I've been thinking of getting into medium format, is it worth it?

Threads like this make me almost want to knock the dust off my 4x5 speed graphic. Almost.

But I might look at some of the 4x5 polaroid film I hear is out there instead of trying to find some sheet film processing tanks. Just for giggles and nostalgia if nothing else.
Threads like this make me almost want to knock the dust off my 4x5 speed graphic. Almost.

But I might look at some of the 4x5 polaroid film I hear is out there instead of trying to find some sheet film processing tanks. Just for giggles and nostalgia if nothing else.
Any chance this crew might help?

Have been shooting 6x6 with my used Rollie T since 1970.
Love 6 x 6.
However, are you thinking of view camera option 4x5?
Have saved a few from e-bay parting out over the years.
Calumet C401 etc. also A Graphic View or two.
As a professional commercial photographer of 45 years you pose an interesting question in these modern times. Over my career I have shot film and moved into digital. In film days 2&1/4 was considered small format. In studio we would use 8X10 sheet film and on location 4X5 for static subjects, Hasselblads for action. I have even shot 11X14 sheet in studio. 35mm was a toss in if the client needed slides for a "slide show". The commercial photographers I know now are almost all shoot only 35mm digital.
In 2005 my business partner and I started our own studio and we decided to not offer film any more going with a Mamiya 645 AFD and a Phase One digital back. So since then most of my work has been on that system. I also can put that digital back onto an Arca Swiss 4X5. I used that some early on but not so much lately. The Mamiya lenses are wickedly sharp. I do have a 35mm camera that I do use often.
I have to agree with some of the other comments. If you process your own film and are ok with the added bulk and expense, then medium format is quite fun. Depending on your subject material but realize action can be difficult. If you decide to go with a square format, like the Hasselblads I used, that adds a whole new dimension to successful image creation. It's fun! A lot different than composing in a rectangle. A good tripod will be a must.
If you go with a more modern medium camera, you can shoot both film and digital. Some of the early digital backs are affordable. Then Photoshop is your darkroom.
Or go cheap and still get good shots...........posted this in another thread about a "cheap" 120 way of shooting.......

Picked up this Voigtlander for 35 bucks, takes 120 and gives a 6x6.


Uncropped shot from cam.

I see stars.

In any case good luck with your search.
I have a Mamiya 645 1000s that I bought in the 80s. I still use it today mainly with Kodak Tri-X 400 B&W film. I develop it myself in HC110 (Ansel Adams recipe) then scan to digital -> LrC or PS -> post or print. If you scan at a high enough resolution, the character of the film is preserved. I like the size of the negative as it captures more detail than 35mm film and is much easier to look at backlit compared to 35mm film. I do sometimes shoot color film (Ektar 100) or slide film. Slide film that size looks magnificent on a light table.

The Mamiya is just plain fun to use. It is completely manual. ISO comes with the film, aperture is selected with an aperture ring on the lens, shutter speed is set by rotating a knob, and focus is set with the lens focus ring looking at a split image prism on a horizontal piece of glass. There is a battery for the electronic shutter. I have a Pentax spot meter (and a Gossen Luna Pro) to help with exposure. You are not going to use a completely manual camera for action shots, but there is a great deal of satisfaction in shooting still scenes like landscapes, architecture, nature, and portraits. You are forced to take your time, which gives time to truly set up the shot worrying about exposure and composition.

Is it worth it? It’s a different creative tool with it’s own aesthetic. You either like it or not. Personally, I really like the results I get compared to the more sterile digital camera images. Digital camera noise is NOT the same as film grain, which gives the images much of their personality. I use Tri-X for it’s grain and it can be pushed to enhance grain. You can buy much finer grain films, like T-max, but then it looks more like digital. Color film has a grain structure, slides not so much, but they still have a different color space than digital. They just seem richer with more texture.
The Mamiya 1000s is my MF camera. So easy, so much fun. When I'm out shooting with it, I wonder why I bother with anything else. Great system.
As with any other hobby decision, cost is the biggest factor. For most hobbies, the more money spent, the easier, faster, and more features you gain.

However, unlike those other hobbies, with medium and large format film photography, spending, more money only, buys a larger negative. In addition, with cut film, i.e., 4x5 and larger, you lose all those automatic features such as auto-focus, light metering, aperture and speed settings and rapid film advance.

While all those tangible features certainly are handy. Some folks find the challenge of doing these things themselves to be the important part of the large format adventure. The price for knowing you made the photograph, not some nameless software guru at the factory, cannot be measure in dollars and cents.

Large negatives, large prints, decent size contact prints are just some of the benefits of large format. Speed and convivence; well not so much.

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