So what do I think of the real production unit? Let me first deal with a few of the obvious considerations I went through before upgrading from my P65+. First is did I want to spend the coin for the upgrade? Heck no!!! Am I glad I spent for the upgrade? Well...
-- Resolution detail.
It's impressive, but we pretty much covered that in our original review (see here for that: http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23200) so no surprises. Even after our preliminary review showed it, I've had a few questions as to whether the lenses are up to the sensor. I can reaffirm for you that they are. I'll add that even marginal lenses can hold up quite well. Here is a shot with the worst lens in my bag, a non-D version of the 35mm AF, but a decent enough copy of it. This is not a great shot and the light was terrible for the subject (backlit), but it shows how the new IQ180 might deal with some of your legacy glass. 1/40th at f12, ISO 35, shadows pushed about 1 stop in C1:
And a center crop. Clearly not the greatest lens, clearly not anywhere near the class of high-resolution tech camera lenses, but I think this would hold up pretty well in even a large print:
While color is a very subjective thing, I say here without hesitation in one word, the color is phenomenal -- at least out of C1! The passport is spot on and very neutral. Daylight comes in at 4998/0.0 which is where it should be. From a personal point, I like a slightly warmer tone to daylight so have saved my basic C1 Style at 5080/0.8. The two main profiles I use are Flash and Outdoor Daylight. Historically, Phase's OD is a larger space with more saturated blues and greens than Flash, and while I have not examined them, it seems to be holding to that convention here. My OD style did not need any saturation boost, whereas if I wanted to use Flash for outdoors, I would bump sat maybe 4 points. I'll let the color geeks research the camera profiles more fully -- what I know is I like the color coming straight off the back a lot!
I've been asked if the color is smoother than the P65+. For those not aware, one of the main reasons I upgraded to the P65+ from the P45+ was its smoother rendering of color -- a common term several of us used to describe it was "more film-like." I am not going to claim (yet) that the IQ180 is smoother still, but it may well be. What I will say about it is it certainly is not any less so.
-- Dynamic Range and shadow detail.
So here is a wart for the super critical out there: If you over-sharpen and add clarity to an ISO 35 file and peer deep into the lowest levels of the image with your monitor brightness cranked up, you can get visible shadow NOISE from the IQ180! But you also get (usable) image detail in those shadows where my P65+ would have only given me black!
Here's the crop -- if you look deep into the shadows you can see some noise -- this comes from a clarity bump and sharpening bump over my normal C1 settings while retaining my normally low NR settings. If you crank the brightness up on your display (or push the raw file in C1), you can read the sign on the inside wall in the deepest shadow between the fence rails. At normal monitor brightness (around 140 lumens) we only have a hint the sign is even there:
To save you all the trouble of adjusting your monitor, here is a similar crop from the same file reprocessed in C1 with exposure bumped to C1's 2.5 stop max, but without the added clarity and sharpening. Note the noise is there, but for all intents and purposes it is trivial even at this extreme shadow push:
To say I am amazed at the data I can pull out of the shadows is an understatement. So while it's very, very nice -- like the best I've ever seen nice -- I am not fully convinced. Yet...