Medium-format update: Phase One launches 645DF+ camera

The new pro camera has better autofocus, overhauled mechanics, and a price just shy of $6,000. Also new at Photokina: Schneider Kreuznach's 28mm leaf-shutter lens.

Phase One's 645DF+ with Schneider Kreuznach's 28mm f4.5 leaf-shuttter wide-angle lens.
Phase One's 645DF+ with Schneider Kreuznach's 28mm f4.5 leaf-shuttter wide-angle lens. Phase One

COLOGNE, Germany -- Phase One and Mamiya Leaf, the medium-format camera maker it controls, announced its new 645DF+ medium-format camera with new mechanics and improved focusing abilities.

The companies also announced at the Photokina camera show here the new Schneider Kreuznach 28 LS f/4.5 Aspherical, a very wide-angle 28mm leaf-shutter lens built by Schneider Kreuznach for the Mamiya Leaf-Phase One cameras. The camera and the lens are priced the same; each costs $5,990 or 4,290 euros, and each will ship in October.

Compared with the earlier 645DF, all moving parts of the 645DF+ have been completely overhauled for higher reliability, Phase One said. It's also got a new rechargeable lithium-ion battery good for taking 10,000 photos.

The 645DF+ also has focusing improvements: first, a new autofocus system that the company says works better in low-light or low-contrast situations, and second, the ability to fine-tune focusing to adjust for how digital backs mount on the camera body.

Some medium-format cameras, including the Mamiya Leaf-Phase One models, have removable digital backs that once carried film packs but these days often carry large, expensive digital sensors that cost much more than the camera itself. Because the sensor is so much larger than those used in mainstream or even high-end SLRs from companies such as Canon and Nikon, medium-format lenses cover a wider field of view for a given focal length.

Schneider Kreuznach's 28 LS f/4.5 Aspherical
Schneider Kreuznach's 28 LS f/4.5 Aspherical Phase One

Phase One has had a years-long partnership with German lensmaker Schneider Kreuznach to built leaf-shutter lenses. Conventional cameras use a shutter built into the camera body, but leaf-shutter lenses have their own shutter that enables high shutter speeds to freeze action like a moving fashion model.

The new 28mm model has a close-focus distance of 1.15 feet (35cm) and has a viewing angle of 102 degrees, something that architecture photographers shooting indoors should appreciate. It'll synchronize with flash for exposures as short as 1/1600 sec.

The Mamiya Leaf version of the 645DF+ with a Credo digital back from Phase One's Leaf subsidiary.
The Mamiya Leaf version of the 645DF+ with a Credo digital back from Phase One's Leaf subsidiary. Mamiya
About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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