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Thursday, 30 August 2018

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Four Thirds on steroids

Cor! That looks like the big-brother of my Nikon-1 V2.

Well, it's ugly enough to be...

The October 28 article in Luminous Landscape, "The Road To The Phase One IQ4" by Doug Peterson makes this highest end strategy very clear and comprehensible.

[I can't link to Luminous-Landscape any more because it's behind a subscription wall. Otherwise I would. --Mike]

So, we're going to get higher quality art now that this is in the hands of professionals, right? Right?

Or, maybe all we will have is more detail on billboards. ;)

Imagine the scene:

"But officer, I was distracted by the IQ of that billboard a mile back." Yup. Blame it on the XF IQ4.

Pretty much their only option, now. There was a time when a camera that cost as much as a house might have a raison d'etre. That time is in the rearview mirror, I think.....

Wow, this puts my PEN-F with only 80 mp (raw) in the shade.

Very cool, but I'll have to put this in the crazy big lottery win category. Do even any pros need this? That's a big nut to earn back.

Now that's how you do "ultimate image quality" - you thumb your nose at the very idea of any kind of price constraint. "Prosumers? We don't need no stinking prosumers!"

High Price Low Volume is the top of the game in most businesses. But only a few percent make it. And it takes a lot to stay there! Aka Leica too! Medium Price, Medium Volume is the crowded end of most markets with greatest choice and lowest profits. (I wonder if Capture one software sales subsidises their camera division). Phones don't count any more as they are multifunctional devices. They have the Low Price High Volume market soaked - so no more compacts. With relatively cheap add on hardware there are apps for everything from virtual high grade grand pianos to ECG monitoring. The future is only starting.

I think that makes sense for them. Their market is small, but so are they (relatively speaking. They also have areal mapping and museum repro and documentation sewn up.
As long as their business if 'right sized for the Markers they serve, they should be fine.
Ironically though MF probably gets the most technical benefit from going mirrorless. The mirror slap is still an issue, because the mirror is so large.
Canon went with all motorized up and down mirror movement which is quite effective, So I wonder if we'll ever see a Phase one mirrorless system?? Not in the near future I'm sure.

Yikes!

I am sooo glad I have never and will never need anything like that.

I can't even conceive of a use for it, other than bragging rights or proof that you MUST be good (or stu..., no won't go there).

However, hats off to anyone who can make magic with it.

And magic is just what I'd need to pay for it.

Cheers

Phase One has also done two more things, the first is the announcement of the 150MP iXM-RS150F systems: https://go.phaseone.com/index.php/email/emailWebview?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWXpreU5EQTFNMlk1TWpWbSIsInQiOiJFbVNNcmdORXdpMGV0a0tWV1hxdEdhbHQ0cWo5RXQ4YmYzU2hEVDhmYVNkSHJtQnVRSU41QVk1clB2dlMyZjZ5cm1JR1pRMXZXTFV5TkhoM0ZjTjd1RjRUMFZCS3dFZEoxMk94YjVVWVRvTHViTCtINTlXdlZmSzRuekhpNTFlTSJ9

The second is the announcement that they are discontinuing Media Pro SE sales and distribution: a stand alone Digital Asset Manager system.
https://go.phaseone.com/index.php/email/emailWebview?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWTJSa05qRTJabVZrWVdJeiIsInQiOiIzaDJtTEdkTUJvSVFERVZOWDFlWFpZSDlHTWhpS294VHB5TFA0ZFk4MjNPQ1J5aTQyL3pFc3pSUG5zNnl2Vzdzc0hyZnVWbW40VmJYakZYR01jb3U5d2QreXorV0tOajRTekRDVTNNS1MvNnNsWVpDSVhrcVBSQkZTaFZ2c3U3ViJ9

I don't see that Phase One has any choice but to compete at the highest of the high-end. There's no way they can continue to compete in the 33x44mm MF sensor space because Fujifilm, in particular, will just destroy them by being fully competitive image-quality-wise, with bodies and lenses that have comparable performance (except they are notably lighter), and sell for at ~ 1/5th-1/8th the price (the Fujifilm GFX50S is priced at $5849.95 right now, which is a steal)

But Phase One needs to be careful here or they are going to end up in high-end that they are going to lose sales through lower and lower market volume. I would also expect that at a resolution of 150 megapixels, the camera will have to be used almost exclusively on a tripod. Even the IQ3 XF has a seismometer built-in to it that will not let the shutter actuate until it determines the camera is still enough.

I have to admit I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Phase One, because Capture One 11 on the whole, frickin' ROCKS. It is a superb photo editing solution, significantly better than Adobe Lightroo. And the latest rev, C1 11, is a BIG step up over previous versions.

But they also seem to demonstrate a passive-aggressive sensibility that many, many potential customers find exasperating in that they willingly, no deliberately, turn down millions of dollars in potential revenue from Capture One sales because Phase One does not support importing and editing any non-Phase One medium-format files; the strategy being they want to force customers to buy a $25,000 to $50,000 P1 camera to use a $300 piece of software.

I just don't understand a company that turns down millions in revenue (and a lot of profit as software has very high margins) just to spite photographers that are not going to buy their camera anyway, especially as the majority of these customer are now in a market segment that Phase One even plays in any more. Huh?

Perhaps it is the 33x44 class cameras that are going to struggle, because 24x36 is too close in size, while having a massive advantage in pricing (economies of scale) and sensor development (due to the much bigger market making R&D worthwhile) and lens options that not only cancel out the DOF difference by being faster, but offer far more photographic options and capability.

Too much gear lately, not much photo.

[Wait a while. Like the weather, a blog changes. --Mike]

What's there to say, other than that I, too, would enjoy owning a penthouse in Monaco?

I could hop over to the Cannes movie festival, watch the Grand Prix from someone's deck, and see the best-looking bimbos on Earth every day. Might even get one to model again...

It sports flapping mirrors, prism finders, and a long flange distance. So the whole Phase One XF system is an anachronism — dead on arrival. Thank you but no thanks.

$50,000 is a lot of money for a camera and lens.

Definitely targeted for people with deep pockets who must have The Ultimate.

A few years later, will it become The Penultimate?

Looks like Phase One is limiting themselves to the small sensors Sony has to offer. A quick look over at Teledyne Dalsa shows their Falcon4 camera with a 64×48mm sensor, 6 sq micron pixels for a total of 86 million pixels. Then again I guess these cameras for real photographers of important things are not as cheap as the Phase stuff made for people who take pictures of other people's dresses.

Mike,
There must be users for equipment like that unless Phase One has taken leave of its senses. It would be very interesting to read what some of them have to say.
Henry

Woah! Is Phase One saying that the "deficiencies" of small format (35mm) crop sensors will now become deficiencies of not quite medium format medium format sensors? I'll bet that the Fuji GFX50S would be exempt from any such deficiencies as I am sure "someone" will soon explain in the comments.

As a user of Capture One software I have a vested interest in seeing Phase One maintain a viable business, but at these price points for their cameras, how is that possible? This is not a rhetorical question. Seriously, can someone please explain the economics of their business model? Mike? Oren?

Mike pointed out in an earlier post that the market for top end Full-frame mirrorless is quite small and will be hotly contested by Sony, Nikon, Canon, Leica and even Panasonic. Medium format is a narrower segment still and the high end of medium format sounds like the kind of market where all the participants know each other.

I'd like to ask Oren who the target customers are for Phase One. What are they using these extreme devices for?

Well, if your work needs the ultimate, here it is. I suspect most of these cameras will be rented/leased by top fashion and advertising photographers. Rather like professional motion-picture cameras in this regard.
Very few photographers can charge enough to cover the cost of ownership before the camera becomes obsolete; much like the 1990s DSLRs that cost $25k or more.

Looking at the Phase One website, I suspect the intention of the cameras is for industrial / scientific purposes … only a small percentage of customers would use them for general photography.

Much better lately. More gear. Less low-resolution on-screen photo. :-)

Seriously, can someone please explain the economics of their business model? Mike? Oren?

I don't have access to their financials, so I can't tell you how it adds up - my point was only that their behavior strongly suggests they they are convinced it is a viable model.

I'd like to ask Oren who the target customers are for Phase One. What are they using these extreme devices for?

Some mix, proportions unknown to me, of the following:
* Hobbyists with lots of money
* Professional photographers serving high-end commercial accounts
* Companies, government agencies, etc. with specific technical applications
* Institutions responsible for reproduction and archiving of documents and artifacts ("cultural heritage")

Follow the "solutions" link on the Phase One website for information about the latter two.

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