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Author Topic: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?  (Read 3050 times)

narikin

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Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« on: April 28, 2022, 09:45:11 am »

Recently rebooted my IQ4, after a long hiatus, partly the Pandemic slowdown, partly due to the Fuji GFX100S covering most needs.
Surprised to find no major firmware update / feature update in the past year.

I did find one for the XF, but it doesn't add much of note. Am I missing something, or is this a sign that Phase is sticking with mature products, and we can expect only small incremental changes for its flagship backs from here-on?
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TechTalk

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2022, 07:32:16 pm »

Given the rapidly changing market in which consumer demand for DSLRs is diminishing and being replaced by demand for smaller, lighter, and less expensive mirrorless cameras; I'm now pleasantly surprised anytime there is a major update in medium format DSLRs or digital backs. The future is always hard to predict, but the overall trends are clearly visible and investments by manufacturers have to include at least some nod to those along with financial realities. I'm always hopeful for new products and updates and pleased when we get a surprise from a manufacturer... and they do like to surprise us when they can.

Recent years have been financially difficult for Phase One Group ApS. While Capture One generates profits, with a pretax profit in 2020 of €5.5 million on revenue of €22.6 million, it hasn't been generating enough profit to cover the losses generated by the Phase One hardware business. Phase One Group ApS was created following the acquisition of Phase One in June, 2019 by Danish private equity investment firm Axcel and its partners.

Phase One Group ApS controls two corporations, Phase One A/S and Capture One A/S, which were split into separate corporate entities as of January 1, 2020. Phase One A/S in Denmark; its subsidiaries in Japan, Hong Kong, and USA; and its subsidiary Leaf in Israel constitute the group's hardware business. Capture One A/S in Denmark and its new subsidiary in Greece incorporates the group's software business. Financial results for 2021 won't be released until later this summer, but 2020 ended with a loss of €10.9 million on revenue of €68.9 million. 2019 resulted in a loss of €14.5 million on revenue of €72 million for all of the combined Phase One Group ApS companies.

I want to be clear that I'm NOT providing this information in order to worry anyone. I just want to encourage realistic expectations from users toward ALL of the camera manufacturers we rely upon for the tools we use. The reality for every camera maker is that the digital camera market is a roller coaster and has been for decades. Profits and losses turn quickly up and down and are largely dependent on product cycles and rapidly changing consumer demand.

Recent financial difficulty, for any company, does NOT mean that new products or updates are not coming or on the horizon. Funds acquired thru borrowing and from investors, in addition to existing working capital, are still funneled into new product development and R&D. I'm only suggesting that those anxiously awaiting new developments consider the trends in consumer demand and markets in setting their expectations. Some of the companies discussed here — which loom large in our photo consciousness — are relatively small companies that, considering their size, do pretty remarkable things in the quality and variety of tools they provide for us to delight in using and to criticize in whatever may be their shortcomings.

** Updated financial results with revenue added for 2020. Revised revenue and loss to include all of calendar year 2019 which previously only covered the period following acquisition by private equity firm Axcel. Edited corporate structure information for better clarity. Financial information converted from Danish Krone to Euro at current exchange rate.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2022, 05:50:25 pm by TechTalk »
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TechTalk

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2022, 03:19:50 pm »

is this a sign that Phase is sticking with mature products, and we can expect only small incremental changes for its flagship backs from here-on?

I realize that the reply above is a pretty indirect response to your question. So, here's a more direct response. No one knows.

Forecasts of this kind have to first look at where we've been and where we are at present. DSLRs are on life support. They are devices that require a good deal of complex mechanical and optical precision even with electronic control over timing and functions. That makes them too expensive to manufacture in relatively small quantities and as a result they are unprofitable.

To keep new digital back production alive and moving forward, you need a camera platform. With DSLRs fading, Phase One's most recent strategic move is the XT. Whether that will be enough to keep their digital back products alive and advancing and for how long only time will tell.

Clearly, mirrorless is where the market is today. You may already have the answer regarding where the future lies...

due to the Fuji GFX100S covering most needs.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2022, 08:07:48 pm »

As an IQ4–150 + XF owner it’s a great system but I am disappointed that P1 has not delivered on all the commitments made in terms of firmware upgrade.

It delivers good value as is, but could be even better.

The lack of a top notch 28mm or 26mm Blue Ring is a pity also.

I believe that P1 invested a lot in the XT system and I am not sure it was a good move.

I can only assume that they are working on a mirrorless version of the XF. For it to be appealing it would have to work very well with existing Schneider lenses and be reasonably affordable.

TechTalk

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2022, 03:59:24 pm »

As an IQ4–150 + XF owner it’s a great system but I am disappointed that P1 has not delivered on all the commitments made in terms of firmware upgrade.

I was aware of complaints for some time regarding a very long delay in offering a Wi-Fi/mobile app solution, but that's now offered thru a third-party app. Is that correct? Are there any other commitments that they haven't yet delivered?
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narikin

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2022, 10:41:00 am »

Thanks for various replies.

I feel Phase made an error in not reacting harder and faster to the Fuji 100mp.
It was an existential challenge for them, so the minute it was announced or even firmly rumored:
  • Reduce the price of their IQ3-100 and IQ4-150 models by about 30%,
  • Drop the prices on all used 60 and 100mp used/ trade-in backs by 50% immediately to get people locked into their system, before Fuji is on the market.
  • End all trade-in/ trade-up discounts by Phase themselves (if a dealer wants to do it, that's fine). I'd imagine a lot of their losses are write downs on older backs they have bought back and nobody wants now Fuji is here.
Anyways - all too late for that, and I'm just playing armchair expert here, sorry!

I remain surprised there has not been a feature or firmware upgrade for over a year for IQ4 owners.
They need to get pixel shift option onto their flagship back ('IQ4-PS'? 'IQ4-600'?)
that will multiply the resolution by 4x at least. Phase will do it better than anyone, assuming they still have their world class image tech team there.

Phase still have the class leading color and IQ - no question. I own Fuji and Sony systems - nothing compares to the ultimate color of Phase One.

I don't see an easy way path for them, other than keeping their place at the absolute pinnacle of color and resolution.

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TechTalk

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2022, 10:20:19 pm »

I remain surprised there has not been a feature or firmware upgrade for over a year for IQ4 owners.

I'm not surprised for the reasons already given, but I love surprises from manufacturers when they do spring them on us. I hope to see more surprises!
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TechTalk

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2022, 10:20:40 pm »

They need to get pixel shift option onto their flagship back ('IQ4-PS'? 'IQ4-600'?)
that will multiply the resolution by 4x at least. Phase will do it better than anyone, assuming they still have their world class image tech team there.

I promise that I will try not to get too wordy here. If Phase One introduces a multi-shot (pixel shift) digital back, I won't be surprised—I'll be stunned.

I've been consistently using multi-shot backs for the past 25 years from Leaf, Sinar, Imacon, and Hasselblad and from 4 to 400 megapixels. Phase One has maintained that multi-shot is obsolete since their first 6 megapixel LightPhase back.

I've always enjoyed the added image quality benefits that can be derived from multi-shot. ** The biggest image quality difference, in my opinion, comes from the increased color resolution and sharpness gained from 4-shot mode providing full RGB color data for each pixel. The additional spatial resolution (increase in megapixels) which is possible with additional 1/2-pixel shots is not as impressive to my eyes, but still a nice option to have available when desired. While multi-shot has been great for my needs, the range of suitable applications for it is narrow and limited. It's definitely a niche market.

If you're interested in multi-shot and the difference compared to single-shot or how "pixel shift" using a sensor floating on an IBIS mechanism differs from how multi-shot functions with digital backs, I'd be happy to share my experiences. I'm afraid it would put others to sleep.

** The difference in 4-shot (RGBG) mode is so noticeable that for both the H4D and H5D series, Hasselblad offered two different multi-shot options for the 50 megapixel sensor. They offered either the 50c MS (1-shot / 4-shot) model or the 200c MS (1 / 4 / 6-shot) model. The H6D-400c (1 / 4 / 6-shot) 400 megapixel model is now their only multi-shot model.

Here's a comparison of a 50 megapixel image from a 4-shot capture compared to an 80 megapixel single-shot. It's interesting to see a 50 megapixel resolution image with 300 MB of raw color data (4-shot) compared to a higher resolution (but less color data) 80 megapixel image with 160 MB of raw color data (single-shot).

*** Link to archive of original article comparing 50 megapixel 4-shot to 80 megapixel single-shot.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2022, 12:31:17 pm by TechTalk »
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BAB

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2022, 09:44:46 am »

Same old story multi tier marketing always a one way street. Products sold by Manf. To distributors through leasing w big promises of buy back programs for newer gear all financed by private equity firms.

Take something that should sell for 1 dollar sell it for 12 dollars, give away 8 dollars to leasing, private equity, dealers, buy backs (trade-ins),advertising and smoke and mirrors. Then take new ideas to your marketing dept and have them spin those out to the consumer and your dealer network but keep some things really secret like they might be revolutionary. All while laying this thick BS on your private equity partners and as long as the money is flowing your ideas are financed. Rough times no money and your still selling a vision maybe they will buy in one time still no money now the private equity firm wants out.

Moral of the story if it was good enough why not sell it for the right price to start with instead of multi tier marketing which 9 times out of 10 ends up this way.

Consumers would have been happy
Dealer would still be happy
And the used market for old gear would have been the same as for any other brand.

PS Firmware updates are necessary for success.
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TechTalk

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2022, 11:45:34 pm »

They need to get pixel shift option onto their flagship back ('IQ4-PS'? 'IQ4-600'?)
that will multiply the resolution by 4x at least.

This is often misunderstood. Although it seems logical to assume that 100 megapixels is 2x the resolution of 50 megapixels, that is not the case. For example, 100 megapixels has 1.41x more resolution than 50 megapixels. That's simply due to the fact that we have 2-dimensional images which require width and height to increase proportionally. You need 4x the image pixels to double image resolution. Here's a guide:

Increase in resolution from a 50 megapixel sensor

•   80 megapixels = 1.26x
• 100 megapixels = 1.41x
• 150 megapixels = 1.73x
• 200 megapixels = 2.0x
• 400 megapixels = 2.83x

Increase in resolution from a 100 megapixel sensor

• 150 megapixels = 1.23x
• 200 megapixels = 1.41x
• 400 megapixels = 2.0x

Increase in resolution from a 150 megapixel sensor

• 200 megapixels = 1.15x
• 400 megapixels = 1.63x
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Balafre

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2022, 06:47:04 pm »

WOW! I never knew ! thanks for this! :)
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TechTalk

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2022, 05:01:55 pm »

Happy to oblige. I often see statements that make the incorrect assumption that the number of pixels equates directly to the amount of increase or decrease in resolution without factoring in the fact that there are two dimensions and resolution needs to be measured for both of them.
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TechTalk

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2022, 09:00:23 pm »

I feel Phase made an error in not reacting harder and faster to the Fuji 100mp.

The medium format market is small at best. The majority of current demand is clearly for mirrorless cameras of the type offered by Hasselblad and Fuji.

It's nice that they offer consumers a different choice with the XF DSLR or XT technical camera systems, but nice doesn't pay the bills. They've so far failed to compete in the largest segment of an already small market and are only addressing narrow niche and industrial markets. Sometimes a very narrow focus can work to a manufacturer's advantage and sometimes it doesn't.

They may yet address the larger market from which they are currently absent. If so, they're kind of late to the rodeo and a lot of potential customers have already been rounded up. Still, anything is possible in the roller coaster world of digital imaging products.
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MN

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2022, 03:45:34 pm »

The majority of current demand is clearly for mirrorless cameras of the type offered by Hasselblad and Fuji

Some of P1 industrial 44x33 offerings already have global shutter, hence it may be only a question of time until there will be a global shutter for the 645 format. Then there is really no need for a mirror anymore and with the back-illuminated sensor the lenses don't need to be of an retro-focus design.

This would open up new possibilities for a mirrorless P1, yet old lenses could still be used with an adapter.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2022, 05:01:54 pm by MN »
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Steve Hendrix

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2022, 05:24:31 pm »

To the original question, it is not unusual for a year to pass between significant firmware updates from camera manufacturers (not just Phase One).


Steve Hendrix/CI
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anwarp

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2022, 02:30:15 am »

We finally have a minor, but very useful update to the IQ4 firmware along with updates to Cascable.
The live view and image viewing are very usable now even with ad-hoc network linked to an older iPad.
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Dustbak

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2022, 04:01:22 am »

To the original question, it is not unusual for a year to pass between significant firmware updates from camera manufacturers (not just Phase One).


Steve Hendrix/CI

Hasselblad has not made a firmware update in the at least the last 3 years. Phocus however is constantly being improved upon.

Nice to see the 50MS comparison with the Leaf single shot. Way way back we did a similar comparison, Yair, a HB dealer, Rob (former Eyesonmedia employee) and myself. The conclusion was that differences were hardly visible and probably pretty subjective. Depending on the subject, light, distance, etc. one or the other had a slight edge. Both would be sufficient, however... taking a single shot over 4 shots is always preferable (IMO). Pretty much the main reason I stopped using MS years ago after the release of the H6D100.

I fear MF (with mirror boxes and optical viewfinders) will go the way of the Dinosaur eventually. Meanwhile I keep on using it until it literally falls apart and cannot be repaired anymore. Something with trusted tools I guess ;)

Just got notice of this:

https://nikonrumors.com/2022/07/26/nikon-released-new-firmware-update-for-the-almost-10-years-old-d7100-dslr-camera.aspx/

I reckon it is not impossible.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2022, 08:08:29 am by Dustbak »
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TechTalk

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2022, 06:24:43 pm »

Nice to see you stopping in once in awhile and it's always good to have your input. Although I still can't give up multi-shot, I always value and respect your opinion.
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JoeKitchen

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2022, 12:44:55 pm »

Lets also not forget that market timing is very important, along with spending the time to perfect your product. 

Rollie went under because it released the Hy6 so earlier, which I still consider the top hand held MF camera.  It drained them of cash without a large enough customer base in the market yet to bring in the necessary cash flow.  This was more then likely reason for the very bad support network outside Europe, which turned a lot of professionals off.   

Likewise, Arca Swiss was late in the game in releasing the RM3D line, and many began to doubt they would release anything to compete with the technical plate camera.  When they did though, it was obvious why it took so long.  The design of that system overcomes many of the shortfalls of Alpa's and Cambo's offerings, not to mention is was integrated into their M-Line universe of bellow cameras. 

A near hit is still a miss; just look at the Hassy mirrorless that was released. 
« Last Edit: August 09, 2022, 09:56:04 am by JoeKitchen »
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TechTalk

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Re: Phase One IQ4 - no updates for over a year?
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2022, 10:32:13 pm »

A near hit is still a miss; just look at the Hassy mirrorless that was released.

Their mirrorless cameras are what returned Hasselblad to profitability.
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