Is It All Relative ?
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #1
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Default Is It All Relative ?

It's one thing to speak of 8x10 or of 35mm, but
then we have terms such as submini and acoarst
medium format.

"Medium" is a relative term, and even tho we all
agree what it means, even our agreement covers
anything thaz approx 6cm on one side ... IOW all
possible formats of 120 film: 645, 6x6, 6x7, 6x9,
and 6x12 being the better known examples.

But with the demise of film, what will "medium"
come to mean ? The term has already crossed
over from film to digital so the term is not going
away even as film goes away.

There's now digital versions of so-called medium
format only 44mm on the long dimension, not a
significant increase over the the 36mm long side
of "FF 35mm", digital or film. It's only 22% wider.

"FF 35mm" is a solid 50% wider than APS-C and so
the difference is detectable in some applications,
but nonexistent in others. If that happens at 50%
what good is 22% ? There are acoarst still larger
versions of digital medium format that clearly do
represent a real increase over "FF 35" ... but I'm
kinda thinking those will be called "Large Format",
while the 44mm and the 36mm widths will share
the "Medium Format" moniker, while APS-C, 4/3",
and maybe even 1", will be collectively the "small
formats" or "compact formats".

All just random ponderings. Other ideas welcome !

Plus I've gotten really tired of seeing an 8 months
old thread title about pics from a Bronica, so I just
hadda post something ... anything ... to bump that.


.

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #2
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Default Re: Is It All Relative ?

Back in the film days, the medium format was definitely roll film, say, with the dividing line at about the negative area of a 12-exposure roll of 127 film being the lower limit for medium format and full-frame 35 mm, including panoramic formats, being small-format. Anything below full-frame 35 mm, e.g., APS-C, half-frame 35 mm, and the Instamatic formats were generally of no great interest to professional photographers because the film was usually of insufficient resolution or too grainy to be presented as more than makeshift or amateur quality for most purposes. (Anyone ever see truly good image quality from a Minox B or C?) I don't think that anything in the Instamatic formats had enough control over focus or exposure to be of much interest as a general-purpose camera to most pros anyway.

As I recall, the 44 mm long dimensional format had a 4:3 aspect ratio, which makes the short dimension 33 mm, a 38% increase over the 24 mm short dimension of a FF digital frame. Seeing how the FF format has largely displaced a market segment that was formerly served by medium format, It would be fair to transfer this designation to the FF digital format. Not sure where to put the submini/small format, but somewhere about the 1/1.8" to 2/3" trade size sounds about right - still big enough to be of real interest to pros and serious amateurs but not really big enough to rival the quality of full-frame. Not sure where to put the dividing line to "large" format, but I think that it should be at least as big as the old 6 x 7 cm format and intended to be a camera back for a large-format camera intended for 4" x 5" or larger film, though the active imager area need not be that large. As I recall, most such backs are intended for tethered operation with some form of external mass storage. I wouldn't insist on this for newer camera backs when and if they become available from Leaf, Capture One, Sinar, or the like.


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