Let’s start from the basics. Why is medium format so attractive? There are many reasons, but with the Lubitel 166+ it DOES make sense to use the 120 film, in order to gain so much more quality, because of the wider area of film in which the image is impressed.
We spoke about the capability to use both 35mm and 120 film in the Lubitel 166+. At the real beginning it was designed to work only with 120 film. Why? It was designed for photography students, who didn’t have so much money to buy something expensive, so it required high quality frames, as 120 film frames are.
That’s the first reason because, compared to 35mm, medium format uses 3 or 4 times as much film surface. This allows to have greatly better tonalities (you’ll see smoother gradations, because the transition between tones will be much smoother with the larger negative surface), finer detail, and less apparent grain.
The important part is that with 120 film you will have less noticeable grain, this works well for printing over 35mm. The grain is obviously the same size, but the larger format makes it seem smaller by scale.
This means either that, if you were printing 35mm and 120 at the same size, the 120 print would have less noticeable grain (the typical “noise” of the picture), because the image is being squashed to a smaller percentage of its relative size than the 35mm is. Therefore, you can simply make larger prints without the grain getting too annoying.
Alessandro Panelli (aka yo.panic or .panic) is a Medicine and Surgery student, a photographer and a writer from Padova (Italy, near Venice). Read more about Alessandro’s work and life here or add him on Facebook or Google+.