Medium-format digital photography is expensive. There’s no two ways around it. Digital large format isn’t even really a thing outside of scanning backs, either. But we are able to emulate the look with smaller sensor cameras.
For large format, we’ve got the “Brenizer Method“. For medium format, we’ve got the Fotodiox RhinoCam Vertex (buy here). This adapter lets you mount your old medium format lenses onto mirrorless bodies to shoot larger than full-frame images.
The RhinoCam Vertex has actually been out for a little while and is also available for Sony E, Nikon Z and Canon RF mounts. The new announcement is the addition of Leica L to its different camera-side mounting options.
The way it works is that it offsets your sensor in order to capture a corner of the lens’s overall view. You start shooting one corner, then rotate your camera by 90 degrees to shoot the next corner. Rinse and repeat until all four corners are covered.
After this, you have four images that capture a larger view from the medium-format lens. To bring these back into a single image again, you just need to apply some stitching in Photoshop or other image editing software.
Adapt old (inexpensive) medium-format lenses
While all medium-format lenses are somewhat expensive compared to full-frame, older ones are far less expensive than their modern counterparts. A modern Hasselblad lens, for example, could set you back a good 3-5 grand. But an older Bronica lens may only cost you a couple of hundred.
The new RhinoCam Vertex L mount version comes in five different models that let you adapt from Bronica ETR, Hasselblad V, Mamiya 645, Pentax 645 and Pentax 6×7. This provides you with a vast array of vintage options to choose from.
It works because the lens stays static while the camera moves from one spot to another around the lens’ projection. Each captures a different section of the whole shot. At each different position, your full-frame camera’s sensor sees what a medium format sensor or film plane would see and captures that chunk.
So, when you combine them in post – given that the lens hasn’t moved at all – there shouldn’t be any weird perspective or alignment issues. Everything will, in theory, be seen and reconstructed the way it would’ve looked to a medium format-sized sensor of whatever level of quality your camera’s sensor has.
Now, this is all in theory. In reality, it’s not going to be exactly the same, pixel for pixel. And it’s also not exactly a walkabout handheld setup, is it? You’re not going to be using this with flash and moving subjects.
But, for many people, particularly those in natural light settings with still subjects, it’s going to prove to be close enough to medium format to justify it. A $300 adapter sure is a lot more affordable than several thousand dollars worth – even on the used market – of digital medium format gear.
Price and Availability
The Fotodiox RhinoCam Vertex L is available to buy now for $299.95 in five different medium-format lens options. Other versions of the RhinoCam Vertex are available for Sony E, Nikon Z and Canon RF for the same price.