Medium format explained

25 04 2011

Hasselblad H4D-50 courtesy of

That is a Hasselblad H4D-50. One of Hasselblad’s latest digital medium-format cameras. It has an ISO range from 50-800 a shutter speed range from 32 seconds- 1/800 and a 50 megapixel sensor. Sounds pretty good right? It can be yours for just $30,000 plus shipping and handling off the B&H website.

Why the steep price tag? First off, it’s a Hasselblad, one of the best camera manufacturers in the world. Secondly it’s a digital medium format camera with a 50 megapixel sensor. So those two factor into its price.

If you’ve never experienced film photography, or just use point and shoots. Medium format may or may not confuse you.

What is medium format? It goes back to the old days of film photography. Where there is the 35mm and then you have 120 film. There are more but for the sake of the post I’ll use two kinds.

The 120 film is much bigger than 35mm film. The larger negative will result in more surface area for your photo. Photos taken on a medium format will have better color, tone, and detail as compared to a 35mm or a DX sensor. Also, it’ll give you a bigger negative to work with when it comes to enlarging. Enlarging a negative taken from a medium format will have less detail loss as the print size increases. Making it ideal for posters.

Sounds good right? Here’s how you can shoot medium format without dropping $30,000. You may be able to find a medium format point and shoot for cheap on Craigslist, or KEH. All you need to do then is buy some film, 120, and have it processed and scanned onto a CD. Put the CD into your computer, and BAM you have a medium format photo. From there you can manipulate it the same way you could a digital photo.