How big is this bigger sensor? Well, it’s based around the 645 format, but it’s not a true 60mm x45mm measurement. The largest of the MEDIUM FORMAT sensors is on the Hasselblad H, and the Phase One IQ Systems. It measures 53.4mm x 40mm. The Fujifilm GFX and Hasselblad X1D II, and the Hasselblad 907X are 43.8mm x 32.9mm. So they are all significantly larger. And all of these systems will give you a greater Depth of Field-based on their sensor size. But as we know, sensor or film size is only one of four components that affect Depth of Field (aperture, type of lens, size of the sensor, and the distance to the subject).
The final argument for switching to Medium Format is you get higher pixel counts. 100-megapixel sensors are the norm in the medium format world at the moment, and Phase one offers a 150 megapixel digital back that blows the top of my head completely off. But ask yourself why there are so many cameras with all the same sensor specs. That’s because the sensors are all made by the same manufacture, Sony. Phase One worked with Sony to develop all of this great medium format sensor tech. After a brief period of exclusivity to give Phase an advantage, Sony released it to other camera manufacturers. The only medium format camera that I can find not using the Sony sensor is Leica. And they are working with their proprietary system.
But all of this begs the question; if it’s all the same sensors, why buy one over the other. And to answer that, we need to look at the features of each camera system. Before we look at each system’s pros and cons, let’s answer the question of why not invest in a new Medium Format system.
Why not Medium Format?
The immediate response is that it is too cost-prohibitive at this time to invest in what will turn out to be more expensive than buying a sports car. And to some extent, this was true in 2018 when I invested in my medium format. But now, many cameras have High-End DSLR Price points. And the more they manufacture, the more the price will drop.
The next response to the question why not medium format is you will have to upgrade your computer and hard drive space. I am still running a 2012 MacBook pro with 16GB of RAM, and yes, it’s a bit slow; it’s not unmanageable for a landscape photography workflow. And my hard drive system is always in a state of being upgraded. Medium format will cost you more in hard drive space, but I am also slowing down and taking fewer bad photos due to a more deliberate approach to image-making. Computers and hard drives will always need to be upgraded. This is just the lot of all digital photographers.