Phase One Announces the IQ3 100MP Trichromatic Digital Back, XF System Feature Update 4

Phase One Announces the IQ3 100MP Trichromatic Digital Back, XF System Feature Update 4

In a pair of announcements today, Phase One has introduced a new medium format digital back and a feature update to the XF camera system. The IQ3 100MP Trichromatic incorporates new color technology for authentic reproduction combined with 101 megapixels of fine, high-resolution detail. Feature Update 4 for the XF camera system focuses on focus control and accuracy, as well as new tools for new possibilities.

IQ3 100MP Trichromatic Digital Back

In a collaboration with Sony, Phase One has created a digital medium format back that excels at color quality and definition, allowing for what the company claims are renditions more authentic than ever.

The Trichromatic back features all the same specifications as the current IQ3 100MP with a couple exceptions. First, the Trichromatic has a base ISO of just 35, a new low for medium format CMOS sensors. Second, it incorporates new Bayer filter color technology aided by its working relationship with Sony.

Phase One IQ3 digital back comparison chart.

We are looking forward to getting our hands on the Trichromatic to test it against the current IQ3 100MP for further analysis. Stay tuned for that in the coming time.

The IQ3 100MP Trichromatic digital back has a retail price of $44,990. Combined with the XF camera body, a free choice of any Schneider Kreuznach Blue Ring lens, and a five-year warranty, the price is $49,990. You can learn more on the Phase One Trichromatic webpage.

XF Feature Update 4

In the ongoing quest to continually improve their XF camera system, Phase One has released a new feature update (also compatible with the newly announced Trichromatic digital back). Here’s what’s new:

Autofocus and Recompose - The Autofocus and Recompose mode enables the photographer to focus on a subject and recompose the frame while retaining the desired focus point.

Zoom to Focus - In connection with the new Autofocus and Recompose mode, Zoom to Focus allows photographers to verify the focus by providing a dynamic image preview option in the IQ Digital Back, automatically enlarging captured images to the point of focus.

Focus Trim Tool - This automated calibration tool provides a built-in analysis of the focus trim calibration conditions, paired with a dedicated focus chart, ensuring Auto Focus trimming is done with complete confidence.

Focus Nudge - Any dial on the XF can be assigned to accurately step lens focus to minute degrees. Used together with Live View, this new feature provides an incredible degree of precision for control.

Automatic Focus Stack Calculator - This tool complements the existing Focus Stacking feature by evaluating focusing distances, sensor resolution, and aperture, then automatically suggesting the optimal number of frames that should be captured. This ensures superior image quality in the results.

Profoto Remote Trigger - In addition to the existing wireless control of Profoto lights from the XF Camera System, it has now been made possible to shoot the XF Camera System using the Profoto Air Remote as a wireless remote trigger.

Vibration Analysis - This visual feedback feature shows the user a display if any vibrations incurred during the capture process.

Infinite Vibration Delay - An expansion of the XF Camera System’s built-in ability to wait for optimal conditions before releasing the shutter, Infinite Vibration Delay now allows the camera to continue waiting indefinitely in a state of hibernation for calm, stable, and vibration-free conditions.

Additional features and improvements include control for visual displays with Capture Analysis Popup control as well as the ability to trigger the Electronic Shutter using an external shutter release, and several other system improvements.

Software feature updates are free for XF system owners. More details can be found on the Feature Update 4 webpage.

There’s also an optional hardware upgrade that Phase One is offering for XF cameras that switches out the Honeybee Autofocus Platform (HAP) to a new HAP-2. HAP-2 improves autofocus abilities in low light and low-contrast environments. Phase One also says that HAP-2 will provide a “ready platform for future growth.” Hopefully that means you won’t be needing more physical upgrades every couple years to stay current. The hardware update costs $890 and should be arranged with your local Phase One dealer.

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11 Comments

Good luck trying to get any information from their site actually explaining exactly how the Trichromatic sensor works. I tried for a while but came up with nothing meaningful. Of course I could never afford such a camera but the new sensor design does interest me. Right away I was thinking about Foveon sensors. Too bad they can't be bothered to explain how it works or have buried that somewhere on their site.

I would recommend the recorded live FB video of the announcement to figure out the hows and whats:
https://www.facebook.com/PhaseOnePhoto/videos/1597110180343347

Also on the site it is two clicks from the front page.
https://www.phaseone.com/en/Products/Camera-Systems/IQ-Digital-Backs/IQ3...

For the first link, I don't do Facebook and I have no interest in creating an account to view a video or to do anything else having to do with such a site.

Did you check your second recommendation? There is nothing of significance there and beyond that page that I could find. I had already tried starting from that page. What I found is a joke, as if they are hiding the details about what they are bragging about, assuming they exist on the site in the first place.

More here: http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?board=16.0

With dealers actually weighing in. That forum is the best source for legit MF info.

Thanks, I'll check it out. It's ridiculous though that someone has to go to a third party website to get information on a camera that costs significantly more than the average price of a new car in America.

Edit: I couldn't find anything more on that site either.

They're responsive - setup an account and ask a specific question - you'll get a response within hour (or sooner).

That's OK, it's not like I will ever buy one. I just like reading up on new tech in cameras that actually improves image quality. I'm sure the information will get out there eventually.

"we have physically customized the Color Bayer Filter on the 101-megapixel sensor to tailor the color response" - that would be the response from your initial question, and it is taken from that second link.

I must say, these Phase One offerings get me darn close to actually thinking about possibly wondering if maybe someday someone will give me one. $50k... I am really glad this makes sense to some photographers, or is being subsidized by deeper pockets. I am looking forward to seeing what one can do with 16 bits of color and 101mp. Just wondering where one might experience the fullness of that capability? Serious question... I'm guessing it would have to be printed? Any ideas from anyone?

Thomas McInnis's picture

You see it the moment you open the raw on a good monitor. But certainly prints are another level. There are Phase One events around the world and its fun to shoot if you ever can get the chance!

I work for the Phase One supplier here in Australia. I handle the rental. Usually acquiring these systems makes sense once the photographer is hiring the system ~ monthly. Their clients are paying the $1000/day+ rental each job, so they finance the camera (turning the capital outlay into a monthly expense like their office/studio rent), then as long as they continue to book those jobs then the camera is making them money - literally, because the finance repayments are less than the income from the hire fees they charge their clients.

Even if you don't book clients who want to pay for (or require) medium format, I encourage everyone to split out or roll into your day rate a "camera hire" fee for each job (get the value from your local rental house inc. lenses). This then shows you the true cost of each job. Also building this into your fees gives you a buffer if your house gets robbed the night before a job and you DO have to rent the gear. But mostly this is for your own clarity around purchasing equipment, and is helpful at shifting camera acquisitions from a desire, to a business case.

Eric Cat's picture

Wow! Definitely should get one for my Wedding shots.