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medium format digital camera systems


  • most medium format digital cameras are cropped sensors, smaller than a 6×4.5 film size, thus wide angle shots become problematic.
  • apart from the Leica S, the diagonal is commonly 1.7x that of 35mm full frame which in effect a gives these cameras a 0.79x crop factor
  • the traditional medium format cameras are SLR cameras with mirrors and have removable digital backs containing the sensor which allows one to upgrade the sensor by buying a new digital back
  • the new systems of Fujifilm GF medium format mirrorless digital and Hasselblad X series medium format mirrorless cameras have sensors built-in to the camera and are mirrorless

Leica S super-full frame system:

  • announced Sept 2008
  • based on 30x45mm 3:2 aspect ratio sensor which is 56% larger than 35mm full frame
  • multiply lens focal length by 0.8 to get the 35mm equivalent field of view
  • new series of weatherproofed S lenses and CS lenses with AF and fulltime MF optimised for the sensor including:
    • 24mm ultrawide, 35mm f/2.5 wide, 70mm f/2.5 standard, 100mm short tele, 120mm f/2.5 macro, 180mm telephoto, and 30mm tilt-and-shift (not AF)
    • have either 72mm (120mm & 180mm lenses) or 82mm (35mm & 70mm lenses) filter threads
  • Leica S2:
    • 16bit, 37.5mp, 6 micron photosites, 1.5 fps x 8 RAW DNG, ISO 80-1250, 1.4kg body
    • 460,000 dot LCD, in-camera jpegs (most medium format do dot have this option)
    • single central cross-hair AF sensor point, lenses have full time MF
    • HSS flash to 1/4000th sec; 96% viewfinder coverage
    • A special micro-lens pattern allows complete capture of angled light rays on the image periphery for optimal use of available light.
    • no anti-alias filter for higher resolution while Moiré effects are detected and eliminated by the camera's internal signal processing, thus taking full advantage of the system's high-resolution lenses.
    • Metz SCA-3002 interface
    • dual shutter system: 
      • in-body metal focal plane shutter for fast lenses - flash sync 1/125th sec
      • in-lens leaf shutters (the CS lenses) for high flash sync speeds to 1/500th sec

cameras designed for high end digital backs:

Hasselblad H series digital

    • H3D closed system: newer AF cameras; requires a CF adapter to allow C-type lenses designed for V-series to be used.

Mamiya / Phase One system

Mamiya 645DF

  • $5990 for body only without digital back
  • dual shutter system allows you to choose between the integral focal plane shutter and the leaf shutter when using one of the 3 leaf lenses (the Sekor AF 55mm f/2.8 LS D, Sekor AF 80mm f/2.8 LS D, and the Sekor AF 110mm f/2.8 LS D)
  • aperture-priority AE, shutter-priority AE, programmed AE (PH, PL setting possible), and manual TTL metering, center-weighted average (AV), spot (S), and variable ratio (A-S auto) exposure modes, auto-bracketing, and it uses the TTL phase difference detection method for autofocus

Mamiya Leaf Credo range of digital backs

  • announced April 2012
  • work seamlessly with the Mamiya 645DF camera - which offers shutter speeds up to 1/4000 of a second and sync speeds of up to 1/1600 of a second with Schneider-Kreuznach designed Leaf shutter lenses
  • open platform philosophy enables compatibility with other medium format camera bodies, such as:
    • Mamiya 645DF, 645AFDIII, RZ (all types), RB
    • Phase One 645DF, 645AF, iXR
    • Hasselblad - Hasselblad H1 and H2 only
    • Contax 645AF
    • ALPA, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Horseman, Linhof, Rollei X-Act 2, Sinar, Toyo and other 4×5” & 6×9 via Leaf Graflok or 3rd party adapter
    • Bronica ETRSi/ SQA/ SQAi, Fuji GX680I/II via 3rd party adapter
  • optimized for shooting with Capture One software
  • large, high resolution (1.15 megapixel), multi-touch screen with excellent rendition of 16 million colors for quick and easy verification of focus and tonal accuracy
  • fast, new dual-core microprocessor enables powerful performance for the fastest available image viewing, focusing and editing
  • new, intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) offers easy navigation and extends the touch screen beyond the LCD area – letting you navigate and click outside the image area
  • FireWire 800 and USB 3.0 support delivers fastest image transfer speeds
  • 1/10,000th sec shortest shutter to 60sec exposure (120sec on Credo 80)
  • 16bit color depth with 12.5 f-stops dynamic range
  • CF storage
  • Li-ion battery
  • Leaf Credo 80
    • 80mp CCD sensor 53.7 x 40.4 mm (645 full frame) at 5.2 micron photosites with ISO 35-800 at up to 0.7fps, $38,995
  • Leaf Credo 60
    • 60mp CCD sensor 53.0 x 40.4 mm (645 full frame) at 6 micron photosites with ISO 50-800 at up to 1fps, $32,495
  • Leaf Credo 40
    • 40mp CCD sensor 43.9 x 32.9 mm (1.3 crop factor for 645) at 6 micron photosites with ISO 50-800 at up to 1.2fps, $19,495

Sinar / Leaf / Rollei Hy6 system

  • discontinued Sinar / Leaf / Rollei Hy6 system:
    • 6×6 (56mm square) camera
    • uses Rollei lens mount so MF & AF lenses for the Rollei 6008 will fit.
    • Leaf AFi-II cameras and digital backs:
      • introduced late 2008
      • 1fps, 16bit, ISO 50-800, 3.5“ LCD with touch screen 90deg tilting LCD (on versions 7, 10), weigh ~2kg each.
      • 12 f stop dynamic range;
      • file sizes: 112Mb (MOS), 78Mb (compressed MOS), 345Mb 16bit TIFF, 172Mb 8bit RGB.
      • Aptus II digital backs (600g each, CF card storage):
        • version 6 = 28mp 44x33mm sensor 
        • version 7 = 33mp 48x36mm sensor
        • version 10 = 56mp 56x36mm sensor, version 10R has rotatable sensor €24,995 in 2010
    • Update: May 2017 seems DW Photo of Braunschweig, Germany is trying to resurrect the Hy6 mod 2 camera


    • Alpa 12 SWA (shift wide angle):
      • built in shift (up to 25mm) for wide angle photography with digital backs or film backs - RRP $US11000 excl. dig. back.


  • Linhof  M679cs:
    • a medium format view camera designed for 6×9 images on 120/220 film but also designed to take 645 digital backs.
    • being a view camera and able to utilise the new large format lenses designed for digital which have the large image circle to allow for lens shift/tilt while having a superior resolution which better matches the high end digital backs makes this camera potentially the best future-proof for very high end digital photography requiring shift/tilt lenses.
    • for a 21mm equivalent wide angle view, the Rodenstock HR 35mm f/5 Apo-Sironar matches well.
    • HR lenses are actually specified by Rodenstock as surpassing the resolution capabilities of digital sensors with pixel dimensions down to 5 microns, but as they have a reduced image circle of 70mm (cw 150mm on non-HR lenses), there is limited rise/shift available.
    • a used Hasselblad A12 magazine and a V series adaptor plate is all that's needed to turn the 679cs into a backup film camera.
  • Seitz 6×17 digital (2007):
  • Seitz Roundshot D3 (2007):
  • Hartblei CAM (late 2009):
    • allows use of almost any medium format digital or film back
    • allows use of almost any medium format lens or 35mm lens with adequate image circle including Canon EF and Nikon F
    • live preview or direct optical prism viewfinder or external hotshoe-mounted finder
    • built-in shutter


    • Rolleiflex 6008AF (2005):
      • 6×6 camera with Phase One db20p 16mpixel digital back $US16,000; 1.5kg without lens
      • compatible with Rollei 6000 lenses 


  • Pentax 645 digital (late 2006):
    • 18.8mpixel; 9x9um pitch; ?45x34mm sensor (1.3x crop of 645 lens)


  • Silvestri adapters but will cost 650 Euro for the SQ version which essentially converts the camera back to Hasselblad V digital back compatibility
  • Kapture Group used to sell an adapter that allows digital backs designed for Hasselblad V-series to be used but the adaptors cost $US895/$A1700 (2005) and require use of a one shot cable release $US395 with certain backs.
    • the adapter plate is different for ETRS vs SQ series cameras!
    • there are potential issues with soft focus due to the adapter.

Fuji GX 680

  • Kapture Group sell an adapter that allows digital backs designed for Hasselblad V-series to be used. In addition they sell an adapter to allow stitching of 2 digital images.
  • allows use of digital backs designed for either Hasselblad V-series or Mamiya AFD
  • allows use of 35mm lens from either Nikon, Canon FD, Olympus OM or Leica R via adapters.
  • Integrated Copal #3 shutter.
  • Built in viewfinder adapter is designed to accept Hasselblad viewfinders.
  • $US2995 (2005)


    • view camera which accepts digital backs designed for Hasselblad V
    • bellows system that allows:
      • various lenses be used:
        • Large-format camera lenses (with focal lengths of 90mm and up)
        • Horseman VCC lens unit (80, 105, 135mm)
        • Interchangeable lenses with Hasselblad V-system mounts
        • Mamiya 645/67*1 lenses
        • Asahi Pentax 645/67 lenses
      • various cameras or backs:
        • Canon or Nikon DSLR
        • digital backs via an adapter
        • 4”x5“ sheet film and via adapter, 6×7, 6×9, and 6×12 film
photo/mediumformatdigital.txt · Last modified: 2019/05/23 20:38 by gary1

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