Medium & Large Format Systems

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Robert E. Mayer Posted: Feb 01, 2008 1 comments

There were two models of the versatile Mamiya Press medium format rangefinder cameras in the 1960s and '70s, the Universal Press and the Press Super 23. These cameras were designed to be more compact and in many respects more versatile than the bellows type 4x5 and 2x3 press cameras of that era, such as the Speed Graphic, Busch Pressman, and Linhof Technica. The main...

Rick Shimonkevitz Posted: Aug 01, 2007 0 comments

As we journey further into cyberspace, it is inevitable that the oldest of methods for forming an image has found resurgence. Pinhole photography can be both fun and a serious pursuit. Notice the introduction of make-your-own pinhole camera kits as well as manufactured cameras for small and large formats. There is a published journal devoted to the craft and several websites...

Jon Canfield Posted: Jul 01, 2007 0 comments

You'd think that with 12- and 16-megapixel digital SLRs so readily available that demand for digital backs and medium format digital bodies would be languishing. But 2007 looks like another good year for the big guns with both Rollei and Hasselblad showing very impressive new products, Pentax still showing a prototype digital body, and Phase One still doing very well...

Roger W. Hicks Posted: May 01, 2007 0 comments

The name gives it away. The Fotoman 810PS is indeed an 8x10" point-and-shoot (PS) camera. Well, sort of. It brings you that huge, beautiful 8x10" (203x254mm) image in a camera that is more basic than you may readily imagine.

Unlike smaller point-and-shoots, there's no autofocus or autoexposure, and even with a wide angle lens (150mm, pretty much the...

Roger W. Hicks Posted: Jan 01, 2007 1 comments

This would appear to be a new golden age for rangefinder users. There are now three major systems (Leica, Voigtländer, and Zeiss) and two minor (Epson and Rollei). All use the same cross-compatible lens mount, for which an extensive and excellent range of lenses is available, and all compete with one another, albeit at different price points. Who could have imagined this...

Roger W. Hicks Posted: Jan 01, 2007 0 comments

Large format cameras, in the sense of "cameras that take large sheets of film," are ever rarer at photokina. There are still plenty of cameras, and sometimes (it seems) almost as many manufacturers, but because so many of the manufacturers are so tiny, making a few score cameras a year, they are known by word of mouth in the large format "fine art"...

Roger W. Hicks Posted: Jan 01, 2007 0 comments

Despite innumerable premature reports of its death, medium format refuses to lie down. Instead, it polarizes increasingly into large-sensor digital (up to about 2x the size of full-frame 35mm) and highly specialized roll film--though the two biggest announcements of the show were actually traditional dual-platform (film/digital) SLRs.

Rollei deserves first...

Roger W. Hicks Posted: Jun 01, 2006 0 comments

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the show, at least in conventional photography, was the new 35mm rangefinder stereo camera from Horseman. This shoots stereo pairs in the standard format--2x23x27mm in standard stereo mounts--so they can be projected or viewed with the binocular viewer that is supplied with the camera.

If the camera itself looks oddly...

Jon Canfield Posted: Jun 01, 2006 0 comments

Anyone who tells you medium format is dead hasn't seen the recent spate of products coming from all of the major players in the medium format market. If PMA is any indication at all, medium format digital is not only alive, it's thriving.

Hasselblad had the new H2D-39 on display in a private area. A solid digital update to the H1 system, the new version...

Steve Anchell Posted: Apr 01, 2006 0 comments

If you want to make an immediate improvement in your photography, move up to medium format. Not just because of the larger format, which will instantly provide better resolution and quality, whether you use digital or film; more importantly, the larger viewing screen will assist you in defining your subject and refining your composition. I have seen near instant improvement occur...

Roger W. Hicks Posted: Jan 01, 2006 2 comments

In accordance with my predictions that medium format will move increasingly toward the specialist or niche market, there are no fewer than eight new panoramic rollfilm cameras since last year: one of the most active sectors in traditional silver-halide photography. In reverse alphabetical order, they are Walker/Canham, Shenhao (two models), Noblex, Gilde, and Fotoman (three...

Jason Schneider Posted: Jan 01, 2006 0 comments

Just the other day a buddy of mine bought the Hasselblad he'd always wanted but couldn't afford at the unheard price of $475. It was a 20-year-old Hasselblad 500C/M, the functional equivalent of the current 500C/W. He purchased it from a private seller for $475 in near-mint condition, complete with 12-exposure back, waist-level finder, and 80mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss...

Roger W. Hicks Posted: Jan 01, 2006 2 comments

Do you love black and white photography? If so, does this sound like a dream camera to you: inexpensive, easy to use, forgiving, and capable of the finest results in the world? I thought it might. Welcome to the world of 5x7".

Inexpensive? Yes. The last 5x7 I considered, but didn't buy, was a twin-lens (!) on its own studio stand. It...

Roger W. Hicks Posted: Sep 01, 2005 0 comments

The Chinese-built, American-designed Fotoman 617 justifies itself as soon as you see the first transparencies on the light table. The huge format is a knockout. It's gorgeous. That vast slab of film is 21/4x62/3". That's 56x168mm, or over 11 times the area of 35mm.

It's ideal for scanning, too. Even a very modest flat-bed film scanner giving...

Joseph A. Dickerson Posted: Jul 01, 2004 0 comments

Many years ago, still fresh out of college, I worked with a 21/4x31/4" Century Graphic. I bought it used with three lenses and it was so cool. Pebble-grained gray leather covering, bright red bellows, and a coupled rangefinder. Wow, I naively...

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