Feature Update 8 – USB Power NOT so Great

 In News, Phase One, Phase One XF, Phase One XT, Special Tech Alerts, Tech, Tech, XF IQ4 Blog Series

UPDATE: As of 2/19/21, the below described situation has for the most part been remedied by Firmware Update V8.01.0.

For the last two days I’ve been on set shooting at a pretty demanding pace and I discovered that on Firmware 8, I could not get my 16″ MacBook Pro to share any power to the IQ4-150, at all.

I was using lots of Live View while designing light and setting up my focus stacks and ended up shooting ~400 GB of files over the two days, but on both days, my two-bay battery charger couldn’t keep up with how thirsty the IQ4-150 was in its power demands. I was running out of power in the six 3400 mAh batteries I had with me, so much so that by mid-day was having to exchange batteries in the IQ4 that only had the time on the charger of getting 60% charge back into them. I wasn’t going to make it through the whole day at that pace.

Desperate, (but prepared with the three necessary firmware versions on my XQD card) I reverted* my firmware to System 7 and once again was able to draw power from my laptop and was able to shoot the next seven hours on only 2 battery changes compared to 5 changes and swaps with the XF battery in the first 7 hours.

Firmware 7 vs Firmware 8 (No USB Connected)

Firmware 7 vs Firmware 8 (USB-C to USB-C Tether)

Firmware 7 vs Firmware 8 (USB-C Battery Bank)

(In all cases, I had Live View on to create an equal load environment for this reporting)

Not only does Firmware System 8 not negotiate power from my laptop, but as indicated, was only able to draw 1/3rd of the power (at most) from my battery bank which in Firmware System 7 can not only maintain power, but charge the battery at the same time. I’ve tested this on three IQ4-150’s now, so this isn’t the fault of a single piece of hardware. Very strange behavior for firmware designed to make more use of line-supplied power.

* Remember when I said ‘I reverted‘ the firmware… that was a bit of an exaggeration, the choice was made for me.

On one of my battery swaps each day, the hot as Alabama asphalt IQ wasn’t able to power share with the XF and shut down during the swap. On the first day, when I attempted to power back on, the LCD remained blank and I didn’t know what was going on, and I couldn’t get it to restart through several attempts. Then I noticed a white-purple glow from beneath the media door and after I called-in and bought a vowel with Phase Support, I found out it was rebuilding its firmware. (which felt like an eternity when everything else had to go idle as I waited for my camera to able to act like device meant to take pictures again)

When the IQ4 was finally ready, it was back on Firmware System 6, which is incompatible with XF Firmware 5.00.5. (If I didn’t have firmware with me, I would have been dead-dead-dead in the water) I applied the System 7.00.7 which reverted the XF back to 4.06.3, and then upgraded to System 8 which included XF Firmware 5.00.5. When the firmware crash happened again on the 2nd day, I only brought it back up to System 7 and left it there so I could keep shooting with a firmware package that I’ve personally shot several Terabytes of commercial shots with.

So, I will repeat myself, (internally using a quiet, but stern voice) ….

-Pro Note for Firmware Upgrades-

This firmware is still brand new and under-tested compared to the prior firmware package.

The SAME rules of engagement apply here as I always recommend… Are you going out to shoot a job this week, with client, without internet access? Consider not jumping into this update until you have the time just to sit with your system, play, explore and notice if anything has run amok.

*** This Firmware Update will drop down to a totally BLACK screen for a period of time, please be patient and allow it to complete!! ***

Latent bugs can always reveal themselves when combined with individual workflows and patterns unforeseen by the engineering team in Denmark or bound to very specific groupings of serial #’s and build dates. I think it’s very good practice to keep prior versions of firmware on a SD card in your kit at all times. If you find that you’re having an issue with your camera, you can revert to a previous firmware package instead of the current one.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is iq4-multiplefirmwarepackagebeuno-scaled-2000x1324.jpg

In fact, I recommend keeping several versions of firmware on that same card in order to determine whether a bad behavior is bound to a firmware release or is potentially a newly developed hardware issue. Unlike prior IQ1, IQ2 and IQ3-series digital backs, the IQ4 platform can see and access more than one version of firmware stored on the card, so it’s easy to keep those versions with you all the time.

Best to keep at least these three on your ’emergency’ SD card:

Feature Update #4 SR2

Feature Update #7 Phase One Lab & Dual Exposure+ 

Feature Update #8 

In case of the rare need to perform a Full Reset on the IQ4, having the necessary versions of firmware to build back to the current version will be valuable to get you back to shooting with all available features. If this need arises for that ‘2-button reset’, the IQ4 will revert to whatever firmware version was current at the time it was produced or last serviced. If you have an early build, this could mean needing all three packages above.

Current and Prior versions of Firmware available in our Download Archive


At Phase One: Firmware for the Phase One XF & XT Camera Systems

Thankfully, I followed my own advice and was able to keep shooting and producing on a massive production day with enough time left in the last hour of that night to have a two-finger pour of Blanton’s with the wife. -bk

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