Every few years, I like to grab the biggest, slowest, and most expensive camera I can get my hands on, head into the Ontario wilderness, and create some truly massive images for my archive. For these trips, it’s about slowing down, going to a few select locations, and really focusing on the images I’m making. The weight of the system, the limited frames per second, it makes me pay closer attention to the photo I want to make. I’ve seen photographers do it with large format cameras. Maybe one day I’ll look into that.. butfor now, I’ll stick with big digital pixels. lIn the past, I’ve used the Phase One IQ180, the Hasselblad H4D-40, and this year, the Phase One IQ3 100 megapixel behemoth, thanks to my friends at B3K Digital. It was paired with the 28mm LS, 45mm LS and 80mm LS lenses on the new Phase One XF body.
These cameras are like race cars. They do one thing and do it incredibly well, at the expense of just about everything else. That one thing, is producing giant, gorgeous images, full of colour depth, tonality, detail and micro-contrast. It had been 5 years since I last worked with the Phase One 645DF and a lot has changed with the release of the Phase One XF platform. It has a lot of interesting features many other manufacturers are missing out on (seismograph sensors for the remote timer… whoa!). Gorgeous, interchangeable viewfinders. Touch interfaces and swipe menus on the LCDs. Brilliant! But it still lacks many of the basics. Autofocus? Still one point in the centre Auto white balance? Thank the lord for raw images. For some reason, you can view images from the camera on your iPad, but you can’t transfer them to your camera roll? I digress, this isn’t really a camera review. It’s about images full of colour and depth. I can still look back on those IQ180 images from 5 years ago, zoom into 100%, and catch myself with a smile on my face. That level of detail, and knowing those images are future proof for years to come. Some of the first digital images I ever shot came from the 6MP Nikon D70 and later, the 4MP D2H. It’s safe to say pulling up these images on my 5K monitors today is a bit of a disappointment. I don’t know where we’re headed in the next 5 years, but I know the combination of gorgeous pixels, and a hell of a lot of them (like 100 of them) are a combo I’ll continue to pursue.