More details on the rumored Sony/Zeiss and Mamiya medium format digital rangefinder cameras


The current Mamiya 7 II medium format camera

Few weeks ago I reported that two new medium format digital rangefinder will be announced in the next few months by Sony/Zeiss and Mamiya. Today I received some additional information:

  • 50 megapixel medium format CMOS sensor (probably made by Sony)
  • Two versions will be sold under the Mamiya and Sony brands
  • Only the Sony version will have an EVF
  • The Mamiya model will have an OVF with OLED focus peaking
  • The lenses will also be sold under the Sony/Zeiss and Mamiya brands
  • New magnet-based lens attachment
  • The cameras will have 4 black classic control dials
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  • hexx

    any info about rough price range?? …(salivating)…

    • Not yet – I think it is too early. Those cameras are probably at least 6 months away.

      • hexx

        thank you; oh, 6 months, i thought it would be a bit earlier (thinking about selling my older digital back and as of now pentax 645z is the one i’d like to have, but having smaller MF camera would suit my needs much better)

        • We may hear something at the CP+ show in February next year, but shipping will probably start later in 2015.

    • DrunkenRant

      I’ll say min $5k, more likely around $8k

  • Ranger 9

    “The cameras will have 4 black classic control dials…”

    …one for shutter speed, one for aperture, one for ISO value, and one for… subtracting money from your bank account?

    • hexx

      exposure compensation dial 😉

    • After you buy the camera and a decent memory card, what money? Or was that just some gratuitous snark?

      • Might need a lens to go with it… 😉

      • Some photography Accessories, like tripod, flash, bag, strap there is a lot, also you need lenses for doing different kind of photography such macro photography, portrait, landscape and so on

    • sperdynamite

      Dial that goes to 11

    • Pat Mann

      Focus, perhaps?

  • Richard Grainger

    Interesting. Put some leaf shutter lenses with this and it could be very interesting.

    • hexx

      yep, leaf shutters would be really nice. if mirrorless it could also open up opportunities to adapt existing MF lenses

    • Skepticboy

      If based on the Mamiya 6 or 7 then those lenses would be leaf shutter lenses. I hope they do use the Mamiya 7 mount as there are already some wonderful lenses for it.

      • hexx

        i have M6 – like the fact that you can collapse those lenses – it makes one very portable package which I carry with me on holidays, yes, it’s square only, not 6×7

        • Mike

          Same. It’s actually my favourite camera to use. I just hope the lenses are compatible.

    • Pat Mann

      A leaf shutter normal lens with very low distortion, a very flat focus plane, good resolution to the corners and optimized for 0.5 to 5 meters would be something that would make me look seriously at this system. Add wireless live view to a high-resolution tablet for ultimate focus checking, a matched center filter for f/4, and a price under that of a good used 2009 Corolla, I couldn’t say no.
      Perhaps my needs are somewhat specialized. Perhaps I’m being optimistic.
      My first choice would be to have a leaf-shutter Otus rig on a D810x – may wind up jury-rigging something like that with a big shutter forward of the lens.

  • sperdynamite

    This sounds more like the kind of camera someone who comments a lot on internet forums would imagine rather than one Mamiya/Sony would make. Now Mamiya which is partially owned by Phase is going to make a camera with Sony which will be sold under both names? An optical finder with peaking built in which is technology that no-one has seen before, even on a Fuji who are AFAIK the only company that currently cares the most about optical finders, Leica included. Another camera featuring that fantastic Sony sensor that is compact may indeed be in development but this sounds like somebody’s wet dream. I personally could picture Sony developing a camera similar to this, but not Mamiya, who haven’t seen past the AFD design in a while now, and still wants to sell 100 cameras and backs a year for 30k a pop.

    …that Fstoppers review of the Pentax 645Z…now that’s an exciting camera that is affordable for pros and you can actually buy, that no one is talking about. Bird in the hand, folks?

    • Ayoul

      I’m curious as well to see an “OVF with focus peaking”…

    • fjfjjj

      Remember that the new Phase back already has the Sony 50Mp sensor…

      • sperdynamite

        That’s true, which does indicate that they have some level of relationship. But the same could be said of Nikon and Pentax. Lots of Sony sensors in the market place. So I personally don’t believe that fact alone gives this much credence. Keep in mind with everything I’m saying I would love to be proven wrong!

  • Andy Pandy

    Sorry it sounds to good to be true, especially if they are sharing the same lens mount. Sony are certainly capable of a MF mirrorless system but they have limited resources which are already stretched.

    • Ratty Mouse

      And how do you know the limits of Sony’s resources?

  • a-traveler

    Why would Phase One/Mamiya, who already uses Schneider Leaf and Non-Leaf lenses, switch to Zeiss ??? That doesn’t make much sense to me, YMMV.

    • Alex

      Why assume that Mamiya would switch to Zeiss?

    • fjfjjj

      I don’t think they would. Sounds more like Mamiya and Sony/Zeiss will each offer lenses for the new mount.

  • Alex

    Interesting proposition, my thinking is that it might be direct competitor to the Pentax…

    • greger


  • AMJ

    Finally great news , something forward in photography industry…

  • Yeah, because is doing a great job working on already 4 different fronts so far, it’s not like they end up missing focus and some line ups are let aside with no support.

  • Ulysse

    Beautiful, even if the sensor is a 1.5 crop version of a true 645 camera, it remains a step forward. I’d personally want to see 6×9, 6×7 and 6×6 modules with lcd and wifi to be able to shoot digital on any medium film camera, this would be fun !

    • hexx

      It actually isn’t that bad to have slightly smaller sensor – older lenses aren’t that great in corners so you’d be using ‘sweet spot’ of a lens.
      I’m always amazed what good old 50/4 FLE (hassy) produces on my Leaf Aptus 75S (33mp 48×36 CCD) – not sure how it would perform with big boys like Credo 80 or iQ280

      • Ulysse

        I agree, but a ~55mmx55mm would still offer enough crop to get the rid of corner softness on a square format system, 44×33 is quite small compared to 6×7… But in terms of true resolution, medium format film is already beaten by the D810, I am speaking about getting closer to true medium format to take advantage of older wide angle lenses and avoid to much tele-photo crop.

        • Ulysse

          I see the new rangefinder medium format from Mamiya and Zeiss like a new system (hopefully with compatible mount, cf macro 43?) I really love the 4:3 ratio, it is way more usefull for portrait shooters and prints. A smaller medium format sensor means smaller lenses too. I also wish they developped new 3 layer CCD technology for ultimate color reproduction, i am not very kean with the new exmor cmos tech…

        • hexx

          I don’t know if D810 beats MF film, I have 80mp scans of my 6×6 negs and they look gorgeous

          • Ulysse

            I also scan my 6×17 and 6×8 slides and print film. The reason I still shoot film is : color depth, organic look, microcontrast and depth of field control. Digital is “pure” and has no grain, that’s the reason why a ~40mp digital sensor resolves more true resolution than a ~80mp film scan. But again, film has an organic rendering that digital cannot beat. And CCD sensors are closer to slides than cmos who have more lattitude but less color separation, they need more work.

  • Photolover

    Liked this rumour until I read about “New magnet-based lens attachment”. Since I had my credit card stripe wiped by locking mechanism of my Lowepro Napoli case I have been hating magnets.

    • Not me

      Don’t worry, your credit card will have nothing in it to be wiped after purchasing this camera.

  • MB

    If they manage to get the price (way) under 10k it will have some serious impact on Nikon and Canon pro DSLR market share …
    On the other hand others can play this game too and maybe Canon (using own sensor) and Nikon (using same Sony sensor) are developing something similar …

    • Skepticboy

      Pentax already has a MFDSLR under 10K and from what I’ve heard it’s really doing well, but Canon and Nikon pro models, especially the models that can shoot very fast don’t have anything to worry about

      • MB

        This is about mirrorless medium format cameras.
        They can be much more compact than Pentax and by avoiding retrofocus design the lenses could be smaller too so the size of a field set could be comparable to 35mm DSLRs, and most important IQ should be much better.
        Also without a mirror they could be very fast shooters too …

        • Meh

          I am not sure this would be much better, the sensor is way too small. A little better perhaps. And the price will be much much higher. We’ll see.

          • hexx

            you should look at files from 645Z – it’s miles better than D810 at all sensitivities, even my old digital back beats crap out of D810/A7R at ISO50/100 (don’t use it on anything else though)

          • Meh

            Is your back a CCD or a CMOS?

          • hexx

            CCD – Leaf Aptus 75S, 33mp beast from last decade 🙂

        • Skepticboy

          You are a delude fauxtographer aren’t you?

          • MB

            You are plain stupid aren’t you?

  • fjfjjj

    Theories on this magnetic lens mount? It can’t be like a typical electromagnetic lock which constantly draws power. Maybe it just means the locking pin is controlled by an electromagnet.

    • Magnetic filter or lens hood mount would make more sense. I would hate to bump something and knock a lens off.

    • hexx

      what do you mean by selling for use in SLRs??? all three, hasselblad, phase one, mamiya leaf use it in their digital backs which you can mount on tech camera which is mirrorless – so not sure where your ‘SLR’ theory comes from

      • fjfjjj

        Hasselblad, PhaseOne, and Mamiya are all selling SLR systems. None of those companies are selling tech cameras, or promoting any system but their own. That’s where I get it from: a marketing thing, not a technology thing.

        • hexx

          actually, Phamiya promotes digital backs as part of the largest open system in the world and as promotion goes, they claim those backs work with 80 different cameras and that’s how PhaseOne came to be – they offered only digital backs.

          After they purchased majority stake in Mamiya and Leaf, they merged Mamiya and Leaf businesses and now it’s called Mamiya Leaf. PhaseOne SLR is re-branded Mamiya DF body which is also sold under Mamiya brand.

          Hasselblad was in the same camp before they decided to close the system (which is now open again by offering H5X body).

          The only closed systems out there, SLRs if you like, are from Leica (S series) and Pentax with 645 bodies.

          • fjfjjj

            Yeah, I get it. My theory would have been better stated: “Sony isn’t selling the 50Mp chip for any EVF/mirrorless type applications.”

          • hexx

            maybe the same problems like with A7/7R – RF lenses just don’t work well on those cams, the wide angle ones. there are also some reports that certain LF lenses on tech cams aren’t playing nicely with IQ250 back (based on this new CMOS sensor)

          • fjfjjj

            It comes down to the microlens arrays, not the sensor. All sensors do best with photons entering straight on. The microlens arrays try to make that happen, but they can only be optimized for a single exit pupil distance. Leica optimizes the M arrays for a short one. Everyone else optimizes for a longer one to maximize telephoto performance (tabletop, portraiture, fashion) and tells you to use retrofocus lenses if you want wide angle corner performance.

          • Tom

            Hey that’s interesting: you are saying that all sensors have some sort of microlens optimization, which varies with the distance from the sensor centre. So when Leica said they had done something revolutionary with their microlenses on the M9, it was simply a different version of what everyone else does already? Makes sense to me, but are you really sure of your story?

          • fjfjjj

            When I hear details about Leica’s ‘revolutionary’ microlens design, I’ll be less sure.

  • Louis-Félix Grondin

    Shut up and take all this money I don’t have!

  • Ratty Mouse

    The Mamiya 7 is such a beautiful camera. $8000 or so for a digital “cropped” version vs $1000 for the real deal (used).

  • Neopulse

    Wonder if they would bring back a rangefinder digital Contax since people still have lenses of theirs and they’re made by Carl Zeiss.

  • vkphoto

    “medium format CMOS sensor” – anything larger 36×24 can be considered as a medium format (à la Leica S) . Exciting news nevertheless.

  • Spy Black

    Magnetic mount sounds kinda weird. I suppose whatever they’re doing simply needs to work. Otherwise it would be too easy to knock off if the magnet(s) weren’t strong enough, or it would be a total bitch to pull the lens off (or put it on correctly) if the magnet is too strong.

    Certainly an eyebrow riser…

  • John

    I hope they keep the camera very basic and affordable. 3-4K for body, 2K lenses (Otus or Zeiss ZM 1.4 grade)
    And optical finder with focus peaking? Yes please!

    • cheng zhou

      I’m afraid it’s going to be at least double all those prices. You just don’t get quality in MF without paying big prices.

      • Peter

        I actually think they will make a fixed lens camera.
        Maybe release 3 different focal lenght versions, each for about 3K.
        A bit like the Sigma DP series, only now with an optical finder with focus peaking (brilliant) or a high quality evf.

        • SH*T666

          A fixed lens camera with a magnetic mount? I don´t think so.

          • Peter

            I believe that information is incorrect. It will be a fixed lens, not interchangable.

          • hexx

            then i wish them good luck, no way i’m paying £5000+ for fixed lens digital camera

          • Mrt

            Like Peter said, it will be cheaper. Around 3K.
            Fixed lens is the way to go.

  • vwk

    Interesting. But would be really useful combining this somewhat bigger than FF format with tilt and shift. Hasselblad has a good concept with the Flexbody and Arcbody, their implementation leaves much to be desired.

  • DAve

    Good to see manufacturers once again designing cameras for photographers and enthusiasts rather then churning out digital junk for soccer mums and teenagers.

    I would love to see how the Mamiya Optical viewfinder with OLED peaking works. A true hybrid viewfinder with focus aids would make manual focus with digital cameras once more fun and accurate.

    I shoot my Mamiya 7 everyday and if this camera is half as good I’m gonna buy it.

    I wonder if they will make an adapter for the Mamiya 7 or Mamiya 645 lenses. Would be great to have the 43mm F4L and 80 F1.9 on a digital camera.

    • That’s probably because soccer mums and teenagers are happy with their camera phones. We are slowly becoming their target audience once again.

      • I’m not sure I want to be the target of soccer moms. 😉

        Well, maybe some of them. 🙂

    • “digital junk for soccer moms and teenagers”

      And which real cameras do you use?

      • photoviking

        Learn to read. He just said he uses a Mamiya 7 everyday, or is that not a real camera according to your narrow definition of “real camera”?!

        • Nicholas Yanov

          every day. learn to spell

          • photoviking

            Every. Learn. Learn to capitalize the first letter of a sentence.

        • You call that a real camera? rofl Learn the subject… it’s called photography… not surveying with a rangefinder.

          • photoviking

            Listen, I know you rode the short bus to school as a child, but name another camera/lens combo that resolves a higher lp/mm. Then come back here and wax poetic about your hipster toy camera.

          • Your demonstrated understanding of lp/mm is another nail on your coffin made of stupid wood.

  • Martin Francis

    I am prepared to coin a phrase here: “Beware of those who offer you exactly what you always wanted. Especially when they happen to be Sony”.

    I’m sorry, I’m being cynical… but somewhere, somehow, this will have some kind of crippling flaw that stops it being exactly the perfect camera for me. That’s if it even turns out to be anything than a fanboy’s fevered semi-erotic daydreaming.

    • fjfjjj

      My guess: Sony version is reasonably priced but has the horrible Sony “raw” compression defect and headache-inducing menus. Mamiya version has better firmware, uncompressed raw, nice menus, and costs twice as much.

      • jvossphoto

        No doubt twice as much will probably be worth it.

      • RealRap

        You left out superior image quality, but that’s not important to the competing brand’s fan boys and girls.

      • You haven’t even seen it. How do you know what the Mamiya menus will be like? That’s what we call prejudice.

        Sony’s menus are fine and the number of users of Sony is the proof… as is Canon’s menus and even Nikon’s menus. Mamiya hardly has an idea of what the general public wants so they’re unlikely to produce anything familiar that is not a copy. Frankly if I’ve seen people complain about menus it’s because they’re finding excuses.

        And “horrible raw compression defect”? Firs of all, it’s not a defect LOL Yes the fact that it’s there is not ideal but I’ve yet to see anyone’s regular photography being messed up by it as a result. Again, yours are fanboy excuses.

        • fjfjjj

          Hey, I said it was only a guess. Oh, it’s you, Geno! Geez, I was just way too nice. Allow me to rephrase. “Why don’t you pick up a dictionary and look up the word ‘guess’ before you go making ignorant comments and then ask me to enlighten you.” There, much better.

          • StopTheMusic

            A guess is usually based on a certain amount of knowledge and done in good faith, that’s different than pulling a comment out of your a$$ just to troll a brand you don’t like.

          • fjfjjj

            My opinions are based on owning Sony gear, which I like, aside from what I mentioned. No troll, radio.

          • rofl was saying you’re prejudiced. doesn’t matter if it’s a guess or not.

          • photoviking

            That’s the pot calling the kettle black! Genotypewriter has enough predjudice against brands let alone formats to fill a bathtub! Ha!

          • Seeing the number of different brands from which I own cameras and lenses, there’s not much room for prejudice, I’m afraid.

    • Mike

      Well, if it’s Sony’s 50mp CMOS sensor, then the crippling is the sensor size itself. The mamiya6 and 7 produce 60x60mm and 60x70mm film negatives respectively. The Sony sensor is 44×33. Not even a true 645. So those expecting a seamless film to digital experience will be disappointed. Unless they products faster lenses that the f3.5, 4, 4.5 they have now.

      • Martin Francis

        Well, I suppose your point is fair for those people who want a seamless progression. However, as most reports of the 44x33mm Sony CMOS are extremely favourable, there doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of impetus for Sony to develop 6x7cm sensors. Maybe if demand from the back manufacturers were sufficiently high for a CMOS for their 60 and 80mp backs, we’d see something close to 6×4.5 in a digital mirrorless, but I think anyone who *genuinely* believes they need that larger format will probably continue to be disappointed.
        Personally, I simply want a mirrorless camera with a medium format CMOS sensor, some superb quality lenses with leaf shutter and tilt-shift options, a huge high resolution viewfinder and a tilting LCD, advanced wired and wireless tethering, a minimalist interface shunning any concessions to consumer-friendly shooting modes, in a size similar to the Bronica RF645 and for a price similar to the 645Z. Someone, somewhere, in the camera design industry must have similar ideas to me, and have the competence not to muck it up. I just don’t think it’s Sony. I want to be proven wrong, but if this rumour was about Fuji or Ricoh, or maybe even Hasselblad or Leica, I’d be more inclined to believe it was possible.

  • TinusVerdino

    won’t have to be that big as the sensor is far from 6×7. 44×33


    I can really use a lens shutter.

  • neversink

    The Mamiya 7ii is one of my favorite film cameras. I like it even more than the Leica M3 and M6 (both which I have beaten to death.) Hopefully this new camera will be as good as the film version…. but I have my doubts.
    After all, Phase One is already into 80mp. The D810 with 36mp is more versatile. And, like anyone else, I am scratching my head over the magnetic lens attachment. Hopefully there will be a lock on the lens attachment. Can I use my old Mamiya lenses on this new baby? …and get outstanding images? Will it even have any physical resemblance to the old Mamiya 7ii?????

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