Canon interested in medium format?

Canon may be looking to acquire a medium format camera manufacturer. It is not clear which company is the target of this acquisition. Few months ago, rumors were floating around that Canon (and Sony) were interested in purchasing Pentax, which has a medium format camera (the Pentax 645D).

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  • Nobody Special

    Are they following, or trying to lead?

    They’re not satisfied in monopolizing the 35 and under markets? They make nice equipment but really, what drives them to such needs for more market share when they already have most of it.

    They need to get over themselves. BTW, I would say about any company, no matter what the brand – bigger is not always better.

    • stepper

      Are you serious or being sarcastic? What company doesn’t aim to expand their markets? Especially when they have been so successful in their current market.

      And yes you are right – bigger is not always better. But I think bigger is better when it comes to sensor sizes (given all other variables being equal)

      • Nobody Special

        Canon needs to increase their market share or control the market? They already are the biggest (by far) of any modern imaging company.

        With the quality from FF 35 digital getting so good, and the market for MF small, and becoming smaller, there really is little need. Sensor size and mega-pixels do not make a better photographer. I use to absolutely love bigger than 8×10 large format sheet film – it’s absolutely stunning – but 8×10 is nearly as good or certainly so good as to make the larger and more expensive sizes almost to specialized.

        MF digital is going to be much like BIG sheet film; too expensive and specialized to hold a market share for all but a minority of users. $15K to $20K for MF digital even for what it can give is a stretch – I shoot MF film and I wouldn’t bother with spending that kind of money on digital, it just seems ridiculous.

  • Axel

    What MF system isn’t up for grabs? Rolleiflex, Hasselblad, Sinar? I wonder if they believe the pixel capacity of a FX sensor is just not enough. Maybe they’re looking to produce a Leica S2 competitor. I like the form factor of the S2 as opposed to an H series camera. Mamiya seems like they’re really moving and shaking in this marketing, but what is the end game? To buy a familiar lens platform?

  • Roger


  • Serpiente

    Purchasing Pentax? Lol! What about the other Pentax APS-C cams? Building an EF mouth on all Pentax lenses? (not a bad idea btw). It doesnt sounds very likely. I dont think the medium format will be a new cashcow.

  • Sky

    There is any medium-format manufacturer for sale? o_O They might be looking to buy one, but no sales offers == no fun for them.

  • Just A Thought

    If the DS can sell for around $8K then Canon could get say $16K for an DM model.
    The cost of the body mechanics and electronics would not be much more as internal components could be shared. The pentaprism, mirror box and sensor would cost more, but how much more? The body could be quickly done. The problem is it takes time to reformulate lenses for a larger image circle going from EF to EM. Hard to sell camera bodies for $16K if you only have an 80mm standard lens available.

    If Canon moves into MF by buying up a company, then in my opinion the best fit would be to buy the Leica S2 division from Leica (if Sony does not buy it first). Would be a win win for both. Leica would get a boat load of cash and a ready market (which would grow larger IMHO under Canon) for their MF lens line. Leica would also get access to Canon’s AF lens technology. Canon would get the S2 which Canon would quickly repackage into a 1DM body and would have a ready source for quality lenses. That would buy Canon time to reformulate many of their lenses from EF to EM.

    Don’t know if the S2 line is profitable for Leica. Doubt that a Canon 1DM would be profitable initially, but with Canon’s deep pockets they can afford to wait the years needed to reach profitability.

    • Eric Pepin

      and then leica can throw there exclusivity and high end snob status out with the trash. Even if leica did it right and completlety did product production, control, and retained all there other products as 100 percent made in germany leica.

      Then again enough idiots buy panasonics with “leica” lenses, so who knows how much more leica is willing to water down there brand.

      • ZoetMB

        It’s the other way around. The idiots are those who buy Leicas made by Panasonic, not people who buy Panasonics with “Leica” lenses that are the same cameras in different cases for far less money.

      • Just A Thought

        “100 percent made in germany leica”

        Care to name one digital Leica photographic product which fits that description?

    • Tabitha Green

      “then in my opinion the best fit would be to buy the Leica S2 division from Leica”

      Considering how overpriced their equipment is, I can’t imagine they’d offer to sell for anywhere near a reasonable price. 😛

  • zeissprude

    It might be a warped rumor as Nikon were sending out Medium Format questionaires to their pro members last year or early this year. perhaps it is they who are looking to buy up?


    Canon seems to suffer from really bad quality control & focusing issues. If they mess up 1/2 of medium format cameras, professional photographers will notice it directly. This will mean the end of the brand.

    • Eric Pepin

      If as a pro, you had spent hypothetically 10 – 20 grand on a canon MF camera and it was defective, im willing to bet canon pro services or whatever there called would mail you another one next day shipping as soon as possible. Nikon and Canon dont care about most consumers but the pros who individually spend 10 – 100 K on there gear get some decent treatment .

  • Canon and Nikon really need to get on the bandwagon soon, if they are possibly (or ever) getting into medium format DSLR technology.

    Over Leica’s dead body would they sell their technology to Canon, Pentax have hit a home run with the 645D and Phase one have Mamiya tied up and are in bed with schenider lenses. All of which have built up a loyal customer base.

    These companies own the market share and will be producing competitive entry level models that will be not too far off the price of high end full frame 35mm dslr’s.

    Gareth Hacon

  • Sorry ‘Schneider Lenses’

  • sflxn

    I think both Canon and Nikonm can take the medium format anytime. Loyalty in the pro market doesn’t really exist. It’s all about image quality and practicality. Smaller Nikon proved with the D3x they can meet and beat the image quality of medium format. They both know a thing or two about making large sensors since they make the equipment to manufacture them.

    As far as practicality. Pros don’t care about brands. They use what’s convenient and usually rent. Phase One is popular because pros can rent them practically anywhere. Medium format guys rely on local reseller to provide service. Direct service from the MF guys are lacking. Both Canon and Nikon has extensive experience with direct service worldwide. They could have the medium format old guards beaten in this area within 2 years.

    Lens wise, they already have the technology, and Zeiss has proven they have no allegiance to brands they make lenses for.

    Throw on top better ergonomics and their autofocus technology, it’s a no brainer. The only question is whether they see enough profits in that market to chase after it. I don’t think they really worry about the likes of Leica, Phase One, and Hasselblad when they debate going into this market.

    • sflxn

      Throw on top Nikon’s willingness to buy sensors from others, I’m sure Kodak and Dalsa would love to sell to high volume Nikon. They’d probably give more love to Nikon than low volume Phase One and Hassy.

    • dfjk

      “It’s all about image quality and practicality. Smaller Nikon proved with the D3x they can meet and beat the image quality of medium format. ”

      You may want to look at some properly taken medium format images – full size and raw if available.

      After doing this you will relaise medium format is in a different league in terms of image quality – it’s that simple. That is why there is an apparent strong demand for the Pentax 645D because of it’s low price-point for serious amateurs. At the end of the day though if you can get a medium format sensor camera for about the same price as a Nikon D3x or Canon 1Ds Mark III the SLR camera sales for these models more likely would be slightly cannibalized, though with the volumes of SLR’s sold by Canon and Nikon the percentage would be low enough not to be of a concern.

      I have never brought a digital SLR because the image quality of a medium format is so far ahead. I see SLR’s as a relict of the past and see spending thousands of dollars on lenses which project onto a small sensor handicapped by one or more low pass filters as just a waste of money. My 2 cents worth.

      • Tabitha Green

        “I see SLR’s as a relict of the past and see spending thousands of dollars on lenses which project onto a small sensor handicapped by one or more low pass filters as just a waste of money. My 2 cents worth.”

        Does your medium format camera do 10fps? Fast AF tracking? etc. 😛

        • Sky

          These don’t count unless you are sports photographer. For AGES people made photographs without AF at all, not saying about things like previewing image after taking it, or quickly adjustable sensitivity in range beyond what was available in the old times, while still keeping superb large-format print quality and higher dynamic range.
          Sorry man but MF cameras win in actual photography unless you are looking for gadgets (video recording?! WTF?!) or you are a paparazzi ;]

      • sflxn

        Guess you didn’t get my point. If Nikon could achieve the dynamic range they did with the D3x with a 35mm FF sensor with an AA filter, just imagine what they could do with a larger sensor. I do not believe for one minute that Phase One and Hasselblad has any unique technology. Most of the technology probably came from Kodak and Dalsa and the fact that the sensors are large and have no AA filter. Given Leica, with one of the smallest R&D budget can make a camera like the S2, imagine what Canon and Nikon can do. Nikon could refine those Kodak sensor like they did with the Sony 24mm sensor. Those guys actually have the money to develop world beaters.

        • jeorcal

          No they have not unique technology but they have unique customers that will never change for a Nikon MF , they will even certainly not change for a Leica S2

          • sflxn

            Pros do not carry on like small bank account fan boys. They use whatever they can rent and they will use the brand that can provide them service if there is any problems. If they’re on a shoot with a Hassy and have problems, are they going to just go home for the day and wait for Hasselblad to resolve it? Or are they going to the local rental shop and renting the Phase One? The local shop will have Phase One. They probably won’t have the Hasselblad H3 and H4. This is why Phase One dominates. That, plus the fact that most know how to use Capture One now and the benefits of learning another workflow software is questionable.

      • who_cares


        I know MF can produce great images.
        But seriously, it is not ahead as no FF camera could catch up.
        It’s hard to put this in technical parameters.
        But you can check the DXO Mark online.
        Just compare the Alpha 900 to some MF cameras.
        D3X and 1Ds should be the same level as the A900 but of cause way more expansive ;o)

        • Mathias

          Have you ever worked with a MF setup?

        • jeorcal

          If you try once a MF you will see the things in another way, you cannot compare a Nikon D3X or a Canon 1Ds Mark III with a PhaseOne or Hasselblad

  • Mark

    This is really solid, just like the Nikon MX. Hasselblad look out.

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