The Phase One XT 150mm HO-S SB Lens – First Impressions

 In News, Phase One, Phase One Lenses, Phase One Tip, Phase One XT, Tech

The Phase One XT 150mm HO-S SB Lens

First impressions.

One word comes to mind as I explore the image capabilities of the brand-new Phase One XT 150mm lens, and that is Compression. I just love how this lens lets you step back and see a completely different look than your previous lenses are producing. 

Lens compression is a visual effect associated with telephoto lenses where the foreground and background appear closer together in an image than they do in real life. Lens compression can make things in the frame seem closer or larger than they really are.

I am very fortunate that my team at Capture Integration and Phase One enabled me to take this new lens on my voyage to Norway a few weeks ago. Four plane rides and 24 hours later, we reached the Lofoten Islands, Norway.

The New Phase One XT 150mm HO-S SB Lens shortbarrelspacer bradkaye
Phase One XT with 150mm HO-S Short Barrel Lens and Short Barrel Adapter

One of the first small fishing villages we reached was in Nusfjord. We would be lodging in the quaint red cabins known as Rorbuer. They outline many of the villages and make for a great landscape element. Sunshine was pretty scarce, but there were times it would change over from rain to sleet to snow, then back to sunshine, all in one day.

One of the first scenes I photographed was this village lined with yellow buildings along the docks where all the boats came to shore. I started with a shot from the opposite dock with the XT 40mm lens.

Phase One XT 40mm TS Lens 1/80 sec F/10 ISO 80

As I mounted the XT 150 lens, it was just like attaching any other XT lens. The longer focal length does require an extension somewhere, so this design is called a Short Barrel configuration. The Short Barrel Adapter will attach between the IQ4 150 digital camera back and the rear of the XT camera body. The Short Barrel Adapter also has the same electronic pins the digital back has, so it can record the shift values of the XT in the metadata. This is very helpful when you are editing and trying to compare images and how they were shifted. Mounting the Adapter was simply like mounting another digital back to the XT because it uses the exact same release and safety buttons as the IQ4. I loved seeing how the compression made this scene look totally different.

The final image was three 150 MP captures stitched together in Capture One. Once it stitches these images together, I can use the same tools and techniques I am used to tweaking my images. The Pano looks much different because it is not as wide-angle and is very compressed with the XT 150mm lens.

3 Shot Pano Phase One XT 150mm TS Lens 1/80 sec F/10 ISO 80

I really liked the light and textures on this building, so I went to compose the XT 150mm and noticed that I was too close to get the entire building in one shot. I was already on a dock, so there was no where to back up. I decided to capture three landscape images, shifting the XT up 12 mm, one at 0, and then one shifting down 12mm. I would then stitch these three 150 MP shots together in Capture One to make the vertical image below.

3 Shot Vertical Pano Phase One XT 150mm TS Lens 1/125 sec F/11 ISO 160

As I walked around the docks, I noticed an area where they stored the ropes they used to tie boats up. I thought it would make a great XT 150mm Lens shot to show its sharpness and contrast.

Phase One XT 150mm Lens 1/15 sec F/11 ISO 160
100% Crop of image shot Phase One XT 150mm Lens 1/15 sec F/11 ISO 160

I took a few more shots with the XT 150mm lens while we were in this fishing village called Nusfjord. I started again with the XT 40mm TS lens and then punched in with the XT 150mm lens.

XT 40mm TS lens 1/40 sec F/10 ISO 50
XT 150mm Lens 1/10 sec F/11 ISO 50
100% crop XT 150mm Lens 1/10 sec F/10 ISO 50
XT 150mm Lens 1/8 sec F/11 ISO 50
100% crop XT 150mm Lens 1/10 sec F/10 ISO 50

We were driving along this fjord early one morning when I saw this old red cabin. I first set up and shot it with the XT 40 TS lens, but it felt like it was too wide to appreciate the cold textures and subtle color. I then came in with the XT 150mm shot and a 100% crop from that capture. It compressed the cabin against the mountain so nicely, I turned it into a panorama as well. 

XT 40mm TS mm Lens 1/13 sec F/10 ISO 50
XT 150mm Lens 1/30sec F/11 ISO 50
100% crop XT 150mm Lens 1/30sec F/11 ISO 50
3 Shot Pano XT 150mm Lens 1/30sec F/11 ISO 50

As we drove through the downtown district, we stopped to capture this scene. It was a vast, wide-open landscape with a mountain in the background. I started with the XT 40mm TS lens and then decided to shoot a few with the XT 150mm lens. 

And I am glad I did, just love the compression we get here with the XT 150mm. The last shot is a 100% crop from that IQ4 150 frame.

XT 40mm TS Lens 1/15sec F/10 ISO 100
XT 150mm Lens 1/15sec F/10 ISO 100
100% crop XT 150mm Lens 1/15 sec F/11 ISO 50

Later in the week we discovered this shipyard where they were restoring vintage boats. It was a great place to stop off and capture some nautical landscapes with the new XT 150mm lens. I started off again with an establishing shot with the XT 40mm TS lens.

As I compose with the XT 150mm lens, I love the compressions I am getting with this longer lens. I can now see behind the boats and align the red house on the hill into the scene. Being able to move the camera up, down, sideway really allows you to get all the creative angles. 

XT 40mm TS Lens 1/50 sec F/11 ISO 50
XT 150mm Lens 1/50 sec F/11 ISO 50
3 Shot Pano XT 150mm Lens 1/50 sec F/11 ISO 50

As I was finishing that pano shot, I thought, what if I really show off now and do a 9-shot stitch, covering all the up and down movements the XT offers? So I would create a 3 shot pano on each level of the rise and fall. This means shift up 12mm and to the far left 12mm and then move back towards the right side creating 3 rows of 3 shots in each area. This gives you an enormous file, 1.04 GB, to work with but also makes your area of coverage larger. Since it is being compressed with a longer lens, it has a very unique look to it when compared to a wider angle lens. I used Capture One to stitch these 3-shot panos and the 9-shot pano together. I was prepared for Capture One to laugh at the 9-shot stitch task, but it made a gorgeous file.

9 Shot Pano XT 150mm Lens 1/50 sec F/11 ISO 50

I also wanted to show a few 100% cropped detail images from that file.

100% crop XT 150mm Lens 1/50 sec F/11 ISO 50
100% crop XT 150mm Lens 1/50 sec F/11 ISO 50

One of our guides climbed up to this fort and showed me an image he shot on his iPhone, where he took two shots and put them together in LR. So I took the same shot: one focused up front and then one focused on the village with the XT 150mm Lens. I used Helicon Focus to stack these two shots. They are very sharp on both planes of focus. 

XT 150mm Lens 1/25 sec F/11 ISO 50

XT 150mm Lens 1/25 sec F/11 ISO 50
XT 150mm Lens 1/25 sec F/11 ISO 50

This is that image shot thru the fort window but setup out near the road. This is 3 shots stitched together but something really nice going on in those houses at a distance. Really shows how well the XT 150 resolves the detail. 

3 Shot Pano XT 150mm Lens 1/80sec F/11 ISO 50
XT 150mm Lens 1/80sec F/11 ISO 50
100% crop XT 150mm Lens 1/80sec F/11 ISO 50

A few more tips I would like to share are to take your time and rehearse your movements with this longer lens. I like to zero out the movements first, then find my center point for the pano, and then start moving around to make sure I can travel far enough right and left. I also check to see if I have left myself enough sky and foreground. It is much easier to back up than to retouch the files.

With the XT 150, it is critical to focus properly. I like to turn on the Focus Mask during Live View so I can see the image come into focus in certain areas as I turn the focusing ring on the XT 150mm lens. Infinity was accurate to the hard stop on the lens, this is one area we check on every XT lens that gets sold thru our company. We like to call it our “white glove service”.

If you have not tried to use Capture One for stitching, give it a try, I find the Pano and HDR merge feature work really well. I will be glad if I can do both at the same time. 

In closing, I just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed working with this new state-of-the-art lens technology for the Phase One XT camera system. This would be Phase One’s first design of lenses made in-house, and I think they knocked it out of the park. It is a very useful focal length and one that we had a void in. I thought the color, contrast, and clarity are outstanding on this Phase One XT lens.

By Chris Snipes

Thanks for the read! If you have any questions, or interest in a photographic system upgrade, feel free to reach out.

Chris Snipes

813.335.2473 | chris@captureintegration.com

Request the raw files from this article with the form below!

Please Let Us know what your interest is(required)

Expected to Ship End of March!

Recent Posts