Four Digital Medium Format Cameras That Are Now More Affordable Than Ever
September 30 2020 / by Luca Eandi
With a full-frame camera like the Sony a7R IV being capable of capturing high-resolution images of over 60 megapixels, it’s getting more difficult for some photographers to justify the need for a digital medium format camera. But just looking at the number of megapixels misses the point, because when it comes to color reproduction, bit depth, dynamic range, base ISO performance, and the quality of lenses offered, medium format is still the superior choice.
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There’s a reason thousands of commercial, product and portrait photographers are sticking to their MF systems and bucking trends—they don’t compromise on image quality.
The biggest hurdle to get into one of these systems has always been price, which, when buying new, can be prohibitive. But with used prices leveling off on quality gear, it’s a great time to level up to medium format and make image quality your top priority.
Here are some of our favorite digital medium format camera bodies to consider.
The H4D-200MS is a serious professional camera for commercial photography at its highest level. It retailed for $45,000 when it was released—fortunately, it now goes for less than a quarter of that. When considering the application and that it still performs at the same high level, it makes for a surprisingly economical value in 2020.
Paired with world-class Hasselblad lenses, the H4D-200MS sports a 50-megapixel sensor that’s capable of producing stunning images with extremely fine detail, outstanding color gradation, and beautiful contrast. It can be used in a moiré-eliminating multi-shot mode that uses pixel-shifting technology to capture full color information at all pixel positions over a series 4 shots. This is the ideal solution for reproducing continuously varying fine detail, such as what you see in fabrics, without producing funky artifacts in your image. The 200MS can also move the sensor in 1/2-pixel increments over a series of 6 shots resulting in 200-megapixels of resolution. If you shoot fashion, beauty, or product photography, the H4D-200MS is worth every penny.
FUJIFILM GFX 100
Probably the most technologically-advanced, yet most accessible pro-level digital medium format camera ever made, the GFX 100 is also the most recent model on this list, having just been released in mid-2019. This 100-megapixel body is impressive because it offers all the benefits of medium format with none of the compromises. It can shoot 5-frames per second, has lightning-fast autofocus with accurate eye-tracking, and the sensor allows 5.5 stops of image stabilization. It’s got a touch screen, a removable and adjustable electronic viewfinder, and a tilting LCD screen. It even shoots 4K video at 30p, which is a first for a camera of its kind.
The 16-bit RAW files produce rich colors and exquisite tonal reproduction. When coupled with Fujifilm’s still-growing line of GF lenses, it’s a versatile and capable combo, ready for anything you throw at it. They go for $10K new, but used, that much money will also get you a killer lens or two, so you can start shooting right away.
LEICA S TYPE 007
A camera is only as good as its lenses, and when it comes to lenses, it’s hard to beat Leica. That’s what makes the Leica S Type 007 a formidable digital medium format contender—the S-lenses are simply to die for. The body is no slouch either—the build quality is impeccable as we’ve come to expect from the German manufacturer, and the camera handles like a familiar DSLR. Brand new it retails for over $17,000, but can be had used for $10K off that price.
While the 30 x 45mm sensor resolves 37.5-megapixels, the quality of the lenses will make it seem even sharper, with tons of detail and accurate reproduction of color and tones. It can shoot 3.5 frames per second and the autofocus uses a central cross-type phase detection point. While this camera shines in a studio setting, the ergonomics make it possible to use in the field, in a variety of settings. Heck, it’s weather-sealed, so you could even take it out in the elements with no worries.
Probably my nostalgic favorite on the list, the 645Z is basically a digital version of the classic medium format film camera, Pentax 645N. This body has great ergonomics, weather resistance, and a layout that will feel familiar to those who have shot DSLRs over the last couple of decades. The 51-megapixel CMOS sensor can shoot 14-bit DNG files, providing plenty of resolution for the excellent range of Pentax FA lenses.
The sensor in the 645Z offers a ton of dynamic range and is one of the best performing sensors ever tested. The autofocus is fast and accurate, even in low light. Overall, the 645Z is a really attractive option for professionals and advanced amateurs who want to get into medium format without spending a fortune.
Want to explore more digital medium format options?
Browse our category listings, or give us a call at 1-800-DIALKEH and we’ll help you select the right kit for your needs and budget.