Medium Format vs. Full Frame Locked

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

thebbqguy wrote:

Hiphopapotamus wrote:

Macro guy wrote:

Hiphopapotamus 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.

Umm you start at 4800 or even 7200dpi at the same pixel count and then you downsize to the print you want. Yeah...

You tell me how you're going to print that billboard at high resolution without a film camera without cheating and upscaling? Righto mate... To do the same job you could do at high resolution with film you end up going down to as low as 30dpi in sign printing.

As to lens resolution maybe, but when you consider the sensor size or film plate at 6x7 or 6x9 then it's not even a comparison. Not to APS-C or anything else this side of an A7 III and then you do the math on it, and add up the cost and its still far cheaper to shoot and develop film.

You can get a complete GL690 and lenses for under $500.

The real-world costs of film are about $3 - $4 a shot shooting slow film... You can buy Portra 800 or whatever at cost if you want it, but your gonna have grain coming out of your ears.

I was a late comer to digital. I held out until 2012 because I didn't think that digital was there yet. However, digital came into its own around 10 years ago. My 20x30 inch prints made from my 20mp Canon 5d2 are on par with the same size prints I had made with my Mamiya 645.

So, then what's the point of shooting film, going through the extra step of digitizing it and printing it with an inkjet printer? It just makes no sense. You'll get much cleaner files shooting digital to begin with. Furthermore, at $4 per shot, not including a high res scan is quite expensive. Those dollars will quickly add up to consume any savings you might have had.

If you want to play with an old camera and if you want to play with film development, that's fine, but I would never recommend a film camera to someone on a tight budget or to someone looking to print moderately large.

I think I said, $4 is a cup of coffee... I was born in the 80s, grew up in the 90s and was an adult by the early 2000s so film is my vibe.

It's quite cheap actually if you're on a tight budget you're not gonna go out and buy a ony A7R III. You might get a 5D MK III at this point or even a II which has had about 10,000+ clicks on it, that the shutter or something else could fail on, which they're known to do at that point, particularly if they've had a hard life.

645 is not really medium format, it was kind of the small format of medium format and generally won't produce more than about 20megapixels worth of usable data before you start just enlarging the grain.

690 on the other hand, you will get 50-60megapixel quite easily, and with technical film you can still push that out to 80-100megapixel before you run out of usable resolution. But you're dealing with slow speed black and white at that point such as CMS20 which is designed special purpose for recording architecture, engineering, and archival pictorial photography.

I really enjoy architecture photos printed large a lot. I had some time on my hands yesterday and my mind got to thinking about the possibilities.

I have noticed some increasing local interest in film photography recently and in researching that I discovered the $500 solution to my big print desires (or so I thought).

I follow Clyde Butcher on Instagram and even he has used digital quite a bit in recent years. It is definitely convenient.

I'm kind of a modern day relic I guess. I'm 51 and planted firmly between an appreciation for traditional and fascination with the latest and greatest.

I can afford the digital route suggested in this thread, but my logical side prevents me from jumping in with both feet at this time.

I have really been trying to focus on the actual cost per pixel. If printing smaller sizes, the cost with cheap digital cameras is quite low. But its printing bigger sizes that cause costs to rise significantly.

But I know next to nothing about film.

I got back into film about 5 years ago now. At the time I couldn't afford to upgrade to an A7R II or D850, so I found a $500 solution with medium format on 6x9 with a 50mm lens and a Mamiya Universal that could give me a wide angle camera for that.

In the mean time I found myself more comfortable with what I knew from my childhood than digital and now I shoot almost exclusively on 6x9 and explore the film stock choices I can get my hands on.

Clyde looks like he does some interesting stuff in the vein of Ansel Adams...

I have a fascination for relieving the 1980s and 1990s as that was my childhood and youth.

I could afford to buy an A7 now but I'm not really interested in it.

The cost of printing large with film can be cheap but you have to factor in the issues involved with film today.

A lot of developers now are running whatever they could get their hands on when everyone else sold their gear which means there is a lot of minilab style scanners. Some even have old Konicas (prior to Noritsu) but mostly older Fuji Frontier minilabs.

Here's the conundrum:

You're maxing out at 3600dpi or 4800dpi if you want to go larger than that you have to send it off to specialist labs which are centralised in major cities and film hotspots. You wont know these labs directly and it starts to get really impersonal.

It's like dealing with Dwayne's or whatever... You will never develop a relationship with a high end developer, at best you'll kinda tell them what you want in terms of your settings for your scans and hope for the best.

The big labs are the only ones now who can afford to buy new, high end modern gear. So you kinda sacrifice a bit and get to know your local lab technician who is usually a film enthusiast who has scrounged together enough money to buy a mini lab thats been retired from another lab for their own purposes of self interest because they still shoot film...

Or, you send it off to one of the big, central labs... The days of pro labs that scanned, developed and printed are mostly gone. Most labs now don't even bother to deal with film, you just send them your uncompressed file from your camera and they print digitally.

They usually don't even have the knowledge on how to deal with film anymore so it's all split up. You get your film processed here, send it to the retoucher there and the printer here, and then you get your image... That's if you're doing it professionally.

That's the nature of film today... It's all kinda divisive, and awkward, and chaotic unless of course you're gonna start scanning and printing for yourself. But then even with a V800 you'll be limited to size (6400dpi native) and then if you look at anything more than A3 printers it starts to get expensive also.

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