Most folks think carefully before spending $300 on a new camera. I'm more serious about photography, but I still swallowed hard before buying an SLR costing about 10 times that.
But brace yourself for even more sticker shock, because there are some professionals who spend more than an order of magnitude beyond what I did. This is the domain of medium-format digital cameras, whose sensors have roughly twice the surface area of a high-end SLR for maximum image quality.
Medium-format gear is beyond my means but not beyond my curiosity, so I was pleased with an offer to try one out. In this case, it was Phase One's top-of-the line products--the 645AF and newer 645DF cameras, the P65+ image sensor back that can be attached, and a handful of lenses.
Such gear appeals chiefly to fashion and commercial photographers, the types who produce full-page ads of glamorous models and diamond-encrusted watches. Lacking the gaggle of assistants, spacious studio, and forest of flash equipment common in this realm, I'm not equipped to put a modern medium-format camera through its full paces. But I'm not a bad or inexperienced photographer, so for those who've wondered what a medium-format machine is like, here are my impressions.
So what do I think of a camera with this price tag? … Read more