Falling prices mean it might not be too long before medium-format photography is back on the agenda for enthusiasts, but what can we expect from a digital medium-format camera?
Landscape Shoot Image Quality
Image: The camera and back combination is able to record such a mass of detail and information that images can be used far in excess of normal enlargement limitations
The handling of the camera, and particularly the back, may not be ideal, but the quality of images produced is first rate.
Shooting between ISO 100 and 800, I found noise is simply not an issue. The lenses and back combine to collect the tiniest detail in the most distant subject, and my landscapes contain every leaf on the trees and every blade of grass.
My usual rule is that you need 300 pixels for every inch of paper you want to print on. With a good camera you can get away with halving that figure, to create a print twice the length, if you first interpolate the file to fill the gaps between the original pixels. Viewing files from the H4D-40 on-screen at 100%, the images look clean and detailed, as though they can be printed at that size. Only when blown up to 200% does the detail become confused and the pixel elements visible. I guess this is what you pay for – the detail and the enlargement potential that good-quality pixels offer.
All images are saved as raw files, and I used the supplied Phocus software to work on the images and then convert them to a more usable format.
Although the software is less convenient to use than the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw, it does have the benefit of customised optical corrections for the lens used, and the focus point and focal length it was used at. In fact, the package is efficient enough, and provides an excellent collection of adjustment possibilities.
The dynamic range achievable gives contrast control right back to the photographer and, although ND grads will still be needed, they will be less necessary than you might be used to.