Phase One shushes the click with a new electronic shutter, a first for medium format

Technology has a tendency to age in dog years, but Phase One released an update on Monday that shows it is making good on its promise to deliver a future-proof camera system. The third update to the Phase One Update System, the firmware means the XF IQ3 100 is now the first medium format camera with an electronic shutter.

Electronic shutters use no physical moving pieces — instead, a burst of energy signals the camera’s sensor to start recording a picture. While electronic shutters have some tradeoffs — the images tend to be noisier, for example — they boast a few benefits, including a silent operation for applications like wildlife photography.

With the update, IQ3 shooters can use the built-in time lapse and focus stacking functions with more efficiency and less noise, Phase One said. Electronic shutters also allow a camera to use Live View while shooting.

Along with the new electronic shutter feature, the entire XF camera line bulks up on flash-control options, with the addition of rear- and front-curtain sync modes. A new flash analysis tool analyzes your shot and then displays the flash output and duration, allowing users to trim the flash sync timing right inside the camera.

Shooters pairing an XF camera with a Profoto flash can now control all their flash settings within the camera back, thanks to the new Profoto Air Tool. That same addition also brings through the lens (TTL) flash measurement for automatic flash modes.

Phase One

Along with the firmware, Phase One also released a few hardware updates, including a new a grip. The XF V-Grip adds a handle and strap underneath the digital back, along with a second shutter release and control dial for shooting vertical photos without the awkward grip.

Phase One also unveiled a new external shutter release tool, dubbed the Break Out Box, or BOB. The device comes in customizable cable lengths — and the function of the button can be customized as well.

The firmware updates are available to download directly from Phase One.