There’s no doubt that image quality these days is simply sensational. Even phones are capable of capturing a good quality file and the software processing the photos on those phones is nothing short of astonishing.
Yet for all their capabilities, phone photography remains limited. You don’t have the same range of exposure and camera settings to play with, you don’t have access to longer telephoto lenses and the simple fact remains, the physically small size of the sensor (no matter how many pixels) limits what can be done with the file. Sure, sometimes those files can look great as a print, even a large print, but when you compare the best phone file with a high quality mirrorless or DSLR camera file, the truth of the sensor size remains. Bigger is better.
And so the argument continues up the scale where medium format sensors produce a superior quality to a full-frame or APS-C size sensor. However, it’s not only the physical size of the sensor, but also the bit depth. Most mirrorless and DSLR cameras capture at 12- and maybe 14-bits, whereas Phase One’s digital backs are shooting at 16-bits, producing beautifully smooth and cultured tonal transitions and heaps of shadow detail.
Now take the Bayer colour filter (and maybe an infrared filter as well) away from a medium format sensor. You lose all your colour information, of course, but the black and white image that remains is as pure as technically possible. This is essentially what the Phase One XT with a 150-megapixel IQ4 Achromatic back is all about, the ultimate in black and white image quality.
Recently, I borrowed one of these backs and I have to say that I loved the experience. Read all about it in the current issue of Better Photography magazine! Current subscribers just have to login to read online or download to their device. Not a subscriber? I'd love you to join and help support our small community. For just AUS $29.88 (it's 40% off, but you must use the coupon code BP40) you can subscribe for one year and have access to over 50 back issues as well. Subscribe now - visit our website here - https://www.betterphotographyeducation.com/better-photography-online/about-the-magazine