July 22nd, 2015

A Dream Tool: Erica Kelly Martin’s Passion for Medium Format Goes Digital

Sponsored by Ricoh Imaging America

Erica Kelly Martin’s fascination with medium-format photography can be traced back to a mirror hanging in her childhood bedroom, which echoed the aspect ratio of a medium-format frame, and which she believed had the power to lead her into a “magical world.” As a teenager, she experimented with medium-format box cameras. Her first real camera, she notes, was a Pentax Spotmatic, and later, the quintessential Pentax K1000. In those days, she says, the darkroom was also a magical place.

Today the Los Angeles-based photographer prefers to work on long-term photographic series about “the interior lives” of people. “How they manifest who they are,” she explains, “or what they would like to be.” Trying to cast off some of the more shallow Hollywood culture that she grew up with for authentic images, she makes work that delves deeper into the identities of her subjects to portray what she calls their “grace and inner light.”

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Photo © Erica Kelly Martin

“I believe all photographs are mental constructs, and reflect more about the mind and culture of the artist than about reality,” she explains. “Every picture is in a sense a self-portrait—sometimes we just use surrogates.”

Martin still dusts off her vintage medium-format film cameras on occasion for studio work, but before picking up the Pentax 645Z digital medium-format camera, shooting with a 35mm DSLR was her modus operandi. But now she wonders why she didn’t invest in a medium-format digital camera sooner. “I would like to shoot this way all the time,” she explains. “First of all, because of the optical quality—I just like the way larger format images look. The bokeh (background blur) is so luscious. Second of course is the image quality, which is so fantastic.”

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Photo © Erica Kelly Martin

While the fragility and expense of other digital medium-format cameras were too fragile for her to make the leap, the 645Z checks all the boxes. “It’s the first camera that made medium-format digital photography a possibility for me,” she says.

It’s the camera she takes along with her for activities as disparate as a wedding on a beach, a landscape shoot amongst canyons, or a portrait project in the studio. It’s also the camera she reaches for when she’s simply lounging around the pool.

She says she’s looking forward to trying out the “sturdy and weatherproofed” 645Z in more challenging conditions, like the Burning Man playa in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert—one of her favorite places to shoot. This means exposing it to harsh conditions: “windstorms blowing fine dust are a constant; as are extreme temperatures, knocking around on bicycles, climbing huge art installations, and dancing till dawn,” she says. In the past, she had to wrap her cameras in plastic, put them in waterproof cases, or tape them up to protect them. “All that got in the way of working in a fast-paced and demanding environment.”

“The main thing I look for in a camera system is that it behaves like an extension of my arm,” she continues. “It has to function on an intuitive level, and if things I want to easily accomplish are hidden deep in some menu, it interferes with my creative process.” She explains that her workflow is simplified with this camera. “The crop is right, the color rendition is spot on, and the sharpness and clarity are exceptional. I now realize how much I had to do to get 35mm images to look the way I wanted them.”

In addition, the aspect ratio of the 645Z reminds her of working with a Pentax 6×7 or a vintage 4×5 “and for some reason, I naturally see in that way,” she says. “This camera does it for me perfectly, as the native image aspect ratio is 4:3.” The 645Z also boasts a 51.4 megapixel CMOS sensor, which Martin says has the ability to bring the deepest shadows in an image “back from the dead” and a high ISO range (up to 204,800) for the ability to work in any type of lighting situation.

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Photo © Erica Kelly Martin

Because the subjects of Martin’s shoots vary—from the street to documentary projects to nature to architecture to portraiture — she needs a variety of lenses, Her glass of choice? “I presently have two of the prime lenses—the 55mm and the 90mm Macro, both of which are f/2.8. [They] are my go-to lenses for what I shoot. I am looking forward to trying out the 120mm Macro and perhaps a zoom of some sort, as well as the 75 mm ‘Pancake’ lens for street work.”

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Martin says she’s feeling greatly inspired while shooting with this camera, and is even considering the transition into the moving image, knowing she now has what she calls, “a creative tool to match my imagination.”

To learn more about Pentax 645z, visit www.us.ricoh-imaging.com/645z/ and see more of Erica Martin’s work, visit www.ericakellymartin.com

 

 

February 5th, 2015

Canon 5Ds Takes Aim at Medium Format with 50-Megapixel Sensor

HR_5DS_5DS_R_COMBINATION_CLAfter making their obligatory appearance on the Internet rumor mill, Canon officially launched the 5Ds and 5Ds R, a pair of high-resolution DSLRs based on the 5D Mark III, in advance of the CP+ Show in Japan.

The new 5Ds and 5Ds R will have mostly the same build and feature set as the 5D Mark III but will use a 50-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor of Canon’s own design. The 5Ds R will have a low pass filter cancellation affect to soak up even more resolution (more on that in a minute).

According to Canon, the cameras will offer a 4.14 micron pixel pitch, giving them roughly the same pixel density as the new 7D Mark II. However, the new 5Ds and 5Ds R won’t offer the low light performance of either the 7D Mark II or the 5D Mark III — instead, they’ll top out at a native ISO of 6400, with  a high setting of 12,800 and a low of 50. Canon says that noise levels in the cameras will fall short of the performance of the 5D Mark III or 1-Ds but be comparable to the 7D Mark II, as will the dynamic range.

Powered by a pair of Digic 6 processors, the 5Ds and 5Ds R will offer 5 frames per second continuous shooting as well as 1080p video recording at 30 fps. However, Canon was quick to emphasize that the video capabilities of the new cameras will be sharply limited compared to the 5D Mark III. They won’t offer movie servo AF, clean HDMI output or headphone jacks.

Movie makers won’t be completely neglected however. Canon is debuting a new time-lapse movie mode in these cameras that lets you select how many frames you want in the movie as well as the interval between those frames.

HR_5DS_EF24-70_3Q_CLBoth models will feature a 3-inch display, a CF and SD card slot (with newly added support for UHS-1 cards), and USB 3.o connectivity. Sharpness settings have also been enhanced. Photographers can now adjust sharpness along three specific vectors — strength, fineness and threshold. Automatic white balance has been improved with the addition of ambience or white priority.

As mentioned above, both the 5Ds and 5Ds R will be built from the 5D Mark III’s body with a few subtle tweaks designed primarily to keep the camera as stable as possible during shooting. The mirror will be motor driven, not spring driven, to soften its impact when it moves internally. The mirror lock setting has also been upgraded. In prior Canon cameras, to lock the mirror you had to tap the shutter twice. While that setting is still available, there’s also a menu to set a delayed automatic second shutter. You can designate the interval between when you lock the mirror and when the shutter releases a second time. The ultimate effect, Canon says, is to reduce vibrations when using a tripod.

Finally, the internal chassis, base plate and tripod socket have been reinforced to make the cameras rest more securely on tripods.

The 5Ds R will have a specialized “low pass filter cancellation effect” that increases the apparent sharpness of its images relative to the 5Ds. Canon didn’t ditch the low pass filter entirely, they said, in order to avoid a costly redesign of the camera body. As such, the 5Ds R will be aimed especially at landscape photographers who want a super-sharp image and who don’t shoot repeating patterns as the lack of a low-pass filter will make the 5Ds R more susceptible to moire, Canon warned.

Both models will arrive in June. The 5Ds will retail for $3,699 and is available for pre-order now. The 5Ds R will set you back $3,899 and is also available for pre-order.

Do these strike you as medium format killers? Let us know what you think.

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January 8th, 2015

Mamiya Leaf Credo 50 in the Wild

The January issue of PDN features a review of the Mamiya Leaf Credo 50 medium format camera system.

You can get a sneak peek in this video starring our frequent co-tester, David Patiño, who used the Credo 50 in a marathon product catalog shoot late last year (among other things). Enjoy!

Special thanks to Generic Brand Human for producing the video.

December 17th, 2014

Phase One Intros A-Series Medium Format Cameras (For Real This Time)

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Phase One and Alpa have officially announced the first products following their September 2014 partnership announcement. News of the A-series had surfaced  earlier this year when Phase One dealer Digital Transitions posted some preliminary details online.

The new Phase One A-series cameras combine an Alpa 12TC mirrorless camera body and a Phase One medium format IQ2 A-series back.

There will be three cameras in the new series.

The A250, for $47,000, uses Phase’s IQ250 50-megapixel CMOS-based camera back and can also display a live view feed on an iOS device for focus assist capabilities. The A260 uses the IQ260 back and will retail for $48,000. Finally, the A280 will use the IQ280 back and will set you back a cool $55,000.

All of the A-series cameras will ship with a 35mm Rodenstock Alpar lens. At launch, there will be two other lenses available for the system: an Alpagon f/5.6 23mm for $9,070 and an Alpa HR Alpagon f5.6 70mm for $4,520.

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All of the A-series lens profiles are factory calibrated and preloaded on the IQ2 A-series digital backs, eliminating the need to manually create and apply LCC profiles. You can select the lens you’re using in the camera menu and corrections are  automatically processed when importing to Capture One Pro 8.1, according to Phase One.

Phase One A-Series systems ship with Capture One Pro 8.1 software as well as Capture Pilot 1.8 for remote viewing on iOS devices. New accessories, such as lens shades, phone mounting hardware and shimming kits will also be available to support the new line.

The A-series is available now.

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September 16th, 2014

Photokina 2014: Hasselblad Adds Wi-Fi to H5D-50c

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Hasselblad will bring a Wi-Fi-equipped version of its H5D-50c medium format camera to market later this month, the company announced at Photokina.

Building off the existing 50c, the new  model uses Wi-Fi to enable remote control and viewfinding through iOS devices.

There will be a few more enhancements to the 50c beyond Wi-Fi including a live view mode when the camera is untethered, an increased capture rate of 50 images per minute and longer exposure times of up to 34 minutes.

The updated 50c will also now accept film magazines and features a spirit level which can be used in tethered mode. ISO and white balance will now be displayed in the viewfinder as well.

Current 50c owners will be gain access to all the new features except Wi-Fi via a firmware upgrade later this month.

The Wi-Fi version of the H5D-50c will command a $1,000 premium over the standard 50c ($27,500, body only) .

H5D-50c owners who want Wi-Fi will be able to upgrade their current camera for the Wi-Fi version for about $650 between January and March 2015, at least in Europe.

September 16th, 2014

Photokina 2014: Leica Reveals 4K-Recording Medium Format Camera

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The newest member of the Leica S-series of medium format cameras, introduced at Photokina 2014, has a fairly novel trick: it can record 4K video.

The Leica S 007 won’t arrive until the spring of 2015, but when it does it will carry a new 37.5-megapixel Leica CMOS sensor and Maestro II image processor  capable of delivering 3.5 frames per second (fps) continuous shooting with a 2GB buffer, full HD video recording using the full sensor area and 4K video capture as well. HD video will be recorded at 30, 25 or 24fps while 4K video will use a Super 35mm crop of the lens and be delivered at 24fps. Uncompressed video can be output to an external recorder via HDMI with 4:2:2 color sampling.

The camera will also feature predictive autofocus, a 3-inch LCD, built-in GPS and Wi-Fi for using mobile devices as remote controls and viewfinders.

The 007 will offer shutter speeds as high as 1/4000 sec. with flash sync available up to 1/1000 sec. It will offer 13 stops of dynamic range, 16-bit color depth and an ISO range of 100 to 6400. Images and video are saved to either CF or SD cards.

Leica won’t deliver the 007 until 2015 and it’s expected to cost $25,400 for the camera body.

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There will also be an entry-level Leica medium format camera: the S-E 006. It will employ a 37.5-megapixel CCD sensor with microlenses to evenly distribute light across the entire surface area of the sensor for improved clarity.

The S-E won’t be as fast as the 007, its continuous shooting mode clocks in at 1.5fps with a 2GB buffer capable of collecting 32 RAW files (DNG) or unlimited JPEGs. It will offer 12 stops of dynamic range and an ISO range of 100 to 1600. You’ll find a 3-inch LCD display and an eye-level pentaprism viewfinder and dual card slots for CF and SD memory cards. It will retail for $16,900.

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Leica X

Switching to advanced compacts, Leica’s new X (Typ 113) sports a 16.2-megapixel APS-C-sized CMOS image sensor and a 23mm f/1.7 prime lens (35mm equivalent).

The X can record full HD video at 30fps and offers ISO sensitivities to 12500. It features a 3-inch (920k pixel) LCD display with 100 percent field of view and a hot shoe that will enable the use of optional viewfinders. It offers continuous shooting at 5fps for up to seven frames.

The X will be available this month for $2,295.

Also joining the Leica X family is the more budget-minded X-E. It will offer the same sensor as the X Typ 113 but a slightly slower 24mm f/2.8 prime lens. Also downsized is the LCD display: it’s 2.7-inches. The X-E will offer continuous shooting at 5fps and will arrive in stores this month for $1,795.

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Lux

Geared for sports and wildlife photographers, the new Leica V-Lux (Typ 114)  sports a 9.1-146mm f/2.8-4 ASPH lens (25-400mm equivalent) with optical image stabilization and a 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor. It will offer 4K video recording, built-in Wi-Fi, a 2.4-megapixel OLED viewfinder and a 3-inch tiltable LCD.

The V-Lux will be speedy too, capable of continuous shooting at 12fps. Pricing and availability weren’t announced.

The other new member of the Lux family, the D-Lux (Typ 109), will also offer 4K video recording using a 12-megapixel Four Thirds-sized sensor. 4K video is recorded at 30 and 24fps and HD video recording is also available.

The D-Lux will feature a 10.9-34mm f/1.7-2.8 ASPH lens (24-75mm equivalent). ISO sensitivities will reach 25600 and it will offer both Wi-Fi and NFC for wireless remote and viewfinder functions on mobile devices.

It sports a metal housing, a high-resolution, 2.8-megapixel viewfinder and a 3-inch LCD. It won’t offer a pop-up flash but Leica will bundle one in the box. It ships in November for $1,195.

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Leica M-P (Typ 240)

Rangefinder fans rejoice. Leica has updated its rangefinder camera in the M-P (Typ 240). Similar to the Leica M, the M-P features a 24-megapixel CMOS sensor and an expanded buffer of 2GB for continuous shooting at 3fps.

The M-P will feature a native ISO range of 200 to 6400 with the option to decrease to 100. The camera supports HD video recording at 25 and 24fps.

Its 3-inch sapphire glass LCD display is “almost unbreakable” Leica claims. Designed to be discrete, Leica swapped out their iconic red dot logo in favor a small “Leica” engraving to denote brand.

Other new features include a frame selection lever which projects six different focal lengths into the viewfinder. Pricing and availability were not announced.

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60th Anniversary Edition Leica M

The Leica M rangefinder system turns 60 this year and to celebrate, Leica is releasing an anniversary edition of the camera that fuses their M-P digital camera with a 35mm f/1.4 lens. Audi Design gets credit for the exterior styling and Leica said that the bare-bones specs will put the focus on the skill of the photographer (there is, for instance, no LCD display and all images are saved as RAW DNG files).

There will only be 600 of these Anniversary Edition models on the market (engraved, of course, so you know yours is special) and they’ll be available next month for about $20,000.

 

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New Rangefinder Camera: the M-A

The flashbacks continue. Leica also introduced a new 35mm film rangefinder camera at Photokina: the M-A. It’s compatible with M-mount lenses and features a completely mechanical operation that lets you make adjustments to shutter speed (up to 1/1000 sec.) aperture and film speed.

It will ship in October for $4,500.

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New Lenses 

Beyond the new cameras, Leica introduced several new lenses at the show. The Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH, a silver edition version of the 50mm lens already on the market. It ships in October for $11,350. A silver version of the 35mm Summilux-M lens ($5,450) will also be available at the end of October.

There are two new lenses for the T-series: the APO Vario-Elmar 55-135mm f/3.5-4.5 ($1,950) and the Super-Vario-Elmar-T 11-23mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH ($1,950).

Lenses in the company’s M-series have also gotten a facelift: they’ll be available in black or an anodized silver finish and will now offer maximum apertures of f/2.4. Focal lengths will remain the same at 35, 50, 75 and 90mm.

April 14th, 2014

New 51MP Pentax 645Z Medium Format Camera with CMOS Sensor Shoots HD Video and Will Sell for $8,500

645Z_wo_Food_Pentax became the latest company to introduce a medium format camera with a CMOS sensor tonight but the new model comes with several major twists. For one, the new 51.4-megapixel Pentax 645Z camera can shoot full HD video, which is a first for a medium format camera.

The Pentax 645Z is also one of the fastest medium format cameras on the market, capable of shooting up to three full RAW images per second. In contrast, the Phase One IQ250 digital back and Hasselblad H5Dc camera system, which both use CMOS sensors, can shoot at up to 1.5fps.

The Pentax 645Z is also weather sealed with 76 seals, making it cold-resistant, weather-resistant and dustproof; and it sports a 3.2-inch, tilting LCD screen on back with 1,037,000 dots of resolution, which are both firsts for a medium format camera.

Competitively Priced
But the biggest thing that differentiates the 645Z from its competitors might be its low price for a medium format camera. When it goes on sale in June 2014, the Pentax 645Z will sell for $8,499.95. In comparison, the Phase IQ250 retails for $34,990, and the Hasselblad H5Dc is selling for $27,500.

Read the rest of this story here.

February 11th, 2014

New Hasselblad H5D-50c Medium Format Camera with CMOS Sensor to Debut This Week

Hasselblad-rumorsRemember the forthcoming Hasselblad H5D-50c medium-format camera system we told you about in January? The camera, which will use a 50-megapixel CMOS sensor, will makes its official debut at the CP+ Camera and Photo Imaging Show in Japan this week, Hasselblad revealed today.

The H5D-50c will then go on display in the U.S. at the WPPI show in Las Vegas, before officially going on sale in March. Pricing has not been revealed for the medium format camera yet.

“We are delighted to provide CP+ visitors with a unique preview opportunity – a chance to get to grips with our superb new medium format option before its official launch at the beginning of March,” Hasselblad CEO Ian Rawcliffe said in a press release.

The Hasselblad H5D-50c is one of three new medium format camera systems to use a new CMOS imaging sensor. Last month, we did a hands-on test of the new Phase One IQ250 digital back, which uses a 50MP CMOS chip made by Sony. We found that the sensor in the IQ250 did an excellent job of producing relatively low noise images shot at high ISOs.

Earlier this month, Pentax announced that it will unveil a new 645D medium format camera with a CMOS sensor at the CP+ show this week as well.

January 24th, 2014

Phase One Launches 50MP Medium Format Camera with CMOS Sensor (We Test It Out!)

Phase One just launched a new 50-megapixel IQ250 medium format digital camera back that has the potential to be a serious “game changer.” The IQ250 IQ250-sideuses a groundbreaking CMOS sensor (designed by Sony) that allows it to capture relatively low noise images in low light at ISOs of up to 6400, just like many pro digital SLRs using smaller, 35mm-size sensors.

PDN was one of the few media outlets in the world to gets its hands on the new IQ250 ahead of this morning’s official launch of the medium format back by Phase One. For the past week I’ve had a chance to try out the IQ250 with my frequent co-tester, photographer Jordan Matter, and we’ve both come away extremely impressed with what this back can do.

Our hands-on test of the Phase One IQ250 is posted here.

Here are some other key specs and details of the new Phase One IQ250.

• Sony-built 50MP CMOS sensor sized at 44x33mm, that’s slightly smaller than what’s in Phase One’s current 80MP IQ280 (53.7×40.4mm) and 60MP (53.9×40.4mm) IQ260 backs, but with 68% more image capture area than sensors in full-frame DSLRs.

• ISO range of 100 to 6400

• 14 stops of dynamic range (as rated by Phase One)

• Exposure time options of 1/10000th of a second to one hour

• Maximum 2 frames per second shooting speed

• Improved Live View with faster frame refresh rate (less jittery effect)

• Built-in WiFi for displaying images or live view wirelessly on computers, iPads, or iPhones

• 3.2-inch touchscreen display

• USB 3.0

• IQ250 price: $34,990 (you didn’t really think it would be cheap, did you?)

• On sale now

Check out our hands-on test of the Phase One IQ250 here.

January 21st, 2014

Hasselblad Says It Will Launch Medium Format Camera with CMOS Sensor in March

Hasselblad_logoHasselblad announced this morning it will launch a new digital medium format camera that will use a CMOS sensor. The new camera, to be called the H5D-50c, will go on sale in March.

Hasselblad is claiming the forthcoming H5D-50c will be “the world’s first 50MP medium format camera using CMOS sensor technology.”

The benefits of using a CMOS sensor in a medium format camera system include “a faster capture rate; longer shutter speed capability and much greater ISO performance,” according to Hasselblad product manager Ove Bengston. (Medium format cameras typically use CCD image sensors.)

More information, including pricing, for the H5D-50c will be announced in March 2014, Hasselblad said.

Read more in the Hasselblad press release here.

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