Here are twenty tips to help the newcomer to understand and use medium format cameras. These tips are the basics to learn as you explore this popular method of photography that has a long history. Most medium format photographers are completely dedicated to this long standing camera.
1) Take a deep breath and remember that taking photos using a medium format camera is no different then using a 35mm. All of the same rules still apply.
2) If you do decide to use a medium format for the first time then you will immediately begin noticing that they take better picture quality.
3) Medium formats also allow you to enlarge a photograph and retain a sharp appearance. They work wonderfully for portraits. They are far better for this then 35mm or digital.
4) Before you buy an SLR remember that they are noisy. The strobe sync is about 125.
5) TLR’s offer very little noise and a strobe sync of 500.
6) Remember not every store or drug store can process 21/4 film. You might have to seek out a professional lab which makes the cost far more then a 35mm.
7) The old Mamiyas are a wonderful medium format camera that you can pick up for a few dollars on sites like Ebay. However, they are an old camera so be careful when purchasing one.
8) TLR’s tend to have a waste level finder
9) If you decide to process the medium format film yourself then you will find out that it is easier to load on a spool then 35mm.
10) MF cameras use a leaf shutter as well as the TLR’s which also gives you flash sync up to 1/500th of a sec.
11) Be sure to research the various medium format cameras available. Some of them suffer mirror slap and this will even move a tripod. Bronica has a reputation for an extreme mirror slap.
12) Remember that the negatives of a medium format are quite large which present storage difficulties. They tend to be real dust catchers.
13) Always use your medium format on a tripod for the best photos. The better and more stable the tripod the better the photo will be.
14) It always helps to use a range finder.
15) Lenses for a medium format tend to be very expensive. Many have a built in shutter so you are also paying for that.
16) No camera is better at landscape photography or formal photography. The photos are sharp and crisp.
17) The 6×4.5cm format tends to be the best entry level format for a beginner to learn. It can be hand held at times without requiring a tripod.
18) A 6x6cm format is truly square but can be cropped.
19) A 6x7cm medium format is one of the best cameras for image crispness and quality.
20) A 6x7cm medium format is extremely heavy and you must utilize a tripod but there is no better camera for landscapes.