Medium Format Photography

Although 35mm (small format) photography is what most people may imagine when we talk about photography sans iPhone. Medium format is the next step up in film formats and it offers many advantages just as a larger sensor would in one of those digital things. However, with increased film size and thus a proportionately larger and better image size, one should expect a higher resolution in images - especially those that are enlarged. You will notice that I do not acquiesce 100%, because I am old enough to appreciate that there can be exceptions. I have seen and in fact handcrafted enlargements from small format negatives that look stunning from such a small piece of film. But in general, medium format produces better quality images.

Medium format cameras are not too highly priced if you are not specifically looking for a Rollei or Hasselblad. These cameras are considered a very high class in the medium format milieu, but if your budget permits, by all means, these are worth considering. Regardless of cost, your first priority should be what medium format variation fits your style of photography. Although medium format film is roughly 6cm wide, it does have flexibility where the length is concerned in exposure frame sizes such as 6x4.5, 6x6 (most popular), 6x7, 6x9, up to 6x17 panorama. The film is sold in rolls called 120 which produces 12 6x6 images, more for smaller lengths and less for longer length exposure frames.
Once processed the negatives or transparencies really outshine the smaller 35mm format especially when viewed on a light table or projected in a special medium format projector. As well, the content is much easier to see on contact sheets. It is a great way to enjoy photography if you’ve outgrown 35mm or just want something a bit bigger, but don’t want to go down the expensive and technical avenue of large format.


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