Is it worth stepping into the world of Medium Format photography? (film or digital)

Started Feb 27, 2013 | Questions thread
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Re: As a learning exercise ...
In reply to Leswick, Mar 4, 2013

Leswick wrote:


I didn't know where to place this thread/question, so hopefully I could get some assistance here.
I was wondering if it is worth jumping into the world of Medium Format camera. I am an enthusiast who likes to experiment with different cameras and formats. I had a chance to shoot MF film (4x5 specifically) when I was in school, but have not had access to the equipment or a lab since then.
I would like to know where a could place to start would be. I don't mind shooting film if there is a photo lab which processes it well, or as long as I am able to process the film myself (does anyone know of a lab in the NYC area?)

If shooting digital, is it worth the workflow change? I noticed that some digital backs require the camera to be tethered for shooting.
If so, what bodies are available that take both film and digital backs?
Thanks for the assistance!

The beauty about MF is that you can get in relatively inexpensively. You can jump to SLR or you can get twin lens reflex (TLR). MF SLR's (Hassy, RB/RZ or Bronica) will usually start at around $400 for a camera with a single lens. Normally a kit with 2-3 lenses and access. will run over a grand. Sometimes you can hit lucky on CL. There are several models of TLR and the better ones are Rolleiflex, Yashica, Mamiya and Minolta Autocord. The other day I found Yashi 124G in mint condition for $100. Obviously, the digi MF world is way way more expensive. Digi backs are expensive as well. I'm not even including 645...since it's too close to 35mm (FF).

You can shoot 6x6 or 6x7 film and while you're adjusting to the medium, you could copy the negative with your digital camera (even P&S) and reverse it to give you a positive. You can develope the film yourself or have a lab do it...same with printing. They can scan it for a fee, as well. Excellent scan will cost more, but it's worth it if you're going to print large. It takes time to find a place that does everything v. well. Anyway, you can find various labs around NY...and there is one in Rochester and also one in No. Jersey.

I use my FF camera (all in manual) the same way that I'd use 4x5 or MF. I mean, just because you have the capability of 8FPS, it does not mean that this will improve one's quality of keepers.

All you'd need is some reliable light meter and you're on your way.


I haven't considered craigslist, it may be worth a look.

Why would I use TLR over an SLR aside from being able to shoot from the hip (never actually seen a TLR in person)? 
Would you know of any labs closer to city limits? I live borderline L.I. and heading up to Rochester is at least 8 hours.
I'm also not worried about high fps as I most shooting portraits and landscapes. I'm actually not worried about auto focus at all. I was considering this medium so that I could stop and think before I shoot, along with many of the benefits others have started (DR, larger prints, etc).
Any recommendation for light meters?

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"In the Internet age, the bathroom is now the photography studio.In the film age, the bathroom was the developing lab.
And before the film age, I guess it was just the outhouse." - Anonymous

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