Many believe the medium format camera is out of date – something that has been passed over by the development of the digital SLR – especially with the price tag that medium format systems command making professional photographers consider a DSLR a serious alternative. As a result professionals have forgotten what medium format means and what these cameras can do. They are by no means outdated; medium format cameras have larger sensors, which means more pixels. The larger frame enables you to capture a dramatically shallow depth of field than digital SLRs can produce, which is considered equal to film like quality. This is something to consider if you are a stickler for quality like myself.
At the start of 2015 it was time to upgrade my own camera system. As a pro I spent countless hours looking for the ideal camera, since I am embarking on a the largest portrait exhibition of my career. This exhibition will feature some of the world’s greatest actors and I needed to make the right decision. Weighing up all the options I settled on medium format.
The next question was affordability. Some medium format digital cameras are in the region of £25,000 without a lens! This was outside my budget making me think (but not losing hope). I found the Mamiya Leaf Credo 40 digital back with Mamiya 645DF camera and 80mm lens, retailing for £9999 at Calumet Photographic, the Leaf Credo is great value for money and an amazing quality product. Boasting a large CCD Sensor and 40 megapixel resolution, a dynamic range of up to 14 f-stops providing brilliant detail, richness of colour, low noise and beautiful tonality.
I’ve already commenced my 2015 Portraiture Exhibition and the results from the first portrait sitting with Actor Brent Spiner (above) have been stunning. The Mamiya Leaf Credo 40 delivers uncompromising detail and a richness of colour. The difference in sensor size between DSLR and medium format is in my opinion very important for the “look & feel” of the image, but also for the resolution and overall sharpness. The smaller the sensor the more problems you will run into when placing a lot of pixels in that area, this will translate for example in diffraction (loss of detail on smaller apertures). The Leaf Credo 40 with its 40 megapixel 43.9 x 32.9 mm CCD is larger than the Canon EOS 1D X (36 x 24 mm), it may not seem like much, but it does make a real difference when shooting in shallow depth of field conditions. There is a lot less depth of field when shooting with a DSLR.
The 80mm F2.8 LS-D Kit Lens is extremely versatile and complements the image quality. The 645DF Camera body is sleek and easy to use. In conclusion the Mamiya Leaf Credo 40 Digital back with Mamiya 645DF camera and 80mm lens delivers, beautiful portraits, and I am looking forward to more stunning results from my portrait sittings.
- CCD size 43.9 x 32.9mm
- Active pixels 7320 x 5484
- Resolution 40MP
- Aspect ratio 4:3
- Pixel size 6.0 micron
- ISO sensitivity 50-800
- Dynamic range 12.5 f-stops
- Exposure time 1/10 000 – 60 seconds
- Full resolution capture rate 1.2 frames / sec
- Colour depth 16 bits (65 536 levels per channel)