Mamiya Leaf Credo 50 Brings the Newly Famous 50MP CMOS Sensor to Virtually Any System

Following in the footsteps of the Hasselblad H5D-50c, PhaseOne IQ250, and Pentax 645z comes Mamiya's 50-megapixel CMOS solution, the Leaf Credo 50. Available with PhaseOne/Mamiya DF, Hasselblad H1/H2/H4X/500-series, and Contax 645 mounts, the Leaf Credo 50 opens Sony's latest medium format sensor to a greater range of systems still loved by many. But is it cheap?

It's clear in its marketing that Mamiya's chief competitor with the Credo 50 is the PhaseOne IQ250 -- the most expensive of the bunch. That said, it manages to leave your wallet $8,000 heavier than if you were to spring for the IQ250. What do you lose?

Technically, not much. The Leaf Credo 50 leaves out WiFi, geotagging, focus mask, a custom startup screen, and the virtual horizon doesn't autolevel in CaptureOne. For $8,000, I'd gladly give up those features. Then again, anyone can and will argue that PhaseOne's implementation, menu/file structure, and general durability and ergonomics has clear advantages over any competitor; but I'll let you all fight about that in the comments.

Back-only, the Leaf Credo 50 is $26,990, while the DF+ body and 80mm LS (leaf shutter) lens kit comes in at $30,995. That's a lot for any camera, but when considering the best backs in the world pushed double that price just a year ago and were several stops less sensitive with several stops less dynamic range, we've come a long way.

Yes, the most affordable 50MP CMOS medium format system out there is still the Pentax 645z. And the Hasselblad H5D-50c still comes in almost $1,000 under the Credo 50 kit when you add the Hasselblad 80mm lens. That doesn't help anyone who wants to stick with their Contax 645 system, but honestly, who are we kidding? Even for the price difference I'd take a modern body any day at this point. So sticking with a current body (unless it's a newer Mamiya/PhaseOne DF or H4X anyway) is a silly thing to consider. Anyone wanting and able to spend upwards of $25,000 on a camera back shouldn't be clinging onto their old system because of "all those lenses" they may have for it. It's time to move on. And today's sensors need the really good stuff.

In any case, competition is always good for us. For those on the DF system, this is perhaps the best news. Eight grand is still some chunk of cash: you can stick with the same body you've always loved and the same sensor everyone else is getting while still having enough extra cash for that totally reasonable, slightly used Ducati with which you'll undoubtedly piss off the girlfriend. How soon can you do all that? Apparently, the camera is "shipping at Photokina." If we can reasonable expect we won't have to actually be at Photokina to order the back, that means eight days to most of us. So look out for it around September 16th. Alternatively, you can pre-order the kit from B&H today.

While you can check out the links below for sample RAW images, be aware that you'll need CaptureOne to open them (at least for now). In the meantime, you can check out more about the camera on Capture Integration's blog here or here.

Here's a recap of the specs:

 - 50MP CMOS 33mm x 44mm sensor

 - ISO 100-6400

 - 1.2 frames per second

 - Long exposures up to 1 Hour (1/10,000 minimum shutter speed)

 - 14-stop dynamic range, 14-bit color (no 16-bit, unfortunately)

 - Wide Spectrum (WS) models available (backs without IR filters for IR photography will be available, making this ideal for high-end infra-red photography)

Firmware updates (will also be available on older Leaf Credo backs via update):

 - Black and white preview available on the back LCD

 - LCD screen can be dimmed down to 1% (from 20% previously)

 - Stopwatch function is now added on the LCD while taking long exposures

 - Virtual horizon useable without CF card in tethered mode


Click on the links below to download sample RAW images (CaptureOne required):

Sample 1

Sample 2

Sample 3

Sample 4

Sample 5

Sample 6

Same images in JPG (these'll do the trick and are much easier):

Sample 1

Sample 2

Sample 3

Sample 4

Sample 5

Sample 6

Find more samples on Mamiya's site.

Adam Ottke's picture

Adam works mostly across California on all things photography and art. He can be found at the best local coffee shops, at home scanning film in for hours, or out and about shooting his next assignment. Want to talk about gear? Want to work on a project together? Have an idea for Fstoppers? Get in touch! And, check out film rentals!

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My credit cards just went into hiding.

Isn't this like Lexus competing w Toyota? Aren't they both owned by the same company?

Yeah...I don't know why they don't just produce the best one, knock of 15%, and own the MF world... It's silly, really... But hey, it let's me save $8k if I can live without some fluff features... I'd look into if I were in the market -- I AM looking into it...

For the just price difference between the Phase and Mamiya, you could basically get the Pentax. Then have $ to buy a couple strobes and every modifier under the sun. Or pay rent on your studio for the next hand full of years. Or fund your next hand full of high production personal projects...

Too bad that I've just ordered the all Otus collection from Zeiss ;)
... never mind, I'll take one of each MF to test them side by side ;)

Good article. I am currently using a Leaf Aptus II 12R on a Sinar P2 with a sliding back. Great system, but I am going to upgrade backs and invest in a Mamiya system.... or a Hass system. I was going to just go with the Credo 80, but I am seriously thinking of trying out the new cmos sensor. Two reasons, first is, although I shoot all studio product photography, I can really use the higher iso. I shoot a lot of splashes, so sometimes in order to keep the flash duration fast enough, I don't have enough light, and turning up the iso can be a good possibility. I rarely go above 100 on my current back , as the noise in 200 is so apparant. I am concerned with loss of megapixel, and I am still not sure the cmos can capture all the detail I need. Doug Peterson seems very knowledgable. I am also considering using on a H2 system, mainly because of availability of rental lenses for it. but I am not sure what will be more convenient. Anyways, if there is any insight to the use of this camera in a product setting and vs a 80mp, I would love to hear it. To be more aware of how I use my camera, here is the website.