As the big show starts to wind down, I though it would be good write about what Phase One considered to be significant announcements during the Photokina Photo Expo, current being held in Germany.
You can list out the major announcements here:
- The new IQ150
- Capture 1 version 8
- Enhanced trade in for P65+ backs (an additional 6K)
- Phase One & Alpa Strategic Alliance
- Major Change in the Value Add Warranty for IQ2 Digital Backs Value add only now, no classic 1 year.
What was not announced was a new medium format camera body, one to replace the aging Phase One DF+. Many photographers felt that Phase One would at least talk about the progress on this. The DF+ body is a good solid body, but at a list price of approximately 5K, it’s a bit overpriced for the feature set that it contains. From reading between the lines, I feel that the new camera body is something that will made by Sony and when it does come out, will be revolutionary. Many are looking for mirror-less, but I don’t see that, but possibly the first Medium Format body with an EVF would be something to talk about. But for now that’s all speculation. Lets look at what was announced.
1. The New IQ150
Not too much to talk about here, expect it appears that Phase One is a bit concerned about the Pentax 645z and Hasselblad 50c. Both of these solutions list for much less than the Phase One IQ250 (at around 34K US). The new IQ150 is the same chip, same case as the IQ250, but no WiFi. It appears to have all the other features like focus mask, built in level, high end LCD touch, etc. However looking on the Phase One site, it’s really hard to tell. The IQ150 ships with a 1 year warranty, that also appears to be non value add and the IQ150 lists for $29.990, lets say 30K. So all Phase One did, is take off WiFi, lower the price by 4 K, but if you purchase the IQ150 and add the 4K value add, (which is what the cost has been in the past), you are right back to the base price of the IWQ250. It’s also not clear if you can purchase a value add warranty for the IQ150. You would have to talk to your dealer on that. It will also be interesting to see how the new “lower” priced model has any effect of the Hasselblad 50c or Pentax 645z cameras, both of which are less expensive.
2. Capture One Vr 8.
Everything good here. Phase One has taken an already excellent software to a new level. They added a lot of new features and re-worked the processing engine. If you are a current user of Capture One Vr7, the upgrade is still 99.00. If you are new to Capture One, you can opt for a monthly subscription service or wait until Phase One sees the need to sell the base licenses for $150.00 as they recently did for Vr7. Hope if you recently purchased Vr7 you are able to get a grace period to move to vr8 as it’s a much better software. The advances that Phase One made to the Local Adjustment layers alone to me are worth the cost to upgrade. You can still download the software for a 60 day trial. I believe there is also a pro version if you want to just use the software with a Phase One Digital back, which in the past has been free. Capture One Digital Back, not Pro. Pro allows you work with other camera platforms like Nikon, Canon, and Sony.
3. Enhanced trade in for P65+ upgrades to IQ280
If you are looking for a upgrade, this is great deal. Currently it appears that the trade in is 21K for a used P65+, and now you can add an extra 6K to that, so 27K. That is a great offer if you are looking to upgrade. This would bring the cost of the IQ280 to about 25K or so. You would still have to add in the cost of the Value Add Warranty. Phase One is now claiming that the value add warranty is cheaper than before. so that is also a good thing. In the past I have been quoted between 4.5K and 4K for various Value Add Warranties from Phase One, back dependent.
4. Phase One and Alpa Strategic Alliance
From 50 thousand feet, Phase One has decided to partner with Alpa Camera. Alpa, based in Switzerland, is one of 3 major players in the technical camera (pancake) market. It’s safe to assume that soon there will be a Phase One branded tech camera made by Alpa on the market. Not sure yet what this means for the rest of the tech world, namely Cambo and Arca, but this move by Phase One may have them looking to partner with Hasselblad. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the future. I do hope that any improvements to the LCC processing that Phase One develops with Alpa can be passed down to users of non Alpa tech cameras, like myself.
5. Major Change in the Value Add Warranty for IQ2 back.
From what I have been able to pick up from the dealer community in the US, if you purchase a IQ2 back, (250,260 260 achromatic, 280), the value add warranty is now included in the purchase price. THIS IS BIG DEAL, as before a value add warranty was always an additional purchase feature, in the range of 4 to 5K. The value add warranty includes the use of a loaner back while your back in for repair. The photographer is still responsible to pay for the shipping of their back to Phase One.
If you purchase a IQ140, 150, 160 or 180, the 1 year classic warranty is still included with the purchase price. I assume that you can purchase a 5 year value add if you prefer. However if you are looking at either an upgrade from an older back or purchase of a new IQ back, the purchase of the IQ2 should be a better alternative. Kudo’s to Phase One for changing this policy.