Medium Format

Medium Format Cameras

Equipped with larger sensors and generally producing higher resolutions than other digital cameras, medium format cameras mimic a 120 film size—which originated with Kodak in the very early 1900s—rather than 35mm, producing extremely complex images. Medium format is defined as any camera format that records an image larger than 35mm but smaller than 4x5 inches, which is considered large format.

Typically used in fashion and advertising photography because of the incredible detail and near-perfect color accuracy they achieve, medium format cameras allow you a wider field of view, but shallow depth of field and background compression, resulting in a more realistic, natural photo. Rich tonality is also a hallmark of the medium format “look,” and is accomplished again by the larger sensor size—because the frame is larger, there is more space to make a tonal transition.

The large image sensors in medium format cameras usually range from around 43.8mm x 32.9mm to 53.7mm x 40.2mm, which means manufacturers can add more megapixels without reducing their size, resulting in bigger, better, brighter photos. Although medium format cameras have been traditionally big, bulky, heavy and fragile, advancements by brands like Fujifilm, Leica and Hasselblad have evolved much smaller and more lightweight bodies that look just like any other DSLR or mirrorless camera.