Phase One XC Review: A Camera in Search of a Photographer

The Part One XC is an uncommon digicam, and never simply due to its $62,490 asking price. It’s designed with a particular function in thoughts and it sports activities a hard and fast lens in entrance of a large 150-megapixel medium format sensor.

I’ve heard of Part One cameras, after all, and have even dealt with one or two in my lifetime. I’ve recognized them to be studio cameras primarily, that they’re very costly, and that they ship wonderful picture high quality as a rule. Like most individuals who’ve used Part One merchandise, it’s the Seize One modifying software program that I’m extra aware of. The XF and XT techniques studio cameras are simply outdoors the realm of the pictures I usually shoot or the form of merchandise I usually assessment. After which, a model new and really smooth Phase One XC comes throughout the desk and it appears, a minimum of on paper, to be in my wheelhouse.

Phase One XC lens and body only
The principle physique of the XC may be very compact and well-built. I want you could possibly get the digicam like this with out the again.

Part One XC: The way it Handles within the Subject

The Part One XC is a quite simple digicam touting some very severe {hardware}. It’s a compact physique design that appears rather more suited to the sphere than the studio, though because it weighs in at round 4 kilos, the XC is a bit of cumbersome contemplating what its small design would counsel. 

Now easy is an efficient factor, however perhaps this digicam is a bit of too easy. On the enterprise finish of the XC is a hard and fast, manually focusing Rodenstock Digaron 23mm f/5.6 offering a 14mm full-frame equal subject of view.

Phase One XC vignetting rodenstock 23mm f/5.6
The Rodenstock Digaron 23mm f/5.6 is a pointy lens however it vignettes a bit.

There’s a very superior carbon fiber leaf shutter within the XC offering a most flash sync of round 1/1600 second. Nevertheless, flash pictures doesn’t appear to be what the XC is designed for. I might actually see the opportunity of performing some environmental portraiture with Flashes utilizing the PC sync port, however the shoe on high of the digicam is chilly.

On the rear of the digicam sits the true coronary heart of the system. The Part One IQ4 150-megapixel again delivers probably the most dynamic vary you’ll doubtless see out of a present sensor and tons of decision to go together with it.

The IQ4 could be shared amongst the XF and XT cameras as it’s detachable however it offers a singular menu and touchscreen interface when mounted to the XC. The touchscreen interface makes use of easy-to-see icons and sub-menus come up when swiping the display screen from the skin edges. I did discover the contact display screen to be fairly gradual to make use of and it didn’t at all times register finger presses on the primary strive. Going between dwell view and my principal menus can also be a bit of ponderous and the general feeling of the interface is that it is much better suited to gradual tripod work.

Phase One XC on a tripod
The XC stayed on the tripod all day. Truthful climate landscapes are its forte.

When utilizing the principle display screen, it is vitally straightforward to press on an publicity management and rapidly alter it. Nevertheless, when utilizing dwell view the publicity buttons are very tiny, and proper on the backside fringe of the display screen making them fairly troublesome to press on the primary strive.

The wood hand grip is molded properly and could be switched to the opposite facet of the digicam for left-handed shooters. There’s an Arca-Swiss model mounting plate which appeared very safe. This digicam can be utilized handheld however with a whole lack of IBIS and pretty clunky controls, the XC wouldn’t be my first alternative as a walk-around journey or road digicam.

Phase One XC wood handle and camera
The grip is sweet and the XC actually travels simply. There isn’t a choice for an EVF and the lens is guide focus solely.

Part One XC: Proof is within the Picture High quality

So if we’re restricted to at least one lens and a digicam which ought to largely dwell on a tripod, how did the XC do? The IQ4 again is actually able to some gorgeous picture high quality. I caught to taking pictures landscapes at 50 ISO with the prolonged picture high quality RAW recordsdata to get probably the most dynamic vary. There’s an excessive capacity to push and pull shadows and highlights, and the colours look pleasing.

The Rodenstock lens offers good sharpness throughout the body and was straightforward to manually focus because of a useful capacity to pinch the display screen and zoom in or out of the composition. There’s some vignetting within the corners even when stopping the aperture down however that is simply mounted in publish.

Phase One XC landscape river shot
I had very restricted time with the digicam so landscapes have been the order of the day.

150-megapixels does present a major enchancment over different up to date medium format cameras. In actual fact, the IQ4 sensor isn’t just giving extra megapixels however can also be a bodily bigger sensor that matches intently to the dimensions of basic 645 movie.

That being mentioned, taking pictures at a 14mm equal subject of view isn’t the go-to for panorama photographs and I discovered myself cropping closely to imitate extra widespread focal lengths. There are many megapixels to sacrifice however this additionally offers up among the benefits inherent within the IQ4 sensor. What’s the purpose in having 150 megapixels if I’m hardly ever going to make use of all of them?

Phase One XC black and white river.
150-megapixels are nice and every thing however I usually needed to throw them away cropping the picture to get a extra affordable subject of view.

I needed to take some basic long-exposure water photographs and located that when attaching even only one customary 72mm filter I might see the corners blocked by mentioned filter. Once more, I must crop this shot tighter. Fortunately, there’s a silver lining.

Phase One XC multishot frame averaging
The XC makes use of Body Averaging to imitate the look of this 5 second lengthy publicity. It does this very nicely.

Part One has an choice it calls Body Averaging which successfully mimics a powerful ND filter for lengthy exposures. It takes a number of photos at sooner shutter speeds and stacks them on high of one another to copy an extended publicity time. The Body Averaging interface was tremendous straightforward to make use of and all of the processing is completed rapidly in digicam. I used to be very happy with the outcomes and would fortunately go away the ND filters at house.

Part One XC: Who is that this Digicam Even For?

Within the context of panorama taking pictures, the XC carried out high quality. It stayed on a tripod all day, dealt with high-contrast scenes handily, and compelled me to decelerate and compose with care. However I can’t see myself utilizing it off of a tripod fairly often and, frankly, I don’t assume it will work all that nicely anyhow.

There might be some restricted taking pictures from-the-hip road photographs with the broad 23mm lens and hyperfocal focusing however I can consider many different cameras that might do equally. I used to be additionally involved in regards to the total price of such a digicam out in nature, particularly with icy winter circumstances throughout. I’d not be snug utilizing the digicam in any type of snow or rain which limits how and the place I’d use it.

Phase One XC landscapes mountains
When the XC is on a tripod and you’re proud of a 14mm subject of view, the outcomes are worthwhile.

Though it was an interesting and quirky expertise utilizing the digicam, I simply can’t consider any eventualities the place I would like it over say a Fujifilm GFX, and even an Hasselblad X2D. A GFX 100 II with a lens would nonetheless weigh roughly 25% lower than the Part One XC, and I’d have wonderful auto-focus, interchangeable lenses, and a rugged physique design. I’d even have much more cash in my checking account afterward.

There isn’t a choice on the time of publication to buy solely the XC physique and lens, so I can’t see many present XF or XT customers leaping on board both since they wouldn’t be capable to use their present backs and can be compelled to double down on tools. That is the most costly and area of interest product I’ve ever used, and whereas I’m grateful for the chance, the outcomes simply don’t justify the prices.

Are There Options?

The $7,499 Fujifilm GFX 100 II and even the $4,399 GFX 100S will ship way more versatility for a lot much less cash. A $8,199 Hasselblad X2D has an excellent nicer touchscreen interface and offers the distinguished expertise of proudly owning an opulent digicam simply as nicely. Each cameras sacrifice comparatively little by way of megapixels or dynamic vary and make far more sense for nearly anyone.

Ought to You Purchase It?

No. Limitations are high quality if the taking pictures expertise is pleasing sufficient to be well worth the complications. The XC simply doesn’t ship the enjoyable issue to go along with the worth.

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