Medium Format experiences?

Started Sep 8, 2012 | Discussions thread
(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 4,734
Lots of experience (continuing)

My first camera that wasn't a view camera (my brother gave me a 5x7 view camera when I was first showing interest in photography... because he's a sadist...) was a Yashica-D TLR. I've loved waist level finders ever since, they let you connect with your subject in a way that you can't when you've got your face jammed behind a camera.

Always had MF bodies around when I shot film. They are a lot slower to work with, in many ways, but all that real estate on the transparencies produced stunning enlargements like you never could with 35mm.

My last medium format was a set of Bronica bodies, film backs, and lenses, including their incredible macro lens. Medium format is dirt cheap if you want to shoot film, I think I got $100 each for some of the more rare Bronica lenses I owned when I sold off the gear. You can pick up Hasselblad film bodies, backs, and lenses for a song. If I'd had Hassies instead of Bronicas, I'd have bought or rented an MF back, but none of them integrated well with Bronica.

I still shoot MF when I have something worth the cost and effort for personal work, or if a customer wants it. I rent - not enough need to own one, and I now have a Nikon D800e which objectively, in 60x40 prints, outmatches 24 to 30mp backs, and in many cases 40mp backs. Of course, there are now 80mp backs... and the dynamic range of most MF backs is better than the Nikon.

If you're interested, I'd suggest picking up a film body, a couple film backs, and a couple of lenses, and see how you like the pace and handling. You can get a nice starter setup used for less than the new 12-35 Panasonic lens...

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