Essentials: The Compact Medium Format Film Photographer

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Essentials is a series where we round up specially curated kits for different photographers in different situations. Other items could surely be substituted, but these are what we personally recommend.

When you think about most medium format cameras out there, it’s often possible for people to consider the fact that they’re all really large. Granted, the newer digital cameras are changing that, but most of the medium format film cameras have always been very large. The exceptions were the rangefinders. Indeed, some of these are very expensive, but others are pretty affordable overall. And if you’re looking to keep your kit compact overall, then know that it’s pretty simple to do.

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Understanding the Fujifilm GFX 50S and the Medium Format Mentality

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It’s no secret: lots of photographers are drooling over the idea of shooting with the Fujifilm GFX 50S medium format camera. The idea of owning something bigger than full frame 35mm (though not even the size of true digital 645) is something that is bound to attract a whole lot of photographers. Then consider the fact that everyone and their mother is a photographer these days. Everyone will want a medium format camera because they’re becoming more and more affordable. Though for what it’s worth, I’m very positive that not everyone understands medium format.

In fact, you may honestly want to stick with 35mm, APS-C, or even Four Thirds.

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Those Cool Medium Format Viewfinder Photos: Not as Simple as You’d Think

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Everyone loves looking at all those really cool photos and videos showing off exactly what a medium format viewfinder of some sort shows off. For the most part though, they’re a lot harder than you’d think to pull off effectively. Many photographers simply tend to use Photoshop or Lightroom to brighten up that specific area that you see within the viewfinder. Part of this has to do with the lighting in the area and another part has to do with just what type of camera you’re using.

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Do You Know How a Lens Bellows Works?

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Many modern camera lenses focus by moving the elements inside of the lens. But not all lenses focused like that. Modern large format and some medium format cameras focus with the use of a lens bellows. Part of this is because otherwise the lens itself would be huge. In today’s tutorial video, we show you all about focusing a camera with a lens bellows, the problems around them, etc. We don’t get into everything, but for the person looking to go big with medium format or large format, all this is great information to know.

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First Impressions: Fujifilm GFX 50s Medium Format Mirrorless Camera

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For a few minutes at Photokina 2016, I was able to personally fondle the hottest camera announced at the show: the Fujifilm GFX 50s. This is a medium format camera targeted at the full frame 35mm camera user and is the second medium format mirrorless camera in the digital market. Oddly enough though, it isn’t designed to resemble a Mamiya 7 II or anything else from the film days despite the retro aesthetics. A number of jounalists and I were taken through a presentation where we were introduced to the team who worked on the camera’s design and specifications. Fujifilm’s intention here is to find a way to appeal to professional photographers and high end enthusiasts without competing in the pool filled with sharks that produce full frame 35mm sensor cameras.

So far: they seem to have the world’s attention.

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How Much Bigger is the Sensor in the Fujifilm GFX 50S vs Full Frame?

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At Photokina 2016, the medium format Fujifilm GFX 50S camera was announced. It features a medium format sensor that is larger than full frame 35mm sensors, but isn’t larger than full frame 645 format sensors. To see just how large they all are in comparison, we put them all in a comparison chart together. In truth, it’s really not much larger; but it is indeed larger than full frame and effectively targets the photographers that want something more.

In Digital Photography, The New 645 Format is Even Smaller

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If the trends in medium format photography have been any indication at all, then the idea of getting a truly large 645 medium format sensor is something to truly aspire to, but what most professional photographers may never accomplish. Years ago, back when film was king in photography, the 645 medium format size was something of a joke in some circles of photography. In photojournalism, it was a format valued for its smaller size yet larger negative than what 35mm film offered. Many professionals tended to want to reach for the 6×7 format instead. At this size, the photographer got a larger negative yet still retained a manageable size to work with. Photojournalistic applications tended to favor the 645 format.

But today, it sincerely seems like we’ve got what I’d like to call a new 645 format in some ways. At least that’s what Photokina 2016 makes it seem like.

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The Medium Format Fujifilm GFX 50S has a 51.4MP Sensor

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At Photokina 2016, Fujifilm announced their new system called the Fujifilm GFX: their medium format camera system that has been long rumored. The new system sports a sensor size of 43.8 x 32.9mm; and the camera is being touted as something that is meant to be above full frame camera systems. This is being called the G format sensor and is 1.7x larger than 35mm. It has 51.4MP. At its full size, it as a 4:3 ratio. However, there are a number of different ratios available.

Oh right, and it’s mirrorless!

The new sensor has specially shaped micro lenses and has an optimized silicon process. It was indeed fully customized just for them. No word yet on who makes it.

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