$100,000+ 112 MP B&W Camera? Yes Please!

May 18, 2012 | Shop Talk • Gear & Gadgets


Zeke, from Spectral Instruments, builds some amazing cameras for space and scientific uses. I’ve always heard about these cameras and have wondered what it would be like to shoot with one in a studio or on location. Evidently Zeke has been wondering about that as well and is wondering if there is enough public interest in having them build one of these cameras for use on the ground instead of in space. I was shocked when he added my name to people he’d like to see use one if they build it. Yes please! There’s large format photography then there’s MASSIVE format photography. If you’re keen to see one of these cameras put into use by several different photographers let him know in the comments below!

Oh, if Zeke looks familiar to you maybe you’ll remember this shot I made of him in Dubai…

He’s a trooper. We were shooting at a marble factory and he fully immersed himself into the location. It was the kind of place I doubt we could take the $100,000 camera.




  • Gary Kurtz said on May 18, 2012


  • Mike Flynn said on May 18, 2012

    I would love to see this happen. You create some awesome black and white images anyway so I would be interested to see what you could do with this monster of a camera.

  • FritzTheWonderMutt said on May 18, 2012

    Hack, I’d pay just to watch someone else use that camera!

  • Jonah said on May 18, 2012

    Absolutely make this happen. Would love to see that in action (and having you Zack as one of the photographers behind the lens is a must).

  • Bob K said on May 18, 2012

    Already wrote to Zeke. Can’t imagine a better person to write about the experience. Not even McNally.

    Frustrating thing about a lot of mega-tech photography is that it’s often in the hands of people who spend more time creating the technology than doing photography. Be nice to see it in the hands of a working pro who’s handed a set of capabilities and sets out to explore them. And yeah, if his eyes light up the the mention of the idea, all the better.

    BTW, Zeke, I though your video was pretty cool, too.

  • Simon Lynch said on May 18, 2012

    I don’t know.

    Beside the geek factor and the increased pixel count, what more would this camera offer?

    These are usually designed with less-noise-in-dark-places mentality. why would it be useful in studio?

    Maybe I’m just ignorant, but I don’t see it….

    But the images they bring from space… now THAT’S something!

  • Javier said on May 18, 2012

    You’re going to need a bigger sensor brush.

  • Matt B. said on May 18, 2012

    I would love to see what you guys could do with this camera. If the body is 100k, who much would the lens be? What would be the focal length of a “portrait” lens on a sensor that size?

  • Christopher said on May 18, 2012

    Sensor envy.

  • Donna Luker said on May 18, 2012

    Yes! Hell yes! Zack & also Heisler.

  • James Davidson said on May 18, 2012

    I thought he looked familiar, but all I could think of was Independence day. http://application.denofgeek.com/pics/film/scifi.conspiracies/06.jpg

  • Roland said on May 18, 2012

    awesome looking bit of kit. they should make this the mandatory camera for the shoot out at the dubai GPP :)

  • Mike said on May 18, 2012

    Interesting how he picked only people that are big in social media rather. Surprised Chase Jarvis and Jasmine Star weren’t throw in. What about people like Albert Watson, Patrick Demarchelier, Peter Lindbergh, Mark Seliger, Nick Knight, Mark Rolston, etc.

  • Zack said on May 18, 2012

    He did ask for people to send in recommendations Mike, you know, so you could email him these. I would second all of your choices and add Mary Ellen Mark, John Keatley, Dan Winters, and my buddy Cary Norton. My number one pick though would be Paolo Roversi with Winters being a damn close second.


  • Eric said on May 18, 2012

    yes, please.

  • Joe said on May 18, 2012

    This camera actually makes Leica’s new 18mp B&W camera (M-Monochrom, $8,000/body) seem like a bargain.

    Speaking of bargains, Hasselblad is evidently dropping its prices – by a lot. The day when we can buy a high-end digital MF kit for $10,000 or less is not far off.


  • Scott said on May 18, 2012

    i would love to see this technology put to use in types of photography that we encounter every day. specifically i’d like to see it used for large format portraiture.

  • jeremy said on May 19, 2012

    nice! I think it would be amazing to see!!!

  • pixelmixture said on May 20, 2012

    that would be great … a lot of film chambers are bigger than that but that would be cool

  • D. Travis North said on May 21, 2012

    I would love to see what one could do with such a camera. Go Zeke and Zack!

  • Lucas said on May 22, 2012

    That would be awesome! I would love to see you, G. Heisler and D. Burnett doing some work with this camera.

  • Dave said on May 25, 2012

    Not just no, but HELL NO. My GAS is bad enough on a Hassleblad 500cm. Don’t show me a camera I could never afford to buy!

  • DMo said on May 26, 2012

    Absolutely! Seeing how it handles moody, low-light candid portraiture applications would be very interesting. But then, it’d be cool just to the practicality of using something like that in a real shoot. I agree that Zack would be a great person to have write about the experience. Totally down to earth, a much need reprieve from all the techno conversations out there.

  • Jon Mold said on May 26, 2012

    Got to make this happen!

  • Dan Doran said on May 27, 2012

    Ughhh, drool, drool… Hope ya get it Zack, we need to live vicariously through you.

  • Eric Lagacé said on May 31, 2012

    Yes, make it happen! I would love to see portraits shot using that super high-tech and super high definition camera! Street photography would be a bit more conspicuous I would guess, but that would be a cool experiment and an amazing marketing stunt for sure. Spectral Instruments, are you listening?

  • Neil Kemp said on June 4, 2012

    Hi Zack. If I can convince them to let you use the camera, can I get a try. Only kidding, hope you get it. Would love to see what you can do with it.

  • Nathan Padilla Bowen said on June 4, 2012


    Congratulations on everything that is happening with your career and goals. Being singled out for this kind of project is a public testament to your success.

    FYI for those who asked, you can do the math pretty easy. If 100mm is your normal portrait length on a 35mm film/sensor/image plane, then 300mm is approximately the same normal on a 96 mm image plane. You should be able to put that sensor on a modified view camera and get the job done. The DOF would be more like a 4×5. The sensor itself is just under 4″ x 4″, similar in size to 4×5 film.

    Oh yeah, +1 for Paolo Roversi

  • Aziz said on June 17, 2012

    WOW that sounds fantastic. I can’t wait to see what you can get out of it!

  • Eric Uys said on July 18, 2012

    Is this were we sign up and jump up and down yelling pick me pick me?? :)

  • Dan said on September 4, 2012

    yes please! Would love to see the detail and DR from that! but more than anything, the looks from people as you use it

  • Jen said on April 28, 2013

    Wouldn’t a >100 MP camera be limited by the capacities of the lens? It’s always been my understanding that once you hit the 100 MP mark, basically the quality of the lens starts to become the limiting factor.

  • Zack said on April 29, 2013

    @Jen – I’m sure the folks who make these cameras have some pretty impressive glass to bolt on to them. I doubt they’re using kit lenses. :)


  • Nicholas Fulford said on November 17, 2013

    While I cannot afford one today, at $100,000 I could afford one in 10 years time. (I am opening my “special fund” next week.)

    Ansel Adams would have died for that camera, and I hope I live long enough to use one.

    One or two recommendations though: See if a lower grade cooling unit can be used. While the noise floor would not be as deep, the practicality for a landscape photographer would improve immensely. (The DR has to be sufficient to not require the used of Graduated Neutral Density filters, not so extreme as to capture stars in the midday sun. I expect that 18 – 20 f-stops of dynamic range would easily cover that requirement. A lower grade cooling unit would reduce weight by a significant amount, as well as power requirements for cooling. If you do end up making this sensor for photographic purposes, this may make the unit more attractive to a wider audience. (And yes there is an audience, as many already pay $45K for a Phase One IQ280.)

    But do get this out to a few photographers from different photographic disciplines, (Product, landscape, studio / portraiture.) To get the juices of enthusiasm flowing wider and deeper requires there to be a big lust factor. And the high-end pros will want it to differentiate themselves from the pack.

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