Medium Format vs. Full Frame Locked

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Hiphopapotamus Senior Member • Posts: 1,175
Re: Medium Format vs. Full Frame

JohnS59 wrote:

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.


Unless you have optimal lighting and a good light meter (spot metering won't help) slides become difficult to work with. Negatives have surpassed slides in a lot of ways. People no longer demand slides so that they can see their hero shots on a light table, but that's always fun to do (6x9 slides really glow). They don't demand them for enlarging purposes either... No one in the media demands it because they don't really use film, or they use it for purpose few and far between.

Negs have surpassed slides because there has been newer developments, Ektar 100 has a better grain structure than Velvia 50, and then there is the dynamic range. Portra is about the same. The latitude for over and under exposure has changed dramatically. You can basically achieve -3 and +3 stops without any undesirable faults. You try the same with slides and it's +1 and -1 and it's actually really closer to half a stop forcing you to really nail your exposure and make compromises with where you want your highlights and shadows to go.

You can get very large and satisfactory prints from medium format. If you are prinitng for general purposes then unless your like me and simply exploring now you would be better off on price and cost of shooting digital small format as you will get cleaner files...

The compromise with medium format is that you do get grain... Like I said... You're talking more so about 50-60megapixel though before it starts becoming an issue where you're seeing more grain than pixels. But you can achieve 80 to 100 if you're pushing the limits.

My question to you is where on God's earth are you going to put that 80inch print? You're beginning to look at something that isn't hung but screen printed and stuck to the side of a wall with a permanent fixture.

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