The Phase One IQ4 150 XF Camera System

—– UPDATED for Firmware 1.03.26  March 18th, 2019 —–

Included features in this update include:

    • PowerShare between XF and IQ4:  XF Power Sharing has been made available and has restored the ability to change batteries in either the XF or IQ without loss of power to either unit.  This also means that the XF Power Supply can plug in to provide its robust 24volts to support battery charging and zero downtime power to both the digital back and camera.
    • Viewfinder” Live View mode (auto-gain):  One of the new features of the IQ4 150 that was revealed upon launch was the ability to simulate exposure in live view. This has several benefits, including the ability to determine exposure while in the live view process, and employing a sort of wysiwyg approach to live view composition and focusing. However, the auto gain mode, where live view auto gains the exposure to always reflect a well exposed view (in terms of visibility), was put on hold while the exposure simulation live view was made ready to go. One of the limitations of exposure simulation live view is low light live view performance, where frame rates drop and manual ISO bumping is the only way to counter this effect. This is now resolved as live view mode on the IQ4 150 has both exposure simulation mode as well as auto gain mode.
    • Easier Access to Brightness Slider:  The brightness slider is now placed to the left and can be brought in with a swipe. This is a much more fluid workflow than previously, where one had to navigate out of live view to engage the brightness slider. Also, the last setting of the brightness slider can remain as a default.
    • Triple Tap/Zoom user functionality:  Triple tapping zooms you in to 400%, all zoom increments now displayed on screen. In addition, pinch to zoom also works up to 400% and can be stopped at any increment on the way up to 400%.
    • Live View can be used with either fully open or working aperture with Auto Gain:
    • Added anti-flickering feature (50/60Hz) to Live View

    • Electronic Capture Shutter Delay for Technical Cameras (Self Timer in Electronic Shutter Mode)

    • AFr Zoom to Focus on the IQ4 with the XF Focus & Recompose feature

The IQ4-150 represents a technological leap forward in the IQ digital back series, now using a Linux based operating system, the mini-computer backing the BSI 151mp sensor is 10x as powerful as the hardware running the proprietary operating system in the IQ1, IQ2 and IQ3 digital backs.  The User Interface is completely new, so you will have near zero muscle memory for the basic operation of this unit, and many of the features and tools present in the current firmware of the IQ1/2/3 series digital backs have not yet made it into the ever developing firmware of the IQ4-150.

This article represents a distillation of meaningful items from the XF / IQ4 User Manual, client responses to using the gear, and the information I currently know from personally working with the IQ4-150 since about November of last year.    While I’ve worked extensively with a number of digital backs that I’ve tested and certified prior to client delivery, I’ve only recently had the chance to shoot the unit on a commercial job, in which it performed perfectly, albeit with the workflow issues that will be illuminated in the following text, videos and images.  This article will evolve and update as we receive new firmware and new discoveries are made.   -BK


Preparations for your IQ4-150 Delivery

XF Firmware:

To use your IQ4-150 with your XF, the camera will have to be updated from its current 4.01.5 firmware to a version compliant with the IQ4-150.  Currently 4.04.9, this can be loaded via the combined firmware updater for IQ4-150, 1.03.26. (Swipe Up, Select Menu-List, Scroll Down to System Settings–> Firmware–> Update Firmware)

 

If you want to ready the XF camera ahead of having the IQ4 available, you can download firmware for XF 4.04.9 below, place it on your CF card and update using your IQ1/2/3 series to perform the update. (Menu–> XF Menu –> Update Firmware) [This firmware package is to be used only in an IQ3 and will not work in the IQ4]

 

Capture One minimum supported Versions
IQ4-150: 11.2    IQ4-150 Achromatic: 12.0.1 

 

IQ4 150 / XF Firmware Downloads


DOWNLOAD NOW
IQ4-150 1.03.26
DOWNLOAD NOW
IQ4-150 1.01.18
DOWNLOAD NOW
IQ4-150 1.00.2

 

LongPress on Lower Left button for IQ Menu

 

Not that firmware updating was ever inconsequential in the past, but realize that with the IQ4 we’re talking about a much more robust computer packed into the same form factor as the prior IQ backs, containing much more programming complexity.  The firmware package that updates the unit is up to 12x larger than its predecessors and the update process is no less impactful than an operating system update on a desktop computer.  Make sure you start any firmware update with a completely charged battery and wait, even through what seem to be long periods of black screen time for the update to finish with a confirmation screen.

 

New User Interface and Workflow:

IQ4 Home Screen

As previously stated, there is very little similar between the way you work with all IQ-series digital backs up until now, and the IQ4.

 

LongPress on Lower Left button for IQ Menu

A long press on the lower left hard button brings in the swipe up menu structure with the right side buttons acting as scroll.  Missing, however, is the ability for gloved hands to change any of the shoot parameters like white balance or file format without at least a nose-tap confirmation on the screen itself.

OPINION:  While the swiping behavior is a desirable leap forward in navigation, it’s a bit overly active in the corners, sometimes activating when you’re trying to make a push selection of an item, or somewhat maddeningly when you’ve already made it into the deep menu structure and are scrolling up and you swipe in the Menu System again.  I have filed a feature request to deaden the corners of the display for the swipe behavior. 

Live View

One of the most significant changes to user workflow is that by default Live View now simulates exposure based on the camera settings.   This means if you’re setting up for your dawn exposure, you’re going to want to swipe in from the left and bring in the new ‘Viewfinder’ mode which adds auto ISO gain, and if necessary, reduced frame-rate to Live View so you can once again, easily use the view shown on the digital back for composition purposes.

Focus peaking is turned on by default and the mask will display in a tethered Capture One session as well.  To turn off Focus Peaking, swipe in from the right to and toggle the eyeball icon.  A long press on this icon will allow you to modify the Focus Peaking Threshold

Because of the new gestural controls, there is no invisible zoom slider on the left margin like prior IQ Live View screens / Image navigation.

 


Boot Up Time

At ~18 seconds, the time to see the home screen of the IQ4-150 is considerably longer than on the IQ3 series digital backs at around 6 seconds, but with a 64GB XQD card installed it is just 4 seconds slower than the ready to shoot state of the IQ3-100 with a 64GB CF card installed, so with a 128GB XQD card installed, the ready times are about matched and with a 256GB installed, it easily surpasses the ready speed of the IQ3-100 with 256GB CF card installed.


File Format Options

Now up to 5 different versions, the default on the back in firmware 1.01.18 is actually S14 which is the 2nd lowest quality on the digital back.  ‘Low’ quality is a bit of a misnomer, given the fidelity of Phase One’s even most aggressive file compression format, but you’ll likely want to bump it back up to the high fidelity standard L16.  The one below that is ‘Sensor Plus’ which shoots a 37.7 megapixel file at 1/4 resolution (7100px x 5324px). The top resolution L16-EX should only be shot at base ISO, because at any other ISO gain, there is no quality advantage to this format and requires more time from shot to shot than the other formats.

IIQ 16 Large A completely lossless compression format that saves the full 16- bit signal from the CMOS sensor. It offers excellent image quality when you want to take full advantage of the dynamic range of the sensor.

IIQ 16 Extended This format is an enhanced version of IIQ 16 Large as it provides an even lower base noise. It offers the very best in image quality when you need to extract extra detail in the shadows.

IIQ 14 Large Saves a 14-bit version of the RAW file using a completely lossless compression. It provides a smaller file size and faster capture rate compared to IIQ 16 Large and strikes a good balance between high image quality and size.

IIQ 14 Smart Is an intelligently compressed RAW file format, which strikes an excellent balance between file size and image quality. It can be used in almost all applications as the “Smart” compression is so efficient that it can be difficult to notice any difference over the IIQ 14 Large. However, since there is a very small loss of data, Phase One does not claim that IIQ 14 Smart is completely lossless, but what they call “near lossless”.

IIQ 14 Sensor+ This Sensor+ RAW format is the perfect solution when you need a lower resolution file but still want to retain all the advantages of the RAW file. When selected, the Sensor+ RAW file will be exactly a fourth of the normal 151-megapixel resolution, giving you a 37.7-megapixel file. You will maintain the advantages of the RAW format, like being able to adjust white balance.

IQ4-150 Shoot Speeds per format, Frames Per Second

L16-EX  .7 fps  |  L16 1.1 fps  |  L14 1.3 fps  |  S14 1.3 fps  |  S+ 1.3 fps


Capture One Inside IQ Styles

The IQ4 ships with six IQ Styles that each are optimized for specific image subjects or workflows.

1. Landscape aims to provide detailed landscape images in scenes with a high dynamic range. The style boosts saturation slightly as well as recovering detail in the highlights and shadows. Finally, midtones are warmed slightly.

2. Fashion is optimized to ensure that you can evaluate that skin tones are neutral and smooth. Contrast is increased to add some pop to the image while saturation is reduced. In addition, the color balance applies a cold/warm split to the shadows and midtones.

3. Still Life provides an attractive alternative to the typical captures in Studio photography. The style applies a crisp contrast increase while lifting the brightness of the image without effecting saturation.

4. B&W Neutral replaces the “Black and White” view mode found in previous IQ digital backs. The effect basically mirrors enabling Black & White in Capture One.

5. B&W Contrast is a Black and White conversion style with some added contrast that makes the images pop more than B&W Neutral.

6. IQ Professor The Image Quality Professor’s choice of image adjustments. Please see the Image Quality Professor’s blog on phaseone.com for an explanation of the included image adjustments as this style is meant to showcase the possibilities of the IQ Styles and might change with a future firmware.


Internal File Writing




New to IQ4 is the XQD card which supports rates up to 440 mb/s write speeds, nicely in excess of the ~220 mb/s needed when the camera is being fired at full speed.

 

In-camera redundant archiving is now also available to the SD slot, with card speeds currently available up to 300 mb/s.

 

Default mode for the SD card slot is disabled, but can be selected for mirrored JPG files, or ‘Archive’ for IIQ redundancy through the SD Storage menu option.  (Triple redundancy is available if tethered by USB-C, Ethernet or WiFi)

 

The XQD card is inserted with the write-speeds facing away from you, the SD card is inserted with the write-speeds facing you.  The edge of these cards can camouflage themselves into the digital back as well as the card reader, so keep an eye on them so you don’t leave for a shoot with it still mounted to your computer.

 

Card Writing Speeds (fastest currently available):
XQD: 440 mb/s  available in 32, 64, 120, 240, 256 GB Capacities
SD: 300 mb/s  available in 32, 64, 128 GB Capacities

 

Formatting the memory cards

You can format the XQD or SD cards independently. Just go to the IQ4 menu and select Storage Setup –> Format XQD -or- Storage Setup > Format SD.
A warning is displayed as a safety measure, so just tap on OK.


Tethering Options

 

New to the IQ4 is the first IQ-series digital back to break from the Firewire 800 pushing into your chin, and instead, offering Ethernet & WiFi tethering as alternatives to the native USB-C port on the side of the body.   Each have their benefits and drawbacks.

 

USB-C:  Very fast, but cable lengths are limited to 15′ and at even that length, there is no power distribution from your computer to the battery of the IQ4.  USB-C to USB-C and USB-A to USB-C tethers are available.

 

Ethernet:  At this moment, speeds have been testing at ~ 12 MB/s through a cheap $18 router.   Easy to connect, pretty consistent experience.

10x (USB-C rivaling) speeds available from direct ethernet connection to your computer avoiding the router entirely, although setup of this is a bit more finicky and usually requires some system preference changes in the computer interface as well as some re-starts for both the digital back and Capture One.  Quit Capture One, and the setup basically goes like this:

1) Plug the IQ4-150 into the Cat5e / Cat6e ethernet cable and plug cable directly into ethernet port of computer or attached hub. (standard, not crossover cable)

2) Check your Network configuration in your Mac System Preferences

3) If you don’t see the ethernet port show up, you’ll need to add it manually

 

(For ease of physical connection, I’m using the Ethernet port on my OWC Thunderbolt hub)

 

4) (optional) Rename the item

 

5) IMPORTANT: Set the item to the top of the service order

 

6) No green dots here, orange is the best you’re going to get, but if you get it, you’ve got success.

 

7) Launch Capture One, and as with router-based ethernet tethering, ‘Add Camera’ and use the address displayed on the IQ4 swipe-down Status screen. (do not use the address in the Apple network panel)

If the tether is removed or lost of any reason, one or even two restarts of Capture One may be necessary to re-connect the unit.  Simply select the already known camera from the drop down menu within the Camera Tool in Capture One.

Power Over Ethernet (PoE) is available, but not likely from that router you’re plugged into, nor from your computer itself.  In order for PoE to work, you need a network switch providing that power.  If your ethernet environment isn’t serious enough to need a switch, (and most aren’t) you can provide power to the wire by using an PoE Injector.  This small, simple and inexpensive passthrough device will add 15 watts of power to the line, more than enough to satisfy the ~7 watt idle needs of the IQ4 and keep you shooting all day long on the same battery. (Always, always, ALWAYS plug any device that’s connected to anything to do with your system through a solid surge protector or UPS)

 

WiFi*: WiFi tethering isn’t going to break any speed records, but is a very handy way of transferring shoot images to your computer.  Hugely variable transfer rates, even with a dedicated router 2MB/s – 5 MB/s, mostly staying around  2.5 to 3 MB/s. (Tested on the same $18 router, user experience will vary)  WiFi tethering currently requires connection to a router, preferably a dedicated unit, in order to connect to Capture One as no Ad-Hoc connection is yet available.

 

If you’re playing around with the different tethering sources, Capture One will have to be restarted between using Ethernet and Wifi. 

File Buffer:  You can shoot a burst of about 11 images in IIQ-L16 or 22 images in IIQ-S14 before the internal buffer fills up for ether Wifi or Ethernet tethering, then just like burst shooting of old, you must wait until the unit clears a shot to take a shot.

Battery Life

 

The IQ4 certainly runs hotter than prior generation digital backs, but that is to be expected given the 10x processing power built into it and you’ll notice this in handling the unit.  Typical idle temperature tends to be about 3ºC hotter than an IQ3-100 at about 33ºC (91.4ºF) and a 3-minute Live View burn will add about 9ºC to that number, where a IQ3-100 adds only 7ºC.   IQ4 Live View runs a frame rate that is more than double the speed and with considerably higher quality than the IQ3, so the 2º penalty really isn’t that bad.

 

That being said, you will certainly experience shorter battery life than the IQ3, but this isn’t a horrible concession to workflow, especially once XF power sharing is restored in future firmware release.  I tested IQ4 vs IQ3 battery life and the IQ4 provided 1.5 hours of mixed use before a low-battery warning, and I was able to shoot 158 images while engaging Live View in 2 and 3 minute increments for a total of 15 minutes.   At the conclusion of this test, the IQ3 still had 40% battery remaining.

External Power

 

  • XF Power Supply:  As of firmware version 1.03.26, XF Power Sharing has been made available, and the XF Power Supply can plug in to provide it’s robust 24volts to support battery charging and zero downtime power.
  • USB-C Tether:  If you’re tethered via USB-C to USB-C, the IQ4 will auto negotiate power from the host computer, which is certainly additive to battery life.  (full test results coming soon)  
  • USB-C Power Supply or Battery: Also available is to simply plug your MacBook Pro USB-C power adapter directly into the IQ4, consuming the tether port, but providing battery charging to the unit.  This is a good option if running an Ethernet tether without Power over Ethernet (PoE)
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE): As covered previously, PoE is available with the right support equipment and will also provide all-day power to the unit.

Technical Camera Use

 

The IQ4-150 can shoot with Copal shutters, Electro-magnetical shutters like Rodenstock e-Shutter 250 with external control units like Sinar eControl or ALPA Silex, or with it’s internal Electronic Shutter (ES).

 

Currently, there is no ‘zero latency’ option on the IQ4, so the digital back needs to be woken up prior to the capture sequence.   If firing by traditional Copal shutter and the single-piece 12-pin to PC sync cable, tap the ‘Capture Button’ on the unit, and then within 10 seconds, fire the mechanical shutter.

 

 

Alternatively, if you have a 2-piece cable, you can use the wakeup button on the cable.

Default for the digital back is external triggering from the mechanical shutter, so if ES is desired it must first be selected.  When disconnected from the XF body, Electronic Shutter must be first turned on in the Camera menu (swipe up, top selection).

 

The Hähnel electronic cable release for the XF camera or Phase One’s BOB can be used in the 12-pin side port to fire Electronic Shutter w/o touching the digital back, in addition to the digital countdown timer in the interface.
(For long exposures, there is currently no countdown for time remaining in the exposure) 

 

(The f-stop metadata will automatically report the last focal length to be entered or, if last attached to the XF camera, whatever it shot at last.)

OPINION: I would want to keep an eye on this data field as I would rather the camera report no value into metadata than the wrong value into metadata.  Might be a little OCD, but I wouldn’t want to shoot a project on a Rodenstock 90HR and have an impossible f2.8 burned into the metadata of the raw files   -BK


–Coming Soon–
Hähnel Pro 2 Cube Charger interface explained

Known Issues in Firmware 1.03.26

  • The IQ4 can power off if you remove the battery on the IQ4 while it is receiving a limited amount of power supply over the USB-C connection. Please remove the USB connection first, then remove the battery from the IQ4. The IQ4 will then receive power from the battery in the XF Camera Body via the Power Share feature.
  • Preview Rotation is not yet available.
  • Custom White Balance setting applies to the next captured image(s) only.
  • WiFi & Ethernet tethering requires connection to a network which can assign an IP address (DHCP).
  • Bulb & Time exposures must be controlled from the XF Camera Body.
  • Ejecting the XQD card after using Focus Stacking will lock up the IQ4. To solve this problem please reboot the digital back. Data should be OK – A Workaround is to always power down the digital back after creating a focus stack, before ejecting the XQD Card

Features Missing from IQ3 in IQ4 Firmware 1.03.26

Promised, but not yet delivered, these features from IQ3 have not yet made it to the IQ4 series digital backs.

• Exposure Calculator
• Post Capture Zone Display
• Audible ready beep
• Post Capture Focus Mask
• Calibration for Horizon Level (renders auto Keystone correction inaccurate/unavailable)
• Custom Splash / Lock Screen
• AdHoc WiFi communication
• Adhoc WiFi communication with Capture Pilot
• Zero Latency for Technical Camera
• XF System Information (frame counts/serials of lenses)
• Countdown Timer for long ES exposures on Tech Cam
• ES Delay Timer
• Shoot Directly to USB-C hard drive
• Frame Averaging
• ‘Viewfinder Mode’ for Live View
• XF Power Sharing (XF External Power supply can, however,  plug directly into the IQ4 to fuel the digital back alone)
• Post Capture Vertical display of Vertical images
• Shots Captured (can see total shot count only in Delete menu)
• No countdown display for long ES exposures on Technical Camera

Current Bugs in Firmware 1.03.26

  • XF Firmware 4.02.13 NOT compliant with IQ1/2/3 DB’s  Firmware 4.04.9 appears (so far) to work equally as well across the entire IQ digital back line (more testing necessary)
  • IQ4 induces Narcolepsy on the XF.  Camera goes dark (and camera goes to sleep) somewhere arbitrarily within ~3 minutes, sometimes as short as 40 seconds, even if camera body Power Management is set to ‘never’.
  • With ES enabled on XF body: (firmware 1.00.2 / 1.01.18)
     – EXIF data does not report focal length (of zooms)
     – HDR changes exposure, but only reports middle exposure value on each file in that set
     – No indication nor frame count of multi-exposure grouping (time lapse, HDR etc)
  • If working exclusively through Capture One or external shutter control of the unit on Technical Camera, the untouched unit will warn of its impending power-saving shut down, even after just completing an exposure.
  • Battery Information is not conveyed through the tether to Capture One
  • Live View image artifacting while zooming/panning when using shutter speeds longer than 1/2 second
  • Live View image artifacting while zooming into specifically the far right side of the frame
  • While shooting Technical Cameras if  Menu–> Camera –> Electronic Shutter is toggled ‘on’ and then back off, ability to control shutter speed for Live View is eliminated.   (Displayed value is irrelevant to capture)
 The much anticipated ‘Frame Averaging’ feature is simply not present in the firmware as of this moment.

Troubleshooting

A valuable tool for proper troubleshooting is the Dump Log.  If you encounter problems not already listed here, with the XQD card installed in the digital back, please gather a dump log and send it over.
After downloading the file to your computer, please append your name to the beginning of the file, (DustyTanglewood_Log003.bin) before emailing it.



Archive

Features Missing from IQ3 in IQ4 Firmware 1.01.18

Promised, but not yet delivered, these features from IQ3 have not yet made it to the IQ4 series digital backs.

• Exposure Calculator
• Post Capture Zone Display
• Audible ready beep
• Post Capture Focus Mask
• Calibration for Horizon Level (renders auto Keystone correction inaccurate/unavailable)
• Custom Splash / Lock Screen
• AdHoc WiFi communication
• Adhoc WiFi communication with Capture Pilot
• Zero Latency for Technical Camera
• XF System Information (frame counts/serials of lenses)
• Countdown Timer for long ES exposures on Tech Cam
• ES Delay Timer
• Shoot Directly to USB-C hard drive
• Frame Averaging
• ‘Viewfinder Mode’ for Live View
• XF Power Sharing (XF External Power supply can, however,  plug directly into the IQ4 to fuel the digital back alone)
• Post Capture Vertical display of Vertical images
• Shots Captured (can see total shot count only in Delete menu)
• No countdown display for long ES exposures on Technical Camera
• AFr Zoom to Focus not available.

Bugs in Firmware 1.01.18

  • XF Firmware 4.02.13 NOT compliant with IQ1/2/3 DB’s
  • IQ4 induces Narcolepsy on the XF.  Camera goes dark (and camera goes to sleep) somewhere arbitrarily within ~3 minutes, sometimes as short as 40 seconds, even if camera body Power Management is set to ‘never’.
  • With ES enabled on XF body:
     – EXIF data does not report focal length (of zooms)
     – HDR changes exposure, but only reports middle exposure value on each file in that set
     – No indication nor frame count of multi-exposure grouping (time lapse, HDR etc)
  • If working exclusively through Capture One control of the unit on Technical Camera, the untouched unit will warn of its impending power-saving shut down, even after just completing an exposure.
  • Battery Information is not conveyed through the tether to Capture One
  • Live View image artifacting while zooming/panning when using shutter speeds longer than 1/2 second
  • Live View image artifacting while zooming into specifically the far right side of the frame
  • While shooting Technical Cameras if  Menu–> Camera –> Electronic Shutter is toggled ‘on’ and then back off, ability to control shutter speed for Live View is eliminated.   (Displayed value is irrelevant to capture)
  • SD ‘Archive’ mode will variably not write files to SD card (Images will hold as ‘pending’ in the status menu, primary writing is unaffected)
 The much anticipated ‘Frame Averaging’ feature is simply not present in the firmware as of this moment.