Before you get too excited, you’re still going to need very deep pockets for Phase One's new XT field camera which it’s mating with its 100 and 150 megapixels IQ4 series capture backs... none of these are cheap. However, the XT camera system does allow for much greater portability and flexibility than Phase’s XF reflex body, to the extent that you could contemplate using it hand-held.

Photo: Phase One.

It’s similar in concept to Hasselblad’s 907X in that it’s essentially a slim-line frame – precision engineered, of course – that couples a lens to a capture back and so qualifies as mirrorless. Phase One has gone quite a lot further though, by incorporating a provision for applying lens movements, a rotatable tripod mount and an integrated handgrip (which is actually fashioned from ebony). The shifts can be up to 12 millimetres laterally or vertically which allows for perspective control or the creation of ultra-high resolution stitched panoramas. The shift settings are recorded in the file’s EXIF data. The tripod bracket uses an Arca-Swiss type mounting plate.

Photo: Phase One.

The camera body itself has minimal controls so the majority of adjustments are made via the touchscreens on the IQ4 series capture backs (which obviously also serve as a live view finder). Only the IQ4 series backs can be fitted, with the current choice being the IQ4 150MP, IQ4 150MP Achromatic (for B&W capture only) and the IQ4 100MP Trichromatic.

Integral to the XT camera system are three new dedicated Rodenstock lenses which incorporate Phase One’s “X-Shutter” which was originally developed for its industrial and aerial cameras. It’s an electromagnetically-controlled leaf shutter with carbon-fibre blades, driven by a linear motor and has a speed range of 60 minutes to 1/1000 second. It’s extremely durable and so has a claimed lifespan of 500,000 cycles.

Photo: Phase One.

The new Rodenstock HR lenses all have large imaging circles to accommodate the shifts and retain manual focusing. The line-up comprises a Digaron-S 23mm f5.6 ultra-wide (with an angle-of-view of 112 degrees), a Digaron-W 32mm f4.0 wide-angle and a Digaron-W 70mm f5.6 standard. Not only do the lenses integrate with the XT body electronically, but also physically with a helical focusing mount which moves the entire lens in relation to the focal plane. The lens mount itself is Cambo’s WDS fitting (Cambo is actually building the XT bodies).

Given the price tag, the XT obviously isn’t for everybody and Phase One says it’s primarily targeting fine-art landscape and cityscape photographers, but there's probably also architectural photography applications. The US price tag for the XT with the IQ150 MP back and Rodenstock HR lens of your choice is US$56,990 which, at current exchange rates, works out at around A$83,000. Eek! The system is backed by a five-year warranty. If you happen to have this sort of money lying around, the Australian distributor of Phase One products is C.R. Kennedy & Company, visit https://crkphotoimaging.com.au