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.










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