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Phase One adds high-end medium-format zoom lenses with speedy flash sync

Designing lenses to cover medium-format camera sensors isn’t an easy feat, but the latest lenses by Schneider Kreuznach (via DP Review) for the Phase One system offer a pretty impressive set of features, including the capability of shooting with a flash at shutter speeds as high as 1/1600. The 40-80mm LS f/4.0-5.6 and 75-150mm LS f/4.-5.6 are the first zoom lenses in the Schneider Kreuznach Blue Ring line, designed for complete coverage of the medium-format sensors.

While the more traditional APS-C and full-frame DSLRs tend to top out at a flash sync speed of 1/250, the latest Schneider lenses go well beyond that number. How? Leaf shutters.

A typical curtain shutter opens and closes in one swipe from the top, but leaf shutters are a circular set of blades that open from the center. They’re tougher to manufacture, but they allow for faster shutter speeds while still using flash. By contrast, curtain shutters with a quick flash that can actually catch the shutter will leave a portion of the image black.

Related: Capture One photo editor gets workflow enhancements in latest version

Along with the leaf-shutter technology, the optics also include a zoom lock feature, allowing photographers to lock the focus, and then adjust the zoom while still keeping the subject sharp. That focus system can also be individually calibrated through new built-in electronics. While the lenses are also compatible with the Mamiya 645DF+ and DF systems, the focus calibration is only compatible with Phase One XF cameras.

“A Phase One 100MP medium-format sensor is 1.5 times larger than the cropped-size 50MP medium format and 2.5 times larger than sensors found in high-end 35mm DSLRs,” said Phase One Senior Project Manager Espen Beck. “Capturing the full resolution of a square sensor this size with a round lens and avoiding crop means that the entire lens must be larger, which requires larger movements of individual lens elements while meeting the requisite standards for speed and precision.”

Both lenses are also designed with advanced mechanics with a high-end build to match the construction (and price) of a medium format camera system. The 70-150mm is available now, listed at $5,990, while the 40-80mm will ship by August for $8,990.

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