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

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biggles266 Senior Member • Posts: 1,264
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?

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neilt3
neilt3 Senior Member • Posts: 1,720
Re: Will 35mm film be the exact same quality as medium format film cropped to 35mm dimensions?

If your using the same emulsion , a given size piece of film will be the same , providing the quality of the lens is also equal .

So FP4+ in each camera is the same difference .

Just don't load it in a Holga and expect stellar results !

The lens makes the biggest difference , development also has a part to play on the results too .

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Overrank Contributing Member • Posts: 639
Re: Will 35mm film be the exact same quality as medium format film cropped to 35mm dimensions?
3

biggles266 wrote:

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?

My understanding is that the film base for 35mm and 120 is often different  and that there may be differences in emulsion between 120 and 135 versions of the same film.  Whether this is visible I’ve no idea.

neilt3
neilt3 Senior Member • Posts: 1,720
Re: Will 35mm film be the exact same quality as medium format film cropped to 35mm dimensions?

Overrank wrote:

biggles266 wrote:

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?

My understanding is that the film base for 35mm and 120 is often different and that there may be differences in emulsion between 120 and 135 versions of the same film. Whether this is visible I’ve no idea.

The film base is different especially with large format , but that doesn't make any difference to what chemicals are applied to it or the final image .

What films are they that use two different emulsions but the manufacturer calls it the same name in several formats ?

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Overrank Contributing Member • Posts: 639
Re: Will 35mm film be the exact same quality as medium format film cropped to 35mm dimensions?
1

neilt3 wrote:

Overrank wrote:

biggles266 wrote:

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?

My understanding is that the film base for 35mm and 120 is often different and that there may be differences in emulsion between 120 and 135 versions of the same film. Whether this is visible I’ve no idea.

The film base is different especially with large format , but that doesn't make any difference to what chemicals are applied to it or the final image .

What films are they that use two different emulsions but the manufacturer calls it the same name in several formats ?

I believe this was true for tri-x at least

EmmaNems Regular Member • Posts: 225
not always
1

Overrank wrote:

neilt3 wrote:

Overrank wrote:

biggles266 wrote:

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?

My understanding is that the film base for 35mm and 120 is often different and that there may be differences in emulsion between 120 and 135 versions of the same film. Whether this is visible I’ve no idea.

The film base is different especially with large format , but that doesn't make any difference to what chemicals are applied to it or the final image .

What films are they that use two different emulsions but the manufacturer calls it the same name in several formats ?

I believe this was true for tri-x at least

Well, there was Tri-X 400 and 320 available in 120 and they were substantially different and obviously not the same emulsion or speed.

Beyond that, there were, at one time, and maybe still, the same black and white emulsions on different film bases in 135 and 120. I have no idea if this will make a difference in scanning, but it sure can in wet-process printing. In some cases the 135 version's base density was so much greater that it was impossible to get as dense of a paper maximum black with it as you could with 120. There were also some considerable differences in base density between bulk-roll film stock and individually packaged rolls.

DrBormental
DrBormental Forum Member • Posts: 71
No

Are you asking about just the film, or the output of the film+lens combination? If the latter, the answer is probably [1] no.

I scan my 35mm and 120 films at the same resolution and I have quality glass for both systems, and when "pixel peeping" at my scans at 100% zoom, I always get more relative resolution from 35mm and I suspect that's because Leica glass is sharper than my Fuji GF670, even stopped down.

Again, 120 captures more detail simply because it's so much bigger, but comparing identical tiny square patches from the middle of a frame on both films, the 35mm patch looks sharper.

[1] I've been shooting medium format for about a month and only used one lens/camera, what do I know?

SterlingBjorndahl Senior Member • Posts: 2,204
My ancient experience with Plux-X

Overrank wrote:

neilt3 wrote: ...

What films are they that use two different emulsions but the manufacturer calls it the same name in several formats ?

I believe this was true for tri-x at least

I tested this with Plus-X back in the 1970s. Under magnification, the grain structure of 120-sized Plus-X was coarser than 135. The result was that printing a heavily cropped 11x14 from 120 vs 135 resulted in pretty much the same amount of detail before getting lost in the grain. It was quite a disappointment because I had hoped to be able to crop the 120 like a mad fool. I recall digging into the Kodak technical documentation and concluding that the two films were both called "Plus-X" in name and ASA only; the backing and emulsion were different. Densitometry was very close, though, iirc.

Regards,
Sterling
--
Lens Grit

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DenWil
DenWil Veteran Member • Posts: 4,274
Re: Will 35mm film be the exact same quality as medium format film cropped to 35mm dimensions?

I’ve seen videos of film being manufactured and different sizes of film were  all being cut from the same stock. Check one out on YouTube and perhaps they will discuss any differentiation.

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dw

Overrank Contributing Member • Posts: 639
Re: Will 35mm film be the exact same quality as medium format film cropped to 35mm dimensions?
2

DenWil wrote:

I’ve seen videos of film being manufactured and different sizes of film were all being cut from the same stock. Check one out on YouTube and perhaps they will discuss any differentiation.

There was a lot of discussion when Ektachrome came out in 120 format that the different sizes were on different stock

e.g. See https://petapixel.com/2019/01/29/kodak-ektachrome-coming-in-120-and-sheet-formats-this-year/

“Development efforts continue. Additional work is required to resurrect both 120 and sheet formats due to the unique nature of each film support.“

neilt3
neilt3 Senior Member • Posts: 1,720
Re: My ancient experience with Plux-X

SterlingBjorndahl wrote:

Overrank wrote:

neilt3 wrote: ...

What films are they that use two different emulsions but the manufacturer calls it the same name in several formats ?

I believe this was true for tri-x at least

I tested this with Plus-X back in the 1970s. Under magnification, the grain structure of 120-sized Plus-X was coarser than 135. The result was that printing a heavily cropped 11x14 from 120 vs 135 resulted in pretty much the same amount of detail before getting lost in the grain. It was quite a disappointment because I had hoped to be able to crop the 120 like a mad fool. I recall digging into the Kodak technical documentation and concluding that the two films were both called "Plus-X" in name and ASA only; the backing and emulsion were different. Densitometry was very close, though, iirc.

Regards,
Sterling
--
Lens Grit

But what about currently available emulsions ?

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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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Steven Lungley Regular Member • Posts: 115
Re: Will 35mm film be the exact same quality as medium format film cropped to 35mm dimensions?

They don't look the same.

Lenses are designed to have enough sharpness and contrast for the format they are intended to work with. Lenses for 35mm have to resolve more line pairs per millimetre, because the film will be enlarged a greater percentage to make any form of print. Part of the look of medium format film is the beautiful, gradual total gradations. Part of the comes from the lenses not needing to resolve as many line pairs per millimetre to be blown up to the same size print.

Plus, the film bases on 120 is thicker, so it will stay flat over the wider film gate. That results in a more diffuse image when working with an enlarger or scanned file.

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Steven Lungley

DenWil
DenWil Veteran Member • Posts: 4,274
Re: Will 35mm film be the exact same quality as medium format film cropped to 35mm dimensions?

biggles266 wrote:

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?

According to a rep from Harmon / Ilford the base may very but the emulsion characteristics remain the same between sizes. Sorry this is  late ,  they got back to me this morning.

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dw

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