Will 35mm film be the exact same quality as medium format film cropped to 35mm dimensions?

Started 3 months ago | Questions thread
NAwlins Contrarian Veteran Member • Posts: 5,049
Maybe not--two reasons
1

Will 35mm film be the exact same quality as medium format film cropped to 35mm dimensions?

This is probably a silly question, and I assume the answer is yes, but I just want to check, is 35mm film the exact same quality as a larger medium format cropped to 24x36mm? If it's the same brand and ISO of film, then their grain, sharpness and everything is exactly the same? Or is medium format film on the 120 rolls actually different in some fundamental way to 35mm, and that will be visible after it's developed, scanned and looked at closely?

I can think of two differences that may affect the relative quality of 35mm and medium format film, even if you crop the MF to 35mm dimension:

(1) although the emulsions are generally the same, the base often differs. That can affect film flatness, and film flatness plus the slightly different optical properties of the different bases do affect how they print optically or scan. I'm not saying that I'd expect much difference, but this is an obvious, physical source of some difference.

(2) Lenses for medium format are designed to cover a larger area than lenses designed to cover 35mm, and all else being equal (often it's not!), a lens designed to cover a smaller area will perform better per unit of distance / area than will a lens designed to cover a larger area. E.g., assuming otherwise-equal lenses and testing conditions, maybe a lens designed to cover 645 will produce 50+% MTF response out to 50 lp/mm while a lens designed to cover 35mm will produce 50+% MTF response at 65 lp/mm.

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