The Superior capabilities of Phase One Camera Systems
Of all the digital capture systems we work with at Capture Integration, I have the highest level of knowledge within the Phase One ecosystem. If you’re aware of our systems offerings here, you’ll know that on any given day, I can select not among, but from the world’s best camera systems to shoot with. All of them.
This article summarizes and links to all content I’ve written on these subjects over the last seven years. (Just click on the blue links as we go.)
I routinely grab Leicas, Hasselblads, Fujifilms, and even Canons to do personal shooting with, but 19 times out of 20, if I’m shooting commercially, I’m selecting a Phase One digital back matched with either a technical camera or the Phase One XF, or both.
With the advent of the Backside Illuminated (BSI) sensor in the IQ4-150, technical camera shooting became easier IQ4-150: The BEST digital back EVER for Technical Camera use and even allowed beautiful, aged German Schneider Kreuznach optics to once again capture onto the digital plane for the first time since 60 megapixel. (14 years ago!)
When paired with technical cameras like Cambo or ALPA, exceedingly large images can easily be created when 150 megapixels isn’t enough or advanced workflows are available when it comes to painting with light Light Painting with the ALPA Silex Mk II
Shooting Phase One gives me the uncompromised ability to record and deliver the highest fidelity still captures on the planet with the supreme utility of having such a customizable layout configuration on the XF Tech Tip: XF Multi-Icon View with automated features like Hyperfocal Calibration & Tuning and automated focus stacking, along with workflow enhancing systems like Dual Exposure+ and Frame Averaging that are exclusive to Phase One IQ4-150 digital backs. Not only can Frame Averaging allow you to shoot 5 minute daylight blurs with no neutral density, both Dual Exposure+ and Frame Averaging can be used to enhance the overall fidelity of the highest fidelity raw file that exists in photography today.
The internal automated Focus Stacking tool has revolutionized my product shooting and even more so when I combine the use of the tool with some solid continuous lighting, The Continuous Light Advantage in the Studio
Did you purchase your XF from Capture Integration? If you did, your camera very likely has pre-installed 3 custom setups that I designed that remap the button & wheel layouts, change the icons on the top screen as well as the swipe menus and further, internal settings of the camera to better match the needs for the distinctively different shooting scenarios of Landscape, Portrait or Studio Still shooting.
Don’t have these installed? I can email these setups and you can install them yourself with any IQ2/3/4 series digital back. Even better, you can use these as templates to later augment them yourself and then save them into the camera and onto external media in order to keep your camera setups safe and to serve to duplicate the settings onto additional XF bodies so all of your cameras can be synced perfectly. I love having these saved setups on the camera for a perfect ‘fall-back’ position if any irregularities pop up mid-shoot, restoring my camera to a known preset in case any erroneous changes were made to it by me, techs or assistants allowing me to quickly get the production back to producing.
Over the last couple years with the raised incidences of clients not participating physically on set, they are often surprised when they see iPhone shots of the set or Live View streaming off of my camera that I’m not working in ‘dark’ of a studio or shooting outdoors in a different time zone, but rather in what is often a non-studio space that still has the drama of sculpted studio lighting in the still frames.
As I’ve written previously in regards to maximizing the use of Leaf Shutters available in Medium Format camera systems, the combination of leaf shutters and battery powered strobe systems give me the ability to make use of nearly any environment I want to utilize for its content and textures, giving me studio-like control of my remote set.
High Speed Sync available on most TTL enabled camera systems don’t come close to the power or control that the leaf shutters deliver with their 1/1600th sync speeds allowing close to 100% of the strobe output to reach your capture while at the same time choking out errant existing lighting or even daylight itself. Practically speaking, time of day and fixed lighting factor far less as variables that need to be handled as well as the ability to select from nearly all of the available aperture openings for visual aesthetics independent of what could be an overabundance of natural light, the combination of which I can choose to exclude nearly the full power of the sun… in open shade, at least. (see my laptop screen below compared to reality)
XF camera internal control of Profoto lighting is fantastic, giving you far better and faster control of your multiple lights on set than even a Profoto Air Remote or TTL Remote can provide and allows me to ‘one man show’ control of my lights even when conditions would otherwise make them harder to control, especially for strobes that are far out of reach. (orange arrow above indicates the position of the B10+ wearing the Nanlite focusable fresnel, as one of six strobes on set that day) The display allows me to turn modeling lights on or off, KNOW when they’re on and should be off, (very important for battery life), idle individual lamps to conserve power, or change all lights at the same time to a new output value.
Even in a studio where I have light control, I also find it less jarring to be working in a relatively day lit room and having the strobes fire to expose the scene compared to working in the dark and having the same or even more oomph to the momentary bright lights.
The beauty here is that most of the above features have evolved into the system over time and are offered at no additional cost by way of firmware updates to existing equipment as development continues on legacy and new hardware from Denmark.
Top 11 Features of XF Feature Update #3
Top 10: Feature Update #4 & HAP-2 Update
Feature Update 8 for Phase One XF, XT and IQ4
Phase One Feature Update #8 – Tested Features, Procedures & Caveats
How big is your raw file? Phase One also offers multiple versions of raw file Phase One IQ4-150 File Format Options which provides immense value to your archive and raw file delivery to clients.
Capture One was initially developed more than 20 years ago as a processing tool for Phase One files, but has since expanded to be the premiere RAW post-processing software that it is today. There are plenty of advanced tricks that you can make use of when it comes to perfect organization of your tethered shoot and in organization of your files shot to card, especially in terms of viewing thumbnails of shots normally or with advanced options on the IQ4-150. Tech Tip – IQ4 File Organization for Frame Averaging & Dual Exposure+
Additionally, I’ve written about one of my favorite lenses, not that it’s not without caveats of use because if you shoot it incorrectly, it will quickly become far less appealing in the SK lineup. The Schneider Kreuznach 55LS – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
I can say all of this while not being a yes-man to or parrot of Phase One marketing because any failure the system has is only a bug report or feature request away from being fully optimized. Make your needs known with the engineering team through the service portal; I’m just one voice! Contact Phase One Technical Support
Other relevant things I’ve written about or noted:
Wondering how to optimize the camera settings for auto-ISO use? Phase One 645XF – Auto ISO: Best Practices
How do you stay healthy in these challenging times? The Art of Thriving rather than Surviving
How do you properly Focus Trim the XF? XF Focus Trim
How to sharpen your knives? Zen & The Art Of Knife Sharpening
Have you heard of the Mathematical Challenges To Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution? Chief Of Engineering’s Log: Stardate – August, 2019
How can you best power the IQ4-150? Powering the Phase One IQ4-150