The Industrial division at Phase One has revealed an 80 megapixel medium format drone camera that's claimed to be the world's smallest. The Phase One iXU 180 is aimed at gyro-copter and ultralight enterprise users such as aerial mappers, coastal surveillance and arctic researchers rather than your average quadcopter enthusiast and features a block body that's not much wider than the lens it accommodates.
Though Phase One started to embrace CMOS sensors for its medium format camera backs in early 2014, its Industrial arm has elected to run with a large 53.7 x 40.4 mm CCD sensor for its new iXU 180, which offers 10,328 x 7,760 pixels at 5.2 microns per pixel. As such, aerial photographers may need to keep a weather eye on available lighting conditions given the drone camera's ISO sensitivity range of 35 - 800.
Before take-off, pilots will need to select one of six fast-sync Schneider-Kreuznach lenses to pop on the front, which all feature an electronically-controlled central leaf shutter for speeds of up to 1/1600 sec and synchronized shutter release for multiple camera setups.
The 97.4 x 93 x 110 mm (3.8 x 3.7 x 4.3 in), 925 g (2 lb) iXU 180 drone camera can capture images in RAW, JPEG and TIFF output formats, which are saved to CompactFlash media card, has integrated GPS and offers USB 3.0, RS232 serial comms, secured power input and camera trigger interfaces. It's reported capable of operating in temperatures from -10 to 40° C (14 - 104° F) and won't break into a sweat in conditions of up to 80 percent humidity.
"The Phase One iXU 180 is valuable as a standalone camera and also can be used to build powerful arrays for oblique camera systems at a very reasonable price," said the company's Dov Kalinski.
Phase One Industrial told us that the camera body is priced at US$60,000 (lenses are extra), meaning drone crashes could prove very costly indeed. It will be offered with or without an IR filter, and TDI-controlled forward motion compensation is also available as an option. The iXU 180 is set to ship by the middle of next month.
Product page: iXU 180