Processing... Please wait...

Product was successfully added to your shopping cart.

Pro Photo Rental

10 Reasons to Rent Phase One Medium Format
By Zac Henderson

Medium format camera systems are tools that not many of us are familiar with, yet they are on the cutting edge of the greatest image quality available anywhere. Photographers that use medium format do so for a variety of reasons, some of which we discuss below. The majority of photographers, however, either haven't heard of Phase One medium format cameras or choose to ignore what they offer because of their prohibitive price tag. Indeed, these camera systems are expensive, and if purchased brand new can easily cost more than a car (or two). You know what you do when you want to use a piece of gear but don’t want to buy it? You rent it from Pro Photo Rental. Below we list 10 reasons why you should consider renting medium format on your next job.

1. The Best Image Quality You Can Imagine

The point so nice we’ve already mentioned it twice. Indeed, medium format camera systems are known for three things: price, resolution, and image quality. There’s a reason why these camera systems are so expensive, and its not just about the sensor that’s 2.5x the size of full frame 35mm. The exceptional Schneider Kreuznach lenses, high resolution sensor that produces 16 bit color and 15 stops of dynamic range, and some secret sauce in software all combine to produce image with exceptional acuity, dynamic range, color, and depth.

2. High Resolution Files

You might think #1 and #2 go hand in hand, and you’d be right. Still, it’s worth noting that just because a camera is capable of high resolution capture, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the high resolution image, you know, looks good. In fact, many new camera bodies coming out these days are capable of decently high resolution images, but there aren’t many lenses that can truly stand up to those high resolution sensors. Lenses have to be able to resolve the level of detail the sensor can capture, and many lenses out there just can’t handle it and will result in a soft image that doesn’t take advantage of what the sensor can provide. Phase One medium format systems include Schneider Kreuznach Blue Ring lenses which are designed for one thing: high resolution sensors.

The usefulness of high resolution images can’t be overstated. There’s simply more that can be done with a high resolution image: tighter crops, larger prints, more available reproduction mediums, etc. The client also has the capability of doing far more with the image now and into the future. Every day our image hungry society moves towards higher and higher resolutions. Still images taken now on a 100 megapixel camera have more staying power than images taken on a 24 megapixel camera, pure and simple.

3. Leaf Shutter Lenses

Each of Phase One’s line of Blue Ring Schneider Kreuznach lenses have built in leaf shutters that can sync with strobes at up to 1/1600s (larger lenses limited to 1/1000s). Leaf shutters are found in the lens, and contract radially instead of moving vertically next to the sensor like a focal plane shutter. This means that when the camera is triggered and a strobe is fired, the whole sensor is exposed. This is in contrast to a focal plane shutter which opens and closes using a slit across the sensor that moves top to bottom, only exposing part of the sensor at any given time. For almost all modern cameras, If a flash is triggered while using a shutter speed over 1/125s you’ll see a dark bar across the image since that part of the sensor wasn’t exposed when the strobe fired. A leaf shutter lens alleviates this problem and can let you shoot on the Phase One XF IQ3 100MP with shutter speeds up to 1/1000s or 1/1600s. That fast shutter speed combined with aperture control allows photographers to overpower daylight while still using strobes to light their subject.

You might be thinking “Zac, you dummy, you forgot that High Speed Sync allows us to do the same thing.” Yes and no. High speed sync forces the strobe to fire a BUNCH of short flashes while the camera’s focal plane shutter moves down the sensor, therefore exposing the whole sensor incrementally and preventing any dark sections on the image. While this does allow you to shoot at almost any shutter speed you like, HSS cripples the strobe’s available power. Since strobe output is directly related to flash duration, when using HSS the strobe can’t be anywhere near as powerful as when using a leaf shutter, allowing you greater control over your aperture.

4. Profoto Remote Integration

The Phase One XF body includes a built-in Profoto transceiver for not only triggering Profoto strobes, but also turning them off and on as well as controlling their power levels all from the camera body with no additional peripherals. The XF body can also take advantage of TTL control with Profoto strobes. But wait, there’s more. That built in transceiver allows photographers to trigger the camera from afar using nothing but a standard Profoto air remote. That means you can set the Phase One XF up as far away as the max distance of the Profoto air remote’s range (1000ft on paper) and still fire the camera. That’s a long way for a remote camera trigger. No cables attached.

5. Built in Focus Stacking

Planning on photographing a small object with the Phase One IQ3 100MP like jewelry or a bug’s nose-hairs? Good, because you’ve got built-in tools at your disposal to help you get the best image you can. The focus stacking feature in the XF is unique since it will automatically determine the number of images required in a focus stack by taking into account the lens you’re using, the aperture you’ve chosen, and the distance between the near and far points you’ve told the camera you want to be in focus.

After you tell the camera to begin the stack, the XF body will use its autofocus motor to incrementally shift focus to achieve a perfectly stacked series of images. Those images are then tagged via metadata as all being part of the same stack so you can easily choose that series of images amongst others in the capture folder. Simply right click a thumbnail from that series in Capture One and click “select by same > Sequence ID”. Boom. All images from that series are selected to be stacked in your software of choice. We recommend Helicon Focus since it has a great little plugin for Capture One.

6. Truly Ginormous Time Lapses

Phase One camera systems specialize in being still-photo juggernauts. Because of their specialty you won’t see any video features on these camera systems, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them to help make a video. The XF body has a built in time lapse feature for when you want (and have the storage for) a, wait for it, 12k time-lapse. And not just any 12k time-lapse, but a 12k time-lapse made with a medium format camera with 15 stops of dynamic range, 16 bit color, and an insane amount of information packed into its raw files. The ability to crop into a clip of that size is spellbinding.

7. Tethering Powerhouse

Capture One Pro, the industry standard tethering software, is made by the same company that makes our XF IQ3 100MP: Phase One. That means the software and hardware speak to each other on a very intimate level. Through Capture One you can do things like control the autofocus motor in incremental steps while viewing a live view feed from your computer, paint the image with a focus mask to help visualize your depth of field, and control almost every facet of the camera’s menu and settings. That means you can set the camera up and stay by the computer to capture and instantly review images while marking selects.

8. Cachet

Ok, we recognize this one is an intangible but it is no less real. When you walk on set with a camera your client hasn’t bought their kids for Christmas, much less ever seen before, you instantly gain street cred. The Phase One XF looks like a camera. Like… a real camera. It telegraphs to the client that you know what you’re doing, you’re taking this project seriously, and you want to deliver the best. Just know how to use it before showing up on set.

9. Experience

If you’re in the commercial photography business, chances are one day soon you’ll be asked to shoot medium format if you haven’t already. Some clients won’t accept anything except medium format. By voluntarily renting a medium format system now you gain the experience of knowing what it’s like using the camera, what its limitations are, best practices, and so on. That way when a client requests Phase One medium format you’re not learning last minute, or worse, on set.

10. Your Clients Will Love the Results

What client doesn’t want to have all of the quality and options medium format camera systems provide? One of the sweetest sounds on the planet is when an art director gasps while watching a 100% view of a medium format file render in Capture One. It’s just stinkin’ impressive.

Bonus: Capture Pilot

It's one thing to be in a studio environment and shoot tethered, but it becomes more challenging to review images and confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt you got the shot when you’re in the field and on location. That’s where Capture Pilot comes in. Capture Pilot is an iOS app that allows you to connect your iPhone or iPad directly to the IQ3 100MP digital back. Since the IQ3 100MP digital back is capable of generating its own WiFi signal your phone can connect to, you can use Capture Pilot to trigger the camera, review images, rate and color tag images, check exposure, focus, and even look at a realtime live view feed of what the digital back is seeing no matter where you are in the world. Though if you plan to use this feature, be sure you’ve got extra batteries. Best of all, the Capture Pilot app is FREE when you’re using it with the IQ3 100MP digital back’s AdHoc Wifi signal.

Comments (0)
There are no comments

You must be logged in to post a comment.

to log in