Medium Format the New 35mm?


Gerhard Baier and Jon Fauer at Photokina. Photo by celebrity photographer Stephan Pick, with Leica S (007) and Summicron S 100mm lens.

Medium Format for Still Photography cropped up as a major theme at Photokina 2016 in Cologne. This is the world’s largest photo trade fair in the world.

It’s helpful for cineastes to watch what’s happening in the still world. After all, as Godard said, “The cinema is truth 24 frames-per-second,” and the original RED concept was the recognition that a digital motion picture camera had common bonds in the still world.

The parallels go further. A prominent camera company executive (credit to be revealed later) commented that in the cine world, Full Frame/VistaVision.Large Format is becoming the new 35mm, and 35mm is now the “old” 16mm.

Medium Format is a combination of technical details, aspiration, thinking “different”, a flexible digital format that offer a different look, among other interesting reasons.

The crowds were 5-deep to get hands-on time with the Leicas S (007) that began shipping last year. It has a compact size and ergonomic design that’s comparable to a 35 mm DSLR. The 37.5 MP sensor measures 30 x 45mm. 

Across the aisle, Hasselblad presented their mirrorless X1D Medium Format camera, with a 50MP 32.9 x 43.8 (unstitched) sensor. The affordable price and button-less design proposes to democratize Medium Format. The shallow, almost E-mount style (but wider diameter) 18.something mm flange focal depth will most likely have the lens mount adapter machinists busy at TLS, Kipon, Novoflex, Fotodiox, etc. satisfying the requests of cinematographers wanting to try al kinds of combinations.

Fujifilm had their new GFX Medium Format camera system behind glass at Photokina. Its 51.4 MP sensor measures 32.9 x 43.8mm.


to be continued…



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