A S C R A P B O O K O F S O L U T I O N S F O R T H E P H O T O G R A P H E R
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4 January 2016
Of all the cameras introduced in 2015, only the Phase One XF system impressed us by both its design and execution, putting a much friendlier vision of photography in our hands for an afternoon. In that it was revolutionary in a way we haven't seen in decades of reviewing cameras. And, we can only hope, influential.
It's our Camera of the Year for 2015.
And while we could detail in this piece what makes the XF so special, we think it's more efficient to simply send you to our full hands-on report for the details.
If a citation like Camera of the Year is to mean much, it has to be more than a popularity contest.
You don't have to look too far to find the Sony A7R II cited as 2015 camera of the year. At least two of the sites we regularly cite have picked it. And the rest are just taking their time, it appears.
The praise hasn't been universal, however, as you know if you've followed our Around the Horn links during the year. Issues with both the menu system and Raw files have dampened some enthusiasm.
Nothing is perfect.
We're pretty indulgent when it comes to ignoring imperfections. Take our smartphone, for example. Please.
THE XF SYSTEM
As we said in our hands-on report:
Phase One has conceived of an elegant and modular physical design enhanced with gyroscopic sensors and accelerometers under the control of a new camera operating system that promises a sophistication we just haven't seen before in any photographic tool.
The Phase One XF came to the market mature and just keeps evolving. Its controls are a joy to use, it responds intelligently to how you adjust them, the menu system is transparent. The lens lineup covers the gamut, matched to sensors unrivaled for their resolution and dynamic range.
And Phase One didn't outsource its image processing software, with Capture One Pro providing tethered shooting and Raw file conversion for the XF system.
It was a good idea, well executed, that continues to inspire.
But what really counts in a citation like this is how much the designers dared, how well the engineers executed that design and what influence we hope that achievement will have on the rest of the industry.
On all three counts, the Phase One XF has richly distinguished itself as the Camera of the Year 2015.