DJ72

Is it worth thinking about a medium format camera?

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Years ago I was pretty well forced to move to medium format so that art directors could push the resulting transparencies around on a lightbox and visualise what they might do with the images without getting out a lupe and peering into a 35mm slide. They were mostly travel brochures and the clients almost never got any real benefit out of the bigger bit of film. But I can still feel the ache in my shoulders from hauling that Pentax 67 + lenses around. I even went down ski slopes with that kit! Towards the end of my wintersports work, I used a ski-bob which I found handy. Considerable piss-taking from those who knew that I could ski fairly competently.

 

Unless you are doing really high end commissioned work, there is no point even contemplating medium format. Alamy clients will not see your monstrous bit of kit, so no browny points to be gained there. Full frame 35mm digital? even that is probably overkill. APS-c is a lot bigger than your 1" Sony and there are bargains available. 

Edited by Robert M Estall

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes thanks Robert. That pretty much confirms it for me, your comment regarding the sensor. I have pondered the mirrorless option, but then I am still not 100% I really want to go down the multiple lens avenue (I know a lot of people think this is a great advantage and I'm sure it is, but I am not a pro (I'm not even bothered if I sell anything in Alamy) and I dont feel like I am missing much with the modest zoom of my RX100, or that I would be at a great disadvantage with a fixed lens such as that which comes with the x100f / t.

 

But you have all pretty much put me off even thinking any more about medium format so for that I thank you for giving me that clarity.

 

I put a bid on  Fuji x100t yesterday in ebay but was outbit (I think it went for around £550 in the end). So for  £850 I can get a brand new x100f...

 

Thank you again to everyone for their valued insights.

 

DJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The bigger the sensor the better IQ

The lower ISO the better... the better camera the better quality/ISO

The better the lens, the better IQ

The higher image sensor, the higher controle over DOF...

etc...

 

and I hope that ultimatly the photographer makes the difference?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of things to note. The Fuji X100 series cameras have leaf shutters so they sync with flash at any speed. If you tend to use fill flash a lot that point is important and if not it's irrelevant. Also, some reviewers have noted that its 23mm lens isn't quite the equal of either of the f/1.4 or f/2 interchangeable lenses (although it's close; see fujivsfuji.com and opticallimits.com). The f/2 "Fujicron" lenses are extraordinarily sharp, very small, fast focusing and moderately priced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/6/2018 at 16:06, Robert M Estall said:

 Full frame 35mm digital? even that is probably overkill.

 

How so?  I would contend FF is the perfect format for any type of photography, especially stock where quality is crucial.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 10/03/2018 at 12:46, Colblimp said:

FF is the perfect format for any type of photography

 

I'd have to question the broadness of that statement. Smaller formats can be better for

 Candid street photography

 Opportunistic photography (always having a camera with you)

 Travel photography where portability is important

 Cost conscious photography

 Potentially even stock photography on Alamy where most usages are small format?

 

Mark

 

Edited by M.Chapman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I was really comfortable with my trusty Canon F1s in the days of film (I must have been keen, I had 5 at one point) but I'm not sure full frame is often necessary these days. If someone made a nice compact mirrorless  full frame camera I might very well be interested but as far as I know they are all quite a bit bigger than my neat little APS-c sized Pentax K5. I've never liked people spotting me as a serious photographer. It just creates problems. There's no reason why a simple full frame mirrorless without expensive bells and whistles couldn't be made at a reasonable price but I'm not holding my breath. The nearest thing is the bigger brother to my K-5 is the K-1 also by Pentax and the price is not too bad, but the limited line of lenses are really expensive. And it comes with a big heavy prism with flapping mirror viewing system. Given their history in film cameras, Fuji is probably the one to watch. They used to make a neat little 4.5 x 6 cm, still got one of the wide angle ones stashed away. A digital version of that would be great!

Edited by Robert M Estall

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The Sony A7 series bodies are very small and light, about the same as a Fuji XT1/2, but full frame lenses will generally be 1.5 times the size/weight of the APPS-C lenses with the same angle of view, particularly as regards telephoto zooms.
P.S., Robert, I was using a K-5 before switching to Fuji X. One of the reasons was not being able to get the Fresnel in exactly the right position for correct focus despite several attempts at shimming it, both before and after replacing it with a KatzEye. (Actually, my wife did that as I'm much too ham handed for that kind of thing.) Now, using image on the sensor, close focusing is much less of a problem.

Edited by DDoug
add p.s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 07/03/2018 at 15:56, DJ72 said:

Yes thanks Robert. That pretty much confirms it for me, your comment regarding the sensor. I have pondered the mirrorless option, but then I am still not 100% I really want to go down the multiple lens avenue (I know a lot of people think this is a great advantage and I'm sure it is, but I am not a pro (I'm not even bothered if I sell anything in Alamy) and I dont feel like I am missing much with the modest zoom of my RX100, or that I would be at a great disadvantage with a fixed lens such as that which comes with the x100f / t.

 

But you have all pretty much put me off even thinking any more about medium format so for that I thank you for giving me that clarity.

 

I put a bid on  Fuji x100t yesterday in ebay but was outbit (I think it went for around £550 in the end). So for  £850 I can get a brand new x100f...

 

Thank you again to everyone for their valued insights.

 

DJ

I use a mirrorless Panasonic LUMIX G7. I have three Panasonic lenses (but not the kit lens) (12-35, 35-100, 100-300). Lightweight, cheaper than a full frame. I know very little about cameras but these have served me well so far. If you don’t want to carry a load of heavy equipment around, take a look at mirrorless options.

Edited by Sally
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Sally,

Sorry to hi jack the thread.

I have just bought the G7 and I am having problems with making the lens (45-150mm) auto focus.

The manual is a nightmare and just wondered if you had a quick solution.

 

Thanks

 

Janet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/04/2018 at 15:19, Janet said:

Hi Sally,

Sorry to hi jack the thread.

I have just bought the G7 and I am having problems with making the lens (45-150mm) auto focus.

The manual is a nightmare and just wondered if you had a quick solution.

 

Thanks

 

Janet

I see you’ve sorted your problem (in another thread). Just returned from a trip to Chile. I was on a catamaran in Torres del Paine, standing next to a photographer who had a massive Canon, and large tripod handing off his backpack, and god knows how much other stuff. Saw him later on after walking miles up into Vallee de Frances, and he looked beat, and wasn’t even taking photos at that point. As he was with a group, there was no way he would have had time to set up the tripod anyway, so I doubt he used it. I was very glad of my lightweight gear. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your images are very interesting, David, and your work does not look like that of a gear head . . . but here you are ready to jump from the tiny Sony RX100/3 to medium format. A bridge waaay too far, in my opinion. Take two aspirin and call me in the morning. 

 

Edo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Ed Rooney said:

Your images are very interesting, David, and your work does not look like that of a gear head . . . but here you are ready to jump from the tiny Sony RX100/3 to medium format. A bridge waaay too far, in my opinion. Take two aspirin and call me in the morning. 

 

Edo

 

I think he really meant full frame DSLR, not medium format, although the highest megapixel FF DSLRs from Nikon and Canon are effectively medium format in all but name.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, I bet you're right, Michael. I've been moving in the opposite direction -- sold all my Nikons, including the D700, and now I shoot happily with three Sony mirrorless systems: a6000, RX10, and RX100-3. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Sally said:

I see you’ve sorted your problem (in another thread). Just returned from a trip to Chile. I was on a catamaran in Torres del Paine, standing next to a photographer who had a massive Canon, and large tripod handing off his backpack, and god knows how much other stuff. Saw him later on after walking miles up into Vallee de Frances, and he looked beat, and wasn’t even taking photos at that point. As he was with a group, there was no way he would have had time to set up the tripod anyway, so I doubt he used it. I was very glad of my lightweight gear. 

I tried to take in the San Diego zoo with my Nikon D300, monopod and a sling bag with a few lenses once. Bad back caused me to have to quit shortly after starting. Gear just absolutely too heavy.  I was very distressed at missing those animals.

I carried my RX100 mk3 and Fuji X-T1 all over St. Croix island years later, my back in worse shape,  and was fine. And I never needed a monopod which I used mainly to support the weight of the Nikon camera and heavy lens.

Betty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a great zoo, Betty. It take more than a day to experience it fully. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DJ,

 

I really do not think a MF is the right tool for you.  If you want a lot more bang for your buck

look at a refurbished NIKON D800 or 810, they are pretty cheap these days and you can do

a lot with 7360 X

 

Chuck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I reckon that if you have to ask whether you need a medium format camera you almost certainly don't! If you have the experience to use MF effectively then you will know if what you shoot will benefit from the larger, more expensive format and whether you have clients who will notice the difference. As Chuck suggests the money saved will buy a lot of lenses, travel and training which are likely to be a much better return on investment.

Edited by Martin P Wilson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, MDM said:

 

I think he really meant full frame DSLR, not medium format, although the highest megapixel FF DSLRs from Nikon and Canon are effectively medium format in all but name.

 

Thinking a bit more on this, Michael, I feel the need to voice a protest:

 

The term "medium format" always meant 6x6 or 6x7 -- the Rolli, Hasselblad film cameras. Why can't we be clear when discussing digital by saying "full frame" or "FF"? 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ed Rooney said:

 

Thinking a bit more on this, Michael, I feel the need to voice a protest:

 

The term "medium format" always meant 6x6 or 6x7 -- the Rolli, Hasselblad film cameras. Why can't we be clear when discussing digital by saying "full frame" or "FF"? 

 

 

Well they shrunk the format in digital medium format.

 

Medium format

Film            mm

 

6x4.5        42x56         

6x6            56x56

6x7            56x67

6x8            56x76

6x9            56x84

6x12         56x116        

6x17         56x162

6x24         56x224

        

Digital        mm

 

Leica S                         30x45

Phase One P40        33x44

Hasselblad X1D       33x44

Pentax 645D             33x44

Sinar H6                      35x46

Mamiya ZD                36x48

Leaf Aptus                 36x48

Hasselblad H3D       37x49

Phase One P45        37x49

Leaf AF                        36x56

Leaf Credo                 40x54

Phase One IQ180    40x54

 

(most numbers rounded off)

 

Let's just say anything bigger than full format 24x36mm is medium format.

 

wim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ed Rooney said:

 

Thinking a bit more on this, Michael, I feel the need to voice a protest:

 

The term "medium format" always meant 6x6 or 6x7 -- the Rolli, Hasselblad film cameras. Why can't we be clear when discussing digital by saying "full frame" or "FF"? 

 

 

Because there are digital Medium format cameras on the market. Very expensive but they exist.

 

Allan

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Ed Rooney said:

 

Thinking a bit more on this, Michael, I feel the need to voice a protest:

 

The term "medium format" always meant 6x6 or 6x7 -- the Rolli, Hasselblad film cameras. Why can't we be clear when discussing digital by saying "full frame" or "FF"? 

 

 

35 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

 

Let's just say anything bigger than full format 24x36mm is medium format.

 

wim

 

33 minutes ago, Allan Bell said:

 

Because there are digital Medium format cameras on the market. Very expensive but they exist.

 

Allan

 

 

 

I think this is all about terminology really. As far as I know, full frame has come to mean a sensor size of 36x24 (same as a 35mm SLR). However there is huge variation in the MP size from the 12MP of the D700 to the 45.x of the D850 as a Nikon example.

 

As Wim says, medium format for digital appears to mean anything larger than 24x36mm and there are  medium format cameras of around 50MP so not much more than the D850. One of the Canon DSLRs is 50MP. 

 

As Allan says, most of the so-called medium format cameras appear to cost a small or medium-sized fortune (the Phase Ones and the Hassleblads for sure). At the lower end we have Fuji and a Pentax 645. I have never even looked at any of these. All I know is that the Nikon D850 is cheap in comparison to any of them and is a truly amazing piece of kit.

 

 

 

Edited by MDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, MDM said:

As Wim says, medium format for digital appears to mean anything larger than 24x36mm and there are  medium format cameras of around 50MP so not much more than the D850. One of the Canon DSLRs is 50MP.

 

Megapixel count is one thing. Nyquist and pixel density another.

As with everything in photography, it's a constant juggle between all factors that produce a good (enough) solution for the task (or commission) at hand.

A lot of those factors can be translated into signal to noise problems.

And in the end there's cost: will a solution be economically viable?

 

On a technical level there's a sweet spot: smaller sensors and low pixel counts are forgiving, but too low and too small will demand very good post skills to produce acceptable images in an acceptable size..

Large sensors and high pixel counts,as they will expose every flaw, will demand really good (read expensive) lenses and impeccable shooting technique to produce better images in bigger sizes.

 

There's only one way to find out in which category one may fall, or be able to fit in: try it; learn; practice; learn some more and practice some more. This is usually called school. ;-)

 

wim

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

 

Megapixel count is one thing. Nyquist and pixel density another.

As with everything in photography, it's a constant juggle between all factors that produce a good (enough) solution for the task (or commission) at hand.

A lot of those factors can be translated into signal to noise problems.

And in the end there's cost: will a solution be economically viable?

 

On a technical level there's a sweet spot: smaller sensors and low pixel counts are forgiving, but too low and too small will demand very good post skills to produce acceptable images in an acceptable size..

Large sensors and high pixel counts,as they will expose every flaw, will demand really good (read expensive) lenses and impeccable shooting technique to produce better images in bigger sizes.

 

There's only one way to find out in which category one may fall, or be able to fit in: try it; learn; practice; learn some more and practice some more. This is usually called school. ;-)

 

wim

 

 

I'm at school again then and loving it (this time around). The D850 is magical - combines many of the features of the high end Nikons (e.g. autofocus abilities, high frame rates) with the amazing image quality of the high MP D810. Certainly not just a schoolboy's toy - a new wonder of the world (IMO).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

IMHO, I'd opt for a full frame camera if you are planning to shoot architecture.

 

In my experience, either a full frame DSLR or one of the Sony A7/A7r models with a couple of good prime lenses will start you off on the right track. I just got the A7rii after using the Nikon D700 for years, and would recommend either a full frame Nikon or Sony for the work you enjoy. There are several good prime wide angle choices for the Sony full frame (FE) mount and you could get a camera and a few lenses for far less than a medium format and with something like the A7rii you'll have photos you can blow up really huge. You could also buy a used Nikon D700 or 750 and start with the 20mm f/2/8 prime and it will blow away anything you're used to shooting.  IMHO, a full frame camera will let you take advantage of wide angle lenses better than an APS-C sensor, you can get better bokeh and just the feel somehow ... I shot with both a D700 and a D5100 (as a lighter backup camera) for years and for architecture always fell back on the D700 (its 12MP blew away the D5100's 16MP,  pixel count isn't everything, though having a 42MP Sony is a truly amazing experience and yes, you need good lenses).

 

When I sold my Nikons, I opted for a Sony because as much as I love my Olympus mirrorless (OMD E-1), I didn't want to be without a full frame option. I also opted for the A7rii because it is amazing in low light. I researched a lot of the Sonys and the low light capacity of that one (and some others, can't recall which at the moment) was the deciding factor for me. If you are shooting indoors or at night, you might not always have a tripod, and even when you do, it's great to have a camera that gives you such a clean photo.

 

I know the D750 and D850 blow away the D700 so if you're going the DSLR route, I'd grab one of them.

 

Opting for a full frame DSLR or mirrorless camera over a medium format also means you're not stuck using a tripod most of the time and can branch out to any kind of photography, since it sounds like you are just starting out. Good luck.

Edited by Marianne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now