A Closer Look at the Image Quality a $63,000 Camera Can Produce

Phase One announced a couple of new medium-format digital backs this year, the Trichromatic and the Achromatic. The latter is available for a whopping $63,000 in a kit with the XF body, and for that price it only shoots in black and white. At least that’s the way many seem to consider it. However, it’s much more than that. It captures black and white images like no other camera, and for the photographers that like black and white shooting film, this gorgeous beast offers a very similar workflow. See how it works and performs in this video.

Ted Forbes is the person behind the Art of Photography. He’s offered the community quite a few exciting videos with a more traditional approach to photography rather than the trendy Instagram way we find everywhere nowadays. His videos are usually very educative or at least they are worth the time. The one above is no exception. He explains pretty much everything there is to know about the Phase One IQ3 100MP Achromatic, a full-frame 645 digital back meant to shoot only in black and white.

Phase One designed this back to capture a broader spectrum of light than what most digital sensors do. The result is a back that produces images with an incredible dynamic range and virtually no noise even at 12,800 ISO — see the examples in the video above if you don’t believe me. It’s obviously not for everyone due to its rather high price tag, but as Forbes explains, it does mimic the process of shooting black and white film only with a digital back. The pictures require a bit of processing, and even when shooting, you may need to rely on filters to get the desired look. If you thought UV filters didn’t matter with digital photography, you may want to change your opinion with the IQ3 100MP Achromatic.

What do you think of this digital back? Do you feel like it could be worth the investment for your business or for a fine art photographer? Would you like to see such a technology in more affordable cameras or on a 35mm sensor? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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