Explaining the "Medium Format Look" - Trust Me Shops

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Explaining the "Medium Format Look"

Explaining the "Medium Format Look"

B&H explora - All posts
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In photography vernacular, there’s something called the “medium format look.” This distinctive but hard-to-describe look is commonly associated with medium format cameras (hence its name) and refers to aesthetic qualities in an image, such as pronounced smoothness, more blurriness in shallow-depth-of-field images, more accurate color rendering, and so on. It’s difficult to pinpoint because it’s somewhat subjective and varies from shot to shot. Also, despite its name, it’s not an effect relegated solely to medium format cameras, although some of the reasons this effect exists are due to some of the technical differences between medium format and smaller format cameras. So, let’s look a bit more into what the medium format look is, how you can achieve it, and how to work with it.

Characteristic medium format look with high sharpness, realistic tones, and a smooth transition from in-focus to out-of-focus areas.

Sharpness and Resolution

The two clearest signifiers of a medium format look are sharpness and resolution, mainly because they are the two factors that tend to be objectively different, compared to smaller format cameras. Medium format cameras tend to have sensors that range between 50MP and 100MP in resolution, which, with some notable exceptions, is higher than most smaller format cameras. This greater number of pixels contributes to greater clarity in an image—it’s the ability to discern smaller, finer details at greater distances. Assuming you’re viewing an image at an appropriately large scale, the higher resolution of medium format cameras is quite visible just due to the sheer amount of detail and information recorded.

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