What formats are out there?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by sincere, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. sincere

    sincere TPF Noob!

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    I keep on reading something about medium format but exactly what does this have to with digital photography? What formats are there and what cameras(as an example) have these formats? What format/camera is recommended for wich use?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That term comes from film...

    Back in the day, film used to be big. Photographers would use a sheet of film, several inches wide & tall. We now call that large format. Eventually, smaller film was made, and could easily be put onto rolls. There are several different sizes but typically it's a couple inches wide. This is what we call medium format. Then photographers started to use movie film...which is 35mm. This became the standard for many years.

    When the film gets smaller...you can't get as much detail onto the film....but convenience often rules over quality. Although, many photographers still use medium and large format photography because the the superior quality.

    Now along comes digital. The same principle holds true...a bigger sensor (film) will usually mean better quality. Most small 'digi-cams' have very very small sensors. DSLR cameras have bigger sensors (most are APS-C sized, but some are 'full frame' which is the size of 35mm film). However, there are still people who need or want the quality of a larger sensor...so we have medium format digital cameras...with large sensors. Some of these sensors are made to fit into medium format camera bodies (because the film was loaded into a 'back'...so you can load the digital back the same way). Or they have full-on medium format digital cameras. I think the top 'mass produced' camera is from Hasselblad and is 39 mega pixels.
     
  3. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    And a decent pro's set of cam, lenses and peripherals will set you back half a year salary. Plus you need a juggernaut PC to schlepp those ginormous files around in Photoshop.
     
  4. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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  5. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    Medium format film is 2 1/4" tall (6cm). The width deppends on the camera (some are 6, 7, 8, even 9cm wide). It is roll film just like 35mm film, just not in a cartridge and is over 2x taller. And since it has a larger area taking in the same frame of picture it normally produces a finer picture (deppends on film used).

    Now comes digital. The sensors in the cameras are packes with light sensitive elements we call pixels. Now as technology increases they find more ways of cramming more pixel sensors onto the immage chip. Many believe that the pixels are getting too small and they don't have the quality. So they make a larger immage chip. Say this is the one found in 35mm digital cameras. Most have what is called and aps-c size. Which is smaller than a full 35mm frame used for film. Canon has 2 camera that do have immage chips that is the standard 35mm size.
    Medium format has always been considered a "pro" format. Now digital is moving into their market. Like described above they have digital backs that are almost 3x the best 35mm digital camera. This is because they can use a larger chip without having too small of a pixel. Hence they are supposed to have better quality than the smaller 35mm digitals. But of course they are much more expensive. Mamiya, Hassleblad, and now I believe Pentax all have a medium format out or out soon. They are all in the $15,000 to $30,000 range for just the body price wise.

    They also make digital backs for large format cameras 4"x5" and the like. Again very expensive.
     

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