Simple and clear medium format

After mirrorless fever it's time for the medium format.

Creativity from banksy

Creativity from banksy

Sometimes the digital medium format for some users is something scary and incomprehensible. I suspect that the main difficulty lies in the modular structure of some medium-format cameras, which consist of several separate nodes, such as a digital back, viewfinder, chassis / body and various specialized peripherals. Usually, these cameras look like a monster-like look and inspire young neophytes with fear and horror, not only in appearance, but also at their cost.

But nowadays 'simple' non-modular digital medium format cameras have begun to appear, which very, very much resemble ordinary system cameras. They are easy to understand and manage, and also have an almost classic look, characteristic of the usual Central Control Panel and Central Control Panel.

Mirrorless FUJIFILM GFX with sensors 43.8 X 32.9 mm (often rounded to 44 X 33)


Digital slr Pentax 645 with sensors 43.8 X 32.8 mm (often rounded to 44 X 33)

  1. Pentax 645Z
  2. Pentax 645D

Mirrorless Hasselblad x with sensors 43.8 X 32.9 mm (often rounded to 44 X 33)

  1. Hasselblad X1D
  2. Hasselblad X1D II

Digital slr Leica s with sensors 45 X 30

  1. Leica S (Typ 006)
  2. Leica SE (Typ 006)
  3. Leica S (Typ 007)
  4. Leica s2
  5. Leica s3

Do you know any other similar cameras?

The frame area of ​​the Leica S with 45 X 30 sensors is 1350 square meters. mm and almost the same as that of 43.8 X 32.8, which equals 1437 sq. mm The only significant difference between 44 X 33 and 45 X 30 is the aspect ratio of the frame, in the first case 4 to 3, in the second - classic 3 to 2.

Crop factor for 44 X 33 sensors, it is Kf = 0.79X, and the frame area in 1.67 times more than the frame 36 X 24. It is considered very simple: (43.8 * 32.9) / (36 * 24).

For example, when switching from cropped cameras with Kf = 1.6X for Canon cameras with an APS-C sensor (22.3 X 14.9 mm) to full-frame Canon cameras (with a 36 X 24 sensor), the sensor area increases 2.6 times. It is considered very simple: (36 * 24) / (22.3 * 14.9).

Thus, the transition from crop from the APS-C sensor to the full frame 36 X 24 should be felt much more than the transition from full frame to the 'medium format' with the sensor size 44 X 33 mm.

But in practice, the sensations from the medium format are much more than what the calculations show.

A lot of digital backs also use 44 X 33 mm sensors. But, of course, there are backs with a larger sensor size, for example 53 X 40 from Phase One or Mamiya.

Actually 44 X 33 is not quite a medium format, but rather it is a crop from the smallest medium format 56 X 42 mm (format 645). But nowadays everything that is more than the classic 36 X 24 is already called the medium format.

I really like the idea of ​​a mirrorless medium format. Lack of giant medium format mirror boxes allows you to significantly reduce the size of the camera. Yes, and a short working distance allows you to get lenses with a slightly smaller size. In the end, for example, FUJIFILM GFX 50r with a pancake lens FUJINON GF LENS 50mm 1: 3.5 R LM WR (analogue 40 / 2.8) weighs just a little over 1 kg. And it’s very important that such a set will cost around $ 5.000, which is already comparable to some 'ordinary' full-frame cameras.

The medium digital format is a different world, the world of a different photo and the world of photographers of a different plan. But with the growth of modern technology, the medium format is becoming closer to the ordinary photographer and amateur photographer. The question is, is it worth looking at a medium format amateur photographer or is it better to leave it to professionals?

Here on the site, comments do not require any registration. In the comments, you can ask a question on the topic and you will definitely be answered, and you can also express your opinion, leave your feedback or describe your experience. For the selection of photographic equipment, I recommend E-Catalog. Many little things for the photo can be found on AliExpress.

The material was prepared by Arkady Shapoval. Take a look to the Radozhiva group on Facebook.

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Comments: 49, on the topic: Simple and clear medium format

  • Lynx

    and let's not confuse the under-crop from the fuji with its 33 * 44 with a normal sph 56 * 56 mm?
    and SUDDENLY if you make fuji under 56 * 56 mm - then it will be that three kilogram whopper.

    • Oleg

      and let all pensioners wear glasses and read not only the first line, but also the rest of the items on the technical specifications and other cameras, so as not to write such nonsense

      • Vitaly N

        However, the average format is 4,5 × 6 and 6x6, and not the above. Let’s call it FFF then, since the narrow format has become FF. Manufacturers need to start producing matrices 24,5 * 36,5 in size, so that it is also called a medium format - it is of a type larger than FF.

      • Andrei

        Oleg, and let you keep your toilet education for loved ones? Nowhere among the listed TTX is it indicated why the matrix a little larger than small-format 35 mm suddenly began to be called the medium format (well, of course, except for marketing lullabies, which are nurtured by a generation of aggressive idiots))).

  • Lynx

    Now let's talk about the Phase one backdrops. )))

  • Oleg

    the only medium format that I took was Kiev-60. Knowledge was about “0”)
    Now it’s hard for me to imagine any 56 * 56 in operation with a “portrait” lens of more than 120 mm in open mode (at least 2.8). Is it really possible to put the whole eye of a model in flu? )))
    Oh, remembered. I'm still on the 9 * 12 photographic plates in the laboratory ...

    • Onotole

      It’s quite realistic - Kf 0.55, the equivalent focal length in terms of FF will be 66mm, the equivalent aperture (from the point of view of the depth of field) aperture is 1,55 Somehow people can cope with 85 / 1,8 (1,4), which means that here you can. But yes, the IPIG is already becoming quite narrow.

  • Novel

    In general, somehow yes, it's funny. Pentax 645 implies a 6x4,5 cm frame. Hassel - 6x6 cm. Lenses seem to be considered exactly how exactly this size is considered, still, no? And what's the point of carrying all this huge and heavy wealth on the hump for the sake of increasing the sensor area by 1,5 times?

    • Novel

      It’s just that all this logic about “professionals” and “amateurs” turns out to be something very similar to esotericism. There are also such “practices” that are real Practices. Who go to the astral plane, see, curse and kill right on the spot, bewitch there, change their fate. Nobody knows where they are found and what they do. But everyone knows about them and everyone talks.

  • Vitaly N

    Somewhere on the forum on medium format cameras:
    - Fu, crop, why is it needed, ISO workers are only up to 10000, you need to take only the full format 60 * 60, only there is volume and atmospheric ...

    • anonym

      Every single medium format poison these fables. In the west, studios buy backs, and photographers there are just like the operators of these gizmos. The medium format does not honor the photographer. Fuji interesting turned out

  • anonym

    Pentax costs 2000 bucks, which is not much. Amateur SF for the poor

    • Koba

      I’m sorry, but the Pentax 645Z really costs less than the rest but not 2000 but exactly $ 4000, in China, I think in other countries it will be more expensive ...

  • Alexander

    SF is, first of all, gigantic resolution and detail. They don’t buy such cameras, but rent them for specific tasks. For the price, like a kopeck piece in my city.

    • Victor

      Cap reports that “gigantic resolutions and detail” can already be achieved with little blood, collecting mosaics from many overlapping small frames with anything, even with a digital camera. At least for landscapes and architecture, this “tricky plan” works, here is an example:
      Fuss and trouble only a lot with this ...

      • Andrei

        Sorry, but not everywhere. Only for statics and where there is a lot of free time. Those. the fact that you shoot in one shot in the SF, in the case of a mosaic will require gluing, fitting, and in any case it is unlikely to give a comparable photographic latitude (or dynamic range, as they say now) and, in any case, a different picture. And imagine if, for example, there is a movement of smoke, transport or clouds in the frame. Nevertheless, we saw Windows screensavers with incredible sharpness of grass, pebbles and clouds, as if shot with a solid lens. I’m silent, that often (but, of course, not always) a shot on the SF can be made with one camera from hand, while the “mosaic” will require a tripod and a panoramic head.

  • Onotole

    The main thing that I don’t understand is why the digital medium format has a 4/3 aspect ratio. Like smartphones, soap dishes, micros and picture tubes TVs.
    Despite the fact that the film SF is quite Orthodox, 2 to 3 (6 × 4,5 and 9 × 6) and 1 to 1 (6 × 6)

    • anonym

      6 * 7? No, not heard!
      6 * 4,5 is not 2 * 3

  • Trueash

    And I will say honestly: I also can not afford SF: D

  • Paul

    The medium format is like Lenin’s testament: everyone knows what they are, but no one knows what it is.

    • Gregor


  • Paul

    Not all. Previously, everyone prayed for the full frame and its presence immediately equated the owner with the guru of world photography. Crop? You don’t understand anything in the photo. And it didn’t even depend on the fact that 50 1.8 of the first generation hung on this FF at best, and at worst some sort of 24-85 shaggy production years.
    Now the same hysteria will be around the Federation Council. Here, the owners will divide the rogues into “fu, you are with crop” and “what horror, he has a sprinkled crop !!!”.

    • Rodion

      M4 / 3 - crop ^ 3)))))

  • Alexander

    And the most annoying is that he (SF) is slowly getting cheaper :)

  • "Joe"

    I tried to shoot portraits in the studio in parallel on a Fuji GFX 50R with a 63mm f / 2.8 lens (roughly speaking, an analog of 50mm f / 2.2 in terms of full frame) and on a full-frame Canon with a Sigma 50mm f / 1.4 Art lens.
    As a result, Fuji was not impressed at all. The only noticeable advantage is the resolution of the images, but if I really needed 50 megapixels, I would prefer to use Canon 5DS (r).
    What Fuji didn't like the most was the color rendering. If Canon’s pictures in color didn’t need any improvement at all (and in general they differ in correct and subjectively pleasant color rendering), then with Fuji the situation is more complicated - it wasn’t possible to get an acceptable result for me even after trying to make color adjustments by choosing the right profile with “ development ”raw, as well as color adjustment using HSL, and subsequent attempts to use the adjustment layers Color Balance and Hue / Saturation.
    Maybe somewhere in Fuji’s landscape photography with better color, but there are doubts.

    In terms of ease of use - Fuji in the hands of a brick. And not because of the weight or size, the dimensions are about the same as those of the Canon 5D series, but Fuji itself has a rectangular box shape. Any Canon SLR that I used is much better suited to holding them. If someone is used to using old rangefinder cameras (which, however, are noticeably smaller in size), or modern mirrorless cameras of similar Fuji shapes, then it may be familiar.

    Lenses. For the medium format, you do not have to wait for anything at least relatively inexpensive and with a faster aperture than 2.8 in the general case.
    For Fuji, there is nothing affordable, such as the Canon 40mm f / 2.8, 50mm f / 1.8 - f / 1.4, 85mm f / 1.8 analogue fixes.
    There is no aperture optics with apertures 1.4-1.2. The maximum that Fuji can offer is 110mm f / 2 - something like the 85mm f / 1.6 counterpart.
    There are almost no telephoto lenses - there is only 250mm, and you can’t even dream of any 300-400mm, quite familiar for a full frame.

    I am observing a trend - those who want to save money, as well as amateurs of an interesting lens design, bokeh and narrow depth-of-field lens enthusiasts, do not end up using native Fuji medium format lenses, but rather screw on third-party full-frame lenses through adapters. At the same time, they find out that quite a few full-frame lenses have a sufficient margin at the edges of the frame to form a “medium-format” image, and this is often at a higher aperture ratio, and in some cases at a lower cost, compared to Fuji optics.

    Actually, such a process of “crossing” different photocomponents suggests that medium-format Fuji is now not so much a complete self-sufficient system as a relatively inexpensive version of a “medium-format” digital back for interesting lenses of different times and manufacturers, a utilitarian part of the photo designer for lovers of homemade products and experiments .

    But the still high enough price does not imply any massive use, and the insufficiently large difference from the full frame and the lack of significant advantages makes the transition to such a “medium format” not very interesting and in demand.
    I admit that practical meaning in the medium format can be found either if you need a sufficiently high resolution, more than 50 megapixels, or when using a larger sensor than Fuji, Leica and grain-free Hasselblad now offer.
    This “junior” mirrorless medium format may be slightly different from the full frame, but it does not give a feeling of sufficient novelty, in contrast to the transition from digital crop to digital full frame, as correctly noted in the article itself.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thanks for the experience and thoughts.

    • Artem

      I wonder what formula you recalculate the diaphragm?

    • Artem

      and very mutually exclusive points, first “lenses are very expensive”, and then “no high-aperture optics”. could you buy it? try once in the studio, and crow about your canon, not knowing that when recalculating focal apertures, the aperture is not recounted, as it were, indicating a low level, which means that you and FF are unnecessary if you do not know what the difference is. and to talk about high, such as “but the medium format is unnecessary for us, because I tried and didn’t feel the difference, my keonon is better” is the top of insanity.
      and Fuji in the Fuji GFX 50R and Hassel in their last camera, they are just positioning these cameras as “non-studio”, they are cameras that have money, and who want to shoot their favorite medium format even on trips. these are very niche products, “not for everyone”
      and the phrase “does not give a feeling of novelty” causes only laughter. what novelty do you need? the “masterpiece” button was not delivered there either. if you write cheto, then at least take the trouble to study the issue, and not stupidly throw in, dear lover to recalculate the diaphragm))))

      • Onotole

        And what is wrong with recalculating the aperture, Subject?
        Imagine recounting both aperture and focal lengths, everything is conditionally understood, but it works for practical purposes.
        By the way, I agree that there are no expensive and fast lenses, just imagine - there is no contradiction here.

        • Artem

          the contradiction is that a person writes that the lenses can not afford, and it’s not even aperture, as it were, aperture ratio will be even more expensive. Accordingly, he will never buy both of them, like the camera itself. Therefore, it makes sense to say that there is no aperture. And if you study the materiel, then you can understand that there is no point in aperture altogether, since in the first it will become very expensive, in the second it is very difficult (and optics are significantly harder to the SF) and the more the optics, the more difficult it is to do - and more expensive . Well, it turns out a vicious circle, aperture = more expensive = harder = buy units.
          And about the diaphragm. damn, well, find me a recalculation formula. The whole Internet was covered. I read smart books, not anywhere else. If you hypothetically take a lens with an aperture of 1.4, for example, and simply substitute a matrix of any size behind it, then what does 1.4 turn into 2.8, then suddenly at 0.95? or how ?

          • Arkady Shapoval

            The formula is simple. The aperture in the understanding of depth of field is multiplied by the crop factor always and for any lens.

            Further discussions about EGFs and the equivalent aperture in terms of the depth of field are only possible if there are questions on this topic. The opuses with the flood are overwritten.

            If you want to discuss this topic, then express your thoughts in relevant topics
            1. Crop identification
            2. Resurrection of Crop. Bokeh
            3. Matrix size matters.
            4. Focal length
            5. Dependence of the viewing angle of the lens on the focusing distance
            6. Relationship between focal length, viewing angle, and focus distance.

            • Artem

              A very absurd statement. Well, all right, if so, then we will multiply. Here physics teachers will laugh. In your opinion, aperture and flu depend on the size of the matrix?
              “If you hypothetically take a lens with an aperture of 1.4, for example, and simply substitute a matrix of any size behind it, then what does 1.4 turn into 2.8, then suddenly at 0.95? “Will the flu also chtoli more or less?

              • Vitaly N

                This is done in order to compare another system with the “holy of holies” - a narrow format. Someone took it as a base and even systems with which it is itself a crop are compared with it.
                The depth of field of course will not change, but if you take pictures of the same scale and with one perspective (for this, the FRs are also “recounted”), then this allows you to compare the depth of field.

              • Arkady Shapoval

                Let those who want to laugh. This is not about depth of field, but about equivalent depth of field.
                Comments on IPIG and EFR are the most common misunderstandings for beginners and not-so-beginners.

              • BB

                No need to scatter viruses here
                (for 'flu' is a viral disease)

              • anonym

                From the point of view of physics, you are absolutely right. Aperture and DOF are determined only by the lens (its RF), maximum aperture and focus distance. And all these crafty recounts implicitly imply a comparison when the resulting frame is compositionally the same for the compared sizes of the photodetector. Those. having a crop, you will be forced to step back to get the same frame as on the FF. In this case, your focusing distance will increase (you should focus on the same subject as in the photo with FF) and the depth of field will become larger. And here lovers to compare and begin to broadcast that they say the depth of field has become what it would be on the FF if we sensitively (approximately the value of the crop factor) covered the diaphragm. Of course, the aperture ratio of the lens remains in place, and all these shamanistic actions do not affect the exposure of the correct exposure

                Of course, there is practical sense in such a recount, if you are even worried about comparing your technique with any other one, but you need to clearly understand what is meant by this, otherwise only more confusion comes out.

              • anonym

                I wrote from the phone, it is inconvenient to check. I clarify the second sentence:
                DOF is determined by the FR of the lens, aperture value and focus distance. The word Aperture is superfluous here.

  • Alexander

    “I really like the idea of ​​a mirrorless medium format.” - here, the most minimalistic :)

  • anonym

    Mitakon released two manual portrait painters
    Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 65mm f / 1.4
    Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 85mm f / 1.2
    The plans for the release of the Mitakon Speedmaster 135mm f / 1.4
    And if you try hard, then among the fast aperture FF lenses you can find a couple of dozen that cover the medium format fuji with a small vignette, which is edited in the editor. But that's why such an open aperture on the SF in portrait shooting, while the question remains open.

    • Onotole

      It’s very simple - in order to somehow justify the presence of such a large matrix (colors, DD and photosensitivity are not very different from the best FF) and still effectively separate the object from the background at long distances. The effect is impressive. Of course, on the front and waist, such a diaphragm is unnecessary.

  • Alexey_S

    Vitaly N., I read my original post several times, both before and after sending. I saw nothing wrong with it. Yes, it may be too compact, complex, and not detailed, because I didn’t want to write long and tedious initially, but in the end I had to do it anyway.
    But it seems to me that this is not a reason to call him "delirium", "nonsense" and ask to be deleted.

    Roman, of course, I agree with the formal definition and that the ISO does not add photons, and only increases the brightness by multiplying the existing ones by some coefficients (not always linear, true).

    On the practical side, we are limited by the capacity of the receiving element, i.e. if we try to save more light than the "well" of the pixel allows, we will get a light.

    ISO itself came to us from the film, and is probably the most muddy of parameters. In my understanding, this is something like a generally accepted measurement scale, how much light must fall on a light-sensitive element, so that the picture looks exposed in some standard test. This scale was probably made in order to simplify the calculations when changing film, for example, from ISO 200 to film with ISO 400, when there were no metering in the camera and people often used the Sunny16 rule to get the correct exposure exposure.

    Although different manufacturers can interpret this scale differently (they say Fuji used to catch it), but in general, if you take several different cameras (even different manufacturers and different matrix sizes, and maybe even film) and some lens and set the same settings (shutter speed, aperture, ISO), then we will most likely get output pictures similar in brightness.

    Why is a minimum ISO important? It was with him that the “well” of a pixel can be maximally filled with useful data about photons arriving through the lens. If we double the ISO, then we reduce the useful size of this “well” by half, and thereby we can save half the information about the light (and once less light, then more noise).

    Those. practically ISO affects image quality due to the limitations of the matrix (“well” capacity), which is taken into account by metering when calculating the optimal shutter speed and / or aperture. For example, at ISO 1600, if there is an abundance of light, then the metering (or a person) tries not to let out bright areas and therefore reduces either shutter speed or aperture, thereby reducing the total light received by the matrix and thereby increasing Shot noise, compared lower ISO (e.g. 64).

    This is probably why, in many educational materials, the exposure triangle in which ISO is present is used.

    • Vitaly N

      Alexei, it seems to you so, because you automatically think over what you wrote. From the outside it reads differently.
      The “well” of the digital matrix is ​​always the same depth, all ISOs above the base are signal amplification. But the signal-to-noise ratio depends on the technology and the area of ​​the sensor.

    • Novel

      Just at the minimum ISO you get the minimum intrinsic noise of the matrix (dark current, heating noise and leakage loss). Then the signal is amplified (the amplifier also introduces some kind of distortion), but since the analog signal is not so scary, your shot voltages there increased a few times there before quantization and after quantization will look different.

  • Artei

    Thanks for the article, informative and interesting. It is interesting after all what it is, this medium format, otherwise everyone praises it, and many do not know what it is.
    Another interesting topic is the digital backdrops. I will not say in a rumor what it is (or rather, as I understand it myself), but it would be interesting to read about it from specialists. For general development

  • Alexander O

    I took pictures with medium format cameras in the 80s and 90s. I used Mamiya m645, Mamiya c220, c330, RB67, Bronica Etrs, SQA and even Koni-Omega Rapid 200.

    In the film era, it was easy and clear: The larger the frame, the better the quality when enlarged. In photographs up to 30x35cm in size, there was no difference between 35mm and SF.

    Digital cameras are not much more complicated: the quality of large-sized photographs is determined by resolution, not frame size. A larger frame size allows greater resolution at the same pixel size. Sony A7r4, Fuji Gfx100 and Phase One IQ4 150 use the same sensor of different sizes: 35mm, 33x44 and 645. The only difference between them is the resolution. In SF digital cameras there is not any magic quality.

    If you do not post photos larger than 50x75cm, you will not see the difference between them

    • Michael

      Amateur laboratories 12 MPix in 40x60 cannot print pixel by pixel)

  • Paul

    Hello everyone. I have been using the medium format for years 6. The last two years have been the Phase One XF 100. What can I say. This is a very specific solution. In terms of getting the result, my Sonya A7 P3 gives a picture much better. Plus, the menu is much more convenient, the settings are flexible. The medium format is exclusively for commerce. Not even that. If only the press of huge formats is required. More he is not needed in FIG. For commerce, fashion and all occasions he loses with a modern 35 mm. In general, this is a kind of atavism that does not carry anything in itself. Well, if only for the filming of the moon. So do not worry. There is nothing unique in the medium format, it is not needed either for commerce, or even less for a hobby. I have been taking photos since 1984. I was interested to try it myself. Thus, I can draw some conclusions through my own hands. Once again, there is nothing in the middle format. According to the frame, no one will distinguish a jpg file that it was shot in a medium format. Not practical, not necessary. And the resolution, today the modern 35 mm is already issued by 60 MP. Something like this.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thanks for your feedback.

  • Gosha

    Good day to all. I use the medium format. I shoot mamiya rz67, mamiyaflez on the film, I do not disdain Kiev 6s, I’ve been doing photography since childhood. In the figure, the so-called medium format I use Pentax 645z. I ask everyone to recall that 6x4,5 appeared as a result of the reporting need to shoot more - in frames. It was not even crop at that time a narrow format was just appearing. Discuss crop on under-format and say that it is a relic unnecessary.
    When people personally write practitioners, I can still understand, I tried it - I didn’t get it or didn’t understand, I didn’t figure it out, but when theorists write their experience is based on other people's articles .... guys hold your brooms please. Do not be offended.
    Our photographers are the best in the world today, both in fees and in photographs taken. And they all come from the Soviet space. Ukrainians, Russians, Czechs, Poles, etc., It never occurred to any of them to say that the large and medium format is about nothing. And it’s not necessary business for today.
    Physics itself in cf and b formats has other parameters, both plastic and air. There are fewer and fewer masters left each day. Than to ask and read someone else’s opinion a hundred times that it will not be superfluous either, buy or rent and rent, get experience. Experience or pleasure or rejection, but you just have to try the photo for taste and color yourself, touch the story and get understanding, feel, and then write and advise. I didn’t want to offend anyone. All good shots.

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