Phase One IQ4 : Tech Cam Lens Metadata Hack

 In ALPA, Arca Swiss, Cambo, News, Phase One, Phase One Tip, Steve Hendrix, Tech Camera

Phase One IQ4

Tech Cam Lens Metadata Hack

If you own a Phase One IQ4 and you have a camera setup that includes an X Shutter lens, either via the Phase One XT camera, or a 3rd party tech camera such as an Alpa 12 Plus, a Cambo WRS 1600, or an Arca Swiss RM3Di, as examples, the lens identification will be recorded.

But what if you have copal shutter lenses, or aperture mount lenses and you wish to identify the lens post capture? I run into this a lot, and it can be a real problem, since I am often shooting with multiple lenses, 2 or 3 at a time, performing comparative performance tests. The last thing I want – and this has happened – is to get back to Capture One and realize I cannot tell which lens is which. And it is not unusual for me to have 3 different lenses, all the same focal length, so it can be very much not obvious which lens is which.

Typically I resort to separating the sequence of captures for each lens with an out of focus picture of my face mouthing the brand of the lens. Schnei looks very different than Rode when you’re reading lips. Ok, I don’t do that. But I do include a separator for the sequence and many times I have relied upon my memory to recall which lens I shot first, which I shot second, which I shot last. Not exactly a foolproof method.

Alternatives included pre-written note cards held up in front of the camera. Or, my iPhone held up in front of the camera with a screenshot of said notes.

To be honest, I haven’t sweated this issue much. At some point, Phase One may create the ability to input that information into a data field of the IQ4 interface, though after a recent discussion with those folks, those of you who think this should be super easy to implement with no negatives whatsoever (on the engineering side) would be (sadly) mistaken.

All well and good for now, until the other day with a discussion between me and a client (thank you, Mike). Mike had a question that seemed so logical and straightforward, I don’t know why I hadn’t previously thought about it. Mike felt – enthusiastically – that my methods for identifying the lens once the files ingest into Capture One fell way short of the ideal. And he wondered – why not just create a metadata style, upload that into the IQ4, and set that in the IQ4 via Custom Styles. And sure enough, this works.

Now, this may take a bit more time than sticking your iPhone in front of the camera (or not), but it also means you don’t have to re-focus your lens. And it has the essential advantage of the name of the lens automatically filling a metadata field when the files are ingested into Capture One. And … if you don’t have an iPhone with you, no big deal.

So, how to do this? Instructions are below. And thank you again, Mike.

Creating and Saving the Style for Upload to IQ4

Do this separately for each lens. In Capture One Pro, select a metadata field that makes sense to you, and enter the name of the lens. Then go to the Styles tool, and click Save as Custom Style. Make sure that the checkbox for the metadata field you have used for the lens name is checked and save to an easy to find location. Insert your media card and copy that Style file to the root level of the media card (you could also just save to the media card from Capture One if you already have it inserted).

Pick a metadata field in Capture One and enter the name of the lens.
In Styles, select Save Custom Style.
Make sure the metada field box is selected, and save somewhere easy to locate.

Uploading the Style to IQ4 and Applying the Style

Insert the media card into the IQ4. Swipe up from the Home Screen and select IQ Settings. Choose Import Custom Style. Select the Style you are uploading. You’ll be asked the position you want the lens Style to occupy, make a choice. Go back to the Home Screen and tap the Style selector (located in the upper right of the interface). Choose the lens Style and you’re all set. Now, for every image captured, that lens identifier will show up in the metadata field you selected once you ingest the files into Capture One. ** Remember, when copying the Style to your media card, it cannot go into a pre-created folder, it must be copied to the root.

From the Home Screen Swipe Up.
Choose IQ Settings and Select Import Custom Style.
Select your lens identifier as the Custom Style.
Choose the position that the Style will occupy in the Styles menu.
Go back to the main screen and tap the Style field (above set to Default Style).
Choose the appropriate lens Style.
The lens Style will now show in the main menu.

By Steve Hendrix

Thanks for the read! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

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