Rivaling large format?

Years ago I read an article saying that modern DSLR cameras were so good, that they almost rivaled large format. I once owned a 4x5 and cherished the beauty of those images. So, if I purchased a top-of-the-line DSLR right now, would it really be 4x5 good? Or would I realistically need to purchase a medium-format digital camera?

Having owned a 4x5 and medium format film camera, I’d say not really. You can print so large with 4x5 film, and on top of that, film grain is pleasant (and digital isn’t), such that when you surpass the size limit it is still pleasing.


Having never owned an analog camera, I cannot really compare. My only advice would be to contact your local vendor to see if you can try before you buy. High-end stuff doesn’t come cheap.

My answer hasn’t changed since @okieman asked last February: Does new-camera tech 'rival' old-camera tech?


Stitching multiple images together would work too, at least for static scenes.

Don’t think there is a true medium format yet. There are digital backs though. All definitely outside of my budget! :sweat_smile:

Fuji has four medium format digital bodies on the market.

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Could have bigger sensors. Getting there I guess.

Not clear what you mean, but they’re literally already on the market: https://www.adorama.com/l/Photography/Cameras/Fujifilm~Medium-Format-Cameras


Plus Hasselblad, Leica, Pentax, PhaseOne…

More info here

I told myself I had mapped out a new question. But perhaps the two are mostly the same?

From what little I have stumbled across, this has been done with a slightly longer lens such as 90mm? And somewhere there is a specialized tripod that facilitates the multiple exposures?

Yes, I would call the Hasselblad H6D-100C and Phase One industrial cameras medium format. Some would coin them as “full frame medium” format. I left them out because they aren’t something that people would buy. Fuji and Pentax are much more reasonably priced, though their price tags aren’t easy either. :sweat_smile:

In recent memory, I Googled Hasselblad prices. I saw a medium-format body for $40,000. These are fine cameras, but I have some skepticism about the price. In the 1980s, I saw Hasselblad marketing material that bragged about camera parts being polished in a machine using organic rice, or some such silliness. However, the market has tolerated this.

Marketing toward the 1% is inscrutable, but hey, organic rice is better than any cafeteria food I know! :wink:

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Yea, I’ve taken pictures taken on equipment polished with that crappy GMO’d rice, and they just don’t taste the same… :slight_smile:

At least for me the most noticeable difference is the look of the images due to the larger image surface, and the Fuji “medium format” sensors don’t even get close to a 6x6 medium format negative…

The main point is to get the imagefield of a shorter lense eg. 50mm fullframe equivalent while having the compression dynamics of an 80mm lense. Replicating this with a smaller sensor is possible but really cumbersome, e.g. you need to take a series of detail shots and stitch it afterwards.

Of course this is even more difficult when comparing to large format…

What he means is that those are “pseudo-medium-format” cameras with a sensor somewhat larger than FF, but not anywhere close to traditional MF.

Nearly all MF film cameras use 120 format film, meaning roughly 60mm for at least one image dimension.

Fuji’s sensor is 43.8mm in its largest dimension. So pseudo-MF and significantly smaller than even 645.

There are also Mamiya medium format cameras. They were always attractive to me (as in, interested in their capabilities), but other than that, I don’t know much about them. They are from a Japanese company that has been in camera equipment since 1940.

I think the PhaseOne cameras almost reach the 645 size with 53.4 mm in the longest dimension. But of course you can buy a house for the price of that camera…

Yup. Phase One is very close to true MF (the 60mm was nominal, in many cases actual usable image area was around 54-55mm, so P1 is pretty much right there), but as you point out, $$$$$$$.

Similarly the Pentax 645D wasn’t really 645 - it was heavily cropped. Fuji and Pentax MF digital is to MF film what APS-C is to full frame film.

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