1. It’s Shipping. Now.
At the climax of Star Wars Episode VI the Emperor hisses “Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station”. The surprise was not that Death Star II was larger and more powerful than its predecessor, but that it was fully ready when everyone assumed it was still a work in progress.
While Phase One is more like Luke Skywalker and the Rebels, their announcement today is in-line with the Emperor’s: the full-frame CMOS IQ3 100mp, larger and more powerful than any back previously produced, is ready to ship. Today. In fact Digital Transitions has already received the tracking numbers our first two units and has appointments available later this week for clients to test them. The Force is strong with Phase One.
How did Phase One get so far ahead? As told in our article, the Phase One XF Story, the P65+ was a turning point for Phase One. Released in 2008, it was the first full-frame medium format sensor, first 60mp camera, and the first medium format system capable of ISO3200, and boasted the highest capture speed in medium format. With no competition and ground-breaking capability the P65+ sold like proverbial pancakes, and Phase One invested the profits into a massively expanded R+D team. The resulting innovations like the Schneider leaf shutter lens lineup, Phase One XF camera platform, Capture One v9 software, and Phase One IQ3 digital back interface are years ahead of the competition. They’ve been first to 60mp, first to 80mp, first to ship a CMOS back, and now will be the only ones shipping a 100mp camera, a full-frame 645 CMOS camera, and a HDMI-enabled digital back.
2. So. Much. Resolution.
While it seemed intuitive that Phase One would eventually have a full-frame CMOS back in it’s arsenal, but it could easily have been another 80mp sensor rather than the 100mp of the IQ3 100mp. Having the extra resolution, at the same time as the benefits of CMOS, is a pleasant surprise.
3. 15 Stops of Dynamic Range
Phase One has always been known for its dynamic range. With the Phase One IQ3 100mp the bar has been raised yet again. With 15 stops of dynamic range, holding delicate highlights and deep shadows will be easy, even in tricky lighting situations.
4. Lower Low ISO
The Phase One IQ3 50mp carried a base ISO of 100. The Phase One IQ3 100mp has a lower minimum ISO which makes it easier to control ambient light when using strobe. Combine ISO50 with the 1/1600th flash sync and you can easily bring a bright sunny day down to a dim dusk, without needing a nuclear reactor to power your strobes.
5. Higher High ISO
Normally having a lower minimum ISO would imply giving up ISO capability on the high end. Despite carrying a minimum ISO of 50 the Phase One IQ3 100mp boasts a maximum ISO of 12,800.
6. HDMI Out
The IQ2 and IQ3 series digital backs to date have offered three ways of reviewing images and using Live View: directly on the digital back’s Retina Touch LCD, on an iOS device via WiFi, and on a computer via USB3. The IQ3 100mp adds HDMI as another way of reviewing images and using Live View. No digital back has ever featured HDMI before. It opens up a whole world of possibilities, such as placing a battery-powered 7″ LCD next to the digital back when shooting on a tripod.
7. Electronic First Curtain Shutter
As many owners of a Sony A body discovered, getting sharp images from a high-res sensor requires more than just having a high-res sensor. Vibration from a mirror or focal plane shutter can easily kill sharpness. With an XF IQ3 there are multiple tools to keep vibration in check when hyper sharpness is the goal. The XF body features a Vibration Mode which automatically delays capture until vibration has cessated, as measured by the built-in 6-axis gyroscope. The Schneider Leaf Shutter lenses can be used, the vibration from which is far less than that caused by a focal plane shutter. Finally the Phase One IQ3 100mp introduces a first for medium format: an Electronic First Curtain Shutter (EFCS). Better yet, it turns on automatically when you’re using Vibration Mode on the XF, so the user doesn’t even have to think about it.
8. One Hour Exposures
Like the IQ3 50mp the IQ3 100mp can expose between 1/4000th and one hour. Long exposures do not require a special mode and does not change the ISO. Along with the class leading dynamic range, Phase One color, and long exposure calculator, this makes the IQ3 100mp the best long camera ever shipped.
9. Nothing is Missing
All the great features of the other IQ3 and XF are still there with the IQ3 100mp. Flash sync at 1/1600th. Focus Mask. Exposure Warning. Clipping Warning. Customizable Guides. Wireless control, review, and editing.