BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Film-Based Camera Equipment : Large Format Camera

Photography Question 
Ruslan Safin

Large VS Medium Format - Which One?

Hello! So what are the reasons to buy a large format camera instead of a medium format one? Are the only advantages of LF bigger enlargements and perspective control? I have surfed trough the net but found not much on the issue. :)

To love this question, log in above
10/3/2002 2:39:40 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy   The larger the format the more detail and greater tonal gradations you get. The smaller the format the easier it is to handle. Large format cameras are cumbersome and slow to operate. Large format film, since it comes in individual sheets, is suited to the zone system since you develop each frame individually.

To love this comment, log in above
10/3/2002 10:41:14 AM

Ruslan Safin   Hello Jeff! Thanx for the answer! Another 2 questions: what does it mean - "suited to the zone system"? All the rest is quite clear :) and is it possible to handhold it without blurring while shooting?

Good luck!

To love this comment, log in above
10/4/2002 2:57:31 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy   The zone system is a system of exposing, developing, and printing to get the most out of the tonal ranges of film and paper. It was popularized by Ansel Adams. Basically it involves assigning tonal values to scenes and adjusting your exposure, development, and printing to achieve your desired results. Since developing the film is an integral part of the equation it is much easier to achieve when you are developing individual frames rather than whole rolls of film where each image may require unique treatment.

There are LF cameras available that are designed to be hand held at times but as a rule they are best left on tripods and used with shutter cables. MF cameras come in a wider variety of shapes and sizes. Some of the smaller 645 cameras are very easily hand held while some of the larger 6x7 models are a bit more cumbersome. I shoot my MF on a tripod 99% of the time. When I feel I have to handhold I go with my 35mm system.

To love this comment, log in above
10/4/2002 12:40:42 PM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.