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  • Writer's picturedjrobbins

Medium format vs. 35mm format Cameras

Updated: Dec 15, 2019

During the last year Hasselblad and Fuji have brought medium format photography to the masses with cameras, while expensive, are reasonably in reach of more photographers than in the past. Further, these cameras are small enough to be portable and used for photographic efforts beyond the studio. I have been using both the Fuji GFX and the Hasselblad X1D for landscape photography and have found both to be great additions to my arsenal of full-frame and APSC cameras. With the tremendous detail medium format sensors provide, landscape photographers can shoot and edit to their hearts delight. But let’s face it, medium format is not an absolute requirement for landscape photography and I have not had the patience to take either the Hasselblad or Fuji cameras out to the street for candid or documentary photography. Maybe someday, but when the streets call me I generally grab a Leica M10. If you are shooting Canon, Nikon or Sony, or for that matter Fuji X, or any other format camera, you can take great landscape photos capable of stunning imagery that many of us can only dream of. As we all know, the camera does not make the photographer. I have witnessed great photography coming out of toy cameras. A skilled photographer can produce wonderful results no matter the device in their hands. So why have I bothered to take up medium format photography? Simply to play with the latest technology. I am fascinated by the new stuff and struggle to keep up with all that the manufacturers produce on what seems like a monthly basis. This must be the golden age of photography technology, but probably not the golden age of photography in general. While billions of photographs are taken each year, it is hard to find true gems among the noise of minute by minute uploads to instagram, facebook, twitter, flickr, 500px, SmugMug, etc. This only seems to prove the point that greatness only finds itself in the hands of a few. While I see tremendous photographic efforts most days, few rise up to level of the masters of the past. Photography’s current generation seems to trend more toward graphic arts than pure photography. I love playing around in Lightroom and occasionally Photoshop, but I am keenly aware of when I move beyond basic photo editing of a file that came off the sensor to excessive manipulation. Nothing wrong with that at all. I like highly saturated colors that no camera sensor produces (possibly Sony Alpha, maybe?). But in order to get the look I like, saturated reds, greens and blues, or grainy, structured blacks and whites, efforts beyond what a camera sensor natively exports, no matter the format, you have to get into the post processing mind meld. Bottom line, use the camera you have and don’t worry too much about the latest and greatest. I have seen photos beyond anything I can imagine come from old iPhone and Android phones. Having said that, I love working with the new stuff. If I actually kept a P&L on my photographic efforts, I would absolutely be deep into losses. I generate no revenue with my photography, only monetary losses. But, when I drop a new camera body and a few lenses into a backpack and hit the trail looking for that perfect shot I have a feeling of exhilaration that provides all the top line revenue I need to look hard at the next great camera technology.

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