Forgetting those prices for a moment—and hoping that Moore’s Law drives them down in a hurry—in what ways does a CMOS sensor really benefit medium-format photographers? For one thing, it handles more tasks than a CCD. A CMOS chip converts the analog electrical information that comprises a photograph into digital form (A-to-D) before that data even leaves the chip, while a CCD must send analog information to a separate processor for conversion. And, unlike a CCD, a CMOS image sensor makes initial autofocus calculations onboard. When it does send data elsewhere, a CMOS chip has more pathways along which to dispatch electrons. These abilities allow a CMOS chip to speed up the camera, affording a faster framing rate and nimbler autofocus, much-needed improvements with still-sluggish medium-format digital. (CMOS, along with ever-faster image-processing engines, has endowed smaller cameras with flashy features such as “sweep” panorama and in-camera HDR.) In the Phase One IQ250, the CMOS chip doubles shooting speed, though at 2 frames per second rather than the previous 1 fps or less, photographers probably won’t be shooting sports anytime soon with medium-format digital.