XT Camera System

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    Topic: XT Camera System Read 534 Times
  • Drew Altdo
    Drew Altdo
    Participant
    Posts: 3
    Medium Format
    on: September 10, 2019 at 7:51 am

    https://www.phaseone.com/en/Photography/XT-Camera-System

    Interested to hear everyone’s thoughts on our latest Camera System

    Louis Foubare
    Louis Foubare
    Participant
    Posts: 18
    Re: XT Camera System
    Reply #1 on: September 10, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Looks well designed. Solves many tech cam issues in a compact package.

    Also looks like us Alpa users we are boxed out for now.

    Kevin Raber
    Kevin Raber
    Keymaster
    Posts: 341
    Re: XT Camera System
    Reply #2 on: September 11, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks Drew.  I’ll be in touch when I get home from this trip.  This looks to be an interesting camera.

    Kevin Raber
    CEO & Publisher of PhotoPXL.com and Rockhopperworkshops.com

    Andrew Molitor
    Andrew Molitor
    Participant
    Posts: 33
    Re: XT Camera System
    Reply #3 on: September 12, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    I was unloading the dishwasher today, musing on this a bit.

    I find it to be a fascinating business decision. There are a couple (at least) tech camera makers that support P1 backs, Alpa and Cambo, if I have this right. There’s some speculation that this is actually a Cambo design, possibly a partnership? I certainly have no evidence, but it does look a bit like the Cambo gear.

    Why is P1 making this thing? The price of any IQ4 based camera appears to be, basically, the price of the back plus a few bucks. I deduce that the tech camera biz, while probably much less revenue per system than P1 makes, produces much greater margins. P1 is willing, after all, to go to some effort to capture some of that business, presumably not because it’s a terrible business. This makes sense. An IQ4 back is a vastly expensive electronic thing built out of expensive components from a long supply chain, probably largely manufactured by some third parties, and so on. The Cambo and Alpa contributions are mostly just precision machined bits and pieces and some cables, and I assume that these are done in-house — that being kind of the point, right? I have no hard numbers, but it would not surprise me to learn that Alpa and Cambo enjoy nice fat margins, whereas P1 is kind of scraping by,  margin-wise.

    So, allow me to speculate: P1 sees Alpa and Cambo making a nice chunk of change and decides to go after that. Fair enough.

    What makes this interesting, though, is that P1 is signalling a willingness to cannibalize their channel. While Alpa and Cambo do not, as far as I can see, actually resell P1 backs, they certainly supported them. They drive sales. While they may not be, in technical terms, part of the sales channel, they are pretty close to it. P1 is making a distinct and definite play to take out at least a portion of their business. Not all of it, by any means, but definitely the bottom part of it. Does this move leave Alpa and Cambo viable at all? Does it drive them further into the arms of Hasselblad?

    It is virtually rule number one of businesses like P1’s: Don’t screw with the sales channel. P1 isn’t a bunch of idiots, they certainly know this, which begs the question, really, of “what on earth is going on here?”

    If I were an exec at Alpa, I would definitely be looking to strengthen my relationship with Hasselblad. I would, in fact, be reaching out to my contacts there and most likely using some fairly strong invective.

    I were an exec at Digital Transitions, I might be a little on-edge right now. What is P1’s next move?

     

    Drew Altdo
    Drew Altdo
    Participant
    Posts: 3
    Re: XT Camera System
    Reply #4 on: September 13, 2019 at 7:44 am

    Looks well designed. Solves many tech cam issues in a compact package.

    Thanks Louis, addressing those past issues is certainly the priority with the XT.

     

    P1 isn’t a bunch of idiots, they certainly know this, which begs the question, really, of “what on earth is going on here?”

    Interesting thought exercise Andrew but I was hoping to get some feedback and opinions of the camera. The supply chain, margins, distribution, etc… aren’t really on my agenda for discussion.

    To address the first question, which I think gives you perspective on a lot of of your other ponderings, the XT is proudly manufactured by Cambo and retains Cambo lens/accessory integration. We’ve stuck to what  we’re good at and developed the technology in the XT Body as well as the X-Shutter itself to service and strengthen the existing market just as Louis pointed out… the investment on our end is to solve the myriad of previously existing tech cam issues and push the market further faster.

    Andrew Molitor
    Andrew Molitor
    Participant
    Posts: 33
    Re: XT Camera System
    Reply #5 on: September 13, 2019 at 10:13 am

    Thank you, Drew. Of course, I accept fully that you have to be quite careful about what you will and will not talk about. I’ve been on both sides of that, have made some missteps, and been roundly dressed down for them!

    It’s possible that I was gently probing to see if there was some partnership in play here 😉 It certainly makes sense, and I am glad to see it confirmed.

    There is a difference between assuming that P1 — somehow — knows what it’s doing, and having a piece on information that actually confirms it, right? And now we know!

    As for the camera, well, it looks like a hell of an instrument, eh? It’s out of my price range, so it’s all academic to me, but it looks like exactly what you’d expect of Phase One partnered with Cambo, with management support and budget to jolly well Do It Right. Even as a non-tech camera user is has been obvious that the lack of front-to-back integration is probably a PITA for users (although I dare say a few thrive on it), and this seems to tidy all that material up, producing what looks like damn near a point-and-shoot (in a good way!) tech camera.

     

    Dave Chew
    Dave Chew
    Participant
    Posts: 25
    Re: XT Camera System
    Reply #6 on: September 15, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    I wish I could have responded earlier, but this is a very thought-provoking camera, not only in what it does, but for who it is intended. The camera is exciting and provides a robust, modern solution to the lack of Copal shutters on new lenses through the lens electronic shutter (LES). In one sense, it is a camera before its time; in several years we won’t need shutters because the electronic shutter will be fast enough to dump data all at once.

    The last five years has been an interesting period for technical cameras. I don’t remember when the IQ3-100 was released, but let’s call it 2015-ish. Prior to that, helical / pancake technical cameras were preferred because focusing accurately was a real problem. Helicals provided a solution, albeit not a very elegant one with laser distance meters and fine focus rings. Enter CMOS, and live view provided a much-improved workflow. Bellows/rail-based systems resurged because you could now focus, get a wide range of movements and lose the cost / inflexibility of proprietary helical mounts.

    On its heels came sensor-based electronic shutter (SES), which again greatly improves workflow; that is, at least when there is no large-scale movement in the frame and no flash is required. As a landscape, product and architecture photographer, I find the SES to be a fully capable workflow if one is willing to make do with the new crop of LED lights vs strobes.

    Now with the XT on-stage, the waters get muddy. The real advantage to the XT appears to be in two areas: First, the convenience associated with dark frames, LCCs and metadata. Second, the benefits of a LES – the ability to flash sync and the elimination of rolling shutter effects, at least < 1 sec. BTW Drew, I do think the mechanical ability should be extended from 1 second to at least 10-30 seconds.

    I think the convenience factor will just depend on the individual. For those new to technical cameras, it will be enough to push some of them into the pool. For those like myself who have been dealing with the “joys” of technical cameras since the CCD days, most of the convenience issues have already been mitigated with CMOS and further improvements associated with the IQ4-150.

    For those who want / need to shoot a technical camera with strobes, they either need to have (or find used) lenses with copal shutters or go with the XT. That’s a real advantage, although I am not sure how many there are in that situation. No one is going to freeze a flying Michael Jordan with overpowering strobes outside in bright sun with a technical camera. You can buy a whole bunch of new LED-based lights for the XT entry cost.

    All this is a very long-winded way of getting to the question of who, which I think is answered in three groups: First, a group of people who have not jumped to 54×40 MF because of the XF kit size, and who saw the technical camera as too manual, quirky and difficult to manage. Second, existing XF owners who do not have a technical camera. This may even push a few to upgrade from previous generation backs. Third, existing technical camera users who want the added simplicity. The first two groups are, IMO, the real target.

    That third group is the most questionable in my mind because of what we have to give up getting the XT, at least today:

    1. Tilt. This is a big one. Along with other movements associated with bellows/rail systems.
    2. Switching cost. Significant for all but existing Cambo WRS (not Actus) owners.
    3. Lens availability: Again, not a problem for WRS owners but a big one for all others.

    I am really curious to find out what the flange distance is from Cambo to Alpa or Cambo to Arca. I am assuming that existing WRS owners can just mount their existing lenses onto the XT directly. If the Cambo flange distance is less than Alpa/Arca, the door is open for adapters that would at least allow other brand owners to mount their legacy lenses without modification. That would be wonderful.

    Dave

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Dave Chew.
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Dave Chew.
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Dave Chew.
    Cam Garner
    Cam Garner
    Participant
    Posts: 1
    Re: XT Camera System
    Reply #7 on: September 15, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    I fall into group 2.  I’m highly interested in the XT as I have already invested in an IQ4 150.  A big part of my interest relates to having a smaller lighter package.  I have considered moving to a tech camera in the past but the complexity has discouraged me.  I think your analysis of possible buyers is spot on.

    Cam

    Mike Nelson Pedde
    Mike Nelson Pedde
    Participant
    Posts: 184
    Re: XT Camera System
    Reply #8 on: September 17, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    A review from the Imaging Resource folks. Posted today: https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2019/09/10/phase-one-announces-brand-new-xt-camera-system-hands-on-preview

    Mike.

    _____
    Mike Nelson Pedde
    Victoria, BC
    https://www.wolfnowl.com/

    Kenneth Doo
    Kenneth Doo
    Participant
    Posts: 6
    Re: XT Camera System
    Reply #9 on: September 29, 2019 at 10:27 am

    ….

    That third group is the most questionable in my mind because of what we have to give up getting the XT, at least today:

    1. Tilt. This is a big one. Along with other movements associated with bellows/rail systems.
    2. Switching cost. Significant for all but existing Cambo WRS (not Actus) owners.
    3. Lens availability: Again, not a problem for WRS owners but a big one for all others.

    ….

    Dave

    You pretty much summed up my thoughts as a current Cambo WRS 1600 and IQ4150 user.  I do like the apparently smaller size of the XT, but at this juncture I can wait to see how this new system matures before considering it.  I can wait.  Seeing the IQ4 MFDB mature (*ahem* step it up Phase One!) into the Flagship Platform it is supposed to be is much more important to me.

    Imho, Phase One needs to address the firmware and feature updates of the IQ4 platform first.  The Phase XT system would be much more attractive to new users/buyers if they knew that the Phase One IQ4 platform  had already evolved into a stable flagship workhorse like the IQ3.  

    No doubt that the IQ4 offers incredible image quality.  But if I were a new user considering the XT system, the IQ4 platform in its current limited state would give me great pause for thought before opening my wallet.

    Ken

    Ken Doo
    www.carmelfineartprinting.com
    www.houseoflandscapes.com
    www.kendoophotography.com

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