Sunday, November 20, 2016

Phase One IQ1-100 (100 megapixel medium format)


Abo Mission ruins is the result of 2-focus captures that were later stacked in Photoshop CC.  The original files were processed in Capture One-9 prior to opening and stacking in PSCC.  The final image also had a little help from Topaz Labs.  100-megapixel, Phase One IQ1-100, XF body using a Schneider LS 35mm lens.  Handheld shot, f/8 1/800 ISO 200.


Another example using the Schneider LS 35mm f/8 1/500 ISO 50.  This image was cropped from the bottom to taste.  Primary processing was done first in Capture One before sending to Topaz Labs for tweaking.
Non-cropped sample using the Schneider LS 240 (handheld) f/8 1/400 ISO 50.  Processed entirely in Capture One 9.
I’ve written about this new digital back twice; once after a quick trip south of Tucson to kick the digital tires and again after a quick full moon test using a Schneider LS 240 lens.  This time I’m writing after a much thorough time using it in the Socorro New Mexico area where we spent a week shooting late at night and sunrise.
Non-cropped, first nightscape test using the XF, IQ1-100 and an older Mamiya 28mm lens.  f/4.5 30-seconds ISO 1600.
Second night of testing this time using a slightly faster Schneider LS 35mm f/3.5 10-seconds ISO 1600. I’ve ordered a Phase One 45mm f/2.8 since this trip and will be testing it shortly.
We enjoyed our time in the Socorro area visiting the Large Array at night as well as the Bosque del Apache NWR for sunrise.  We also visited Fort Craig as well as the Salinas Pueblo Missions ruins.
What I took away from this trip is that I love this new digital back.  The IQ1-100 captures using a different sensor than I’m used to with medium format as up to now all my previous backs used CCD sensors and the new IQ1-100 uses CMOS.  Depending on how you do your math this is a 5% increase in resolution over the 80-megapixel IQ180 I had been using and frankly I didn’t consider adding an additional 20-megapixels all that much in deciding on the upgrade (more on this later).  What I wanted was a digital back that would allow me the chance to shoot a cleaner file at much higher ISO.  Shooting higher ISO also allows me greater flexibility in shutter speeds; faster/slower speeds depending on the situation.  Higher ISO will also give me more flexibility in aperture (f/top) settings with a good example being the Schneider LS 240.  Wide open, the 240 can shoot at f/4.5; however mount it on the 2x extender that doubles to f/9 which in certain circumstances is very slow.  Add the ability to shoot at a higher ISO; 400, 800 and a very clean 1600 you get to keep the f/9 and be able to choose better shutter speeds to suit the situation.  
The above was shot in the Bosque del Apache NWR around 9:30 in the morning using a Schneider LS 240 with the 2x attached making it 480mm.  The camera/lens was locked down on tripod using the Really Right Stuff long lens support bracket.  While I enjoy using this combination it nevertheless is very difficult to use. The entire system becomes too heavy to even attempt to handhold, you lose autofocus and it becomes extremely slow at f/9.   This was captured at f/9 1/250 ISO 100.  Processed in Capture One before sending to PSCC to run shake reduction even though it was on a stead tripod as I’ve found it helps about 50% of the time.  The bottom image is a 100% crop of the top.

The combination of the Schneider LS 240 and XF with the 100-megapixel IQ1-100 can achieve remarkable results with this image being an example.  Shot at f/10 1/400 ISO 400 handheld.  The file was opened in Capture One and instead of looking at it at 100% I looked at it at 200%.  This image is as close to a 200% crop as I could make it.  No other processing was done other than cropping.

One more example of how well the combination of the Schneider LS 240 with the XF and IQ1-100 performs.  The top image is the full size with the bottom showing a 100% crop.  This was shot quickly handheld, f/8 1/1000 ISO 1600.  I would have never thought I’d be able to achieve the results like this with my older IQ180!
Sunrise at Bosque del Apache NWR.  Schneider LS 40-80 at 80mm. XF, IQ1-100 f/8 1/160 ISO 400.  Not entirely certain if I could have captured this at ISO 400 if I had been using the older IQ180 however I’m certain that I wouldn’t have been shooting at f/8.
One last 100% crop sample.  f/8 1/400 ISO 800.
One last non-cropped example of how clean higher ISO can be.  This was captured using the Schneider LS 240 (handheld) f/8 1/1250 ISO 1600.  Needless to say I’m very pleased with the full range of ISO that I’ve shot.  400, 800, and 1600 are all very clean with little to no noise in any file and what noise I found was easily cleaned up in Capture One.
I ordered a 45mm f/2.8 from my camera dealer Dave Gallagher,Capture Integration after explaining my need for a faster lens than the f/3.5 LS 35.  My thinking is that the primary purpose of the 45mm will be nightscape and limited day use when I might need a lighter weight system to carry around.  I received the 45mm and while I haven’t yet been able to test it at night I did use it briefly during the day and am very pleased.
We found this tack hanging on the outside of a building on a ranch we recently visited in the Cascabel Arizona area.  This is what you’d typically find on horse property.  Phase One XF, IQ1-100 ISO 200, Phase One 45mm f/8 1/250 ISO 200.  This was initially processed in Capture One before sending it to PSCC and Topaz Labs then cropped to suit.
Anyone who knows me by now knows I like doing large panoramas and multiple focus images.  Panoramas can be the result of 2 to 3 images while focus stacking and be 4 images or more.  This is 5-images shot at a dry stream bed.  Each file measures 32.2” x 24.2” (11608x8708) at 360 ppi and 16 bit depth for a file size of 578.46 MB each.  Loading all 5-files at once into Photoshop layers before running an auto align on the layers then auto blend those layers was a test I wanted to perform with the IQ1-100.  
The end result of 5-files focused stacked and processed using Topaz Labs after the initial Capture One processing.
I’m very pleased with the IQ1-100.  I’ve found myself changing my capture workflow by using higher ISO and in some cases much higher shutter speeds.  The additional 20-megapixel help for resolution however the biggest takeaway is the sensor and ISO.  I’ve found the higher ISO’s to be very cleaned with little to no noise and as I’ve mention before Capture One cleans what noise I’ve found easily enough. 
I can’t write about using high ISO without adding at least one sample of ISO 6400.  This was one of the first tests done at the Large Array in New Mexico using the older Mamiya 28mm.  The 28mm is a slow lens at f/4.5 so with that in mind I wanted to shoot as fast as I could at as high an ISO I dared.  The end result is f/4.5 10-seconds at ISO 6400.  There’s noise in it yet not so much that it becomes unusable.  Knowing now that I can use the LS 35mm at 3.5 and soon the 45mm f/2.8 I can cut the ISO back to 1600 and achieve the results I’m looking for.
My strongest recommendation to anyone who is interested in shooting 100-megapixel medium format is to try this out.  Phase One offers 2-100-megapixel backs with one geared more towards those who use a technical camera and those who don’t.  If you want more information I’d suggest you contact the kind folks at Capture Integration.
That’s all for now; I hope to add more nightscape samples in the near future so please stay tuned for the update.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

100-megapixel Phase One IQ1-100

This isn’t much of an update unless you count the two-images included. 
We had a full moon this past weekend and I took the opportunity to try capturing it using a Phase One XF, Schneider LS 240mm lens and the new 100-megapixel IQ1-100. 
My first thought was to use the 240 with the 2x extender thus making it a 480mm lens however I wanted to experiment seeing just how much of a crop I could get using the 240 as a standalone.  The first image show 2-moons; the top moon is the original as shot while the bottom moon is the same moon at 100% crop.  This was shot at f/11 1/200 ISO 200.
The image below is a 200% crop from the same night using f/11 1/200 ISO 100 for a setting.  While not included, the full non-cropped version is the same size as the example above.
This is just an example of what a 100-megapixel medium format digital back from Phase One can produce.  And yes I’m very pleased.
More to come

Friday, October 14, 2016

Shooting 100 megapixels medium format

f/10 1/4000 ISO 400 "parent file"(handheld)
Crop from parent file
My first digital medium format back was 16-megapixel Kodak DCS connected to a Mamiya 645 AF body.   Little did I know that within a little over a decade I would be shooting a 100-megapixel medium format digital back!
Shooting the ceiling
f/12 1/30 ISO 1600
Phase One introduced their first 100-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor late 2015 with delivery shortly afterwards.  The IQ3-100 is so packed full of options one should expect it to weigh much more than a normal digital back; WIFI, HDMI and full integration with the new Phase One XF to mention just a few.  And of course the price is just as hefty even with a generous trade-in/upgrade program.  As much as I liked the back I saw too many things that I wouldn’t use thus didn’t want to pay full price; opting instead to wait until they came on the used market (which they have).

f/8 1/25 ISO 400
Early September this year I decided I had waited long enough.  I’ve been shooting nightscape landscape images being forced to use a Sony A7rII and wanted to use medium format.  I remember calling my camera dealer and very close friend Dave Gallagher and caught him literally as he was headed out the door to fly to Photokina 2016.  I told him what I wanted and his rely was no, I’m not selling you anything – yet.  Dave wouldn’t tell me why as he was on an embargo against disclosing details of upcoming Phase One releases that would be announced within the next couple days.  Since I trust Dave with my family I also trust him not to steer me wrong. So I waited.  Image my surprise when Phase One released the new I00-megapixel IQ1-100. 
f/8 1/1000 ISO 200 (handheld)
The IQ1-100 is everything I wanted without spending extra money for things that I no longer need/require.  Since I’m no longer shooting with a tech camera I don’t need HDMI and since I can tether using my Surface Pro I don’t need WIFI.  There are other differences which fit into what I consider “nice to have” however I’d much rather save several thousand dollars to use for say trips.  A trip to Japan to shoot the snow monkeys or Alaska for northern lights or .. you get the idea.
f/8 1/2500 ISO 400 (handheld)
f/8 1/320 ISO 50 (handheld)
I believe Phase One released the details on the 100-megapixel IQ1-100 on September 20th.  The following week we were in Moab speaking to Dave Gallagher on the phone and ended up ordering it on September 28th taking delivery on October 8th.   Not bad at all.  The only thing that didn’t work in our favor was coming down with a cold which was bad enough to stop any work until just yesterday.  In the meantime the 80-megapixel IQ180 has been returned as part of the deal and my credit card company is smiling. 
So, what do you do to test a CMOS sensor that has beautiful live view, high ISO capabilities? Go someplace where you are in a dark place lit only with natural lights from very tall windows.  We traveled south past Tubac to Tumacacori and visited a Spanish Mission founded by Jesuit Eusebio Francisco Kino in 1691 and is currently a National Historical Park.
f/11 0.5 seconds ISO 800
f/9 1/8 ISO 800
Equipment used: 100-megapixel Phase One IQ1-100 digital back attached to a Phase One XF body using a Schneider LS 35mm lens.  Since I wanted to shoot low and not use a tripod I opted instead to use a Platypod Pro Max with KPS geared ballhead.  Since I knew I might be taking longer than normal exposures I also used a Hahnel remote shutter release for the XF.

So, was the upgrade worth it?  Yes.  Will I miss shooting with a CCD sensor now that I have a CMOS? Too early to say but I’m willing to bet no.  How was the live view?  Worked even better than I had hoped.
f/12 1/4 ISO 400

I’ll have more to share later from this trip as well as an upcoming trip to New Mexico where we hope to capture nightscape images so stay tuned.
This IQ1-100 makes the 3rd IQ1 series digital backs I’ve owned and a total of 6-Phase One backs; all purchased from one source Capture Integration.  I wouldn’t keep returning if I didn’t like how they do business.  They won’t sell something you don’t need (yes, I’ve tried).  The stand behind everything they sell; new or used.  Their customer service model of what others should study and strive for.  Dave and his crew started out as vendors and over the years surpassed that into dear friends.  If you want a camera dealer that stands behind you look no more. Click the link found on the right column of this page or give them a call; you’ll be glad you did.