Phase One pushes the limits with 151-megapixel XF IQ4 camera system, by Stephen Shankland

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Aug 302018
 

Enough people apparently can afford a $51,990 medium-format camera to keep this ultrapremium company in business.

If you want a new camera to take your photography to the next level, you could get a 42-megapixel Sony A7R III for $3,200, a 50-megapixel Canon EOS 5DR for $3,900 or a 46-megapixel Nikon Z7 for $3,400.

But if you want to enable some serious pixel peeping, you can go all out and buy the XF IQ4 camera system unveiled Tuesday by Danish camera maker Phase One. The IQ4, the new digital back that attaches to the XF camera body, packs a whopping 151 megapixels.

Perhaps spending $51,990 might put you off — a price that doesn’t include extra lenses that’ll add thousands more to the price. But there are customers who spring for this kind of gear. Among them are those who need enormous high-quality prints, who photograph models for fashion magazines, who shoot expensive products like luxury cars and jewelry, and who make high-quality reproductions of museum art and artifacts.

“If you need highest resolution possible, this is the only one providing 151 megapixels,” said Lau Norgaard, the camera’s architect.

The camera system goes on sale in October.

Most of us prefer a 12-megapixel camera on a pocketable iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy S9 to a bulky, high-end Canon, Nikon or Sony camera. But the continued existence of Phase One — a 300-person company founded 25 years ago in Copenhagen — shows there’s also a market for the highest possible image quality.

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