Medium format (digital) in 2014

Started 7 months ago | Discussions thread
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Olaf Marzocchi
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Medium format (digital) in 2014
7 months ago

I was wondering whether digital MF can still be considered alive.
I see very few announcements first of all (but this can depend on longer gear life), but also not so impressive specs for the products currently available (disclaimer: I just checked the best ones from DxO).

From what I understand, MF is useful to print big stuff, but... the pixel count is not so high anymore, especially compared to D800: if you are shooting landscape, you can easily stitch two shots and get the same pixel count with potentially little loss in quality (unless there is wind or something moving). I was unsure about his point, so yesterday I tried to shoot a 4-pictures panorama with my D7100, handheld and using only the accelerometer to ensure constant camera alignment. The result was a good 70 Mpx panorama where I couldn't see the joints even when looking in the right place. My test was performed at high-iso, I suppose that by lowering the ISO the result gets even better. Therefore high-pixel count landscapes can be done with D800 too.

MF is also useful for somewhat better performances at very low ISOs (better color reproduction, dynamic range), but the differences are not very significant compared to D800 (one stop from 10 to 11 EV is a lot, 1 stop from 13 to 14 EV is not so much anymore). Also, it's no clean solution, but it could be possible to shoot with D800 a rapid sequence of 3-5 shots (bracketed or not) to increase DR and reduce noise. With a tripod, of course.

Concerning price, MF is way more expensive and lenses need to be different, therefore the price is doubly expensive.

So, in general, I cannot find any big (enough) market that would not be acceptably satisfied with a  D800 or whatever next model is going to be released. To look at it from another perspective, even if current MF is better than FF, many MF a couple of years old are no better than FF, therefore people willing to upgrade them can either chose a best quality at a very high price, or go FF and have a smaller improvement, but at a negligible price.

In conclusion, is it reasonable to start counting the days before digital MF first gets delayed and then abandoned by manufacturers, to focus on FF only?

 Olaf Marzocchi's gear list:Olaf Marzocchi's gear list
Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM +1 more
Nikon D7100 Nikon D800
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