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05-27-2009, 09:40 AM   #1
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Location: Paris, France
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Is full frame the medium format of the digital era ?

I have been discussing recently with a colleague who also happen to be semi-pro (meaning that he regulary sells prints but do not live of it) As his primary "concept" is priting in very large square formats - 1 x1 m typically, he has bought a Canon 5DmkII.

While he is happy with the definition of his camera (he needed those 21 million pixels) he is not at all with the size of his beast. He compared it with his medium format hasselblad (film camera) and found out that the Hasselblad was smaller.

He thinks very highly of Pentax and was envying me as I take my K20D with the 31ltd on it in my bag almost all the time (with the 70ldt in addtion for longer shots) When the K7 was announced, he told that to him it was probably the perfect outdoor body that could come out for a pro.
- Magnesium allow body,
- 100% viewfinder,
- weathersealed,
- and very significantly smaller than anything comparable on the market (Nikon D300 and Olympus E3)

That with the DA limited - for discretion, or DA * zoom - for versatility and weather sealing made Pentax the currently best available setup for reporters and street shooters.

That make me think also as the classification of formats in film era as compared to digital.
- APS = compact camera,
- 35mm = APSC DSLR small, lighweigt and discrete camera for small prints (reporters, streetshooters...)
- Medium format = full frame digital, big, performing for DOF control, high quality prints at the expense of versatility (fashion, art, wildlife for the most demanding)
- Large format = medium format digital back, very technical to use, for maximum quality (very demanding Pros on demanding jobs)

While everybody is talking about upgrading to full frame and that they need it or don't need it. My reasonning comes to think that they are both valid categories, just for different purpose like medium format and 35mm SLRs.

Having the same registration distance and mount may be confusing, but finally a brand have to provide 2 different lineups of lenses with FF lenses being usable on APSC (but again like Medium format lenses being usable on 35mm SLRs via an adapter)

What do you think of it ?

Best regards,

05-27-2009, 10:21 AM   #2
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eyou's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 224
i think FF is FF and MF is MF. apc-s will die in 5-10 years or maybe will become the auto 110 equivalent (tho oly m4/3 might be better for comparison).

i dont think it is required to make a FF dslr big, but the big companies think so. they think 'bigger=better'. im actually thinking about picking up a small 35mm film camera for fun. K-7 is a move to the right direction, showing it doesnt have to be big to be good. i would love to have a small affordable FF dslr .maybe in 5 years.
05-28-2009, 08:50 AM   #3
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Posts: 532
Meh. I never saw people shooting weddings with MF cameras, hovewer FF cameras are common.

As for your friend, he could get a Sony A900 which is 24 mp FF in a "gripless" body style. Don't know if it'd suit him though. But I agree the 1D and D3 could be smaller - if Sony did it...

Also large format on film is still alive (as much as it ever was anyway). If you need MASSIVE resolution (over 100 mp) it's the only way AFAIK.

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