INTRODUCTION TO MEDIUM FORMAT CAMERAS: IS BIGGER BETTER?

Is bigger better?

YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!

INTRODUCTION TO MEDIUM FORMAT CAMERAS

Have you ever thought about owning a medium format camera?

Have you ever seen one, or know what it is?

Are they worth the money?

THERE IS NO WAR BETWEEN THE MEDIUM FORMAT MANUFACTURES!

There seems to be a tremendous battle going on in the regular camera wars, and I think it is to our advantage as a consumer. The battle to have a big share in the market place between Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax, Panasonic, Fuji, Leica, and more is nothing short of amazing. History proved it especially in the year 2021 – 2022, as each camera manufacture introduced their new flagship cameras. It doesn’t matter which one you pick, because all are so amazing. I wish I could own them all!

But, is anyone watching the “Medium Format” camera battles? Probably not because there is no war between them. There are 3 companies that come to mind that make medium format digital cameras: HASSELBLAD, FUJI FILM, AND LEICA. And the funny thing is you never see much in advertising or promotion on these cameras because they are simply the best camera you can buy out there.

While many of the dslr cameras are using a sensor close to the size of 35mm film, others are using around 2/3 of the size of a normal sensor, and others even smaller. Sensors in DSLR cameras are becoming smaller, not bigger. That way they can make the camera smaller.

WHAT IS MEDIUM FORMAT?

Since the sensor is so much larger, manufacturers can add more megapixels (up to 100MP in some cases!) without making the photo-sites on the sensor any smaller than they would be on a full-frame camera. They can even use bigger photo-sites and still have a higher resolution image. A 50MP Hasselblad sensor, for example, is about 70% bigger than a 50MP full-frame sensor such as the one found in the Canon 5DS. With a medium format camera you basically get bigger, better photos.

The main use for medium format cameras is in fashion and advertising photography. The majority of covers for magazines like Vogue or Esquire are shot with a medium format camera. It’s the same story with ads. If you’re working in a studio, all you care about is image quality; you don’t need the versatility that a DSLR brings. The look and resolution of a medium format camera is a distinct advantage.

If you’re an amateur photographer, the odds are you’re never going to see a medium format camera in the wild. They make up a tiny fraction of all the cameras in use. Now though, you know a bit more about the gigantic cameras the photographers in America’s Next Top Model use.

LET’S LOOK AT THE BIG 3 MANUFACTURES:

HASSELBLAD:

Hasselblad has 2 popular models (shown above). And Hasselblad cameras are made in Sweden under incredible quality standards. I found a great video on the making of a Hasselblad. You ready to be “blown away”?

FUJI FILM:

LEICA:

3 OF THE BEST CAMERA COMPANIES DO IT BIG:

If you go through each of these videos, the one thing you will notice is that they talk about the cameras as “BIG”. And being “big” they produce the best photos today. Leica with the price of $19,999 also carries a big price tag. But, these are all handcrafted, designed to be a workhorse, and absolutely give you the best picture. PERIOD.

The different sensor sizes

In comparison to some of the new regular dslr camera sensor to the medium format sensor, you can see how come these photos are so amazing.

PICTURES TAKEN WITH MEDIUM FORMAT:

Photo taken with Fuji Film medium format camera
Photo taken with Leica S camera
Photo taken with Hasselblad and 100 MP back.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO ASK A QUESTION ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY? FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW TO GET AN ANSWER.

HASSELBLAD : IT’S STORY AND CAMERAS :

The amazing X System

Have you ever heard of Hasselblad? And if so, are you aware of it’s reputation? If you don’t know Hasselblad, you should read this! This camera company is “Epic” (that’s the word that came up first).

Victor Hasselblad AB is a Swedish manufacturer of medium formatcameras, photographic equipment and image scanners based in Gothenburg, Sweden. The company originally became known for its classic analog medium-format cameras that used a waist-level viewfinder. Perhaps the most famous use of the Hasselblad camera was during the Apollo program missions when the first humans landed on the Moon. Almost all of the still photographs taken during these missions used modified Hasselblad cameras. In 2016, Hasselblad introduced the world’s first digital compact mirrorless medium-format camera, the X1D-50c, changing the portability of medium-format photography. Hasselblad produces about 10,000 cameras a year from a small three-storey building.[

The Blue Marble taken with a 70-millimeter Hasselblad camera using an 80-millimeter Zeiss lens[15][

Several different models of Hasselblad cameras were taken into space, all specially modified for the task.[17]

The Hasselblad cameras were selected by NASA because of their interchangeable lenses and magazines. Modifications were made to permit ease of use in cramped conditions while wearing spacesuits, such as the replacement of the reflex mirror with an eye-level finder.

Modifications by NASA technicians were further refined and incorporated into new models by Hasselblad. For example, development of a 70 mm magazine was accelerated to meet the space program.

The first modified (in fact simplified) Hasselblad 500 C cameras were used on the last two Project Mercury missions in 1962 and 1963. They continued to be used throughout the Gemini spaceflights in 1965 and 1966.

Apollo program:

A general program of reliability and safety was implemented following the Apollo 1 fire in 1967, addressing such issues as reliability and safe operation of electrical equipment in a high-oxygen environment.[18]

EL electric cameras were used for the first time on Apollo 8. A heavily modified 500 EL, the so-called Hasselblad Electric Camera (HEC) was used from Apollo 8 on board the spacecraft. Three 500 EL cameras were carried on Apollo 11. An even more extensively modified Hasselblad EL Data Camera (HDC), equipped with a special Zeiss 5.6/60 mm Biogon lens and film magazines for 150–200 exposures, was used on the Moon surface on the Apollo 11 mission. This command module camera, carried on Apollo 11, was a simplified version of the commercial Hasselblad 500 EL motorized film advance camera. Used for color still photography, it could operate in the command module or in the vacuum of space.[19]

All following NASA missions also had Hasselblad cameras on board. The photographic equipment and films used on the five subsequent flights were similar to that taken on Apollo 11. On Apollo 15, the 500 mm telelens was added. During the Space Shuttle period cameras based on the 500 EL/M, 553 ELX, 205 TCC and 203 FE have been used.[20][21]

There are 12 Hasselblad cameras currently sitting on the lunar surface, where only the film magazines were brought back to Earth.

THE H SYSTEM

WHAT’S GOING ON WITH HASSELBLAD TODAY?

I don’t think anyone expected this:

Oneplus 9 cell phone company puts a Hasselblad camera system in their cell phones. Is there a battle going on in the cell phone market to see who can come up with the best camera system in their phones? Might be interesting to watch.

With all that is still happening for Hasselblad, it is good to see a camera manufacture expanding their horizons.

Click on this video for a special presentation of Hasselblad in use:

Behind the Scenes video with a Professional Hasselblad Photographer