PhaseOne Rains on the Hasselblad Parade with a New 50MP CMOS Digital Back


Well, that didn’t last long. Only a few days after Hasselblad revealed the exciting news that a 50MP CMOS Medium Format camera was in the works, PhaseOne has made a very similar announcement. Like Hasselblad, PhaseOne is calling this one a “world’s first,” only this time the title is “world’s first CMOS-based medium format digital camera back.”

It’s called the IQ250, and words like “game changer” and “class dominator” are already being bandied about in first-impression and introduction posts for this puppy.

Some of the more important and impressive specs include: 50MP 44x33mm CMOS sensor that offers 68% more image capture area than full-frame, ISO range between 100 and 6400, exposure time between 1/10,000s and 1 hour, 14 stops of dynamic range, 3.2-inch touchscreen LCD, improved LiveView capability, 1.2fps max shooting speed, built-in WiFi and USB 3.0.

Here are a few videos from PhaseOne. The first two introduce the new digital back, and the rest show world-class photographers taking it for a test ride:

The point of this digital back, as with the Hasselblad system, is to make it possible to take medium format image quality and dynamic range anywhere, even in low-light situations.

In that way it’s the same as the Hasselblad, but that doesn’t mean the two are created equal. Rumors floating around the Internet indicate that the Hassy won’t feature any improvements other than the new sensor — that means no touchscreen or WiFi connectivity — making the IQ250 the likely winner of this battle.

Besides, even if that isn’t the case, we know the Hasselblad won’t arrive until March whereas the PhaseOne back is available now. The downside (although, relatively speaking, it’s actually surprisingly affordable) is that the IQ250 will cost you $35,000.

For more info or if you’re eager to find a store where you can get your own, head over to the PhaseOne website by clicking here.

  • Vlad Dusil

    Someone pass me the Tums ‘cuz I gots the GAS.

  • Michael Comeau

    I am very excited about these two cameras I will never own, and I am preparing to make inflammatory comments about one of them.

  • Genkakuzai

    Good stuff. Probably never going to buy one, but good stuff nonetheless.

  • Adam Cross

    I know it won’t quite be the same, only full frame, but the rumoured 47MP Canon 1series body will be much closer to regular folks price-range (kind of) than this $35k madness. I would love to make the jump to digital medium format but high MP DSLR bodies will be slightly more enticing, pair it with (the still rather pricey) Zeiss Otus lenses and you’ve got a serious machine.

  • jklphoto

    “50MP 44x33mm CMOS sensor that offers 68% more image capture area than full-frame”? How’s that?

  • Bdawg

    legacy Glass and bodies…If Hassy makes that Back compatible with 500’s or the like, broke guys like me might have a chance!

  • Amadeusz Leonardo Juskowiak

    >>> (44*33) / (24*36.0)

  • Amadeusz Leonardo Juskowiak

    How about AF speed and shutter lag? Any stats anywhere?

  • bob cooley

    That pretty much already exists – the Nikon D800E :)

  • Banan Tarr

    Doesn’t seem worth it at all for my treks into the Alaskan mountains and wilderness where size and weight are a major factor. And if I want to take 50+mp shots I just stitch two D800 shots together. Just my POV obviously, I’m sure someone else would find it practical.

  • rtorblephoto

    Well that explains it.

  • Banan Tarr

    I’m sure you can take some great rumored photos with that rumored camera ;)

    FWIW I’m waiting patiently for something like that from Canon. Still have all my Canon glass after swapping to the D800.

  • greenarcher02

    Because it’s bigger. Count the millimeters.

  • Allen

    I just don’t understand who buys $40K cameras.

  • Halfrack

    It’s based on the body – you can pair it with a Phase One/Mamiya, Hasselblad H or V or Contax body.

  • Halfrack

    It’ll be out in a V mount.

  • Halfrack

    True, for landscapes it may not work, but you’re not gonna get 2 shots of a bear on the move, so it all comes down to what you shoot.

  • Swade

    The Pentax 645D is $10,000… For the camera body and back. Not really affordable at all.

  • Halfrack

    Giant prints, but more importantly, photographers who serve a certain type or level of client.

  • Amadeusz Leonardo Juskowiak

    I know, but… Both AF speed and shutter lag are problems with MF. Shutter lag is also influenced by digital back, I wonder if CMOS changed anything in this matter

  • hexx

    Hassy introduced H5D-50c camera not digital back. Hasselblad stopped production and sales of V series in April 2013. PhaseOne IQ250 though will be available in “V mount”

  • K S B

    Big companies that have their own in-house photographers for their marketing campaigns, i.e. Coca-Cola, etc.

  • Adam Cross

    high MP isn’t going to make me switch to Nikon, the D800 is great, but it just doesn’t work for me, can’t hold it for long periods of time, Nikon’s have never fit well or comfortably in my hands.

  • Carl Meyer

    36MP is going to be surpassed by another high MP count FF sensor in a matter of months and since the pork in medium format is made by rentals there’s no reason to worry about outrageous prices.

  • David de Jongh

    That’s interesting. Remember “Just Hold A Pentax?”. My wife (a pro photographer) had an MX back in the early 80’s, and switched, to my great regret, to a Nikon F2. It was a good camera, but I hated the feel of it. We still have a complete strobe system and a Hassy 500C sitting around gathering dust. The Nikon is long gone, replaced by baby Pentaxes that don’t work with Windows 7, and now a Canon.

  • Adam Cross

    I had various film bodies before I started shooting digitally, I never had any brand loyalty (although I was very fond of my Minolta X-700 and X-500 bodies) until I tested out the Nikon D700 and Canon 5D mark II, the Nikon grip was just too narrow, I got cramp in my fingers after just 10mins or so! it really surprised me, and the same for the new models. I ended up buying the Canon 7D as my first real digital slr, moved on to the 5D mark II and haven’t looked back since

  • Gav

    Note: Both of these digital back will use the same SONY sensor…..

  • Ali

    It isn’t going to be built for speed. Put it that way.

  • Zos Xavius

    Actually its closer to $8000 now and quite a bit less if you buy a used one. 645 lenses are holding their value fairly well, but the 6×7 lenses are relative steals and from comments I’ve heard from several MF users, the 6×7 lenses are arguably sharper too.

  • Alan Klughammer

    I am the opposite. I have said it before, but using a 5DMII drives me nuts. I prefer my Nikons… To each their own.

  • Alan Klughammer

    This is now on my Christmas list…
    Yeah it is a while away, but it will give my benefactor time to save up…

  • Bingo

    Nor will you be able to run away from said bear carrying a Medium Format kit, or have the Telephoto lenses, AF and FPS to capture it sharply.

  • robin

    most of us don’t need it, is way too good for us… is for professional who need super clear gigantic prints! D800e capture detail not any where near those beast. but for most of us D800e is good enough.

  • Rabi Abonour

    Some photographers certainly can, but more importantly you have to remember that cameras like this are often rented.

  • MaxwellSmart

    Are you getting too many good shots with your DSLR?

    Is it too portable? Too Fast to focus? And have too many usable features?

    More importantly, do you have too much money?

    Why not try Medium Format Digital! At only 10 times the price of FF Dslr you’ll get limitations like 1 frame per second, poor AF, back breaking ergonomics, limited high ISO, and wait for it, a choice of only a handful of ridiculously priced lenses.

    Show off your superior resolution on your Flickr, Instagram, and Facebook profiles today!*

    *superior resolution is only noticeable on screens above 100inches, and nobody will care unless the photos are of boobs.

  • Dan Howard

    excited about the camera but not really impressed by the three usage examples above. I want to see AWESOME photos!

  • james

    What not make it full frame 6×4.5 ffs! More crop factor BS! What about the wide lenses!

  • bob cooley

    If you see the tests (both scientific and anecdotal) the D800E with pro lenses attached give you 95% of the image quality of the 40MP Hasse – with better low light capture. You can create ‘super clear gigantic prints’ with the D800E, its only 4MP smaller…

  • Karl Louis

    good for “slow” work … 1,2 fps
    for everyday photography work not really usable.

  • Anto de Chav

    How long before Sony drop this chip into a lightweight mirror less body with Zeiss glass to go up front…

  • Fra Lippi

    Think about a photo studio. A major studio with photographer, art director, stylist, make up, retoucher, and models can cost thousands of dollars a day to operate. A $40,000 camera is a capital expense that comes down to under $100 per day depending on your depreciation schedule.

  • Broseph of Arimathea

    Are you clueless? Do you complain about the high iso, portability and AF of a studio camera?

    If so, Petapixel needs your comments now!

  • Broseph of Arimathea

    rz67 owners just knock the bear out cold with the mirror slap.

  • Broseph of Arimathea

    Reading makes my head hurt.

  • Jeremiah True

    Architectural photographers who need technical camera movements beyond what a DSLR can produce use these systems.

  • Jeremiah True

    It really depends on your daily work. When I shoot, I don’t take a lot of frames fast unless it is at a wedding or event. That is not the majority of my work so this would not be a limitation for my “everyday photography.”

  • Alexey Gulenko

    Most of the Advertising photographers with assignment budgets of 30K and higher (per job).

  • Alexey Gulenko

    I shoot with 1DX, but after trying out HB I was surprised. Ergonomics are much better on hasselblad or mamya. Dinamic range is amazing, you can pull out so much information and detail even from darkest shadow (because of high quality lenses and sensors). It’s a pleasure to work with 50+ megapixel files not because of Flicker or FB, but because it allows you to get in super close and in the end aids in producing best quality editing.