The Next BIG market????


It’s Photokina time again, and like normal there are the highly anticipated/rumored/leaked product releases that get confirmed or not confirmed.

This year one of the big rumors has been the announcement of new mirrorless medium format systems.
Hasselblad startled most several months ago when they announced their new X1D-50 Mirrorless System.. This system has a body that is not a lot larger than Sony’s A7, but the sensor is a larger 51mp unit with a new lens mount, lenses and accessories, and for Hasselblad, they are priced a lot cheaper than the H series of Pro Medium format systems, though still expensive as current Pricing Estimates here in NZ are around $15000 body only and the lenses around $4500-$6500NZ each.. Considering the Hasselblad H system with a body, back and lens will start around $50k NZ

When Hasselblad started teasing the announcement, most thought it was going to be another Hassleblad re-imagining of a discontinued Sony model like the A7R mk I in the vein of the stupidly over priced Hasselblad Lunar and Stellar models which in essence were glossed over Sony NEX-7 and RX-100 models, so when the announcement of a new lens mount and a CSC with a medium format sensor was made.. Suddenly Hasselblad had done something to make people take notice in a good way and no doubt inspired other companies to innovate and look to new markets..

Now at Photokina this year, Fujifilm have confirmed the oft-rumored Medium Format Mirrorless system in the GFX-50S,   For Fujifilm, this is a return of sorts to a market where their 645 and 6×7 rangefinder Medium Format film cameras are legendary.

The GFX uses all of Fujifilm’s expertise in Sensor design, industrial design and optical design to create a pretty neat looking system that will have 3 lenses available on launch, and 3 more to follow reasonably quickly too. Fuji’s trip into Medium Format Digital is not that unexpected really considering they are known to build several of the Hasselblad H series lenses.

Ricoh/Pentax can be said to have started the affordable Medium Format market place when they announced the Pentax 645Z. The 645Z while it is a traditional Medium Format sized DSLR, it has dual SD card slots, its weather sealed, uses the excellent 50 megapixel sensor that is used by hasselblad and others as well, and it was affordable.. on release in the US, the 645Z was $9999 Body only, which put it well under Phase One/Mamiya and Hasselblad, but not much more than Canon or Nikon’s top end DSLRs

Today the 645Z is still the same, here in NZ they are about $15,000NZ body only, and lenses start at under $1000 so you can pick up a 50 megapixel larger than 35mm sensor weather sealed DSLR that also shoots 1080p video with a fast lens for under $16,000

Both Canon and Nikon have got very quiet booths this year with no major announcements as the Nikon released the D500 and D5 earlier in the year, and last month Canon released the long awaited EOS 5D mk IV, and the pre show announcement of the EOS M5 was disappointing as Canon built it up to be a game changer, when infact its 2 years to late.  There have been rumors going around for a Loooong time that Canon are working on a Medium Format system…

Now with both Hasselblad and Fujifilm in the segment that will surely take wedding, fashion and landscape photographers away from those higher end Canon and Nikon systems with the larger sensors delivering higher resolution in bodies that are just as small and light as the Canikonian systems, we may see the big 2 jump in to the market over the next couple of years.

I think personally, that IF Canon, Nikon and to an extent Sony want to compete, they are going to have to innovate and produce something, as i can see many a photographer start seriously looking to Hassy and Fujifilm for wedding and fashion cameras that are smaller and lighter…. yet deliver bigger sensors with better performance, especially in areas such as low light as the real estate on the sensor allows bigger pixel wells and pixels and still keep a decent resolution of 50+ Megapixels.


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