Retrospective: Medium and Large Format Photography


Photography is a large and varied practice. There are as many fields and niche markets as there are photographers. Most photographers find their needs met by 35mm cameras systems, whether today, or 30 years ago. Whereas the lesser known Medium Format and Large Format systems are tailored to suit a range of niche markets. This was not always the case however, Medium Format dominated the market and was considered to be the standard format until 35mm film and camera systems hit the market in the 1950s.

Medium format and large format systems are defined by the size of the negative or sensor they can expose onto. Medium format covers anything up to 6×4.5 inches and large format is anything larger. These larger formats are preferred for their wonderful tonal range and small aperture lens capabilities. Many landscape photographers favour this format, as it provides the greatest amount of resolved detail and resolution. Perspective shift mechanisms allow the photographer the greatest amount of control over lens distortion and depth-of-field.

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