Rumour: Canon and Sony to make medium-format cameras

There are some interesting rumours popping up, with suggestions that the next big thing in digital cameras won’t be a big sensor in a mirror-less interchangeable or DSLR, but rather a bigger camera sensor type altogether.

Medium format cameras (and large format cameras) were the big deal in film-based cameras for some time, with the larger frame sizes applied to bigger rolls of film resulting in better quality images.

These cameras didn’t come from the big 35mm players like Nikon and Canon, but rather from Hasselblad, Mamiya, and Bronica, to name but a few, and required different lenses and extra body elements, leaving these high-end cameras to professional photographers in the art, fashion, and wedding worlds.

Medium format cameras generally have more interchangeable parts than your typical digital SLR, with a lens, viewfinder, and back replacement, making it possible to change more than just what sort of lens you’re using. Because of this design, companies have been making special “digital film” backs for medium format cameras for quite a while now, with prices for these sections often ranging from the $5,000 mark to as high as $50,000.

Outside of the digital backs, there has been a digital presence in the medium format, with digital medium format cameras coming from the likes of Mamiya, Pentax, and Hasselblad.

Right now, though, we’re hearing that two of the biggest DSLR providers are eyeing off the medium format space.

Rumours are suggesting that both Canon and Sony may show off a medium-format digital camera to compete in this area, possibly because each manufacturer is working on sensors for high-end video cameras.

Each of these companies may be able to engineer a medium format camera utilising similar technology while still offering compatibility with their current line-up of lenses, thereby ditching the need for another lens system, as what normally happens when a new format is introduced. For instance, Canon recently introduced a smaller camera in the mirror-less space with its own lens system.

We shouldn’t have to wait too long to find out if this rumour will turn into fact, though. From what we hear, all will be revealed at Photokina in Germany in September, one of the largest camera shows in the world, where all the other big names – Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, to name but a few – will all have big announcements of their own.