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100 Megapixels: Phase One Ships Its XF 100MP Camera System

I don’t tend to get excited about medium format, but this latest model really caught my eye. I read up on it at the Digital Transitions web site (very easy to read presentation, and AFAIK a good vendor to work with).

The PhaseOne XF 100MP excites me, and that’s not been true for a long while with medium format. Bear in mind that a Leica S offers a paltry 36 megapixels. If going to the trouble of lugging around bulky and heavy lenses, I’d much rather shoot 100MP instead of 36. But other attributes like oversampling for image quality, dynamic range, high ISO, long exposures are important also, and here Phase One seems to have nailed it (so it is claimed).

It’s not the resolution by itself that is exciting, it’s that when high dynamic range and 16-bit color and high resolution are all combined that it gets exciting (think Nikon D810 as the best DSLR approximation). Those 100 megapixels are not going to be fully utilized much of the time, but oversampling has great virtue.

  • 11608 x 8708 images in 16-bit color (101.0 megapixels).
  • ISO 50 (base ISO) to 12800
  • 4.6 X 4.6 micron pixels (slightly smaller than Nikon D810, depth of field and diffraction will be the Scylla and Charybdis to contend with, as well as any focus shift and focus accuracy issues).
  • Claimed 15 stops of dynamic range (something I’ve been calling for with DSLRs for a while, but it’s not clear that lenses can actually deliver 15 stops DR).
  • 3.2" touch display (resolution unspecified, apparently not a Retina display, unfortunately)
  • WiFi built in for connectivity to iPad, iPhone. USB and HDMI outputs also.
  • 1.4 captures per second.
  • Leaf shutter lenses available.
PhaseOne XF100

Some items in particular caught my eye, excerpted here:

  • For quite some time Digital Photography has surpassed analog films in terms of resolution, ISO and Dynamic Range, but often at the sacrifice of one feature for another. Manufactures and engineers continue to strive towards reproducing the textures and tonal feel inherent to analog photography while maintaining all possible benefits of digital photography. At Phase One this pursuit has always been central to what defines ultimate image quality. With the introduction of 16-bit Color Depth, coupled with CMOS ISO flexibility, the XF 100MP delivers a natural texture and tonal feel never before seen in digital camera system.
    [diglloyd: Photoshop is 15-bit due to its special internal numeric format. Phase One is claiming 15-bit DR]
  • The addition of “Electronic First Curtain Shutter” to the XF 100MP Camera System means a further reduction in adverse vibration effects on high-resolution images. The benefit of EFCS is a significant reduction in camera vibration as it allows less mechanical dependency, which greatly improves sharpness when using shutter speeds that demand the steadiest conditions. The EFCS is worry free as it automatically activates when using Vibration Delay or activating Mirror Up.
    [diglloyd: an EFC shutter is CRITICAL to high-res digital].
  • Vibration reduction is certainly important for sharp images, but increases in importance at an exponential rate when resolution increases and pixel size decreases. The XF 100MP Camera System benefits from advanced Vibration Reduction Communication throughout the entire system to ensure that the right tools are used at the right time, ensuring crisp, clean and detail rich images with each capture. The entire XF Camera System is key to ensure the full potential of your 100MP resolution is met.
    [diglloyd: vibration control is critical for shooting situations in which the EFC shutter cannot be employed]
  • With the large, high-resolution touch screen of the XF 100MP Camera System, Live View can be displayed in all its beauty directly on the system. Double-tap on the display to zoom to 100% and adjust focus with immediate visual feedback. With the Phase One XF 100MP Camera System it is easy to achieve perfect focus, even in the most demanding conditions.
    [diglloyd: focus is CRITICAL for 100 megapixels. How well AF works is one thing, but if there is 100% zoom then at least manual focus can guarantee focus manually]
  • Wireless communication is an integrated part of the IQ3 Digital Back range allowing you to connect an iPad or iPhone wirelessly and use Capture Pilot (downloadable in the app store) for Live View, exposure control, shutter release and instantly check focus or compose on a larger screen. The larger display of an iPad can make it easier to view composition and focus. Use it yourself or simply give it to the client when working on set; they can get involved, check and rate images from afar and you can make sure your clients get what they want and keep coming back. GPS information is logged through Capture Pilot when your iPhone or iPad is wirelessly connected to an IQ3 Digital Back and automatically embedded into your IQ RAW files. A great feature for reviewing where images were captured which can be useful for location scouting purposes.
  • Phase One and Sony have been development partners for years, the 50MP sensor being the first milestone of our cooperation, now found in the XF IQ3 50MP. Creating the full frame sibling to the 50MP CMOS system has been a top priority of Phase One for years. Phase One sensor experts have been working hard to optimize the complete use of the 100MP sensor for the worlds most demanding photographers.
    [diglloyd: looks like a SONY sensor; I’ve long wondered what Sony sensor tech could do when optimized].
  • The new XF 100MP System delivers extreme long exposures of up to 60 minutes in full 100MP resolution. The IQ3 100MP is yet again the first of its kind to offer such flexibility in a creative tool. With no compromise in ISO flexibility and exposure limitation, all available on a full frame CMOS sensor.
  • By combining new sensor technology and years of experience in noise suppression through Capture One software, the Phase One XF 100MP ISO range delivers unparalleled creative freedom and performance in all shooting conditions. With a previously unthinkable base ISO of 50, the Phase One XF 100MP delivers the flexibility of longer exposures and unrestricted use of fast lenses, all while providing the cleanest possible results. Expanding on CMOS technology, the XF 100MP can offer higher ISO versatility and, with Capture One software, retain excellent noise suppression and file rendering.
  • Schneider Kreuznach Leaf Shutter lenses are designed together with world-renowned optics manufacturer, Schneider Kreuznach of Germany. Building on decades of experience in high-resolution optics and precision manufacturing, the Leaf Shutter Lenses are some of the sharpest lenses in the world and ready to compliment the new Phase One XF 100MP Camera System.

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