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07/28/12 Screen protection options for Phase One IQ Series Digital backs (IQ140,IQ160, & IQ180)

One of the most impressive features of the Phase One IQ Series of Digital backs, (IQ140, 160 and 180), would have to be their LCD screen.  This screen, which has been compared to the quality of the Apple retina displays, is a vast improvement over the LCD screens that were used on the older Phase One backs like the P45+.  With the IQ series, you have a screen that gives the photographer 100% positive feedback during the image capture processes.  The most critical piece of feedback being the ability to quickly zoom in to a 100% view of your image and check for focus.  The LCD size on the Phase One IQ series backs are 3.2 inches.  The screen on the IQ backs is a touch screen and thus allows you to move around the information being displayed without having to hit any physical buttons.

The ability to zoom into 100% to check the image for critical focus is one of the most important features for my work since I use a Tech Camera.  Anyone using a Tech Camera knows that obtaining critical focus is one of the most challenging aspects to their use.  Phase One’s sensor does not work well with “live view” so most people myself included will take the shot based on focus settings they think are close, then view the captured image on the screen and from there fine tune the focus if needed.  The touch screen design of the Phase One IQ back lets a photographer do this in seconds rather then minutes.  If the LCD screen is damaged, scratched, or has had some of the anti-reflective coating rubbed off, this process of zooming to 100% and checking the focus can become much more difficult.

When you receive the IQ series back, it comes with a piece of plastic over the screen that has been placed on top of the screen for protection during shipping.  However you can still use the LCD with this cover in place.  I choose to leave my cover in place after I received my IQ160.  I have used digital cameras since 1999, (Sony F505) and the LCD is a very important tool for me.  The last thing I want is for a scratch to appear on the face of the LCD.  This can ruin the feedback capabilities of the LCD since the scratch will reflect light differently and can make getting a good view much harder.  Also most LCD’s will have a anti-reflective coating to assist in outdoor viewing, and the scratches will almost always remove the coatings which also makes for a harder viewing experience.   Here is a shot showing a IQ160 and the Phase One LCD Screen cover in place.

Phase One IQ160 and factory LCD screen protection in place
Phase One IQ160 and factory LCD screen protection in place

From this picture you can see that my particular LCD cover has gotten a bit worn in places and the tab that is designed to allow you to remove it has started to come off.  I have used this back extensively since late November 2011 and this particular LCD cover has done a good job.  I have not scratched the face of the LCD and so far the thin plastic cover has taken all off the hits, and abuse from use.  Since I use a Arca Swiss rm3di Tech camera for most of my photography with the IQ160, the LCD is even more important and I am that much more concerned about damage.

So as month 8 begins, I started to look for replacements solutions for my LCD cover.  I first approached my dealer, Capture Integration in Atlanta to see if they could contact Phase One.  I assumed that Phase One would sell replacements, but Phase One only sells through their dealer channel.   After a few weeks, I was told that yes, you can purchase the replacement covers from Phase One and they are $6.00 each in U.S. dollars, not a bad deal at all.

I also did a web search and found a few companies that also sell after market solutions for replacement LCD covers.  The companies I have found are:

  1. Screen Patronus, here is their website:
  2. Lexerd, here is a link: Lexerd Corporation

Both of these companies make a “stock” product that seems to fit any 3.2″ or 3″ screen.  They are pre-cut to the screen and have the rounded corners.  Both companies claim that the material they use will not effect the touch screen capabilities of the screen.  I have not tried either of these since Capture Integration was able to find the original style used by Phase One.  At $6.00 each they priced right, considering the protection they offer.



  1. Benny Chan says:

    Hi, just want to know I have a IQ 180, does it mean I can’t use the RM3di, thanks and take care.

    • Hello: Benny

      You should have no problems with the IQ180 on the rm3di. I use the 160 on mine. Just wish there was a better “live view” solution.