35 vs 120 -- contradictions!

Discussion in 'Photography' started by tony, Jul 14, 2003.

  1. tony

    tony Guest

    On Medium format and 35 mm film...

    i always hear things like:
    "Serious photographers shoot medium format (or larger)"
    "Landscapes? dont even THINK about it with 35mm"

    a few years back i ran into an "old coot" in a used camera
    shop... i was THIS close to shelling out good money because
    i was led to believe that i just HAD to have a medium
    format camera. he talked me out of it and i've since come
    to learn that myself.

    let me clarify: i'm talking about prints ~ 8x10
    side by side i've always been very hardpressed to
    spot the medium format.

    to be honest, i've gotten prints twice the size (16x20)
    from 35mm films that display that same "jewel-like"
    quality in larger films.

    is there something i'm missing?
    does shooting medium format inherently mean i'm going
    to print wall sized posters?
    tony, Jul 14, 2003
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  2. If you can't tell the difference between 35mm and larger format in an
    8x10 or larger, someone's not doing a very good job of photography with
    the large format camera.
    Randall Ainsworth, Jul 14, 2003
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  3. tony

    tony Guest

    If you can't tell the difference between 35mm and larger format in an
    my intent was to keep the discussion at 8x10 and smaller.

    point being: if one never plans to go bigger, is there
    a justification for the cost?
    tony, Jul 14, 2003
  4. tony

    Jeremy Guest

    x-no-archive: yes

    Tell us what camera bodies and lenses you are using. Also, do you use a
    Jeremy, Jul 14, 2003
  5. tony

    Paul Brecht Guest

    Larger film will look sweeter at lower magnifications as well...

    Paul Brecht, Jul 15, 2003
  6. And also what film and what enlarger lens. A good medium format enlarger
    lens is pretty expensive, but if you try to print medium format without a
    wide field flat field corrected lens, the results will be disappointing.
    Larry Caldwell, Jul 15, 2003
  7. tony

    John O. Guest

    I can't believe that is all you've got to say.
    John O., Jul 15, 2003
  8. tony

    Frederick Guest

    Medium format will also give you a larger negative. Thus making it
    easier to touch up the negative instead of having to do it with each
    print you make, or scanning it and editing digitally.

    Medium format also show the flaws, so you need to be more percise when
    shooting. 35mm is more forgiving.

    As for the comment about pros using medium format or above, that
    depends on the pro. If you are talking about landscape photographers
    you are most likely correct. I don't know EVERY pro doing this sort of
    work, but large format does give the best landscapes from what I am
    told (never tried). Wedding Pros use medium format a lot (not
    exclusively though). Do you watch sports? Take a look at the "Pros" on
    the sidelines shooting a football game. They use 35mm.

    Now I know these are very different photographic subjects, but that is
    my point. Not EVERY pro shoots with medium format and above. It is
    possible to get some nice landscapes with 35mm if you don't want to
    blow it up larger than I would say 20x30. From what I was told medium
    or large format would be a bit crisper than 35mm. It is just a
    preference thing.

    Well, that is my 2 cents.

    Frederick, Jul 15, 2003
  9. tony

    Jeremy Guest

    x-no-archive: yes
    I have a TLR that shoots 120 film, and I rarely use it. I don't sell my
    photos, and typically have 5x7s printed. I've made only 2 8x10s in the last
    2 years.

    For me, 35mm is clearly a superior format. Small size, many different films
    to choose from, I own 12 prime lenses for my 35mm bodies, and I have been
    playing around with my 2 P&S cameras, an Olympus Infinity Stylus and a Nikon
    one-touch 140. Very convenient to have a camera at hand without having to
    carry around all those extra lenses, filters, etc.

    Obviously, my objectives are not the same as a pro's, but I am finding that,
    the simpler my setup, the more images I create. I suspect that I am not the
    only person that has, over time, become more focused on the equipment than
    on getting images. That Nikon 38-140 P&S, despite its limitations, is
    empowering too.

    No one, except the least-demanding of us--can be satisfied by a single
    format. Sometimes one feels like travelling light--other times one wants
    all the accessories.

    "Decisions, decisions . . . !"
    Jeremy, Jul 15, 2003
  10. Yeah, I think everybody has a Yashicamat or equivalent somewhere. I only
    use mine for photographing large groups of people and once in a while for
    art shots.
    People are discarding their film cameras. I picked up a nice little
    Pentax auto focus 35mm at Salvation Army last week for $3.50 (a PC-333).
    I just load it with 200 film and pitch it in the car, so no matter where
    I go I always have a camera with me.

    For general photography, I have switched to an Olympus C-720, a 3
    megapixel 8x zoom. With a 128 meg card, I can shoot 168 frames without
    reloading, and can selectively delete the duds if I get short on space.
    The optical zoom provides the equivalent of about a 28-225 zoom with
    macro on a 35mm. It is not a shirt pocket camera, but fits in a small
    bag and provides a lot of versatility.
    My other "new" camera is The Brick. It is a 1950 vintage Argus C-3 35mm
    rangefinder camera with a 50mm f/3.5 Cintar lens in near mint condition.
    It has obviously never been out of its leather handi-case. That one cost
    me $12 at a local second hand shop. I think I'm going to keep it loaded
    with B&W and act like I am shooting 1950s snapshots. It will also be
    more reliable than any of my battery cameras in cold weather.
    That's why photography is such a fun hobby. I have been scanning a
    collection of snapshots from 1970s and 1980s Rennaisance Faires. Once
    the project is done, I will be able to distribute a whole collection of
    interesting historic photos for pennies. Last Christmas I scanned over a
    century's worth of family photos and sent CDs to all my relatives. In
    most cases, that was the first time any of them had owned photos of their
    grandparents or great grandparents. As Christmas gifts, they were a big
    Larry Caldwell, Jul 15, 2003
  11. tony

    M. Strobel Guest

    It's perfectly okay if you say 35mm is enough for you. 6x6 and larger
    was reigning when a small format camera came out - the leica. They said
    35mm movie film is enough, no need for 120.

    But on 120 film there IS more detail. If you are only doing small
    prints, there is still the advantage of very much cropping without
    losing quality.

    M. Strobel, Jul 15, 2003
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