Could Phase One Be Coming Out with a 100MP Medium Format Black and White Digital Back?

Hey La Noir Image subscribers, it’s time to really start to drool over the possibilities because there are hints of a Phase One black and white back in the air! We got a tip off from reader that perhaps a medium format 100MP Black and White digital back could be on its way from Phase One. The company has previously made apochromatic camera backs, which are essentially black and white camera sensors and that many photographers absolutely dream over.

While yes, photographers can easily go ahead and turn the images into black and white in post-production, it’s simply still not the same experience. Some photographers only shoot in black and white for example.

For anyone that is doubting that a black and white/monochrome sensor can be that amazing, you’ve probably never played with or used the Leica Monochrom. It challenges the photographer to shoot in a brand new way and there are many, many fantastic images that have come out of that camera. Technologically speaking, the pixel peepers may be turned off by the idea. But the artists? They’re the ones creating jaw dropping images with the camera. So indeed, there is a market for a 100MP black and white digital camera sensor; but it’s not as large as the color world.

The tip off came via Instagram where reader Tomasz stated that he would love to see a medium format monochrome 100MP black and white sensor. For the uninitiated, traditional medium format DSLR cameras and SLR cameras with by using a camera back. The way that Phase One works is in this traditional sense: there is a camera body, the lens, a viewfinder, and a camera back. Here’s our video we made earlier on explaining a bit about this concept.

The exception is made for rangefinders, TLRs and the rare point and shoot camera.

Anyway, after Tomasz asked this question, Phase One answered with this response:

Of course, this is sort of cryptic and doesn’t exactly mean anything in particular. It could indeed mean that Photographer Bastia Anwoudt, who is taking over Phase One’s account for the moment probably just wants the same thing. But it could also mean that he’s been testing one. Indeed, Phase One has always been known in the industry to really be pushing the limits of digital photography technology in the medium format camera space. Soon afterwards, Hasselblad typically follows and then Pentax. But now we’ve got even more players in the medium format world with Fujifilm having just entered with the Fujifilm GFX 50s and rumors of Sony perhaps making a move soon.

In fact, Sony typically makes the sensors in all of these cameras.

Thanks to Tomasz for the tip!

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.