Spanish based action and sports photographer Pablo Ferao has been a 35mm DSLR user his whole career, but recently he took the IQ250 digital back with him on a shoot, which made him reconsider his choice of camera. Pablo shared this with us after his first time with the Phase One camera system and the IQ250 digital back. The news was too good not to share.
The new Phase One IQ250 is in my eyes a revolution for action photography. And I can say that after testing it in what, until today, was 35mm cameras exclusive playground.
This revolution is not only because of the resolution and image quality that 50 megapixel CMOS sensor offers, we all take for granted unparalleled image quality and pinpoint accuracy on every single product Phase One does. The revolution is where and how we can use that resolution and image quality.
I do action photography for a living, and I always shoot with studio lights. That means I usually put the equipment up to the limits to get THE picture. And to achieve what I need, all gear must be resistant, versatile and high quality. I have found all of those features with the new IQ250 digital back. After one full week of intensive abuse -what I call work- I didn't use my 35 mm camera one time. There was no need, not even when I shot night action.
The first time I set the ISO at 3200 (still one step below ISO 6400 available) I was thrilled, but when I saw the first image appearing at the IQ250´s screen my jaw just dropped. I was prepared to see an admissible digital noise, I´d say even usable noise, but I was wrong. What I saw was a noiseless image, more noiseless than I would expect of any 35mm camera on the market. I felt butterflies in my stomach; it must’ve been love.
For this photo shoot I used the IQ250 mounted on a 645DF+ and two Schneider Kreuznach LS lenses, the 80mm 2.8 and the 28mm 4.5, both performing at focusing speed and sharpness far beyond expected, making high-end action photography a lot easier.
To light the action I used some units of the new Profoto B1 and Acute B2AirS. Perfect for location shoots. In fact, both camera and flash units was so portable that I could carry what could be considered a full studio set - camera, 3 flash units, stands and diffusers. As light diffusers I used an Umbrella XL silver, a Softlight Silver, a Magnum Reflector, an Umbrella M Silver with front diffuser, a Softbox RFi 3´x2´ and some Profoto Discs, all from Profoto. All you may need for a photo shoot in the middle of nowhere.
Even though light units available were "only" 500/600W -please note that the word "only" is quoted, because we all know that Profoto units are mightier in real life than on paper. The final result was amazing, not least thanks to the Schneider Kreuznach leaf shutter lenses’ 1/1600s sync speed with the studio lights. You want to shoot on top of a snowed mountain overpowering the sunlight with f8 aperture? Piece of cake. You want to do some urban action pictures at night? Quite easy! You want to freeze the action on a fast slide at high noon on a mountain with every single particle in the picture razor sharp? Just easy. All of that, and a lot more is what you can do with equipment you can carry to any location. To me, that is a revolution.
I have abused the IQ250 in the same way I do with my 35mm cameras, with no mercy. From freezing mountains to burning hot dessert-like locations - moist, dust and all harshness I could possibly find out there. Somehow I was looking for some flaw on the IQ250, as I am convinced that perfection does not exist. Well, after going through the tests, my conclusion is: if perfection does not exist, the new IQ250 is the closest thing to perfection I have tried to date.