PhaseOne's 100MP iXM is the ultimate eye in the sky for aerial photography

PhaseOne has announced what it's calling a "breakthrough" 100MP medium-format drone camera, the iXM 100MP. It's the first camera to feature Sony's new 100MP back-illuminated (BSI) sensor, with physical dimensions of 44 x 33mm.

The iXM will have an ISO range of 50-6400, a dynamic range of 83dB, and is capable of recording 14-bit raw images. Weighing in at 630g, it's weatherproof (IP53-compliant) and can operate in temperatures down to -10°C.

The iXM uses PhaseOne's RSM lens mount, with the company announcing four new lenses to coincide with the launch of the camera. These are the 35mm and 80mm fixed-focus lenses and 80mm and 150mm motorized focus lenses, with all lenses featuring no external moving parts. This means focusing distance can be predefined based on flight planning or using a wireless remote control.

Inspection and mapping

The iXM's main market will be commercial and industrial users. It's designed to be used for the close-up inspection of power lines, wind turbines, roads, bridges, and pipelines, reducing risk for those working in hazardous environments, while it promises to also increase the speed and precision of data collection.

With such a high-resolution sensor, the iXM also has its uses when it comes to mapping, helping users create highly-detailed 2D and 3D maps. 

Not surprisingly the PhaseOne iXM comes with a hefty price tag of $40,000, which is almost £30,000 or more than AU$50,000, while each lens will cost $10,000 (about £7,000 / AU$13,000). 

Phil Hall

Phil Hall is an experienced writer and editor having worked on some of the largest photography magazines in the UK, and now edit the photography channel of TechRadar, the UK's biggest tech website and one of the largest in the world. He has also worked on numerous commercial projects, including working with manufacturers like Nikon and Fujifilm on bespoke printed and online camera guides, as well as writing technique blogs and copy for the John Lewis Technology guide.