The best medium format camera in 2023: big sensor cameras for experts and pros

best medium format camera
(Image credit: James Artaius)

The best medium format cameras deliver peerless image quality and that impossible-to-replicate medium format "look". Their large sensors offer depth and dynamic range that outstrips full frame counterparts in terms of sheer quality. 

For years these cameras had a niche popularity, with a reputation for being impressive on the inside but horribly bulky and impossibly expensive. However, the game has changed.

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While Hasselblad gave us the first mirrorless medium format camera, it was arguably Fujifilm that kicked off the revolution with the introduction of its impressive GFX cameras. Smaller and much more affordable than traditional medium format options, these models started making big-sensor photography more mainstream than it has ever been. Hasselblad then used its magic with modular system cameras to breathe life into old equipment. 

Packing bigger sensors and bigger megapixel counts, clever cameras like the Fujifilm GFX 100s (opens in new tab) or the Hasselblad X2D 100C (opens in new tab) can be used handheld, with better-than-ever ergonomics. They aren't the only ones with skin in the game, and we've also made room on this list for the DSLR-style Leica S3 (opens in new tab), as well as some truly specialized big-pixel options from Phase One. 

There are always plenty of rumors about what the future might hold as well – some eagle-eyed fans are convinced they spotted a medium format mirrorless model at Leica HQ (opens in new tab), and there's also talk that drone-maker DJI, which is a majority stakeholder in Hasselblad, might get in on the medium format action (opens in new tab)

Rea our full Fujifilm GFX 100s vs GFX 100 (opens in new tab)

These cameras aren't cheap, and never will be. But if you're looking for the best you can get in terms of digital image quality, they're right here. Check out our guide on how to upgrade from full-frame to medium format (opens in new tab) if you're curious about what steps to take.

Best medium format cameras = ultimate image quality

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There's a reason that medium format cameras are considered some of the best cameras for professionals (opens in new tab). The size of their sensors and the image quality they offer is completely unparalleled, surpassing even that of full frame cameras like the Sony A7R V (opens in new tab), Nikon Z9 (opens in new tab) and Canon EOS R5 (opens in new tab), which are squeezing more pixels than ever onto a 35mm sensor. Medium format is simply another level.

It is worth noting that medium format sensors come in two main sizes. The 'full frame' medium format size is used by Phase One and Hasselblad's H-series cameras, and it corresponds closely with the old 645 film format. There's also a smaller size, midway between this and full frame sensors, which is used by the Hasselblad X, Fujifilm GFX, Pentax and Leica S cameras.

But that's enough preamble. Let's look at the best medium format cameras you can buy right now!

Best medium format camera in 2023

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
The best combination of price, quality and usability for medium format

Specifications

Sensor: Medium format
Megapixels: 102MP
Lens mount: Fujifilm GF
LCD: 3.2-inch two-axis tilt touchscreen, 2.36 million dots
Viewfinder: 0.5-inch 3.69 million dot EVF, 0.8x magnification
Max continuous shooting speed: 5fps
Max video resolution: 4K at 30fps
User level: Professional

Reasons to buy

+
Superb quality...
+
... in a portable body...
+
... for a great price.

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy to lift
-
Image stabilization limited

Refining a formula that has worked exceptionally well for Fujifilm, the GFX 100S continues to bring medium format to the masses by packing a big sensor into a comparatively small body. On the outside, there's not a lot to distinguish the Fujifilm GFX 100S from any other full-frame mirrorless camera. But on the inside, it's a different story, with a 102MP BSI-CMOS 43.8x32.9mm medium format sensor running the show. 

When we tested the Fujifilm GFX 100S for a full review, we found the level of detail captured by the camera to be simply incredible. The dynamic range is also superb, and all this pairs beautifully with improved autofocus and in-body image stabilization. This IBIS isn't quite good enough for on-the-go vlogging or shooting handheld at 1/8sec, but it's still very impressive. Fujifilm's gorgeous film simulation modes also make their obligatory appearance, opening up some fun shooting possibilities and the ability to experiment with different looks.

This is smaller, lighter, and cheaper than any other camera offering 100MP right now. The Fujifilm GFX 100S is an outstanding achievement and an exciting glimpse into the future of medium format.

Read our full Fujifilm GFX 100S review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: James Artaius)
The most stylish camera ever now produces the best images, too

Specifications

Sensor: Medium format
Megapixels: 100MP
Lens mount: Hasselblad X
LCD: 3.6" touchscreen, 2.36m dots tilting
Viewfinder: Electronic, 5.76 million dots
Max continuous shooting speed: 3.3fps
Max video resolution: None
User level: Professional

Reasons to buy

+
Best color science on the market
+
7 stops of image stabilization
+
1TB of internal storage

Reasons to avoid

-
No video functionality

If you're looking for ultimate photographic quality, look no further – the Hasselblad X2D is the definitive still imaging machine. Thanks to the stunning 100MP image sensor and Hasselblad's exceptional Natural Colour Solution technology, simply put we have never seen images as stunning come straight out of any other camera – photos are gallery ready, directly out of the X2D. 

Employing hybrid phase detect autofocus, Hasselblad's latest mirrorless marvel has the fast and robust AF system it deserves – and it also boasts a stunning seven stops of in-body image stabilization, which is unprecedented for a medium format camera, making this a truly hand-holdable device that can shoot whatever, wherever. In addition to a 5.76 million dot viewfinder, which enables you to see every ounce of detail in your 100MP shots, the camera supports CFexpress B cards but also boasts 1TB of internal storage. No more scrambling around for cards!

The asterisk is that the X2D does not shoot video in any way, shape of form. Honestly, though, nobody buys a medium format camera to vlog with, so this should be the farthest thing from your mind. Take one look at the image files it produces and you will be in love. 

Read more: Hasselblad X2D 100C review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Future)
A remarkably affordable medium format camera

Specifications

Sensor: Medium format (43.8 x 32.9mm)
Megapixels: 51.4MP
Lens mount: Fujifilm G
LCD: 3.2" touchscreen, 2.36 million dots
Viewfinder: 0.5" OLED, 3.69 million dots
Max continuous shooting speed: 3fps
Max video resolution: 1920x1080 (Full HD)
User level: Professional

Reasons to buy

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Ergonomic body and controls
+
Relatively affordable
+
Impeccable image quality

Reasons to avoid

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Sluggish AF vs. other mirrorless
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No 4K video
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Heavy for long handheld use

Fujifilm is continuing its tradition of portability and affordability in its medium format cameras, making the GFX50S II one of the most tempting propositions yet. It's the fifth model in the GFX series and on paper there doesn’t seem to be a huge difference between the Mark II and its predecessor – It reuses the 51.4MP sensor from the original GFX 50S, but it's housed in the more compact body of the GFX 100S, and Fujifilm have added in-body image stabilization worth 6.5 stops - a first for a GFX model. 

What's more, you get all this at a cheaper price point than the original GFX 50S, making the GFX 50S II a seriously compelling option for photographers switching to medium format. When we reviewed the Fujifilm GFX 50S II, we reckoned it was a next vital step for medium format in becoming truly mainstream, and we still think that's the case – it brings you that incomparable medium format look, for a price that's comparable to full frame. 

The original GFX 50S (opens in new tab) can still be found new at some retailers, but often for more money than the superior GFX 50S II, so there's little reason to consider buying the old model now.

Read our full Fujifilm GFX 50S II review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Rod Lawton / DCW)
A brilliant modular camera that's cleverly thought out, and affordable

Specifications

Sensor: Medium format
Megapixels: 50MP
Lens mount: Hasselblad X
LCD: 3.2-inch touchscreen, 2.36 million dots
Viewfinder: None (optional extra)
Max continuous shooting speed: 1fps
Max video resolution: 2.7K at 30p
User level: Professional

Reasons to buy

+
Low cost for a modular system
+
CFV II 50C fits the old 500CM

Reasons to avoid

-
Screen hard to see in bright light
-
AF is slow and noisy

Hasselblad 907X 50C might share the same 50MP resolution and range of XCD lenses as the X1D, but it enjoys a clever modular design. Along with the CFV II 50C digital back which handles the image capture, there's a new 907X body that's so thin it looks like a lens adapter. This is the physical and electronic bridge between the digital back and the lens, but what's really impressive is that the CFV II 50C can breath new life into your old Hasselblad 500cm (if you're lucky enough to have one) as it'll take the place of the film back. 

There's a large 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen at the rear, but no EVF, while the AF performance can bit a touch sluggish. The quality of finish though, including the lovely black leatherette trim and chrome edging, is classic Hasselblad, while the results are gorgeous. As we said in our review, the Hasselblad 907X 50C is a slow and awkward tool, but it's one designed for considered, careful use, and provides a gateway into a modular system for a fraction of the cost you might expect. 

Many may be better served by the X1D II 50C or a Fujifilm GFX camera, but this incredible feat of camera engineering is a winner as far as we're concerned. 

Update: To celebrate its 80th anniversary, Hasselblad came out with the 907x Anniversary Edition Set (opens in new tab). This special edition is an absolutely gorgeous version of the 907X in Lunar Grey rather than chrome, packaged alongside a matching 30mm f/3.5 lens. It's an absolutely gorgeous set, and it also retails at about $15,000, so you do have to really want it. They've only made 800 of them, so act fast.

Read our full Hasselblad 907X 50C review (opens in new tab) or Best Hasselblad lenses (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Future)
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An older GFX offering, but still an incredible medium format marvel

Specifications

Sensor: Medium format
Megapixels: 51.4MP
Lens mount: Fujifilm G
LCD: 3.2" touchscreen, 2.36 million dots
Viewfinder: 0.5" OLED, 3.69 million dots
Max continuous shooting speed: 3fps
Max video resolution: 1920x1080 (Full HD)
User level: Professional

Reasons to buy

+
Rangefinder-style top plate controls
+
Weather-resistant compact body

Reasons to avoid

-
No 4K video offered
-
Modest burst mode and leisurely AF

First unveiled in 2018, the GFX 50R has now been officially discontinued, replaced indirectly by the GFX 50S II (above). However the 50R is still widely available to buy, and there are plenty of reasons why you'd want to! The ‘R’ in Fuji’s 50R model stands for ‘Rangefinder’, though actually, this means 'rangefinder style' (it doesn't actually have rangefinder focusing). 

Like the original 50S before it, the weather-sealed 50R boasts a 51.4MP medium format image sensor. However, Fujifilm has managed to make the 50R 25mm slimmer this time around and lighter by 145g. We love the GFX 50R because it's relatively compact, very much like a conventional camera to use, it's accessibly priced, and the design, build quality and finish feel absolutely first class. It's getting harder to find in some territories but is worth considering if you find one at a good price.

Read our full Fujifilm GFX 50R review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Future)
The GFX 100 brings modern mirrorless imaging to medium format

Specifications

Sensor: Medium format
Megapixels: 102MP
Lens mount: Fujifilm G
LCD: 3.2-inch touchscreen, 2.36 million dots
Viewfinder: EVF, 5.76 million dots
Max continuous shooting speed: 5fps
Max video resolution: 4K at 30fps
User level: Professional

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible resolving power
+
Full frame 4K video

Reasons to avoid

-
Still expensive by regular standards
-
In-body stabilisation isn't foolproof

The GFX 100 is expensive compared to regular cameras, but in the world of medium format photography (sensors larger than 35mm full frame), it's a positive bargain. It's also a groundbreaking camera that changes our expectations about what medium format cameras can do. Its 100-megapixel resolution challenged our own testing procedures, its in-body stabilization is a medium format first, and its hybrid AF (thanks to a recent firmware update) is a huge step forward. 

It's a much more practical proposition for handheld photography than the Hasselblad 907x, though more expensive too. We gave the GFX 100 a glowing review when we tested it – but of course, it has since been eclipsed by its real rival, Fujifilm itself, namely the stunning GFX 100S at our #1 spot. 

Read our full Fujifilm GFX 100 review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Sebastian Oakley / Digital Camera World)
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7. Hasselblad H6D-100c

With 100 million pixels (but a bigger sensor), here is the H6D-100c

Specifications

Sensor: Medium format
Megapixels: 100MP
Lens mount: Hasselblad
LCD: 3-inch touchscreen, 920k dots
Viewfinder: Optical, interchangeable
Max continuous shooting speed: 1.5fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Professional

Reasons to buy

+
Professional modular system
+
Superb quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive!
-
Mainly for studio/tripod use

Canon and Nikon have been duking it out for years in the DSLR market, but in the world of medium format it’s Phase One vs Hasselblad. The H6D-100c is the latest in Hasselblad’s long-running modular medium format system, and while Hasselblad can’t match the Phase One for megapixels without resorting to multi-shot models like the H6D-400c (opens in new tab), it does have the cachet and customer loyalty of the Hasselblad brand, and the company has been extremely good at combining its new tech with its much-loved legacy products. This is the best Hasselblad camera on the market today for full-blown medium format shooting that achieves 100MP.

(Image credit: Pentax)
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It's like a supersized Pentax K DSLR, and affordable too

Specifications

Sensor: Medium format
Megapixels: 51MP
Lens mount: Pentax 645AF2
LCD: 3.2", 1,037,000 dots
Viewfinder: Prism type
Max continuous shooting speed: 3fps
Max video resolution: Full HD at 30fps
User level: Professional

Reasons to buy

+
Large sensor with big pixel count
+
Tilting Live View-enabled screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy and bulky (over 1.5kg without lens)
-
It's good, but 5 years old now

The year 2014 was a long time ago in the digital camera market, and that's when the Pentax 645Z was launched. Revolutionary for its time, the 645Z is solidly built and weatherproof, easy to use, and at the more affordable end of the medium format camera market. On top of this, the images are excellent, even by current standards. 

Replacing the older Pentax 645D, the 645Z has a Sony CMOS sensor at its heart and has had its resolution boosted from 40 to 51 million pixels. The maximum shooting speed sounds modest at 3fps, for up to 10 raw images or 30 highest quality JPEGs, but this is fine for a medium format camera. With the same AF system as found in Pentax’s own K-3, the camera boasts 27 AF points, 25 of which are the more sensitive cross-type, enabling it to capably work down to the equivalent of -3EV. 

The only worry with the 645Z is that things move slowly in the Pentax world, so it's hard to predict what lenses and what upgrades might come in the future. 

Read our full Pentax 645Z review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Digital Camera World)
It's amazing that something this small can cost this much money

Specifications

Sensor: Medium format
Megapixels: 151
Lens mount: Phase One XT
LCD: 3.2-inch
Viewfinder: N/A
Max continuous shooting speed: N/A
Max video resolution: N/A
User level: Professional

Reasons to buy

+
Very compact and portable
+
Optional mono digital back

Reasons to avoid

-
Incredibly expensive
-
Limited lens range

The Phase One XT is an extraordinary camera. Phase One doesn't want to call it a 'technical' camera, or a 'field' camera, but that's the closest description. It's an extremely compact modular system that takes the same IQ4 digital backs as the Phase One XF system, above, but is designed for portability and travel. It has its own built-in lens movements for perspective correction, and relies on the LCD display on its digital back for composing images. It also uses its own lens mount and lenses, so the purchase cost of the XT itself is just the start. 

We've been hands-on with the Phase One XT, and it's a remarkably streamlined camera for something with this much resolution. It's not going to be for everyone, but landscape and architectural shooters who want a lot of resolving power in a field-ready kit are going to absolutely fall in love with it. 

Read our Hands on: Phase One XT (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Future)
It looks wonderful, but being a Leica, it costs big money

Specifications

Sensor: Medium format
Megapixels: 64MP
Lens mount: Leica S
LCD: 3", 921,600 dots
Viewfinder: Pentaprism type with illuminated LCD bar
Max continuous shooting speed: 3fps
Max video resolution: 4K at 24fps
User level: Professional

Reasons to buy

+
High resolution
+
Splash and dust-resistant construction

Reasons to avoid

-
Luxury price tag
-
Modest burst shooting speed

We tried the Leica S3 as far back as Photokina 2018 and thought it was wonderful... but we had to wait until March 2020 for it to become officially available. It's essentially the size of a conventional DSLR, but this latest iteration boasts a 64MP sensor measuring 30x45mm, bettering the Fujifilm GFX 50S II and 50R in terms of headline resolution, if not the GFX 100 or GFX 100s. 

The Leica S3 promises 4K cinema-quality video capture with stereo sound via built-in microphone or optional accessory mic, a maximum ISO sensitivity of ISO 50,000, a Live View mode with 60fps refresh rate. It's such a beautiful thing, but the S3's price means that its appeal has been limited to high-end pros and very well off Leica enthusiasts.

Might Leica make a medium format mirrorless camera, GFX-style, in the future? It's certainly possible (opens in new tab), but we're retaining a healthy scepticism until the day an announcement hits. 

Read our full Hands on: Leica S3 (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: PhaseOne)
This is the highest resolution camera you can get

Specifications

Sensor: Medium format
Megapixels: 151MP
Lens mount: Phase One
LCD: 3.2"
Viewfinder: Eye-level or waist-level viewfinder options
Max continuous shooting speed: N/A
Max video resolution: N/A
User level: Professional

Reasons to buy

+
Highest native resolution available
+
53.4 x 40mm 'full frame' MF sensor

Reasons to avoid

-
Massively expensive
-
Considered (slow) photography
-
Not available at online camera stores

Obviously the PhaseOne IQ4 system is way outside the scope of regular photographers, but for high-end commercial photographers with well-heeled clients who demand the highest standards, it's a very sound commercial proposition to either buy or rent. The XF IQ4 needs careful handling and considerable investment. It’s not a walkaround camera you can stuff into a backpack. But this, and high-end medium format cameras like it, can achieve a level of quality, precision and control you wouldn’t believe. Hasselblad (below) can claim 400 megapixel capture with its multi-shot H6D-400c, but the PhaseOne XF IQ4 150MP has the highest single-shot native resolution of all.

Read our full PhaseOne XF IQ4 150MP review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Hasselblad)
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12. Hasselblad H6D-400c

For those with megapixel mania, this is the ultimate

Specifications

Sensor: Medium format
Megapixels: 400MP (from 100MP CMOS sensor)
Lens mount: Hasselblad H system
LCD: 3.0", 920K dots
Viewfinder: Eye-level or waist-level viewfinder options
Max continuous shooting speed: N/A
Max video resolution: 4K at 25fps
User level: Professional

Reasons to buy

+
Highest resolution images on the market
+
Modular 'system camera' design

Reasons to avoid

-
Eye-watering price tag
-
Huge file sizes!

With a price tag running into tens of thousands (around £40K at the time of writing), this obviously isn’t going to be your entry point into medium format photography. We're including here as an example of the current pinnacle of the medium format world (there’s always the option of renting it out!) and what medium format photography used to cost until the latest camera releases. 

The H6D-400c features a 100MP CMOS sensor, with its maximum effective resolution of 400MP being achieved via six-shot image capture. The process involves the sensor being moved one pixel at a time for the first four shots to achieve real colour data – the capture of red, green and blue colour information – before being returned to its starting point. It's designed for tethered shooting with the aid of a Mac or PC.

How we test cameras

We test mirrorless and DSLR medium format cameras (opens in new tab) both in real-world shooting scenarios and in carefully controlled lab conditions. Our lab tests measure resolution, dynamic range and signal to noise ratio. Resolution is measured using ISO resolution charts, dynamic range is measured using DxO Analyzer test equipment and DxO Analyzer is also used for noise analysis across the camera's ISO range. We use both the real-world testing and the lab results to inform our comments in buying guides.

Read more:

These are the best cameras for professionals (opens in new tab) right now
On a budget? These are the cheapest full frame cameras (opens in new tab) you can get
We pick the best mirrorless cameras (opens in new tab) today
The 12 highest resolution cameras you can buy today (opens in new tab)

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Sebastian Oakley
Ecommerce Editor

For nearly two decades Sebastian's work has been published internationally. Originally specialising in Equestrianism, his visuals have been used by the leading names in the equestrian industry such as The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound and many more for various advertising campaigns, books and pre/post-event highlights.


He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, holds a Foundation Degree in Equitation Science and is a Master of Arts in Publishing.  He is member of Nikon NPS and has been a Nikon user since the film days using a Nikon F5 and saw the digital transition with Nikon's D series cameras and is still to this day the youngest member to be elected in to BEWA, The British Equestrian Writers' Association. 


He is familiar with and shows great interest in medium and large format photography with products by Phase One, Hasselblad, Alpa and Sinar and has used many cinema cameras from the likes of Sony, RED, ARRI and everything in between. His work covers the genres of Equestrian, Landscape, Abstract or Nature and combines nearly two decades of experience to offer exclusive limited-edition prints to the international stage from his film & digital photography.