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120 / 220 film RF's 120 / 220 format rangefinders including Fuji, Koni-Omega, Mamiya Press, Linhof 6x7/6x9 cameras, Mamiya 6/7 among others, but excluding the 120 folders and the Voigtlander 667 cameras that have their own forums.

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From digital straight to MF?
Old 01-09-2018   #1
karateisland
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From digital straight to MF?

I feel a bit guilty asking for more feedback before I've offered anything constructive back to the community, but since the brains in this forum are second to none, I figured what the heck.

Yesterday a photographer friend recommended that, as I jump into film from digital, I skip over 35mm and go straight to medium format.

Here is his reasoning:
  1. The digital camera that I have (X100F) is extremely flexible and capable in a wide variety of situations, and so it works wonderfully as a snapshot and travel camera for my purposes. He thinks I will be disappointed in a 35mm camera because it will be much less flexible and the results will look too similar to my little digital rangefinder.
  2. He says that if I want to be wowed by my film pictures, it’s best to jump to a format that is less similar, ie, 645 or 6x7, and use something like a Mamiya rangefinder or a Plaubel Makina.
  3. If I want to make myself slow down and pay more attention to the process of taking a picture, that can be done with a medium format camera just as well as with a 35mm, or perhaps better since it will take fewer shots per roll.
  4. I don’t have access to a color dark room (yet), and his experience says that MF is easier to work with on a scanner.
Note that I am not printing (as of yet), but am enamored of the special “something” that I see in 6x7 negatives, and even halfway competent scans.

So what do you think of his recommendation? Does it make sense to jump into film photography and supplement a digital with a medium format camera?

I believe I’ve made up my mind, but it was an intriguing idea I've not seen promoted elsewhere, and I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks.
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Old 01-09-2018   #2
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Everything he said is correct. But, I would start w/ 35mm, primarily because it will provide you with an excellent opportunity to see what film is capable of and still be quick and inexpensive to buy into and shoot. You can slow things down all you want w/ any format. If you nail the exposures and use the right film development w/ a great lens, you will be surprised at the difference in image quality with film vs digital.

Personally, I can spot a digital photo from a film shot 99% of the time because film has much greater shadow detail and a more "natural" look. There have been impressive gains in digital imaging over the years, but you are still going up against a film process that has been improved and refined for over a century, and it shows. Just run a roll of properly exposed slide film through a 35mm camera and see the difference in image quality, especially in colour saturation and vibrancy. For B&W, something you can process in the kitchen sink w/o a darkroom, you will see a huge difference in deep blacks and bright whites, the tonal range and separation will be much greater than digital, and for the price of a scanner you can set up an enlarger w/ some trays and make wet prints on fiber that will be far superior to any inkjet print in permanency and quality. B&W is where film really shines against digital, which often gives you a lot of gray w/o the tonal range of film. Plus, B&W film grain can often be beautiful, while digital noise always looks like just what it is, noise.

Once you master 35mm developing, exposure and printing, then you will see a step up in medium format image quality, but you sacrifice things like getting 36 exposures to a roll, your film costs go up (and down w/ film selection), and you lose the speed and flexibility of the smaller and lighter 35mm cameras.
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Old 01-09-2018   #3
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I ditched all MF gear except two vintage folders. If I need few frames, I could always bulk load 16 frames of 135 film.

MF suggestion often comes from technocrats, not photographers. I have seen many. But some photographers made their specific choice for MF. Vivian Maier mostly known for Rolleiflex pictures (but she also used 135 cameras indoors and on travel). Diane Arbus huge prints from Mamyia TLR are impressive.

If you are into photography, you must determine first what is you subject and how you get into it. People like Henry Cartier Bresson, Garry Winogrand, Jane Bown used 135 film cameras as great advantage. Because they were mobile with it. HCB and JB started with MF, but switched to 135 cameras.

MF is about static. If you like to photograph static objects and classic portrait (square, still and in the middle) is your forte it is MF. If you like 6x7 scans, you will need to like to work out to haul the beast (6x7 camera) .

This is where technocrats would prefers MF:


This is where MF sucks
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Old 01-09-2018   #4
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^^^ Ko.Fe.

Well put!!
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Old 01-09-2018   #5
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I'd agree with everyone so far, start with 35mm.

As noted above, it's cheaper , has it's own benefits of portability, greater focal length choice , easier to hand-hold , more photos before roll change needed, wider film choice etc.
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Old 01-09-2018   #6
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If you want to start straight in with medium format, go for it.
It's an itch you're going to scratch and getting a 35mm camera is only going to be a step towards that medium format you want.
That said, find something with a good fixed lens like one of the Fujis and learn the camera plus the medium. Yes, there are more available film stocks in 35mm but the limitation of what is available in 120 is not something to care about, really. If you want to work in black and white, get a pro pack of Tri-X. If you want to do color, get Ektar. You can't lose with either of those emulsions. And they aren't really that much more expensive, especially considering you will be more contemplative with your 120 shooting until you get the hang of it and really comfortable. You'll take fewer photos but your ratio of keepers will be greater, so it's not more expensive per-shot when you consider you will most likely be making better photos with a much larger negative.
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Old 01-09-2018   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
Personally, I can spot a digital photo from a film shot 99% of the time because film has much greater shadow detail and a more "natural" look. There have been impressive gains in digital imaging over the years, but you are still going up against a film process that has been improved and refined for over a century, and it shows. Just run a roll of properly exposed slide film through a 35mm camera and see the difference in image quality, especially in colour saturation and vibrancy. For B&W, something you can process in the kitchen sink w/o a darkroom, you will see a huge difference in deep blacks and bright whites, the tonal range and separation will be much greater than digital, and for the price of a scanner you can set up an enlarger w/ some trays and make wet prints on fiber that will be far superior to any inkjet print in permanency and quality. B&W is where film really shines against digital, which often gives you a lot of gray w/o the tonal range of film. Plus, B&W film grain can often be beautiful, while digital noise always looks like just what it is, noise.
I shoot both film and digital. Keep in mind that the above quote is highly subjective. You might come to different conclusions.
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Old 01-09-2018   #8
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Unless you have a desire to use a particular small-format film camera, there's not a great deal you can do with 35mm film that you can't do with digital. At least a 645-or-larger negative will give you a distinctly different look.

I'd say stick with your digital cameras for small-format work and enjoy film in medium- or larger format, as God intended.
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Old 01-09-2018   #9
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I'm in the go for it camp, mostly because I did. That said, KoFe's assessment is spot on. I have a hasselblad 500C and a Mamiya RZ67. The Hassy is awkward to carry around and the Mamiya is near impossible. However, the results from either are amazing. I was disappointed with the results from 35mm vs digital.

Last edited by Darthfeeble : 01-09-2018 at 08:15. Reason: added more.
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Old 01-09-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karateisland View Post
Yesterday a photographer friend recommended that, as I jump into film from digital, I skip over 35mm and go straight to medium format.
I really do not think there is a path for digital photographers who want to jump into film.

Feel free to jump into medium format, small format, or large format.


Film Formats by Narsuitus, on Flickr
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Old 01-09-2018   #11
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I totally recommend MF. Digital cameras are so good now that 35mm is now an enjoyable activity rather than a means to high quality. MF cameras also come in a wide array of types: TLR, RF, folders, SLR, etc. An enjoyable activity and lots of quality, and quite affordable, on average. I have always had much more fun with MF.
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Old 01-09-2018   #12
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My personal favorite medium format film/small format digital combo is the Fuji GW670III medium format rangefinder and the Fuji X-Pro1 digital mirrorless.


Fuji GW670III & Fuji X-Pro1 by Narsuitus, on Flickr
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Old 01-09-2018   #13
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My personal favorite small format film/small format digital combo is the Leica M6 35mm film rangefinder and the Fuji X-Pro1 digital mirrorless.


Leica M6 & Fuji X-Pro1 by Narsuitus, on Flickr
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Old 01-09-2018   #14
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Given that in High School, I used to shoot sports with a 4x5 Speed Graphic, I don't buy the notion that medium format is only for static subjects. I also used to shoot a Mamiya 645 at the motorcycle races once in college...

But I'll agree that 35mm cameras are better suited for fast action work most of the time.

If you want to get into medium format, you can't go very far wrong with a good condition Rolleiflex TLR or Hasselblad 500CM. Good lenses, reliable operation, etc ... Don't worry so much about what you can't shoot with them, think more about you can shoot with them. Which is a lot. Prices are so low for these cameras these days it's not like you're going to lose your shirt if they end up not working for you.

Medium format does have its constraints. With only 120 film being available now, really, square format cameras get 12 shots on a roll. So they will make you more choosey about when you press the shutter release. The bigger film format is generally much easier to handle in processing and definitely scans better.

35mm film quality is pretty much eclipsed by today's 16 to 24 Mpixel cameras. Get into that if you just love shooting 35mm film ...
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Old 01-09-2018   #15
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My opinion...go for it. MF is not pricey, certainly by comparison with Leica. The Mamiya 6 & 7 are moderate in size & fast in use. Not only for static subjects. Any medium format negatives 6x6,6x7,6x8,6x9 are immeasurably easier to work with in the darkroom if that's where you're headed. Check out Adam Jahiel's stunning cowboy photography done with a Mamiya 6. adamjahiel.com.
I've used a variety form Pentax 67, Mamiya RB, various Fuji GW rangefinders. Most of my work now is done with a Rolleiflex. Light, fast, great glass & utterly reliable
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Old 01-09-2018   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karateisland View Post
I feel a bit guilty asking for more feedback before I've offered anything constructive back to the community, but since the brains in this forum are second to none, I figured what the heck.

Yesterday a photographer friend recommended that, as I jump into film from digital, I skip over 35mm and go straight to medium format.

Here is his reasoning:
  1. The digital camera that I have (X100F) is extremely flexible and capable in a wide variety of situations, and so it works wonderfully as a snapshot and travel camera for my purposes. He thinks I will be disappointed in a 35mm camera because it will be much less flexible and the results will look too similar to my little digital rangefinder.
  2. He says that if I want to be wowed by my film pictures, it’s best to jump to a format that is less similar, ie, 645 or 6x7, and use something like a Mamiya rangefinder or a Plaubel Makina.
  3. If I want to make myself slow down and pay more attention to the process of taking a picture, that can be done with a medium format camera just as well as with a 35mm, or perhaps better since it will take fewer shots per roll.
  4. I don’t have access to a color dark room (yet), and his experience says that MF is easier to work with on a scanner.
Note that I am not printing (as of yet), but am enamored of the special “something” that I see in 6x7 negatives, and even halfway competent scans.

So what do you think of his recommendation? Does it make sense to jump into film photography and supplement a digital with a medium format camera?

I believe I’ve made up my mind, but it was an intriguing idea I've not seen promoted elsewhere, and I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks.
I don't agree that a 35mm camera will be less flexible than the digital you have. There are so many bodies, lenses and film combinations available that simply cannot be so. 35mm, especially negative film may give you a more pleasant "look," but only you can determine that. Notice I didn't say better; that is too subjunctive.

BTW I don't use digital except for a 6MP P&S my daughters bought me several years ago. It still does P&S quite well with its 6MP thank you.

But I tend to still like film. I learned to use it a long time ago, and I am comfortable with it and the results it provides me. The lesson there for you is that is what you need to look for; what pleases you.

35mm cameras, RF or SLR, are relatively inexpensive. So is film. And there are different types of film, b/w, color negative, and color slide. There are old folder MF cameras that return really nice results, such as the Nettars or Weltas, and many others. Experiment for yourself. Start with whatever format you think you will most likely enjoy. Then try the other.

There is nothing wrong with 35mm if you use it correctly and wisely. Unless you are looking for 20 by 24 feet prints. Of course if that is the case, even MF isn't going to help much.
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Old 01-09-2018   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karateisland View Post

Here is his reasoning:[list=1]
He thinks I will be disappointed in a 35mm camera because it will be much less flexible and the results will look too similar to my little digital rangefinder.
Nope. 35mm (or any) film looks nothing like digital. That statement kinda eliminates his opinions.
Take a look at Michael Bialecki's Zeiss ZM thread. Gorgeous and 100% film.


Quote:
Originally Posted by karateisland View Post

Here is his reasoning:
  1. He says that if I want to be wowed by my film pictures, it’s best to jump to a format that is less similar, ie, 645 or 6x7, and use something like a Mamiya rangefinder or a Plaubel Makina.

  1. To be wowed you first need a wow subject. It will then be wow on 35mm, and more wow on MF.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by karateisland View Post
  2. If I want to make myself slow down and pay more attention to the process of taking a picture, that can be done with a medium format camera just as well as with a 35mm, or perhaps better since it will take fewer shots per roll.
  3. Believe me, with 12/24/36 exp per roll on 35mm, you will be slowed down!
    It will also make film more affordable as you can experiment more. The cost of developing/scanning is the same whether you shoot 12 or 36.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by karateisland View Post
  4. I don’t have access to a color dark room (yet), and his experience says that MF is easier to work with on a scanner.
Quote:
Originally Posted by karateisland View Post
Note that I am not printing (as of yet), but am enamored of the special “something” that I see in 6x7 negatives, and even halfway competent scans.
If you have a digital camera, you can scan the film w/o buying a separate scanner. Plenty of threads on that.

Check out Michael's 35mm film thread here. It's inspiring:

https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...d.php?t=155622
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Old 01-09-2018   #18
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Color or B&W primarily?

Ironically I think medium format black and white and digital are actually closer to one another look wise (smoother, less crunchy, flatter curve) than digital is to 35mm black and white. For black and white I prefer 35mm film but I really like the crunchy Tri-X in Rodinal sort of look.

In color, I think medium format has an advantage. I personally can't get the look of 120 Portra in digital. There is something about the feel of it that is just lost in digital.

This sounds like a heart thing rather than a head thing. I would say grab a cheaper point of entry to medium format like a TLR and have fun with it for awhile. TLR have the advantage of being lighter and cheaper if you aren't obsessed with high end Rollei's. A Yashica Mat or a Rolleicord V will both take great photos.

If you're into it, look for a Mamiya 6 or 7 (depending on the format you like). Nothing touches my Mamiya 7 for color in my mind but I don't use it as much as I'd like because I've become addicted to the convenience of digital and the look of my M9 has it's own charms in color. I don't miss scanning.
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Old 01-09-2018   #19
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Unless you have a desire to use a particular small-format film camera, there's not a great deal you can do with 35mm film that you can't do with digital. At least a 645-or-larger negative will give you a distinctly different look.

I'd say stick with your digital cameras for small-format work and enjoy film in medium- or larger format, as God intended.
This is what I am doing; SWC and Rolleiflex TLR for film and M8 & M9 for digital.
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Old 01-09-2018   #20
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Would someone with applicable experience comment on the image quality of scanning MF on an Epson V850 or equivalent (i.e. 2300 actual resolution) and a full frame digital image?
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Old 01-09-2018   #21
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I've scanned 120 with an epson v600 with very satisfactory results.

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Old 01-09-2018   #22
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I know that you can get "satisfactory" results, but how does it compare to an original full frame digital image. I'm thinking of print sizes up to 16x20 or perhaps 20x30.
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Old 01-09-2018   #23
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Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
I know that you can get "satisfactory" results, but how does it compare to an original full frame digital image. I'm thinking of print sizes up to 16x20 or perhaps 20x30.
An "original full frame digital image" from what camera and lens? What format medium format are you referring two, what film, processed how, etc etc...? And what kind of skills have you got with film scanning and digital image rendering from film scans?

I'm trying to indicate that there are a whole lot of variables to nail down before attempting to make such a comparison. After 23+ years of scanning film formats from Minox to 4x5 with a huge range of scanners, and learning how to render them, I'd say that the difference in "quality" is purely an aesthetic one. A film negative has a different look and feel than a digital capture, quite independent of its "quality", so a well captured and rendered FF exposure can compete head to head with a well captured, scanned, and rendered MF image depending on what you're looking to compare them by.

Done right, you should be able to hang same size prints from either without anyone knowing which is which. Some people will assert that "they can always tell" but in all the time I've been hanging shows and selling prints, what camera and capture medium was used has never been an issue that I spent any time explaining.

Except on photographic equipment forums like this one, of course.
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Old 01-09-2018   #24
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My takeaway here is that everyone has their own preferences, and I won't learn my own unless I start somewhere. I want a 35mm rangefinder and a MF camera. I'll pick one and, no matter what, will learn a lot. That's very encouraging. Thanks for the great advice, everyone!
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Old 01-09-2018   #25
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I use mostly 6x6 for film. I like the square and the look of medium format b+w.
35mm gives you a chance to learn film with more flexibilty.
Exposure Bracketing is very easy with 35mm and, every accomplished film photographer has gone through a phase of bracketing to ...better understand how to expose for the way you want the image to look.
35mm can also give a dirty... grainy edge to your images.
It’s one reason I still use it at all.
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Old 01-09-2018   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karateisland View Post
My takeaway here is that everyone has their own preferences, and I won't learn my own unless I start somewhere. I want a 35mm rangefinder and a MF camera. I'll pick one and, no matter what, will learn a lot. That's very encouraging. Thanks for the great advice, everyone!
That's pretty much it. 35mm, MF, Large format film, they all look different, it's almost like 3 separate hobbies. Just have fun and do what you like, in any order. I don't think any one of those looks like it's digital equivalent, (though there is no digital LF equivalent), though some here obviously do.
You'll never know unless you go, that's the main thing.
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Old 01-09-2018   #27
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i wouldn’t bother getting a 35mm rangefinder since you have the x100f. i’d just spend the extra cash on all the other knick-knacks you’ll need for medium format. getting into film is not just buying a film camera with a lens.
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Old 01-09-2018   #28
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Unless you get darkroom equipment set up permanently to take extra care of developing MF film yourself, the whole exercise is a wasted effort.

Once I was cut off from doing developing and printing myself in a pro darkroom, I got a crisis every second time I got negatives back from development, fingerprints, dust, scratches. Just forget about it.

It wasn't until I got a Monochrom that my interest in b&w photography was sparked again and being no expert wizard in pp image manipulation, I can easily achieve results that I would never be able to get out of a darkroom. And prints up to 24x36" (yes, inches) are stunning, ... I haven't tried to print any bigger yet. If you do a couple of things right (use a yellow filter, max out the exposure by using the histogram, shoot wide open and use short shutter speed) then you'll be able to achieve MF results in more convenient package. You have to slow down yourself, not choosing a camera/equipment to do it for you.
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Old 01-09-2018   #29
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An "original full frame digital image" from what camera and lens? What format medium format are you referring two, what film, processed how, etc etc...? And what kind of skills have you got with film scanning and digital image rendering from film scans?

I'm trying to indicate that there are a whole lot of variables to nail down before attempting to make such a comparison. After 23+ years of scanning film formats from Minox to 4x5 with a huge range of scanners, and learning how to render them, I'd say that the difference in "quality" is purely an aesthetic one. A film negative has a different look and feel than a digital capture, quite independent of its "quality", so a well captured and rendered FF exposure can compete head to head with a well captured, scanned, and rendered MF image depending on what you're looking to compare them by.

Done right, you should be able to hang same size prints from either without anyone knowing which is which. Some people will assert that "they can always tell" but in all the time I've been hanging shows and selling prints, what camera and capture medium was used has never been an issue that I spent any time explaining.

Except on photographic equipment forums like this one, of course.
I didn't want to get too far in the weeds with the comparison. The reason I asked is that the OP is going to be scanning his images, and I was interested in whether by digitizing his MF negatives, he was giving up the advantages of MF film over full frame digital. I was looking for a general answer. I know I was disappointed with the quality of 6x prints from V700 scans of 35mm B&W film, for example. A 6x print of a 6x6 negative is roughly 13.5" square. If I were shooting more MF film, I would want a dedicated MF film scanner, which is not inexpensive. Using MF film is just one piece of the equation.
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Old 01-09-2018   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karateisland View Post
I feel a bit guilty asking for more feedback before I've offered anything constructive back to the community, but since the brains in this forum are second to none, I figured what the heck.

Yesterday a photographer friend recommended that, as I jump into film from digital, I skip over 35mm and go straight to medium format.

Here is his reasoning:
  1. The digital camera that I have (X100F) is extremely flexible and capable in a wide variety of situations, and so it works wonderfully as a snapshot and travel camera for my purposes. He thinks I will be disappointed in a 35mm camera because it will be much less flexible and the results will look too similar to my little digital rangefinder.
  2. He says that if I want to be wowed by my film pictures, it’s best to jump to a format that is less similar, ie, 645 or 6x7, and use something like a Mamiya rangefinder or a Plaubel Makina.
  3. If I want to make myself slow down and pay more attention to the process of taking a picture, that can be done with a medium format camera just as well as with a 35mm, or perhaps better since it will take fewer shots per roll.
  4. I don’t have access to a color dark room (yet), and his experience says that MF is easier to work with on a scanner.
Note that I am not printing (as of yet), but am enamored of the special “something” that I see in 6x7 negatives, and even halfway competent scans.

So what do you think of his recommendation? Does it make sense to jump into film photography and supplement a digital with a medium format camera?

I believe I’ve made up my mind, but it was an intriguing idea I've not seen promoted elsewhere, and I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks.
I think it's important to subtract all of the "film is better than digital/digital is better than film" debate and argument out of this question. If you want to shoot film because you're firmly on the film is better side of that then the following are largely secondary considerations. If you want to shoot film because you think film is fun or you're going for a classic look (35 tri-x in d-76 or in rodinal or in diafine or in whatever developer gives you the particular look you're hunting for) then think about these:

What is the camera you want to use. If you want a Leica M rangefinder then you will be shooting in 35mm and that's that's that. This is not a trivial consideration. Those of us who take pictures spend a lot of time taking pictures and therefore a lot of time with camera in hand and the camera is the thing we look at the world through so choices made by the camera manufacturer matter. They matter in lots of ways -- what we actually see (a rangefinder window is different than the view through the pentaprism/screen of a Nikon F, which is different from the view through the ground glass of a rolleiflex) and they matter as to how quickly we make an image (an F3 with a motor drive is faster than a Hasselblad -- but so too is a Rolleiflex). I don't really agree with people who say medium format is only for static subjects. There are fast medium format systems and slow medium format systems. There are also slow 35mm systems. The fastest 35 mm cameras (Nikon F6 for example) are faster than the fastest MF cameras (and also it's easier to get more shots per roll) but there's a middle range with lots of overlap and the notion that you can use a Rolleiflex or a Pentax 67 or a Mamiya 6 or MF Fuji rangefinder only on static subjects is just ridiculous.

Image quality is not a meaningful phrase in itself. The image is ultimately an aesthetic judgment and you need to think about what appeals to you. Do you like the look of film grain? Maybe 35mm or even half frame or submini cameras are what you should be thinking about! Are you looking for extended tonal range? Maybe skip the 35 and MF and charge right into large format.

The point of all of this is to say think about the things that are driving you toward using film, try to put into words what those are. Is it the satisfaction of using a particular camera? The fun you might have exploring the physics and chemistry of film processes? The aesthetic qualities of particular images you've seen taken with film? If the last what precise qualities appeal to you?

Once you stop thinking about better/worse as some abstract quality spectrum that can be thought about independently of your specific tastes you can start thinking about the choice in a sensible way.
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Old 01-09-2018   #31
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Good luck with your quest, let us know how you get on
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Old 01-09-2018   #32
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Nobody said this was going to be easy. Lot of people (including me) come at it from different directions.
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Old 01-09-2018   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
I didn't want to get too far in the weeds with the comparison. The reason I asked is that the OP is going to be scanning his images, and I was interested in whether by digitizing his MF negatives, he was giving up the advantages of MF film over full frame digital. I was looking for a general answer. I know I was disappointed with the quality of 6x prints from V700 scans of 35mm B&W film, for example.
That begs the question: "What do you perceive to be the advantages of MF film over (a modern) FF digital capture?"

Flatbed scanners are not the best film scanners. I had the V700 and found it to be only so-so with 35mm film. It was only able to achieve between 2300 and 2900 real PPI, so the output file at best @2900 is about an 11 Mpixel image with all the issues of scanning film to deal with. A dedicated Nikon Coolscan V ED produces far better output with a true 4000 ppi.

On the other hand, switch to 6x6 and that same V700 at 2900 ppi produces a 41 Mpixel image that's got much more to work with. I've produced very satisfying 20x20 prints from such scans, and larger is easy if you use some sizing tricks.

My Leica SL or M-D are 24 Mpixel, FF cameras. Without the noise of film emulsion and grain, I can make good clean prints at lower printing PPI and achieve very very clean 17x25 printed area photos from them. With the same tricks as above, I can get up to about half again that size.

So if its print size you're after, it's pretty much a toss up between MF film and a 24mpixel or better FF camera, as long as your lenses are good and the image you're printing is good calibre. Other qualities of a print are more an aesthetic choice, as I said before.

For 13x13 sized prints from MF negatives, I eschew the scanner entirely and use a copy camera technique to capture the 6x6 negative. This nets a max 16 MPixel image from the SL which prints beautifully at 300 ppi to 13x13 size. Faster, cleaner, and more manipulable ... and all the character of the original 6x6 camera to boot if you do it right.
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Old 01-09-2018   #34
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Saying a medium format camera is a technocrats thing in a forum as gear driven as this one is pretty laughable.

Trust me, there's far more technocrats hanging over rangefinders here than there are over medium format. I wouldn't say people like Helmut Newton, Vivian Mayer or Trent Parke were/are technocrats because they shoot MF.

And Ko.Fe's example of what a medium format camera 'sucks at' is really no statement about the camera or the format, sorry.


I shoot this and it's neither big or heavy.
It's a Horseman 842 Convertible with a 6x7 film magazine and a 62mm Topcon lens. It can do 6x9 too. They're not even that expensive on eBay any more, seems most people forgot about them and shell out for a Linhof or Alpa or the likes.


That camera is easy to shoot and load, and gets me results like this:
Which was shot on expired Portra400VC and can be scanned to a 60MP file covering 40x50 inches in print.

Oh, and I don't think the above statement on quality etc is 'technocratic' at all because I believe that all photographers should eventually relate their shooting to printing. Because that's just about the only thing that distinguishes us from the cameraphone masses...
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Old 01-09-2018   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
That begs the question: "What do you perceive to be the advantages of MF film over (a modern) FF digital capture?"

Flatbed scanners are not the best film scanners. I had the V700 and found it to be only so-so with 35mm film. It was only able to achieve between 2300 and 2900 real PPI, so the output file at best @2900 is about an 11 Mpixel image with all the issues of scanning film to deal with. A dedicated Nikon Coolscan V ED produces far better output with a true 4000 ppi.

On the other hand, switch to 6x6 and that same V700 at 2900 ppi produces a 41 Mpixel image that's got much more to work with. I've produced very satisfying 20x20 prints from such scans, and larger is easy if you use some sizing tricks.

My Leica SL or M-D are 24 Mpixel, FF cameras. Without the noise of film emulsion and grain, I can make good clean prints at lower printing PPI and achieve very very clean 17x25 printed area photos from them. With the same tricks as above, I can get up to about half again that size.

So if its print size you're after, it's pretty much a toss up between MF film and a 24mpixel or better FF camera, as long as your lenses are good and the image you're printing is good calibre. Other qualities of a print are more an aesthetic choice, as I said before.

For 13x13 sized prints from MF negatives, I eschew the scanner entirely and use a copy camera technique to capture the 6x6 negative. This nets a max 16 MPixel image from the SL which prints beautifully at 300 ppi to 13x13 size. Faster, cleaner, and more manipulable ... and all the character of the original 6x6 camera to boot if you do it right.
That's the kind of information I was looking for. Thanks.
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Old 01-10-2018   #36
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In my view, if you want to use a complete analog photography workflow, it makes sense to skip 135 format film and start with medium-format media. Large negatives/transparencies are better negatives/transparencies.

The advantages for a MF hybrid workflow are well-described above.

You wrote, "If I want to make myself slow down and pay more attention to the process of taking a picture, that can be done with a medium format camera just as well as with a 35mm, or perhaps better since it will take fewer shots per roll."

I think this a a worthy goal. But you can accomplish this with any camera. The media format and media are irrelevant. Just pretend the camera you happen to be using is a MF analog camera. Think of this as if you were an actor. Imagine you are playing the role of a deliberate, thoughtful photographer.
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Old 01-10-2018   #37
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Once I sold a lens to a fellow who came to pick it up and over coffee told me he took only one 4Gb SD-card with his Leica M8 when going on a 2-week holiday. The limited amount of memory space made him think about if the shot was worth taking, before taking it.

Willy's right, it can be done with any camera, as long as you're aware there is a choice at all

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Old 01-10-2018   #38
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Coming from film, I still use digital in the same way. One shot of any given subject. I don't bracket or try it a million times.

I try to pre-visualize or failing that often pick up the camera and look through the viewfinder and put it down without shooting even thought there's virtually no cost.

I like to think of it as pre-editing. This works for me. Others might learn from trying things a lot of different ways and figuring out what works that way. I probably screwed up a lot when I first starting shooting (film) and have internalized that now.

Film gave me a discipline that I've taken to digital. While it could translate the other way, I don't think it's a given.
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Old 01-10-2018   #39
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I consider 35mm a bit of a dead end these days, so I'd recommend you leap into medium format. You don't even have to spend a lot of money to get good results.
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Old 01-10-2018   #40
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Do not know about high iso or if important, but at nominal iso 35mm film is not better. You would be lucky to tie.

Medium format film, probably only slightly better.

I would suggest Nikon D800/850 will be better than film smaller 4x5. Should you decide to go LF, buy decent , not some 1960 camera and lens.

There is a reason 35mm is displacing MF and LF today even for pro use.

Always consider making panoramas. I have seen beautiful panos from Leica M8 at 20 x 30.
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