This Medium-Format Camera Captures a Staggering 100 Megapixels

Illustration for article titled This Medium-Format Camera Captures a Staggering 100 Megapixels

By now, we all know that megapixels alone don’t make a good camera. But that doesn’t make the new Phase One XF 100MP any less impressive, with an image sensor that captures 100 of the things while also promising to provide more analog-like images.

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The medium-format camera’s CMOS sensor was co-developed with Sony to capture what lies before it in incredible detail. It creates images with a 16-bit color spectrum, unlike many cameras which are 14-bit, which Phase One claims will provide images with “a natural texture and tonal feel.” It also boasts 15 stops of dynamic range, which should make it rather capable when it comes to picking out detail in light and dark sections of a scene.

Elsewhere, Phase One reckons the camera produces “clean” shots from ISO 50 all the way to ISO 12,800, though what constitutes clean may depend on exactly what you throw its way. And that might be rather a lot, given that it’s also capable of 60-minutes exposures, among other things.

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The camera is available right now, though you may want to sit down before you read the price tag. At $49,000, the XF 100MP is a camera targeted at the professionals amongst us.

[Phase One via Engadget]

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DISCUSSION

“By now, we all know that megapixels alone don’t make a good camera.”

I really wish we could get off of this old ideal. I mean, yes, theoretically, smaller pixel size = less light = dark, noisy, or blurry pictures, because when it comes to digital pictures, it’s all about the speed of the lens and speed of the sensor without having to amplify the sensor (reducing the dynamic range and accuracy).

In reality, sensor quality is moving faster than megapixel count, we’re actually trailing behind on MP count when you consider how good sensors have become: higher speed, more range, less noise, and better color accuracy. Every year MP count goes up and yet, every year performance ALSO improves, in all areas, including low-light.

The 3 highest MP-count phone cameras on the market, right now (LG G4/V10, Samsung S6, and Nokia PureView) are also the gold standard of camera phones. The PureView has a ridiculous 41MP sensor that has been around for at least a few years, STILL ridiculous today, and STILL beats the pants off of every other camera phone just coming out.

The 43MP A7R II is one of the highest MP count cameras you can buy at your local electronics store, it’s regarded as one of the best cameras of 2015. Sure, Sony did make a 12MP A7S version that follows the theory of making a bigger pixel, and it does work for boosting high-ISO low-light performance, but unless you’re shooting exclusively in dark areas, or you’re into pro-video shooting, the A7R produces a better picture in almost all other conditions.