Why Digital Medium Format Makes Such a Splash!
Medium format photography has always been the choice of professional and serious fine-art photographers for decades, and Chris Snipes, technical sales representative at our Ft. Lauderdale store, has been involved with its ever-changing digital technology from the very beginning. We asked Chris to give us a little insight into what makes medium format so special.
You’ve been involved with the development of medium format digital backs since the very beginning. Could you tell us a little bit about how that technology has evolved over the years?
When medium format first was introduced, it was limited to products and still-life images because it created three exposures, red, green, and blue, to make an image. It was also a very large system that required a computer tethered to captured image. Since then, medium format has increased in resolution, the system is smaller and more portable so now it can be used to shoot fashion, aerials, motion and other demanding applications.
What are some of the advantages, other than sheer sensor size, that medium format offers to justify the significant price difference over a DSLR?
The current medium format systems offer true 16-bit color capture which translates to over 65,000 shades of color or black and white. This enables the image to be captured with more precise color rendition, higher optical sharpness due to the lack of a color aliasing filter, and higher flash-sync speeds such as 1/1600 of a sec.
Which photographers should consider investing in a medium format system?
Photographers that want to take their image quality to the next level. The ability to resolve the image and make more crisp enlargements with better color and tonal range separates them from the competition. The higher flash sync allows a photographer to shoot outside with much less flash power when trying to overpower the sun.
What are some of the primary benefits of the new Leaf Credo backs?
The Leaf Credo digital camera backs incorporate both high resolution with Dasla CCD sensors up to 80MP and can shoot as fast as 1.2 frames per sec. This allows photographers to create stunning, film-like quality images with over 12.5 f-stops of dynamic range with rich color, low noise, and beautiful tonality. The 3.2″ bright touch screen allows one to quickly zoom in and check focus even on a bright sunny day.
How important is having a high-end lighting system to support your medium format system?
Digital cameras show much more detail than film did, so having an accurate flash system such as a Profoto B4, Profoto 8A or Profoto D1 insures that you will not encounter motion blur due to low flash duration. The color accuracy and consistency of Profoto flash systems also keep up with the fastest image capture rates without exposures changing.
How did you accomplish these shots of the fresh produce in bubbling water?
Calumet Photographic hosted a Leaf/Profoto demo day at our store in Fort Lauderdale. I planned a shot that would exhibit the unmatched fast flash duration of the Profoto B4, at 1/25,000 of a sec. To shoot the artichoke, I simply set the Profoto B4 pack to produce the fastest duration, had someone drop the artichoke into a tank of water, and shot the Mamiya DF+ camera body with Leaf Credo 80 MP back and a Mamiya 110mm LS lens set to 1/1600 of a sec. flash duration at f/11. The majority of flash systems would have showed a motion blur due to a slower flash duration.