Phase One Sees XF Upgrades As Key Weapon

November 1, 2016

By Greg Scoblete

With the XF camera system, Phase One has committed itself to a continuous stream of feature updates to enable new capabilities, but it hasn’t stopped with firmware. It’s released new lenses and a new 100-megapixel digital back at Photokina. We caught up with VP of Marketing Ziv Argov at PhotoPlus Expo for a brief chat on the busy year that was and what’s next for the medium format camera maker.

What follows is an edited transcript.

On bringing photographers into the XF system

“It’s an expensive camera but it’s one that we’re updating regularly,” Argov says. “We committed to producing regular updates, which we’ve done. We’ve also been introducing new lenses.” The company plans to keep up the current pace of feature updates going forward, Argov adds.

The most recent firmware upgrade, which introduced an electronic shutter for the IQ3 100MP back, among other improvements, rolled out in October. This was designed specifically to help users with technical cameras that are aging and whose mechanical shutters may be breaking or no longer in stock. The electronic shutter on the IQ3 100 MP back ensures they can use those cameras even when the mechanical shutter goes kaput.

The new feature update also added additional flash tools for Profoto lights, such as the ability to analyze flash output. Can other light brands be integrated into the camera in one of the future feature updates, we wondered.

“Theoretically we can incorporate other lights and we’re thinking about it, but it would take some work,” Argov says. That said, the company is constantly balancing user requests with its own internal wish list of new features. “Our R&D expenditures are growing, but we have to prioritize.”

On which new back is more popular, the 100-megapixel or 50-megapixel

Since January, “people have been gravitating to the 100-megapixel back” over the 50-megapixel model, Argov relays. “Beyond having the highest resolution, people have been waiting for that full frame format size.”

On new competition entering the medium format market

“We’re happy to see it. We see the Fuji camera as being very compelling for a Canon or Nikon shooter,” Argov says. “Anything that grows the medium format market is good, because medium format absolutely improves your work. Medium format slows you down and makes you focus. It’s a different experience, a simpler experience–not 2,000 buttons and 500 focus points. It’s a tool to work on your art,” Argov says. “We’re not worried about competitors, we’re focused on customer needs.”

On CCD technology’s future in medium format camera backs

“I see some future for CCD still in a studio setting, where you have a lot of light. Is it the future? We don’t know.”