Why Medium Format?


HarisF1

Link Posted 12/04/2018 - 01:43
I've seen a bunch of articles and websites extolling the advantages or the good points of MF but I'd like to hear it from yourselves, the MF shooters. What do you find is the tangible difference when shooting MF compared to FF or APS-C cameras?

If you've got the time, it might be interesting to see the same image captured with both a FF/APS-C camera and a MF camera.

Thanks in advance.

womble

Link Posted 12/04/2018 - 07:09
I shoot medium format because it is fun to use my 60 year old folders, or the Lubitel 2, and still get remarkably sharp images. Not an auto-anything to be seen anywhere...
Kris Lockyear
It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head. Henri Cartier-Bresson
Lots of film bodies, a couple of digital ones, too many lenses (mainly older glass) and a Horseman LE 5x4.

My website

Algernon

Link Posted 12/04/2018 - 07:54
womble wrote:
I shoot medium format because it is fun to use my 60 year old folders, or the Lubitel 2, and still get remarkably sharp images. Not an auto-anything to be seen anywhere...

You've got 60 year old folding DIGITAL CAMERAS

--
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Algi

Jonathan-Mac

Link Posted 12/04/2018 - 09:12
I think the OP should maybe clarify if he's looking for opinions on film, digital or both.

I shoot MF film because the cameras are (really) fun to use, they can produce shallower depth of field than 35mm cameras and because their resolution is higher, giving sharper images with better tones.
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3 & K200D, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses

Algernon

Link Posted 12/04/2018 - 09:21
"What do you find is the tangible difference when shooting MF compared to FF or APS-C cameras?"...... Sounds like Digital to me!

--
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Algi

HarisF1

Link Posted 12/04/2018 - 10:53
I was thinking more about the sensor/film size aspect of it so probably geared more towards digital. There's apparently a medium format 'look' to images that people bang on about. Does this 'look' still exist in digital cameras?

It's understandable that MF film gives you loads of resolution to work with simply due to having a larger bit of film to capture detail.

johnha

Link Posted 12/04/2018 - 11:56
I guess, the biggest differences are depth of field can be narrowed (although note that many MF systems have much slower lenses than typical FF systems) and tonal graduation is generally much smoother (the same tonal range is spread over more grains/pixels).

However, MF film formats go all the way up to 6x7, 6x9 or 6x12 whilst MF digital is 'expensively affordable' only to 33mmx44mm or so - much reducing these benefits compared to, say, 6x7 film. 33x44 is nearly double the area for an FF sensor but only about half of 6x7 film.
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bjolester

Link Posted 12/04/2018 - 22:51
HarisF1 wrote:
I was thinking more about the sensor/film size aspect of it so probably geared more towards digital. There's apparently a medium format 'look' to images that people bang on about. Does this 'look' still exist in digital cameras?

I am having more difficulty differentiating between digital sensor formats, than with 35mm film and medium format film. However my experience with this has only background with studying medium format digital images on the Internet, and also a few prints at a local lab. It would be interesting to spend some time with a Pentaz 645Z to experience the larger digital sensor.

I own and use a Pentax 67ii system, and love shoting with the large Pentax. One of the main attractions with this camera is the 6:7 aspect ratio, it makes me compose photos very differently than with the 2:3 aspect ratio found in 35mm film and most DSLR. I wished someone would develop a 6:7 sensor. Imagine a full size (56x70) digital Pentax 67
Bjørn

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richandfleur

Link Posted 13/04/2018 - 07:55
At a simplistic level, all the discussions re APS-C vs FF apply when comparing FF to MF.

johnriley

Link Posted 13/04/2018 - 09:55
It's probably a question of whether or not that jump is significant and what features become important.

Moving from APS-C to MF would be a huge step in quality, but then again also a huge step in size, weight, cost and handling difficulty. To get that quality would mean heavy, solid tripods, slower work and so on.

Moving from APS-C to FF gives significant quality change, but only with careful technique, with a more modest penalty in terms of weight, bulk and cost. Operational speed remains pretty much unchanged apart from frame rates.

Moving from FF to MF I'm not so sure I need now. Maybe if I was shooting studio shots of cars for brochures or landscapes for display in station concourses, but otherwise the extra penalties outlined above might be too much.
Best regards, John

johnha

Link Posted 13/04/2018 - 12:52
I haven't gone FF yet, I have.a bag of P6x7 lenses and the adapter for the 645. Obviously, I'm used to the bulk, weight and limitations of a P6x7 - a 645Z would be smaller, lighter & easier. The K-1 is a compact FF SLR, but those from other manufacturers (with grip & fast standard zoom) aren't much smaller or lighter than my P6x7 with a standard or wide-angle prime. Recent 'mirrorless' MF cameras are smaller still.

As I haven't gone FF (and might not), all options for me are open & interesting. I have long experience shooting MF film in various formats, creating a high bar to beat with a 'cropped' MF sensor. It's not just the results but the process and experience all count at the end of the day - if I'm not excited using the gear I don't put the effort in to get the best out of it.

John.
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Dmihela

Link Posted 24/06/2019 - 21:07
Printing in the traditional bw darkroom is a lot more fun with mf. Magnification factor is lower so you see a brighter image projected onto your easel, and it's easier to inspect negatives. Also the quality of prints is way better than 35ff.
website

johnha

Link Posted 03/07/2019 - 12:38
johnha wrote:
I haven't gone FF yet, I have.a bag of P6x7 lenses and the adapter for the 645...

Update: since posting the above I bought a 645D about a year ago and later bought a K-1. I much prefer the D and apart from travel shoot it more than the K-1. I still have my film MF and shoot it, the 6x7 is such a great camera to use, but scanning is pain and the workflow to get A2 prints from the D is much easier (commercial labs), more convenient and cheaper. You lose the appeal of seeing those big trannies on a lightbox though.
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LennyBloke

Link Posted 03/07/2019 - 12:58
johnha wrote:
johnha wrote:
I haven't gone FF yet, I have.a bag of P6x7 lenses and the adapter for the 645...

Update: since posting the above I bought a 645D about a year ago and later bought a K-1. I much prefer the D and apart from travel shoot it more than the K-1. I still have my film MF and shoot it, the 6x7 is such a great camera to use, but scanning is pain and the workflow to get A2 prints from the D is much easier (commercial labs), more convenient and cheaper. You lose the appeal of seeing those big trannies on a lightbox though.

I'm glad you're enjoying your 'D' John - I have to admit I've been tempted on more than one occasion when I've seen the prices they've dropped to - If I hadn't parted with all my 645 lenses over the last few years I'm sure I would have succumbed

What is your main use for the 'D'? Is it landscape?
LennyBloke

johnha

Link Posted 03/07/2019 - 16:48
Hi LennyBloke, landscape is the best description, not exactly but I don't need an instant review and generally take my time. I'm not the most patient landscape photographer though. Since buying it, Zs have come down in price and the CCD v CMOS argument may come into play. I've been shooting big cameras for decades and prefer MF handling, as such I prefer the D to the K-1. If you're not in a rush, the D is a fabulous camera.
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