Conversation With Drew and Lau From Phase One

Lau and Drew live from Copenhagen, Denmark
Lau and Drew live from Copenhagen, Denmark practice good social distancing

Phase One is a great company. I spent 13 years working there as a Vice President and along the way met some of the greatest photographers on the planet and had the chance to help photographers take their photography to new levels. Without bias, I will say that photographers have a lot of choices regarding high megapixel cameras these days. But, I don’t think you’ll find anyone saying that there is nothing like a Phase One camera file. The files coming out of Phase One cameras are extremely sharp and have a feel and look to them that is sometimes hard to define but always easy to see.

Phase One XT IQ4 with 50mm lens
Phase One XT IQ4 with 50mm lens

Every year for the last 6 years, Drew Altdoerffer and Lau Nørgaard have visited me for several days early in the year. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide lockdowns, that didn’t happen this year. During these visits, we go over new features in the Phase One hardware and software. Just as here in America, the folks at Phase One were all in-home on lockdown.

Drew and Lau are good friends and their last visit coincided with the new chapter in my life – the development of photoPXL. It was early last year when they made their visit. We made a number of videos, which you can find by searching Phase One in the search box on this site. It’s always fun to go back and catch up.

Video (48:31)


While they were visiting, I was struggling with what I was going to do. I wanted to create a new website for photographers but had no idea what to call it. So, over two different dinners and a lot of scribbling on placemats, Drew suggested We immediately looked up the domain name and it was not used, so, right there on the spot we bought the domain and was born. Thanks, Lau and Drew, as well as others who were there that night. It’s hard to believe a year later that we are doing as well as we are and growing more each day.

During this video, conversation Drew and Lau shares their experiences and discuss how their customers are adapting to the lockdown. They have found that photographers are spending time learning their gear better while in lockdown as well as learning Capture One.

Phase One XT

For me, I have gone back in Capture One and started cataloging my sessions by years. In addition, I have cataloged certain major events like trips to Svalbard, Antarctica, etc. I have a lot more faith in the cataloging feature of Capture One now and I am loving the convenience of what catalogs offer.

Phase One has a new camera or relativity new cameras. There is an XT and XF camera system. Drew and Lau go through both systems and talk about the differences and similarities. Both cameras have a place in the photographer’s toolbox. The XT, though, is something of interest. It’s kind of a technical camera designed for the discerning photographer who wants a lighter technical camera with amazing optics.

As a landscape photographer, this would be amazing to work with and I look forward to trying it out when we can all travel again. In addition, the Dual Exposure Plus feature is new to the IQ back, and Drew explains it in the video. It’s kind of like an HDR, but not. Check it out at about the 27:00 mark as the feature produces exposure with about 18 stops dynamic range. It looks pretty cool and I want it.

Phase One XT Camera showing the digital back

The Phase One XF camera does some remarkable focus stacking and is a great feature for commercial and landscape shooters. The video explains this too, around the 47:00 mark.

Another new feature is Frame Averaging and, once again, this is a cool feature and tool to have available. It’s like doing long exposure with a series of short exposures. Lau and Drew show this feature at the 48:30 mark. I really like this idea. It’s like doing long exposure in bright light without using ND filters. It’s a very cool feature.

As you’ll see, Phase One is always pushing the envelope and developing new tools for photographers. Thank you, Drew and Lau, for spending time with photoPXL and I look forward to our next conversation.

Stay safe and stay healthy.

Kevin Raber
June 2020
Kevin Raber
Indianapolis, IN

Photography is my passion and has been for 50 plus years. My career in photography has allowed me to travel the world, meet some of the most interesting people on the planet and see things I could never have dreamed of. My goal is to share the passion of picture taking through photographs and teaching with as many people as I can, hoping it brings them as much joy and happiness as it has me. I do this through, this site, as well as Rockhopper Workshops, and other projects, as well as teaching as Artist In Residence at the Indianapolis Art Center.

Article Type: News, Columns, Videos, MISC

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