Or how do you say ? Bitten by the bug ? Hung up. Infatuated. All over Medium Format Photography. Again, as if it was the end of the 80s, when this happened to me the first time - and lead me into pursuing photography with a large, heavy Mamiya RZ67 professional camera.

And now i get this again... being bitten. As if the desire to continue with Medium Format Photography, á lá 6x6 and 6x7 back in the end of the 90s got seriously disturbed by the beginning of all the digital fuzz. Like a trap, which carries you away into something (which at that time) was dreadfully bad in quality - compared to the utmost high quality you got from large negatives.


We all got drawn into the wake of digital photography after 2003

Yet, digital photography pulled almost all photographers into its wakes (and let the enthusiasts and Pros go though many, many iterations of cameras, lenses and computers along the way, in an increasingly faster pace - as well enormous sums of money after 1-2 decades).

Until things started to look something like much better quality. (I am thinking here of the Canon EOS 5D original) which kind of made a big buzz and upped the game considerably back in 2009 or something.

Then, digital photography started to catch up more and more, even eclipsing traditional film, even medium format film got beaten over time (Albeit perhaps not always in the feeling - because digital can be a bit "raw", "modern" and "lifeless" - in comparison to well developed and scanned film - which can radiate a certain kind of classic flair.


Today sensors are at their top

Today, sensors are certainly at their best: whether it is the smaller Micro Four Third, APS-C, or fullframe (24x36mm) - or even the larger sensors like 44x33mm in Fuji, Hasselblad and Pentax 645z cameras. Then there is Phase One with an even bigger sensor (almost the size of traditional 6x4.5 or "645" film format) - but i think they are quite bit tricky in handling - exorbitantly expensive. Like in the old days, when Medium Format Cameras were extremely expensive ! AS the professionals worked with such tools.

Phase One cameras, need absolutely stringent shooting discipline, in order to utilize such large sensors to the fullest. Think 150+ MP... Any, even the slightest handling errors, sloppiness, or "free hand shooting" - will make it visible and degrade the quality of such large sensors. (Sure you can hand hold a Phase One, but I wouldn't want go below a shutter speed of 1/1000 sec...

Actually - I wouldn't want to come close to such cameras... It seems too extreme. But - your mileage may vary. I am sure such cameras are used by certain kind of professionals and client requirements.


Now digital medium format is (relative) expensive

Now it is the digital equivalent that is very expensive; the larger the sensor, the more expensive is .... well everything.

Phase One being an exclusive, extreme expensive outlier (A Danish company who bought up Mamiya and with it, the brand ended) - things have gotten a bit better during the latter years.


Fujifilm brought a lot of movement
in the Medium Format Camera segment !

Mainly thanks to Pentax starting the snowball to roll - back in 2010 (With Pentax 645D) + 2014 (with Pentax 645z). However in 2017, Fujifilm introduced their GFX series, also with the same 44x33mm sensor - bringing "medium format" to a broader audience. As well got gradually more aggressive in their pricing (cameras but not lenses), plus many more models have come out since then, finally topping with the brand new, stunning Fujifilm GFX 100s II, introduced at the Fujikina Summit in Stockholm two days ago.

The image output was impressive, and did convince me (Read: I didn't see any banding in the shadows of the 100 MP sensor). Something that put me of totally, when the first GFX 100 came along - i couldn't understand the buzz...

I prefer the sensor in the GFX 50 a lot more.


Landscape photographers absolutely love
Fujifilm GFX 50 and 100 series

At some corner there is also Hasselblad with their amazingly elegant (the most sexy) medium format mirrorless camera every created ? Albeit a bit strange at times in their functions - but they are getting better, too. However, their lenses are very, very expensive. Swedish Hasselblad (Chinese owned) now focuses only on their X2D cameras, and have - from what I understand - abandoned their H series).

And Pentax ? They appear to have abandoned their digital Pentax 645z medium format DSLR camera, since there has been no change since 2014.

Leica did their super expensive thing with the Leica S series (with mirror), with extreme prices no matter what... but appear to abandoned it - in favor of a mirrorless medium format camera somewhere coming to the fore in 2025.



End of summer 2023

So, now here I am with a Canon EOS R - totally out of the blue, stumbling into this odd rotating Vertex adapter - allowing me suddenly to adapt those gorgeous big, bulky, kind of rough looking Pentax 6x7 lenses. Rotate the camera, take 4 images around the optical axis of the lens - and suddenly you wind up with covering a much larger area, compared to normal 24x36mm fullframe sensor.

What a genius scoop !

It means, utilizing those 6x7 lenses to a much larger degree. While still not covering their native image circle (7x7 cm), but a quite a large part of it. Kind of like I would be working with a camera, with a 46x46mm sensor in it. Suddenly, I got deep into the realm of (digital) medium format photography.

Again !!

I'm still baffled at this, to say the least.

I never dreamed to be using Pentax 6x7 lenses for digital work. And I so LOVE it. I cannot explain this passion. This lust. And the joy !! Also that the handling itself is all manual; Shutter speeds. Aperture. Fixed color temperature. Manual Focus. Kind of very similar handling like in the old days, when working with a 6x7 camera on a tripod.

It feels more substantial. Interesting. And rewarding.


I like the slower process of taking photos

Another factor is, that my "Vertex / Pentax 6x7" images have no direct purpose right now. They are mainly... in a stage of experimentation. To test things. To feel the environment and its simplicity. To get a feeling of the 6x7 lenses, how they work in various situations; How they "paint" a picture (their character, look, feel on the subject).


I like this sudden, simple style in my photos

They are nothing to write home about, I know that. But i like them... Like quiet moments out of an apartment. The simplicity, the banality - feels like a relief. I normally don't focus much on "documenting" still scenes within my home...

With this medium format type however, it feels interesting (to me). I hope, that I will get a better feeling in using Black & White Medium Format photography, too. Where light, atmosphere and shapes are more important... This has not arrived for me yet, i feel.



Early sunrise

The image above was just a photo, to show the feeling of the early morning sun in our living room. A light haze from my smoking resides in the shadows of the frame... Kind of this mix of working space and living room, you know.

Now that the mild air has vanished, temperatures are getting lower - but the air dissipated most of the clouds, in favor of bright sunshine... lighting up the room though curtains.

So, the image was taken with the Pentax 6x7 Takumar 55mm f 3.5. Last time i used it in the kitchen, is was not impressed with the micro sharpness in details. Neither wide open, nor at f 11. Maybe I was too close to the motive !? This time it was very different.


Sharp Pentax 6x7 Takumar 55mm f 3.5 lens

No particular problems with sharpness. And me a bit baffled. Probably because the window and plants were further away, and therefore showing better sharpness. One I can work with ! (Of course, these lenses are not in the same league like Fujinon GF lenses for GFX cameras. Not many adapted lenses reach up to their level).

But there is plenty of sharpness left for the final (smaller image), with that special 6x6 look ! And it has a kind of classic look, that of "film medium format" photography. Not perfect, but kind of lovely. A bit nostalgic.

Unless everything is in my head. You know - some people are specialized in fine wines. Other drink it and don't get the differences and nuances.

Maybe. Maybe not.

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