"...the software bundled with the camera system is amazingly well-optimized to handle the detail-rich Phase One RAW photos."
In a few words, pristine image quality, true 16 bit color rendition and the outstanding flash control thanks to leaf shutter technology. Moreover, the choice to go with a Phase One solution was the offering of a complete and coherent package. That is, not only that the equipment delivers stunning results, but more importantly, the software bundled with the camera system is amazingly well-optimized to handle the detail-rich Phase One RAW photos. In the digital imaging era, the quality of the final photograph is a derivative not only of the imaging equipment used, but also the image processing workflow - a factor very often forgotten by professional photographers.
Unparalleled 16 bit color flexibility
An amazingly rewarding feature of medium format photographs is the lovely color rendition and tonal range. To all the skeptics out there, I recommend running a true 16 bit Phase One RAW file through the color clarity tool and comparing the output against a 14 bit pro DSLR RAW file. I believe the results should be relatively self-explanatory. You will not need a fine eye to see how a 14 bit file breaks apart when you push the color clarity. I see this effect particularly with my outdoor photography featuring areas with plenty of highlights, e.g. vistas with snowy peaks. Phase One RAW files can easily accept this level of color manipulation, which brings life back to the photographs, whilst keeping the overall color rendition mild and realistic. This is probably one of the most important reasons why people refer to medium format RAW files as the closest thing you can get to analogue film.
"Capture One Pro RAW conversion engine simply outperforms every single other program."
First of all, the adoption of medium format in my imaging workflow gave a birth to creatively interesting and aesthetically remarkable photographs. To be more specific, I immediately started experimenting with ultra-fast sync-speed photography in different outdoor scenarios. The amazing leaf shutter performance, combined with amazing quality, has been a nice addition to my workflow.
I had already been using Capture One Pro as my RAW rendering software when I shot DSLRs, so this was nice and easy to get going. There are quite a few alternatives for RAW processing on the market. However, in my experience, the Capture One Pro RAW conversion engine simply outperforms every single other program.
An investment with value
Even with sensor technology changing at a pace comparable to computer processors, medium format equipment will retain its value due to few fundamentally important factors, which are deeply rooted in optical physics. First of all, a big sensor frame requires an equally large optical viewfinder, which makes framing and composing the shots a true pleasure. Secondly, it opens the possibility for the implementation of different viewfinder types. Beyond any doubt, another fundamentally relevant implication of modern medium format camera design ethos is the decoupling of the shutter mechanism from the camera body, and its elegant implementation as a lens element. Although we are entering the era of mirrorless imaging systems, effective flash-sync speed remains a very serious weak point of most of the modern DSLR cameras. This is something that medium format delivers seamlessly.
Standing out from the competition
As a photographer, I always strive to offer my clients the absolute best results with a true “wow factor”. With commercial outdoor photography being a very competitive field nowadays, it is paramount to stand out; not only on the creative side, but also from the point of view of optical quality. This is where Phase One fits in my workflow, and brings a true value-proposition to my clients.