Leaf Credo 50 camera back lands with 50mpix Sony CMOS sensor, near-IR / UV-sensitive option


posted Monday, September 8, 2014 at 2:46 PM EDT


In the runup to the biennial Photokina tradeshow, Mamiya Leaf has unveiled a new camera back based around the same 51.4-megapixel, Sony CMOS image sensor used in Ricoh's Pentax 645Z DSLR. Although the Leaf Credo 50 camera back trails the standalone Pentax camera in terms of performance and (on paper, at least) sensitivity, it nevertheless gives Leaf Credo owners an upgrade path to the same sensor as used by Pentax without the need to change systems, and allows use of your own medium-format camera of preference from a fairly extensive list.

Although the Leaf Credo 50 derives a burst-capture rate of just 1.2 frames per second from the sensor, quite a bit slower than the three frames per second offered by the 645Z, and its sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 6400 equivalents is also much narrower than the Pentax's ISO 100 to 204,800-equivalent range, it does best its standalone rival in some other respects. For example, it provides a touch-screen overlay on its LCD panel that the Pentax lacks, although the 3.2-inch panel size is the same. (Pentax does provide a tilting screen and support for movie capture, however, both of which the Mamiya Leaf lacks.)

The Mamiya Leaf Credo 50 camera back mounted on the 645DF+ camera body.

But there's one point in particular which catches our eye in Leaf's favor -- if you're in need of a camera with the capability, anyway. An optional Wide-Spectrum variant of the Leaf Credo 50 replaces the standard infrared cut filter with optically-corrected glass, making the camera back sensitive beyond the visible spectrum, with a range covering everything from UV to near-infrared.

Like the standalone 645Z, the Leaf Credo system is weather-sealed, allowing use outdoors in inclement conditions, and allows a live view image in addition to the ability to shoot through the attached camera's viewfinder. The Credo 50 supports 14-bit raw exposures as long as 60 minutes, stores images on CompactFlash cards including UDMA 6 and 7 types, and provides USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 connectivity. Power comes courtesy of a 3,400mAh lithium-ion battery pack, though no battery life rating is provided.

Sold with Phase One's Capture One software, the Leaf Credo 50 can be bought standalone or in a bundle with 645DF+ camera body. Pricing is an eyewatering US$27,000 for the camera back alone, or US$31,000 for the camera body bundle, with the latter being more than 3.6 times the cost of the Pentax 645Z. If you're looking for near-IR or UV compatibility at extremely high resolution or just don't want to switch camera systems, though, that price may well be justifiable...