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I'm trying to understand why the company I work got a medium format Phase One camera to take photos for their website. The person who ordered it has left, so we don't know their reasoning, but I assume they equated a higher price with better quality product (we have two $50K studios)

Is the camera really worth it for us? The images only go onto the web. Iunderstand the difference in pixels, and I see it has a bigger sensor, but in reality why is it worth it?

I don't see that the quality is so much better than the images from my new Canon Rebel (the pictures are sharper but I attribute that to the $15k lens as opposed to my $200 lens)

Basically, is it worth using a medium format camera for images that are only posted online?

Is the resolution that much better?

Note: I did see the question What benefit does Hasselblad have vs high-end Canon / Nikon? but I still don't understand why someone would get such a camera to post pictures online (I could use an iPhone for that) and in general the question also talks a lot specifically about Hasselblad being what it is (brand, price, etc)

marked as duplicate by Itai, MikeW, Paul Cezanne, mattdm, John Cavan Feb 23 '13 at 16:30

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    What sort of images? Products? – MikeW Feb 21 '13 at 18:06
  • Products? Portraits? Lanscapes of your facilities? Industrial Areas? – Michael C Feb 21 '13 at 18:18
  • @Itai that might answer some people who have the same question but i want to know the point of using it to shoot photos for the web- should i clarify that in my question? – Pastel Feb 21 '13 at 18:22
  • @MikeW products- specifically high end watches & jewelry – Pastel Feb 21 '13 at 18:23
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    @Pastel - It is not the question you have to look at but its answers. The reasons are explained well with different point of view and if you cannot find you reason, then there is probably none! – Itai Feb 21 '13 at 19:07

From reading the comments, the products are "high end watches and jewelry" where attention to fine detail is paramount in their manufacture and marketing. It is reasonable to expect those same qualities to be applied across the business and certainly to recording and presenting those products where once sold may never be seen again. That "little bit sharper" counts for a lot in high-end goods and the other question that was referenced explains why.

The photo's are not just "for the web" any more than the products are for telling the time or looking pretty, they are both a historical record where details count and are arguably works of art in their own right.

Your colleague was probably told "get the best" and that's exactly what they did. If that value judgement doesn't apply to you then any attempt to justify otherwise is a fool's errand on our part.

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    +1 shooting for "the web" is the wrong approach, even if most of the images end up on the web. Best practice is to shoot at the highest possible fidelity as you never know where your images might end up. – Matt Grum Feb 22 '13 at 12:18

Sensor size has significant impacts on how the image is focused on to the sensor. The larger the sensor, the further from the focal point the sensor sits and the shallower the depth of field can be made. Since the light has longer to diverge, the angle of focused light is more tightly controlled.

This is effectively the same as the reason for a Full Frame camera over an APS-C or smaller size image sensor in a DSLR. You get better bokeh (the soft background in an image) and can get higher sharpness and more detail with the larger format if used properly. There are probably other advantages as well, but I'm only passingly familiar with the larger format stuff as I stay primarily in the DSLR and video worlds.

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    "The larger the sensor, the further from the focal point the sensor sits and the shallower the depth of field can be made" The depth of field advantage for medium format is almost non-existent compared to 35mm due to the lack of fast lenses, you're lucky to find f/2.8 glass let alone f/1.8 or f/1.2! – Matt Grum Feb 22 '13 at 12:17
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    @MattGrum - thanks for the info. Like I said, I have not worked in Medium Format, so I can only comment on the physics. – AJ Henderson Feb 22 '13 at 16:24

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