Phase One is known for its highly customisable camera systems offering the best available image quality and longevity. If there was one weakness in the current Phase One system it would be its weight, which should not come as a surprise given the quality of lenses and sophistication of the gear.
Despite the weight, many fine art landscape photographers travel and shoot with the Phase One XF system to achieve the highest quality capture and produce massive and highly detailed prints.
Today, Phase One has announced a brand-new camera system, the XT, designed exclusively for landscape photographers. The key features of this new system are the highest image quality, portability and “travel-friendly” design. Phase One has built this new system on the Phase One’s IQ4 Infinity Platform, fully integrated in this compact portable system.
The XT camera system has the latest 150MP “full frame medium format sensor,” which is 1.5x the size of crop sensor found in mirrorless medium format cameras. We recently had a chance to view large prints crafted from the same sensor and the level of detail was stunning.
The small, brand-new camera body is “the most compact digitally integrated field camera to date.” In its press release, Phase One cites fine art landscape photographer, Reuben Wu:
“I can easily fit the camera with two lenses in my small shoulder bag, and still barely feel like I am carrying anything.”
This could be a game-changer for those who want the best image quality available in the current market in such a small package.
To achieve this level of portability without compromising image quality, Phase One called on its partner, Rodenstock, the less known but highly respected producer of the highest quality lenses. “All lenses are fitted with Phase One’s new, digitally integrated, X-Shutter—an intelligently controlled electromagnetic shutter—born from Phase One’s industrial applications.” At the moment of this release, Phase One offers three lenses:
- The XT – Rodenstock HR Digaron-S 23mm f/5.6
- The XT – Rodenstock HR Digaron-W 32mm f/4
- The XT – Rodenstock HR Digaron-W 70mm f/5.6
One of the most important features of the cooperation between Phase One and Rodenstock is 24mm of shift on both the X and Y axis. Phase One explains: “The shift movement allows the photographer to correct perspective distortion and create stitched images at a tremendous scale/resolution.” The XT camera body integrates the shift position in the image file for later reference.
Phase One emphasises the simplicity of use of the new system. The XT camera system is built to “obviate the steep learning curve of a technical camera.” We found this approach quite promising—something our Medium Format Magazine team will be eager to test and experience in the field. The same design logic prompted the Phase One design team to go with manual focus which “gives greatest control and precision—yet its operation is intuitive. The XT camera movements are simple due to large prominent dials. The image in Live View displays the results of a composition and focus in real time.”
We haven’t yet had a chance to test this new camera, but we found this product focused on landscape photography refreshing in an industry whose camera releases more often than not try to please everyone, resulting in confusion and gear that is difficult to operate. We believe that the future of high-end photography lies in specialized tools tailored to a well-defined audience. Once the XT system becomes available, our team at Medium Format Magazine will be delighted to test this new product and share our findings with you. This may well be the ultimate landscape photographer camera.
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Look for our extended coverage of this release in the Medium Format Magazine including an exclusive interview with Drew Altdoerffer, product manager, and Lau Norgaard, the chief visionary officer of Phase One.
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