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Leaf’s 56 megapixel rotating sensor digital back

In the latest salvo in the medium format digital back wars, Leaf has announced it’s 56 megapixel AFi 10 digital back, with an interesting “twist”: the 56mm X 36mm sensor can be rotated horizontally or vertically (9288 X 6000) pixels.

The aspect ratio of this unusual format is a smidgen more (1.55) than that of 35mm film (1.5). While the rotating feature sounds great, PhaseOne’s 4:3 aspect ratio 53.9 X 40.4 sensor is probably more useful than the smaller rotating sensor for most shooting, and it avoids the extreme edges of the frame, where optical performance drops off. One can always crop a larger sensor to a smaller one in “post”. See also the PhaseOne and Hasselblad announcements. One has to wonder whether the small 6.0 micron pixels of the Leaf and PhaseOne offerings can maintain the quality level expected of medium format; such pixels sizes are 50% (area) of those of the Nikon D3! It seems doubtful. Perhaps the D3 will reign supreme even among the medium format backs (on a per-pixel quality basis).


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