What is full frame, medium format and things you may want to know by ErickPHOTO

The very first things we are going to discuss is the dimensions of different formats so we can understand this clearly.

Sensor Size from Micro Four Thirds to Large Format by ErickPHOTO

The photo community has been comparing what they call ‘full frame’ to medium format but forgetting that we should be more specific by sensor size or format instead.

For example, calling something full frame simply means that it is using the whole sensor of the camera that was intended. Some manufacturers used the words “cropped factor” to relatively understand the focal length of a lens and comprehend the field of view or simply that it is smaller than the standard of X.

Basically, anything bigger than 25x36mm is considered medium format regardless of dimensions and again, full frame means nothing, is not a measurement.

My medium format Hasselblad H4D is 32.9 x 43.8mm which is not even considered 645 (the smallest medium format film frame) so let’s just say that most digital medium format cameras are cropped medium format systems or that medium format comes in multiple flavors.

The Fujifilm GFX 100 sensor measures 32.9 x 43.9mm which again, is a “cropped” medium format sensor.

One sensor found in the PhaseOne XF 100 camera is 40.4 x 53.7mm making it the closest to the 645 medium format film system.

There is a significant upgrade from 645 to 6×7 film format and in my world, medium format is 6×7. Making every medium format digital camera a cropped sensor.

Now, as you upgrade size, you also upgrade the color and diminish depth of field but imagine the size of a full auto 6×7 lens, I assume it would always require a tripod.

Why are high end commercial companies using medium format systems? it comes down to high bit color that lets you push those files just a little more, typically more megapixels so you can crop or print at a higher level, flash synchronization at up to 1/2000 without losing flash power and a few other things.

So, who uses sheet film in this day? I only know of artists, not because of the color, only because of the artistic value and uniqueness of the results, so much detail as well but expensive, very expensive to do regularly.

So, the next time you want to refer to full frame, remember that there are a lot of frames and maybe be a little more specific?

Cheers!

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