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Phase One XF Feature Update #3: Medium Format Brought to the Next Level

Phase One XF Feature Update #3: Medium Format Brought to the Next Level

Phase One introduces its third feature update for the XF camera system. The freshly released firmware adds a couple of new features, including the world’s first complete electronic shutter in medium format photography. The Danish manufacturer proves once again its devotion to offering its customers a future-proof system that can evolve with time and professional photographers’ needs.

Flash Photography Brought to a New Level

The XF feature update #3 is mostly centered around studio and flash photography. It brings full Profoto Air control for up to six groups, and even offers Profoto AirTTL for TTL metering, providing proper exposure in changing light situations and fast-paced environments. A tool dedicated to flash analysis has also been added to the XF. It allows for direct review of the flash output and will let you offset the flash synchronization to obtain the best result possible for your application.

New Technology and Tools

Landscape and still life photographers who own the IQ3 100MP will be glad to learn that they will be able to capture an image without a single moving component, thanks to the new complete electronic shutter integration. Only the IQ3 100MP benefits from this new addition, but it’s a great start, and it’s a first in the medium format industry.

Amongst the other new features brought by this update, we find the possibility to create, save, and load system setups, advanced options for the sequence tools, as well as the possibility to fully customize the icons accessible through the top screen.

Grip for the Phase One XF

Finally, with the introduction of the feature update #3, Phase One announced the V-Grip for the XF camera system. It includes a mounting point compatible with Arca-Swiss gear and L-Bracket solutions. Unlike the V-Grip designed for the 645DF+, the V-Grip for the XF doesn’t include a Profoto Air trigger as the flash trigger is already available from the body itself. This new grip only provides, at least for now, better ergonomics and control options for photographers working most of the time handheld.

While the feature update is already live and can be downloaded from Phase One’s website, the grip will be shipping in November and will be sold for $1,490 USD.

This feature update might not seem like much for many people, especially photographers that don’t own a medium format system. However, the new features are fascinating and can make one wonder why other camera manufacturers don’t offer such updates to their clients. The full analysis of the flash to see exactly the power output and the flash duration right from the camera can prove to be extremely useful for action and still life photographers. Having the ability to trim the second curtain as well, and it’s basically what Elinchrom is offering with its Skyport HS through the ODS option for Hi-Sync.

The XF system is definitely making a name for itself as the most customizable and capable medium format system available on the market. I already wonder what features the fourth update will bring to the table. Perhaps HSS with Profoto compatible units now that TTL is available, higher x-sync thanks to the new electronic shutter, or even additional AF points. While Hasselblad and Fuji are trying to create a new market with their respective mirrorless systems, Phase One seems to stay focused on the modular and evolving system that is the XF. It’s an interesting choice from each manufacturer, and it will make 2017 an exciting year for the medium format industry.

Quentin Decaillet's picture

Quentin Décaillet is a photographer and retoucher based in Switzerland specializing in portrait and wedding photography.

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ODS isn't HSS, the two are very different things! ODS is a way to shift the trigger delay to optimize the flash output. It helps to maximize the power output when syncing in Hi-Sync mode, which isn't similar to HSS either. Elinchrom doesn't do HSS. More info here: https://fstoppers.com/originals/fstoppers-compares-profoto-hss-and-elinc...
or here: http://www.elinchrom.com/support/ELSP-HS.html

Again, I never said ODS was Hi-Sync or meant to replace Leaf Shutter… ODS is only a tool that can be used to maximize the result of Hi-Sync or flash sync timing in general, just like the second curtain trim found in the XF feature update #3. ODS lets you offset your flash sync to get the exact part of the flash curve you wish your sensor to capture.

That's quite an interesting looking vertical grip. I'd be very interested to test out it's flash analysis features. It's nice that it has Profoto Air capabilities built in but a bummer if you rent different equipment for different shoots or have a mix of gear on set.

Pricing on the grip seems rather unfortunate. The vertical grip on the 645 DF+ was around $1300 but had the AIR functionality buit-in. Now it's dropping with a $1500 price tag but doesn't add anything to the package except comfort for handheld portrait shots?

I don't think people buying an IQ3 100MP for $43K and paying over $5K per lens will really mind giving $1500 for a grip…