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Inspiration

Why You Should Pay Attention To Phase One’s New Industrial Camera | ‘Trickle Down’ & Next Gen MF

By Kishore Sawh on May 3rd 2018

Speaking to the fine people at Phase for the past few years, it has become clear that they are not interested in appeasing the mean. No, Phase One’s bias for the utmost in quality is too entrenched for that, and it appears that when it comes to hardware they’ve decided they’d rather take that approach than one of volume in consumer sales. They do, however, still need to sell, and to satisfy that need they’ve developed the industrial division of the company that’s been doing exceedingly well.

While 99.9% of us will have neither the need nor the bank balance to have a Phase One system, the fact they push these boundaries is good for us all – a rising tide, floats all boats, so-to-speak. Case in point is the new 100MP iXM Metric camera designed for high-quality aerial imaging, surveying, and mapping. You nor I may directly benefit from it, but we likely will indirectly. This is a unit that’s built to be robust; weather sealed, small, vibration resistant, has 10G ethernet and USB-C ports, and uses XQD storage. And this is where things get interesting, even if it was already impressive. The sensor would appear to be Sony’s newest BSI (backside illuminated) medium format sensor, which is a first for this kind of unit, and with it comes all the beneficial trappings of the type, like better low light performance, probably better read-out speed, a bit more pliancy for lens design, and…smaller sized sensors, which is what this is. The sensor in the new iXM is a 33 x 44 millimeter sensor, which is not the same size as what you’d find in their XF systems, but it is the same size as the sensors you’d find in the Fujifilm GFX-50S and Hasselblad X1D (X1D Review here). So it is well within the realm of possibility that given the flexibility in lens design that this sensor affords, its lowlight capability, read out speed and so on, that it is very likely wee’ll see this sensor size in the next generation of GFX and or X1D, and maybe, just maybe, if we close out eyes real tight and cross our fingers, Phase One could offer a smaller, more hand-held, consumer-grade MF camera with this sensor as the foundation.

And if we won’t see a smaller Phase One unit, well then by creating something like this it’s giving Sony a reason to produce this type of sensor and make it available to others. That’s a little like planting a tree under whose shade you’ll never sit…

[REVIEW: Hasselblad X1D Review | It’s Less Mr. Sulu & More Captain Kirk]

You can find more more about the iXM here.

About

Kishore is, among other things, the Editor-In-Chief at SLR Lounge. A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Matthew Saville

    Hopefully they won’t leave Pentax out of this, either! The GFX may be stealing the show today, but the 645D and 645Z were the /original/ ground-breakers in the “wow, MFD is almost within my reach!” movement… I hope Pentax can continue producing niche cameras like this, because it’s the only way they’ll stay afloat…

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    • Tom Marvel

      Talk about closing eyes real tight & crossing fingers…… 

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    • Matthew Saville

      I think it’s a little less “hail mary pass” than that, but yeah, you’re kinda right. But hey, to be totally honest, even if Pentax (or Nikon) went belly-up tomorrow, I’d still have more than enough “camera” at my disposal for many years to come, if not the rest of my career. I might add a Sony to my bag for certain needs, but I don’t think I’ll ever “dump” Pentax and Nikon completely. If anything, I’ve got two 35mm film cameras, from each of my grandfathers, a Pentax K1000 and a Nikon FG, which I absolutely love putting rolls of film through, while also shooting the same images with the same lenses from a full-frame DSLR. If nothing else, it’s just a fun hobby that I’ll sink money into for as long as the companies will keep making new products. :-)

      I know that’s not the high-dollar professional investment that either company might prefer, but I suspect that the “average consumer” is what adds up to be a truly significant portion of sales for either company.

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