On a road in Central Otago with the XT IQ4 150MP System | C.R. Kennedy

On a road in Central Otago with the XT IQ4 150MP System


Last spring, after 2020’s Covid lockdown, I was able take a few images on my way through Central Otago.

The region is well known in New Zealand literature and the visual arts for its unique landscape and local characters.... the high country colours contrasting with our predominantly green land.

We’d taken delivery of a demo’ PHASE ONE XT IQ4 150MP w/ RODENSTOCK HR Digaron-W 32mm f/4 lens earlier in that year, and I wanted to check out the gear in an environment it was meant for.... to see how good, it was. One of my first trips away to see customers was from Dunedin through the Maniototo then on to Wanaka  / Queenstown. It’s always a compromise when shooting is not the priority, not always easy weather, or the ideal light at the time, no opportunities for re-shoots, limited access to locations.... it’s truly from the road.

With these limitations, I decided to shoot for the widest possible tonal range and to use the quality of the files to work them hard later.... monochrome, dark and moody... forget the high country colours! If I was looking at these images next year, I might make them more dramatic.... burn them down some more....


Otago Central Hotel in Hyde got the last direct sunlight that day under a heavy overcast, the detail is fantastic and for these images plus the Ophir Bridge, the extreme wide-angle of the RODENSTOCK 32MM (Equivalent to 21mm in 35mm Format) was about right, but the other images were too far away to be ideal.

- 1/60thsec @ f/11 ISO80



Crop at 100%



A long and winding road to the Otago Central Hotel, Hyde on Hwy 87 - 1/30thsec @ f/11 ISO80



Crop at 100%



Twilight on Home Hills Runs Rd off Hwy 85.... it was bleak and lonely with an eerie silence - 1/4sec @ f/11 ISO80



Crop at 100%



First light of the morning, heavy frost.... a vista too far away.... this is a 5 shot panoramic image that was cropped down from 16600x14100 pixels.

Mount Buster Rd outside Naseby - 1/15thsec @ f/11 ISO80



Crop at 100%



Stone Cottage Ida Valley-Omakau Rd - 1/320thsec @ f/11 ISO80



Crop at 100%



Ophir Historic Bridge on Ophir Bridge Rd - 1/320thsec @ f/11 ISO80



Crop at 100%


This trip was the first time I'd used the Frame-Averaging mode.... only for 20secs, and it has begun to smooth the water..... another time much longer?


Crop at 100% - No Frame-Averaging



Crop at 100% - Frame-Averaging on - 1/320thsec @ f/11 ISO80 for 20secs



While it's tempting to use the huge head-room these 150MP files have to save a poor exposure, to recompose or crop, my preference is to capture it in-camera with the most information possible.... on this trip it wasn't always an option and that's the compromise we sometimes have to make.

I did enjoy the light weight and quality of this kit.... with a carbon-fibre tripod, tramping to the nearest fenceline was effortless.

Those attending the Rotorua workshop in October will have the opportunity to shoot with the PHASE ONE XT IQ4 150MP System. See you there!

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