Before the rise of digital photography, things were a lot less standardized. There were countless films available in different sizes that you could shoot on cameras from a dozen different manufacturers.
These days, outside of smartphones, you have three main camera manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, and Sony) and two main camera sizes: APS-C crop sensors and full-frame sensors. Other older variations, like medium format, have retreated to the margins where they have specialized uses. But what do they do?
Medium format photography traditionally uses the 120 film size. It is significantly larger than 35mm film size, which is the basis of modern digital photography. Similarly, medium format digital photography uses a sensor that’s bigger than the 35mm full-frame standard.
A full-frame sensor is roughly the same size as a single frame of 35mm film—36mm x 24mm—and old lenses can often be made work on new cameras.
There is more variation in medium format photography. The 120 size film used was 60mm wide, but exposures could be shot with various different aspect ratios, such as 1:1 (for a roughly 60mm x 60mm exposure) or 1.2:1 (for a roughly 60mm x 72mm exposure). There’s still some of the same variation with digital medium format. You can get sensors that come in sizes such as 54mm x 44mm or 44mm x 33mm.Read More...
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