Based on customer feedback, the 200 megapixel XPhase Pro (reviewed here) hardware is being upgraded with new features, but the price will also increase. Here are some of the improvements:
– Raw DNG output mode: one of the most commonly requested features for the XPhase is the addition of a Raw DNG mode, and XPhase has listened. If this is a true Raw DNG mode (and not just a container for JPG), we should see better dynamic range and greater flexibility in postprocessing, but in addition, it will likely be possible to use it with Kandao Raw+ image stacking software, which will improve image quality even further.
– Manual exposure: the current XPhase Pro has no manual exposure and only has exposure compensation. The upgraded version will have manual exposure (ISO and shutter speed).
– Better lens consistency: my review unit had one or more lenses that were back focused. The upgraded version will have better lens consistency, according to XPhase.
– 6-shot HDR (now confirmed): the HDR will be expanded from 3 shots to 6 shots, for even wider dynamic range.
To make these improvements possible, the XPhase Pro price is increasing from $699 to $879 ($180 increase). However, orders before July 22 will be automatically upgraded to the new version. Please note again that this is a hardware update. My prerelease version can have some of the new features, but not others such as the lens consistency, the 6-shot HDR, or the Raw mode.
At $879, the new version of XPhase Pro is still the highest resolution 360 camera and at least on paper, it is still a bargain compared to the Ricoh Theta Z1 (24mp, $999), Ultracker Aleta S2C (66mp, $1210), and Panono (108mp, $2099). BTW, you can get a free additional XPhase storage from 32GB to 128GB – just use my affiliate link. Meanwhile, I will try to get the upgraded XPhase Pro to compare it against the original version, and to other 360 cameras.
What do you think? Are these improvements worth the price increase? Let me know in the comments!