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Medium format rumours archive 2006-12

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Canon Medium Format – archive page 2006-12

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

>> Current medium format info/rumours/speculation

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Archive from 2006 to 2012 of Keith’s musings on where next after a 35mm full frame digital SLR.

Includes other general digital medium format information and news

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

MF Canon

2012 December

22nd The current ‘favourite’ for a high MP camera seems to be a D800 competitor – rumours about this are on the 3D and 1D Xspages


17th S3 update announced [AP] £16k
12th Hasselblad announces H5D series [HB]
5th New S3 from Leica to stay at 37.5MP? [LR]


2nd After a bit of a lull in Canon MF related info, there’s a suggestion of something for Photokina [cw]

I note the mention of an EF mount, which was quite carefully designed a few years ago for 35mm film. If you try expanding the sensor size then you quickly find that EF lenses (even new ones) don’t have an image circle big enough to cover a larger sensor (other than TS-E lenses) If you add in the difficulties of having a mirror big enough for the standard flange distance of the EF mount, any such camera continues to look relatively unlikely (note that this page goes back to 2006, so we’ve seen this a few times now)


17th Whilst higher MP Canon rumours seem to be pointing to a 3D (but not soon), Sinar have announced a 192MP back – well actually a multi-shot 49MP back [Sinar]
3rd Seems that the price of the Leica S2 may be coming down [LR], to make way for the budget priced S3 at Photokina (budget range as in budget of a small country ;-).


28th Suggestions of a Hasselblad ‘mirrorless’ with 2x FF CMOS sensor [MR]


3rd A new version of the Pentax 645D is on its way.
Possibly due to supply issues with the Kodak sensor in the current model [PR]


1st Hasselblad to ship a copy of Lightroom with any H4D purchase [HB]
“The Hasselblad and Lightroom plan does not mean that Hasselblad’s Phocus software is being phased out.”


8th Dalsa article about the making of big sensor chip [Dalsa]


16th Mamiya and Leaf are now working together under the ‘Mamiya Leaf‘ brand.
More info at MP
2nd Remember those Samsung MF rumours from May?
Well it appears that Samsung are still not sure what to do and whether it’s worthwhile [MLR]
Seems that a 42x28mm was tried, so a bit bigger than development cameras from samsung35mm

2011 December

17th How about 35mm FF and Medium Format mirrorless from Pentax [PentaxForum & PR]
1st Hasselblad have just announced a deal obviously aimed at those wanting to make the move.

“…until the end of January photographers buying an H4D-40 with an 80mm lens can get half price discounts on any H line lens from the HCD 4/28mm wide angle upwards.”

I’d be interested to see how much of a boost in sales of the Pentax 645D and other MF suppliers comes from 1Ds3 owners who had been holding off for a 1Ds4, and now making the jump.
Canon hasn’t given up on the idea of medium format quite yet, There is a Japanese interview with the 1D X developers [DCW , Google xlt]The jist of the bit about a lack of high MP 1Ds3 replacement and a move to MF is (I believe):

“While we hear the voices, we want to see what the actual sales numbers will be for the 1D X and so determine how many 10,000s of customers we might be losing if we do not introduce a higher resolution camera and if the projected profitability of a higher resolution 24×36 mm format camera will justify development, marketing, and manufacturing investments , or if there is a sustainable market for the even greater costs of development, marketing, and manufacturing medium format cameras and lenses – an area where we have no internal expertise.”

In other words: don’t count on a much higher resolution camera anytime soon but it is not an absolute “no”.

[From this item’s G+ discussion – please feel free to contribute any more translations/comments]


8th Kodak has sold its sensor business [EPZ]


27th The H4X is announced by Hasselblad [HB]

“The H4X is a great camera body upgrade, which supports all H System lenses, most third party backs and even film.”

25th An interesting Leica interview [MP]. Optical viewfinders, mirrorless and the S2 all get a mention in what’s a far more revealing interview than the anodyne stuff that’s normally passed off as an interview.
24th Are Hasselblad about to make camera a camera that take 3rd party backs?[CI]

“The H4X provides a fantastic successor or upgrade to your H1 or H2/H2F body and supports all H System lenses, most third party backs…”

23rd I see that MF makes a comeback in forum ‘spec’ lists. This from DPR:

“New Design 50 mpx
New Lenses
1.5 fps
2 Digic 5+
iso 3200 no expansion
Only quality and Dynamic Range
Video Raw
Price target $10000.00”

I’ll leave aside the massive R&D costs of a whole new range of lenses, but I do feel that this is the result of (perfectly reasonable) ‘Is that it?’ reactions to the 1D X from those who query 12FPS, video, whizzy AF and 200k+ ISO to those who shoot things that don’t move, in high detail.
19th The move to 18MP for the 1D X has prompted a lot of reconsideration of digital MF, with all kinds of speculation on the forums – most running up against the brick wall of cost.
That old chestnut of Canon buying a MF camera company has also arisen again, but do note that this page goes back to 2006!
11th I note that Kodak is being linked to bankruptcy talk – [BB] Kodak make sensors for the Leica S2 amongst others.

2011 August

23rd Whilst Canon woo the masses with some new comapct cameras announced today, it’s worth noting that at the London Canon show in October (details), the only other camera maker there will be Hasselblad…

…Just wonderin’? ;-)


22nd Hasselblad under $10k? [1k1]
20th ‘We could but we’re not going to…’
There’s an interesting interview [MP] with a Samsung spokesman where they comment more about those interesting ‘development’ cameras from May.

“We have the technology to develop a medium format cameras but we are not going to do that because this is not our market. Samsung is a manufacturer that focuses on a broad market – we are not a niche manufacturer like Hasselbald or Lieca. What you see in the image was developed for internal purposes in order to look into future technologies. At this point we have no plans to release it to the public. We have done similar things with lenses – for example we developed a 1000mm lens for astronomical use – but again just for internal purposes.”

1st Ricoh have just bought Pentax [PR1k1]. I was very impressed by the Ricoh GX200 when I looked at it. I wonder what happens to the 645D.
I see that Hasselblad have also changed ownership [PB], with this in the press rlease:
“…Furthermore, we plan to develop Hasselblad cameras to appeal to a wider circle of ambitious photographers…”


10th More unusual stuff related to Samsung [XR] – how about an IMAX size sensor at 70mm x 48.5mm. Not quite up to the 6×17 sensor in a Red ‘announcement’ from 2008
1st One of those cameras in that Samsung photo is now rumoured to have a 36mmx36mm square sensor [XR]

– The lens you can see in the picture is a manual focusing 24mm lens.

– Samsung developed three different sensors. One 18 Megapixel sensor and two different 34 Megapixel sensors.

development cameras from samsung

2011 May

19th Samsung have been busy with interviews about upcoming lenses and the like, but a photo in their most recent article, includes some oddly shaped cameras – enough to trigger a burst of Samsung MF rumours? [PR and XR]
Well, Samsung are one of the companies that are big enough to do it if they thought there was a market.
18th The Pentax 645D gets a ‘best camera of the year’ award [PB]

Would it be unkind of me to note the age of the 1Ds3 and D3x and that there has not been any other ‘big’ camera announcement for some time… ;-) Far be it for me to view such prestigious awards with any degree of skepticism…


25th Mention of a possible dalliance with MF from Sony [SAR]

Similar stories have appeared for quite some time – see below for Sept. 2008 and for Sept. 2007

9th Once again, some mention of Canon looking at entering the MF market through acquisition [CR]

We’ve been hearing this one since the end of 2006
…not quite as long as the fabled 3D though :-)


7th In the ‘vague category’ comes a suggestion of a cheaper Pentax 645D [PF]

January 2011

24th Three new backs from Phase One… [DPR]
21st Although Canon may see the next 1Ds as tilting at the Medium Format market, the few remaining manufacturers are pushing the limits – we hear (thanks) that Phase One is announcing a new camera and back on Monday.

2010 November

12th In our recently received 1Ds’4′ info, we hear that Canon is aiming at taking their top 35mm camera even further into MF territory – there has been no info about a move to larger sensors for some time, and if anyone at Canon is still working on the MF design project, then they are keeping very quiet.


22nd Hasselblad is as suspected, quite selective in who it defines as ‘the entire photographic community’ (see press info from 1st below) The new H4D-31 could come in at under £10,000 [Press info PDF & press links]

…the H4D-31 is available in two configurations, both with the latest version of Hasselblad’s Phocus 2.6 software. The first, designed for high end 35mm DSLR photographers comes bundled with an 80mm lens. The other offers a digital medium format solution for V-System users by bundling the H4D-31 with a CF-lens adapter. Both options are priced at 9,995 Euro (+tax).

21st We hear (thanks) that P1 will bring out a new 300mm lens next year and, from an old source, that Canon is still looking at ‘redefining’ MF.
The giant sensor at the Canon Expo, although not directly part of this, was to show that Canon was serious in scaling up its CMOS technology to ‘true MF’ sizes although market conditions might keep this at engineering project status.
Leaf have announced the 80MP Aptus-II 12 [Leaf]

If you are new to Canon MF rumours – this page has been going since 2006

20th Photokina is here, and whilst we’re not expecting anything grand from Canon, other manufacturers will be announcing plenty, such as a new 150mm leaf shutter lens from Phase One and a battery grip with air-sync for Profoto gear to give true 1/1600 sync.
2nd Hasselblad new stuff to be announced on the 22nd at Photokina [PB]
They will “announce exciting news for the entire photographic community including new lenses, software, digital back and camera.”

I await their definition of ‘entire photographic community’ with interest… ;-)


14th Alpa deal a fake… [KR]
9th More MF stuff… Samsung-Schneider-Alpa Medium format agreement?[KR]
8th Canon MF rumours are doing the rounds again [CR]. This time it’s Canon buying up an MF camera company.
We’ve had on/off Canon MF info for some time and it’s interesting to see the info we had back in Sept. 2007

Canon had indeed acquired some MF IP from a company that sold it off. They has been an ongoing project looking at making their own MF system

This has been suspended for a combination of reasons:

-The market is too small (only a few thousand cameras a year)

-It would distract critical lens design resources needed in the L series (new L updated lenses are a priority)

-There is more to gain from seeing how close Canon can come to MF standards in the 35mm or similar formats
-Much more cost effective and a much wider market. i.e. A fashion studio might have 1 MF body and 3-4 or more 1D series (if they have any MF at all)

2010 July

30th Along with some info concerning the eventual arrival of the 1Ds4, we hear that Canon is still looking at moving its top end of cameras into digital MF territory. This ties in with a comment a while ago that Canon is very interested in how the market reacts to the 645D.

Whether this is part of the usual upsurge in wishful thinking that builds before a new ‘Ds’ is unclear.

There has been much speculation over where Sony is going in its sensor development in the last week, with Sony potentially stopping FF sensor development [ TH | MR ]

This would also make any Sony/Nikon entry to the larger format sensor market less likely – it’s been a couple of years since both were associated with a possible move to larger sensors.

16th 645D in Europe? [ PR ]


25th The 645D will be available in the US by the end of the year at ~$10k [ PR ]
Poland too [Fot]
12th The Pentax 645D is starting to ship in Japan and potentially other places round the world, as and when Pentax decide there is a market for it.
I’ve seen a couple of brief ‘reviews’ [AHBEP ] but nothing yet from anyone with much MF experience.
3rd Mamiya have announced an $18k 33MP RZ33 digital MF camera, with a 48x36mm CCD sensor.
Capture File Format: .mos RAW file, 16 bits/channel
Included Capture Software Packages: Capture One DB and Leaf Capture
CCD: 48 x 36mm, 33MPl
Largest file size: 190 MB 16 bit TIFF
ISO: 50-800
Capture rate: 1.1 sec per frame
Screen/interface: 2.4 x 2.7 inch (6x7cm) LCD touchscreen
Press info at DPR


13th A break from the usual 3:2 aspect ratio? [CR]
Described as “a leak from an unnamed camera manufacturer about square sensors” it reads like posts I sometimes see on DPR – if it were to come about then it would not be in the normal EOS range – a lot of camera hardware and lenses would need all new designs.
2nd Whilst it’s more likely to be seeing how 35mm can make further inroads in the digital MF market, Nikon’s current UK phone survey questions are addressing MF issues too. More at NR
Meanwhile, the 645D is expected in Europe (~7k euros ?) in the Autumn [QB]


4th A good look [LL] at the 645D presence at CP+ and an interesting take on why the 645D -might- make a difference [Cnet]

As to the original Canon MF rumours, well it looks like these (and for Nikon/Sony) have very much lost their impetus. The big DSLR makers will be watching what happens with the 645D very carefully, but whether any of them decide to move from engineering tests to something new (like the Leica S2) will be very much in the hands of marketing (and the economy)…

2010 March

10th It’s the Pentax 645…
From the press info:
“Super-high-resolution images made possible by approximately 40 effective megapixels
Pentax 645DThe PENTAX 645D incorporates a high-performance CCD image sensor produced by Kodak. It measures 44mm by 33mm, and is approximately 1.7 times larger than its 35mm-format counterparts. Thanks to approximately 40 effective megapixels, it assures a wide dynamic range to faithfully reproduce the prevailing ambience and the sense of depth in super-high-resolution images that are rich in gradation and truthful in texture description. In order to bring out the full potential of the lens and the image sensor and assure the highest level of image-resolving power, the CCD unit is designed with no low-pass filters.
High-performance, high-speed PRIME II imaging engine
The PENTAX 645D features the acclaimed, PENTAX-original PRIME (PENTAX Real Image Engine) II as its imaging engine. Thanks to its high-speed dataprocessing capacity and new algorithm exclusively programmed for medium-format digital SLR cameras, this high-performance imaging engine produces super-highquality images rich in gradation and faithful in color reproduction, while allowing speedy data transmission of large-volume image data — even RAW-format images as large as some 50MB per file.
14-bit A/D converter for faithful conversion of image data to digital signals
The PENTAX 645D features a high-performance A/D converter, which faithfully converts the large volume of analog image data output by the large CCD image sensor to digital signals carrying an extensive amount of image data, including resolution and gradation.”
Full specs at DPR
The pixel density is aprroximately equal to 24MP in a 35mm camera.
Here’s what it looked like back in 2005 when first shown as a mock-up

Pentax 645D - mock up from 2005

2010 February

20th Do we have the ‘final’ version of the Pentax 645D? [PR] regular readers might recall our Feb 2007 item on this very page…
19th The ‘larger sensor’ rumour mill has gone very quiet of late. If the next 1Ds comes in at ~32MP, then expect the usual ‘MF is dead’ chorus from people who don’t need what it offers.
The digital MF back is still going – perhaps not quite as strong as last year, but predictions of its demise seem a little premature.

I’d love to use some of this stuff for certain types of work – I just cannot (personally) make a serious business case for it – if I spend £15k, then it has to allow me to bring in at least ~£10-15k of -extra- work over a couple of years to make it worthwhile.

The leaf Aptus II [DPR] can manage 60 40MP frames in a minute, but you don’t buy MF digital to shoot basketball…

2009 October 

27th A look a the S2 [PDN]
21st Leaf lower the price of entry to digital ‘MF’ with the Aptus II 5 22MP digital back. The back is expected to ship from November at €5,995.
Phase One’s 645AF body + 80mm lens can be obtained with the back for an additional €2,000.
Mamiya has announced the price/availability of the DM22 and DM28 MF cameras.
DM22: $9,995 for the body and 80mm f/2.8 lens D series lens.
The 22MP camera has a 48×36 mm sensor and 16 bit/channel RAW files, claimed dynamic range of 12 stops and ISO range of 25-400.
DM28: $14,990 for the body and 80mm f/2.8 lens. Identical to the DM22, except a 44x33mm sensor and ISO range of 50-800.
Both start shipping from November 2009.

DM22 DM28
Price $9995 $14,990
Sensor size 48x36mm 44x33mm
Camera Type M645AFDIII
Resolution 22MP 5356 x 4056 28MP 6144 x 4622
LCD 3.5″ (6 x 7cm)
Sensitivity ISO 25-400 ISO 50-800
RAW file attributes File Type : Leaf Mosaic HDR-type Colour Depth : 16 bits/channel
Dynamic Range : 12 f-stops
RAW file compatibilty Capture One, Leaf Capture, Adobe Lightroom (v2 or newer), Adobe Photoshop
Storage CF Card (Portable Mode), FireWire 800 (Tethered Mode)
Optional Camera Interfaces: Mamiya RZ67 ProIID: 4×5 Graflock
Compatible lenses Fully compatible with Mamiya AF focal plane series lenses
Compatible with Mamiya 645 MF lenses without adapter (stop down mode)
Compatible with Hasselblad V-series lenses (stop down mode via optional Mamiya #310-244 adapter)

19th Would be Leica S2 fans will have to wait a little longer to spend their dosh. Shipping has been delayed until Christmas [DPR]
8th Something new from Mamiya. Two ‘series’ of cameras at 56/33 MP and 28/22MP [Mam]
Cameras designated the Mamiya DM56, DM33, DM28 and DM22
New lenses feature high flash-sync speeds up to 1/1600 with three leaf-shutter digital lenses.
Designed and developed with with Schneider Kreuznach, and manufactured by Mamiya, the 55mm f/2.8 D L/S, 80mm f/2.8 D L/S, and 110mm f/2.8 S L/S will begin shipping in Q4, 2009.

2009 September

29th A new 645DF body from Phase One [DPR] $6k and flash sync up to 1/1600th
25th No noises from ‘SoCaNikon’ on larger formats, but Hasselblad announce the H4D-60 and 50 [EL]
At $42k and $30k for 60MP/50MP
19th “… the next camera to be released by Pentax will be the 645D in early 2010” [DCR]
For more info see below (Feb 2007) Yes, this one has been awaited for some time ;-)
15th Not quite Canon MF, but the EF mount appears as an option in the Hartblei CAM
Time to get a digital back to use with my TS-E17 :-)


16th Updated Leica info/specs/prices are now available at DPR


30th For those of you with deep pockets, the Leica S2 pricing has been announced…
The S2 autofocus medium format DSLR will be available in October for a recommended selling price of $22,995/£15,996.
The camera is built around a 37.5 MP 30mm x 45mm sensor
Note the reassuringly expensive ‘service options’ and $400 for a battery charger – more info at DPR
Well, if nothing else the lens prices make my two new Canon TS-E lenses look absolute bargains :-)

Product US Price UK Price
Leica S2 Black $22,995 £15,996
Leica S2-P Black * $27,995 £19,092
SUMMARIT-S 1:2.5/70 ASPH $4,495 £3,096
SUMMARIT-S 1:2.5/70 ASPH CS $5,995 £4,025
APO-TELE-ELMAR-S 1:3.5/180 $6,495 £4,541
APO-TELE-ELMAR-S 1:3.5/180 CS $7,495 £5,160
APO-MACRO-SUMMARIT-S 1:2.5/120 $6,495 £4,541
APO-MACRO-SUMMARIT-S 1:2.5/120 CS $7,495 £5,160
SUMMARIT-S 1:2.5/35 ASPH $5,295 £3,612
SUMMARIT-S 1:2.5/35 ASPH CS $5,995 £4,231
Multifunction handgrip S $1,295 £851
Professional battery charger S $399 £258
S-Body Premium Service $1,495 TBA
S-Body Platinum Service $3,795 TBA
S-Lens Premium Service $495 TBA
S-Lens Platinum Service $995 TBA

* Includes Sapphire Glass monitor screen and S-Body Platinum Service
CS = Central Shutter Lens

14th In a well thought out Nikon roadmap from Thom Hogan [TH] there is a mention of MX format.
Well worth a full read…

“I should point out one possibility that has dropped off the radar at the high-end recently: the old MX rumor. The faux larger-than-FX ad campaign that first surfaced late last year certainly pointed to another possibility: that a D4 might use a larger sensor, something akin to the Leica S2 concept. You can build a camera about the size of the D3 with a much larger sensor, which answers the more-pixels-but-same-noise problem without breaking a sweat. A 36x48mm sensor based on the D3 sensor gives you a 24mp low-end MF camera in a DSLR-sized body. Or better yet, a 36x48mm sensor based on the D3x sensor gives you a 48mp mid-range MF camera in a DSLR-sized body. Why would this be interesting? Well, it takes a lot of pressure off sensor development (though yields and price will be an issue with very large sensors), yet gets you to a significantly higher level of pixel count with the same noise tendencies. The primary drawback is that it means you have to design a new set of lenses (though I’d be remiss to point out that if you take the PC part out of the PC-E lenses, you’ve got existing 24mm, 45mm, and 85mm designs that should work at that size with little change). The plus in this scenario is that it extends the D3s/D3xs lives well into the D4 era. If done with FX and DX optional crops and a mount adapter, an MX even makes a usable replacement for existing FX cameras with existing lenses.
Do I believe that Nikon would make the D4 a MX design? No. The problem of lenses means that you wouldn’t get a lot of existing D3/D3x pros updating, because what they need optically just wouldn’t be available. That includes most photo journalism, wildlife, macro, and landscape photographers. I can’t imagine that Nikon would restrict a new pro generation primarily to studio photographers. Still, MX, like three-color sensors, is a low chance possibility that needs to be considered when trying to guess Nikon’s future Road Map.”

3rd Hasselblad launch the 39FPM (frames per minute) CFV-39
At 39MP 4:3 and 29MP square, it’s designed to go with any Hasselblad ‘V’ system cameras.
PDF is availble with full info, or there is info at Hasselblad US.

2009 June 25th As long expected, the number of digital MF companies was too much for the market.

The latest to ‘not quite vanish’ is Leaf, which is being subsumed into Phase One, although calming words are in order, so as not to spook the horses.

Phase One, in conjunction with senior management employees of Leaf, have created a new entity, Leaf Imaging Ltd., to purchase certain assets of the Leaf camera business, such as the “Leaf” brand product names, engineering design and production tools.
The new entity will also enter into an intellectual property license with Eastman Kodak Company that is royalty bearing to Kodak. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In collaboration with Phase One, high end Leaf digital camera equipment will continue to be developed in Israel and marketed under the “Leaf” brand through a global network of specialised and dedicated value added resellers such as Peartree in the UK.
“We are committed to exciting future developments for the Leaf brand of products through innovative engineering, worldwide marketing and customer service,” said Henrik O. Håkonsson, President and CEO, Phase One. “Leaf customers will benefit from the many synergies with Phase One.”

There has been talk that Kodak wanted to get shot of Leaf for some time, so it could be viewed as Phase actually saving Leaf, although by this time next year I’m not expecting to see more companies with MF offerings.

Over at DPR, there is some more info which, depending on how you choose to interpret it, is perhaps not so welcome to Leaf users/dealers.

“The new company will continue to make and develop the Leaf Aptus range of digital backs but will not initially sell the AFi-II camera system.
“The camera system will not be supported from Day One,” says Henrik O. Håkonsson President and CEO of Phase One, which already owns a controlling stake in camera and lens maker Mamiya Digital Imaging: “We have said to our Leaf colleagues that we will evaluate the future of this camera system but we are not currently convinced of its potential.”
Existing users of Leaf need not be concerned, he said: “There is a diverse market out there with different opinions and ways of working. It is important for us to offer a range of options to these people and offer a range of different solutions. We will include more and more technology based on the same engineering platform but with Leaf and Phase One products giving the customers the experience and user interface they’re used to.”
In addition to these research and production synergies, savings will come through this joint development and by selling and supporting both product lines through a single sales, distribution and support channel.”

Watch for that classic weasel word ‘synergy’, which is never welcome to staff and supply/dealer chains in merger/acquisition situations.

Follow the discussions at LL with more at DPR

As to Canon/Nikon – there has been no real rumours for quite some time, but there seems no rush to get into this market.

15th A collection of new Mamiya backs announced.

“The M series digital backs have all been designed for compatibility with Mamiya’s 645AFDIII. Through use of the specifically designed digital back adapter HX701, the backs can also be attached to our famed RZ Pro IID. The M18 has a resolution of 18 megapixels and a CCD size of 44.2 x 33.1mm. The M22 has a resolution of 22.1 megapixels and a CCD size of 48.9 x 36.7mm while the M31 has 31.6 megapixels and a 44.2 x 33.1mm CCD.”

2009 May 14th Yes, big sensors really do make a difference.

New DxOMark scores

it seems the P65+ sensor really does do a good job – and so it should for that price ;-)

Other than that we’re still waiting for the Nikon MX stuff suggest by a French magazine, back in March.

As to Canon, our most recent comment received was that ‘large sensor work’ was ‘on hold again’.

The ‘something for landscape and architectural photographers’ comment we heard back in October, most likely was referring to the two new TS-E lenses.

May 1st MF related talk for Canon and Nikon has dried up again, however for £12,000…

Phase 1 bring out the P40+ which looks to offer pixel binning to give 10MP at up to ISO 3200

P 40+ full resolution capture mode:

Resolution: 40 megapixels
Pixel size: 6 x 6 micron
RAW file compression: (IIQ large: 40 MB) (IIQ small: 26 MB)
ISO: 50, 100, 200, 400, 800
Capture rate: Up to 1.2 frames per second

P 40+ Sensor+ capture mode:

Resolution: 10 megapixels
Pixel size: 12 x 12 micron
RAW file compression: (IIQ large: 10 MB) (IIQ small: 7 MB)
ISO: 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Capture rate: up to 1.8 frames per second

More info [PDF]

April 4th Phase 1 is effectively taking over Mamiya – or as they would put it “becoming a major shareholder in the company behind the Mamiya brand of medium format cameras and lenses”

How many digital MF suppliers will be left at the end of the decade?

1st A removable back for the Pentax 645 or just a test design? [RH]

2009 March 19th Mamiya up their MF DL28 to 33MP.

A bargain at $20k and if you get your order in soon, there’s a free lens.

7 micron pixels with 48x36mm sensor
integration of the Mamiya 645AFD III camera system and Leaf Aptus-II 7 digital back
16-bit capture
12-stop dynamic range
ISO 50 to 800
67MB RAW files
Compactflash, Firewire

17th More hints at Nikon producing something a bit bigger…

In the French Magazine ‘Réponses Photo’ there is a comment suggesting it’s more than a rumour and they will have news soon [NR]

5th It seems that Pentax is back with another go at the 645 [AP]

“The camera will go on display at the Photo Imaging Expo show in Tokyo later this month, said John Carlson, product marketing and support manager at Pentax USA.”

“… it will not be marketed in the United States because Pentax predicted it would only sell 200 units there.”

If this sounds familiar, then a glance back through this page should refresh your memories.

February 13th Some info about a potential Nikon ‘middle format’ camera by the end of the year….

“This information has been confirmed to some pro photographers as well as Nikon distributors, camera will have a CCD size of 55mmx55mm, there’s no exact details on final resolution yet but it will be somewhere around 50Mp, quite similar in design to that of the Leica S2 camera system which was announced six months ago.”
“For the time, no detailed information on full range of lenses are available but planned for the release together with D4 are the 35mm, 80mm and 180mm lenses along with the 0.7 retro-adaptors for standard 35mm Nikon lenses.”

More info at Nikon Rumours [NR($30k-$40k BTW)

2009 January 8th In a nice example of how 2+2 often equals 144 in rumourland – you might remember the Nikon BIG ads and how this presaged Nikon MF? Well, according to WPPI [WPPI] it’s about some band appearing at an event…

“We told you something BIG is coming to WPPI! Something so BIG that we had to rent out the MGM Grand Arena. We promised—and we delivered. Please join us for a private WPPI performance by Blues Traveler! This is a free concert to all WPPI attendees.”

2008 December 8th Is all that Nikon MF talk based on some D3x adverts? A possibility – see NR

See this D3x video (warning – excruciatingly bad production and sound :-)

November 16th

Will there be an ‘MF’ camera from Nikon? The oft mentioned MX format? Well, there is a collection of comments and thoughts on what a ‘DM1’ MX format camera might mean over at Nikon Guides

“…semi-modular professional camera with a 36 x 48mm 50 megapixel sensor, ISO 25-800 sensitivity, and files so huge that the smallest memory card you’ll want to consider will be a 233X UDMA-enabled 32GB card that can barely squeeze 100 aboard images. Your $9995 will get you a camera with built-in GPS and WAN capability, and a 4.3-inch TFT LCD. ”

Certainly, such a camera would stick a boot quite nicely into the somewhat ‘refined’ digital MF market. I’m sure many digital MF dealers (or the few remaining manufacturers) would not welcome Nikon barging into their market ;-)

All our recent information suggests that Canon still has semi-active MF design projects, which could quickly be moved into more active modes -if- they thought it worthwhile from a business point of view. At the moment Canon want to concentrate on ‘MF quality from 35mm’ but if Nikon (and particularly Sony) make moves in this area, Canon might decide to respond.

For one version of a Canon Modular System see our main Canon rumours page ;-)

Red DSMC13th A huge modular ‘Scarlet and EPIC’ DSMC (Digital Stills and Motion Camera) ‘system’ is announced by Red (they do announcements well ;-) 

More info and loads of pictures at the Red user forum. See also at EG

You might note similarities to the prototype system we had samples of a few years ago (see above) or my own system further down the page, just below the 617 sensor pic. :-)

Includes a version with a 186mm x 56mm sensor (yes, 6×17)

giant sensors

Rather a lot of TBA items in the brochure… ;-)

More info, including the note that the 617 chip will appear in Spring 2010 and cost $55,000

12th Lots of MX speculation out there, and Thom Hogan has made his pronouncements for 2009, which even raises the question of a potential Canon ‘big’ camera too.

10th In the ‘perhaps not so likely’ category ;-) comes the DPR MX specs… 20th Nov New Nikon MX – bigger than FF in a D700 sized body and over 24MP

2008 October 27th Just to show that there is still someone in the design office, I see that Pentax are filing new MF related patents [PB] ;-) (our earliest Pentax 645D mention on this page is in September 2006 and refers to a 2005 story)

23rd Earlier this year we had some comments about something ‘very different’ that was being worked on by Canon – there were mentions of providing ‘serious movements’ and it being ‘not your usual DSLR’

Canon view cameraAll good stuff, but we’ve just had some further comments pointing to Canon actually announcing something ‘in the next few months’ that would be of particular interest to ‘Landscape and Architectural photographers’ … ‘and not a new lens’

Now whilst I’d be happy with a 1Ds3/5D2 sensor (liveview) and shutter at the back of a mirrorless camera with movements, I’m not at all sure how well it would sell (note that only the 3 Canon T/S lenses currently have large image circles too)

Here’s my version I built for my 1Ds – the body/mirror effectively limits it to a shortest lens FL of about 90mm.

Anyone else hear anything of such a Canon project?

20th Pentax would still like people to think they might bring out an MF camera [DPR] see below (25/2/07) for a previous attempt.

17th An interesting TH post on DPR there is this comment about the move to ‘MF’

“… Leica is headed there. Canon is likely headed there. Heck, even Pentax is still playing their on-again-off-again-on-again game in MF. There will be competition. For Nikon, this would be a play against Sony. For Canon, it would be a play against Hasselblad.”

However it seems that the meeting has been postponed to Nov 20th [Google Trand may well only be software.

13th A Nikon product announcement in Copenhagen on the 22nd has people interested.

However, the press invite [D3x page] doesn’t suggest what it might be…

2008 October 4th The Nikon MX rumours are going well, with several new pictures of supposed ad copy for something new from Nikon.

There are full size versions of these pictures at Nikonrumors

Things to note, are the much larger lens mount and lack of focus screw in the ‘new’ mount.

On DPR, there is the interesting comment that in producing 3 new tilt/shift (PC) lenses, Nikon have optical designs for 24/45/85mm lenses with a big enough image circle…

September 29th The Leica S2 has if nothing else given the slightly moribund Canon MF rumours market a boost, with a DPR post on the subject of Canon using a 36x48mm 77MP sensor, but EVF.

That said, we’re still hearing that the push is in the 35mm format and that a large sensor design is seen as an expensive distraction for finite development resources – of course, markets change ;-)

24th More big CCD sensors announced by Kodak [DPR]

Note that we’ve still not seen big CMOS sensors – Canon could make a 44MP ‘2FF’ (48mmx36mm) sensor with existing (1Ds3/5D2) performance or go to 76MP at 50D pixel sizes. Of course there is far more to it than that, but I suspect the Canon MF project is not quite as dead as some might think ;-)

22nd What new from Leica?

An all new 37MP MF like system with a 30x45mm sensor and a whole range of lenses. [BJP, Leica] €20,000 body only, available summer 2009.

Leica S2 system

There is a page of info from ProPhotograper Magazine [flkr] – the salient points are copied here.

leica s2Expect to require a lottery win before buying one. It sits between the EOS 5D and EOS 1Ds MkIII in terms of body size.

Leica S2 specsOf course it makes the Nikon MF discussions a bit more interesting and also the long rumoured ‘special’ camera from Sony (modular, MF like and with everything they can think of included ;-)

If the new moves to MF do prove at all successful, expect Canon to look again at their MF projects.

20th Lengthy Nikon MF threads on DPR [#1#2] although not terribly illuminating ;-)

The WPPI stuff rumbles on with no new info – see 23rd Aug below

2008 September 19th Mamiya have a new 22MP digital back.

The Mamiya ZDb Digital Back has a 48x36mm full-frame transfer CCD and works with the Mamiya 645AFDII, Mamiya 645AFDIII, RZ67Pro-IID and RB67Pro-SD cameras. Price… TBA ;-) [Mamiya info – (slow)]

11th The Nikon MF story rumbles on and Leaf have announced a some cameras for photokina

The AFi-II 10, 7 and 6 digital medium format cameras and matching Aptus-II 10, 7 and 6 digital backs. AFi-II 7 and 10 have got the first tiltable LCD screens on MF cameras.

The AFi-II 10 and Aptus AFi 10 use a 56MP, 56x36mm sensor.

leaf MF 10The cameras’ backs have 3.5″ touch screen LCD displays, 12 stop dynamic range, 50 to 800 ISO range and 16bit output.

Leaf has introduced a new version of its capture software, Leaf Capture version 11.2.

5th More on the MX format and Nikon MF from Wired.

“The sensor will be similar in design to the D3 sensor and the camera itself will be able to use existing FX (full frame) lenses via an adapter. This will give a crop factor of 0.5x — pop on a 50mm lens and it will act like a 25mm lens. It will also shoot rectangular pictures by cropping the image from the sensor, which means that you can choose either landscape or portrait orientation without actually moving the camera. Finally, the camera wil be cheap.”

More from PB and still more at NW

4th It seems our enthusiasm for a Canon MF was misplaced. We’re told that last year the decision was made to concentrate on getting FF sensors up to 65MP and the lenses to make use of them.

3rd In a load more Canon technical info we were sent there is talk of redefining what a ‘pro’ camera is. Time for the Canon MF to re-emerge? Info on the 60D page.

2008 September 1st it’s certainly Nikon that has moved up into the MF camera rumours front row.

At NR there is mention of the new MX format 6380×6380 (and crop verions) although I’m told the text in part of the image refers to grocery related information ;-)

All related to the ‘big’ info – should be enough to kick the Canon MF rumour mill out of its torpor. :-)

August 23rd Nikon has a marketing event at the the WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographer International) show in Vegas next February. They are calling it BIG!

Add to that Thom Hogan’s DPR comments about how Nikon ‘could’ do a new MF (24MP, modular, new lens mount, $10k, not a D3X) and you have the Nikon version of the sort of ‘move to MF’ rumours that have been finding their way here for over 2 years ;-)

July 31st A story in PS (German) describes some key features of the new AFi-10 from Leaf 

At 56MP, the biggest difference is the aspect ratio of the 56x36mm sensor which can be rotated in the back

According to Leaf:

“‘True Wide Frame’ (TWF) sensor
The new Leaf TWF sensor restores lenses to their full angle of view. Together with DALSA Corporation, Leaf designed the exclusive new 56×36 mm TWF sensor to deliver 56 megapixel resolution across the entire width of the Leaf AFi 10’s 6×6 sensor area. TWF sensor technology in the Leaf AFi 10 imaging module and Aptus 10 camera back is also compatible with over 80 large-format cameras, maximizing their capture area. ”

rotating MF sensor

The comparative areas of some of the top end sensors are shown below.

Leaf AFi-10

6 micron pixels
9288 x 6000
1 fps
ISO 50-800
Max Exposure: 1 minute
File size: 114 MB (RAW), 171 MB (RGB TIF 8 Bit)

Note that it’s a Dalsa chip – Even though I’ve heard a couple of rumours about Canon negotiating to buy itself a MF camera company, I don’t really see it as very likely myself.

2008 July 14th Big chips are the thing in the news.

A new 60MP Dalsa chip in going to make its debut in the Phase One P65

At 40.4 X 54.9mm it’s pretty close to ‘full frame’. Mamiya 645, for example, is 41.5 x 56 mm.

There is a lengthy announcement at LL where the price is mentioned at ~$40k for the back, and a full camera system starting at ~$42k – looks to be ready for Christmas if you want one.

One interesting comment regards the suppliers of large imaging chips…

“Which begs the question – how will Hasselblad and others respond? It’s already rumoured in the industry that there’s another chip supplier waiting in the wings (no, not Kodak) that will be offering some advanced MF sized sensor technology, but that’s likely a year or more away.”

A chip at 1DsMk3 pixel density scales up to just short of 60MP… however see this page – 17th Sept 07

10th More info on that Kodak chip at DPR

July 8th With Canon announcing a ‘showcase’ presentation before photokina, that will specifically cover sensor developments, I’ve had a lot of people asking if the MF project is back on again? Unfortunately, all we’ve seen so far is people asking the question :-)

In the land of ‘real’ cameras, there is the H3DII-50 at a nice round 50MP

tilt/shif adapter on a hasselblabSome info (german) and some details of the tilt/shift adaptor available for it.

The adaptor will work with the 28, 35, 50 and 80mm lenses, +/-18mm shift, +/- 10 degrees tilt, +/- 90 degrees rotation.

The CCD chip is a Kodak 50MP sensor KAF-50100

[Kodak spec info]

June 19th Nothing from Canon, but at last a Nikon FF rumour on DPR

Unfortunately I somehow doubt the specs ;-)

“F3ux, 36x48mm 2F-format 48mpx, 6fps, 16-bit, 108-point AF with user feeling detection AF-system $12,000”

I’m still hearing reports of development work on a Canon MF solution, but the project seems to have been put on the back burner this year.

March 19th Nothing connected with Canon at the moment, and the words I’ve had about them releasing some new tilt/shift lenses this year suggest that the 35mm format is still their main attack on MF

However Phase One have announced their 645 ‘open’ system in conjunction with Mamiya.

Flash brochure
Article – in German
Article – Spanish
Mamiya press info (Nov – announcing collaboration)

2008 January 4th Some MF related rumours and a wishlist at TOP ;-)

“Canon will enter the medium format world with a new camera, a new line of lenses and a digital back. The price point of a lens/camera/back kit will be in the range of $12,000-$14,000. Whether or not the back will be compatible with existing m.f. cameras (excluding the new Hassies, of course) is unclear. There are people who claim to know people who have tested this product line in the past year or so.”

I noted that the Canon MF project was ‘on hold’ last year, rather than cancelled, so maybe there is hope yet ;-)

And from the same page, a camera ‘rumour’ that stretches the envelope a bit :-) ;-)

“Fuji GA 645 D:
Based, loosely, on the Fuji GA 645 series medium format rangefinder cameras, this camera features a FULL-FRAME 6×4.5 (55mm x 43mm) 48 megapixel SuperCCD SR sensor (24 million S pixels, 24 million R pixels). With 16 bit A/D converter and advanced processing, 10 full stops of dynamic range are captured.
ISO range from 200 to 6400. With no discernable noise through 3200 speed and barely perceptible noise at 6400. Has 8 pre-programmed film simulation modes and 4 programable settings.

The fixed four position zoom 45mm, 55mm, 80mm and 120mm (35mm equivalent: 28mm f4, 35mm f4.2, 50mm f4.8 and 75mm f5.6) is crisp and sharp “wide open” at all settings with no discernable chromatic aberation and limited easily correctable distortions at the extremes.The autofocus is much improved over the GA645 series – very fast and very sharp (beyond the resolution of the sensor).

Shooting speed of 3 frames per second until buffer fills with 1.5 frames per second thereafter. Buffer depth is 10 frames.
RAW image size is 100MB. Uses compact flash. Features lithium-ion battery with 500-700 shot capacity.
Target audience: Landscape photographers, street shooters with desire for ultimate image quality, studio shooters… Price: $9,000″

I think I’d only add a wider wide setting for my own wishlist ;-)

2007 November 15th Nothing on other formats from Canon, but Mamiya and Phase One have decided to work together. The MF market is never going to be a big one, so given Hasselblad’s decision to go for a closed system, Phase One had to go somewhere.

P1 press announcement (PDF), including an expensive ‘buy one, get one free’ offer ;-) … plenty more thoughts over at LL 

September 19th In an update to the MF comments we were told some more about why the MF project is on hold (not ‘canned’ as we were originally told ;-)

“Canon believe that by continuing to push the 35mm full frame lens and sensor technology they can continue to replace most uses of MF except for very high resolution studio and landscape shots.”

“Many studios that used to have several MF film bodies have cut down and may only have one in regular use with a digital back, or just get out the film body for special shoots”

2007 Sepember 17th In some recent emails, we’ve heard that:

Canon had indeed acquired some MF IP from a company that sold it off
They has been an ongoing project looking at making their own MF system

This has been suspended for a combination of reasons:

The market is too small (only a few thousand cameras a year)
It would distract critical lens design resources needed in the L series (new L updated lenses are a priority)
There is more to gain from seeing how close Canon can come to MF standards in the 35mm or similar formats
Much more cost effective and a much wider market.
i.e. A fashion studio might have 1 MF body and 3-4 or more 1D series (if they have any MF at all)

However – Some of Sony’s future plans in this respect are interesting (this from Canon’s POV we believe)

Sony are known to be pursuing several fronts over the next 2-3 years:

Becoming the CMOS sensor supplier of choice to Nikon, Pentax etc
Designing CMOS sensors of up to 50mp in sizes up to 36mm x 36mm (ie square full frame)
Looking at high end technologies in their DSLRs such as hard disk drives, removable rear LCDs that can act as a live viewfinder.
Looking at a super high end body blending the DSLR with medium format removable back.

2007 August 18th Canon can now make 35mm full frame chips in one step – and can make larger ones too – more info on the 50D page from a lengthy email we were sent.

“Sensor technology – Canon have mentioned that full frame sensor chips need two stepper passes. Sony now has the technology to do this in one pass and are preparing their own sensors and selling to them Nikon.  However, Canon have a new ‘one pass’ technology too. What’s more, it can do even larger than 35mm (36x24mm) in a single pass.
Canon is very excited about a next generation CMOS sensors they are working on.  Two full frame versions have 40M and 50M pixels at the -same- noise level as the current 1D series. Low power supply voltages give cooler chips and lower noise even with smaller pixels. Different circuit fabrication techniques also promise to make close to 100% of the sensor area active pixels. This technology won’t make any of the upcoming models, but is expected in 2009/10.”

4th All quiet but still plenty plenty of talk of the ZD … I’ll stick with my MPP (see above :-)

July 7th Good to see some thoughts still being put into what Canon MF could do (DPR :-)

645afd II and zd224th I’ve had a good look round for any Canon MF noises and all seems quiet

However I’d forgotten to mention that if you want to move into Digital MF on a lower budget ($10k) then there is the Mamiya 645AFD IIMedium Format Camera with 80mm f/2.8 AF lens and the Mamiya ZD 22 Megapixel Digital Back.

The Mamiya ZD digital back offers a 36mm x 48mm Dalsa CCD 22 mega pixel image capture sensor.

This is a 1.15x crop compared with 120 film use (42x56mm)

Discussion in a PDN thread

May 20th Looks as if Pentax and Hoya might get together – or maybe not — check various posts in this LL thread for the various points of view. Whatever happens, the 645D still looks a long way off…

11th Bad news for people waiting for the Pentax MF (from AP and a LL thread)

“Tokyo-based newspaper Nikkei reported yesterday that Pentax plans to ‘abandon the development of medium format single-lens reflex cameras designed for professional photographers and specialise in digital SLR offerings for new and intermediate users.’ ”

Looks like continuing fallout from the (failed/stalled) Hoya takeover.

Oh, and since we are looking for rumours, note the “I also look forward to the new Canon cameras that will be released in the next year.” in one response in that LL MF thread ;-)

2007 May 8th I’m just back from a drive up the Northern California and Oregon coasts (nice way of spending a couple of weeks ;-) and have been having a good look round for any info – seem that this particular rumour thread has dried up for the time being :-(

April 10th For those looking at the long awaited Pentax MF digital (see below), I notice the proposed Pentax/Hoya merger/takeover is off, or on again. More info from (type Pentax into the search box).

March 8th PMA opens and the Canon 2FF seems firmly still in the imagination class of cameras – much like the Nikon D3 much hyped over the last week or so ;-)

Anyway if you’re still not familar with the ‘it will be available at a future date’ marketing, somewhat more common in the digital MF field, have a look at some Sinar info. Despite occasional mentions on forums, I’d not expect Canon to make any move on this type of ‘modular’ approach.

2007 February 25th When is FF MF and what is truly FF?

How many camera marketing executives can dance on the tip of a needle? If you follow the MF digital Pentax thread on LL. then there is obviously some considerable leeway

“FF 645 will need a sensor size of 56 x 41.5mm, I can’t see how a 48 x 36mm can be call FF. That camera will have a ‘crop factor’ of 1,34”


“a sensor of “only” 44 x 33 mm, you a have a crop factor of 1,6″

And the Pentax… (note the somewhat vague timing ;-)

Pentax 645 Digital medium-format digital SLR camera 

Kodak-developed extra-large CCD image sensor with 31.6 total megapixels
Compatibility with existing smc Pentax 645 interchangeable lenses
A pair of storage-media slots for the loading of an SD memory card and a CF card
Market launch schedule to be announced at a later date

Interchangeable standard lens for Pentax 645
The smc Pentax-D FA645 55mm F2.8 is an interchangeable standard lens for exclusive use with Pentax medium-format digital SLR camera:

A standard lens designed for exclusive use with the Pentax 645 Digital (tentative name)
Advanced optical design with all properties of lens element groups, including curvature and lens coating, optimized for digital photography
Can be used with existing Pentax 645-series medium-format SLR film cameras
Will be marketed simultaneously with the Pentax 645 Digital camera body
Market launch schedule to be announced at a later date

Pentax AF200FG dedicated auto flash

Compact clip-on-type auto flash unit with a guide number of 20 (at ISO 100/m)
Market launch schedule to be announced at a later date

645 MF digital

Pentax 645 – ‘real soon now’

Other pentax announcements at LGD

22nd Pentax comes out with a 31.6MP 645 digital, using a Kodak CCD

From Engadget:

“Pentax has apparently tapped Kodak to provide its 31.6 megapixel KAF-31600 medium format CCD for the upcoming 645 Digital, which would seem to be the company’s highest resolution digital camera to date. So far all that’s known from the pre-PMA announcement is that the 645 will sport both SD and CF slots, and will ship with a specially-built 55mm lens that’s also compatible with 645-series SLR film cameras.”

18th Various MF musings on the lists — I do particularly like one Canon MF system mentioned of FM :-)

The new MF Canon camera sensor is 41.5x56mm and 40MP
New MF SL (Super L) lenses:
35/2.8, 40/3.5 TS-E, 45/2.8, 70/2.8 TS-E, 80/2, 100/2.8 Macro 1:1, 120/2.8 TS-E, 200/2 IS, 300/4 IS Macro 1:1, 300/2.8 IS, 600/5.6 IS, 800/6.3 IS
1.4x, 2x
35-80/2.8 IS, 80-200/2.8 IS, 200-600/5.6 IS

Note that this was in DPR on 19th Jan ;-)

2007 February 17th More prospects for a bigger than 35mm Canon?

An interesting thread on a board that points towards some very interesting announcements?

Have a read, draw your own conclusions, but some quotes:

“There will not be a camera manufacturer out there who is not looking at building HDR software into cameras while they expand the range of their sensors anyway.
Wait until you see the auto bracketing on the next range of 1 series cameras for instance….and at 8+FPS”

“Not heard so much as a proper whisper on the baby brother camera, …plenty on the 1Ds and the one whose name cannot be mentioned in public for fear of death…but the 1DMKIII …not a dickie”

and on MF

“But now….it’s all changed and top of the rooster shed roof is Canon and now there’s a whole load of new users who just might come into the game with a digital MF Canon….plus of course Canon have made some intersting purchases as a company in the last couple of years.

No recent Canon talk on the MF forum at LL – I’m looking forward to the reaction if Canon do decide to storm the MF market. The ‘barbarians at the gates’ threads will start the day that DPreview has a Canon Medium Format forum :-) :-)

I’m told that Canon have made some purchases in the MF area that might be of interest… from FM

“The “purchase” that Canon made that they are talking about was actually of some production lines and tools sold to Canon by Contax. One of the authors mistakenly said Mamiya which is incorrect. Contax was the Japanese contract manufacturer for Zeiss and Contax Zeiss made awesome medium format cameras with Zeiss optics. These were compatible with various medium format backs (Phase, Leaf, etc) up 48mmx36mm..But in the early 2000’s Contax couldn’t complete and stopped making medium format cameras. They sold their production lines and tools to Canon.”

13th If you read the sensor info yesterday, then do look at some of the info in the follow up posts in that LL thread.

12th Things are pretty quiet on the Canon MF rumours front, but there was a recent document posted on the LL forum by Sinar. I’ve got a pdf version available.

33 MP Dalsa and 39 MP Kodak Sensors, Technical Differences and Facts” perhaps slanted a bit towards the Dalsa chip (it’s what sinar use) but a good reference.

While we’re collecting some older posts – there is this collection of info I missed which has a fairly broad range of rumours (unfortunately no sources or attribution), including a 4D (popular opinion has always been that Canon would avoid the number 4 for various reasons) and this on ‘MF’

“Minimum noise is one of the cornerstones of digital sensor development. With the current photosite dimensions and cost / development capabilities – the limit seems to have been reached. So if you want more pixels with yet low noise you must grow the area, and so…. the real Canon star might be a newly developed studio camera based on double cmos size that might squash the medium market for good. There is talk of a new lens lineup compatible with this format. If so, this is BIG, really BIG.”

2007 January 30th For those of you with more spare cash there is the new Hassie H3D-31. I love the marketing droids emphasis on ‘near full frame’ – much like the EOS 1D2 ;-)

“Featuring near full-frame capture, the H3D-31 uses a 44x33mm sensor enhanced with micro-lenses to boost ISO rating one stop to a new maximum of ISO 800. The system’s new high-speed capture architecture, which is common to all H3D models and enables the fastest possible operation, also gives the H3D-31 an impressive capture rate of 1.2 seconds per image in either mobile or tethered mode.”

Nice as it would be to have one, ISO 800 max and .7 frames per second would be a royal pain on some of my work – but for other stuff it would be nice to use, however I can’t personally make a valid business case for such kit… :-(

29th I saw a comment mentioning that Canon acquired a company that had designed an MF sensor a few months ago. Is there anything to this …has anyone any further information?

27th Not quite MF, but another suggestion of a new lens mount and camera at LL

Canon MF design22nd Interesting picture sent from Italy…

Old news I’m told

Possible Canon MF? -No :-(

It seems that this is from the mid 80’s when Canon had several MF prototypes, before the whole EOS system appeared. Well if they could do it then, why not now ;-)

19th I notice that there has even been a flurry of comments on DPR relating to a Canon camera with a bigger sensor – see this post for a thorough wish list of ‘Super L’ lenses ;-)

“The new MF Canon camera sensor is 41.5x56mm and 40MP” — hmm yes, Canon R&D has been busy :-)

6th An interesting take on Canon’s new ‘pro’ stuff for this year. It was mentioned to us that there will be an additional all new 1 series body in addition to the expected ‘1DsMkiii’. This one would be a rather specialist offering and the key word was ‘movements’. Could this be the ‘all’ new system referred to a few days ago?

As someone who uses the TS-E 24 and TS-E 90 lenses quite a bit, this one piqued my interest. If implemented well, a camera with a movable lens mount would make it on to many people’s ‘want one’ list :-) I can certainly see a lot of studio uses if coupled with an improved sensor (dynamic range, bit depth etc)

There are obvious difficulties in the limited image circle with most current EF lenses (~58 mm on TS-E lenses) and I’m sure there are a whole host of other mechanical difficulties…

It’s certainly worth seeing if any new lenses that get announced have bigger image circles, although I’d expect any such ‘specialist’ camera to have a few new lenses to add to the marketing fanfare of the announcement ;-)

2007 January 1st The ‘all new’ Canon system could (and I suspect this is more likely) point to a big jump in performance in the next 1D type top of the range 35mm FF dslr.

This post on the LL site suggests that:

“The body is a new design from the ground up but not a new format. Supposedly it is a bit smaller in size and it is the first body to be built from the ground up for a digital sensor. Still with the same mount for the lens, but the glass is being completely redesigned.”

Unfortunately it also pushes back this camera until November 2007

2006 November 12th I noticed (OK it was at Photokina ;-) that Leaf and Jenoptic have announced “a new auto focus, medium-format camera”, however the press release is rather thin on actual details… There is a bit more detail from Leaf themselves.

In the mean time there has been not a whisper of any “larger than 35mm” info about Canon for some time. I’ve no doubt that if they wanted to, Canon could wreak havoc in the current digital MF market. If the next 1Ds has ~22Mpix, then quite a few MF backs already lose some of their advantages. I’d be happy if they also increased the bit depth and DR in the next IDs, since when it comes down to it, I’ve no great desire to buy all new lenses…

Will Canon bring out something really big next year, or stick to 35mm and smaller? I believe that if they did, and had an ‘open’ lens mount design (much like the EF mount) they could clean up in the market. Question is, does it fit in the corporate road map?

Of course, the best place to ask a question like this might be the Luminous Landscape MF forum, rather than say DPreview ;-)
— here is a thread on LL, that once you get past people harrumphing over ‘rumour posts’ has some interesting observations about problems with larger sensors.

October 8th I was asked about a possible move to a 4:3 sensor in Canon Pro cameras. My own thoughts are that a 27x36mm 4:3 sensor is just not a big enough move from 35mm to warrant all the new design work needed. Also after the Hasselblad noises I noticed that Canon had already got their own dig in at the H3D ‘full frame’ claims in their excellent sensor design PDF

“While some vendors are calling their very expensive 49 x 36.7mm image sensors ‘full-frame’, they are not, at least in terms of medium format.”

5th Just a catch up on the rumblings in the MF digital market, following on from the Hasselblad announcement at Photokina.

In what some see as a short sighted move for the overall MF digital market, Hasselblad have decided that the H3D will -only- work with their own digital backs – so no more Phase 1, Leaf or Sinar backs , they’ll only work with H1s or H2s. Add to that, the fact that you can’t use a lens like the new 28mm on the older bodies and you can see what looks to all intents and purposes like a major player trying to enforce its will. I can imagine the uproar (and disbelief) if this was tried in the digital SLR market…

For a longer take (from a long time Hasselblad user) on this, see MR’s comments on Luminous Landscape.

Info on latest Phase One P+ range of backs (Info and pdf product sheet)

h3d MF digital camera2006 September 26th Nothing from Canon at Photokina…

Hasselblad announce the H3D, with a double (35mm) frame MF CCD up to ISO 400 – slightly smaller than that Canon prototype at the top of the page, but no pop-up flash or print button ;-) (thanks Martin)

“Large format 48x36mm digital capture.
Today’s digital photography demands higher resolution, less noise, and improved compositional choice, all of which the CF backs provide. The sensors are 22 or 39 megapixels in size and they are both more than twice the physical size of today’s 35mm sensors.
This means more and larger pixels, which ensures the highest possible image quality and moiré free color rendering without gradation break-ups – in even the most subtley lit surfaces.”

big cameraSeptember 23rd While everyone wonders what/if Canon is going to announce for Photokina. I’ve been looking at wider developments in the larger format digital imaging area (the one where I don’t have enough spare cash to experiment)

For only 28,900 Euros you can have a Seitz 6×17. ISO 500-10000 scanning back that can take a full width shot in one second.

I love the idea of using something like this hand held :-)

Sensor manufacturer DALSA Corporation exclusive for Seitz
Vertical resolution 7,500 pixels (60mm)
Pixel size – 8µm x 8µm
Noise level 19 electrons / 50,000
Dynamic range 1 : 2,600 (11 f-stops)

As someone who avoids using a tripod whenever possible, I’m glad to see those hefty hand grips :-)

Whilst on technologies, have a look at the very interesting paper about sensor noise from NuCORE (two useful PDF files).

If you are looking for more technical info on sensors, then there is a lot to download from the Dalsa site, and Kodak has quite a lot of good sensor related info as well.

And for things that were announced and never saw the light of day… this Pentax 645D mockup from 2005. I’ve noticed a flurry of recent reports and even suggestons for prices, but it hardly looks set to make Canon quake in their boots :-)

2006 August 28th If you have a look in Canon’s very interesting 30 page PDF article about full frame sensors there is lots of info that might point to possible movement in the MF sized field.

The bit about stepper capacity and wafer yields certainly points to any camera not being cheap…

…and there is this bit about what the ‘others’ manage with MF

“While some vendors are calling their very expensive 49 x 36.7mm image sensors ‘full-frame’, they are not, at least in terms of medium format.”

Note also this MF inspired thread on LL where post 3 (May 06) predicts the 50/1.2L and a dual ‘crop’ mode 1Ds 3 for photokina

20th There is a big Canon event on the 24th, it’s possible we might get some advance warning of an ‘all new’ system although I’d not expect it until PMA early next year, since it would take some of the glory (and sales) of any new 1Ds Mk2N or 1Ds3.

We’ve picked some of the potentially MF related info from the 1Ds Mk3 page below…

2006 August 10th At last some pictures of the new MF Canon – we believe the ‘4’ signifies an early example of the 1Ds Mk4. we were told that the body is only for test purposes though and the final camera may look slightly different. Interestingly enough it looks like a normal 70-200 2.8L on the front

New Canon MF camera system

New Canon mf camera image 1

New Canon mf camera image 2

New Canon mf camera image 3

Canon MF camera?

Good to see that Canon have listened to some of the experts on dpreview and included a pop-up flash ;-)

9th Still no real info on Canon’s supposed entry to the ‘medium format’ area, but consider that a sensor that size would be well beyond the image circle of current EF lenses… (10th – Thanks to Darren for pointing out that the TS-E lenses have a 58.6mm image circle – I should have remembered this since I recently wrote a lengthy article about using my 24mm 3.5L TS-E but the ‘2FF’ chip size (48×36) has a diagonal of 60mm)

2006 August 7th Well it seems the thread I linked to yesterday has been deleted. The most interesting reason would be that it was too close to the truth and Canon lent on the site – maybe it just got too long and was culled. Anyway, here is the original text (as posted on dpreview) from a supposed beta tester.

“Before 1 month I tested a new sensor that I think it could be for the 1Ds new model camera. If what they told me is correct and no major changes will be done, then expect the following soon
22 Aug will be the official presentation.
21 Nov 2006 the first one will hit the streets at 9.999$ suggested price.
22MP 12bit color usable at 3200asa. (48x36cm newCMOS)
User could switch to 12MP 8bit color and work at 4800asa (getting almost same noise as with 5D at 1600asa, that my test showed).
Also 6400asa will be there as option but as I tested is not usable (except for B&W photos).
ISO priority mode.
New DIGI-chip offering 3presets for real-time tonality enhancements. (Much better than the one I tested in a new SONY A-DSLR).
Also 1Ds Mark III will be compatible with the new EF-Ls lenses. (There will be some new lenses soon for new 2xFullFrame cameras (in 2years maybe). Something like the opposite of the EF-S called EF-Ls or EF-Ds.
I also tested a new replacement Dalsa-CCD for MamiyaZD 21.7 MP with 12bit color but it could not perform well at 800asa.
Excuse my English I am from Greenland and I work in Germany and Netherlands where people don’t speak English”

It was pointed out to me that that would make the chip the same size as the H2D-39 (pdf spec)

Hasselblad H2D-39 Specs: Sensor size- 39 Mpixels: Sensor dimensions- 36.7 x 49.0 mm: Image size (8/16 bit RGB): RAW capture 78 MBytes, lossless compressed 50 MBytes (average)

August 6th Just to follow the buzz, have a look at the post from a supposed 1DS 3 (EOS 1D3) Beta tester on dpreview. Manages to mix enough probables, along with the contents of enough wishlists and enough new bits (48×36 chip and all new lenses) to stir the pot nicely :-)

July 12th More comment received suggesting that the 1Ds Mk2 N will indeed have 22MP, faster buffer and bigger LCD – and a $10k price tag.
It also seems that there are rumours going round that Canon is going to introduce an MF (medium format) system – not heard this one since late May ;-)

2006 July 4th A different take on the ‘no new MkIII at photokina’ — We’ve been told that although the new flagship camera exists, all the marketing and production requirements mean that it’ll first be shown (in a box – for show only) in Feb 2007 in time for PMA. It will not be a Mk3 and is likely to be an ‘around $10k’ camera.

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