With the ever rising demand for high resolution images, is there a possibility that the new mid-sized digital sensor bridges the gap between high resolution DLSR’s that are currently on the market and the large format cinema?
Medium Format is a technique that has for a long time been used to refer to a format where film is used in cameras and equipment for use in still photography. In essence, the term medium format refers to film and digital cameras that use a media larger than 24mm by 36mm but smaller than 4 inches by 5 inches to record images.
When it comes to digital photography, medium format applies either to cameras adapted for medium format film photography use or the cameras which use sensors larger than a film frame of 35mm. Medium format film cameras have and are still in preference due to their ability to be converted to digital cameras by way of being retrofitted with digital camera backs, although some of the digital backs use sensors which are smaller than a film frame of 35mm. As at 2013, sensors for use in medium format digital photography could be found in 40.3mm by 53.7mm size. These sensors have 60 million pixels which are compatible for use with the professional medium format cameras which are commonly available.
Over time, medium format film has transitioned from being the widely used film size to something for use by professional photographers and amateur photographers. However, it is still to a larger extent the most widely used format in comparison with the large format. The main disadvantage of the medium format is the price; it is quite an expensive option of photography as medium format digital cameras retail at very high prices.
Why do professional photographers prefer Medium Format?
The major advantage of this type of photography is that due to the film’s large size and the digital sensor which is 6X larger than 35mm, one can produce high resolution images. The implication of the larger images produced by the camera is that it provides an allowance for bigger enlargements and a smooth gradation without the characteristic blur found in enlarged images taken by small film formats. In addition, the enlarged film size afforded by the medium format films is the enhanced control of the field depth of an image which translates to increased photo creativity.
Nevertheless, the medium format in comparison to the small format film has a couple of drawbacks. The major disadvantages are price and accessibility. 35mm cameras, film and photo processing services are cheaply and widely available while the medium format cameras and film are more expensive and their photo processing services are scarcely available. The medium format services are usually found in a few professional photo shops and they are often considerably expensive to process.
Currently, Hasselblad are the major providers of medium format cameras and film. However, the most recent development in photography is Fuji-film’s research into production of digital medium format sensors for use in digital cameras. The implication of this venture is that the market will be flooded with an array of options for digital cameras. Consequently, professional photographers and amateur photographers will be able to produce high resolution images a lot more easily. Although, Hasselblad will have a new competitor, one can only wait to see the impact of this strategy on the market share and the price of the cameras. Either way, it won’t be such a bad thigh for the buyer as it can only mean more options!
Garima Mehta writes for Spectrum Photographic – professional photographic & giclée printing.