Have you ever wondered how much your photos would improve with a better camera? Does a €50.000,- camera really make a huge difference with a €500,- camera? Well, I was lucky enough to find out! As my Canon 7D broke down during a photoshoot, a friend said I could use their PhaseOne. That sounds like a stupid decision. And I like it.
As I walked around at the event, a lot of people were looking at my camera. Not many had ever heard of “PhaseOne”. They didn’t really bother either, frankly, because I didn’t want to draw too much attention. The more professional photographers knew what it was and said: “Damn, that’s more expensive than most of the cars here. What on earth are you doing here?” And honestly, what am I doing here? I was asking myself the exact same question. I didn’t prepare for the event at all. I had basically put the PhaseOne in my bag, made sure the SD card was empty and the display showed the battery was somewhat full so I didn’t bother charging at all. The fact that I only had a 40mm and 80mm lens for the camera made me decide to not spend too much time preparing for the event as I expected the camera to be useless at such event, but I wanted to give it a try anyway.
To put things in perspective: If I had taken my trusted Canon I would have been able to take more or less than 6000 photos until my 128GB card is full. It basically means I can take photos of cars, people, the sky, the trees, my feet and everything else that pops up in front of my lens and by the end of the day I would still be able to take a thousand photos.
Battery life of the Canon? Well, if I don’t use the LCD screen I can shoot for ages. I’ve had moments where I didn’t even charge the camera for a month and just used it whenever I needed. Taking photos is a piece of cake as well. You accidentally hold the button a little too long and boom: you just took 8 photos in the exact same composition. But do you worry about that? Of course not! You still have 5992 photos left. So all in all, taking the Canon to an event is as easy as a walk in the park. But how about the Phase One?
The Phase One is a whole different story. It doesn’t take the small SD cards, so in stead of 128GB I only had 16GB due to bad preparation. 16 GB with the Canon would still have been a thousand RAW photos. With the PhaseOne? 80. That’s right, eighty. I was at one of the biggest car events in The Netherlands with 400+ participants and I could only take 80 photos. Am I stupid? Yup, but did I know that my friend had a 64GB card at home? Nope!
The battery life of the PhaseOne is short, very short. It only took half a day to drain through the battery since it was not fully charged and it is using the LCD screen all the time. Taking photos was a task on its own as well. After I had taken a photo, it took a while to process the gigantic file and be ready to take another one. Not a huge problem during a photoshoot where you can take your time to get the right angle and everything. But at a car event with 7000 people running around and cars being on the move all the time you have to be quick. It is all about getting the right moment, but most of the time I was too late. You could see it as Black Friday. Everyone running around to get products with discount, but I was the fat guy chasing the crowd ending up looking at empty shelves: Sold out.
So, after reading this you must think: Well, that Phase One must be horrible. But is it? The Canon is easy. The quality of the photos are great and you have nothing to worry about. But does that make it fun? Well yeah, but there is more. The Phase One demanded me to make decisions I never had to take with the Canon. I mean, I was limited to 80 photos and a short battery life. Do I take photos in the morning when there are no people around or do I wait for better cars to show up during the day? I can save up taking photos, but does my battery make it to the end of the day? Or should I take a gamble by waiting until the end of the day and risk the fact that my battery died before I was through those 80 photos? I really tried to stretch my battery life as long as possible by switching off the camera when I didn’t use it. But the problem was that every time a nice car arrived, I had to turn it back on. And that took a while! After taking a shot the camera had to process the huge file before I could take another photo. Catching the moment was really really hard.
When I got home I couldn’t wait to see the result. I copied the photos to my computer, started Photoshop, dragged the first photo in and it crashed. I started Photoshop again, dragged the photo in and it crashed again. After three times it worked. I immediately found out my PC was too slow to edit those photos, but I didn’t care. The photos are razor sharp. I could zoom in all the way and read “Lamborghini” on the emblem on the bonnet of an Aventador 30 meters down the road. It took a while to load one photo and editing went at a real slow pace as well. My chin touched my desk when looking at the photos. I was just amazed how sharp the photos were. When I tried to save a photo to continue later on the day, I got a warning from Photoshop. The file exceeded 2GB and didn’t let me save. One photo, 2 Gigabytes! I already went nuts when one photo was 50MB, but 2GB is another league. I think I need one of these cameras and some extra harddrives, a lot of them.
If you see what this camera can do in the middle of the day with boring light at an ordinary event. Imagine what it could do on a hazy morning with a proper scenery. Imagine if I could bring this on my trip to Norway?