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All About Formats

When photographers discuss formats, they are referring to the overall size, shape and medium their photographs are captured on.  A common example would be medium format (which has long been recognized as the standard for wedding photography).  The more common 35mm is also the format used by some and is most identifiable to the average consumer.  Today, however,  there is new technology in the form of digital capture.   We are referring here to "professional grade" digital cameras- a far step above the everyday digital camera many people are seeing in the hands of amateurs.  

Why is it important to know what format a wedding photographer uses?  Simply put, it indicates the level of commitment the photographer has to his/her craft and it relates directly to the quality of the images each format is capable of delivering.  Bottom line- some formats are better suited than others for wedding photography.  Medium format and/or professional level digital should be your choice if you demand the best image quality you can get!

The chart below should help you in understanding some of the differences!

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35mm

Medium Format

(Hi Res) Digital

OK
Better
Best
(The new industry standard)
Very popular amongst the amateur market.  Runs the gamut from point-n-shoot and up  Has been industry standard and workhorse for years and still is in some sectors Professional grade equipment (do not confuse with consumer grade). Fantastic image quality.
Photographer is locked into the image crop as it was taken- no flexibility Allows for creative cropping to enhance image and eliminate unwanted elements.  Good for any size and shape. Allows for creative cropping to enhance image and eliminate unwanted elements.  Good for any size and shape.
Negative retouching is nearly impossible- limited at best Large enough for effective retouching.  Emulsions are designed for hand-retouching. The best medium yet for digital retouching
Due to its small negative size, it has limitations for wall portraits Shows far less grain for album and wall portraits.  Excellent tonal gradations. No film grain at all since there is no film
In order to get black and white, sepia or color, the roll of film must be exposed and then switched or must swap cameras Removable film backs allow for mid roll film changes. Reduces missed shots while swapping backs. No swapping at all.  No missed shots.  Get what you want, color, black and white and sepia- all at the highest image quality.
Printed on normal paper The specialty of high end professional labs.  Archival high quality paper or canvas. The specialty of high end professional labs.  Archival high quality paper or canvas.
Less expensive investment for photographers, able to use amateur labs, quick shooting characteristics Industry standard for years but slower handling.  Investment made by the more quality conscience photographer. New standard with very quick handling and shooting characteristics.  Investment made by the most quality conscience photographer.
 

Fantasy Images
weddings@fantasy-images.com
303-683-4300