Phase One unveils thier first medium-format camera with CMOS Sensor

by JamesNYCJanuary 24. 2014 06:06

A few days ago, Hasselblad announced its revolutionary new the H5D-50c a medium format camera with CMOS sensor technology.

It's all about CMOS sensors in the medium format camera world at the moment. And once again Phase One is taking a commanding lead in the arena of high-end digital capture.

In a recent development, Phase One has declared the same thing just a few days later – a release of its own medium format camera with CMOS sensor technology. It’s called the IQ250 and it’s priced at $34,990. While Hasselblad was the first to announce the news, Phase One is the first to make the device available. It is available for purchase today.


Phase One has also been a lot more forthcoming with product details than Hasse has been. The IQ250 has a sensor size of 44×33 mm and a dynamic range of 14 f-stops. Its ISO range is from 100 to 6400 with an exposure time from 1/10000s to one hour. Live View is a feature that offers impressive composition and focus assistance, and it can be used directly on the digital back, connected to a computer or running on iPhones and iPads.


IQ250 Specs & Details
 But before I get ahead of myself with our hands-on test results, here's a rundown of key specs and details of the just announced Phase One IQ250 back.
 * Sony-built 50-megapixel CMOS sensor sized at 44 x 33mm, that's slightly smaller than what's in Phase One's current 80-megapixel IQ280 (53.7 x 40.4mm) and 60-megapixel (53.9 x 40.4mm) IQ260 backs, but with 68 percent more image capture area than sensors in full-frame DSLRs.
 * ISO range of 100 to 6400
 * 14 stops of dynamic range (as rated by Phase One)
 * Exposure time options of 1/10000 of a second to one hour
 * Maximum 2 frames-per-second (fps) shooting speed
 * Improved Live View with faster frame refresh rate (less jittery effect)
 * Built-in Wi-Fi for displaying images or live view wirelessly on computers, iPads or iPhones
 * 3.2-inch touchscreen display
 * USB 3.0
 *  IQ250 price: $34,990 (you didn't really think it would be cheap, did you?)

At its core, the Phase One IQ250 features a 50 megapixel CMOS sensor which measures 44 x 33 mm. It has a resolution of 8280 x 6208, and a 5.3 x 5.3 micron pixel size. This means the sensor is 68 percent larger than that of a full-frame 35-mm-format DSLR. However, it's still smaller than the 54 x 40 mm sensors used in some other Phase One IQ2 backs, resulting in a 1.3 lens factor.

The adoption of a CMOS sensor (rather than CCD) is important because it enables the IQ250 to boast better low light performance than any of its currently available rivals. Its ISO range of 100 to 6,400 is the widest usable of any digital medium format camera, and the IQ250 should perform well in available light conditions that would have other medium format cameras (which often never leave the studio) running scared.


The Phase One IQ250 also has an impressive 14 stops of dynamic range, enabling photographers to retain details in highlights and shadows. Exposure times from 1/10000s to 60 min are available, and Live View capability is much improved. While it might not sound like much to DSLR and mirrorless shooters, the IQ250's capture rate of 1.2 frames per second is also something to shout about in a medium format camera.

As part of the IQ2 camera system line-up, the IQ250 digital back has a 3.2-inch touchscreen on the rear. There's also built-in Wi-Fi for remote viewing, along with USB 3.0 for connecting to a computer running Capture One. The IQ250 can be used with a variety of medium format camera bodies, though Phase One would probably like to see it paired with its 645DF+.

The Phase One IQ250 is available now and comes with the Capture One software for raw image processing and editing. It will set you back a not insubstantial USD$34,990.

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