medium or large format? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am trying to decide between MF and LF. I will use it for studio photography such as engagements, seniors, kids, etc. and for weddings. I have been told LF for studio and MF for weddings/location since they are lighter, easier, and less $$ on film and told LF for better larger portraits. I have also been told I would need a person helping if I buy LF as it is bulky, is this true? At this time, I have enough $$ for one or the other. Which do I buy? I alreay have a 35mm. I am told for MF to buy Hasselblad or Mamiya, but the new Contax 645 looks tempting. Please help.

-- Sharris Brown (, September 27, 1999


I have both MF and LF. Personally, I couldn't imagine using LF for the type of work you describe. For one thing, consider how often you may need to use flash. MF is the way to go.

Yes, LF is bulky. No, you should not need an assistant.

LF will certainly give you better quality large portraits but unless you're going larger than 16X20 MF will do the job nicely.

The type of system you buy is going to be based on personal choice, what you need in a system and your pocketbook. Personally, I shoot the Pentax 645 but then I shoot nature and the lack of interchangeable backs may not work for you.

-- Mark Windom (, September 28, 1999.

One camera for all those needs? An interesting challenge. Well, I guess it would have to be a Hasselblad. LF is out if you want to shoot weddings. Anyway, the jump from 35mm to LF would be a quite a technical leap indeed! The Mamaya RZ67 is a fine studio camera but a BEAST I would not want to hand-hold at a wedding reception. For my money, 645 is too small for serious portraiture and other types of studio photography--though they're probably the most ubiquitious wedding camera around.

IMO, the Hasselblad is the only camera that can do it all. It's relatively small, light, extremely versatile, synchs at all speeds, built beautifully, easy to rent, looks good, feels great, etc.

-- Peter Hughes (, September 28, 1999.

MF. Trying to do weddings with LF is an ambitious endeavor indeed!

-- Ron Shaw (, September 28, 1999.

I also do weddings/portraits. Medium format will serve you much better than LF. I'll occasionally use large format in formal photo sessions where the customer will want a big enlargement (e.g. large display portrait for a wedding reception), but LF is too slow and cumbersome to use at weddings.

For what you describe, medium format is the way to go.

-- Mike Dixon (, September 28, 1999.

I would go MF for what you want, there are some very good MF systems that are a lot cheaper than Hassie, pick up the Shutterbug and look thru the adds in B&H, best prices in the U.S. Pat

-- pat j. krentz (, September 28, 1999.

The Rollei 6008i is far more capable than the hasselblad, and no more expensive. Features like a built-in winder, TTL flash (of course) make shooting weddings a snap. Even for outdoor portraits, there's matrix, 5-spot, and 1% spot metering. Plus there are special portrait lenses available like the zeiss 110/2 planar with leaf shutter and 180/2.8 schneider tele-xenar, designed for fashion photography.

-- James Chow (, September 29, 1999.

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