Mamiya Leaf

A new era in Medium format photography

The Phase One IQ250 Medium Format digital back was announced today. This is the first time we see a modern CMOS sensor that is larger than 36x24mm (full-frame 35mm) in Medium Format.

CMOS technology has improved over the last 14 years, since the Leaf C-Most came out (36x24mm, 6MP) and the IQ250’s 44x33mm, 50MP brings high ISO capabilities, fast capture rate and excellent Live View functionality, previously available only in high-end DSLRs.

As expected, a number of naysayers and armchair warriors are jumping through hoops to find “holes in the plan” and to compare it to cameras 10 times cheaper; some in attempt to justify their own purchase decisions and some because they cannot see why some photographers like, want or need to shoot medium format…none of it is new and I’ve been around long enough to know that there’s a huge gap between on-line forum chatter and what happens in the real world…gladly in favour of the latter.

What they fail to realise, perhaps because they can only see and read numbers and charts on their computers’ screens (easier than stepping out and taking photos) is that this is a milestone for Medium Format and for Photography in general, regardless of format. Adopting and implementing this technology in “larger than 35mm” cameras is a sign of good things to come and it demonstrates the strength and the breadth of “Team Phase One” and its ability to innovate and to lead the market for the foreseeable future!

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Farewell to a trusty ol’ friend

Mamiya Leaf has just announced the end of production of the Aptus-II product line. For me, this marks the end of an era and the end of a long and mostly beautiful relationship!

It was announced on Sept’ 7th 2004. Since then Leaf moved from Creo to Kodak and was then sold to Phase One. The Aptus went from 17MP to 80MP, from FW400 to FW800, from CFI/II to UDMA and from Leaf Capture V8 to LC10, LC11 & Capture One. It had a 3.5″ touch screen only rivalled by the latest smartphones and it used Bluetooth for image preview when BT was still in its infancy and used to connect headphones to mobile devices…

I’ve demoed hundreds if not thousands of units and was involved in thousands of sales. I’ve shot with every single model (all 13 of them) in every single mount (all 5 of them) on more than 60 different camera bodies. I’ve even serviced a few…taking them apart, changing some bits and putting them back together…

The Aptus has brought dinner to my family’s table even before we had children. We now have 3 with the oldest being 8 year old!
I’ve taken the Aptus (or Apti?) on business trips and on holidays to North & Central America, Africa, Scandinavia, Russia, Australia and  Asia and took some of my most memorable images with them.

I cannot think of another modern days electronic device which has been in service for more than 3-4 years, let alone 9 years!!! just think about all those 35mm DSLRs that came and went during the last 9 years…Canon 1DsMkII? MkIII? Nikon D2X anyone???

This is not the end of the Aptus as thousands of them are being used daily by both amateur and professional photographers, creating art and making money!

I would like to use this opportunity and to wish all my friends, colleagues and customers (many whom are close friends) happy holidays and a healthy and successful new year!

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 One of my personal favourite images which I took on an early foggy morning in British Columbia, Canada in June 2006. Click on the image to see a larger version and read more HERE

A little road trip

Last weekend two friends and I took a little road trip to Wales that involved with some driving, some shopping, some “soft” hiking and also indulging with a bit of food and drink….I also tried to mix some photography into this hectic schedule:-)

I took two camera and two digital backs along:

A Mamiya 645DF+ with a Leaf Credo 80 with 3 lenses including the new 28mm/ F4.5 LS D and also a Credo 60 on an Arca-Swiss Rm2D with a Schneider 43mm.

The weather was excellent, not too cold (approx 2 degrees at night and a bit warmer during the day) with a mix of cloud and some blue sky. Both kits performed flawlessly and the DF+ with the Credo on it even took a little tumble into the mud (there was LOTS of it!!!) as we were walking through marsh lands. Lens, back and camera were not phased at all by the sticky stuff…

 

A muddy camera

 

Here’s a small collection from the trip, enjoy!  These are 2,000p wide images so you can click on them to view them at a larger size

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Dressed up

Last weekend we drove down to the Southbank to watch some of the pre-Christmas festivities and enjoy seeing London all dressed up.
I took a camera along as I was hoping for an opportunity to catch some of the blue hour light. These two images were taken with a Leaf Credo 60 mounted on my Arca Swiss

Click on an image to see a larger one in a new window

 

When it rains hard…

…you shoot…indoors!!!!

Last Sunday, between breakfast and brunch, I found 45 spare minutes and took the new Credo 80 to the RAF museum to see some of the cars that currently on display as part of the Bonhams classic cars auction

The Credo and the 645DF performed flawlessly, I had one of my favourite lenses, the Mamiya 150mm/ f2.8 D;

The Great North and a little Giulietta

A few shots from a recent trip to the Lake District. The weather did not disappoint and stayed grey and miserable for the duration of the trip. I found it quite nice actually as it made me go for a moody, dramatic look rather than the usual postcard like landscape images we’re so used to…

I also went with a “one camera, one lens” approach and took my trusty Arca-Swiss Rm2D with a Schneider 43mm/5.6 XL. The great thing about this tech cameras is that they are hand-holdable at very low shutter sped since they have no moving parts other than a small Copal-shutter.

Framing can be done with a variofinder but I find it just as fun and quick to do it by eye with some help of the built in spirit level.With wide-angle lenses when shooting landscapes, focus is usually set to infinity and for close range you just dial it back a bit.

I’ve been spoilt for choice of digital backs and this time I opted for two: A Leaf Aptus-II 10 and a Phase One IQ140; The former, with its unique 14:9 sensor shape is fantastic for great landscapes and in my view produces the best colours of any digital camera.

The latter, with its built-in spirit level and with Live View, is great for shorter distances where I could not use to full coverage of the lens. The Live View (similar to what we now have on the Leaf Credo) makes it really easy to frame and to focus on closer subjects like waterfalls and trees in the foreground

Earlier this week I had an email from my friend Steffen Jahn; he said he was coming to London for a car shoot and since this was only a few days after the launch of the new Leaf Credo, he wanted to know if I’ve got one that he ca try…It just happens that one of the prototypes came from the factory just a few days earlier. So of course I jumped on the opportunity to spend a day with one of the best car photographers (and a great guy as well!

I took a few “behind the scenes” photos with my iPhone, hopefully the tell a little bit about what se were doing:-)

More of Steffen’s work is available on his website