Medium format and when does it really shine?
I have been shooting mostly b & w 35mm and scanning on a Minolta 5400 and printing on a Epson R2400 with decent results. I have always considered buying a Pentax 67 outfit for landscape work but every time I think about spending the money, I back off. I think I will have to buy a new film scanner to work with larger negatives. I can get pretty good results printing up to 12" x 18" depending on subject and film used (trying some EFKE 25 now) yet people talk about the big difference in moving up to medium and larger formats. I don't develop my own film since I barely get time for my hobby. I send my film to a pro lab so the ease of working with larger negatives means nothing to me. I like spending time shooting, printing and working on my images in photoshop. Is there any real difference in image quality for smaller prints sized 8 x 10 comparing 35mm to medium format? I also noticed many people who sell there work here are mostly selling smaller sized prints. Doesn't that make the whole idea of shooting larger formats a waste if your not going to enlarge? What about the costs of mats, paper, frames etc. when your dealing with larger prints? How many people even have the wall space to hang more then a dozen or so larger prints? When is the use of larger formats justified from an image quality point of view? I know 35mm is the most versatile format. Should I even consider other formats if I never go for prints larger then 13" x 19"?
If you are not developing or enlarging in a wet darkroom its gonna be quite an investment. 20X30cm prints from a 6X6 neg shows a lot more detail and sharpness than one from a 35mm. You have approx 4-4.5 times the area of the frame and looking at negs and slides froma a MF camera is just just.... Awesome. Whether it will be the stuff for you I can't decide but the jump in quality is definitely worth it for me. At this time I have no darkroom but I found I couldn't live without a MF camera after selling my Bronica so when I got a good offer on a Pentax 6X7 I took it. I find the P67 a great camera and the lenses will deliver quality negs/slides.
The one downside is the number of frames on a 120 film, 10 against the 36 on 35mm.
Last edited by Soeren; 03-15-2006 at 01:31 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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I think there is a noticeable jump even before you get to really big enlargements, though. There is a certain type of creaminess out of MF that I can't get out of 35mm even at 11x14, which is big but not HUGE.
Also, I have discovered that what I want is high sharpness but low grain. Using an acutance developer with a slow film only goes so far in 35mm. I can go further with MF - the bigger negative lets me use more acutance but without the same cost in grain. This is noticeable at even 8x10.
Go for the Pentax 67. You will love it.
Also, you do know this is a non-digital environment, right?
The only way to know for sure is to find one you can use and try it out. When you see the results you will be convert. You don't have to give up the 35 either.
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There is so much about MF that is mind-blowing that it would take a long time to list all of it. To me, holding that first MF negative was enough - I was 11, it came out of a Lubitel, and I was enchanted. Then you can add all the scientific proof that is simply beyond agument: bigger negative, more information - simple as that. That translates to a number of adventages, from grain to tonality to detail - etc. I don't know much about scanning other than I have never seen results from it that I would like when compared to a real photgraphic print, but I would suggest that unless you find a way to capture the additional information from a MF negative, most of the effect will be lost on you. From what I understand, that means using equipment that is prohibitively expensive - not to mention, out of place on this forum.
I recently had some of my medium format negs scanned (at high res) so my brother could print them at home. He's a digital only guy. Nikon D100, high end epson printer, etc. When he looked at the image from the medium format neg in photoshop, he was blown away by the tonality, and his ability to crop. He said, "This neg goes on and on and on. I can crop 50% and the resolution is still better than a raw image from my d100"
Shoot film. Try and find someone who can print one of your negs on real silver based paper. You'll get hooked. Waaayyy more fun than digital. Trust me on this one, I've used both, and so have many others on this site.
Is there an apehugger near you? Come on people, instead of pushing bigdog away just because he's digitally printing, offer to print one of his negs and bring him over to the dark side....
"I'm still developing"
I think you will find the extra tonality of medium format makes a clearly visible difference even on quite modest enlargements, and the added resolution is certainly visible at 8 x 10 and gets more so with greater size.
As a 67II owner, be aware that they are heavy. I think that if I was doing landscape work and needed to carry gear long distances, I might go for a rangefinder rather than an SLR. They are lighter. They don't suffer from mirror shock and with leaf shutters, have a lot less shutter shock, which makes them more useable at low speeds. That said, I have seen plenty of nice landscapes taken by the 67.
Hi, I'm Dan, and I'm a MFaholic. My old Hassie camera forces me to slow down, work methodically, and since I only have 12 exposures per roll, go for quality rather than blaze away in machine gun mode like it seems I did with 35 mm. As well as being a nonrepentant silverhead, I do have all of the goodies required to make good digital prints: an Epson scanner capable of scanning film at high resolution, Epson R2400 printer, Mac, Photoshop CS. I don't spend that much time with this stuff since I'd rather work in the darkroom. But I would agree with others that negative scans from MF do have more information than 35mm, and the prints are better, though to me the difference is not as great as when making a wet darkroom print from MF vs. 35.
I agree with the above comment to get someone to print one of your MF negatives traditionally and you will be sold on the medium.
Hi, Bigdog, I use both 35mm and M/F about twenty years a go I was using a couple of Nikon F bodies and four Nikon prime lenses, and bought a second hand Yashica 124G . I was shocked that a cheap consumer quality camera could produce results that were so superior to my pro quality Nikon cameras After loading the both the Nikon and Yashica with the same film,( Kodak VPS )in 10"x8" prints processed by a local pro lab, in comparison the colours were purer and stronger, and had better tonality, and sharpness ,I couldn't believe my eyes. I later did the same test with Ektachrome slide film, got the same sort of results, and after projecting the 6X6 slides on a friends projector I was speechless. I don't personally shoot anything bigger than M/F but I know
Originally Posted by bigdog
the bigger the negative the better the photo-technical quality, there's a saying round here that " a good bigu'n is always better than a good little'n "
this is true.
I think you will find the reason that a lot of the prints that APUG members sell that you remark are fairly small is because they are contact prints fron L/F negatives.