Phase One has announced the 'world's first CMOS-based digital camera back' - the 50MP IQ250. It uses a 44x33mm sensor, which is 68% larger in area than 35mm full frame, and equates to a 1.3x crop of the standard 645 format. Until now medium format backs have invariably used CCD sensors, and the adoption of CMOS promises much improved image quality when shooting at high ISOs in particular.

The IQ250 promises the widest ISO range of any medium format camera system (100-6400), together with up to 14 stops of dynamic range and 14 bit colour depth. It also sports a high-resolution 1.15MP 3.2" touchscreen for live view, playback and changing settings, and has built-in Wi-Fi for connection to an iPad or iPhone. It's available now, with prices starting at €24,990 / $34,990. 

Phase One's announcement comes hot on the heels of Hasselblad's statement earlier this week that it will also be making a 50MP CMOS-based model, to be called the H5D-50c. The two presumably share the same sensor, which apparently is made by Sony.


Press release:

Phase One Introduces First CMOS-based Medium Format Camera
Opens New Frontiers for Photographers

COPENHAGEN, January 24, 2014 -- Phase One today introduced the world’s first CMOS-based medium format digital camera back. The new 50-megapixel IQ250 brings unprecedented image capture flexibility to the IQ2 family of wireless-enabled high-end camera systems. Whether photo sessions are held in the studio or on a mountainside, the IQ250 lets photographers capture stunning imagery in available light -- virtually anywhere and any time.

With a sensor size of 44x33mm, the IQ250 offers 68 percent more image-capture real estate than any full-frame 35mm DSLR camera and the widest usable ISO range of any medium format camera system. Its phenomenal dynamic range of 14 f-stops enables photographers to capture the most demanding scenes in one shot, while retaining details in highlights and shadows.

Flexibility in Action

The IQ250 is designed for capture versatility; it has an ISO range from 100 to 6400, delivering world class image quality at any ISO speed. And its range of exposure time is extreme -- from 1/10000s to one hour. Fluid and responsive Live View is another key feature of the IQ250. Live View on the IQ250 offers great composition and focus assistance -- whether it is used directly on the digital back, connected via USB3 to Capture One on the computer, or displayed wirelessly on iPads or iPhones running Capture Pilot.

Award-winning Australian wedding photographer Dan O'Day has found the IQ250’s abundant dynamic range to be a game changer. He said, “I shoot the majority of my work on location, and I prefer to shoot only using available light. With the IQ250, I can shoot portraits of couples any time of day, under just about any conditions Mother Nature offers me, and still retain all the details. Couples rely on me to capture one of the happiest moments in their life, and they expect the outcome to be perfect. With the IQ250 I can deliver on this expectation with greater confidence, quality and detail than ever before." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_rX9lRqgRg

"My photography work spans several genres, so flexibility is extremely important to me, said California-based wedding and portrait photographer, Justine Ungaro. “The IQ250 has been absolutely life changing in allowing me to capture gorgeously clean and crisp medium format images on all of my shoots. This new back has transformed my existing Phase One 645DF+ camera body and wonderful range of Schneider Kreuznach leaf shutter lenses into a workhorse kit which is quickly pushing my other camera gear to the background. Along with Capture One for image processing, I'm so pleased with the truly superior image quality with a dynamic range that is simply incredible.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EO1IkjT7Lc

“We are very proud to introduce the Phase One IQ250 which carries on the tradition of Phase One high-quality medium format gear,” said Henrik O. Håkonsson, CEO & President, Phase One. “The wider ISO range in this new CMOS-based system, for example, illustrates our desire to continue pushing the envelope for our customers, to help them succeed in all of their unique imaging challenges.”

Pricing and Availability

The Phase One IQ250 system is available now and may be ordered through Phase One
photography partners worldwide: www.phaseone.com/partners For a complete list of all the Phase
One IQ250 digital back features, including supported camera bodies, please see http://www.phaseone.com/iq2

Prices start at 24990 EUR / 34990 USD. The Phase One IQ250 comes with Capture One software
for optimal raw image processing and image editing. Attractive camera system upgrade offers are
available for all existing Phase One photographers. For a demo of this product, please sign up
here: www.phaseone.com/demo

Phase One IQ250 Specifications

Sensor  CMOS 
Lens Factor  1.3x 
Resolution  50 MP 
Active Pixels  8280 x 6208 px 
Sensor size effective  44 x 33 mm 
Pixel size  5.3 x 5.3 micron 
Image ratio  4:3 
Dynamic Range  14 f-stops 
RAW file compression  IIQ large: 50MB
IIQ small: 33MB 
ISO  100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400 
Ports  Firewire, USB2/USB3 
Wireless 
  • 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz
  • Up to 8m ad-hoc, 30m with router
  • WPA/WPEA2 or EAP, optional 4-digit PIN code
  • Supports iPhone, iPad and iPod touch 
LCD Screen 
  • 3.2"
  • 1.15MP touchscreen
  • 170° viewing angle 
Operating conditions 
  • 0° C - 40° C
  • 15 - 80% humidity (non-condensing)
IQ back mounts 
  • Phase One 645DF+
  • Mamiya 645 FF+
  • Hasselblad H1 and H2
  • Hasselblad 555ELD, 553ELX, 503CW and 501CM
  • Via adapter: Mamiya RZ67 Pro IID
  • Mamiya RB67
  • Contax 645 AF