Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Using the Phase One IQ160 on a Technical Camera


First - As many know I'm not a reviewer in any true sense of the word; I'm more of a sharer.  I like to share my experiments and testing; experiments to see how far I can stretch the rubber band before it snaps and testing to see how I can best use my equipment in actual use.  Actual use for me is standing on a cliff face of the Grand Canyon or in the desert of Death Valley or in the middle of the woods in Jackson Hole WY.  In other words using my gear to the best it'll perform without a safety net.   I've got a couple more weeks before heading back out and plan to spend them wisely testing not only the gear but refining my capture workflow.

"Water Trough"

18-months ago when I first saw the new IQ back I knew I wanted one.  I could see the possibilities of working with it on a technical camera.  I saw the improvements as being a perfect fit in not only addressing some long concerns I had but making the capture workflow easier and smoother.  All this after one afternoon of taking a few images and watching Guy Mancuso work it as well.  I remember using it on my Cambo WRS while Guy used it on his Phase One DF body and both us were very pleased.   I went home shortly after that determined that I would learn more about the IQ back and eventually have one. 

"Water Trough"

Stepping back a little here I'll explain a little history on my back.  There was a rash of upgrades to the IQ backs and I was able to get a great deal on a used P65+ from Dave Gallagher, Capture Integration.  As much as I liked the P65 the IQ was never far from my thoughts.  Guy upgraded to the IQ160 using it with his DF and shortly after buying a Cambo WRS traded the IQ160 for an IQ140.  To make a long story short - the IQ160 I currently own was Guy's.  Once again Dave Gallagher came through for me.

So was I correct in my assumptions the IQ would be a perfect fit on a technical camera, specifically my WRS?  The very short answer is yes.  The longer answer follows.

"Water Hole #2"

I've found the time it takes to wake the IQ160 is much faster.  By waking I mean from the moment I press the power button it's faster than my old P65+.  I've also found the act of formatting the same card I've used in the P65+ is faster.  I've also found the screen size is just as good as I thought it was 18-months ago; not to mention the vast improvement in the resolution.  I can't speak to capture rate as I've only really been using this on the WRS.  Once again, Dave Gallagher comes through with a test that can be found here.

"Water Hole #1"

So did the IQ160 make my capture workflow better?  Again yes.  I took the system out a couple days ago to shoot and get better acquainted.  It's one thing to shoot in your back yard and different when away; again it's all about that safety net.

"Water Hole #1"

I found setup was fast and easy.  Set the tripod up and placed the camera on my Arca Swiss Cube.  I decided to use my Kapture Group 2-shot cable release as it was hot out and I didn't want the back to get overheated and reduce the image files by adding undue noise due to heat (I would have done this no matter the back used).  Using my Leica D5 I measured the distance as I normally would however this time I tried to keep it well under 20 feet.  I also used my Schneider 35mm lens which goes from 20 feet to infinity in less than 3/16 of an inch. 

"The Old Man"

The capture workflow turned out to level the camera, focus the lens, set the f/stop (either f/11 or f/8) then set the shutter speed and cock the shutter.  After this was done I turned the back on if it was off.  Shoot a LCC then the file and as soon as the image appeared I'd see the focus mask telling me where it was in focus.  Since focus mask is only an approximation based on contrast of the subject I would then double tap the screen to go 100% and using my finger move the image around checking various areas.  It's much faster to do it than explain how to do it.

"Loading Pen"
This was my first time out without the safety net and found that all my assumptions were correct.  I still need to try the live view function and that will happen later.  Right now I can say, based on my (limited) experience with the IQ160 it is a match made in heaven, okay Denmark.

Stay turned as there's more to come.
Please remember your comments and suggestions are always welcome.


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