Medium format photography the old way, is it advisable?

Started Feb 24, 2014 | Questions thread
stevo23 Forum Pro • Posts: 15,299
Re: Medium format photography the old way, is it advisable?

hoakin1981 wrote:

Basically what the title says. I have recently started venturing in the world of film based photography which I find really intriguing. Started with 35mm but apparently the old medium format is the way to go. In this respect "giants" like the Pentax 645 or the Mamiya equivalent seem to be the more suggested options.

I like what I can find online for them and surprisingly their prices are also quite affordable. Almost too good to be true, but not based on the actual item for sale, but mainly because people seem to want to get rid of them. This is what worries me.

Shooting film always had, has and always will I guess have a cost involved even if you do your own developing. Is that it? The cost of rolls/developing or is it something more substantial?

Could be size/weight. Fair enough, they are indeed very substantial size-wise but on the other hand so are the equivalent digital ones. I mean the size of 120mm negative is huge, how can you hope to achieve this with a small SLR body?

You can't achieve it - no matter what people say. I've seen 6x7 transparencies turned into 8 foot images that are stunning.

What have they faced that made them sell all these beautiful pieces of kit and glass for a fraction of their prices?

I'm not so sure it's down that low really. It's still a fairly steep barrier to entry.

I mean why not keep them and shoot a couple of rolls every now and then, there is surely enough satisfaction involved in doing so. I can testify to the same even from my modest old 35mm Pentax MX.

Many did keep their gear, many got pinched by the declining photographer industry and had to sell their assets to pay bills. I've got two close friends who were commercial photographers and both used Hasselblad and Sinar (4x5) in their studios. Now they both do something else and have sold a good bit of their gear. I think each have one Hasselblad and a few lenses left. The Sinars and lenses are gone.

Of course from a hundred different sellers you could get a hundred different reasons but this is not the point. I am not looking for specific reasons, just wondering if there are any pitfalls regarding film based medium photography that I am unaware of.

Thanks in advance.

You will get amazing image quality, especially if you stick to transparencies. And if you do BW, you can develop your own film. Nothing in 35mm really touches the best you can get out of Medium Format. (By best, I mean 6x6 or bigger) But no matter what, you'll spend some bucks on scanning or scanners and/or quite a bit of money on enlargers and other development gear.

I would suggest (personally) looking around for a Mamiya 7 with a lens or two. Amazing results for such a small unit. There are also some old Fuji all-in-one units that are a great bang for your buck.

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