one frequently overlooked area is the film itself. 35mm is on a very thick base and there have been rumors that may be true that the emulsion on 120 & 4x5 is different than that of 35mm. so although there are usually pruported resolution increases of 35mm albeit with a smaller image (therefore more grain), there still is the difference of the base
I guess one of the things you'll have to consider is why you bought equipment for 3 formats. There got to be a reason why you started with one, went to next, and then to the third. Was each of the purchasing decision based on a particular need or did you just wanted to give another format a try?
For me, each of purchase was a combination of both.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
There is no such thing as a perfect camera, only the right camera for the right assignment. 80% for 645 and 20% 6x6 for my work. 0% for 35, even I have a Nikon system.
The 35mm negative has just about 8.5 square centimetres of real estate. Cropped to a 4x5 aspect ratio, it is down to about 7.25 square centimetres of real estate.
My Mamiya 645 Pro has an image area of 56mm x 41.5 mm - approximately 23.25 square centimetres of real estate. Cropped to a 2x3 aspect ratio, it is down to about 21.25 square centimetres of real estate.
21.25 vs 8.5 - IMHO, a significant difference.
23.25 vs. 7.25 - IMHO, an even more significant difference.
Size, weight, handling, lens and accessory options and cost factors also factor in to the question. As does the remaining availability of easy colour lab processing for 35mm.
I'm not getting rid of either format. I'm glad to have 6x6 and 6x7 as well .
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
For a lot of people it's probably cost. I started in medium format with a Bronica ETRS because it was all I could afford. Later I bought an RB67.
Originally Posted by tkamiya
I often think that if I could have bought a Bronica SQ instead of the ETRS I wouldn't have bought the RB67 and would have been happy with the 6x6 negative.
My most used camera now is a Rolleicord (bought for £30) so I'm not sure why I spent so much money on other stuff!
"People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.
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The difference in quality delivered between 35 mm and 6x4.5 is huge.
That between 6x4.5 and, say, 6x7 (perhaps surprisingly) rather small.
And it certainly makes sense to use a 6x4.5 camera.
Although most of my film cameras are 35mm, I recently got a Mamiya M645 3 lens kit and am really enjoying using it; I am probably not yet exploiting the full technical potential yet, but for me right now the biggest attraction is the change of pace, working more slowly when shooting a fully manual camera on a tripod. I find it helps clear my head, photographically speaking.
For me, I rarely if ever print beyond 8x10, so I find no appreciable difference between 35 and 645. I do find a significant jump in image quality with a 5x7 or 8x10 contact print, which comes at its own price.
QG: The difference in quality delivered between 35 mm and 6x4.5 is huge.
I love 645 and arrived at that conclusion after a lot of experimentation.
I feel lucky to have gotten serious about photography at the same moment that the whole world dumped their film gear for digital. I have been able to gratuitously sample some of the best equipment offered in 35mm, 645, 6x6, 6x9 and 4x5. While I have kept a camera in each of those formats, I standardized on one format to build a kit: 645.
Shooting 645 with a Bronica ETRSi is definitely a compromise, but in the best possible way. It suits how I like to work. It's the smallest, lightest way to combine: SLR viewing; a waist level finder that is the minimum size I find comfortable (35mm WLF just doesn't work for me); "ideal" format negatives to maximize usable image area in printing or scanning; negs can be printed with smaller and more common enlargers; 645 film offers acceptable detail and tonality (over 35mm which I find lacking); leaf shutters for high speed flash sync; lenses that are typically f/2.8 (fast enough for hand holding and available light and faster than many larger formats offer).
Shooting 645 in the Bronica is clunkier than shooting with a 35mm camera to be sure... the Pentax MZ-S or Nikon F100 provide an extremely elegant experience of shooting. But the ETR is nearly as flexible (lots of lens options, etc.) as 35mm gear and lighter/more convenient than most of the bigger options.
My other camera is a Pentax
There is a good difference between my 8x10 prints of 645 and 35mm film. Therefore 645 are superior.
[ Insert meaningless camera listing here ]