CI Top 10: Explaining The Phase One A-Series Camera System

 In ALPA, CI Top 10, News, Tech Camera
CI Advantage Capture Integration Tech Tips Phase One A Series Camera System

Today Phase One officially announced their new A-Series line of digital backs packaged with an ALPA TC front end. There has been so much misinformation about this system leaked online over the past few weeks that we feel it is important to sort out the truth from the marketing hype. Let us say first that the Phase One A-Series system is a great idea and it will be a great product for many of our customers. However, we think that it is important to know what it is and what it isn’t. And I think that we owe it to our customers,  to give them straight information without insulting their intelligence. I hope that you would expect nothing less from Capture Integration.

phase one A series camera system - alpa - rodenstock
Phase One A Series Camera System

10) Is this the “mirrorless” camera that Phase One users have been waiting for?

To state that this system is a “mirrorless” camera is like stating my 20 year old Sinar P2 is a mirrorless camera. Yes…. Its true. There isn’t a mirror in the new A Series camera. But c’mon guys. The industry has created a category of small compact electronic cameras that are lightweight due to the lack of an optical mirror box. The Sony A7R and the Fuji X100 are mirrorless cameras. Great mirrorless cameras. And this Phase One A-Series system has some nice features. But Capture Integration will not refer to this as a “mirrorless” system. This is marketing hype that borders on the ridiculous.

Rodney Lough Jr. and his “mirrorless” Arca Swiss 8x10 view camera. Photo by Mr. G
Rodney Lough Jr. and his “mirrorless” Arca Swiss 8×10 view camera. Photo by Mr. G

9) Nothing new for Capture Integration

Capture Integration was built on finding the exact solution that fits the needs for each and every one of our customers. We have always specialized in the marriage of the highest quality lenses to the best capture devices on the planet.  So it was natural for us to seek the manufacturers who also have this same expertise in our industry. For years, we have distributed Cambo, Sinar, and Arca Swiss technical cameras. However, in 2013 we were very fortunate to begin to distribute the ALPA system. All of these precise technical cameras allow us to assemble the exact system configuration to each and every customer. And by having each line in the industry, we can make sure that there are no compromises. We are very proud to offer our customers the availability to test every single advanced technical camera line in the marketplace. This allows them the comfort to know that they have found the right system for their individual needs.

cambo - alpa - arcaswiss - sinar photography - cameras

8) The ALPA-Capture Integration Advantage

ALPA has a different philosophy on precision. A unique feature of the ALPA camera line is the calibration of the full system at our home office in the United States. Before we ship any ALPA camera we sell, we configure the exact system of pieces and calibrate it optically. We conduct this calibration and then shim the adapter plate so that the body, adapter, and digital back are in perfect focus. This process is so important to us and ALPA in Switzerland that we sent our employees to the ALPA factory in November for specialized on site training. What does this mean? This means that every single system that leaves CI is personally calibrated for each customer before we put our stamp of approval on it. It doesn’t matter if it is new or pre-owned. It doesn’t matter if it is a Leaf or a Phase One digital back. Are you upgrading? Great! Send your current ALPA to us and we will calibrate and shim the new system for you personally. Capture Integration has invested in our people and our process so that our customer’s get a precision and level of customer support that is absolutely unique in our industry. We can state with certainty, that we are the only Phase One dealer in the US that has gone through this level of training and can offer this level of precision in the United States.

Behind the Curtain at ALPA by Steve Hendrix

7) What is new about Phase One’s A-Series System?

Here is the real answer. Automatic Lens Cast Correction. The firmware in the Phase One A-Series camera will automatically apply the LCC for the lenses that were purchased with the system. It will also allow the end-user to create LCCs for other lenses and have them auto applied on the capture. This is a nice feature. The important aspect to remember is that this is an ALPA TC. It has no movements (rise, fall, or lateral shift). And since it has no movement, the LCC can be automatically applied without fear of a shifting center point.  It’s a nice addition to the firmware making this the world’s ultimate quality point and shoot.

Auto LCC menu on the Phase One A-Series Camera
Auto LCC menu on the Phase One A-Series Camera

6) Is there anything else that is exclusive?

Yes.  The ALPA TC will be engraved as an exclusive A-Series camera body. The digital back will also be branded as an A-Series back underneath the product Logo. Each lens will have a gold band around the lens instead of the magenta band on traditional Rodenstock HR lenses.

Today, this firmware will not be available to existing IQ2 customers. This may change and with pressure from current customers it just might.  But as of today, Auto LCCs will only be available in the A-Series line. Secondly, the system will ship with a special A-Series Edition F-Stop carrying bag. So to summarize, besides branding, Auto LCCs and the carrying bag are the only two exclusive pieces that won’t be available to the rest of our existing customers.

5) Which lens is right for you?

The A-Series camera will only ship with the following available lenses:

Alpagon 5.6/23mm                          (15mm DSLR equivalent)

Alpar 4.0/35mm                               (22mm DSLR equivalent)

Alpagon 5.6/70mm                          (45mm DSLR equivalent)

crop sensor size - alpagon

The lens selection from the A-Series kits are limited. Only 3 lenses will be available from any non ALPA dealer. These lenses are high quality Rodenstock elements and are great lenses.  However, they are limited in focal lengths. As you can see from their 35mm equivalents, the 23mm and the 35mm are extremely wide. Very few photographers only shoot a 15mm lens on their DSLR on a regular basis. This lens is great for tight interiors or difficult locations, but it is not the normal “go to” lens.  The lenses that are most popular with our customers are:

Rodenstock 32mm HR                      Rodenstock 40mm HR

Rodenstock 70mm HR                      Rodenstock 90mm HR

Schneider 120mm

Besides their focal length and aspect rations to the imaging sensor, these lenses are popular due to image circles, angle of view, and sharpness. Importantly, since we are a full line ALPA dealer, we can help you assemble the kit that best meets YOUR needs.  You can opt to go for the new features of the A-Series line and add any additional lenses and accessories from our full line option of ALPA pieces.   Or you can decide to begin with another system and build from the ground up.

Important Image Circles of the most popular lenses today

4) How is this news worthy?

This is a first step in the technology partnership between Phase One and ALPA. Having these two industry leaders working together can be very important to the sharing of technology and new products in the future. Auto LCC’s are a very nice feature.  And the new line of ALPA accessories designed for this system are a welcome addition to the already strong ALPA line of gear.

The majority of Phase dealers in the US are not already full line ALPA dealers. Those dealers now have the ability to sell a few of the items in the ALPA line of products. So for these dealers, they are excited. They will send blasts and exclaim the virtues of  the new “mirrorless” camera by Phase One. But that isn’t Capture Integration. We are and have been a full line ALPA dealer with factory trained technicians and in-house calibration.   For us, this is not huge news.   The Phase One A-Series camera system is a strong option for some of our customers.   But our customers already know this since they have been entrusting us with their technical camera and ALPA business for quite a while now.

3) In stock today

And here is Capture Integration’s huge Advantage.

Do you want to try an ALPA TC with a Phase One IQ250 today?  Give us a call.   It is in demo and rental stock.

Want to try an ALPA MAX, a Leaf Credo 60, and a 40mm short barrel lens with tilt?  Give us a call its in stock.

Want to try a Cambo RS1200 or a Arca Swiss RM3Di?  Yeah, you guessed it… its in stock.

We are the technical camera experts.

phase one A series camera systems - alpagon - phase one IQ 250 - digital back

2) Prices and Shipping

The A-Series cameras are priced at the exact same price as if you purchased all the pieces from both manufacturers separately.   The digital back can not be purchased separate from this kit.  But all of the ALPA accessories can.   Some of the dealer demo A-Series cameras have shipped this week but not many.  Furthermore, there are many new accessories that will not ship with the first systems.  Here is real information that is available today direct from ALPA and Phase One.

Phase One A250 Camera System     $47,000 USD

Phase One A260 Camera System     $48,000 USD

Phase One A280 Camera System     $55,000 USD

ALPA A1 Lens Shade for 23mm    $459  (Shipping in February)

ALPA B1 Lens Shade for 35mm    $459  (Shipping in February)

ALPA C1 Lens Shade for 70mm    $339  (Shipping in February)

ALPA New Dovetail Adapter for TC   $134  (Shipping in January)

ALPA Smart Device Holder II    $499   (Shipping End of January – Also needs Universal Shoe Accessory)

1) A Partner You Can Trust

There is enough misinformation on the net today. Our customers don’t need any more than what is spewed from a number of different sources. The Phase One A-Series Camera System will be perfect for many of our customers. Is It right for you? Working with a partner you can trust will determine if it fits your needs or not. This is what keeps customers coming back to Capture Integration and has earned us the best reputation in our industry.

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