Medium format cameras, which are commonly used by professional photographers, feature larger image sensors than consumer DSLR cameras enabling them to record images at much higher levels of definition. The IQ180, IQ160, and IQ140 cameras offer 80, 60.5, and 40 megapixels (MP) resolutions, respectively, allowing users to capture images of extremely high quality and detail reproduction.
An 80 MP sensor generates a vast amount of photographic data – the typical image size is almost 500 Mbytes – and Phase One needed its new digital camera to process and stream the data through multiple channels at the same time. The company implemented a number of high-speed serial interfaces on the main board that enabled the captured image data to be sent to the main processor, Compact Flash memory card, USB 3.0 or IEEE1394 (FireWire) ports simultaneously. This means, for example, that images can be viewed immediately after shooting on a tethered computer, allowing the photographer or client to quickly evaluate success and instigate any changes necessary.
Phase One evaluated a number of processors before embarking on the IQ series development and chose an ARM Cortex-A8 core as its main system processor. In conjunction with this, other ARM and dedicated slave processors are used to handle, for example, camera timing functions, the touch screen display and sensor data unloading.
According to Søren Ilsøe, software architect, Phase One, “Green Hills Software was able to support the processors faster than any other vendor and made their compiler and MULTI IDE available to us at an early stage. This allowed us to conduct a real evaluation of the hardware and simplified our selection process.” He continued, “Once the project started, our experience was that the MULTI toolchain and interconnect via the Green Hills Probe performed exactly as described. Green Hills is a very professional partner and its technical team supported us in a smooth and efficient manner, allowing us to concentrate on delivering our application on schedule.”
Christopher Smith, vice president marketing, Green Hills Software, commented, “The creativity shown by Phase One’s customers is mirrored in its own products, achieving exceptional quality and performance matched with groundbreaking ergonomics. Green Hills Software supports companies that need security, reliability and performance in their applications and we are pleased to have contributed in bringing a product as impressive as the IQ series digital camera to market.”