Monday, July 24, 2006
For night photographers who have migrated from film to digital, the Canon CMOS sensors seem to produce much less noise during long exposures than the CCD sensors sold by Nikon and other non-Canon manufacturers. I've seen many examples of this phenomenon among 35mm nocturnal types. However, I've never met a night photographer, yet, who shoots with a medium-format digital back. There are two reasons for this. First, is the astronomical cost of medium format digital backs (typically, $10,000 - $30,000 each). Second, most medium format digital backs use CCD sensors are might not perform well for long exposures at night.
For the past few years, Michael Reichmann has been publishing hands-on (and, often, winter gloves-on) reviews of the latest medium format digital cameras. In his most recent review, he looks at the 39MP Leaf Aptus back, which sounds like the best commercially-available, medium format digital back available (today). One of the most interesting things that he found with this back is it's ability to take very clean, very long exposures at night, even though it has a CCD sensor. He has included a ten-minute night landscape that appears to be completely noise-free.
Now, only one reason remains for me not to migrate to a medium format digital back for night photography :-)
Thanks to Joe Reifer for pointing out this article.