Stark resolution: Phase One announces world’s first 100-megapixel achromatic digital back


posted Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 7:00 AM EDT


Phase One has announced the new IQ3 100MP Achromatic, a 101-megapixel digital back and the world’s highest-megapixel achromatic digital back. The camera utilizes a new CMOS sensor design which offers a maximum ISO of 51,200, which is an unprecedented ISO limit for a medium format digital back.

The IQ3 100MP Achromatic lacks a Bayer color filter, allowing more light to reach the sensor. Without color information, Phase One says that the camera’s imaging pipeline is “free to focus solely on capturing the highest level of detail, nuance and luminance.” The back doesn’t have an infrared (IR) cut-off filter, meaning that the 100MP Achromatic captures light outside the visible spectrum, making the camera well-suited for diverse artistic and infrared applications. Further, the sensor offers Live View, meaning that you can immediately see the scene on the display in a way unlike the naked eye can perceive it. The achromatic CMOS sensor in the new digital back is stated to offer analog-like smoothness.

Of the new back, portrait photographer Mark Seliger says, “A black and white picture has the ability to transport the viewer into a different time and place. It essentially creates the illusion of a timeless experience …a simple black and white portrait can sum up all aspects of photography for me.”

Image on the IQ3 100MP Achromatic display: © Joel Tjintjelaar

Additional specs include a built-in long exposure shutter speed maximum of 60 minutes, an electronic shutter, HDMI output, built-in Wi-Fi, full IQ3 XF Camera System integration and compatibility with additional camera bodies, a standard feature for all IQ3 Digital Backs.

Of course, the ability to capture that level of detail and range of light does not come cheap. Phase One suggests that the IQ3 100MP Achromatic digital back will retail for US$49,990. Like other XF IQ3 camera systems, your purchase includes a free lens of your choice from the Schneider Kreuznach Blue Ring prime lens series, worth up to $6,990. Additionally, the back is also available in the XF IQ3 100MP Achromatic bundle, which includes an XF Camera Body and free lens, for $54,990.

If you're interested in learning about the color version of the IQ3 100MP, check out our Phase One XF 100MP Review!