As the largest and most-awarded Phase One dealer in the world we were the first to receive a 150mp Pre-Production Prototype Preview Unit. It was flown from the R+D lab in Denmark to our LA office and then to our NYC office. As an R+D model it was accompanied that entire time by a Phase One employee.
Testing of such units comes with lots of caveats. Not all the features are finished yet, including some of the features that make running tests easier/faster. For example, battery life is quite poor because power management is not yet implemented; typically this is the last thing you finalize since you have to lock in how you’re using the hardware before you can go about the process of balancing power management. Finally, the color profile is not finalized and the sensor in the back, both of which have significant impact on image quality and color especially at the fringes of performance such as high-ISO and deep shadows.
From the user perspective (the things that are visible to someone working with the camera) development of a new platform is a bit like the saying (a slight misquote from Hemingway): “slowly at first, then all at once.” Most of the time and effort is under the hood, writing the firmware and software that represent the underpinnings of the system. While the name IQ4 implies a significant similarity with the previous IQ backs, this generation features a new sensor, new processor, two new card storage technologies, three new tethering methods, and a new software stack including using Capture One’s algorithms for in-back raw processing. Getting that foundation in place is the hard part; that’s done. Finalizing the user interface, launch features and finishing touches are all the easy part.
A final caveat is that the LA shot was shot in IIQ-S compressed raw mode. Because of that we almost didn’t post it, but 1) the differences between IIQ-S and IIQ-L 16 bit are pretty subtle (more on that in upcoming articles) and 2) many of our clients use IIQ-S some or all of the time. Just bear in mind that means the still-impressive dynamic range and tonal smoothness would be even higher when shot in IIQ-L 16 bit.
With all those caveats out of the way let’s take a look at some test images. You can download raws at the bottom of the article.
LA Bus Stop and Mural
This bus stop is near our LA office. When the sun is out, which is like 99% of the time in LA, it provides a colorful scene with lots of texture, detail, and dynamic range.
Captured with Schneider 45LS Blue Ring at f/8 using IQ4 150mp at ISO 50 on XF body at 1/200 sec.
With this etching we wanted to show the incremental difference between an IQ3 50mp, IQ3 100mp Trichromatic, and IQ4 150mp. We used the same subject, same lens, same aperture between captures, but the camera was moved further from the subject for the 50mp capture to keep the framing the same since the sensor is the crop-medium-format size (33×44).
CH color profiles for Capture One Cultural Heritage Edition were not available in time for this article, so we’ve converted all the detail shots to 100% so they can be compared without distraction by the slight differences in color between the three backs.
When viewing these images on a small screen like a phone or on a Retina monitor the 100% view the full level detail is sometimes hard to see, so using Nearest Neighbor we processed a 200% view of the same area.
Download Raw Files
Fill Out This Form and a Link to Download the RAW Files will be Emailed to You
You’ll need Capture One 11.2.1 to properly read these files (11.2 will open the files, but color/tone/corrections will not be correct).