Phase One IQ4 Live View: Disable Open Aperture
How to go Snake Eyes on the Phase One IQ4 in Live View
There’s a scene in the 1970 movie, Little Big Man – based on the book by Thomas Berger- where the sister of Dustin Hoffman’s character is teaching him to go snake eyes – essentially narrowing your eyes to aim his gun better. What this really meant was closing down the aperture in your eye to increase the depth of field.
An IQ4 digital back with an XF Camera can go snake eyes also. There is a Depth Of Field command that can be assigned to several different buttons (like many cameras). Of course, using the DOF button also darkens the image in the optical viewfinder as the smaller aperture lets in less light (just like your eyes).
But what about live view? Phase One Q4 150 and IQ4 100 digital backs have 2 ways to present live view. In Live View, the middle button of the left side toolbar is a live view exposure preference tool (which always says AUTO). If there is a blue dot in the upper left corner of that button, that means the Auto expose is engaged, and it will attempt to “gain up” the exposure. If there is no Blue dot, that means it will attempt to simulate the exposure (with varying degrees of success). The grey triangle in the upper right corner always means you can press and hold for more options. When you do so, the options include LiveView Open Aperture, and then choices for Enabled or Disabled.
If it is set to Enabled, this means the aperture view will always be wide open, no matter what aperture is selected for your actual capture. Traditionally, this means you have a constant stream of the most light possible, as the view is using the largest aperture (similar to viewing through an optical finder). Another benefit is that this view also allows you to more easily determine the actual true focus point vs the area that seems to be in focus (which can be subjective).
The other setting is Disabled, which will always reflect the actual aperture that the lens is set to for the capture, and this setting allows you to see the depth of field that will be revealed in your captured image. Nothing super magical here – except for the secret weapon. The secret weapon is the Auto button itself. As was stated above, if there is a blue dot on the upper left side of the Expose button, it is in Auto mode, and the IQ4 will “gain up” the live view so that it is giving you the most light possible regardless of the aperture selected. By combining the Disabled setting for the aperture viewed with the Auto expose setting, you can then see in live view the effect of the actual aperture you have selected, but due to the auto gain, still be able to see the details of your view even if your actual capture exposure would struggle to allow for that.
By Steve Hendrix
Thanks for the read! If you have any questions, or interest in Phase One, feel free to reach out.Steve Hendrix