Phase One has two new reasons for big-budget photographers to invest in its high-end camera system: new 45mm and 150mm "blue-ring" lenses designed to handle the highest image resolution.
Even full-time photography professionals struggle to justify spending tens of thousands of dollars on medium-format cameras. These models feature large image sensors that can capture rich color and plenty of detail with resolution reaching 100 megapixels, though, and a loyal niche keeps the market alive.
At the Photokina show in Germany this week, manufacturer Phase One announced its XF-IQ3 camera system can shoot with two new Schneider Kreuznach lenses, the $6,990 150mm LS f/2.8 IF telephoto lens good for portraits and the $5,990 45mm LS f/3.5 wide-angle lens well suited to architecture and landscape shots. Both are designed to support the company's 100-megapixel image sensors. Phase One designs and manufactures the lenses.
After a shakeout during the transition from film to digital sensors, the medium-format market is heating up again -- in part because camera makers are looking for new opportunities as they watch phones demolish lower-end camera sales. Phase One and Hasselblad are the digital medium-format old guard, but newer challengers are Pentax, Leica and -- joining the fray this week at Photokina -- Fujifilm.