Linhof has improved their model M 679 to keep heavy digital backs from straining the system. Thus Linhof has recognized a weak point in traditional large format cameras--most older 4x5 cameras were made just for film holders, which weigh virtually nothing. Now these cameras have to uphold not only the weight of the entire digital insert, but also the pull of all the computer cables.

An entire family of similar cameras have entered the market recently. They basically consist of a bellows. At the front is a means to hold the lens; at the back is a means to hold the digital insert or traditional film magazine.

Linhof digital camera backSince I often photographed in Munich, Germany during the 1990's, I had opportunities to visit the Linhof headquarters outside Munich on several occasions. Earlier in 1997 I had an informative visit to the Linhof headquarters. On December 15th, immediately after landing in Munich, I went to the Linhof headquarters again, where Benno-Gereon Engel started off with an invitation to a midday meal in the company lunch room. Subsequently I did a demo of the FLAAR. virtual reality technology.

Linhof indicated that for digital photography they would stick with the 6x6 / 6x9 cm format and not expand to the 9x12 cm (4x5 inch) format. The FLAAR. Photo Archive is a diehard stickler for the absolute ultimate in photo quality, and thus we tend to favor the 4x5 inch format (Better Light, Phase One). It would, nonetheless, be useful to have an accessory whereby the 4x5 format digital inserts could be used with the Linhof M 679 camera system. This would make the 4x5 size downward compatible and potentially increase their sales.

Similarly, it would he useful if the 4x5 digital inserts had an adapter for the Rollei PCS 6000 and the new Hasselblad ArcBody, to make the 4x5 Dicomed, 4x5 Better Light, and 4x5 PhaseOne inserts a universal accessory. It makes more sense to lose a few millimeters by putting a Better Light 7x9 cm insert on a 6x9 or 6x6 back than to use a 3x3 cm chip on a 6x6 camera.

Hasselblad has produced the ArcBody to replace the ill-fated FlexBody. Rollei has introduced their PCS 6000 Of all these, Linhof is the only company with decades of experience in the large format world. Linhof is thus the only model to accomodate 6x9 cm format. Linhof is also the only of this series to accomodate large format lens holders in a universal mounting size (namely the Linhof Technikardan holder). Cameras which are remakes of 6x6 format tend to retain their own restricted in-house lens attachment format. This results in restricting access to the new systems by professional photographers who have already long ago entered the large format world. Zeiss lenses are just not made for large format use (nor for digital photography either).

The medium format cameras remain deeper in the Dark Ages as they cling to their self-proclaimed square format. If Rollei would break through the square impasse and upgrade to 6x9 format they would at last offer a fuller advantage over Hasselblad, which has championed the square format unceasingly. How often is the photographic subject really square? The majority of published photographs are rectangular, so the proportions of 6x9 or even 6x7 cm are far superior to a constrained 6x6.

For additional information, contact: Linhof (Munich) telephone (011-49-89) 724 92-0, fax 72 4 92-250., e-mail:


Design updated July 08, 2008.