Medium Format vs. Full Frame Locked

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JohnS59 Regular Member • Posts: 314
Re: Medium Format vs. Full Frame

Hiphopapotamus wrote:

JohnS59 wrote:

Macro guy wrote:

thebbqguy wrote:

I like the idea of medium format and I drool over Clyde Butcher's landscapes. The medium format digital cameras are beyond my desired budget, but a used film camera seems like a viable consideration.

To this point I have kept my photography budget purposely conservative and dont see that changing in the near term.

Should I investigate medium format film or hold out for a full frame?

How big are you going to print?

A 50mp digital camera (of any format) can be printed to about the same size, with the same quality as a 6x7 camera. Furthermore, given that practically no one ever prints chemically anymore, your film images are going to be digitized anyway and printed on an inket printer. Therefore, it makes no sense to shoot film if you're looking to get a 20x30 print at 300dpi.

As far as budget is concerned, you can pick up a Sony A7RII, a Canon 5DS r for around $1500.

If you're going to shoot film, you also have to factor in the costs of film and processing. A roll of 120 film, which will produce 10 shots on a 6x7, 12 shots on a 6x6 or 15 shots on a 645 will run you $5. You'll pay another $5-$10 to process, then you'll pay $25 PER FRAME to scan and whatever your printing costs are going to be.

So, when you start factoring in all the hidden costs, the money saved on a film camera doesn't seem as such a bargain anymore.

I am the proud owner of a Pentax 67II analogue system (6x7cm) and a high quality MF filmscanner (no drum scanner though). I also have a Fujifilm APS-C sytem (24 MP). Even APS-C is far better in terms of resolution than is possible with this analogue system and a film like Ilford Pan F. Even when I bypass the scanner and print myself with the Leitz Focomat IIc.

The lenses are not that sharp too, measured to current standards.

I still like the analogue system, especially for B&W architecture, but for landscape I don't see any benefits. And I didn't even talk about FF.

So the best way is to go digital, be it APS-C or FF.


I don't have a lot of recent examples because, actually, I've been off exploring other things with my film shots, so it's a bit random at the moment. But I've been entertaining myself with my film shots rather than other people.

You can still get plenty of sharp shots... It's just going to look like film. It depends if you like the tones and colours of film and the way it reacts differently to colour and light than digital does.

Of course, I'm just recording what film stocks are out there and how they react for my own purposes at the moment, I'm not doing big panoramic landscapes, that's not to say you can't.

Film is always going to have that cinematic, or painters brush look to it. You may not like that, but it's organic, it's using emulsion. That's the very nature of film.

Fuji 400N (yes N to S) expired (2008) Scanned on a Noritsu Koki

Cinestill 800T (Tungsten film) scanned on a Fuji Frontier

Velvia 50 scanned on a Fuji Frontier.

Ektar 100 scanned on a Fuji Frontier

I like those Ektar 100 files and film look! I mostly used Provia 100F slide film in the past and now only B&W. I always found the limited dynamic range of slide film difficult to deal with. Never tried negative. Most people used slide film those days, often Velvia for landscape.

I also think that there are a lot of good reasons to go the analogue route, as you said. Just for fun. Also, you still can get descent resolution and totally satisfactory prints, even very large one.

Only to the point of ultimate resolution and very clean files (no grain) digital has passed analogue MF a long time ago IMHO. That's important for landscape (see OP). Unless you're prepared to go with 4x5" and larger, maybe.


 JohnS59's gear list:JohnS59's gear list
Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 R Fujifilm FinePix X100 Fujifilm X-T1 Fujifilm X-H1 Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +7 more
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