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Please clarify. Do you mean Medium Format shooting film compared to 35mm Digital? Or do you mean Medium Format digital verses 35mm digital?
If it is 35mm digital compared to MF digital, there is no question concerning Image Quality ... Medium Format wins.
In terms of handling, the 35mm digital systems tend to be faster in almost every way: Faster Auto Focus, more frames per second, in camera processing, etc. ... so they are often a better choice for sports, candid wedding photography, shooting children & pets or any fast paced subject or event.
MF digital tends to be used more for thoughtful, slower paced work where the highest Image Quality is desired.
These are generalities ... there are super high meg full frame 35mm DSLRs (Canon 1DsMKIII, 5D-MKII; Nikon D3X; Sony A900) that are designed to challenge MF image quality, and some pretty fast working MF Digital cameras that can be used for faster paced work ... like fashion and high-end weddings where the higher cost can sometimes be justified.
I am only an enthusiast not a pro so my experience particularly with equipment is limited but there is an observation and would welcome any comments. Years ago when I had access to a darkroom and did my own b/w enlargements the 6x6 negs obviously produced superior prints. Even when I print small, like a full frame square on 8x10 it is obvious the tones are way superior than an 8x10 from 135. This is all elementary. Now fast forward 20 years I am scanning 120 and 135 on a 9000ED. I get 180Mb files from medium format scans and roughly 60Mb files from 135. If I print A3 on an inkjet obviously I don't need such large files so the excess data is deleted and the outputs look the same whether the original data came from medium or small format. So unless I have been doing some wrong or logic flawed then isn't MF wasted if I don't print large or off some pro grade printer?
i use a hasselblad 501cm with a 40mm cfe lens, and have the trannies (50 Velvia) scanned; with the Epson v700, the scans are produced at 800ppi, giving a jpeg file of approx 30mb. If you save as a tiff file, the file is enormous ! But the quality of the scan is superb.
If I scan a 35mm trannie, same film 50 Velvia on a nikon coolscan, the file size is approx. 25mb, but is nowhere near the resolution of MF. I personally prefer shooting with film, but like to scan digitally. from my experience, the
best lenses are required to produce the best scans on digital, probably more so than on film. But I would still prefer to use film, and preferably MF.
My daughter uses Digital Nikon D2X, and A large format film camera; needless to say, LF blows the rest out of the water !
Hi Fotografz, I've been looking at getting a Leica lately, I shoot a FM2 but with regular 'real glass' manual nikon lenses, all primes etc. I would like to own the 35mm 1.4 and the 50mm 1.2 but the investment makes me think that i should change the system altogether for a leica system, plus the possibility of adding a m8 or m9 (if it happens to exist) is quite something.
How will you compare the nikon with zeiss (or the best nikon primes) to your leica system,
I have tried the new ZF lenses and I really think they lack quality, my guess is they are using the same plastic rubish everybody else is using today (canon/nikon) but they somehow make it look old-fashioned and good with the aesthetic design (metal shell, all manual, etc)
IMO, for 35mm using wide to normal focal lengths, nothing equals the Leica M in terms of IQ. Be forewarened that the M35/1.4 ASPH and 50/1.4 ASPH are huge investments.
The Zeiss ZFs are indeed very nice, and are built very well ... but they are not ASPH or APO optics ... and are used on a camera with a mirror box (SLR).
The Nikon AFS zooms with Nanocrystal coatings are very good lenses ... rugged and dependable. They are my work horses for shooting fast paced weddings along side the Leica M gear. I have nothing bad to say about the Nikon lenses nor the ZFs ... but they are not the equal of the Leica Ms.
However, horses for courses is still true. There is a time and place for a rangefinder, and for a DSLR. Depends on what you make photos of.
The M8 and the lenses Marc mentioned need no further praise they are top of the bill.
The question that may help you to decide to go for the M 8 with asherical lenses is will you be able to make money with them or at least earn your investment back?
A used M8 with two lenses will mean at least 7000-8000 USD.
For a new set the total will be around 13000 USD. (discounted prices)
I was having a conversation with a photographer yesterday who uses nothing but 35mm digital and he was basically saying that unless you are printing above A2 or A3 you don't need medium format, I tried to tell him that even at A4 the quality is vastly improved over 35mm and very noticeable, In fact i have been doing some comparisons and even postcard size shows more detail and tonal quality, In fact everything about it is better.
For the serious photographer, who wants the very best, with 100Mpx + res (without pan-and-stitch), movements... the difference is that a medium format digital back can be mounted on the back of a view camera, and used with a stitching back.
If you want movements without having to buy a view camera ands a range of lenses, the Hasselblad Flexbody is a good tool with V-mount backs.
I have the M8 and several apo lenses and Hasselblad 16Mpix gears.
However when possible I prefer film. Perhaps I will change my mind with the new M9 and CFV--39 digitals.
If you dislike taking pictures with tripod, the M is the good answer until you do not need fast telelenses.
With the 21mm to 50mm Leica is real fun, longer lenses are not so easy and comfortable. The M9 is the smallest digital in 24x36mm area. And the CWD is perhaps smaller than the top Nikon body.
Anyway I was really surprised about the good result of Velvia 50 on 56x56mm if I compare to the M8. And I was very surprised after using a Zeiss distagon 50mm 2,8 made for Hasselblad fitted on a Canon 450D.
I suppose that the CFV 39 will be far better than what I tried before.
Perhaps a Hasselblad V and Leica M is the "must have" for the ones who wants quality and not be served by all automatic robots.