Kigamo scanback 6000XP and Kigamo 8000XP.
Kigamo scanback 6000XP and Kigamo 8000XP are listed on the Kigamo web site (still in 2008). The web site has a copyright date of 2007, so we estimate they are still in business. However there is no address provided, none whatsoever (though they are, or were, in Germany).
It's not easy to find comparative information on Kigamo Scanback 6000XP or Kigamo Scanback 8000XP because they do not exhibit at any photography trade show in the US, and I have not seen them even at Photokina for the last six years (maybe they were in someone else’s booth; such as Anagramm was in the Linhof booth at Photokina 2004). I saw Anagramm at the Photokina 2008 show as well. I saw the BetterLight at Photo Plus East 08 in New York a few weeks after Photokina. But I did not see, or hear about, Kigamo at either major photography trade show.
In past years it was also hard to find photography reviews of this and European brands of because the large format scanning back awards were won by BetterLight two years in a row at PMA. For obvious reasons the scanning backs that come in second or third don't advertise this fact.
PMA is the leading American trade show. I do not know what position Kigamo, JOBO, or Anagramm were in these comparative tests. Not all these companies even entered. JOBO did not survive well in the world of digital cameras, and dropped out after attempting to market studio digital cameras at the turn of the century.
The Kigamo Scanback 8000 and 8000+ would primarily be for scanning maps, drawings, or paintings from a reprographic (overhead scanner on a copy stand). The newer models are 6000XP and 8000XP.
“Large-format” scanback on a medium format camera?
Kigamo and also Anagramm advertise that they can be used on a medium format camera. But this is almost like going backwards in time, since no medium format camera can expose the entire scanback size of a large-format system (realize that a large format digital camera is never 9x12 cm (4x5 inches).
I guess you could also fit a BetterLight onto a medium size digital camera, but why? There are plenty of good medium format backs that are more appropriate. A medium format camera has only Mamiya, Fuji, or at best, Zeiss lenses. A large format camera allows you to select from Schneider or Rodenstock (or Nikkor, which also has good lenses for large format cameras).
If you have any brand of tri-linear scanback, we recommend you stick with a large-format camera: Cambo and Arca-Swiss are the ones we like since these companies are still actively designing new cameras. Sinar was the elite studio camera of the past, but Cambo and Arca-Swiss have been more energetic in recent years. Linhof (Technikardan) was my first 4x5 camera but their L-shaped support is not strong enough for the heavy weight of a scanback.
Which large format digital scanbacks do we use at FLAAR?
In both of the photo studios developed by the FLAAR Photo Archive we use BetterLight scanning backs because we know Michael Collette's capabilities as a camera system designer. However we are open to evaluating other digital scanning backs as well, especially since FLAAR also is opening an office in Europe.
In addition to two 48-megapixel BetterLight digital scanbacks, FLAAR also has a 22-megapixel Phase One P25+ and an 80-megapixel Cruse. By having a diverse range of professional studio digital cameras we are in a unique position to be able to judge the pros and cons of each brand and model.
I am not convinced that any scan back smaller than large-format is worth the while. Thus I am not very excited about the Pentacon scanning backs: In today’s reality (2009) the only two tri-linear portable scanning backs worthy of consideration are BetterLight and Anagramm. BetterLight sells primarily in North America; Anagramm sells primarily in Europe.
Phase One no longer develops new large-format backs (Phase One is #1 for medium format one-shot backs for medium format). Kigamo may still exist on paper, but is not active enough to be exciting. For a non-portable scanning back digital camera, Cruse is the #1 brand worldwide, and is readily available both in Europe, Asia, and North and South America.
Product price comparisons
Comparing prices is okay if you are buying mass-produced consumer items, but for a scanback for your studio we suggest looking at the features first. Buying a professional camera is not something you do low-bid.
Parrot Digigraphic offers reprographic stands, professional lighting for giclee digitization, etc.: John Lorusso, Jlorusso@ParrotColor.com.
BetterLight is obviously a good source for information on large-format tri-linear scanning backs: info@BetterLight.com.
Most recently updated December 1, 2008.