What is 35mm & Medium Format in Film Photography

For the past two decades, we have seen a significant increase in the practices of film photography. To put it in one sentence, film photography means to have a film inside your camera instead of a micro SD card. Not to mention, you can only insert a film in old cameras. From the ’60s to the early ’90s film photography has seen its peak as a medium for taking images. And, the photos of those ages were mostly in black and white. When the Polaroid or instant camera got introduced, people generally used 35mm film. Back then this format was the most popular. However, there are few more formats of films. Here, we will talk about the two most popular film formats.

What Is Film Format?

It basically means different sizes of films. There are mainly three kinds of film formats, such as- 35mm, medium format, and larger format. You will see 35mm and medium format in use mostly. But, there are also some formats available which are smaller in size, namely- 110, 127, and APS.

Why All These Formats?

The quality of the picture depends on what sort of film are you utilizing. If you use a smaller film the film texture or grain in the picture will be more prominent. And, if you use a larger film the images will have fewer grains on it. It is critical to identify the film with a particular camera. Now, let’s see why photographers chiefly use only 35mm and medium format films.

35mm Film

This film is also known as a small format. To be more specific about the size, it is a 36x24mm format film. The aspect ratio of this film is 3:2. Among all the films this one is the most popular. The use of this film started in 1934. All the people who are into photography are familiar with this film format. You will find this film carrying three different range of shots, namely- 12, 24, and 36 shots. Overall, it is the most suitable film for common people and novice film photographers because it’s easy to capture images with it.

Advantages of 35mm Film

It’s the most affordable. So, this is one of the reasons that make it suitable for learners. It’s economical for you since you will be practicing and taking some less impressive shots. Also, the film is lightweight that adds the attribution of easily portable. Also, it’s readily available in the market with a huge variety of emulations. Who doesn’t love to look for several options?

Disadvantages of 35mm Film

Since 35mm film is a smaller size film, it won’t provide you the clearest quality of an image. If you use this film, the resolution will have to be compromised. Furthermore, manufacturers build it keeping in mind about the end-users. Which means, they mainly develop it for the people who are not meticulous about image quality.

Medium Format Film

This format is mainly used by professional photographers. Yet, you will see many amateur photographers explore with this format of film. It’s also known as 120-film. The bodily distinction of this format with a smaller format is- it is larger in size. Still, you will be able to carry it if you try.

Advantages of Medium Format Film

As we have already mentioned, the larger the film the clearer the picture is when you print it out. This format contains much scope for exploring your creative potentials because it allows you to manipulate the depth of the field. You can blur the background of the main object. That gives images a 3D-pop! There are a few more distinctive characteristics of this film. For example, it will render you with better gradation. Also, the perspective is less distorted in this film. Overall, this film will help you to produce professional-quality images.

Disadvantages of Medium Format Film

You will see people complaining about their weight. So, even if you carry it, it might strain your spine at some point. You will get fewer shots per roll if you compare it with 35mm. It depends on what kind of camera are you using but it’s not more than 16 images. Moreover, the cost of this film is higher than 35mm where the cost of developing photos from this film varies. So, you can’t afford to do any experiment with a medium format film, can you? Yes, you might get lucky with an experimental shot. And, you have our best wishes for that.

To-warp Up

Eventually, the uses of these two film formats depend on the motive of a film photographer. You will find many professional photographers using both formats. The small format can be utilized anytime, but you need to be careful with the medium format. Medium format is mainly used to produce some excellent quality images.