The news hit last Friday morning: After Hasselblad made a similar announcement earlier in the week (albeit with no specific details), Phase One announced the IQ 250. The first digital back with CMOS sensor.
That morning I also got an email from my dealer in Toronto, B3K Digital, saying that they would do their best to get me one for testing as soon as possible.
When I was reading over the specs, I was obvioulsy drawn to this new back's long exposure capabilities. In contrast to the IQ 260, the IQ 250 will not require a special long exposure mode and the ISO will stay at 100 as well.
Note though that dark frame noise reduction is still required and not optional (so you got to be patient).
It is this long exposure capability that I am most eager to test.
CMOS sensors have been used in nearly all high-end DSLR's of the last 2 years, and seeing this technology 'arrive' in digital backs is very exciting. I think Phase One deserves much credit for bringing this new technology to their platform.
With the CMOS sensor comes the ability to offer, for the first time, an expanded ISO range up to 6400 (without sensor + mode of earlier backs). Being a landscape and architectural photographer, an increased ISO range is much less important to me (compared to if I was an event / wedding photographer).
What is important to me, however, is the ability to use technical cameras with the IQ 250, such as my Cambo WDS, and I'll be waiting for test results (or hopefully will be able to do my own testing once I receive a unit) to confirm whether the micro lenses on this back result in less than desirable results.
When I look at forums discussing this new back, such as this thread on getdpi, a lot of people seem to have a lot of negative feelings about this new back. As mentioned above, I do belief that Phase One deserves much praise for bringing us this new technology. Yes it may not be perfect yet, and it certainly isn't for everyone, but this is a very important step in the evolution of medium format backs.
To me, I have to be working with a camera and test it thoroughly, before I know if it is for me. There is no camera out there today that can handle every shooting situation, so what I do is to define a set of priorities. On top of that list is image quality (including 'elasticity' of the file in post production), followed by long exposure capability, and ability to be used with technical cameras.
Once I got an IQ 250 in my hands, I will be reporting on all of these capabilities.