I was involved in a series of conversations about a new PhaseOne camera system with their Chief Technical Officer quite a while ago. The conversations became more structured and more detailed about 5 years ago. I mention this in order to give the reader an appreciation for the enormous amount of work and planning that goes into creating a new camera system.
The initial conversations addressed radically new designs, as well as very conservative slightly improved designs and everything in-between. There were many follow on conversations and interesting ideas discussed with a number of key individuals over the next few years. As you would imagine, all these conversations were strictly confidential under non-disclosure agreements.
It is abundantly clear that a lot of thought and a lot of effort went into designing and producing this new system!
Fast forward 5 years and we finally have a new Medium Format Camera System, the PhaseOne XF.
Jim Taskett and I first saw the XF in prototype form last Fall at a private meeting with PhaseOne. At that point, the team was still soliciting our inputs and reactions to the product.
It has been a long road and Jim and I are delighted be able to experience the XF in final form as a commercially available product. It is an impressive camera system.
New Medium Format Camera Systems are not often introduced. They are meant to be professional tools that will last for decades. Part of it has to do with the development and manufacturing expenses, the market size, the types of customers that use these systems and assorted other commercial issues.
From the user’s point of view, due to the cost of such a system, as well as the effort involved in configuring the system, getting used to it and establishing a good work flow; photographers that work with these tools would have a very adverse reaction if a new system was introduced too soon.
Therefore, the introduction af the PhaseOne XF Camera system is an important event in the world of photography.
The XF system has some very interesting features, but more than anything else, it exudes quality and a clear awareness of the needs of the photographer. Things as simple as having 3 dials, one each for aperture, shutter speed and ISO (the three parameters that determine exposure) seem to elude all other camera manufacturers, thus resulting in a kludgy interface that does not work nearly as naturally as the XF System.
Rather than spend more time writing extensively about the system, I encourage you to watch the 34 minute video below. While 34 minutes may sound a little long, Jim Taskett and Lau Nørgaard go through the system in much more detail than that found in product announcements or early reviews and it is well worth the time.
Mark Dubovoy, Editor, June 9, 2015.