Looking to take on new challenges in your photography journey? Park your 35 mm shooter for a while and try out medium format film. Soon you'll discover a whole new analogue experience with this square format. In this article, we'll talk about why it can be worth your time and how it can improve your skills as a photographer.
It slows you down.
Sounds like a negative, right? Well, it all depends on your perspective! If you're the type of shooter that snaps away on impulse then you may be apprehensive in the beginning. But hear us out first. Medium format cameras require the user to take time to figure out what they want to do with their shot. Snapshots are awesome but medium format film cameras are set up differently. For one, they're more likely to be bigger than 35 mm cameras and some of them (especially lower-priced ones) don't have the motorized film advance feature that lets you take photos in quick succession.
Now on to the next point, shooting well with medium format film takes time if you're used to shooting with a different format. Composition, the orientation of the viewfinder, lever positioning, and more are to be taken into account. As you get comfortable with these things, you get to understand how your camera works and that leads us to the next reason.
You give more thought to your shots.
Since everything is different from your go-to setup, you tend to give more thought to the process of taking photos. One of the most significant changes you're going to encounter is the different manner in which you focus your shots. Medium format film has a more square frame for you to fill. Not only that, but you also have a bigger area to cover. The negative is literally larger than what you're used to especially when you go beyond 6x4.5 size. All of these wrapped up can be overwhelming at first but that's a good thing. You're thinking more before you hit the shutter button.
You get better details with the larger negative.
While bigger isn't always better, it kind of when it comes to shooting with medium format. 6x4.5 is almost two and a half times bigger than 35 mm film and with that bigger negative size comes a few benefits. Some of it is finer detail, less grain, and smoother tones. These visual elements can give your images a better look and feel especially if you're going for a specific vibe in your work. Aside from the larger negative, some of the higher-end medium format cameras have better lenses and features that help you get better photographs. Of course, they can be more expensive than the setup you're currently running so take that into consideration as well.
The square format can be challenging.
There are benefits to going outside of your comfort zone even when it comes to photography. You get to see things from a different perspective and from there you get to adjust your shooting style and technique. It's all about getting better with what you do and to achieve that, you have to pour more of yourself into your shots. Easy is good but challenges are better. Always remember that the great masters of photography didn't shoot their masterpieces from inside their comfort zones. Every new thing is scary at first but once you've gotten in the zone, everything will start falling into place. Embrace challenges!
Medium format cameras can be downright quirky or beautiful—or both!
When we talk about medium format cameras, it's impossible to not think about the Diana and the Holga. These two sweethearts of the analogue world have made so many wonderful images that they almost don't need any introduction here in the community. Editions upon editions of these two beauties have graced our pages and people's collections through the years. That's just how strong the appeal of medium format cameras is. On the other hand, more serious and equally beautiful medium format cameras from brands like Bronica, Yashica, Fuji, and so on are serious eye candy.
How about you? What other reasons would you give to someone who's looking to start their medium format journey? Sound off in the comments section below!