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Why Medium Format?

Medium Format  is any camera format that makes use of the 120, 220 or 620 film sizes. Commonly affording photographers with either 10 to 15 shots per roll, so why use it in comparison to 35mm?

 

Advantages of Shooting 35mm:

  • Quantity: 35mm film has more shots per roll with a typical 24 or 36 exposures for most standard films.
  • Weight: 35mm cameras are typically far lighter and portable.
  • Cost: Shooting 35mm is the cheaper option overall – both on the camera themselves and developing/processing/scanning sides. This is very helpful when you’re learning film since it allows you to “test” and “waste” more exposures without the worry of the extra cost.
  • Film availability: There are more film options in the market for 35mm. New and experimental films will usually launch first in 35mm.

 

Disadvantages of 35mm:

  • Resolution: The biggest disadvantage of 35mm film compared to medium format is the resolution. The resolution of film is the amount of detail available on the negative, and since 35mm negatives are so much smaller than 120, there is less resolution.

The most common reason that photographers choose to invest in a medium format camera system is for the purpose of producing very large photographs at a higher resolution than would be able to be achieved with a 35mm film camera.

Medium format offers a 6×4.5, 6×6, 6×7, 6×8 and 6×9 negative. As seen in the chart above this is vastly bigger than a standard 35mm roll.

Advantages of Shooting 120:

  • Medium format “Look”: Since the film is much larger on medium format cameras, you have more real estate to isolate your subject making it far easier to blur your subjects foreground/background – This achieves that beautiful sought after “bokeh”.
  • Professional: Medium format is geared towards more professional applications, Purely because of its greater image quality and its ability to be blown up in the print process. Common applications include weddings, portraits, fashion, etc..
  • Build quality: Medium format cameras were almost all designed for the not so amateur photographer. From the manual control to the actual glass, build, and meter quality,  These have all been designed in a way to allow people to get the most from their film.

Disadvantages of 120:

  • Weight: Cancel that AnyTime Fitness membership because these things will replace your bicep curls. No seriously these things are HEAVY.
  • Quantity of shots: Fewer shots per roll. 120 film can be exposed a variety of ways depending on the camera. Typically you will only get 8-15 shots. Far less than 35mm
  • Cost: Film, Developing and scanning costs can vary, but on average 120 is dearer than 35mm.

 

We thought we would leave you with a little list of our favourite 35mm and medium format cameras that are readily available on our website for you to compare yourself! Because at the end of the day its your choice! Your art is captured the way you want it to be. Happy Shooting!!

35mm

Nikon F2

Canon A-1

Pentax K1000

120mm

Mamiya RZ67

Bronica ETRSi

Hasselblad 500CM

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