Phase One announces world’s lightest medium-format camera for aerial photography

by Liam McCabe

posted Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 10:08 AM EST


Aerial footage shot with a GoPro is usually pretty great. Drone pilots have even rigged up APS-C and full-frame cameras to their fliers. Now how about an even larger sensor?

Earlier this week, Phase One announced what they say is the world’s smallest and lightest medium-format digital camera, the 50-megapixel iXU 150. Specifically built for aerial photography, its magnesium body is about 30 percent lighter than a similar aluminum chassis would be. That said, it’s still 1.65 pounds without a lens, so it’ll probably need to be strapped to a drone with more than four propellers.

In case you forgot (and we certainly did), Phase One already makes a medium-format camera for aerial photography, released back in 2012. The iXA comes in 60-megapixel and 80-megapixel variants, though they’re more than twice as heavy as the new iXU 150.

Photo: Phase One

One of the trickiest parts of aerial photography is getting steady footage. Even with stabilizers, video can be a bit wobbly, and still shots can blur a bit. It’s hard enough to get a pin-sharp 50-megapixel image on the ground, and adding the wind and vibrations of a drone might complicate things further.

At $40,000, it’s unlikely we’re going to see many enthusiast photos taken with this thing. It’s really meant for industrial work and aerial surveying. But hey, we can dream, right?

(Via Pop Photo, Photography Blog)