Mamiya 645DF: An "Open Platform" DSLR

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It wouldn't be wrong to say many of today's pro, full frame 35mm-based DSLRs capture image files that rival or surpass the quality of medium-format film cameras. As for medium-format digital cameras... they've come quite a ways too. They've become quicker, more nimble and the image quality of the higher-res capture backs now approaches the image quality of larger-format  film cameras, which brings us to the Mamiya 645DF.


Unlike 35mm-based DSLRs, in which the imaging sensor is permanently integrated into the camera body, Mamiya's 645DF  ($5990.00) is modular in design, which means all of the components of the system—the camera, lenses and imaging sensor—can be updated individually as needed. For working pros, this is a plus.

And then you have the advantages of medium-format sensor size (56 x 41.5mm), which is about twice up from full-frame (24 x 36mm) "35mm" DSLRs. In terms of image quality, it's not a stretch to claim properly exposed "645" digital image files approach the image quality of a 4 x 5 transparency, especially when shot through premium Mamiya APO or ULD-series optics.

Mamiya's 645DF is billed as an "open platform" camera and marketing angles aside, this is an appropriately accurate way to describe the 645DF. The 645DF can be coupled to Mamiya DM-series capture backs, which are available in a choice of resolving powers (DM-22, DM-28 , DM-33 , DM-40 and DM-56. The 645DF also plays nicely with capture backs from Phase, Leaf and Sinar.

Note: Mamiya's 645DF is also backwards-compatible with many older-generation capture backs via software/firmware updates.

Though medium-format camera systems are traditionally perceived as being larger and heavier than Pro 35mm-based camera systems, that's no longer necessarily so. If anything,  the size, weight and form factors of pro-end 35mm and medium-format DSLRs have become increasingly similar. According to the specs, the weight of the Mamiya's 645DF with a DM-series back (approximately 1480 g / 3.26 lb / 52.2 oz minus the battery) is only about 15% heavier than a Canon 1Ds Mark III (approx 1210 g / 2.66 lb / 42.6 oz minus the battery). And in terms of usability and overall handling, slower burst rates aside, the Mamiya 645DF isn't all that different to use than any of the "pro 35s."

Designed for use in both the studio as well as on the road, Mamiya's 645DF offers many of the same attributes found on 35mm-based DSLRs including a built-in grip and a bright optical system, both of which are molded in uni-body fashion. Camera controls and layout are also nearly parallel to the controls and layout found on 35mm DSLRs. If you're familiar with the workings of a 35mm DSLR, the learning curve of figuring out the Mamiya 645DF is near zip.

Depending on your particular needs or preferences, Mamiya offers a choice of three focusing screens—Matte (standard), Checker and a Microprism Type C, which is recommended when shooting with non-AF Mamiya M645 lenses.

The 645DF's electronic focal-plane shutter offers a full range of shutter speeds in both AE mode (30 seconds to 1/4000th, in 1/8th steps) and manual mode (30 seconds to 1/4000th, in 1/2 or 1/3 steps) and a top flash sync of 1/125th, which for studio and fill-flash shooters can put the kibosh on things when shooting flash under brighter ambient lighting conditions.

To address the issue, Mamiya introduced a trio of leaf shutter (LS) lenses — the Mamiya Sekor 55mm/f2.8 LS D (wide angle), Mamiya Sekor 80mm/f2.8 LS D (normal) and  Mamiya Sekor 110mm/f2.8 LS D (short-telephoto / portrait), each of which enables flash sync speeds of up to 1/800th to 1/1600th of a second, depending on your choice of capture back.  

Mamiya offers a choice of 18 lenses to go along with the
Mamiya 645DF, including a trio of leaf-shutter lenses that enable flash-sync speeds of 1/800th to 1/1600th of a second.
 

Along with three leaf-shutter lenses, Mamiya also offers a choice of 15 Sekor AF optics including a choice of four wide angles (28mm/f4.5, 35mm/f3.5, 45mm/f2.8, and 55mm/f2.8), a 120mm/4 Macro, four telephotos (150mm/f2.8, 150mm/f3.5, 210mm/f4 ULD and 300mm/f4.5 APO), and three zooms (75-150mm/f4.5,  55-110mm/f4.5 and 105-210mm/f4.5 ULD).

A recently announced accessory that should make using the 645DF even slicker is the Mamiya V-Grip Air, which like the power winders we've all grown accustomed to on 35mm DSLRs, makes the 645DF easier to work with when shooting vertical images.

In addition to a second shutter release, front and rear control dials and AEL and AFL buttons, the Mamiya V-Grip Air also contains a built-in, 2.4GHz, 8-channel transmitter that allows wireless triggering of ProFoto D1, D4 and all Pro-8 power packs from a distance of up to 300m (984').

Mamiya's 645DF is powered by six AA batteries (alkaline-magnesium, lithium, nickel-hydride or nickel-cadmium rechargeable). You also have the option of plugging in a number of optional external power supplies.  

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I want one of these systems but I'm using micro four thirds. It's just a dream. But someday maybe I can own something like this. But for now that idea is lightyears away... :S 

I can't express how much i love this camera. (i do use the Phase One 645DF with a Phase One P40+ back) so pretty much the same body just rebadged a little.

These cameras are amazing, the support is sensational and if you want to offer your clients the best files you can possibly afford then this is the camera body you want to start with! Being an open platform you can invest in great lens quality and as your client base expands you can upgrade the digital backs as you grow. A wise investment in my books.

Toby wrote:

I can't express how much i love this camera. (i do use the Phase One 645DF with a Phase One P40+ back) so pretty much the same body just rebadged a little.

These cameras are amazing, the support is sensational and if you want to offer your clients the best files you can possibly afford then this is the camera body you want to start with! Being an open platform you can invest in great lens quality and as your client base expands you can upgrade the digital backs as you grow. A wise investment in my books.

If you can afford it and you have the clientel that can pay.

I am not and never have been a professional photographer but in my film days I used a 645F. I keep looking at ads for used 645D and my credit card twitches. If I win lotto I will buy one in a heartbeat although I know that for my use it will not be much better than my Sony A900.

So... let's see... You spend $6,000 USD in a camera that you can't shoot a single frame with! And in order to be able to shoot, you need to spend about 2, 3 times as much???

WOW!

Its expensive so it must be great!

It would take a great deal of selling to pay for this alone. When is it just good enough? We have people such as yourself to find big and better. If people would just understand they don't need fancy equipment to capture an honest moment..Talent. The photographer does the work.

 Yeah, Pablo, that's about the size of it.....and one of the Sensor Backs offered is 5 times as much!

Just keep in mind that this represents the 'way out the top' HIGH end of True Professional gear.  Definitely NOT your family snapshooter!

If I won the Lottery, then yeah I might would get one (during the dreamed-of buying trip I would take to the B&H Store).  More realistically though, I still have a serious learning curve yet to conquer on an ordinary DSLR, before I would have any real competence at this level. 

its a great step into pure digital capture

the optics for once is the sharpest you have seen, the lag is much less then its predessor, the auto focus although improved and one can feel a significant differne  in speed , it does need a bit of work to improve its auto focus precision.

Quote:
StanR

While my contemporaries were only secure and comfortable with using nom-de-rigueur Hasselblads, Nikons, Sinars, etc., I was able to compete effectively with using Rolleiflexes, Minoltas and my only hi-end camera.....a 4x5 Linhof. Consequently, I was able, for 20+ years to bill my clients at far lower rates and still enjoyed fiscally successful profits.  It's the journey and talent, not the equipment, IMHO.

For some of us it's the equipment.   One can derive huge pleasure from holding the finest piece of equipment in one's hands, and still get great pictures. 

 I like to know what plug in to Photoshop Cs3 Software you have for photo quality enhancement and which is usable on Mac Book Pro. 

Thank you

I purchaced mine slightly used for $1200. Its amazing that they actually charge 6k for what is basically a shell.

This paradigm won't last. your whole MF setup shouldn't cost more that 10k!

This is certainly a beautiful piece of equipment that in the hands of a true artist should produce outstanding results.  However, the way I see, today you have two competing factors that do not allow true aspiring artists to own equipment like this without having to take money out of their take home pay; 1- the never ending influx of so-called professional photographers with a six month old, do anything digital DSLR (albeit, the do anything does nothing perfectly, but does do everything mediocre), and, 2-the loss appetite by the bludgeoned middle class who used to appreciate a beautiful piece of art created behind a camera and lens, and could pay for it.  They must now settle for the works of the want to be pro-photographers that shoot "Natural Light only" and "Un-posed photojournalistic shots" all the while not confessing that they do not know what the heck they speak of but these slogans allow then to continue providing mediocre work under the guise of being some sort of modern, out of the box type professional photographer.  What a bunch of bull.  But the middle class cannot afford the high end pro right now, not in this economy.  Not when the middle class is struggling for their very existence.  When the dust settles, and it will, the world will see, the would be, want a be, fakes, fade off into the sunset with their outdated, six months old DSLR's and a new class and bread of truly professional digital artist emerge like a Phoenix from the masters and their apprentices.  Then you will see larger numbers of these types of cameras in circulation again as we saw then in years past when being a professional photographer meant something for real. Real Photographers just need to sit tight and weather the storm as best they can for now. And they will do just fine even with a Canon or a Sony DSLR, because even if you give them a Canon Rebel, the professional photographer will produce a one of a kind photograph, and not the snap-shot these camera manufacturers designed these DSLR's to produce in mediocre, mass numbers.

I had a photography exhibit in Heidelberg, Germany, a number of years ago.  At the opening reception the curator of the gallery, in her introduction of me, commented  that many professional photographers take bad photos, and many amateurs take great photos.  The primary distinction between pro and amateur is the direction the money flows. 

If I had enough money to buy a camera like this, I could think of a hundred things I’d rather buy that would give me a bigger bang for the buck.  Just because you might have a Ferrari in your garage, doesn’t mean you’re a great (or even good) driver.

But in defense of this camera:  If you’re a great driver and buy a Ferrari… :)
 

Hi Martin,

You are right there are many amateurs who are good photographers. You are wrong though about what makes a pro or not. It is the consistency of the results. Sometimes it can be easier if you are an amateur with time in your hands to get a result. If you are a pro you have to deliver always at pro level. You might need to take a portrait of an actor and you are given 10mins of their time and you need to get bring back a result often you are asked for what to most amateurs would be an excellent result. The actor arrives and the last thing he wants to do is the portrait session. Deal with it and bring back to your editor a result. He doesn't like your set-up...change it quick and come up with a solution...deal with it...QUICK...that to me is the difference. Then you might still own a 12MP camera or a great P45+ MF backs, what matters in the end is the result. You need to bring it back home EVERY single time!! Puts a bit of pressure on you if you have De Niro  in a bad mood...

Martin wrote:

I had a photography exhibit in Heidelberg, Germany, a number of years ago.  At the opening reception the curator of the gallery, in her introduction of me, commented  that many professional photographers take bad photos, and many amateurs take great photos.  The primary distinction between pro and amateur is the direction the money flows. 

If I had enough money to buy a camera like this, I could think of a hundred things I’d rather buy that would give me a bigger bang for the buck.  Just because you might have a Ferrari in your garage, doesn’t mean you’re a great (or even good) driver.

But in defense of this camera:  If you’re a great driver and buy a Ferrari… :)
 

Martin wrote:

The primary distinction between pro and amateur is the direction the money flows. 

The real distinction is PASSION, you can be a salesperson of your photos and still not be professional, it's not the trade but passion, a professional individual will do everything professionally to take their pictures: research, invest (not spend), learn,  take critique, make a network, travel far and hike hard to find the perfect shot, "work" for it (not like hard work, but for the love f the game, it costs effort and eventually sell their work, why not? but selling comes last IMHO.

Medium format cameras will always be better than their smaller-sensor cousins resolution-wise, but photography will always be better behind a good photgrapher than a mediocre one, regardless of the equipment. 

But let's face it, the best driver will never lap Laguna Seca faster in a Renault Megane than driving a Ferrari Enzo, sometimes, equipment helps you get results easier but you always need to drive it properly...or you end up in the wall with the Enzo.

For me, not much point in doing more than looking. That $6k is for the body. A prime normal lens is another $1200 and a digital back for the camera is $20k. With a more usable set of lenses take it above $30k easily.

The $20,000 for the back gets you 40-meg pictures but they are in raw format which is a raw deal because there is still no raw imaging standard and the history of raw formats is that they keep changing so that if you don't process them (raw convertor) into JPEG (a standard, which does support a 12-bit [medical] format and could support 12 or 14 bits - but try that with Photoshop) or TIFF (a commercial-company standard originally from Aldus, bought out by Adobe, with variations, sort of willy nilly) you may not be able to open them again or open them with the same results in the same software not to mention that opening in different raw convertors will give you different results right from the start and different results each time a new camera comes out even in the same model.

Now, all that and I shoot in normally dark conditions with a lot of movement (dance) with constantly changing light (color, direction and quantity) and the top ISO range of 800 takes us back to the old days ten years ago of digital ISOs and that the sensor is CCD rather than CMOS meaning that "pushing" (I'm old school, you know, increasing the gain) means more of the digital equivalent of grain only blotchy and way worse looking (I really do like CMOS).

For dance I need a shutter response which is instantaneous when I press the shutter button (I can't say "hold that" to dancers in the middle of performance). It all becomes too much money for too little performance (no pun). The only thing "more" I get is 40-megs which will look like crap under those conditions. It is just a good way to waste 40-megs. The insult is that the camera body doesn't really take so much more to manufacture than the under-$1k DSLRs and certainly doesn't take more to make at the factory end than a 7D or a D7000. If they really want to sell these things they need to open their design thinking and look at the vastly less expensive DSLR market.

So if I were shooting everything in a studio, maybe, but then the ability to use studio light and electronic flash and stage and restage a picture to get exactly some conceptual shot and if clients were all still that willing to pay the needed bucks to support such equipment - then, maybe, this would be workable.

But either full frame or DX frame is more than enough for most any client and costs a fraction of this price and looks better than old 35 and as good as old 645 or 2-1/4 film. Better to sock the money away or buy groceries (depending). To add to that, the number of clients who are now habituated to point-and-shoot look and quality in both camera and shooter is really disappointing. With fewer exceptions all the time, skill and experience are being de-valued right out the door.

The economic drepression (I will call it that if no one else wants to use the word - and just whose "THE economy" are THEY talking about anyway?) only heightens a trend we were seeing already, at least since the advent of digital really hit some ten years ago and catalog photos became cheap commodities assigned sometimes to the secretary or other office worker with an eager camera.

OMG.....R U kidding me? 

I love the comment that you spend that amount of money on the camera and can't do a thing with it until until you spend twice that again...

I personally would put the money in another Corvette and just keep selling my product as I have been....for a long time.

I've seen vacation photos taken with a Canon 50D, shot by experienced amateurs that I felt were hard to improve on with any camera.  But then, no one is going to buy the Mamiya system for family photos and vacations.  I read all the "if I won the lottery" I'd buy one.  Insane I say, the Mamiya is a camera for the very elite in professional photography.  There are very few photo businesses that could justify the cost of one of these systems.  If I won the lottery, a Canon 5D with a handful of lenses would be a much saner choice.

Right on, Salty,

A good DSLR full system and maybe a new car, or a down payment on a small mansion. I've still got my Crown Graphic and my Toyo View and I can film scan for a ton less in treasure.

Beautiful piece of equipment - geared for the professional, no doubt, but way out of reach for all but a few.  I see the difference between Professional and Amateur needs as one of speed in processing the image for final use.  In this vein, I see where a wedding of old and new technology is in order, at least for the Amateur where speed is not an issue.

Consider that the market has an incredible number of used medium & large format film cameras available (Pentax 6X7's and 4X5 View in my case) at rediculous low prices compared to new prices.  Other than having to buy film and process it you are back to basics in composing and exposure (+ Zone system varibles, if you wish).  Take your exposed / developed film image and do a medium resolution scan, say 2400 dpi on an Epson Film Scanner (older 4870 model for me) and you get at least an 80MB file with incredible detail that can be worked in Photoshop or Picture Window Pro (my favorite).  I've scanned up to 5X7 (several hundred MB file) and the results are incredible.  Higher resolutions are available (drum scan services are available and I've seen fantastic results for Professionals who have revisited earlier film work - really works well for Kodachromes and negative color.

Further, printing on one of the better printers that uses pigment ink will render a phopto with a life expectancy of 100 years+;  Amazing what gains have been made.

The point is that you can have your cake and.....    $30K will buy a lot of equipment and film with enough left over to make those photo trips.  For those of us who wish to persue the joy of photography, and don't mind being "In The Dark Ages" with our film cameras, shoot - develop - scan - print - as outlined, is the way to go;  a little slower but it reminds me of the Tortoise and Hare.

Hope this give encouragement to have fun again.

Take care.

What I don't get is that why do these cameras cost so much? 8k to 30k just for the digital back?   Are you guys for real? How many do you sell?   When you can get more technology in a smart phone for $200! Yes I know they sell just few million more phones than they do digital backs but do these guys have accountants in their companies? If they sold the whole camera w/back for 2 or 3 k they would sell thousands and thousands! But at 13k on the low end and up from there! I can see the high prices on the lens! They may have to throw a few away before they have the perfect lens but for just electronics! GIVE ME A BREAK! Pure greed! You can't tell me there is more R&D in one camera than one smartphone! (Not too mention they are rebuilt ever year) Have you ever opened an iphone and seen the engineering involved?   Do you know how big the camera is in an iPhone!

And it doesn't even have WiFi or Bluetooth bult in! Wake up guys! For this price I should be able to email from it!   And the ISO range is only 80-800! You have got to be kidding! My old D-70s could do better!  What a joke for 30k! More of a status symbol!   Hay look at what I have! Now I can charge you way more than I'm worth just to pay off this stupid camera I bought! 

civilguy wrote:

What I don't get is that why do these cameras cost so much? 8k to 30k just for the digital back?   Are you guys for real? How many do you sell?   When you can get more technology in a smart phone for $200! Yes I know they sell just few million more phones than they do digital backs but do these guys have accountants in their companies? If they sold the whole camera w/back for 2 or 3 k they would sell thousands and thousands! But at 13k on the low end and up from there! I can see the high prices on the lens! They may have to throw a few away before they have the perfect lens but for just electronics! GIVE ME A BREAK! Pure greed! You can't tell me there is more R&D in one camera than one smartphone! (Not too mention they are rebuilt ever year) Have you ever opened an iphone and seen the engineering involved?   Do you know how big the camera is in an iPhone!

And it doesn't even have WiFi or Bluetooth bult in! Wake up guys! For this price I should be able to email from it!   And the ISO range is only 80-800! You have got to be kidding! My old D-70s could do better!  What a joke for 30k! More of a status symbol!   Hay look at what I have! Now I can charge you way more than I'm worth just to pay off this stupid camera I bought! 

'civilguy'? Sounds more like a ranting loon with little experience with a camera... make that a real camera... one that doesn't have a ringtone.

Straight6 wrote:

civilguy wrote:

What I don't get is that why do these cameras cost so much? 8k to 30k just for the digital back?   Are you guys for real? How many do you sell?   When you can get more technology in a smart phone for $200! Yes I know they sell just few million more phones than they do digital backs but do these guys have accountants in their companies? If they sold the whole camera w/back for 2 or 3 k they would sell thousands and thousands! But at 13k on the low end and up from there! I can see the high prices on the lens! They may have to throw a few away before they have the perfect lens but for just electronics! GIVE ME A BREAK! Pure greed! You can't tell me there is more R&D in one camera than one smartphone! (Not too mention they are rebuilt ever year) Have you ever opened an iphone and seen the engineering involved?   Do you know how big the camera is in an iPhone!
And it doesn't even have WiFi or Bluetooth bult in! Wake up guys! For this price I should be able to email from it!   And the ISO range is only 80-800! You have got to be kidding! My old D-70s could do better!  What a joke for 30k! More of a status symbol!   Hay look at what I have! Now I can charge you way more than I'm worth just to pay off this stupid camera I bought! 
 
 
 

'civilguy'? Sounds more like a ranting loon with little experience with a camera... make that a real camera... one that doesn't have a ringtone.

I've been shooting since the mid 70's and started with an original an Kodak 35mm my dad gave from the 50s.  Manual everything and now I shoot with a D300 and a D90 for backup.  Yes not D3X, I did try the pro route at one time but found my day job as an engineer was more stable, still dabble on the side for personal enjoyment.
Think what a smart phone can do and think what the Mayima back can do? Think of the physical constraints and look at how huge the Mamiya back is. One is 30k and the other is .2k........but don't forget the 2 year contract! The materials are the cheap part! I wonder how many smart phone screens don't make the zero dead pixal pass?  Heck if a smart phone would be that big they could probably throw in a projector!
 
If you can justify it to your wife then more power to you!  I sure couldn't! Unless like mentioned many times before if I should win then lotto! But then I would probably pick a Hassy.
 
Again a fool and his money will soon part ways! 
 

Imagine the crop factor possible using a 56mp image shot through a 300mm lens.

Amatuerish thinking I know, but tell me no pros use this factor in the field?

It's always interesting to read the comments about a camera that costs as much as a Dozen Rebels - and that's before you add the lenses and a capture back. No doubt about it... we're talking big bucks here folks.

I've shot with this camera. I've also shot with Canon Mark IIs, IIIs, & IVs, Nikon D3-series cameras, Hasselblads, spent 2 weeks with a Leica S2 (oh-so-sweet), and even spent time with a made-to-order Alpa, that including it's multi-megapixel digital back and Schneider Digital optics, added $64,000 to the owners Amex card.

I've also shot with Holgas and shoe boxes with pin-holes. And you know what? I've taken swell pictures with each of them, and had a swell time in the process.

Camera gear - and the art of taking good photographs - goes well beyond who's camera you happen to have hanging around your neck. If you know what you're doing and take the time to 'see' what's going on around you, and think before pressing the shutter button, most anybody reading this comment can take wonderful photographs.

As for justifying the cost of the Mamiya or any other 'pricey' pro system, it's important to put things in perspective. For a majority of Insight's readers, this camera is most definitely overkill and in many cases, inappropriate. But do keep in mind there are many professionals out there shooting for clients who demand the resolving power and technical abilities afforded by medium-format cameras, i.e. no moire patterns when shooting textiles and lacy fabrics, which is something the best '35' can't do.

So while a vintage sports car might be more fun - and for sure a better long-term investment than a camera, there's a technical limit to the caliber of work a client can expect from a 'pro' toting a Rebel.. even if he/she pulls up in a '57 'Vette.

It all depends on what you want to do with your camera, or in my case, your own personal passion for having the best. I bought the Mamiya DL28 (28 MP back) primarily because after seeing the results from one I couldn't personally settle for anything less. Now that I've had it for a while, I've also found practical uses for it beyond my studio where most of the customers probably don't notice or care much about the difference. I recently did a scenery shoot that will be printed 8'x18' (feet) that I simply couldn't do justice to with 35mm.

Allan, I like most of your post, but disagree with the moire part. With my Mamiya DL28 and every other MF back I've seen, moire is a bigger issue, probably because of the increased resolving power of the sensor. It may also have to do with weaker AA filters? You'll notice that Hasselblad has a dedicated moire removal tool in their software, wonder why? 35mm cameras generally don't resolve the fabric at all, so it's not a problem.

Mamiya sold the pros down the river years ago.

Lots of us invested it RB67 systems lots of bodys, lenses and all the other stuff that comes along with them. Why has Mamiya never made a back for the RB67?

Because Mamiya got greedy and chose not to take care of it's standing Pro customer base and try to sell us a whole new bill of goods.

At one time to buy a Mamiya was an investment for a long run of your career.

Now it just shows your a sucker. RB67 sell used for $150.00 all day long now.

Had Mamiya developed a reasonably priced digital back for the workhorse of professional photography the RB67 Mamiya would be sitting good right now.

This is why Mamiya will never regain it's flagship status with Pro-Photographers.

The photography business has been destroyed by Soccer Moms than that don't understand profit and loss in a business and work under the table for cash and don't pay taxes and run a business that is legal. Time to turn them in to your State Treasury and the IRS to get a level playing field.

Too much money.  You have to be making huge $$$ working for major accounts in NYC or LA to justify the ROI on this.  I agree with Art-B&W... that, by comparison, medium format film and scanning is a bargain if you need to shoot at these resolutions. Having to pay this much for a system is just going to be inflationary at a time when everyone (and I mean everyone in the U.S., at least) wants to pay less, not more.  From a business standpoint, this makes almost zero sense for even high-end pros.  Gear lust is probably the only thing that keeps these cameras selling (although some streamlining of film-based workflow and turnaround times is clearly a plus, but for this kind of money you could hire a part-time assistant for some of the additional steps beyond the processing lag).  I need medium format digital and it drives me crazy that the prices are making the whole option economic suicide. Pros have businesses to run, and our suppliers are becoming the enemy!

This is a real opportunity for a sane company to come in with a game-changing price point.  Frankly, the price for digital should be dropping not going up because the electronic components can be so easily mass-produced when compared to precision machining of mechanical systems.  Shame on Nikon and Canon for gouging us more than they need to, as well.  I'll pay for optics, but cameras should be coming down in price, not going up!  End of story.

The only thing that makes sense about this system is its modularization that allows upgrades of the sensors, et al as the technology advances without having to repurchase an entire system.

Aside from that, this just makes me angry.  How are photographers who are being squeezed as it is supposed to make any profit when they have to invest this much?  It is just insane and disappointing.  

Where do all these "oooh, that's WAY too much money for a camera" shooters work as photographers, anyway? 

Comparing a 40 megapixel Mamiya to an iPhone camera? Yeah, that's what all the top agencies are really looking for on a food or fashion shoot -- a well-equipped textNard.

You'll buy a second Corvette (that makes you NO money, just like the first one) but complain about the price of a camera you can earn with?

At my current rate of 2010 business (as only a semi-pro shooter), I could pay for this set-up in under 30 weeks and then own it for life, and that's while paying myself an adequate salary. Perhaps some of these readers should have tacked on some business classes to their Fine Arts degree programs. It seems many of them bash the cost of pro gear while apparently spending much of their cash on a continuous stream of trendy and overindulgent consumer gadgets, gear and services like fancy cars, expensive cell phones (and their costly data plans for texting), premium channel cable television subscriptions, and lots of nights out sucking down expensive beverages that only end up in the toilet the next day.

I'd prefer to have the camera over the buzz, thanks. A professional photographer is one who doesn't look at how much a tool costs but rather what capabilities it provides for him/her to earn more. It's about the meat-and-potatoes of their business. Loving the tool for its form factor and extra-awesomeness is just having more gravy to go with it.

Hi

The camera is ugly.

300mm is not big enough to do some sports.

Michael D Cadogan wrote:

Hi

The camera is ugly.

300mm is not big enough to do some sports.

Another genius with a modem, a keyboard, and too much time on his hands.

The tech in a cell phone may be as 'high' or 'higher' than the 645, but the cell phone once designed, costs PEANUTS to replicate by comparison with a 645. peanuts.   Pro-robustness, electro-mechanical systems require a great deal more care, skill, machining and materials. 

Learn about chip making failure rates.  'Full' frame, so-called, stalled for years because bigger chips dramatically increase the failure rate. Do the math - one flaw means a ruined chip, double the size = four times the prospect of failure - etc.  It made 35mm sensors prohibitively expensive.

I doubt that other than a furore, you won't create something as memorable with a cell phone as you might with a camera, presuming you paid your dues and actually learned how to get the best from it.

I liked my RB67 and would love one of these 645s when they are a bit more affordable - that will come.  Meanwhile the well-heeled and talented trailbllazers will start doing something mere mortals cannot - for now.

Any rumours of an RB 67 style camera in the future?

I think much of the above "criticism" can be re-expressed as "I cannot afford one, so I'kk knock it".  That's too bad, I don't have the werewithall either, but that does not make this cam a waste of money, or otherwise poor.

 645 is kinda like the BMW M line of high preformence autos, it offers the client super high res translating into massive prints and incredible detail.  

but like the auto if you don't understand light and the idea of diminishing light via f-stop you'll end up in the ditch scrambling to get out.

as stated above you need some years in the saddle to run this camera, now the bigger is not always better. In the last nine years I've won nine awards and seven of those were taken with a small little Nikon D-70. All cameras have their place, the bottom line is if it works for you get it. 

fKlein B-more

 who's ever seen a 645 on the side line? 

this is a fine arts camera!

if you don't know what the heck you're talking about stay off line!

This camera takes beautiful pictures... Just buy it and you'll see

straight6,

more Studebaker poetry, please. 

I've considered this kit but find the issues of compatibility between systems and post capture processing daunting.  Scanning film to tiff seems safest for now.

A winner (standard) will eventually emerge, but who?  

Any guesses ?