I’ve been diving into various cameras for the last few months. Not only have we been using 35mm film cameras, but we’ve explored other camera types like medium format cameras, such as the Bronica, Mamiya, and Holga. In fact, we shot our Once Upon a Time group assignment with a Bronica (but more on that later).
Last week, we embarked in the world of large format cameras.
(Photo: Left – Large Format Camera, Right – Medium Format Camera, Bronica)
What is the difference between a medium and large format camera?
Notice that I said a roll of film for medium format cameras, while large format cameras use film sheets. This means that once you compose your image and shoot that frame, you have to remove the film sheet, recompose the next frame and then shoot your next image.
Remember when the Hindenburg passenger airship caught on fire and killed 36 people? That was caught on film with a large format camera! Our professor said, “Can you imagine having to shoot, take out the film, compose and re-shoot?” The images were compelling, weren’t they?
Large Format Cameras – Lessons Learned
If there is one thing I can say about medium and large format cameras, it’s clarity. 35mm film cameras can only produce an image up to certain size (8×10) before you begin to lose clarity. With a medium format camera, you can you print images up up to 16×20. I haven’t printed a large format image, but I can only imagine the amount of clarity that it would produce.
But clarity comes with a disadvantage. Large format camera do not give you the mobility a photographer might want. Ansel Adams was part of a club called Group f/64, where photographers shot pictorial styled images on large format cameras. They spent countless hours waiting for the perfect frame; they weren’t street photographers trying to catch that quick shot and move on.
One of the coolest aspects about large format cameras is its flexibility. Smaller body cameras have the lens and view finder along the same plane. A photographer can control an image through the aperture and shutter speed (after the ISO has been set). From a side view of a large format camera (see below), photographers can control the depth of field and viewing planes by tilting the front or back or side-to-side. This gives a photographer fuller control to compose and shoot an image.
(Photo: Side view of a large format camera)
(Photo: Front view of a large format camera)
(Photo: Back view of a large format camera)
And thanks to a fellow budding photographer, @courtneyhill_55, who took this image. I posed as a tough girl while she practiced with the large format camera. This is a scanned image of the negative. Pretty cool, ehh?
When Photography Rules Are Made to be Broken (Part 2)
When Photography Rules Are Made to be Broken (Part 1)
Learning How to Tone an Analogue Photo
Digital Enchanted Landscape Project: Monarch Butterfly Visit
Digital Multiple Self Project
How to Fine Tune a Black and White Analogue Image
From my hometown to yours,