One of the best reasons to shoot film today is the increasingly popular medium format. Generally, medium format refers to film and digital cameras that capture images on film or digital sensors larger than 24x36mm (full-frame, used in 35mm photography), but smaller than 4x5 inches (large-format photography). Below, we’ve outlined some of the major differences when comparing medium format vs. 35mm.
Developed in the 1920s by Oskar Barnack, 35mm is still one of the world’s most popular film formats. 35mm gets its name from the total width of 135 film, which for years was the format’s primary medium. In digital photography, the format is also commonly referred to as “FF” or “small format”, so as to distinguish it from medium and large formats. The chief advantage of 35mm is its portability; larger format cameras are heavier and are tend to be more difficult to set up. Indeed, the 35mm format is convenient and easy to use, but many amateur photographers never consider other formats that may be more appropriate for their work.
While medium format digital cameras, also called “digital backs”, can cost tens of thousands of dollars, shooting medium format in film is much more reasonable. Once the most widely used film size, medium format now occupies a niche in the photography world, adored by professionals and amateurs alike for its distinctive, true-to-life quality.
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