What You Should Know Before You Convert Medium Format Film

Posted by ed oboyle on Thu, May 30, 2013 @ 06:00 AM

Screen Shot 2013 05 29 at 6.26.36 PMThe point and shoot digital camera you carry in your pocket has a long history of ancestors. When photography was first developed, image information was conveyed through analog processes. During image capture, it’s transferred onto film, but there are several different film formats available. One of those is medium format film. Medium format images are available as slides as well as negative stripsTake this opportunity to learn a little more about your medium format film before you convert it. 

What is Medium Format Film?

Medium format film experienced its heyday from the 1890’s to the 1950’s, but many professional photographers still use it today. Medium simply refers to the image size. Since medium format film is much bigger than the standard 35 mm film, image quality is much higher. Sizes of medium format film will vary but to be considered truly ‘medium,’ it must fit within the following specifications:

  • Larger than 24mm x 36mm

  • Smaller than 4” x 5”

What Kind of Film is Used for Medium Format?

Medium format film comes in two sizes: 120 and 220. 120 film produces 12 square images while 220 film produces 24 square images but that isn’t always how many pictures you end up with. The number of pictures that you receive from one roll of film is determined by the size of the image. It’s really up to the photographer as to which size, or medium format, is used.

Some photographers prefer 645 while others are staunch advocates for 6x6 cm. Ansel Adams, for example, is a famous fan of the 6x6 cm medium format film. It’s claimed that he preferred it because cropping was easier and he didn’t have to rotate the camera for vertical shots. Other examples of medium format film include 6x9 cm and 6x12 cm.

Advantages of Medium Format

Although medium format is traditionally used for still photography, it can be used for action shots as well. This is a flexible format that offers high quality images. Other advantages include:

  • Sharper image

  • Thoughtful capture process

  • Ability to choose frame shape

If you want to convert medium format film but aren’t sure where to start, contact a photo scanning service! They usually specialize in medium format and 35 mm conversion. Families often have a variety of photo formats, but analog formats aren’t made to last forever. Preserve your rich history by digitizing images, slides, and negatives today!

The Ultimate Guide to Slide, Negative, Film & Video Formats

Topics: convert medium format film

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