What should I look for when buying a medium format film camera?

4588 what should i look for when buying a medium format film camera

When considering the acquisition of a medium format film camera, there are several key factors to consider. These can range from technical specifications and features to aesthetic preferences and personal needs. In order to assist in the purchasing decision, the following is a list of considerations to take into account.

  1. Format Size: Medium format film cameras come in a variety of sizes, including 645, 6×6, 6×7, and 6×9. The size of the format will affect the number of exposures per roll of film and the aspect ratio of the images. It is important to determine which format size is most suitable for the intended use.

  2. Lens Selection: The lens is an important component of any camera and medium format film cameras are no exception. When choosing a camera, consider the available lens options and ensure that they meet the necessary requirements for the desired type of photography.

  3. Shutter Speed and Aperture Control: The ability to control shutter speed and aperture is critical in creating desired effects and controlling the exposure of the image. Consider the available range of shutter speeds and apertures and whether they meet the needs of the intended use.

  4. Exposure Metering: The way in which the camera meters exposure can greatly impact the final image. Some cameras use center-weighted metering, while others use spot metering. Consider the intended use and select a camera that provides the necessary metering options.

  5. Viewfinder: The viewfinder is an important aspect of the camera as it provides the means by which to frame and compose an image. Consider the type of viewfinder available, as well as its size and brightness.

  6. Build Quality: Medium format film cameras can be heavy and cumbersome, so it is important to consider the build quality of the camera. Ensure that the camera is sturdy and well-constructed to withstand regular use.

  7. Price: Finally, consider the cost of the camera and determine if it is within the budget. Some medium format film cameras can be quite expensive, so it is important to determine what features are most important and prioritize accordingly.

In conclusion, when purchasing a medium format film camera, it is important to consider the format size, lens selection, shutter speed and aperture control, exposure metering, viewfinder, build quality, and price. By taking these factors into account, a well-informed decision can be made and the ideal camera can be selected to meet the specific needs and requirements of the intended use.


  • “The Complete Guide to Medium Format Film Cameras,” by Mark Finn, 2021.