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Medium format rumours, Canon & others

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Canon Medium Format – new entries to medium format photography

Canon (and others) to move into digital medium format cameras?


Musings on where next after a 35mm full frame digital SLR. Includes other general digital medium format information and news

A new collection of lenses and cameras at the top of the Canon range? …or maybe Nikon, Samsung or Sony will beat them to it?

The image to the right is a Canon concept camera from Colani (it stirred the rumours in 2007)

This page goes back to 2013. Older info is on the Medium format archive page 2006-12

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MF Canon

Latest medium format news, speculation and rumours

2016 November

15th Hasselblad are considering a macro XCD lens for the X1D next year [MR]
The X1D is due to start shipping by the end if this year.

2nd Sony are not in a hurry to move to medium format [Sar]

October

7th A longer Fuji interview [DPR]
4th Interesting overview of just what you can do with a large 100MP sensor in the IQ3 [DPR]

Just a few of the concens that will come with putting a 200MP sensor into a 5 series body (5Ds mk3 ? ;-)
And yes I might then start using a tripod a bit more often…

September

23rd An interview with Fuji about the GFX [DPR]

Much as expected, I’ve had received several ‘comments’ about Canon and MF – nothing of any consequence I’m afraid.

Whilst it’s true that Canon have looked at MF several times in the past, the limited size of the MF market doesn’t really fit with Canon’s desire to make products that turn a profit.
The fact that at Photokina Canon are showing a 5Ds body with a 120MP APS-H (~200MP FF) in it shows where they see future developments.

21st More info appearing about the GFX – see also pictures of the camera at DPR

Sensor is similar to the (Sony) one of the Hasselblad X1D – further development by Fuji
Shipping version will probably have an electronic shutter
Full-HD with 30 fps
Contrast Detection AF works well. Best with lenses with Linear Motor
Only the GF32-64mmF4 zoom lens has the linear motor
700 ms between shots
EVF: 3.69 megadots, 0.85x ~60 fps
Tethering support
RGB colour histogram for LV.
Range of adapters to connect third-party lenses to the GFX 50S, including leaf shutter lenses for studio and flash work.

20th Phase One announce the IQ1 100MP digital back [PhaseOne]
Two new blue ring lenses as well, the Schneider Kreuznach 45mm f/3.5 and Schneider Kreuznach 150mm f/2.8 IF
19th The Fuji MF mirrorless system is announced at Photokina (for 2017)
Here’s the press info with some photos…
PDF brochure for the GFX

FUJIFILM ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT OF NEW MEDIUM FORMAT “GFX” MIRRORLESS CAMERA SYSTEM
FUJIFILM GFX 50S will give professional photographers the most extraordinary image quality in the history of Fujifilm.

Valhalla, N.Y., September 19, 2016 – In response to unprecedented interest from professional photographers, FUJIFILM North America Corporation today announces the development of the new medium format FUJIFILM GFX mirrorless digital camera system that will deliver unmatched and exceptional image quality. The innovative GFX system will reach a new Fujifilm photographic standard, and support its ongoing commitment to providing the total imaging solution for photographers.

FUJIFILM GFX 50S side view

Photographic Excellence and Innovation

Over the course of its proud history that extends over 80 years, Fujifilm has developed

and manufactured photographic films with advanced image resolution, outstanding

color reproduction and tonal qualities to meet the needs of professional photographers as well as photo enthusiasts. Fujifilm offers an extensive range of professional cameras under the consistent philosophy that “a camera is a tool for capturing your creative vision,” and high quality FUJINON lenses are an indispensable part of that commitment. All of the technologies and expertise of Fujifilm have been amassed to develop the new GFX, which uses a medium-format sensor to achieve the highest level of image quality and a completely new type of mirrorless system, and its companion FUJINON GF lenses.

FUJIFILM GFX 50S front view

FUJIFILM GFX 50S

The FUJIFILM GFX 50S mirrorless digital camera will feature the new FUJIFILM G Format 43.8 x 32.9mm sensor with an astonishing 51.4MP resolution and six FUJINON GF Lenses that will be introduced sequentially in early 2017.

FUJIFILM GFX 50S 'G' mount

Professional-use Mirrorless Camera System

As a long-term manufacturer of photographic films and medium-format film cameras,

Fujifilm was always aware of the impact that different formats have on photographic expressions. Using a larger format gives an ultimate enhancement to a camera’s ability to capture “texture,” “depth” and “dimension,” which cannot be attained even by substantially increasing the sensor’s pixel count.

Since the launch of the X Series, an increasing number of professional photographers

and photo enthusiasts expressed their desire to achieve the ultimate photographic expression with the X Series’ signature color reproduction. The GFX camera system with the G Format is Fujifilm’s response to their requests.

The FUJIFILM GFX 50S 51.4MP sensor can be adapted to various aspect

ratios, including 4:3 (default), 3:2, 1:1, 4:5, 6:7 and 6:17, which were available in large and medium format film cameras. The GFX 50S will use the high-performance “X-Processor Pro” imaging processor to provide Fujifilm’s outstanding color and tone reproduction at an extremely high level. The result is the ultimate capability in photographic expressions that only Fujifilm can deliver thanks to its extensive knowledge in film and medium-format cameras.

Revolutionary Design Concept

The FUJIFILM GFX 50S revolutionizes the concept of medium-format cameras, and compared to conventional medium-format digital SLR cameras, the GFX is lighter in weight, and achieves a far more compact form factor.

FUJIFILM GFX 50S with EVF and grip

With regards to functionality, the camera follows in the footsteps of the X Series by featuring numerous physical buttons and dials, and is designed with an ergonomic grip, shaped carefully and optimized for the camera body and lenses.

The FUJIFILM GFX 50S will feature a detachable electronic viewfinder, which users can remove when using an external monitor or wanting to make the system even lighter. In addition, an optional adapter makes it possible to fit the EVF at any angle, giving greater freedom in thechoice of shooting angle. Other optional accessories that will be available at launch include the Vertical Battery Grip, which enhances functionality when shooting in the portrait orientation. The camera also supports tethered shooting, which has become an essential part of the professional photographers’ workflow, and will be compatible with various RAW conversion application software.

FUJIFILM GFX 50S EVF unit

Newly-developed FUJINON Lenses

The FUJIFILM GFX 50S will use newly-designed FUJINON lenses with a new lens mount for highest performance and image quality.

A new lineup of FUJINON GF lenses, designed specifically for the GFX, supports the new G Mount. Taking advantage of the mirrorless system’s structure, the G Mount has the short flange back distance of just 26.7mm to shorten the back focus distance as much as possible. This prevents vignetting to achieve edge-to-edge sharpness of the world’s highest level.

The initial lineup will include the following six FUJINON lenses:

Standard prime “GF63mmF2.8 R WR” (equivalent to 50mm in the 35mm format)
Wide-angle standard zoom “GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR” (equivalent to 25-51mm in 35mm format)
Mid-telephoto macro 1:0.5 “GF120mmF4 Macro R LM OIS WR” (equivalent to 95mm in 35mm format)
Fast aperture mid-telephoto “GF110mmF2 R LM WR” (equivalent to 87mm in 35mm format)
Ultra-wide “GF23mmF4 R LM WR” (equivalent to 18mm in 35mm format)
Wide “GF45mmF2.8 R WR” (equivalent to 35mm in 35mm format)

63mm f2.8 lens

32-64mm f4 zoom lens

120mm f4 macro lens

110mm f2 lens

23mm f4 lens

45mm f2.8 lens

Additional Features

The new FUJINON lenses will feature an aperture ring, a popular feature in the X Series, and have a new C (Command) Position on the ring to enable aperture adjustments with the Command Dial on the camera body. Each lens will be dust and weather resistant, built to withstand operation at temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit \ -10 degrees Celsius allowing photographers to take them outdoors with confidence in challenging weather conditions.

FUJIFILM GFX 50S Key Features:

51.4MP Medium Format 43.8 x 32.9mm sensor for superior sharpness and image quality for all professional photographers
Can be adapted to various aspect ratios, including 4:3 (default), 3:2, 1:1, 4:5, 6:7 and 6:17
FUJIFILM “G Mount” with short flange back distance of just 26.7mm
“X-Processor Pro” imaging processor
Detachable electronic viewfinder
Weather and dust resistant; operates as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit \ -10 degrees Celsius

Availability and Pricing

The new FUJIFILM GFX system will be available in early 2017 in the U.S. with pricing to be announced at a later date.

* Design and specifications may be subject to change without notice.


2016 September 

17th A suggestion that the new Fuji MF camera may have an interchangeable viewfinder [FR]
2nd Looks as if Fuji might be announcing their MF system at a press conference on the 19th – or some other stuff ;-)

August

29th Updated comments relating to an MF system from Fuji, suggest that any camera will be launched with one zoom and two primes.
50MP and available in 2017
[FR]

It’s been a while since Sony and MF were mentioned, apart from their sensors.

There’s a suggestion that a Sony MF camera will appear [saR]

“Sony will introduce a Camera utilizing the IMX161 Image sensor soon. This Sensor has 50 MPixel on an area of 44x33mm (Middle format). Details still are a bit fuzzy but will be revealed soon
So resolution and low light performance will be even better than on the A7R2”

Unless it’s a fixed lens camera, pitched well up market, I can’t see Sony managing another mount and range of lenses.
I’d note that mentions of Sony and medium formay on this page go back to 2007 ;-)

July

21st Fuji is working well to keep MF rumours going…
A suggestion that it will be a DSLR style camera [FR]

June

27th Several sites have ‘interviews’ with Hasselblad about the X1D.
A good collection of them assembled at PR
25th The X1D announcement has prompted the usually quiet digital MF rumours world into action again
A Fuji MF solution and three lenses is suggested [FR] – note that much of this goes back to comments in January this year (below)
22nd Hasselblad announce X1D MF mirrorless:
Press info [HB X1D]

Hasselblad is proud to introduce the groundbreaking X1D – weighing less than half that of a conventional digital medium format camera, the mirrorless 50MP camera is a game changer in the world of photography.

Inspired by the brand’s iconic design heritage, the camera is ergonomic and compact, offering a handling experience unlike any other. Handmade in Sweden, the X1D combines Scandinavian sensibility with beautiful performance.

Like the iconic V System, the X1D seamlessly combines portability with excellent optical quality for which the brand is renowned. Hasselblad has ingeniously introduced mirrorless technology to digital medium format for the first time ever, creating a precision performance camera that can sit in the palm of your hand. The 50MP CMOS sensor captures the finest details with true natural colours.

Commenting on the announcement Perry Oosting, Hasselblad CEO noted: “The X1D marks a pivotal point in Hasselblad’s rich 75-year history. This camera makes medium format photography available to a new generation of Hasselblad users, while pushing the existing limits of photography to new heights.”

A completely new family of dedicated autofocus lenses has been developed to support optical quality and portability, offering a wide range of shutter speeds and full flash synchronisation up to 1/2000th second.

Weighing just 725g and including HD video, Wi-Fi and built-in GPS, the X1D is a trusted partner and ideal travel companion. The robust exterior is dust and weather proof, providing durability to take with you wherever you go.

The X1D has been created with passionate photographers in mind, opening up Hasselblad to a new generation of creatives. Ideal for those who want to create the highest quality medium format images with a straightforward and easy to use camera that can fit in the palm of your hand.

The Hasselblad X1D is priced at 7,900 EUR / 8,995 USD / 5,990 GBP
Prices stated are exclusive of VAT

Hasselblad X1D

All new lens mount, accepting XCD lenses.

Two announced at launch: 45mm/3.5 and a 90/F4.5. More on the way, including a 30mm

An H lens adapter will extend support to Hasselblad’s existing H lens system.

Specs include a 3″ 920k-dot touchscreen and XGA EVF. Wi-Fi and GPS are built-in, with dual SD card slots.

Body with battery weighs 725g

The X1D will come in at $8995/£5990/€7900 for body-only.

A kit with 45mm F3.5 lens will cost $11,290, and bundled with both lenses the X1D will cost $13,985.

The XCD 45mm F3.5 will set you back $2,295 and the XCD 90mm F4.5 $2695.

Delivery? … August.

Price
MSRP$8995/£5990/€7900
Body type
Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless
Sensor
Max resolution8272 x 6200
Image ratio w:h4:3
Effective pixels51 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors53 megapixels
Sensor sizeMedium format (44 x 33 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
Color spacesRGB, AdobeRGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW + TIFF
File formatJPEG (Exif v2.3)
Raw (3FR format)
TIFF
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)
Multi-area
Center
Selective single-point
Tracking
Single
Continuous
Touch
Face Detection
Live View
Manual focusYes
Focal length multiplier0.8×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3″
Screen dots920,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder resolution2,360,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed60 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/2000 sec
Exposure modesProgram
Aperture priority
Shutter priority
Manual
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (Nikon compatible)
Flash X sync speed1/2000 sec
Continuous drive2.3 fps
Self-timerYes
Metering modesMulti
Center-weighted
Spot
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (30p, 25p)
FormatH.264
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesDual SD/SDHC/SDXC slots
Connectivity
USBUSB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
HDMIYes (mini-HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n/ac
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery description3200 mAh li-ion battery
Weight (inc. batteries)725 g (1.60 lb / 25.57 oz)
Dimensions150 x 98 x 71 mm (5.92 x 3.86 x 2.81″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
GPSBuiltIn

18th It would seem that Hasselblad are announcing a ‘mirrorless’ camera using the Sony 50MP sensor next week, on the 22nd. The new camera will supposedly be compatible with existing Hasselblad medium format lenses. No real info other than a small detail of a shot of the camera. [PR] [MT]

May

12th At B&H, the original 40MP Pentax 645D is listed as discontinued.

That would be the one first appearing on this page in Feb 2007 at 31MP, even if it took until March 2010 to become a 40MP reality. The very first Pentax 645 Mockup at a show appeared all the way back in 2005

It’s quite likely that Sony’s 100MP sensor chip will appear in the next 645 later this year.
9th “Don’t expect Canon MF any time soon.”
With direct reference to potential Sony and Fuji MF camera talk of late, a note [thanks] from someone I’ve not heard from for a few years, say that whilst Canon has produced MF (and larger) versions of some of its sensor designs that exceed 250MP, they are test and engineering samples only, and that there is currently no MF system development team.
The ‘official’ line is that there is still plenty of development mileage in 35mm sensors and lenses, and that the size of the MF market just isn’t likely to be profitable.

My take from the note was that Canon is still following much of what was said in 2014 – see this translation at the time, of some senior management Canon comments at DPR 
The interview obviously presaged the 5Ds – next up … ‘full size mirrorless’?

6th With Sony making the big 100MP MF chip, are the finally going to bring something out a camera to use it?
A report that might suggest a Sony Mirrorless MF camera for Photokina [Sar]

Both Sony and Canon have said they ‘don’t rule out’ MF cameras [Dec 2014] and suggestions of Sony making some entry into ‘MF’ (often at Photokina) occur regularly in the 10 year history of this page (the longest running contiguous rumour page on the site)

April

8th further info from HB suggests a more portable MF solution may be coming – see the interview with its CEO [EPZ]
7th The H6D is announced, with 50 and 100MP sensors [HB]
“The H6D range introduces the H6D-100c with CMOS sensor, a 100MP option and the H6D-50c with a 50MP CMOS sensor. A wider range of shutter speeds from 60 minutes to 1/2000th of a second, increased ISO range and a faster shooting rate along with USB 3.0 Type-C connector that delivers exceptionally fast file transfer. The H lens range is fully compatible and, with the choice of a faster shutter speed, can be further leveraged than with previous ranges.
The H6D-100c brings 4K video capability to medium format. The high-definition rear touchscreen LCD delivers a pin sharp live view experience and Wi-Fi as standard, a HDMI connector, for external monitor connectivity, completes the tool set.
Built-in dual card slots allow enhanced media capability; a CFast slot allows for high-speed capture and an SD card slot enables maximum compatibility. The all new platform is capable of handling the largest file throughput with speed and ease using optimised algorithms for matchless quality les.
Hasselblad’s image processing software, Phocus, has been enhanced with the new 3.0 version delivering additional features that allow you to apply local adjustments in the image and a new graphical interface that improves work flow and user experience.”

H6D-100c

Latest Medium Format news and rumours

2016 April

4th A Hasselblad event is organised in Berlin for the 15th. Time for something using Sony’s 100MP sensor? [PR]

March

30th Hasselbling no more? It seems that the new CEO is determined to bring forward new products, from Sweden, and no more rebadged Sony cameras [TM]

Hopefully an interesting Photokina.

January

25th The Fuji interview seems to have moved the prospects of a Fuji MF camera up into the ‘definite rumour’ category… [FR] Something for Photokina?

16th Fuji are thinking of going into the digital MF market [BjP p2 half way down]

““At the moment Fuji is not planning to launch a medium format camera, but we are conducting research and testing sensors in this area. We have a good history in the medium format market, and I think we would be successful again. We have the technology to make a very modern and high quality camera, but right now we are only investigating.” Ueno agreed that now would be a very good time for Fuji to enter the market, but it seems that not everyone in the company is quite as convinced.”

3rd Phase One decide it’s time to move to 100MP with the XF100MP

Sensor is described as ‘full frame’ medium format and developed with Sony

“Phase One and Sony have been development partners for years, the 50MP sensor being the first milestone of our cooperation, now found in the XF IQ3 50MP. Creating the full frame sibling to the 50MP CMOS system has been a top priority of Phase One for years. We’re proud to now deliver a solution that achieves the image quality requirements Phase One customers expect, all while providing the performance advantages inherent to 100MP CMOS sensor technology. Phase One sensor experts have been working hard to optimize the complete use of the 100MP sensor for the worlds most demanding photographers.”

Of course, ‘full frame’ is a somewhat more nebulous term in medium format land –

This one is 53.7mm x 40.4mm and gives 11608 x 8708 resolution – not quite 645

Sensors sizes…

CategoriesFormatFrame size (mm)Image circle (mm)
1/1.7″7.6 x 5.79.2
2/3″8.8 x 6.611
1″12.8 x 9.616
4/3″17.3 x 1321
APS-C (Canon)~22.2 x ~14.826
APS-C (Nikon/Sony)~23.6 x ~15.728
35mm36 x 2443
Medium FormatLeica S45 x 3054
Pentax 645D44 x 3355
Kodak KAF 39000 CCD49 x 3761
Leaf AFi 1056 x 3667
H5D54 x 4067
Phase One P 65+, IQ160, IQ18054 x 4067
64556 x 41.570
6×656 x 5679
6×756 x 7089
6×856 x 7795
6×1256 x 118130
Large Format4″x5″102 x 127163
– typical exposed area~94 x 120~153
10″x8″252 x 203323
– typical exposed area~244 x 195~312

Values for MF film formats are typical exposed areas, and that LF formats vary with type of film holder

Canon TS-E 24 MkII image circle = 67.2mm
Canon TS-E 24 Mk1 image circle = 58.6mm
comparison of film sizes

2015 December

2nd Several years ago Phase One bought a chunk of Mamiya, well, now they’ve emptied out the change jars and purchased the whole company over in Japan.

So, one less player in the MF backyard. [PP]

November

27th Presumably for more than glowing white grass and trees, there is now a version of the Pentax 645Z available with IR conversion [PR]

Aimed at “specialized agencies” (law enforcements, research institutions, etc.)

26th We’re told (thanks) via a dealer sourced rumour that there is indeed a Fuji system on the way.

Let’s hope that once it gets going, it advances a bit quicker than the Pentax system ;-)

25th How about an interchangeable lens MF system from Fuji? [FR]

Note that this is not the usual ‘fixed lens MF’ rumour that pops ups for Fuji every so often (based on their film cameras) but a real ‘system’.

6th Pentax FA645 35mm F3.5AL is due for announcement next week [dci – Google xlt]

5th Let’s see, you’re a drone camera maker – what do you do with all that spare cash?

Why, you decide to buy 20% of a medium format camera company.

20% of HB purchased by DJI [HB]

Time for HB branded drones to launch from your giant yacht or in-volcano HQ

September

7th Musical chairs in the MF market again?

Doubt has been cast on Hasselblad’s financials, with an unsourced suggestion [nC] that Phase One might take it on.

August

11th Hasselblad announce a new Chief Marketing Officer [HB]

I’d love to know his [honest] opinions about the HasselblingSony-H range and the Italian design studio … ;-)

So, what is Hasselblad for?

7th 50MP 5Ds a bit much?

The 37MP Leica S (Typ 007) has a new released date at B&H: August 31, 2015

37.5MP 30 x 45mm CMOS Sensor
Maestro II Image Processor
No Optical Low-Pass Filter
3.0″ 921.6k-Dot LCD Monitor
Pentaprism 0.87x-Mag. Optical Viewfinder
4K Video at 24 fps, 4:2:2 Color
Up to 3.5 fps Shooting, ISO 6400
DNG File Format, 16-Bit Color Depth
Built-In Wi-Fi and GPS Connectivity
Weather-Sealed Magnesium Alloy Body

Currently a mere $25,400 for the body, although there is talk that the price may yet go down a bit.

The camera was announced at Photokina last year – still, that’s a shorter release delay than Pentax have managed in the past, but not beating Canon’s dismal performance with the 1D X (~9 mths.)

2015 June

1st Phase One XF medium format camera, new LS lenses and IQ3 digital backs are leaked [PR]

There is a suggestion of some form of IS

Two new LS lenses appear as well: Schneider Kreuznach 120mm LS f/4 Macro and 35mm LS f/3.5

May

22nd Is it time for Medium Format from Fuji at FR

I note that since the 5Ds launch, the bottom has dropped out of the MF rumour market ;-)

I expect it will pick up again in time for Photokina next year…

2014 December

26th Both Canon and Sony don’t rule out medium format in end of year interviews (main rumours page)

October

24th Potential cameras from Sony and Mamiya? [PR]

50 megapixel medium format CMOS sensor (probably made by Sony)
Two versions will be sold under the Mamiya and Sony brands
Only the Sony version will have an EVF
The Mamiya model will have an OVF with OLED focus peaking
The lenses will also be sold under the Sony/Zeiss and Mamiya brands
New magnet-based lens attachment
The cameras will have 4 black classic control dials

How long until Canon feel that there is a need to dip their toes into this market? I think we’ll see a high res full frame DSLR before that, although I still keep hearing that there is a an ongoing design project for MF at Canon (but never any detail…)

September

30th Somewhere else for that Sony 50MP MF sensor to go? Suggestions of a Sony/Zeiss/Mamiya rangefinder some time next year [PR]
9th Hasselblad announce the H5X [HB] It even features viewfinders with built in flash…
Mamiya announce the Leaf Credo 50 at 50MP (it’s that sensor again)
50MP Credo Digital Back
44 x 33mm CMOS Sensor
3.2″ 1.15m-Dot Touchscreen LCD
ISO 100-6400, 14-Stop Dynamic Range
14 Bit Colour Depth
Continuous 1.2 fps
1/10,000 sec. to 60 min
FireWire 800 and USB 3.0

Good to see Firewire isn’t quite dead yet ;-)

August

12th Anything MF from Canon isn’t likely for a while [CR]

Not surprising – Canon is rarely the first to jump, although I’d expect a bit more than the EOS-M should it come ;-)

11th Suggestions of a Canon MF announcement of some sort at Photokina [PB]

Although an actual product announcement seems unlikely, a ‘technology demo’ or concept camera might appear. 

With the likely arrival of a replacement for the 7d, I’ wonder if any other significant product would be held over, so as not to distract from the ‘big event’ ? – a 7D2 and a move to MF would certainly get the headlines though.

8th Thanks for all the feedback on the MF info from the other day. I agree with most comments that this reflects more of keeping tabs on the market than any imminent products.
No details yet of anyone else using Sony’s 50MP chip yet, although there is talk of an updated 36MP A99ii for photokina [SR]

I’m told that quite a few Canon lenses have enough coverage for the Sony sensor… time to experiment?

6th It seems that Canon have been enquiring of more people whether they would have any interest in a Canon medium format system, this coming from reports of a recent questionnaire circulated to some of their ‘key users’.
We’re told (thanks) that Canon’s questions concentrated on image quality, usage scenarios and lens requirements.
It’s worth noting that there was much more about DSLRs and Video, but that the “MF stuff was new”

Anyone have more details of the questions?

July
29th That Sony 50MP MF sensor gets another potential place to live – with Nikon about to bring out a medium format line at Photokina [MR]
Long time readers of this page may remember the MX format [Jul 2009 and Nov 2008] and some lens info last September [6th]

Last year, it was suggested that Canon might have something MF related at Photokina this year.
There have been no further details, although one of our regular sources who commented at the time said that if the camera makers fortunes continued to decline (they have) then to expect some ‘throw at the wall and see what sticks’ products to appear (but not from Canon).

May

19th Suggestions (but no details) that Fuji will announce a mirrorless medium format camera this summer, using the Sony MF sensor.

Fuji have produced assorted MF cameras in the past, so they do have ‘form’ for this. Photokina could well see a bit of a resurgence in MF if that Sony sensor is easy to design into kit ;-) 

11th Has Hasselblad’s ‘push for bling’ been a bit too much for the company’s current corporate overlords? There are suggestions that Ventizz capital (owners since 2010) may be looking to offload the company before long [PR]

Who might be in the market for an MF camera company? 
Sony might be in the running (50MP sensor and hardware sources for the ‘blingocams’) but the numbers at Sony’s camera division are not great (who’s are?), and from a corporate POV Sony isn’t what it used to be – with Sony’s official numbers due this week we may see how their camera business is actually doing.
BTW there is a good overview of the obfuscation found in published camera company numbers [TH]

April

16th 645z sample image set on flk
15th 645z announced as expected – full Ricoh press info. Quick test at DPR
14th A whole stack of Pentax lenses for the 645D/z will now be also available in the US [PR] [B&H – prices]

Pentax smc FA 45mm f/2.8
Pentax smc FA 645 120mm f/4 Macro
Pentax smc FA 645 150-300mm f/5.6 ED IF
Pentax smc FA 645 150mm f/2.8 IF
Pentax smc FA 645 200mm f/4 IF
Pentax smc FA 645 300mm f/5.6 ED IF
Pentax smc FA 645 33-55mm f/4.5 AL
Pentax smc FA 645 35mmf/3.5 AL IF
Pentax smc FA 645 400mm f/5.6 ED IF
Pentax smc FA 645 45-85mm f/4.5
Pentax smc FA 645 55-110mm f/5.6
Pentax smc FA 645 80-160mm f/4.5
Pentax smc FA 75mm f/2.8

Bring out a wide tilt/shift and the whole system looks very interesting to me ;-)
12th Some pictures of the Pentax 645z appear [DI]
Full specifications [PR]

52.99MP CMOS without AA filter (51.4Mp effectively, 8265 x 6192 pixel)
ISO 100 – 204,800
SAFOX11 AF system, 27 point (25 cross type), LW -3 – +18
3.2″ LCD screen: 3:2 ratio, 1,037,000 dots
LiveView, contrast AF, focus peaking
TTL metering with 86k RGB sensor
3fps in JPEG L up to approx. 300 frames
Full HD video (1920×1080), 4K in intervall mode
USB3.0

10th The 654z may well include 4k video (what doesn’t these days) and will come in around $8500 [PR]
9th Is a new Leica S with 40-50MP and 4k video is on the way? [Dpp]
2nd The Pentax ‘Z’ update to the 645D is on its way [Ric]

To save you calculating, it looks as if the clock hits zreo in ~13 days (as I write this)-Tuesday 15th Apr 

March

26th Long ago, there was some mention of possible Sony MF products, and the recent Sony sensor in two MF cameras shows that they have the sensor for it (Sony has appeared before on this page March 2011, Sept. 2008 and Sept. 2007))
A new Sony MF rumour appears [SAR] and suggests that it won’t be a camera to compete with the Phase One or HB offerings, and will appear in the next 6 months …MF ‘Compact’ anyone?
4th The Hasselblad H5D-50c is officially launched – a snip at $27,500 [B&H – $30k with 80mm lens]

2014 February

19th In another ‘Money outfit buys camera co.’ episode, it seems that Phase One is about to be bought up (60%) by Silverfleet Capital [SFC via PR]
So much for Canon’s rumoured involvement… ?
15th News about the 645D II [DCW-google xlt]
It will be 40 – 50 MP, SAFOX XI AF module, 3 FPS, ISO max 102400 or 204800, shutter life ~100,000, live view (inc. movie function), USB 3.0 support for tethered shooting, price ~$10,000.
Release date April 2014.
6th A mark 2 version of the Pentax 645D appears likely for CP+
Using the same Sony 50MP sensor as the recent Phase One and HB announcements, it noted that “Market launch scheduled for Spring 2014” There are lenses too, but no launch dates. [Details via PR]
As long time readers of this page will know, Pentax announcements don’t have a good record in promptness of product delivery.
pentax 645 front
pentax 645 rear

2014 January

27th Some interesting details of Canon’s activity in Medium Format were sent over the weekend [thanks]
There is no interest in producing ‘a bit bigger’ sensors, since the major limitation on the long running MF project has been and continues to be the resources required to design (and then produce) the larger lenses that would be needed. There have been a range of medium/large format sensors produced (engineering tests, such as the vast [202mm x 220mm] sensor exhibited a few years ago).
We were also told that there would be -no- preview of MF this year at photokina, since it wasn’t yet close to a full system and would deflect some interest from an upcoming 35mm announcement at the top end.

So, we either do get something at photokina or we don’t – The info we’ve been sent on this has never been very firm, one way or the other. I’m certainly not saving my pennies for a Canon MF system yet… big pinches of salt needed!

26th Meanwhile Hasselblad’s move in making more expensive versions of Sony cameras raises questions about the replacement of CEO and chairman Dr Larry Hansen [AP]. Since the company had kept it quiet and would only say that Dr Hansen no longer works for Hasselblad, you do wonder whether Hasselbling had a role?
24th The Phase One IQ250 uses a Sony 50MP CMOS chip too [LL]
However, not a 645 sized chip, but a 1.3X crop with a physical size of 44 x 33mm.
The price will be $35k, or 25k euros.

The sensor is the same size as the Pentax 645D and 1.68x the area of 35mm, which is 2.6 times (Canon) APS-C.
so equivalent to an ~12MP APS-C sensor or ~30MP full frame.
It’s worth noting that the Sony 36MP FF sensor is only the equivalent of a 14MP APS-C

So, the new 50MP sensor has the same pixel density as the 2008 450D (XSi)
For more, see the sensor size and image circle chart below.

22nd Once again we’ve heard about Canon and medium format [thanks] and that Canon are still looking at development announcements for Photokina [see info here for Aug/Sept. 2013 below].
The emphasis was on a complete ‘system’ and how it would integrate with and expand the current EOS range. Given that previous comments have all emphasised the need for a solid business case for MF, maybe it’s time to see what came of Canon’s supposed investments in this area? [see 10th Aug below]
Meanwhile a possible reason for yesterday’s HB pre-announcement is suggested? PhaseOne is going to announce their new IQ250 digital back with a new 50MP CMOS sensor, 2 fps, 15 stops DR and ISO up to 6400. [PR]
At last the Hasselblad/Sony linkup is showing signs in the high end, as opposed to the ‘more money than sense’ market. Sony and HB are working on MF sensors. Maybe a ‘cheap’ Sony MF camera too [SAR]

Historical note – there have been Canon MF rumours for every Photokina of the last decade – BIG pinch of salt needed, but with a threat from Sony, Canon might actually do somethig ;-)

21st Hasselblad are still looking to make ‘real’ MF cameras (as opposed to the Lunar/Stellar) with their first 50MP CMOS sensor camera. [HB]

“Hasselblad is set to launch the world’s first 50MP medium format camera using CMOS sensor technology. The groundbreaking H5D-50c will go on sale in March.
Ove Bengtson, Hasselblad Product Manager said: “This pioneering 50 megapixel CMOS sensor camera is based on our H5D-50 model but will offer a faster capture rate; longer shutter speed capability and much greater ISO performance. It will provide greatly improved Live Video in Phocus and will also be available with Multi-Shot functionality.”
He added: “We believe this will provide a highly compelling option for professional photographers who prefer a more versatile camera that enables them to immediately embrace a wider range of photo-disciplines but still encapsulating the exceptionally high-end image quality associated with Hasselblad.””

2013 November

26th Leica complete their takeover of Sinar [FB]

“On Monday, Leica Camera AG, Solms, finalised the takeover of Sinar Photography AG, Zurich, the Swiss manufacturer of view cameras. Both companies have agreed that the details of the transaction will not be disclosed. Sinar Photography AG is the leading manufacturer of equipment for professional view camera photography and the only provider in this segment to offer complete digital solutions for view camera photographers. The Sinar product portfolio offers everything from cameras and lenses to digital backs, shutter systems and workflow software. Marketing, product management, support, development and production will remain in the hands of Sinar in Switzerland. Sales and distribution of the product portfolio will be handled by Leica Camera AG and the worldwide dealer network of Sinar Photography AG.”

October

26th The Mk2 version of the Pentax 645D will be along some time [PR]. Plans for the 645DII were delayed from this year. The earliest Pentax 645D info we have here is from a 2005 mockup, seen at a show. The camera appears in numerous guises throughout this page, including the real one, announced in 2010

Pentax 645D - mock up from 2005

3rd Whilst Nikon has made large format lenses for many years, Sony is not known in this area.
It’s been pointed out (thanks) that if you look at the large/medium format exhibitor list for the upcoming PDN show, that Sony appears… [PDN]

Arca Swiss, Inc., BorrowLenses, Digital Transitions, Inc., Focus Camera Inc
Freestyle Photographic, FUJIFILM North America Corporation
H.P. Marketing Corp (Novoflex items), KEH Camera
Leica Camera Inc, Nikon Inc, Samy’s Camera, Sinar Photography AG
Sony Electronics Inc, WYNIT Distribution, LLC

A look at the exhibitor list, suggests that being in a category is no certain indicator of having much to do with it though
I would note though that Canon has long considered Sony its biggest longer term competitor in the pro camera market, they have the Zeiss link for lenses, and Sony has appeared before in the MF rumours (March 2011, Sept. 2008 and Sept. 2007)

2013 September

28th I note with the garbling that sometimes occurs with rumours wandering from site to site, there is a comment doing the rounds that “all current EF lenses will compatible with Canon Medium Format cameras”[sic]
I regard this as highly unlikely – they just don’t have the image circle or flange distance required.
See the charts below for some info.
What we were told was that MF ‘EF’ lenses would work on current lenses -with an adapter- much like the EF-M adapter for the EOS-M
27th We’re told [thanks] that any MF system will become part of the EOS family, since a key aspect of the MF project is how it positions the Canon camera brand ‘as a whole’ in the market in years to come. There are seen to be enough prosumer buyers and pro photographers wanting to distinguish their output, to make MF a ‘positive contributor to the EOS brand’.

Whether that means that Canon think it will be profitable in itself was unclear. I’ve now had several comments along these lines, but little detailed info. 
I’m still a bit sceptical about whether this is for real or (given some of the sources) more about testing market perceptions.
If something is happening, I’m not expecting any more detailed ‘leaks’ until next year and, given recent history, maybe not until we’re almost at photokina itself?

For those still wondering how much a Canon MF system might cost, it’s worth noting that Hasselblad are increasing the prices of their H series lenses from the start of October [PR]
25th A suggestion [CR] that Canon MF would be a joint venture and first seen at photokina next year.
9th I’m told [thanks] that more resources have been allocated to MF work at Canon, and that several of their big name ‘promoters’ have been approached about potential testing and their interest in MF.

If true, then it still suggests to me that any official announcements are quite some time off.

7th I was reminded of the last Nikon MF rumours – the MX format [Jul 2009 and Nov 2008]

Yesterday’s table was put together in a bit of a hurry – hopefully it’s now a bit more accurate and comprehensive. – thanks to everyone who took trouble to let me know..

6th It seems that someone at Nikon is still looking at medium format (120mm image circle)
There is a new Nikon patent for a 100mm f2.5 lens [EG-xlt]
In recent comments about the decline of the camera market, Nikon have suggested [Nk] that they:
“…expect a shift towards newer products that have higher profit margins”
That said, developing your own MF system is not a trivial matter – has anyone heard anything?
120mm fits quite a big sensor, or gives a lot of shift…

CategoriesFormatFrame size (mm)Image circle (mm)
1/1.7″7.6 x 5.79.2
2/3″8.8 x 6.611
1″12.8 x 9.616
4/3″17.3 x 1321
APS-C (Canon)~22.2 x ~14.826
APS-C (Nikon/Sony)~23.6 x ~15.728
35mm36 x 2443
Medium FormatLeica S45 x 3054
Pentax 645D44 x 3355
Kodak KAF 39000 CCD49 x 3761
Leaf AFi 1056 x 3667
H5D54 x 4067
Phase One P 65+, IQ160, IQ18054 x 4067
64556 x 41.570
6×656 x 5679
6×756 x 7089
6×856 x 7795
6×1256 x 118130
Large Format4″x5″102 x 127163
– typical exposed area~94 x 120~153
10″x8″252 x 203323
– typical exposed area~244 x 195~312

Values for MF film formats are typical exposed areas, and that LF formats vary with type of film holder

Canon TS-E 24 MkII image circle = 67.2mm
Canon TS-E 24 Mk1 image circle = 58.6mm
comparison of film sizes

August

18th We’re told (thanks) that nothing will appear in any Canon branded MF range until there are enough items to introduce it as a ‘system’. This will include ‘Canon designed’ [sic.] lenses with a new larger version of the EF mount (tentatively called EF-L) and, as with the EOS-M EF->EF-M adapter, a way to allow them to be used seamlessly as very high quality lenses on the current EF mount.
The lens development is being influenced by the new range of ‘Cinema’ lenses (I note their prices!)
The aim is a ‘show stealing’ announcement at Photokina next year, but no details on when any cameras might be offered for sale.

I’ve seen other related comments (thanks) which emphasise that this is still at a relatively early stage and the business relevance has not been established. 
My own thoughts are that with the recent decline in DSLR sales, this might be a tricky one to get a good return on the necessary investment? 

14th More hints and noises, with several people telling CR that there is something afoot.
12th The only followups (where the source was known) I’ve had from the other day, was one complete dismissal and one saying that it would happen, and announced in a very big way, but not to expect to see any potential products (and then only demos) until photokina next year.

Nothing overly convincing from my own POV, but thanks for all the comments and background info ;-)

10th With the market for compacts shrinking is Canon looking to expand its range of cameras upwards, or just after some useful technologies and cross licensing deals?
We’re told (thanks) that they have been investing significantly in a major European medium format digital camera manufacturer. At the moment, there is no talk of an outright purchase, but it remains an option.

Although it’s only my reading between the lines, the only company I can think of that fits this would be Phase One. If handled well, it could benefit both companies, certainly giving Canon a potential foot in the high end market, that from a marketing point of view, gives a long way to the top, from a basic Canon DSLR.
Organisationally, I’d suspect the fit would be less smooth ;-)
Does anyone have any more info? This one came out of nowhere, so the usual pinch of salt is suggested…
Discuss with Keith this on G+ 

2013 July

24th I’ve been looking round for any mentions of Canon and larger sensors, and have come up blank.

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