On location with the Phase One IQ180

Introduction The Phase One 645DF and the IQ180 medium format system is a serious camera system for a serious photographer.  A full frame 80 megapixel digital back offers unparalleled image quality.  The 645DF and the IQ180 combine to make a beast of a camera, and currently is the top of the line in single-capture resolution.  The camera is based on an open architecture, meaning that the camera can accept a variety of digital backs and lenses.  It is a system that can grow... Read More

Image Quality and the Mamiya RZ33 (aka: the DM33 and Leaf Aptus-II 7)

Introduction In two previous articles, I discussed both the features and market position of the Mamiya RZ33 (Introduction: The Mamiya RZ33) and the ergonomics of using the big camera in the field (On Location with the Mamiya RZ33).  As is often the case with big cameras and perhaps the most sophisticated gear of any discipline, it’s the results that make the added complexity worth the extra effort.  The Big Mamiya is no exception, with generous doses of both complexity... Read More

On Location with The Leica S2

Introduction As a new player in photography’s highest bracket, the Leica S2 is a compelling option for high end and professional photographers.  It promises to take the spectacular image quality virtues of medium format digital photography and make it much more accessible in a wonderfully simple, intuitive, and travel-friendly package, not to mention a brand new line of lenses from one of the optical world’s finest.  Even compared to the pricey products of companies... Read More

Preview: The Phase One IQ180 80MP Digital Back, and the new IQ line

Introduction With the introduction of the new Phase One IQ180 80 MP digital back, Phase One has unleashed an impressive new tool for professional photographers. The Phase One IQ line is scheduled to include three digital camera backs by this summer, the 80 MP IQ180, the 60.5 MP IQ160, and the 40MP IQ140.  The top two are both full-frame 645, the 40 MP version is a familiar crop (32.9×43.9 mm).  All three offer Phase One’s unique Sensor+ system, that cuts resolution... Read More

Introduction: The Leica S2

Introduction With the new S2 camera system, Leica has boldly entered the world of professional imaging at the very top.  The Leica S2 is a tool designed for professional photographers, optimized to churn out big, clear files.  Unlike other cameras in photography’s upper reaches, though, the S2 immediately feels like something familiar, in many ways more closely related to modern 35mm DSLRs than to oblong 645 format cameras. To put our test camera to work, I set up a number... Read More

Introduction: The Mamiya RZ33

Editor’s Note: I’m grateful to several people for our Mamiya demo equipment: to Ray Olson of Mac Group for the RZ33 body and digital back as well as our demo 110mm f2.8 lens; to Pro Camera Rental & Supply for our demo 50mm f 4.5 and AE prism finder.  Mac Group is Mamiya’s exclusive U.S. distributor and Pro Camera is San Francisco’s finest rental shop for professional cameras and lighting gear.  Also, thank you to San Francisco photographer, Larry... Read More

On Location with the Hasselblad H4D-40

The Hasselblad H4D-40, Medium Format DSLR, Part 2 My first encounter with medium format digital photography was during an MFA class, “Advanced Digital Capture”.  The camera, a Hasselblad H1 with a Leaf digital back, was a complex machine, capable of creating big image files, but only with patience, practice, and a bit of professional training.  The back operated tethered to a computer and operation was most comfortably a two-person job. Since those days, much has changed... Read More

Full Throttle 645, The Hasselblad H4D-40

The Hasselblad H4D-40, Medium Format DSLR Hasselblad’s “H” series is very arguably the finest family of cameras in the world, offering a robust line of camera bodies, lenses, digital and film backs, viewfinders, and accessories.  The Swedish company has hurdled into the digital age with a full line of lenses, cameras, and software that work in harmony to produce stunningly large and clear image files.  Through 5 generations of camera bodies, the H series has... Read More

Image Quality and the Hasselblad H3DII-31

The Hasselblad H3DII-31 When compared to more nimble 35mm cameras there are certain compromises to shooting a big 645 DSLR.  It often operates more slowly, with less flexibility of exposure and focus, and – in most cases – it’s more cumbersome.  Is the added complexity and added cost worth it?  Do the trade-offs pay off once the files hit the hard drives and big TIFFs go to print? Why race a Station Wagon and a Super Car? I’ve been thinking through questions... Read More

Entry-Level Digital Medium Format and the $10k Hasselblad H3DII-31

The Mighty Hassleblad H3DII-31 Update, July 2011: Since the time of this writing, Hasselblad has replaced the H3DII-31 with the updated H4D-31.  The new camera uses the same digital back bundled to the H4D camera body, which adds Hasselblad’s True Focus system.  The new camera can be found at Samy’s Camera here.  Readers may also be interested in our review of the H4D-40 here. [I want to offer a Huge thanks to Keeble & Shuchat in Palo Alto and Hasselblad genius... Read More