Digital medium format brand Phase One has bought the whole of the Mamiya Digital Imaging Company and has taken over Mamiya's Saku factory for its Japanese HQ. The Danish company has had a long-standing relationship with the Japanese camera and lens manufacturer, and since 2009 has owned 45% of the company's shares. Phase One sold customised Mamiya bodies and redesigned lenses under its own brand name, with the 645DF+ being a very close relation to the Mamiya 645AFD III – cameras the two companies launched simultaneously in 2012. 

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For Phase One the move will almost certainly be about acquiring a closer control over the manufacturing side of its business so the company can enjoy a freer reign over what happens in the factory. What Phase One has been able to do in terms of the bodies it offers has so far been dependent on what Mamiya could or was prepared to do, and with no products of its own Mamiya may not have been able to invest sufficiently to develop significantly different new cameras. 

The new president of Phase One Japan, Makoto Honda, hinted that optical design and lens upgrading would also be a major focus in comments in the press release: 'Phase One Japan is committed to developing new and custom designed masterpiece leaf shutter optics in close partnership with top photographers, imaging companies and long term design partner Schneider Kreuznach.' 

At the moment lenses branded 'Phase One' are made by Mamiya and require in-body focal plane shutters. All the compatible leaf-shutter lenses are made with help from Schneider in Germany. That may not change, of course, but the buyout gives Phase One more control of what can and can't be done. What the deal will mean for the future products of the company we'll have to wait and see. 

Mamiya was started by camera designer Seiichi Mamiya in 1940, and produced the wonderful Mamiya Six rangefinder series and then the equally fabulous Mamiyaflex TLRs in its first ten years. Having started in medium format the company went on to produce rangefinder and SLR cameras for 135 film, as well as slim pocket compacts for the miniature 'spy' 16mm format film. The modern 6x4.5cm format cameras were introduced in 1975, and it was these that went on to become the basis of the current Phase One digital bodies. Perhaps some of the best loved and revered models the company made were the RB and RZ 6x7cm studio cameras, which were big and heavy but lovely to use. 

The company struggled on its own in the digital market and its 2004 ZD integrated digital camera, and the ZD back for Mamiya film bodies didn't achieve great success. Phase One bought a large stake in the company in 2009, and in 2012 formed the Mamiya Leaf medium format brand. 

The original company was also a producer of fishing rods and reels until 2000. 

For more information on Phase One see the company's website

Press release: 

Phase One acquires Mamiya Digital Imaging (MDI) assets & establishes Phase One Japan

COPENHAGEN, December 2, 2015 -- Phase One, A/S, the leading provider of open-platform, high-end camera systems and solutions, today announced that it has acquired the assets of Mamiya Digital Imaging Company, Ltd (MDI) and has appointed Makoto Honda as the new president of Phase One Japan. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Mamiya has held a long and established reputation in the camera sector.  As a 45 percent shareholder in MDI since 2009, Phase One has developed detailed insight into the camera & lens design and production process and engineered important improvements through its close collaboration with the MDI team in Japan. With this transaction, Phase One now also takes total ownership for all aspects of design and development of medium format camera systems, central shutters & lenses.

“Phase One is now the only medium format camera company that has full internal control of all critical components in a world class imaging system,” says Niels V. Knudsen Phase One's Image Professor. “This is the best news in many years for quality-focused photographers and imaging companies as Phase One works to consistently raise the bar in medium format photography." 

“The very successful introduction of the Phase One XF Camera System in June 2015 illustrates the power of our collaboration,” says Henrik Håkonsson Phase One President & CEO.  He added, “The Phase One XF Camera System is the new much improved standard for medium format photography, with the incorporation of significantly enhanced technology.”

Phase One's mission is to keep pushing the limits for ultimate camera systems and imaging quality, meeting the demand of the world's leading photographers and industrial imaging companies. 

Makoto Honda President of Phase One Japan said: “Phase One Japan is committed to developing new and custom designed masterpiece leaf shutter optics in close partnership with top photographers, imaging companies and long term design partner Schneider Kreuznach.” 

About Phase One

Phase One is the leading provider of open-platform, high-end camera systems and solutions. Phase One camera systems and lenses are designed to deliver superior quality image capture and investment value. Phase One's Capture One Pro and Media Pro software help streamline capture and post-production processes for both medium format and 35mm cameras. Phase One products are known for their quality, flexibility and speed enabling pro photographers and industrial imaging companies shooting in a wide range of formats to achieve their creative visions without compromise. 

Phase One is based in Copenhagen with offices in New York, London, Tokyo, Cologne, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tel Aviv. Phase One and Capture One are registered trademarks of Phase One A/S. Mamiya is a trademark licensed by Phase One A/S. All other brand or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

About Mamiya Digital Imaging

Mamiya Digital Imaging is the digital successor to the reputable Mamiya brand, an innovative company fresh with enthusiasm and dedicated to continuing a legacy of excellence. Mamiya has consistently been a forerunner in medium format camera design, and Mamiya lenses, manufactured following a tradition of precision and quality, are celebrated worldwide. Mamiya Digital Imaging is headquartered in Tokyo with a factory in Saku, Japan and totals a team of 80 dedicated engineers and technicians, and distributors in more than 100 countries.