The Phase One XF System: Feature Update #4

The Phase One XF System: Feature Update #4


            Phase One’s first foray into the branded camera market was the Phase One 645AF camera body released in 2008. This camera was the sister camera of the Mamiya 645 AFD III, and at the time it was the latest in the evolution of the Mamiya 645 camera line built to work with both digital and film backs. A year later the Phase One 645 DF came out, a further revision of this line but tuned more specifically for digital backs and their needs with support for film backs being removed. 2012 brought the last of the familiar feeling Mamiya 645 based bodies with the DF+, making as many changes and upgrades the design could handle. Lacking a perfect solution for the ever evolving and advancing camera back design, Phase One went to work to create a new camera.

            When released in June of 2015, the Phase One XF camera body provided that much-needed revision to their camera line. Designed by Phase One from the ground up as an advanced camera ready to integrate with their backs and work smoothly and seamlessly. The camera featured the new “Honeybee Autofocus Platform”, HAP-1 for short, designed by Phase One utilizing a custom processor coupled with a high-resolution CMOS sensor and paired with a white spectrum focus assist light. Also introduced was a completely new UI, which included a 1.6” touch screen on the top of the camera bodies grip. As well there are three dials and six buttons that can be configured to the users liking to best operate the camera as they see fit.

Phase One did not completely abandon its Mamiya heritage though, as the viewfinder can still accept the legacy Mamiya accessories including diopters and angle finders if you happen to need them. New for the camera, and a welcome addition to many, is a waist level finder for those that enjoy composing with one. Still available but revamped is the Vertical Grip, allowing for a more comfortable portrait orientation with complete control.

The new design and tools the camera offered were not the end though, as the XF proved just a few short months later that the promised upgradeable camera OS was a reality with a host of new tools introduced with the Feature Update #1 firmware release. The camera is now on its fourth Feature Update bringing new tools and functionality with each iteration. Today we are going to spend a little time going through the history of those updates and what that means going forward. Below is a list of each Feature Update release, it’s date and the tools that came out with it.

            Some of these tools have been in the camera since its inception but not activated as the development was not there yet, such as the Profoto Air remote. Others have been created new or tweaked to work better and all are available by simply installing a small firmware file and waiting a few moments till installation is complete. These tools have all been added at no additional cost to the customer, many coming from direct customer feedback. We haven’t really seen a camera platform offer such tools at no cost before, often you need to purchase a new camera.

Upgradeability and adaptability were key in the creation of this camera. The XF demonstrates this with the tools that have rolled out via Feature Updates, but also goes another step further with the release of the optional HAP-2 autofocus sensor upgrade. This new sensor features a 2.5 stop increase in autofocus sensitivity which improves low light performance as well as 1 stop improvement in Dynamic Range which allows for better readings in high key scenes. While this is a physical part requiring service, any XF body can be sent in for a small fee, relatively speaking versus the cost of the body (see your sales representative for pricing and turnaround time), and have the new HAP-2 AF sensor installed. Previously with any other camera manufacturer if a new AF sensor was released it would mean purchasing a whole new camera to get the benefits. In addition, if AF isn’t as important to you, you do not need to upgrade the camera bodies AF sensor, it’s that simple.

Phase One states that the XF system is future proof and with all the additions we have seen thus far you can understand why. If you feel the XF camera might be a fit for you, give our us a call to schedule a private demo. If you have an XF but have yet to update your firmware to unlock Feature Update #4, what are you waiting for? If you need help getting your system set up to best suit your needs, give our support team a ring and we’ll get you situated.

Call: (212) 741-2990