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Phase One IQ4 Medium Format: the Summit of Image Quality (March 2020)

Muscles and joints will feel the climb and particularly the descent required to summit Mt Whitney, whether it’s the hyper-steep Mountaineer’s Route or the equally awesome but tedious standard route. Cameras choices are sort of like that, ranging from light and easy to shoot (think Sony mirrorless) to bulky and heavy and demanding attention (Phase One). Well, that’s a lousy analogy—no summiting of Whitney is fast and easy. Still the idea holds: if you want the peak experience, you have to 'pay' for it with effort.

Here, I’m going to talk about image quality of the Phase One IQ4 150-megapixel medium format system and the extra demands while shooting and post-processing that this choice entails. I’m the messenger here; what you can carry and afford and have the patience for is your challenge.

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Diglloyd Medium Format covers medium format camera systems, including the Hasselblad X1D and Fujifilm GFX.

These systems are hugely expensive, so make the right choice for your own needs (full frame vs medium format).

  • In-depth lens evaluations covering behaviors not likely to be found anywhere else, based on real-world field shooting.
  • How to configure menus and buttons and best operating practices, gotchas and how-to.
  • Real world examples with insights found nowhere else. Make sharper images just by understanding lens and camera behaviors.
  • Jaw-dropping image quality found nowhere else utilizing Retina-grade images up to 100 megapixels filling up to 5K display, plus large crops.
  • Aperture series from wide open through stopped down, showing the full range of lens performance and bokeh.
  • Optical quality analysis of field curvature, focus shift, sharpness, flare, distortion, and performance in the field.
Orange Glow and Pre-Sunrise Moon over Mt Whitney Range, Alabama Hills
f7.1 @ 10.0 sec electronic shutter, ISO 50; 2019-12-13 06:26:08
Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 35mm f/3.5
ENV: Alabama Hills, altitude 4600 ft / 1402 m, 38°F / 3°C
RAW: LACA corrected, pull 0.82 stops, +12 Shadows, USM {8,50,0}, diffraction mitigating sharpening, SmartSharpen{60,0.7,0}

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