35mm film vs. medium format vs. full frame digital: is shooting film really worth it?

Jan 14, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

35mm film vs. medium format vs. full frame digital: is shooting film really worth it?

Jan 14, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

Although it has been a while since digital cameras took over the market, some photographers still prefer shooting film. But is shooting film really worth the money, time and effort you put into it? How different it really is from shooting digital? In this video from Shutterstock, Logan Baker compares 35mm and medium format film with a full frame mirrorless camera to show you how they compare.

YouTube video

For the comparisons, Logan uses a Kodak Portra 400 film for his Pentax K1000 (35mm) and Mamiya 645 (medium format) cameras. As for the digital, he uses a Sony A7sII. He scans the negatives on the Epson V600 and compares them to the digital images taken with the full frame mirrorless camera.

In the video, Logan puts the cameras to different tests. He wanted to see how they perform in bright daylight, how they render skin tones, and how good they are for taking long exposure photos at night.

When it comes to shooting portraits in bright daylight, you can see the differences between the images. For example, the saturation is higher in film photos, while the colors in the digital images are rather flat. On the other hand, the contrast is higher in digital photos, while it’s lower in those taken with film. I can’t say one look is better than the other – it all depends on your preferences and what look you want to achieve.

Shooting in the bright sunlight gave Logan an idea how each of the cameras handles highlights. The medium format is a clear winner, considering that it’s the only image that retained quite a lot of detail in the bright areas. And as for shooting long exposure images in low-light, Logan rules in favor of the digital sensor. He points out that it handles the low-light situation and the colors better than film cameras.

Of course, there are a lot of factors that could affect the results, and none of this is set in stone. Logan doesn’t refer to any of the cameras as “the best” solution, but it’s all a matter of preference. Personally, I usually go with the digital because it’s easier and more convenient. But from time to time, I also shoot film because of the unique look and the excitement I feel while I wait for it to get developed.

Make sure to watch the video, and you can read more and see the images on the Shutterstock blog. And tell us, do you think shooting film is still worth it in the digital era?

[Film vs. Digital: Comparing Medium Format, 35mm, and Mirrorless | Photography Tips | Shutterstock Tutorials]

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

7 responses to “35mm film vs. medium format vs. full frame digital: is shooting film really worth it?”

  1. Darrell Larose Avatar
    Darrell Larose

    This is a tiresome debate, I have been a photo tech for my entire working life (over 40 years) all these end up really comparing digital cameras and scanners. Why not print the film optically to 30×40″ and print the digital files to the same scale? Until then the methodology is flawed.

  2. Galonii August Avatar
    Galonii August

    it’s a great learning tool, for photographer’s who are just learning. there’s no photoshop at the end of the day to fix what you just shot, and no instant preview to make sure you got your shot. it requires a well thought out plan for each shot.

  3. Alan C Avatar
    Alan C

    Film sucks, costly, darkroom and time Chemicals and waste of time and money, digital is far superior modern, efficient and far more fun.

    Learned on film and darkroom wor,k that is why I quite photography for 15 plus years cause it was not fun, is very expensive and time consuming and storage of negatves suck.

    The photshop argument is stupid, film can be manipulated as much as digital. End of story.

    1. Chode Avatar
      Chode

      Life in the 17th century was terrible. no heat, electricity, none of the luxuries we have today. So why would anyone find any joy in living history or war reenactments? Surely the times we live in now are better, everything is more efficient, less costly, easier in general. Life now is obviously superior, in every way, so those people who reenact history must be just wrong eh? They must just be flat out wrong to enjoy what is inferior to what we have now?
      Or painting even! Why paint a portrait? It’s such an antiquated way to get an image of someone. It’s not going to be as accurate as a photo, the colors won’t be replecated exactly, it could take hours upon hours to finish and the supplies get expensive quick.

      There is an art to film that is different than digital. It’s the same as any other hobby that has technological advances. Why make anything by hand when there’s an automated way to do it?

      Japanese woodblock carving is a great example. It could all be automated with machines, but it’s the handmade artistic aspect that people are looking for. I can use an inkjet and just print off “the great wave off kanagawa”, but compared to owning an actual print that somebody labored over for weeks, hand dyed and printed using techniques thousands of years old? There’s just more intrinsic value in that.

      1. Petapros 6.0 ✔ Intel Inside® Avatar
        Petapros 6.0 ✔ Intel Inside®

        Film has an intrinsic value that digital will never have. If you look at the most valuable Photographs in the world they almost all were shot using film cameras.

  4. Andriy Kryvtsun Avatar
    Andriy Kryvtsun

    Why don’t you use 6×9 medium format film? 6×4.5 is too close to regular full frame.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      Because maybe they didn’t have one?