PHASE ONE IQ CONFERENCE • MILK STUDIO
March 20, 2012
From the moment I arrived at the Phase One IQ Conference last Tuesday at Milk Studio in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, I felt right at home. Hosted by Digital Transitions, the all-day conference left me more determined than ever to make an IQ back a permanent part of my gear. Check-in was a breeze, having registered online ahead of time so I headed straight to the Hands-on IQ session taking place in Studio A, which was outfitted with top of the line Broncolor packs, heads and light modifiers.
I’d been waiting to try out this system for several years so when I held the Phase One 645DF for the first time it was as though I’d owned the camera from the start. The way it fits in the hands and the weight of the body and lens felt as if the system were a natural extension of my arms and eyes – exactly how I had hoped it would feel. The one thing I couldn’t anticipate, though, was the enormous difference in quality of the image produced by the 80-megapixel and my 21-megapixel Canon 5D Mark II. There is NOTHING like it and I’ll never look at image-making the same way again.
It reminded me of the first frames I made with my very first medium format film camera – the twin lens reflex Mamiya C3 – in 1995. When those scanned transparencies came back from the photo shop I couldn’t believe the level of detail and the high dynamic range that the 6×6 format offered.
I soon-after bought he Hasselblad 501 CM and in so doing, found my camera of choice…so I thought. The Phase One 645DF with the IQ back has changed it all and it’s a matter of when, not if, it’ll be my next system.
With the advent of the digital age in the late 90’s and early 2000’s – more and more more pressure was placed on “film” photographers to jump on board the pixel bandwagon. Outfitting my medium format gear with the digital backs that were showing up on the market at the time proved too cost prohibitive to justify the expense, so I bought my first DSLR, instead – the Canon 20D. A succession of cameras followed…the 40D, the Canon G11, the 7D for a brief time, and ultimately (2) 5D Mark IIs…all the while, waiting for the day I could afford to return to the medium format – but this time at the digital level.