Is Phase One Releasing a New Mirrorless Medium Format Camera? Not Really (UPDATED)

(UPDATE to this story with a respone from Phase One at the bottom of this post.)

In case you’ve seen some of the afternoon hubbub about how vaunted medium format manufacturer Phase One has gotten into mirrorless camera game with something called the A-Series, take a deep breath. As Stan Horaczek at Pop Photo wisely points out, this new Phase One A-Series appears just to be a packaging of the Danish company’s current medium format digital camera backs with a piece of gear from Alpa called the Travel Compact body, along with a Rodenstock lens.

The combination creates a sort of medium format, Alpa, Rodenstock mirrorless mash-up. To view your subject and compose a photo you need to mount an optional reticle viewfinder on top. There's also a way to mount an iPhone on top, which would let you get a live feed of what you're shooting via an app. It all seems a bit unartful but would probably get the job done.

Digital Transitions, a photo distributor for Phase One, posted the “news” about this re-package combo product on its website earlier today, apparently jumping on the gun on something that was supposed to be officially announced next month.

Digital Transitions posted images and graphics of the A-Series on its website with the graphic and details, as they are, below.

As we said, there’s a lot of confusion over this Phase One-Alpa product, and we’ll share more details as we dig them up.

But for anyone thinking Phase One is coming out with a mirrorless camera to take on Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and all the rest, think again. This is clearly an expensive, specialty product with a limited audience.

UPDATE: Phase One responded to the mix-up over this forthcoming product with an emailed letter about the A-Series. In the letter, Phase One says it regrets “any confusion,” while noting that “the photo was of an internal prototype and not the finished product” and that “official images and more details will soon be on the way.”

Here is the rest of Phase One’s letter about the A-Series.

“These new products are the first step in a long-term strategic & cooperative alliance between Phase One and ALPA that was announced at Photokina. Developing premium products for the world’s most demanding fine art photographers is our focus, and the A-series by Phase One and ALPA is taking the first steps in a creative new direction to integrate some of the highest performing and proven products -- across lenses, bodies, digital backs and software -- to make them easier and even more fun to use.

Below are the key highlights:
1 -- As noted, the A-series will be available in three versions: A250, A260 and A280 with 50MP, 60MP and 80MP respectively.
2 -- Each system will be individually configured with pre-loaded lens calibrations for Rodenstock ALPA 23mm, 35mm and 70mm lenses, making it easy to shoot great looking images out of the box.
3 -- Factory shimmed system marked with A-series badges on both body and back.
4 -- All systems will come with the required accessories -- including some new elements made specifically for this system, e.g. flexible lens shades, iPhone holder and new release cable.
5 -- A 5-year warranty on the system.
6 -- A special note on wifi: Phase One IQ250 camera systems have recently started supporting liveview over wi-fi using Capture Pilot 1.7 (which is already available for download to all IQ250 users). Liveview over wi-fi will also be a cool new feature for the CMOS based A250 using an upcoming 1.8 release.

Thanks for the patience. In December we will share even more details on the new systems including the new factory lens calibration feature, accessories, detailed tech specs, product images, pricing and even better, they will begin shipping!”