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03/20/19 Auto Rotate for image playback on Phase One IQ4 still problematic

Yesterday 03/19/2019, Phase One released a new firmware for the IQ4, their top end Digital back.  This is the 2nd official firmware on the back and the first firmware to offer something new (and it brought back a few older IQ3 features see this post).

However there is still a small issue with IQ4 playback, auto rotation.    Auto rotation, is a feature that Phase One along with all other camera manufacturers usually include for playback of a portrait orientation image.  When you take an image in portrait mode, (with the camera vertical), the image will playback in the same vertical orientation.


The image on the left shows a IQ4 image taken with a XF and 55mm LS Phase One Lens.  The image is displayed correctly, as the  the image was captured in landscape orientation and playback keeps it there.  However the image on the right is showing a portrait orientation image and how it’s played back.  The image should be vertical however the back is playing it back in landscape mode.

What is interesting is as long as the IQ4 stays in the portrait orientation, the image during playback is displayed correctly.  But once you rotate the back to the horizontal (landscape) orientation, from that point on, all portrait orientation images will be displayed in the horizontal orientation.  So when you shoot with the IQ4 in portrait mode, make sure you check your images before rotating the camera from that position. Attempting to check a vertical image displayed horizontally is very difficult.

For my work, this is problematic since I take 65% to 75% of my work in portrait mode since I want to blend the multiple portrait images into a panorama.  For now you have to remember to preview your work while the camera is still in the portrait orientation.

Another interesting observation is that when you load the files into a Capture One 12 session, all the vertical images will start out in the horizontal orientation, but as Capture One creates the previews the images will rotate back to the correct vertical orientation.

Hopefully Phase One will resolve this soon but it looks like it will have to come with another firmware update.

03/14/19 Official Buffalo River Brochure now features my photography

If you travel to any United States National Park, you are familiar with the official brochures that you can pick up when you enter the Park.  This is copy of the most recent one for the Buffalo National River, in Arkansas.

Last year I was approached to have one of my images included in this brochure.  The image is not the cover, which in it’s own right is a great shot taken from the goat trail on Big Bluff.  But instead the park service used my shot of the Natural bridge in Lost Valley.

Lost Valley which is one of the most visited spots on the upper Buffalo, offers so many subjects to photograph, I can’t begin to list them all.  It’s interesting to note that in the brochure, the Park service used two different images.  My shot and one from another photographer showing where Clark Creek runs under ground at certain water levels.

My thanks to the National Park service for considering my image which is the shot of the Natural Bridge.

Nice to get a photo credit for this publication.  You can see this image in my gallery on

The Buffalo River is one of the most beautiful places in the United State, and I love to spend time there.


If you are coming to Arkansas, make a plan to either float on the Buffalo or enjoy some of the many hundreds of miles of hiking trails.


Written for please do no reproduce or reprint any of this content without permission. 

03/12/19 New firmware for Phase One IQ4–bringing back a few older features and adding some new ones

Firmware update for Phase One IQ4 Phase One firmware updates IQ4

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Phase One IQ4 and XF body have a new firmware coming soon in 2019


Here is a quick video, from Capture Integration, my Phase One dealer based in Atlanta GA.  This shows the new zoom to 400% feature for Live View.

With this firmware Phase One will be adding 4 new features to the IQ4, 2 of which are really carry overs from the older IQ3 Live view that did not make it to the IQ4.

  1.  Power Share (between IQ4 and XF)
  2. Auto gain exposure for Lieu View
  3. Self timer for Electronic shutter
  4. Live View zoom to 400%

When the IQ4 rolled out in December 2018, two features from the IQ3 were not available, auto gain for live view and power share.

Power Share allowed the XF camera body to share power with the IQ3 digital back.  The XF takes much less power to run than the IQ back, thus you gained a considerable amount of time in the field.  In fact with the IQ3 and XF most days I only need 3 batteries.  At first ship the IQ4 did not have this capability, and it will be a nice addition.

Auto Gain for Live View, with the older IQ CMOS backs, Phase One implemented a process for the Live View that allowed it to adjust the Live view increasing the ISO gain for low light work.  You also had the ability to manually brighten the screen with a slider.  With the IQ4, Phase One decided to have the Live View “simulate actual exposure” only  Most digital cameras will have a setting to allow you to either simulate actual exposure or manually brighten the live view for low light work (sunrise, sunset for example).  With the Phase One exposure simulation only method, in bright daylight work, or indoor studio work, it was not a problem, but if you were in a low light situation the Live View Frame rate switched to too slow a read out such that the Live View appeared to lock up, but instead it was just moving extremely slow due to the much slower frame rate.  With the new firmware you will have the ability to use either the Auto Gain Live View or Exposure simulation.

Self Timer for Electronic Shutter, This is a new feature, and will be a great addition for photographers using the ES with a tech camera, as currently you only have the shutter button on the LCD or have to use a remote release like the Phase One Bob.

Live View zoom to up to 400%, I was at first a bit skeptical on this, but from watching the video it seems that this feature will be a huge feature addition for the IQ4.  I have been having a bit of trouble dialing in exact focus with the Live View on the IQ4, mainly due to the fact that the screen doesn’t seem to have the same amount of contrast.  I am hoping that with the auto gain exposure now coming back, along with this new ability to zoom into 400%, capturing a sharp manual focus will not be as difficult.  The IQ4 150Mp sensor has amazing detail capturing capability, but you are operation on a razor thin line.  So being able to see past 100% zoom up to 400% will be a great new feature.  Glad to see that the LCD on the camera back can support such detailed views.   When you view the video created by Capture Integration, watch when they zoom in to 400% and focus on the F stop setting on the Rodenstock lens.  It’s impressive.

Thanks to Capture Integration in Atlanta Georgia, for their supplying both the short video and detailed information on this exiting new firmware update for the IQ4 digital back.  You can reach them at:


Written for by Paul Caldwell, please contact me before reprinting or reproducing any part of this article.