Medium Format: introduction

Format refers to the size of film that you are using.

Medium format mostly refers to 120 film which will be 6cm wide but depending on the camera you are using can be 4.5,6, or 7cm long and even longer which would go on to a large format camera. Our cameras produce negative that are 6 X 6cm and 6 X 7cm. We would advice that you do not use 220 film as it doesn’t have a paper back and can rip and is difficult to load, also some of our cameras are not designed for this longer film, So please stick to 120 film.

We do have a Polaroid back for the Mamiya RS67 for this you need to buy Polaroid film.

Lots of older medium format cameras don’t have built in light meters and so you will most probably have to use an external light meter. Saying that we do have a metering hood and metering pentaprisim but we would advise you to use a hand held light meter.

Light Meters help to give an accurate light reading which will be converted into the appropriate shutter speeds and fno relative to the film speed ie ISO. When using a light meter first dial in the correct ISO, then set the mode to either ambient, flash non-cord or flash cord, dependant on your lighting. For a general reading point the meter at the subject from the position of the camera and take a reading.

For a brightness-range take a reading from the brightest part and the darkest part then split the difference. Using a grey-card measure the light reflected off it. For incident-light reading use the white plastic diffusing dome then meter the light that is fallin’g This methods will not take into account close-up work, filters on the camera or very long or very short exposures.

Most medium format cameras require you to both cock the lens and wind the film on as two separate actions unlike most compacts and 35mm cameras where both these actions are carried out simply by winding the film on.

PDF: Medium format