The picture on top has been my office view for the last year. Yes It’s been a year since I’ve started working with medium format. In a new series of post’s I want write about some of the experiences I had with the camera and working with anything other than a 35mm format.
Today last year I took delivery of a brand new Mamiya Leaf Credo 40 system. My set was made up of a 40 megapixel Leaf Credo 40 back, a 645DF+ Mamiya body and three lenses: The 55mm 2.8 LS, the standard 80mm 2.8 LS and , my favourite, the 110mm 2.8 LS. The first thing you need to know is that a medium formant camera houses a much bigger sensor then a full frame 35mm camera. So the millimetres on the lenses are also different then with a 35mm camera. Translated to 35mm format those lenses are a 35mm, a 50mm and an 85mm.
Most medium format lenses are equipped with a leaf shutter which pretty much works in the same way as a diaphragm that closes all the way. This allows you to achieve higher sync speeds (up to 1/1800th) then with regular focal-plane shutters.
The back and camera are separate so you could switch or upgrade sensors, without having to change bodies as well. The body is pretty much an upscaled DSLR body that allows a bigger back. It’s the same body that you get in a Phase One kit and most of the buttons are in the exact same place as with a 35mm DSLR so it didn’t take much adapting either.
The Credo 40 is of course the heart of the system. The digital back has a 40mpix CCD-chip with measures 43.9 x 32.9 mm which is a lot bigger then a full frame sensor. I liked the fact that it was ‘only’ the 40mpix back because I could easily compare it with tmy 35mm Nikon D800E, which was 36Mpix. The image format is also different because the backs have a 4×3 aspect ratio instead of the 3×2 ratio I was used to in my 35mm DSLR’s. This changes everything in composition, but I really like it.
For those of you who’ve never heard of Mamiya Leaf I’ll quickly introduce the name. Mamiya Leaf is a Part Israeli, part Danish, part Japanese brand. The back is produced by Leaf, an Israeli company formerly owned by Kodak and now owned by Danish company Phase One. Mamiya is a legendary camera producer from Japan who used to make the epic medium format cameras like the RB67 but had been badly hurt by the digital revolution. So Phase one bought a major share of the company and it now produces bodies for both Leaf and Phase One. Both Leaf and Phase One backs are basically produced from the same parts but have different profiles and settings. For instance the Credo’s have no buttons on the back and only a 3.2″ touch screen but phase one perfers the long buttons on the side… etc. So it’s a little bit of a VW-Audi thing.
In the next few weeks I’ll go in to some of the details in working with this format and system and share a bunch of extra images shot with it!