A new era in Medium format photography

The Phase One IQ250 Medium Format digital back was announced today. This is the first time we see a modern CMOS sensor that is larger than 36x24mm (full-frame 35mm) in Medium Format.

CMOS technology has improved over the last 14 years, since the Leaf C-Most came out (36x24mm, 6MP) and the IQ250’s 44x33mm, 50MP brings high ISO capabilities, fast capture rate and excellent Live View functionality, previously available only in high-end DSLRs.

As expected, a number of naysayers and armchair warriors are jumping through hoops to find “holes in the plan” and to compare it to cameras 10 times cheaper; some in attempt to justify their own purchase decisions and some because they cannot see why some photographers like, want or need to shoot medium format…none of it is new and I’ve been around long enough to know that there’s a huge gap between on-line forum chatter and what happens in the real world…gladly in favour of the latter.

What they fail to realise, perhaps because they can only see and read numbers and charts on their computers’ screens (easier than stepping out and taking photos) is that this is a milestone for Medium Format and for Photography in general, regardless of format. Adopting and implementing this technology in “larger than 35mm” cameras is a sign of good things to come and it demonstrates the strength and the breadth of “Team Phase One” and its ability to innovate and to lead the market for the foreseeable future!


The Great North and a little Giulietta

A few shots from a recent trip to the Lake District. The weather did not disappoint and stayed grey and miserable for the duration of the trip. I found it quite nice actually as it made me go for a moody, dramatic look rather than the usual postcard like landscape images we’re so used to…

I also went with a “one camera, one lens” approach and took my trusty Arca-Swiss Rm2D with a Schneider 43mm/5.6 XL. The great thing about this tech cameras is that they are hand-holdable at very low shutter sped since they have no moving parts other than a small Copal-shutter.

Framing can be done with a variofinder but I find it just as fun and quick to do it by eye with some help of the built in spirit level.With wide-angle lenses when shooting landscapes, focus is usually set to infinity and for close range you just dial it back a bit.

I’ve been spoilt for choice of digital backs and this time I opted for two: A Leaf Aptus-II 10 and a Phase One IQ140; The former, with its unique 14:9 sensor shape is fantastic for great landscapes and in my view produces the best colours of any digital camera.

The latter, with its built-in spirit level and with Live View, is great for shorter distances where I could not use to full coverage of the lens. The Live View (similar to what we now have on the Leaf Credo) makes it really easy to frame and to focus on closer subjects like waterfalls and trees in the foreground

Earlier this week I had an email from my friend Steffen Jahn; he said he was coming to London for a car shoot and since this was only a few days after the launch of the new Leaf Credo, he wanted to know if I’ve got one that he ca try…It just happens that one of the prototypes came from the factory just a few days earlier. So of course I jumped on the opportunity to spend a day with one of the best car photographers (and a great guy as well!

I took a few “behind the scenes” photos with my iPhone, hopefully the tell a little bit about what se were doing:-)

More of Steffen’s work is available on his website

The Leaf Story

I wrote a small article for a friend’s blog about the history of this incredible company I’ve been working for for the last 12 years, here it is enjoy:

From Science to Art: The Story of Leaf

Been travelling A LOT lately and am currently in Auckland, New Zealand after a week in Australia and before heading for Hong-Kong…a very hectic schedule but I’m really enjoying it and I promise to write some more and of course post some photos as soon as I’m back home in a week’s time.

2010 is over, 2011 is well underway!!!

Been a while since I last had time to post any new stuff…

The last several months were a bit manic, work and travel wise, with 4-5 trips every month on average. Mostly were to boring places but there were a few highlights, lead by St. Petersburg in Russia and a recent holiday trip to Israel.

We got to spend a couple of days in Jerusalem and walked through the old city from the whaling wall to the Christian and Armenian quarters. Loved the colours, sounds and smells of food and spices !!! My trusty Nikon was a joy to use in those narrow allies though there were times where I wish I had some more horsepower to record all those textures and colours:-)

(Click to open in a new large window and then click again to enlarge)

Then we took a drive down to the dead sea. I always find this place to be magical with its stunning vistas and beautiful combinations of land and water colours, especially at sunrise and dusk.

Salt crystals (millions of them) on the “sandy” beaches:

Evening haze makes the mountains and the air disolve into the salty water

As always in the desert you are amazed at the number of stars that can be seen!!!

My first real work trip this year was to Mexico thanks to Leaf and the new Aptus-II 12, to a little magical town called San Miguel Del Allende where I was hosted by my friends Teya and Michael Reichmann in their wonderful Casa Lula

I was there only for 3 days but this gave us an opportunity to walk around the town’s cobbled streets, squares and markets and to try some of the local kitchen (thank you Michael and Teya!)  and to of course talk about and shoot the new camera!!!

The view from the roof terrace at Casa Lula.

Aptus-II 12 on Arca-Swiss Rm2D with the new Schneider 43mm, what a combo!!!

The last ever Beetle came of the production line in Puelbla, Mexico on July 30th 2003

It looks as if most of those 21,529,464 cars still live on Mexican roads:-)

No words

The thing that attracted me most are the gates and

facades of the buildings that hide secret worlds behind them:

On One of the days, Michael and I drove to an old, abandoned Silver mining town called

Mineral de Pozos

Nestling at 8,000ft high, this place has some beautiful spaces, yards, walls and doorways

Aptus-II 10R (R for Rotating sensor) on Arca-Swiss Rm2D with Schneider 43mm

Can’t wait for the Aptus-II 12R

On the last day, Michael arranged an interview with Kavin Raber of Phase One Us and myself

You can view it here

February is expected to be relatively travel free as I will be focusing on some office work

(and hopefully will be able to rack up some cycling miles, been missing it this winter)

I expect to hit the road again in early March, stay tuned…

Love for planes

I’ve just gone through the last 11 months in my diary and realised that I have boarded a plane more than 75 (75!) times during that period…

To me it is clear that I would not have done that had I not have a weakness for planes.

i grew up in an air base, where jet fighters used to be scrambled at first light every morning. Imagine two F-4s taking off at full whack with after-burners ON…the sound of the J79 engines, the smell of heavy fuel burning and the view of those magnificent birds tearing up the sky!!!!

As you’ve already learned (especially if you follow me on Facebook), my work involves with quite a bit of travel to all sorts of places, mostly cities but sometimes it is a matter of hiring a car and doing a bit of driving, or moving between cities and towns using public transport.

Some of the low-cost airlines in Europe, due to the still-suffering economy, have increased their use of small turbo-prop aircraft, usually a twin-engine, 60-80 seater, which I find much more fun than those White & Orange (guess which airline) A319s and A320s…partly because you can actually smell the jet fuel burning while inside the cabin.

The overall flight time, even though they do not fly so fast, is not increased since take off and landing are much quicker and they don’t have to reach 34,000ft for cruising…

Anyway…I recently had a great opportunity to mix work and pleasure when I visited the Farnborough 2010 Air Show

The first day was a trade day and as the place was so big, I spent a lot of time running between the halls and the many stands I wanted to see and the meeting I had scheduled. I did have a big camera with me (a Leaf Aptus-II 10/ Phase One 645DF combo) but other than a few sample images for demonstration I did not get much chance to shoot anything interesting:-(

So this gave me a good enough excuse to drag the family over to the show on the weekend. On top of the educational part (thst’s the one where daddy explains to wife & kids about the airplanes and their history etc.) I had an opportunity to shoot a few frames of old WWI/ WWII planes doing their air display and also a few static frames of the more modern planes on the ground.

This time around, I only had a “lowly” DSLR with a zoom lens, which did a fantastic job, although I kind-of wish I had a bit more megapixles to work with:-)

I’ll let you be the judges and I hope you enjoy them…click on an image to enlarge it.

These photos are available for purchase as downloads and can print nicely at A4 (8″X11″) size. please contact me for pricing and availability (info at yaypro dot com)