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Contemplating upgrading from IQ3-100 to IQ4-150 - Thoughts?

Jamgolf

Member
When the IQ3-100 was announced, as a then Credo 60 owner I knew I would definitely upgrade. The question was "when" (not "if") I would upgrade. Features such as drammatically better live view , the ability to bump up the ISO from 50 to 200 (even 400) and better battery life were very meaningful and practical. This meant no need for a surface pro to judge focus and carrying fewer spare batteries on a hike. And later on when Phase One added the awesome Electronic Shutter (which happened after I upgraded) IQ3-100 simply became a far better tool compared to any prior Phase One digital backs opening options on the telephoto end of the lens spectrum and almost eliminating the need for carrying/using the one-shot sync cable.

Ever since the announcement of IQ4-150, as a card carrying member of Dante's club, naturally I have been very intrigued by some characteristics of this new tool but somehow I don't feel the unstoppable urge to upgrade. While my heart says "do it" my mind is not convinced and the question is "why?". Usually new things are decidedly better than prior models, but I am struggling to make the case here.

As a tech camera user, to me, IQ4-150 is better than IQ3-100 in the following meaningful ways:
  1. Much less need for LCC because of much reduced lens color cast
  2. Better dark frame management i.e. less need to capture dark frames
  3. Improved dynamic range
  4. Improved high ISO performance
  5. Higher resolution => meaning even bigger prints at comparable DPI/PPI

On the flip side, I feel IQ3-100 is better than IQ4-150 in the following ways:
  1. Diffraction: With a pixel pitch of 4.6 microns (versus 3.76 microns for IQ4-150) diffraction kicks in later e.g. f9 vs f8
  2. Adhoc Wifi: for triggering ES from Capture Pilot or using Capture Pilot for Composition (I am sure Phase One will rectify this via firmware at some point)
  3. Slightly better battery consumption.

So, the IQ4-150 is actually better for a technical camera use. When I think about IQ4-150 advantages individually, I feel they are "nice to have":
  1. While capturing LCC shots is not fun, but LCCs also help with dust spots. Will I stop capturing LCCs? Probably not.
  2. The need to capture a dark frame after small changes in shutter speeds is annoying. I'd certainly appreciate/prefer IQ4-150 behavior.
  3. I feel IQ3-100 has plenty of dynamic range. I am not sure I'd value the improved dynamic range IQ4-150 has to offer.
  4. I almost always shoot at base ISO 50, and rarely shoot higher than 200 - so I dont think I'd value the improvement.
  5. I value every pixel of resolution. So, I think I would value the improvements here.

This is my current mindset and thought process on this matter.
Would be nice to hear from those who have already upgraded or made the decision to upgrade share their thoughts.

Cheers!
 
Last edited:

onasj

Active member
You’ve done a pretty thoughtful analysis already. There’s no question that the IQ4 offers higher *potential* image quality, especially with tech cameras, and especially especially without LCCs. It’s also faster at doing just about everything that the IQ3 could do (startup time in some configurations being a notable exception).

Current downsides of the IQ4, besides cost, include buggy firmware that is missing some features already present in the IQ3, and lack of a one-shot tech cam Copal shutter cable that doesn’t require a pre-shutter release wake up button press.

Most of us IQ4 early adopters hold out hope that these drawbacks will be addressed by upcoming firmware and cable releases.


When the IQ3-100 was announced, as a then Credo 60 owner I knew I would definitely upgrade. The question was "when" (not "if") I would upgrade. Features such as drammatically better live view , the ability to bump up the ISO from 50 to 200 (even 400) and better battery life were very meaningful and practical. This meant no need for a surface pro to judge focus and carrying fewer spare batteries on a hike. And later on when Phase One added the awesome Electronic Shutter (which happened after I upgraded) IQ3-100 simply became a far better tool compared to any prior Phase One digital backs opening options on the telephoto end of the lens spectrum and almost eliminating the need for carrying/using the one-shot sync cable.

Ever since the announcement of IQ4-150, as a card carrying member of Dante's club, naturally I have been very intrigued by some characteristics of this new tool but somehow I don't feel the unstoppable urge to upgrade. While my heart says "do it" my mind is not convinced and the question is "why?". Usually new things are decidedly better than prior models, but I am struggling to make the case here.

As a tech camera user, to me, IQ4-150 is better than IQ3-100 in the following meaningful ways:
  1. Much less need for LCC because of much reduced lens color cast
  2. Better dark frame management i.e. less need to capture dark frames
  3. Improved dynamic range
  4. Improved high ISO performance
  5. Higher resolution => meaning even bigger prints at comparable DPI/PPI

On the flip side, I feel IQ3-100 is better than IQ4-150 in the following ways:
  1. Diffraction: With a pixel pitch of 4.6 microns (versus 3.76 microns for IQ4-150) diffraction kicks in later e.g. f9 vs f8
  2. Adhoc Wifi: for triggering ES from Capture Pilot or using Capture Pilot for Composition (I am sure Phase One will rectify this via firmware at some point)

So, the IQ4-150 is actually better for a technical camera use. When I think about IQ4-150 advantages individually, I feel they are "nice to have":
  1. While capturing LCC shots is not fun, but LCCs also help with dust spots. Will I stop capturing LCCs? Probably not.
  2. The need to capture a dark frame after small changes in shutter speeds is annoying. I'd certainly appreciate/prefer IQ4-150 behavior.
  3. I feel IQ3-100 has plenty of dynamic range. I am not sure I'd value the improved dynamic range IQ4-150 has to offer.
  4. I almost always shoot at base ISO 50, and rarely shoot higher than 200 - so I dont think I'd value the improvement.
  5. I value every pixle of resolution. So, I think I would value the improvements here.

This is my current mindset and thought process on this matter.
Would be nice to hear fromm those who have already upgraded or made the decision to upgrade share their thoughts.

Cheers!
 

Boinger

Member
One other thing worth considering is as we have been discussing in the fuji gfx 100 thread.

More pixels = more color information therefor resulting in higher color accuracy and nuances.

Also I went from a H6d 100c which I used on a tech cam. And with the hr40 I was limited to about 11-12mm if shift before I got desaturation.

With the iq4 I can shift to 16mm with no issues.

So you will potentially gain movements and 0 color casts. I have also been trying capture one's rodenstock lens profiles and they correct for light fall off really well as long as you remember the movements.

Really eliminating the need for lcc. Yes lcc can still help with dust spots, but sometimes when you can't grab one it's nice to know you can get away without it.

I myself have been thinking of swapping to schnieder lenses with the new iq4 to lighten my load for hiking. The 0 distortion is also nice from what I have been researching even the Schneider 43mm has no color casts and you just have to correct for light fall off which can be done via exposure bracketing relatively easily.

I also like the way the Schneiders render.

But as I said even on the rodenstock wides you will gain movement range. If this is a factor or not you would have to decide.

Also one of the other features I liked which is not available right now is the ability to do long exposures in the daylight without the use of ND filters in camera and capture as a raw file. The work flow simplification of that feature is very useful, and a big reason for me to move to the iq4.

If I think of anything else I will follow up.
 

dougpeterson

Workshop Member
Your analysis is pretty spot on.

I'd only point out that diffraction is never a disadvantage of a higher resolution sensor, only a limiter of when a higher resolution sensor will have an advantage.

A print from the IQ3 100mp and IQ4 150mp at the same aperture will never show worse results (regarding diffraction) for the IQ4 150mp. But at small aperture sizes (e.g. f/16) any resolution/detail advantage of the IQ4 150mp will be eliminated.

It's like having a faster car. In many/most cases you can go faster in a faster car than a slower car. But if the weather is crap or the traffic is bad the advantage of the faster car is negated.
 
Jamgolf, I predict you will try to keep the sensor cleaner and thus you will look forward to not doing LCC captures. When shooting in a dust storm, ok, dusty area, you would make the exception. There is also the focus peaking in live view. The investment question is yours, as it always is. You've done a pretty good job of identifying the improvements you would experience. I would also add the wild card of, at some point, some free firmware feature update that had not been thought of yet.


Steve Hendrix/CI
 

Jamgolf

Member
There is also the focus peaking in live view.
Oh - yeah. Forgot about focus peaking.
If it provides a real time and accurate assessment of focus cone (or focus plane) then perhaps it may actually be one of the most compelling arguments for an IQ4-150.
Thanks!

I would also add the wild card of, at some point, some free firmware feature update that had not been thought of yet.
Steve, that assumption is built in to my thought process.
I have no doubt in my mind that Phase One will first bring IQ3 feature parity to IQ4 and then drop some other high impact firmware nuggets.
Despite the recent missteps, I do believe Phase One is committed to developing features that are relevant to photographers. I'm a fan.
 
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dchew

Active member
Oh - yeah. Forgot about focus peaking.
If it provides an live and accurate assessment of focus cone (or focus plane) then perhaps it may actually be one of the most compelling arguments for an IQ4-150.
Thanks!
Jawad,
After a few hours of experimentation with the demo back, it looks like Phase One did a really nice job implementing focus mask. It appeared to be quite accurate and useful.

As for other thoughts, I find myself in the same boat you are; just as undecided. Something tells me I will come around, but no idea when.

Dave
 

Eric Mansour

New member
Let’s take image quality out of the assessment for a moment. Let’s just assume it’s great for both. Which it is. If 100mp is enough for your prints...it ain’t broke, so don’t fix it. I didn’t own the 100, so there may be some redundancy here.

The quality of life upgrades would be the compelling reasons. Well that, and the higher ISO performance being better. I’ve had my 4150 for a little while now, and can finally use a phase camera like a regular camera. Focus peaking, live view, ES, speed of the double tap zoom, no dark frame(!)

Downsides - back gets wicked hot (I’ve even had a shutdown on set), firmware issues, ES readout times on the large file formats may make rolling shutter a problem, battery life and battery firmware issues, no power sharing yet, etc.

Being said, it’s a great cam, and if you have money burning a hole in your pocket, why not. They give decent trade in rates. Or you could just sell the 100 and opt for the new GFX, which I believe Arca is making an attachment for tech cams.
 

Orley

New member
If you shoot tethered, the USB C connection is a huge improvement over the IQ3-100. Very fast to connect and transmit.

It makes shooting a tech camera fun. IQ comparable to 8 x 10 film in one pop. Can't wait to shoot big waves in Hawaii.
 

vjbelle

Well-known member
Jawad...... I am not quite in the same boat as you as I'm not really on the fence but back a few yards. Buying this upgrade is the easy part, justifying it is not so easy - for me. I take my images for the print. I designed my house for my prints. I print normally to 40 inches on the long side and with my printing skills 100MP is enough for very high detail.

When I read about 'nuances' and 'smoother' because of more pixels I remind myself that if I can't see it then its not there. If it's so subtle that it has to be pointed out then I'm not very interested - even though I am very picky about my prints.

So I have to justify $22,000 for the 4150 enhancements. I do know, for sure, that the upcoming GFX 100 will have all of the benefits of the 4150 sensor and will deliver those benefits to me in a very sophisticated delivery system. There is no doubt in my mind that I will own the GFX 100.

I do need/want rise occasionally with wider lenses and that, so far, is not available with the GFX but will soon be available from both Fuji and third party lens providers. So, for those images the 3100 fills the gap. LCC issues on my 3100 are just not enough of a hassle to justify that as being something major.

I do own the 35XL and the improvements I have seen so far over my 3100 are noticeable but that is not a much used lens for me so any benefits for it are way down on the totem pole. My thoughts on shifting wides is maybe not in the mainstream but I have found that wides in general don't react well to shifting regardless of the sensor. Wides are difficult lenses and in practice I don't shift/rise them much.

Just a few rambling thoughts regarding upgrading or not.... or waiting....

Victor
 

Boinger

Member
That sounds interesting. I was not aware of this.
Yes it is a big usability perk. You can do the same process yourself in any camera it is quite simple.

Lets say you want to smoothen the water and your shutter speed is 1/60th.

So if you wanted a 5s long exposure you shoot 1/60th second shots for 5 seconds, 60 exposures a second times 5 = 300 then you blend in PS.

This is assuming you could actually do that (Which you can't as that is too many shots to buffer.)

At most you could reduce the number of shots. So slow down the shutter speed and then take multiple exposures and then blend in photoshop. You can see why most will just use a ND filter.

But doing it in camera and outputting in raw makes life a lot easier.

Also I could be misreading it but from what I gather it will also simulate GND filters through frame averaging. But take that with a grain of salt.
 

drunkenspyder

New member
https://phaseoneiq4.com/frame-averaging-for-infinite-dynamic-range/ is the feature being referred to. Notably it is not yet available to IQ4 users in LAB form. Hopefully this will be one of the items added in the next firmware update.
This was a major motivator in my decision to upgrade. Given that 90+% of my reasons for carrying around monster filter systems could be solved by this capability, I could theoretically carry around nothing but a screw-in polarizer and be done with it. Eagerly awaiting it. Of course, if that capability could be XF-body-independent as well, it would be a complete game-changer.
 

Bill Caulfeild-Browne

Well-known member
I'm not a tech cam user since my days with 4 by 5 film, so my comments apply only to use with the XF. And I've only had it for a week so these are very much first impressions. My comments are in comparison with the !Q3-100.

Focus peaking in live view, with the enhanced screen, is outstanding. It's even useful in determining the right hyperlocal distance. It's quick and easy to activate. The user interface is much better, though it took a few shoots to stop instinctively using previous IQ buttons and menus. The new system actually makes choosing the right function quicker. My only complaint is that finding the "format" function took a while! Having the SD card as back-up saves me from carrying a card reader on the road - my MacBook can accept it directly.

While I'm not sure how much I'll use them in my shooting, having the C1 Styles in the back gives some interesting choices.

A minor point, but subjectively I feel the (somewhat) bigger mpx sensor gives smoother renditions. I notice this in fresh snow (lots of that around here at present!) and in a few skin tones. While the resolution really is not dramatically increased, I'm sure that the more extensive cropping ability will be a boon too.

A number of other positives are expected (I've played with them on an early demo back) and Phase's history is such that I believe they will be forthcoming soon. Frame averaging in particular is very promising.

Negatives so far have been mentioned by others - largely functions that were on the IQ3 that have not yet been installed on the IQ4. The one I miss most is power sharing - the back eats batteries at a much faster rate than the XF. And the back definitely gets much hotter - in a Canadian winter this isn't so bad if you take your gloves off. I will no doubt have more to report as I use the back more.

The back is a big investment but when I launch CI on my computer and look at the quality of the files, I forget the cost.
 

kdphotography

Active member
I'm very confident that Phase One will not only "catch-up" but continue to add features to the IQ4 150 MFDB.

So, I'm definitely in the "will upgrade" from the IQ3 100 eventually---it's just a matter of timing.

Good things come to those that wait. :thumbup:

As I am mostly retired from photography, this may very well be my last MFDB upgrade.

Ken
 

Shashin

Well-known member
On the flip side, I feel IQ3-100 is better than IQ4-150 in the following ways:
  1. Diffraction: With a pixel pitch of 4.6 microns (versus 3.76 microns for IQ4-150) diffraction kicks in later e.g. f9 vs f8


  1. You can scratch diffraction off your list--that is not how diffraction works. If you shoot two formats at the same f-number, one will not be any softer because of a higher pixel number. Sharpness is a perceptual quality, not an optical one. Diffraction limit is a function of the format size. The sensor with the higher pixel count will continue to have greater resolution, regardless of the appearance at 100%.
 

GrahamWelland

Subscriber & Workshop Member
OP is ‘contemplating’ ... bwahahaha :ROTFL: :thumbs:

Resistance is futile. It’s a matter of when, not if.

(I’m waiting for the firmware to be finished and also give it a few months to maybe grab an ex-demo / rental)
 

GrahamWelland

Subscriber & Workshop Member
Eric Mansour said:
. Or you could just sell the 100 and opt for the new GFX, which I believe Arca is making an attachment for tech cams.
Oh hell no. Friends don’t let friends do heretical things like that!
 
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