chanel for a ton of free educational videos.

Don't forget to check out our Fstoppers Exclusive Photography Workshop this May where we will be teaching the best techniques to photograph liquids, bottles, and products with Rob Grimm. If you are in charge of product photography for your company, wish to get better at sculpting light on objects, or just want to hang out and drink a whiskey with Rob and I then this workshop is for you. We will be using the best in medium format cameras like Hasselblad, lighting from Broncolor, and the best kept tips and secrets in the industry.


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Chris Malley's picture

Fascinating little BTS look at quite an iconic building in Manchester and their work there. Great to see the processes that go into capturing each photograph, seems quite a relaxing process!

Dean Courtois's picture

If you loved history and photography this would be a dream job!

As a street photographer usually I don't care about the fine details, color accuracy and other stuffs, but good to see how important it is in the other fields of photography.

Have you not heard of scanners

This would very likely destroy these books. Many older books are extremely fragile and a camera is the best way to get a digital copy. Laying these older books flat on a scanner would break the binding and possibly damage the paper pages beyond repair.

Does anyone know why should someone use the PhaseOne iXR over the 645DF? or which are the main differences between them?