Sinar's New Medium Format Back

Sinar's New Medium Format Back

Sinar's new Sinarback eXact boasts an impressive 12-192-megapixel capabilities within a single back. While it's just been announced, and so far without a price, there is definitely a catch or two...

In fact, the true resolution of the sensor is 'only' 48 megapixels. The back uses a technology similar to that of Hasselblad's multi-shot system, where multiple images taken as the sensor is literally moved over by fractions of a pixel (give or take), resulting in a final, massive file. Hasselblad's solution is the 50MP multi-shot, resulting in a 200MP image. So how new is the Sinarback eXact? I'm not so sure we can say it's that new at all.

Even worse (and this really is bad), power has to come from a Firewire connection, making tethering necessary. Of course, you would likely only use the multi-shot feature in a studio where everything can be perfectly controlled. But what about landscape shots or even shooting at those lower 'single-shot' resolutions? This is a little silly. Then again, a low price could make this pretty awesome for what it still is.

Time will tell as more specifics come out, though it'll certainly be interesting to see how newly released medium-format digital solutions will be priced alongside cameras such as Nikon's D800.

Update: David Nguyen let us know in the comments of a source that has the back for practically $34,000. That may seem pretty good for what you can compare it to (mainly the Hasselblad 50MP Multi-shot), but as far as I'm concerned -- and especially considering the camera's other limitations -- this is a huge miss. You can be sure only a handful of people will be getting this for only a handful of applications...

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The Firewire 800 is a stupid idea for anything coming out now. Even Apple is getting rid of it from the computers (the new Macbook Pro Retina got rid of the 800 and now has Thunderbolt and USB 3 ports). 

Julian Jones's picture

 I respect your opinion, but in essence it's actually not a bad idea to continue having the firewire800 for the device because not everybody has the new Macbook Pro with the Retina display and thunderbolt port. The firewire 800 is a fast port in it's own right, faster than usb and firewire 400. For every hardware to start having thunderbolt ports cuts most of the Mac clients. Not everybody has the luxury to run and get the lastest laptop.

I'd think that people shelling out $34,000 on this back actually do have the luxury to buy the new MacBook Pro as well..

Just because your budget allows for premium equipment doesn't mean you're wasteful with your spending.

People who buy these backs aren't glorified hobbyists, but rather commercial artists that cater to higher end clients that demand a larger, more pliable image. It's an investment, not a toy.

Ben Mulligan's picture

This is really interesting, its certainly a single purpose use back and will have very limited features. It takes one shot in each colour channel, so its unlikely you can take "one 48mp shot". Its list of compatible backs is incredible, I wonder how they solve the problem of different mounts wether you have to buy an adapter per the system your using.

Majority of medium format use is tethered anyway to check for sharpness etc, you'd be lucky to get files that size on to a card at any usaeble speed in camera anyhow. What a fascinating little project

I don't really understand the pixel-shifting concept. I've thought of that idea before, but it only works if there's large enough gaps in between pixels, which I'm not sure there is. When a pixel captures light, it's not capturing a single point of light, but a whole fat square (or circle?) of light, and moving that square 50% to the right means that 50% of that square is still the same, and the other 50% is the same as the square next to it had. Or slightly less, since there's probably a *tiny* gap of uncovered territory in between. But otherwise, that's pretty much the same technology as up-rezzing in photoshop with nearest neighbor, isn't it?

Someone help me.

Davide Zerilli's picture

Read the post below

Davide Zerilli's picture

This is an instrument used mostly for hight end still life works. It's attached behind modern sinar view camera. People in this field will update their old digital 36MP back with this for a reasonable price. Keep in mind this is the best of the best out there to do still life and sinar has some amazing view camera ( that costs probably around 100.000$ with a good choice of lenses. (This s not a new company or project and the rest you need to use it is worthing really incredible amount of money. A studio that have probably use also broncolor lights, a lot of them. 20-30 little tripods of different dimension, clamps, lenses ecc...) Ah I forgot. they usually have 2 setups with one back because during the time they compose one they can switch to the other and shoot. Imagine jewelry of the same line all in similar context. To light it hours are needed and so there's the need to have 2 systems working in the same moment and move only the back. 
For interior photos there's the need sometimes to build even the walls in a fake environment (we built a fake football field once). there's a carpenter full time working in the studio and spare space to build a lot of different rooms. In he best ones there's also interior designers that 3d model it to preview to clients.
Who use them is running in switzerland to sinar right now you're reading, to buy one... mmm maybe a sinar salesman has yet been to their office to sell a couple of them few days ago :DI've used the sinar back 36MP (rented) to shoot a bass guitar.
You see the liveview in the monitor of the pc, and compose everything. It's not a point and shoot user friendly interface but the use it's ment for doesn't include fast setups. Behind this people spend 3-10 hours, days even to set up super fashion rooms or cars or jewelry, probably getting 10k per work.
THE SHIFTING: The main idea of this technology is that a normal camera records down to pixel size. What happens if the border of the red car we're shooting is inside a pixel and not in a border between 2 pixels? The white background also get inside the same pixel and the result is a pink pixel (white plus red) of a certain degree but not a sharp border. 
So they figured out that if they slide the sensor by half pixel in every direction and then analyze the 4 images they can pull out an amazing increased sharpen image because of the reduction of this problem.

Moreover people that have Sinar view cameras need them because of layout reproduction. they  have to take a picture exactly how it has been layout by dozen of decision making marketing staffs in company and the need of big tilt shift movements allow to exactly get the composition needed and the focus plan of tiny and close strange objects. Those same people probably have hassie or nikon d3x to shoot people (yes maybe even both) so they can go to do also a quickest assignment with people moving or in environments where the mac pro doesn't fit well ecc...