Show of Hands -- Who Still Loves Medium Format?

Maybe it's the "throw-back Thursday" mentality I find myself in when I get around to working on this blog, but a conversation I had with a young photographer yesterday filled my nostalgia quota for the week. Although brimming with talent and the godforsaken enthusiasm only a twenty-something can muster (apparently at will) he had never heard of medium-format cameras.
I certainly don't blame him one bit; in this commercialized digital world, where is the room for this kind of knowledge? Our conversation fascinated him and interested me. And I'm as guilty as anyone when it comes to helping educate the current generation of photographers. I shoot exclusively digital, both in the studio and outside. And that got me to thinking about medium-format digital.

When I repped in the photo business, I had access to all kinds of incredible medium-format digital cameras, particularly Leaf and the oh-so-lovely Hasselblad HD. This image of the flowers was a test shot I made using the Mamiya ZD. I think some of today's higher-end DSLRs from Nikon and Canon can compare favorably to the image quality of those older medium-format digitals, but it was a real revelation to work in full 16-bit on their proprietary software. The images were amazing in their clarity of detail and sharpness. The current Hasselblad H4D-60 is, as the name suggests, a 60 megapixel beast; not sure even my quad-core Macbook Pro would keep up with that. Not to mention my bank account.

So I'll just keep thinking back to the old Hassy 500CM's we used all those years ago. And my Mamiya RB 67. Even used a couple of Bronica's back in the day, and I hang around a photographer who still occasionally uses his Contax 645. And if your bank account is essentially bottomless, here's a picture of the limited-edition Hasselblad HD-40 Ferrari. You should be able to pick one up for around $30K.

But look who I'm talking to. Photographers. As if.