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Phase One Announces Three Digital Backs and Wireless Transfer

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July 19, 2005 - Phase One announced three new digital backs yesterday, with sensors ranging from 39 down to 18 megapixels. Marketed to commercial photographers, the backs can be mounted on some medium format and 4x5 cameras. The backs will also include Phase One’s new "Secure Storage System" technology, also available for current Phase One backs via firmware upgrades. In the same announcement, Phase One committed to sharing its product roadmap for the coming 18 months, in an effort to help customers plan their equipment purchases.

The P 45, due to ship in November, 2005, will have a 49.1 x 36.8 mm, 39 megapixel imaging chip, creating 117 MB files. It will be capable of shooting 35 frames a minute, and offer an ISO range of 50 to 400. Phase One prices the unit at $29,995, while owners of the current Phase One P25 will be able to upgrade for $12,000.

The P 30, scheduled to ship in December, 2005, will have a 44.2 x 33.1 mm, 31 megapixel imaging chip. Phase One notes the chip’s "6.8 micron pixel," which they say, in conjunction with the company’s Capture One software, will prevent moiré patterns. The P 30 is priced at $19,900, but P 20 owners can upgrade for $10,000.

The P 21, due to ship in February, 2006, will have a 44.2 x 33.1 mm, 18 megapixel imaging chip. Phase One promises a 60 frames per minute capture rate for both tethered and untethered applications. The P 21 will go for $16,990, and P 20 owners can also upgrade to this one for $10,000.

All three backs can be bought with a $3000 "Value Added" plan that extends the warranty to three years from the standard one year offering. The "Value Added" plan provides 24-hour replacement of a malfunctioning unit; includes Capture One Pro software; allows free exchange of the back for another of the same model, but for a different camera (if you bought the P 45 set up for your Hasselblad), you could swap it for one that fits on your Sinar; and includes installation and training. They also throw in a 1 gig compact flash card.

The Secure Storage System technology validates Compact Flash media as they are inserted in Phase One backs, and prevents the back from attempting to write data to damaged media. The technology also allows the user to preserve data in a back’s buffer for later download.

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In the third quarter of 2006, Phase One plans to introduce a $6000 upgrade to allow "very high speed" wireless transfer from its backs. The company predicts an operating range of 25 meters – a bit more than 80 feet.

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