Leaf medium format backs for Hasselblad H1, Mamiya 645 AFD, Contax 645.
Leaf is part of the history of digital cameras: Leaf was among the first manufacturer of medium format digital backs; years and years ago. MegaVision was also among the early pioneers. Each company developed differently, especially in the last three years.
Leaf is an example of the sophisticated digital imaging technology that has been developed in Israel. Scitex, Scitex Vision, NUR, and Matan are other examples of Israeli technology. HP bought Scitex Vision; Kodak bought Scitex by buying Creo which previously had bought Scitex. Kodak inherited Leaf because Leaf was part of Scitex.
But Leaf maintains a relatively independent existence within the Kodak family.
Our experience with Leaf cameras comes using a Leaf Valeo 22 for six months. We have also learned about Leaf camera backs from years and years of visiting their booth at Photokina 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and at PhotoPlus every year that they have been there.
Leaf Aptus 17, Leaf Aptus 22, Leaf Aptus 65, and Leaf Aptus 75 medium format digital camera backs
The current models are the
Medium format backs tend to have an ISO of 50; actually the early backs had an ISO of 25. Although at first ISO 50 sounds low, to a pro this is an ideal ISO because strobes provide plenty of light for this ISO. Remember, this is not a point and shoot camera for taking on the holidays where you may need ISO 800.
The Leaf Aptus 65 works on all the usual medium format cameras (Hasselblad, Mamiya, Contax (no longer exists as a functioning company) but also Fuji GX680, Bronica (now bankrupt), as well as view cameras including Sinar, Toyo, Cambo, Linhof, Horseman, and Rollei X-Act. Leaf does not list Rollei 6008-series medium format cameras. The Leaf Aptus 65 produces an 80 MB file at 8-bit RGB with a roughly 28+ megapixels.
The Leaf Aptus 75 offers 33.3 mega pixels, which produces a 95 MB file size. Works on all the same cameras as the Aptus 65.
The Leaf Aptus 17 is a good entry level into medium format digital photography. 17 megapixels is plenty large enough for 90% of the commercial prints that will result from a standard assignment. This and the 22-megapixel back are priced less than the newer backs because the CCD sensors for 17 and 22 megapixels have been around for a while. People who need more pixels can generally afford to pay for the Leaf Aptus 75 or 65.
We spoke with two photographers who used the Leaf Aptus and they mentioned several glitches and issues. We would have to have access to the Leaf Aptus ourselves to find out if these problems are incidental, accidental, or systematic. Perhaps the photographers had not learned all the features of the camera yet. Leaf is certainly a company with access to sophisticated digital imaging technology. They know digital backs for medium format cameras inside out.
In the meantime, we are using a Phase One P 30 back and getting great results. The Leaf also has capabilities, but until we try it out we are seeing impressive digital files from the Phase One P 30, P 45, and P 25. The Phase One P25+ has recently arrived and is being evaluated.
Continue on our FLAAR digital-photography.org website for comparative comments on all the other medium format digital backs: Hasselblad Imacon, Kodak, Jenoptik, Leaf, Phase One, Sinar, Mamiya ZD and MegaVision.
Most recently updated August 1, 2007.
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