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Ever since the rise of digital 
   imaging, the Medium Format 
segment of the camera
segment of the camera industry has  h...
Medium format cameras are bigger
than ’normal’ cameras. During the
      normal cameras. During the 
analogue era, they we...
Instead they used 4 5*6 6*6 or 6*7
                   4,5 6, 6 6 or 6 7 
  centimeter film, thus enabling a 
    much hi h...
In the digital era, medium format 
In the digital era medium format
cameras use larger image sensors 
than the standard 35...
Those cameras were often used for 
wedding and portrait photography.
        and portrait
This segment has always
This segment has always been very small
                                  small 
  in comparison w...
With the introduction of autofocus and other features in 
   small format cameras, the segment kept declining
            ...
Medium format players like Hasselblad, 
  Mamiya, Contax, Pentax and Bronica were
fighting each other in these years to ob...
Mamiya went bankrupt once in the 1980s and had to 
be reconstructed. Tough competition and a shrinking
   market were the ...
In the early 1990s, digital imaging started to prosper in 
   this segment in the form of digital backs. The film 
  magaz...
It is striking to what
It is striking to what extent
     those products were
supplied by companies that 
  were not manuf...
Leaf
Imacon
Phase One
Kodak also
 Kodak also
made some
digital backs
digital backs
Cameras are after all about precise mechanics rather
than electronics – that’s probably why none of them
       succeeded ...
Digital imaging initially
 increased the value of 
medium format cameras…
The camera companies
   h                  i
   made sure that their
         sure that their
products were compatible
 wi...
This setting also enabled
                 g
photographers to choose whether
 they
 th would shift t di it l
            l...
Once that was the case, very few
photographers were willing to buy
                            to buy
 one camera and one ...
Around 2002‐2003, the medium 
        d             h     di
format players faced huge problems.
       p y             g p
Hasselblad had to lay
Hasselblad had to lay off about 50 percent of its work force in
                                50 p...
Contax was busted
    later on…
… And so was Bronica.
Mamiya was also in a lot of trouble.
It became increasingly obvious that the medium format 
  companies had to move closer to the manufacturers of 
digital bac...
Hasselblad merged with Imacon, and Mamiya started to 
          collaborate more with Phase One.
This strategy kept the companies alive…
… but nevertheless, the climate did not 
 favour medium format photography.
Who wants to 
 pay 25 000
     25 000 
 USD just to 
 USD just to
  have 39 
 Megapixels
        i l
 instead of
         ...
As DSLR cameras become better and better, the medium 
     format segment becomes smaller and smaller.
And trying to compete with the big guys in their segments 
isn’t really an option for a company with 150 employees.
Hence, these firms don’t really have an option.
The medium format has been declining ever since the early
 1980s and will continue to do so until there’s nothing left.
Image attributions
       I         ib i




Hasselblad photos: Christian Sandström
Hasselblad photos: Christian Sandström
Christian Sandström is a PhD 
             student at Chalmers 
             student at Chalmers
          University of T...
Medium Format Photography in decline
Medium Format Photography in decline
Medium Format Photography in decline
Medium Format Photography in decline
Medium Format Photography in decline
Medium Format Photography in decline
Medium Format Photography in decline
Medium Format Photography in decline
Medium Format Photography in decline
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Medium Format Photography in decline

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Why medium format companies like Hasselblad, Mamiya and others have faced such tough times since the rise of digital imaging.

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Transcript of "Medium Format Photography in decline"

  1. 1. Ever since the rise of digital  imaging, the Medium Format  segment of the camera segment of the camera industry has has  been in decline.
  2. 2. Medium format cameras are bigger than ’normal’ cameras. During the normal cameras. During the  analogue era, they were defined as  products which used a larger fil d hi h d l film  format than the standard 35 mm.
  3. 3. Instead they used 4 5*6 6*6 or 6*7 4,5 6, 6 6 or 6 7  centimeter film, thus enabling a  much hi h i h higher image quality. li
  4. 4. In the digital era, medium format  In the digital era medium format cameras use larger image sensors  than the standard 35 mm sensors. h h d d 35
  5. 5. Those cameras were often used for  wedding and portrait photography. and portrait
  6. 6. This segment has always This segment has always been very small small  in comparison with 35 mm cameras.
  7. 7. With the introduction of autofocus and other features in  small format cameras, the segment kept declining during the 1980s and 1990s the 1980s and 1990s.
  8. 8. Medium format players like Hasselblad,  Mamiya, Contax, Pentax and Bronica were fighting each other in these years to obtain an  increased share of a shrinking market.
  9. 9. Mamiya went bankrupt once in the 1980s and had to  be reconstructed. Tough competition and a shrinking market were the main reasons for the decline.
  10. 10. In the early 1990s, digital imaging started to prosper in  this segment in the form of digital backs. The film  magazine was removed and instead a device which and instead, a device contained an image sensor was attached.
  11. 11. It is striking to what It is striking to what extent those products were supplied by companies that  were not manufacturing medium format cameras… di f t
  12. 12. Leaf
  13. 13. Imacon
  14. 14. Phase One
  15. 15. Kodak also Kodak also made some digital backs digital backs
  16. 16. Cameras are after all about precise mechanics rather than electronics – that’s probably why none of them succeeded in developing a digital back.
  17. 17. Digital imaging initially increased the value of  medium format cameras…
  18. 18. The camera companies h i made sure that their sure that their products were compatible with these new devices.
  19. 19. This setting also enabled g photographers to choose whether they th would shift t di it l ld hift to digital or not.  t It was a hybrid that worked It was a hybrid that worked reasonably well until no one really demanded fil d d d film any llonger.
  20. 20. Once that was the case, very few photographers were willing to buy to buy one camera and one digital back  which together b hi h h became very expensive and bulky. The high‐end p y g models from Canon and Nikon were good enough for most applications for most applications,  much cheaper and lighter.
  21. 21. Around 2002‐2003, the medium  d h di format players faced huge problems. p y g p
  22. 22. Hasselblad had to lay Hasselblad had to lay off about 50 percent of its work force in 50 percent of its in  2004, and was forced to leave their office (the building on the  picture) two years after having moved there.
  23. 23. Contax was busted later on…
  24. 24. … And so was Bronica.
  25. 25. Mamiya was also in a lot of trouble.
  26. 26. It became increasingly obvious that the medium format  companies had to move closer to the manufacturers of  digital backs in order to deliver a complete digital solution.
  27. 27. Hasselblad merged with Imacon, and Mamiya started to  collaborate more with Phase One.
  28. 28. This strategy kept the companies alive…
  29. 29. … but nevertheless, the climate did not  favour medium format photography.
  30. 30. Who wants to  pay 25 000 25 000  USD just to  USD just to have 39  Megapixels i l instead of of  ’only’ 20?
  31. 31. As DSLR cameras become better and better, the medium  format segment becomes smaller and smaller.
  32. 32. And trying to compete with the big guys in their segments  isn’t really an option for a company with 150 employees.
  33. 33. Hence, these firms don’t really have an option.
  34. 34. The medium format has been declining ever since the early 1980s and will continue to do so until there’s nothing left.
  35. 35. Image attributions I ib i Hasselblad photos: Christian Sandström Hasselblad photos: Christian Sandström
  36. 36. Christian Sandström is a PhD  student at Chalmers  student at Chalmers University of Technology in  Gothenburg, Sweden. He  Gothenburg, Sweden. He writes and speaks about  disruptive innovation and  technological change. Find out more: www.christiansandstrom.org
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