Linhof M 679cc digital studio camera

Linhof M679 cc digital camera reviews

The Linhof M679cc camera is well designed 6x9cm format camera. It is professional and does not stint on features even at its size (6x9 cm is obviously less than 9x10 cm (4x5 inch) size. You see the name written both ways Linhof M679cc and M 679cc.

This Linhof M679cc is ideal to hold medium-format 1-shot, 4-shot digital scan backs, 16-shot multi-scan backs. Of course no sensor is as big as the 6x9 cm size offered by all these cameras (ArcaSwiss, Cambo, Sinar, Rodenstock, and Silvestri all offer comparable cameras at this 6x9 cm size).

This 6x9 size was originally made for horizontal use of a roll-film adapter from the bygone era (120 or 220 roll film, approximately 6 cm high). Of course in today’s digital era a roll-film adapter is close to useless, but the size of the cameras froze and there has never really been a studio camera made solely and specifically for the actual size of a medium format back. All studio-format cameras are 6x9, but at least this is less weight than a 4x5 studio camera which is really overkill for a medium format back.

In past years I occasionally saw 6x9 cameras being used with large-format digital backs. But the Linhof M679cc camera image area is 6 x 9 cm. The image area of a large format scanning back is slightly more than 7 x 9 cm, so you lose more than 10% off the top or bottom of your image with a large format scanning back.

For many years Anagramm was teamed with Linhof; even had their Anagramm headquarters themselves within the Linhof area outside Munich. But by 2009 this relationship was waning and by Photokina 2010 Anagramm was no longer in the Linhof booth. And Anagramm factory was no longer on the grounds of Linhof either.

But the Anagramm, Kigamo, and BetterLight scanning backs are all larger than 7 x 9 cm in size. Yes those backs may fit on the Linhof M 679cc, but according to the specs you do not get the entire image area.

If you wish the full size of your large format tri-linear scanning back such as BetterLight, then you need an Arca-Swiss or Cambo Ultima. There is no other Linhof camera made for scanning backs (trust us, we have several Linhof cameras; all are L-shaped and hence sag from the weight of a scanning back). But the Linhof M679cc does not sag and would be a valid solution for a medium format back.

We have more experience with a Cambo Ultima or Sinar X, since these cameras have been provided to us by their manufacturers, though these are rather large for carrying out on location if you have to hike your camera in.

Thus the Linhof M679cc is most appropriate for the smaller CCD chips used in 1-shot and 4-shot (multi-shot) cameras such as MegaVision, Leaf, Sinarback, Imacon, or Jenoptik Eyelike. You can also use the Linhof M679cc digital for PhaseOne StudioKit (but not the PhaseOne PowerPhase).

Linhof M 679cs

The Linhof M 679cs is the updated version of the earlier Linhof M 679cc. These two cameras are medium-sized versions of the larger Linhof studio cameras. The main difference is that the Linhof M 679cs is completely balanced; the larger Linhof studio cameras have L-shaped supports, so naturally sag to one side. So I like the concept of the M 679cs better.

Precise gears help (Linhof M 679cs provides precision)

With a digital sensor you do not want sloppy movements on your camera (such as on any L-shaped camera, or most wood with brass large format cameras).

Alternatives for medium format digital backs

There is now a FLAAR Report based on what was available at Photokina 2010 for all the different kinds of 6x9 format cameras to hold medium format digital backs. The list below is only one kind: namely 6x9 studio cameras adaptable to medium format backs.

• Rollei X-Act 2.

• Silvestri S5 micron

• Sinar f3 SL, Sinar ps, ps SL

• Cambo Ultima 23

• Arca-Swiss 6x9 F-Classic Compact

• Horseman LD Pro, more a copy of a Linhof Technikardan than a M 679cc

Reality check:

There are no automatic focus lenses for large-format cameras. You need patience to focus these cameras. You might wish to try a 7x loupe.

Reality check: extreme wide-angle lenses won’t work with sliding back adapter. But nowadays it is easy to stitch two adjacent images from a less-wide lens and create a larger coverage with stitching.


Most recently updated November 2, 2010, after Photokina.
updated August 3, 2005. First posted August 12, 2001. Design updated July 08, 2008.