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Thread: Phase One XF 90° Prism

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    Phase One XF 90° Prism

    I think the new XF is a vast improvement over my much older DF and have found it works very well with my IQ180. The XF is a modular design allowing one to choose between the traditional 90 degreeviewfinder normally associated with Mamiya/Phase One and a new waist level viewfinder. All this is somewhat old news.

    I’ve been using my XF now for some time and have developed one pet peeve. The 90° Prism can become partially unlatched from the body. There’s a simple pushlever that latches and unlatches the viewfinder and in some circumstances it can become partially unlatched. I was tempted to use the words “lock” and “unlocked” however I feel the latching mechanismon the 90° Prism falls short of any locking.

    That’s the bad news. The better news is that since this is a modular design I’ve taken to removing the 90 degree viewfinder from the body before placing it in my bag. The removal makes for a much small footprint and helps protect the viewfinder. Removing the 90° Prism lead me to research a carrying/protective system for it while in the bag as I didn’t want to have it just laying loose.

    I happened to remember having a bag which has turned out near perfect for protecting the 90°Prism when it’s removed and placing the protective plates in when it’s in place. I’ve got a bag from Nite Ize that’s a perfect fit for the 90° Prism (and the small plates) I have a feeling the waist levelwill also fit (but not both at the same time). The wait level should be small enough to keep on the XF and not create too large a foot print so one view finder can be stored in the bag at a time. The bag measures 6.5” x 3” x 2” on the interior. I also have tried a slightly larger bag from Kinesis that measures 8.5 x 3.25 x 3. While the NiteIze bag fits like a glove if I didn’t have it I’d have no problems using the larger Kinesis bag.

    My recommendation to Phase One is to fix the latching mechanism by adding a lock similar to what we have on the backs. I’ve never had an issue with a back coming loose. My recommendation to those who have the XF is think about getting a bag similar to the above; it’ll reduce the packing footprint as well as protect the viewfinder.

    Don
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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    Don,

    One question, when you pull off the 90 degree from the camera body, is anything exposed? like mirrors or electronics or also is it an area that might allow dirt in? Just curious, as Phase seems to be shipping 2 or 3 XF's a month (just kidding) but I am surprised it has taken so long. I darn sure want to get the correct viewfinder mask for mine when it ships, not the old DF+ version. I also like your idea of taking off the 90 degree viewer when packing the camera. Maybe some gaffers tape over the release button might help keep it in place?

    Rant over now.

    Paul
    Paul Caldwell
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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    There's no gapping hole when you remove the viewfinder so there should be no issues that way. What you have is a screen much like a groundglass on a tech camera.

    The only times I ever had problems with the 90 coming loose was when I had kept it installed and was removing it from the bag. Happened to me twice (which was more than enough). I began removing it before storing inside my bag and haven't had any issues since.

    I began thinking of the storage bag early on as I also have the WL on order and wanted something I could safely store one or the other when not in use.

    I'd recommend gaffer tape if you don't want to remove the viewfinder for storage although seems a pity to have to do it. I'm hoping that P1 will address the issue for future generations by adding some type of locking.

    Nothing is perfect and I like what I'm doing and will continue to do it and the body is well worth this one issue I have with it.

    Don
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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    Your post is very timely, Don! Today I noticed that the f-stop wasn't showing in the 90 viewfinder, although it was showing on the 380 back. Mystified, I removed the lens, checked the contacts and re-attached it. No help - same problem. Then I took the camera off the tripod - and the prism started to fall off!

    Clearly I must have inadvertently "pushed the buttons" on the prism, and it was only being held on by gravity - without enough contact to allow the aperture to show. Fortunately I caught the prism in mid-air and no harm was done.

    So I agree this is something Phase should address in future. The 380 back locking mechanism is excellent and should be emulated.

    Cheers,
    Bill
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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    Yes, it is too easy for the thumb in those of us who are right-handed (maybe most who are not Camera Designer Danes??) to ease the catch forwards (and no warning pressure or click) when lifting the XF out of a bag or case
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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    It's all about the latches! Minor complaint---can turn into a potentially major disaster. I think the battery door latch (MFDB and XF body) is just adequate. The MFDB latch issue has been addressed, but of course, those of us who skimped on the upgrade path and remain with older IQ1 series MFDBs often rely of gaffers tape to secure the latch button (and those rubber port covers too). I like to put my camera assembled either into a pelican or my camera bag for short excursions on location---and this is where the 90 prism latch on the XF shows its weakness. This latch is very easily dislodged, much more so imho than any other latch I've seen coming from Phase. So it's a piece of gaffers tape again for me!

    Other than that----the XF is a huge improvement over the DF series. The most important feature improvement to me---AF performance---has been addressed. And I sense with this AF ability may improve over time via firmware. I miss the small nuclear power generator EJJI battery capacity, but I can live with the new 3400mah Phase batteries.

    ken

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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    I encountered an issue yesterday as I attempted to update the firmware on both my XF and IQ180 which was fixed this morning.

    During my conversation this morning we spoke about the latch on the 90 degree prism and how the current latching mechanism is inadequate and potentially dangerous. I was left with the impression that this will shortly become a topic of conversation with the engineers at the mother ship.
    Don Libby
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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    I haven't tried the xf yet, but how does the viewfinder compares to a df/df+ body?

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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    Compared to my DF I'd say (subjectively) that its brighter & cleaner. Others may have different thoughts and its best to try it yourself. I'll admit I'm very pleased with the XF and don't miss the DF at all. I also opted not to upgrade the IQ180 and have found both to be working very well together with no hiccups.

    Don
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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Compared to my DF I'd say (subjectively) that its brighter & cleaner. Others may have different thoughts and its best to try it yourself. I'll admit I'm very pleased with the XF and don't miss the DF at all. I also opted not to upgrade the IQ180 and have found both to be working very well together with no hiccups.

    Don
    Thanks -- that's encouraging. I'm using the DF mostly for landscape photography, but I'm not 100% sure it's worth it (for me) to switch to the XF, even though it's clearly a nicer camera.

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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    Quote Originally Posted by roanic View Post
    Thanks -- that's encouraging. I'm using the DF mostly for landscape photography, but I'm not 100% sure it's worth it (for me) to switch to the XF, even though it's clearly a nicer camera.
    It's obviously up to you as to whether it's worth it, but some advantages for landscape would be:
    - Hyperfocal point focusing: You can do this manually but it takes longer, requires writing down or marking a spot on the lens, and isn't as precise as doing it electronically. For instance imagine rolling up to a scene where the clouds are perfect and you know you only have a minute or two of perfect light; hitting the hyperfocal point on the XF means you can start capturing immediately and not give a second thought as to whether you'll be sharp at infinity while maximizing front-subject DOF.
    - WLF: makes the kit lighter and more portable (not as light or portable as a small format camera of course, but it's nice regardless). If you enjoy composing backwards and like the feeling of working with a WLF it's nice. Of course it's highly personal so if you have no interest in using one then it's not a factor.
    - Vibration Delay: The body (as of feature update 1) can be set to automatically wait until after the mirror vibration has ceased before making the capture.
    - [B]LS Only:[B] in the 1/4th to 1/15th shutter speed range the focal plane shutter in the DF+ can cause vibration that softens the image even when using an LS lens. The XF can fire just the leaf shutter in an LS lens. Currently that is only possible when capturing from live view, but I would expect that to be a selectable option at some point in the future without requiring entering live view.
    - Better MUP Function: With the DF/DF+ the mirror returned down between every shot; a bit annoying when bracketing. With the XF when you put the mirror up it remains up until you tell it to go down or until the camera turns off.
    - Dedicated MUP and LV buttons: Every button can be customized, and one setup that works well for landscape is to dedicate a hard button to Mirror Up and another for Live View.
    - Exposure Compensation and Bracketing Increment separate: Because of an unfortunate technical limitation in the architecture of the DF/DF+ you could not change the increment for bracketing separately from the exposure compensation amount. With the XF these two are, as you'd expect, independent.
    - Build quality the physical construction of the XF is subjectively sturdier and more pro feeling. This is, of course, subjective but it's been the feedback I've received from most of the people who have tested it.

    Whether these things are worth you upgrading is up to you. But I thought you might like a list specific to your use case.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183
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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    Any news on a wired remote for the XF?? I realize you can use Capture Pilot to fire it but hopefully a remote like reeboks coiled cord Mamiya one is planned?

    Paul C
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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    Any news on a wired remote for the XF?? I realize you can use Capture Pilot to fire it but hopefully a remote like reeboks coiled cord Mamiya one is planned?
    Yep. Coming soon.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183
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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    If you put the camera in the bag on the side so you can take it out at the grip, this problem should be solved right? It is only dangerous when you grap it from the top at the viewfinder, or do i see that wrong. Looking forward for mine to arrive.

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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    Quote Originally Posted by Forstus View Post
    If you put the camera in the bag on the side so you can take it out at the grip, this problem should be solved right? It is only dangerous when you grap it from the top at the viewfinder, or do i see that wrong. Looking forward for mine to arrive.
    Correct if that were the case however I never grip it from the top as I had always figured it was the weakest point. Whenever I grab hold of the body it's always from the grip and use two hands to remove it from the bag. In the wild I always hold it by the handgrip and steady it on the left bottom.
    Don Libby
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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    Don, this isn't about the prism or WL viewfinder but as a fellow XF owner you might be able to answer this: What is the "Manual Lens" function for in the Capture Setup menu? Is this to be turned on when using a lens that has no electronic connections?

    Anybody else know? I 'll ask my dealer but that won't be until Monday and I'm into instant gratification!

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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Caulfeild-Browne View Post
    Don, this isn't about the prism or WL viewfinder but as a fellow XF owner you might be able to answer this: What is the "Manual Lens" function for in the Capture Setup menu? Is this to be turned on when using a lens that has no electronic connections?

    Anybody else know? I 'll ask my dealer but that won't be until Monday and I'm into instant gratification!
    Correct. Those without electronic connections.

    Such as these:
    https://www.digitaltransitions.com/b...lens-phase-one
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183
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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    As usual, Doug, you are a fantastic resource!
    Thank You.
    Bill

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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    Quote Originally Posted by Forstus View Post
    If you put the camera in the bag on the side so you can take it out at the grip, this problem should be solved right? It is only dangerous when you grap it from the top at the viewfinder, or do i see that wrong. Looking forward for mine to arrive.
    I never grab the XF camera body by the viewfinder---only by the grip. Unfortunately where you grab the camera is not the solution. The latch on the 90 degree prism is simply too easy to be inadvertently touched, releasing either one catch or both on the viewfinder. Typically I've experienced only one catch released, but it is problematic just the same. You'll notice the lack of display information in the viewfinder. This latch seems to be able to slide quite freely without much friction at all to keep it in its desired position. One small *click* and the viewfinder pops off. The location of this latch means it is more exposed to inadvertent * bad touches* by either a hand, jacket, or camera bag.

    I use a small strip of gaffers tape over the latch---and that is the only solution I see to stopping a *bad touch* on my latch. Maybe we can get a roll of Phase One branded gaffers tape; it'll certainly be more fashionable than boring black.

    A minor inconvenience for me. The XF is heads above previous camera body releases for MFDBs. It is very stable and AF performance has made my bread and butter stuff much much easier.

    ken

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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    I have an XF on order and am certainly dismayed at this poor design. I am not going to cancel my order but hearing this really does make me wish I had bought my back in Contax 645 mount.

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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    Doug, the viewfinder latch is the only shortcoming I see. Not much consolation other than to tell you you'll probably really enjoy everything else the XF offers. I'd like to see some sort of fail-safe "safety" incorporated into the viewfinder latch. ken

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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    I'm extremely satisfied with the XF. I have shot about 4000 photos with mine, ranging from tripod mounted to handheld images without any latch issues. When not in use it stays in my backpack, either on the side with the grip up or flat down on the base where the tripod mount is. I fully echo Ken's remarks about the auto focus. It's funny that as a portrait photographer I rarely have a need for using the Mirror up function, but when I pick up an architectural gig it's super cool to use.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    Oooh---Jeffrey. I see you go the blue strap from Peak Design. Very nice. It makes me feel so plain with black. At least it does match my gaffers tape.

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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    Actually you know I had to match my IQ260 diggie back blue bumper....Plus Don has a Red peak design strap and you have a Black peak design strap so we won't get any cameras mixed up at Carmel "Not your mother's workshop" in 2016.
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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    The only issue I have with the XF is the prism getting loose everyone in awhile and have zero regrets in buying it. I'm also very happy with how well it works with my IQ180.

    Keep the order and sit back and wait for it to get to you.

    Don
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    Re: Phase One XF 90° Prism

    I love the new XF as well but prism locking mechanism is a bit easy to unlock and I feel mine is not sitting flushed/perfectly on the body. There are times that I need to double check the prism to make sure that is placed and secured correctly.

    On the other hand, I prefer Hasselblad H4/5 digital back lock mechanism. it's easier to remove the back on Hassy compared to P1, the prism/viewfinder on P1 is not straight ( a bit angled down ) which makes it more challenging.

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