Adventure Sports Photographer Tim Kemple was one of the only photographers in the world who was lucky enough to try out the new Phase One IQ250 that was just announced earlier today. Check out the behind the scenes video, but also read the full article for my interview with Tim, where he shares his thoughts on the system, as well as what it's like to beta test cameras.
Fstopper's own Douglas Sonders first broke the info on the IQ250, so if you haven't read his post with the camera specs and technical information from the press release, check his article out first.
Tim tells me that in November Phase One asked if he would, "be interested in shooting with a new digital back that was super secret. After signing NDAs and conference calls in quiet places, I learned that the back was the IQ250 and was the first medium format CMOS back ever."
Once Tim received the camera, he got in touch with world renowned mountain bikers Kyle Strait and Tyler McCaul, and proceeded to set up a shoot to capture some stills of them doing tricks off a dirt ramp.
"I'd had this idea to shoot mountain biking from an RC Heli to get a really unique perspectives. That idea almost worked... Until the Heli crashed. But overall it was pretty amazing and the images we shot are currently being used as the IQ250 launch material."
Tim had previously worked with the Phase One IQ180, traveling all over the world and shooting in some remote and rugged conditions to capture his amazing images. Some of his work was so sweet that I even posted about it here on fstoppers.
On why he uses Phase One cameras, Tim replied, "People ask why I would shoot with it and it boils down to 2 things for me... Image quality and high speed flash syncs. The flash syncs are HUGE. 1/1600 at all flash power, all the time."
I asked Tim what he thought of the new IQ250 compared to his IQ180, and what he might use it for. The biggest factor for Tim is that because it is now using a CMOS sensor, the image quality at an ISO of 6400 is much better than before.
"A bunch of things were new to me because I have been shooting with the older IQ1 series back so the IQ250 has all of the features of any IQ2 back. But the big deal really is the fact that it's a medium format CMOS sensor. The image quality at ISO 6400 is better than anything else I've shot. They've also got live view rocking on the IQ250 now -- that feature wasn't enabled yet on the versions I shot with."
So what does this mean for a professional like Tim? How is this gong to change his approach or workflow? Tim's answer illustrates how he sees cameras for the creative tools they are.
"I don't ever think a camera is going to change what I do, but they can change how I look at a scene. In my photography that means capturing images that are unique, other worldly, and just jaw dropping to look at. So the combination of the highspeed flash sync and high ISO is the game changer for the work I do. Yeah it's pretty cool."
I wondered what else Tim or other photographers stand to gain with the new IQ250, so I was curious what Tim thought might be coming out soon from people who are planning to get their hands on one.
"The new back can do hour long exposures. Imagine that, looking at (and lighting?) the world in hour long exposures. I've been wanting to do medium format timelapse– The IQ250 never fills the buffer as long as your card is fast enough you can shoot until you run out of storage, just hold down the shutter."
Lastly, Tim had some fun information to share about being asked to beta test cameras and remain hush-hush about it.
"You know being involved in projects like this are pretty fun. I'd hate to do it all the time -- being vague with my crew about what we are really working on and why the gear is covered in black tape. But getting to work directly with the product and software designers is really amazing. There's just so much going into the design of these products yet a single person's opinion can have a profound impact. The team at Phase One has to be one of most psyched and fun groups I've worked with. I threw some ideas at them about products I'd love to see... We'll just have to wait a few months before we see what they really think of my ideas!"
You can see more videos about the new Phase One IQ250 on their site.