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
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 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
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.
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.