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Vieri Bottazzini

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Phase One XT reviewed
« on: February 15, 2021, 01:06:35 pm »

Ladies & gentlemen, I just published my review of the Phase One XT, a revolutionary little camera that in my opinion changed tech cameras as we knew it, bringing them into the future.

Thanks to adding electronic communication between the digital back & XT lenses equipped with the new X Shutter, the Phase One XT allows you to control all shooting operations from the digital back, and allows you to record all shooting information into EXIF, including shift. While this seems pretty normal for DSLR or mirrorless users, it's actually pretty revolutionary in the field of Tech Cameras.

If you are interested, you can find the review on my blog, here: https://www.vieribottazzini.com/2021/02/simply-revolutionary-phase-one-xt-review.html

Disclaimer: at the time of writing, I am a Local Ambassador for Phase One. However, since I value my intellectual honesty far more than anything else, being an Ambassador for any brand never stopped me from reporting my findings freely, good or bad.

Enjoy the article, and let me know what you think about the camera. Best regards,

Vieri
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nazdravanul

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2021, 11:15:32 am »

Ladies & gentlemen, I just published my review of the Phase One XT, a revolutionary little camera that in my opinion changed tech cameras as we knew it, bringing them into the future.

Thanks to adding electronic communication between the digital back & XT lenses equipped with the new X Shutter, the Phase One XT allows you to control all shooting operations from the digital back, and allows you to record all shooting information into EXIF, including shift. While this seems pretty normal for DSLR or mirrorless users, it's actually pretty revolutionary in the field of Tech Cameras.

If you are interested, you can find the review on my blog, here: https://www.vieribottazzini.com/2021/02/simply-revolutionary-phase-one-xt-review.html

Disclaimer: at the time of writing, I am a Local Ambassador for Phase One. However, since I value my intellectual honesty far more than anything else, being an Ambassador for any brand never stopped me from reporting my findings freely, good or bad.

Enjoy the article, and let me know what you think about the camera. Best regards,

Vieri


Thank you for the review and the disclaimers.  "Revolutionary" from a technological point of view, yes, I do agree, by all means. Unfortunately, the cost will make it feel more like a failed revolution.
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Ray Harrison

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2021, 05:03:06 pm »

Ladies & gentlemen, I just published my review of the Phase One XT, a revolutionary little camera that in my opinion changed tech cameras as we knew it, bringing them into the future.

Thanks to adding electronic communication between the digital back & XT lenses equipped with the new X Shutter, the Phase One XT allows you to control all shooting operations from the digital back, and allows you to record all shooting information into EXIF, including shift. While this seems pretty normal for DSLR or mirrorless users, it's actually pretty revolutionary in the field of Tech Cameras.

If you are interested, you can find the review on my blog, here: https://www.vieribottazzini.com/2021/02/simply-revolutionary-phase-one-xt-review.html

Disclaimer: at the time of writing, I am a Local Ambassador for Phase One. However, since I value my intellectual honesty far more than anything else, being an Ambassador for any brand never stopped me from reporting my findings freely, good or bad.

Enjoy the article, and let me know what you think about the camera. Best regards,

Vieri

Vieri,
As always, a great review, so thank you! I ended up going the route of the Cambo WRS 1600+XShutter lenses because I wanted some of the additional shift flexibility (even if it wasn't always needed) and the tilt/swing capabilities which would still require the cable on the XT with those panels. Because I still get the lens metadata except for shifts, I'm pretty pleased with the system and I like the XShutter itself as a well-built piece of kit. There are tradeoffs (for me) outside of the shift metadata:

- It's a bit heavier than the XT platform
- There's no cabled way to trigger the shutter without touching the camera because the cable takes up the "BOB port". Obviously I can tether over WiFi to a laptop with the latest fw update on the back but that can get heavy/tedious. I can hardly wait for the iOS app they're working on (allegedly  :))

I'd love to see the ability to enter shift data into the back directly or via this new app. Because the back has "C1 inside", I'm assuming that's not outside of the realm of possibilities.


Cheers,
Ray
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Vieri Bottazzini

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2021, 05:11:46 am »


Thank you for the review and the disclaimers.  "Revolutionary" from a technological point of view, yes, I do agree, by all means. Unfortunately, the cost will make it feel more like a failed revolution.

You are very welcome, glad you enjoyed the read :)

About being a failed revolution, I'll have to disagree with you on this one, sorry. I believe that price has very little to do with how revolutionary a technology is; price, on the other hand, has everything to do with how widely accessible a technology (revolutionary or not) can become. Generally speaking, top end, hyper-high tech gear, on any field, is hardly widely accessible to any purse, and hardly cheap compared to lesser technological solutions doing similar things, and the Phase One XT is no exception. Whether it's worth spending the extra money for the extra features that the XT and X Shutter allows, it's up to each of us; but that doesn't make the XT any less revolutionary, in my opinion.

Vieri,
As always, a great review, so thank you! I ended up going the route of the Cambo WRS 1600+XShutter lenses because I wanted some of the additional shift flexibility (even if it wasn't always needed) and the tilt/swing capabilities which would still require the cable on the XT with those panels. Because I still get the lens metadata except for shifts, I'm pretty pleased with the system and I like the XShutter itself as a well-built piece of kit. There are tradeoffs (for me) outside of the shift metadata:

- It's a bit heavier than the XT platform
- There's no cabled way to trigger the shutter without touching the camera because the cable takes up the "BOB port". Obviously I can tether over WiFi to a laptop with the latest fw update on the back but that can get heavy/tedious. I can hardly wait for the iOS app they're working on (allegedly  :))

I'd love to see the ability to enter shift data into the back directly or via this new app. Because the back has "C1 inside", I'm assuming that's not outside of the realm of possibilities.

Cheers,
Ray


Hello Ray,

thank you very much for your message, glad you enjoyed the review. I am very happy with the XT, but if I had to consider an alternative, rather than the Cambo, I think I'd be interested in the Arca-Swiss Rm3di, with X Shutter lenses when possible, to reduce overall kit weight, thanks to the focus and tilt mechanisms built-in the camera body; not to mention that this would make tilt/swing available on every lens (even though, having the tilting fulcrum where the Cambo has it would work better).

As far as the cable release, I use a delayed release for all situation except when I am photographing receding waves, where I need to actuate the shutter precisely and even one or two seconds delay would make me miss the shot. Hopefully, the app will manifest itself sooner than later :)

As far as the ability to record metadata, I believe it should be possible; I'll pass that on, even though I am sure many already did :)

Best regards,

Vieri
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Ray Harrison

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2021, 05:54:11 am »

You are very welcome, glad you enjoyed the read :)

About being a failed revolution, I'll have to disagree with you on this one, sorry. I believe that price has very little to do with how revolutionary a technology is; price, on the other hand, has everything to do with how widely accessible a technology (revolutionary or not) can become. Generally speaking, top end, hyper-high tech gear, on any field, is hardly widely accessible to any purse, and hardly cheap compared to lesser technological solutions doing similar things, and the Phase One XT is no exception. Whether it's worth spending the extra money for the extra features that the XT and X Shutter allows, it's up to each of us; but that doesn't make the XT any less revolutionary, in my opinion.

Hello Ray,

thank you very much for your message, glad you enjoyed the review. I am very happy with the XT, but if I had to consider an alternative, rather than the Cambo, I think I'd be interested in the Arca-Swiss Rm3di, with X Shutter lenses when possible, to reduce overall kit weight, thanks to the focus and tilt mechanisms built-in the camera body; not to mention that this would make tilt/swing available on every lens (even though, having the tilting fulcrum where the Cambo has it would work better).

As far as the cable release, I use a delayed release for all situation except when I am photographing receding waves, where I need to actuate the shutter precisely and even one or two seconds delay would make me miss the shot. Hopefully, the app will manifest itself sooner than later :)

As far as the ability to record metadata, I believe it should be possible; I'll pass that on, even though I am sure many already did :)

Best regards,

Vieri

Hi Vieri,
Thank you for passing the request on, the more voices, the better!

Cheers,
Ray
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Paul2660

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2021, 09:33:48 am »

Most definitely a failed revolution or at least a revolution out of reach for most. Hard to justify this for a true working professional. There is no trade in the cost of entry for a XT with a 32mm Rodenstock is over 22K US with sales tax. That’s a one camera one lens solution that really can’t be hand held in most situations and requires a tripod for every shot.

Glad to see the technology has been shared by Phase One with Arca and other tech camera companies but the cost to remount the lens with the X shutter is 4900.00 before tax. And you have to ship the lens all around the world to have the work done. Each time a 32mm is shipped anywhere you have the risk of damage during shipping misalignment etc.

Can’t deny the IQ4 is an excellent imaging platform but it’s still not delivering features that were shipped with the 3100. Also the fact that Phase one only allowed the IQ4 to work with the XT is limiting.

As for the XT itself love the built in communication finally between camera and back. But no tilt is a huge issue, period. Tilt is something I use with all my wides and in fact is one of the main reasons I moved to a tech camera.

Can a photograph justify around 70k for a working system with 4 lenses, I really can’t and having a XT with only one lens is rather limiting. I can’t.

Paul C
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Harold Clark

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2021, 05:08:41 pm »

Thanks for the review, it is good to see Phase One has integrated lens communication with the back, something photographers accustomed to DSLRs will be familiar with. Few working pros could make a business case for such an expenditure though, but if I came into sudden wealth it would be fun to have.

Unfortunately this camera falls short for architecture. In architectural photography every mm of shift counts, a serious architectural camera would need 20mm shift in every direction for perspective correction, and  also to allow stitching for lenses with larger image circles.
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Vieri Bottazzini

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2021, 03:12:02 am »

Most definitely a failed revolution or at least a revolution out of reach for most. Hard to justify this for a true working professional. There is no trade in the cost of entry for a XT with a 32mm Rodenstock is over 22K US with sales tax. That’s a one camera one lens solution that really can’t be hand held in most situations and requires a tripod for every shot.

Glad to see the technology has been shared by Phase One with Arca and other tech camera companies but the cost to remount the lens with the X shutter is 4900.00 before tax. And you have to ship the lens all around the world to have the work done. Each time a 32mm is shipped anywhere you have the risk of damage during shipping misalignment etc.

Can’t deny the IQ4 is an excellent imaging platform but it’s still not delivering features that were shipped with the 3100. Also the fact that Phase one only allowed the IQ4 to work with the XT is limiting.

As for the XT itself love the built in communication finally between camera and back. But no tilt is a huge issue, period. Tilt is something I use with all my wides and in fact is one of the main reasons I moved to a tech camera.

Can a photograph justify around 70k for a working system with 4 lenses, I really can’t and having a XT with only one lens is rather limiting. I can’t.

Paul C

Paul,

as I said before, the fact that a revolution is economically out of reach for most doesn't make it less of a revolution :)

As far as your criticisms of the system:

1. Tech cameras aren't the best tools to shoot handheld, they are made to be used on a tripod. I would never choose any tech cameras for serious handheld work, there are much better systems for that and any serious photographer would try and use the best system for each job, not forcing what is possibly the worst system for handholding (tech cameras in general) into the farthest possible user case for their gear. Having said that, the Phase One XT is actually more handholdable than any other tech camera out there, not less, at least in my opinion;

2. You can add tilt to the Phase One XT via the appropriate lens mounts, as you can do with all Cambo cameras / lenses, Alpa (via adapters), etc. The only other field camera offering built-in tilt in the camera body is the Arca-Swiss Rm3di or Factum (the latter with serious limitations though). If you are talking about standard & bellows cameras, these are completely different kind of instruments;

All your other issues with the Phase One XT are of monetary nature; let me reiterate that generally speaking, top end, hyper-high tech gear, on any field, is hardly widely accessible to any purse, and hardly cheap compared to lesser technological solutions doing similar things, and the Phase One XT is no exception. Whether it's worth spending the extra money for the extra features that the XT and X Shutter allows, it's up to you to decide :)

Best regards,

Vieri
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Vieri Bottazzini
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Vieri Bottazzini

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2021, 03:15:28 am »

Thanks for the review, it is good to see Phase One has integrated lens communication with the back, something photographers accustomed to DSLRs will be familiar with. Few working pros could make a business case for such an expenditure though, but if I came into sudden wealth it would be fun to have.

Unfortunately this camera falls short for architecture. In architectural photography every mm of shift counts, a serious architectural camera would need 20mm shift in every direction for perspective correction, and  also to allow stitching for lenses with larger image circles.

Hello Harold,

thank you for your comment. About architecture & shift, it depends on the lenses you use. Please see in the review the added graphics, showing how using any Rodenstock HR lens short of the 70mm and 90mm you wouldn't benefit much if at all from having 20mm of shift. Of course, if you use other - less performing - large format lenses, you'd benefit from a larger image circle, but that will come at the price of image quality, especially with 100-150 Mp. As always, it's a matter of compromises, and it's great to have so many options :)

Best regards,

Vieri
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2021, 04:21:35 am »

The thing is... if LL crowd can’t afford... who can?

For 99.99% of photographers an XF + IQ4 is already completely out of reach.

Cheers,
Bernard

Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2021, 05:07:12 am »

Paul,

as I said before, the fact that a revolution is economically out of reach for most doesn't make it less of a revolution :)

As far as your criticisms of the system:

1. Tech cameras aren't the best tools to shoot handheld, they are made to be used on a tripod. I would never choose any tech cameras for serious handheld work, there are much better systems for that and any serious photographer would try and use the best system for each job, not forcing what is possibly the worst system for handholding (tech cameras in general) into the farthest possible user case for their gear. Having said that, the Phase One XT is actually more handholdable than any other tech camera out there, not less, at least in my opinion;

2. You can add tilt to the Phase One XT via the appropriate lens mounts, as you can do with all Cambo cameras / lenses, Alpa (via adapters), etc. The only other field camera offering built-in tilt in the camera body is the Arca-Swiss Rm3di or Factum (the latter with serious limitations though). If you are talking about standard & bellows cameras, these are completely different kind of instruments;

All your other issues with the Phase One XT are of monetary nature; let me reiterate that generally speaking, top end, hyper-high tech gear, on any field, is hardly widely accessible to any purse, and hardly cheap compared to lesser technological solutions doing similar things, and the Phase One XT is no exception. Whether it's worth spending the extra money for the extra features that the XT and X Shutter allows, it's up to you to decide :)

Best regards,

Vieri

Certainly it makes it less revolutionary if it is economically outside the range of most people. To be revolutionary it needs to make a sudden and dramatic impact. As fascinating as this tech is it will have very little impact on photography or photographers.
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Vieri Bottazzini

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2021, 05:12:16 am »

The thing is... if LL crowd can’t afford... who can?

For 99.99% of photographers an XF + IQ4 is already completely out of reach.

Cheers,
Bernard

Well, that is something you'll have to ask to Phase One's management. Markets tend to have a way of taking care of these issues: manufacturers make things and sell them for what price they see fit; markets will tell if they were right. Simple :)

Certainly it makes it less revolutionary if it is economically outside the range of most people. To be revolutionary it needs to make a sudden and dramatic impact. As fascinating as this tech is it will have very little impact on photography or photographers.

Again, the two issues are not connected. Technologies might be revolutionary while impacting very little people, and not be revolutionary and impact the life of millions. Price has nothing to do with how revolutionary a technology is, and the number of people impacted by it has nothing to do with that either :)

Best regards,

Vieri
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2021, 05:19:50 am »

Well, that is something you'll have to ask to Phase One's management. Markets tend to have a way of taking care of these issues: manufacturers make things and sell them for what price they see fit; markets will tell if they were right. Simple :)

Again, the two issues are not connected. Technologies might be revolutionary while impacting very little people, and not be revolutionary and impact the life of millions. Price has nothing to do with how revolutionary a technology is, and the number of people impacted by it has nothing to do with that either :)

Best regards,

Vieri

Well actually its kind of built into the meaning of the word. To be revolutionary it needs to make a dramatic and rapid change in the field to which it applies. But I guess ad speak has removed that level of exactitude from language.
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Vieri Bottazzini

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2021, 05:30:41 am »

Well actually its kind of built into the meaning of the word. To be revolutionary it needs to make a dramatic and rapid change in the field to which it applies. But I guess ad speak has removed that level of exactitude from language.

Well, speaking of exactitude:

revolutionary
adjective
adjective: revolutionary
1.
involving or causing a complete or dramatic change.

The Phase One XT definitely causes a dramatic change in the way field tech cameras operate: for the first time since their introduction, we see a dramatic design change in what seemed to be an immutable concept. This is revolutionary. Lovers of history would know how often it is that dramatic, revolutionary changes in technology do not immediately get widespread; on the contrary, due exactly to the costs of such new technologies, they spread slowly. Normally, such revolutionary technologies do apply to very few and expensive products at first, only to trickle down to mainstream technology at a later time. Sometimes, they never do become mainstream, and keep applying to very limited user cases and products. That doesn't make them less revolutionary.

It seems to me that people here are confusing "revolutionary" with "it is not revolutionary if everyone can't afford it", which - while something I definitely sympathise with - has nothing to do with whether a technology is revolutionary or not :)

Best regards,

Vieri
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2021, 07:04:46 am »

Well, speaking of exactitude:

revolutionary
adjective
adjective: revolutionary
1.
involving or causing a complete or dramatic change.

The Phase One XT definitely causes a dramatic change in the way field tech cameras operate: for the first time since their introduction, we see a dramatic design change in what seemed to be an immutable concept. This is revolutionary. Lovers of history would know how often it is that dramatic, revolutionary changes in technology do not immediately get widespread; on the contrary, due exactly to the costs of such new technologies, they spread slowly. Normally, such revolutionary technologies do apply to very few and expensive products at first, only to trickle down to mainstream technology at a later time. Sometimes, they never do become mainstream, and keep applying to very limited user cases and products. That doesn't make them less revolutionary.

It seems to me that people here are confusing "revolutionary" with "it is not revolutionary if everyone can't afford it", which - while something I definitely sympathise with - has nothing to do with whether a technology is revolutionary or not :)

Best regards,

Vieri

I guess we are becoming a bit pedantic and I think it is because we are using different frames of reference. My frame of reference is photography and it seems yours is field cameras with high MP count digital backs. In my frame of reference, admittedly very broad, this tech is almost entirely meaningless and of no consequence. In your frame of reference, as I understand it, this is indeed revolutionary. 
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Vieri Bottazzini

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2021, 07:10:26 am »

I guess we are becoming a bit pedantic and I think it is because we are using different frames of reference. My frame of reference is photography and it seems yours is field cameras with high MP count digital backs. In my frame of reference, admittedly very broad, this tech is almost entirely meaningless and of no consequence. In your frame of reference, as I understand it, this is indeed revolutionary.

Well, in my linked article, in the very first paragraph, I say "However, in that simplicity lies a revolutionary product, one that in my opinion changed field tech cameras as we knew them in the digital age. ". So, it's not a question of being pedantic, perhaps it's simply a question of being relevant when commenting: I am clearly referring to field tech cameras, that is what the discussion is about and tech cameras are what the Phase One XT revolutionised. I never said that it's revolutionary for whatever other frame of reference you are considering, of course, since it would be very difficult for me to know what you have in mind in the first place :D

Best regards,

Vieri
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Steve Hendrix

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2021, 01:03:02 pm »

Thanks for the review, it is good to see Phase One has integrated lens communication with the back, something photographers accustomed to DSLRs will be familiar with. Few working pros could make a business case for such an expenditure though, but if I came into sudden wealth it would be fun to have.

Unfortunately this camera falls short for architecture. In architectural photography every mm of shift counts, a serious architectural camera would need 20mm shift in every direction for perspective correction, and  also to allow stitching for lenses with larger image circles.


Agree to a degree. Vey short lenses won't really shift much beyond or even reach the limit of the XT. The real limitation is in the medium and longer lenses, you're definitely short changed there. But this is only a limitation of the XT camera itself.

I've always held that the critical development was the X Shutter, not the XT Camera. And now that the X Shutter is a more democratic solution (available for Cambo WRS bodies and soon Alpa and Arca), you can have the capabilities of the X Shutter on shifting tech cameras that can accommodate shifts 20mm or more.


Steve Hendrix/CI
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2021, 04:05:58 pm »

I would agree that X-shutter is the key.

The problem here again is the price of the remounting and the compatibility with IQ4 only.

As an IQ3 Trichro user with an Arca and Roddy 23mm, 32mm and 90mm (already an amazingly pricy set up by most standards) I look at a 35,000+ US$ upgrade cost... to be able to leverage X-Shutter.

Cheers,
Bernard

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2021, 07:18:08 pm »

I don't see real advantage for the X-shutter.
How would it affect my architectural photography?
Am I missing something?

I shoot normally between 4s and 1/250s at F11.
The Copals are lightweight and precise enough, for me in any case.
The diaphragm of the X-Shutter still has only 5 blades!
Can somebody tell me why?

For me it's not important to see the aperture in the Exif.
I'm interested in the picture.

Regards,
Ben

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Re: Phase One XT reviewed
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2021, 03:34:10 am »


...

I've always held that the critical development was the X Shutter, not the XT Camera. And now that the X Shutter is a more democratic solution (available for Cambo WRS bodies and soon Alpa and Arca), you can have the capabilities of the X Shutter on shifting tech cameras that can accommodate shifts 20mm or more.

...


I would agree that X-shutter is the key.

...


While the X Shutter is necessary, of course, having just the X Shutter and no XT (or, using the X Shutter on different brands, when available) would still leave you with:

- The need to use cables;
- Therefore, the impossibility to use a remote with the IQ4;
- No EXIF info for shift;

This would make some difference compared to the situation before the X Shutter, allowing you the possibility to control aperture & shutter from the body and recording of aperture & shutter data, but wouldn't bring the complete eleven of integration that having the X Shutter + XT brings.

To me, the X Shutter is a wonderful solution for the demise of copal shutters. However, for my landscape work, if the XT didn't exist I would probably just go for an Arca-Swiss Rm3di and lenses in Rodenstock aperture mount: sadly a larger and heavier camera, but with more shift (useful only with the 70mm and 90mm), lighter lenses thanks to no shutter and no focus mechanism, no need for cables, tilt built-in the body. Yes, the electronic shutter is limited, but for the subjects I shoot, that wouldn't be too much of a problem.

Best regards,

Vieri
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