I want medium format!

Started Aug 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
Joseph S Wisniewski Forum Pro • Posts: 34,136
born out of pure ignorance.

Cailean Gallimore wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

Joseph S Wisniewski wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

When I was young, we had medium roll film cameras like Yashica, Rolliflex and Mamiya. They weren't versatile, but the negatives were big and you could really blow them up. Then my dad got a Pentax Spotmatic and we were forever stuck in 35mm because 35mm was "good enough" (reminds you of another discussion?). Medium format was eventually the domain of pros.

Certain pros: mostly wedding shooters. Fashion drifted all over: some liked 35mm for the maneuverability. Product looked at medium format as "sometimes good enough" and a time and money saver over "doing it right" with a 4x5 or 8x10.

By far, the largest medium format market, whether you're talking the 70s, the 80s, 90s, 00s, or 10s, has been students and hobbyists. Everyone had them back when I was in school. And many of my students had them right into the 10s. The RB67 probably being the most popular.

Huh - I never would have guessed. Thanks for the info! But that actually bolsters my point, right? It was amateurs before, it still can be!

It's easy to beat the image quality. The only thing hard to beat about film is the entry cost. Used 6x7, you can be shooting for $500, about the price of APS digital.

I know. I'm really thinking about it now. I could get a good film scanner and a useable MF film system and have a blast I think.

Because it won't sell well. The X series is the X series because of liveview. There are no medium format liveview sensors. Without liveview, you either require a large SLR body or you're limited to the focal length range of a rangefinder. The medium format SLR market is beyond saturated, even with most of the makers going out of business. The rangefinder market isn't even tenable in 35mm (Leica had to add liveview and an EVF to keep afloat).

Medium format isn't merely dead, it's really, really, really dead.

Is it really dead? Or is film just still used there a lot?

All of the photographers I associate with shoot film and digital - not so much 35mm, but MF and LF. Not only are they shooting it, they're also selling what they create. Talk about film and Medium Format being 'dead' is born out of pure ignorance.

Well, something is.

How much do you know about the sensor industry? I'll bet that you're ignorant of the fact that the current owners of the old Kodak and DALSA sensor operations are getting ready to phase out sensor sales to customers as small as Phase One and Leica, killing off the medium format digital market at the source. Think it can't happen? It's exactly what happened to the 4x5 scan back industry. Ask Mike over at Better Light.

Those companies produce what the aerospace and document handling industries want, and if a big enough customer in another industry comes along, they "repurpose" parts. The document handling industry has already changed over to small sensors, and the aerospace customers have moved to designs that don't adapt to civilian photography.

Large format film is going the same way. As the film market continues to shrink, the remaining film companies coat smaller and smaller master rolls. When they start coating 70mm directly instead of cutting it from 8 inch masters, there goes the 8x10 film supply. When they switch to coating 35mm, the medium format supply will go. Fuji dropped four large format emulsions so far in 2013.

If you've got no film and you've got no sensors, you can't shoot what you haven't got. Pretty simple, really.

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Rahon Klavanian 1912-2008.
Armenian genocide survivor, amazing cook, scrabble master, and loving grandmother. You will be missed.
Ciao! Joseph

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