I just got back from a trip in China. A friend in our group has Pentax 645Z and we did a test comparison for fun with my IQ 180. I was very surprised how the pentax performs. For a system that cost 1/5 less than the IQ, it performs very similar, with lighter body and lens, manual focus magnification and focusing peak, weather sealed lens and body, and amazing high ISO...looks very attractive all of sudden.
I bought the SK 35MM blue ring prior to the trip. I thought this lens will kick ***, being the latest offer from Phase one and because it was advertised as ready for 100MP and beyond...so i thought let's do a test vs the pentax 645Z with 28-45mm to see how good is the blue ring.
All camera on tripod with timer, same width frame. I was going to process both files with the same program but C1 does not support Pentax (make u wonder why...). So I convert the pentax to DNG and tweak a bit in adobe raw. IQ180 files was straight convert via C1. IQ180 files was downsized to pentax size.
All DNG and IIQ files can be downloaded @ ( will add more files later)
For your enjoyment : (first full image from IQ180)
I was very surprised to see that the Pentax HD 28-45mm SR can hold to the SK35 Blue Ring. Image looks very similar with more pleasant color in IQ180. Color can be adjusted easy, the resolution in other hand can't be created in post.
The pentax is $1000 cheaper than SK 35MM and it is a zoom lens!! The mighty blue ring that goes beyond 100mp and ready to the future was expected to perform much better only to find itself shamefully almost identical to the zoom lens. Upon more testing against 55MM LS, I found the blue ring optically the same as the old generation LS. If phase one philosophy of blue ring only to provide better solid built, I am not impress!! Where are the qualities that belongs to "beyond 100MP and ready for the future", I am sure it is not the mechanism, electronically serialized and improve feel
The one thing that I cant let go of phase one now is the capture one, I also like the focus mask to give hint of critical focus. I work in commercial and C1 is mandatory with the digital assistant. As the most expensive and the claim as the best in photography, I expect to see much more improvement from Phase One.
For those of you who only shoot landscape or first timer investor in MDF and you dont need C1 critically, I suggest the 645Z. It is much cheaper system with less weight, high iso and weather sealed that can rival the best phase one can offer. 2nd option will be Sony A7R II. The 90mm macro I test shows better result than SK 240 LS.
Here are test from 55LS
For the extra I throw a A7Rii with Sony 90 macro. I have been hearing about this amazing lens. Sony was converted with C1. All default values.
Test 1: not same width because i cant move back anymore with my IQ. Nevertheless it shows what this amazing Sony lens can do. IQ has finer details sure it is expected, but I dont think anyone expect Sony to have this level of details for 1/12 of the price of IQ
Test 2: Macro shots, still amazing Sony almost catch up to the SK
For those who have been wanting to get A7RII don't hesitate anymore. I'm assure you it is the best 35mm full frame available period