The PhaseOne A-series IQ3 100MP medium format camera
(Is überkamera a real word in German? I have no idea.)
No lights action camera
First, the new location überkamera. (Well, one of two, the Nikon D5 being the other.)
Canon has announced the EOS 1D X Mark II, its latest professional flagship DSLR. (The 1D X came out in 2011, the 1D Mark IV in 2009, the 1D Mark III in 2007, the 1D Mark II N in 2005, the 1D Mark II in 2004, and the original EOS 1D (an APS-H [28.7x19.1mm] camera with a 4-megapixel CCD sensor) in 2001. Thanks to dpreview for being the public repository of this and similar historical information). As you might expect, "it uses a body that's the most subtle possible evolution of the classic 1D design, which makes sense, given how many of its long-standing professional users will need to find it familiar the moment they use it," writes Richard Butler at dpreview. "Inside, though,"—also as you might expect—"almost every aspect of the camera's feature set has been overhauled."
The raison d'être of a top pro camera is that it do everything, so of course an exhaustive list of the 1D X Mark II's features would seem endless, not to mention more confusing than enlightening for all but those whose livelihood demands that they master it. However, a few brief stats: 20.2 megapixel CMOS FF sensor with dual-pixel CMOS AF in Live View; 61-point AF (41 cross-type) to –3EV; ISO 100 to 51,200 expandable; 4K video up to 60 FPS; 14 FPS stills (16 in Live View), to 170 frames in raw, unlimited in JPEG; digital lens optimizer (DLO), lens aberration correction, and diffraction correction; CFast2.0 and CF dual card slots; it's huge and heavy—you can look up those numbers if you care; GPS; USB 3.0 and HDMI; and the pre-order price is $5,999 at B&H Photo in a kit with a 64GB Extreme PRO CFast 2.0 Memory Card an Extreme PRO CFast 2.0 Reader/Writer. Vincent Laforet called the 2011 1D X "the king of the night" for its exceptional low-light performance, and says Canon has pushed that envelope even further.
Do you care? The answer is that if you do care, then you care very much. A pro makes a living with his or her tools, and keeping the edge is part of how you've got to compete in the cutthroat climate of the declining professional market.
But if you've never thought of the term "depreciation" in connection with your cameras, then you probably don't.
The Corcoran School of Art in the nation's capital, now called the Corcoran College of Art and Design and run under the auspices of George Washington University (it was independent when I graduated in '85), a number of years back began offering photojournalism courses and making weak bleating noises attempting to pitch itself as offering practical career training. Nothing wrong with that, except it went against more than 100 years of institutional history, as the Corcoran had always been first, foremost, front to back and top to bottom a fine arts institution in all ways.
Similarly, TOP is mos' def a personal and amateur photo blog, not a haute art or pro photography site. The last Canon professional flagship camera I used, personally, was the EOS-1n, a film camera introduced in 1994, and I didn't use one until it was well out of date. The last top professional digital camera I even tried was the Nikon D3, which impressed me enormously in 2007. We're interested in professional photography, as we are interested in the art world—as we are interested in the photography industry and auction sales records and photo museum politics and many other related but ancillary subjects—but I would guess that even full-time pros who read this site do so because they are also passionate, devoted amateur photographers in their off hours and apart from their businesses, not primarily to find information relevant to the conduct of that business. The leading publication in the US for professional and commercial photographer is PDN (from Photo District News, founded back when there was a photo district in New York City), which features articles such as "14 Successful Promotional Pieces." I would guess that even our readers who will buy and use the 1D X Mark II will also own personal cameras that they grab first for casual use, personal artwork, family documentation, and to exercise their enthusiasm for the art of photography.
A Canon 1D X Mark II next to two cameras our readers might be more likely to choose for their personal work (Canon 5DS and Leica X).
Illustration courtesy camerasize.com.
So are we interested in the EOS 1D X Mark II? Of course. What's not to like about the latest, bestest, biggest and baddest of anything in the photo firmament? So, does 14 FPS with a 170-frame raw buffer and focus tracking to die for make your eyes cross and your knees go weak? You know who you are.
On to the studio. The other recent überkamera news is that, as you might have heard, the magic number of 100 megapixels has been attained. The PhaseOne A-series IQ3 100MP joins existing Phase One A-series models (the A-series IQ3 50MP, A-series IQ3 60MP and A-series IQ3 80MP) offering integration with the ALPA platform and compatibility with the Phase One XF camera system. The Alpa version is based on the ALPA 12TC "mirrorless" (that's funny, but that's what the press release said) camera body and comes with the 35mm Rodenstock Alpar lens. Two optional lenses are available, including the ultra-wide 23mm, and the ~normal 70mm.
The ALPA 12TC body, shown here, is basically a machined frame to hold a digital back and a view camera lens together, with a handle added. There is a range of attachable accessories. The body as shown here costs approximately $2,450, depending on exchange rates. Perhaps not too surprisingly, they have a bit of a problem with counterfeiters.
Here's the XF System version. The prices of these cameras make Leicas look cheap. I'd say you need to be billing in the $500k and up range to be looking at one. Which does include a fair number of high-end studio guys. The price of the Phase One A-series IQ3 100MP Camera System (for the ALPA, with Rodenstock Alpar 35mm lens) is $56,000. Do you have to supply the 12TC body yourself? I wasn't able to find out, and it won't matter to the aforementioned $500k-and-up guy or gal, and it's academic to this former art student, so....
Original contents copyright 2016 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Wolfgang Lonien: "No, 'Überkamera' isn't an official or even widely used term, but still we 'Krauts' would understand what you mean. So to use a term like that is even somehow creative, and mirrors the 'Zeitgeist.' What we do use here sometimes is 'Überflieger,' for someone who achieves greatness without putting too much effort in something. 'Über' is quite flexible, and is used for verbs like 'überfahren' (to roll over), 'überholen' (to overtake), or 'überhaupt (nicht)' ((not) at all). Or 'Überbelegung,' for an overbooked hotel or airplane or such. And yes, sometimes we use artificial combinations to point out that 'Über-' something means 'better than any other.' So in that sense, fair use. Hope this helps...."
Mike replies: Ja tut es. Danke. Geschrieben mithilfe einer Übersetzungs-app.
Ken Bennett: "Just a few years ago I would have been salivating over the latest new super-camera from Canon, but I'm no longer shooting much in the way of actual journalism or sports, and I no longer need a 'big' camera to impress clients. I still have a pair of the 1D Mark IV bodies, which we received in April of 2010, one of the first shipments available (and which cost $11,000 for the pair).
"So they are six years old; six years of pretty hard use, at least for a while. Now, though, my primary Canon system at work is a 5Ds, which I use for landscape, architecture, and some studio portrait work, and my real primary camera is the Fuji system with which I shoot about 90% of my assignments and 100% of my personal work. I pull the 1D's out for the occasional sports assignment.
"So, this is really cool, but there is no way I can justify it."
Dan MacDonald: "I continue to be mystified why neither Canon or Nikon will sell a top spec camera like the 1Dx or D5 without the vertical grip being integrated into the body. I would be very interested in a 1D X spec-ed camera in a 5D sized body. They've done it before with the EOS-1V and F6."
Mike replies: I can't explain why Canon and Nikon do what they do, but I can explain why Canon does what it does: because Nikon does it. And I can explain why Nikon does what it does: because Canon does it.
D: "I work in the commercial side of photography as a digital tech (or digital operator if you're in Europe). I typically bring cameras and computers on set and maintain file integrity and build color for images while shooting tethered for major photographers and campaigns. I recently had a chance to play with the XF + IQ3 100MP back during a demo with the local rep. While the camera wasn't as jaw dropping as I had expected it to be, the technology in the sensor was quite astounding. The sheer range of the sensor itself was brilliant. I could pull back details in the highlights that were blown out (values around 250-255) and they were completely clean. I'm talking sending to the images to print clean. Somehow Phase and Sony have found a way to keep the medium format body alive in the world of high-res 35mm bodies."