Best Medium Format Cameras – 2020 Reviews

Looking at the older eras of photography, users might notice that the cameras used then were different than what we use today. One of these was the medium-format cameras. But they haven’t gone anywhere. 

Even today, medium format cameras are used by some photographers for the great results that they provide. If you, too, are looking for such a model, then this article is perfect for you. It will guide you to pick the perfect one for yourself.

Comparison Chart of the Best Medium Format Cameras

PRODUCTDETAILS
gm2-table__image

Nikon D850

  • Low noise 4K UHD video shooting
  • Low base ISO for a higher dynamic range
  • It's easy to get a shot from any angle with the tilting LCD touch screen
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Lomography Diana F+

  • Features a manual focus and removable lens
  • Features a manual focus and removable lens
  • Has two image formats and the smoothest panoramic shots
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Holga 120N

  • Best for the Money
  • Fewer controls and a cutting-edge design
  • Plastic lens with perfect aesthetics deliver soft clarity resolution
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Fujifilm GFX 50R

  • Best Medium Format Film Camera for Portraits
  • CMOS sensor lens deliver superior image sharpness
  • Magnesium alloy body is tough to withstand harsh elements
View Latest Price
gm2-table__image

Fujifilm GFX 50S

  • Best Fuji Medium Format Camera
  • Exemplary 51.4MP high resolution power lens
  • Has 0.85x magnification factor and an electronic viewfinder
View Latest Price

What is a Medium Format Camera?

Even though they have been around for a long time, some of us still might not know what a medium format camera really is. Before you decide if you want one of these models, it is important to know what these exactly are. 

They date back to the times when films were still in use. A medium format camera is simply one that uses a film of size 120mm or an imaging sensor that mimics that size. As a result, the images that are taken with these cameras are actually slightly smaller than the large format size, yet bigger than the full-frame sensors.

Why Use a Medium Format Camera?

With the great range of modern cameras that are available in the market, one would wonder why they would need to invest in a medium format camera. There are a few features that are available that make them worth the investment.

Sturdy Design

One of the greatest plus points of these cameras is that they are from a time where devices weren’t all designed to be sleek and fragile. Therefore, it has a heavy and bulky body, fashioned with a sturdy design. This sturdiness allows great strength for the camera. Damaging these units is, therefore, a lot harder.

Variety in Size

The size of a medium format film isn’t fixed. It usually varies from one manufacturer to the other. Similarly, the size of the sensor in these cameras isn’t all the same. 

So, when you choose a medium format camera, you are not stuck with just one size. You will have the freedom to choose between different models, with different sensor sizes, and pick the one that you need.

Customizable

Another great feature that you will find in these cameras is that a lot of their parts are interchangeable. There are a lot of parts that are not fixed and can be easily detached. Given this, you can change these parts according to your liking and needs and make your photoshoots more versatile.

Quick Take - Best Medium Format Cameras

Before we dive into our review, here are the best medium format cameras:

  1. Nikon D850
  2. ​​Lomography Diana F+
  3. Holga 120N

Review of the Best Medium Format Cameras

By now, you must have decided whether or not to invest in medium format cameras. If you chose to invest in one, then you need to make sure that you invest in nothing less than the best. In order to help you out, here are some of the best models that you can choose for yourself.

Best Overall:
Nikon D850

Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body

PROS

  • Features 8K6 and 4K time-lapse shooting modes with better levels of sharpness
  • Unit available in seven different variants with different accessories to choose from
  • Designed with a tilting touchscreen and a focus shift shooting made that makes the job easier for you
  • Provides users with 45.7 megapixels that allow an outstanding resolution along with a great dynamic range
  • Capable of shooting up to 9 fps for a single continuous shot and that too at full resolution along with autofocus

CONS

  • Wireless iOS app is not user-friendly
  • Focus peaking can’t be used with 4K video shooting
  • No image stabilization means the images may be a little shaky

What Recent Buyers Report

One of the reasons this product stands to be on the top of this list is because of how well it has been received by its users. Those who have tried it out for themselves have been stunned by the outstanding performance that it provides. Most of them have found its image quality to be its top feature, which they think is on top of its game.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Looking at this D850, one may think what’s there to not love. But one particular feature, of all its perfect ones, makes it stand out to us the most. And that is the rear touchscreen. The touchscreen on this camera is a great addition. The touch responds very quickly and provides an intuitive use for the users.

Who Will Use This Most

This unit is one of the rare ones that feature all the qualities that a photographer would look for. From sharp and crisp image quality to a fast CPU performance, there is nothing that this unit lacks. 

Due to its outstanding quality of performance and built, we feel that it is ideal for everyone. Everyone that wants to invest in a medium format camera would find this unit to be the perfect one.

Bottom Line

Overall, this product stands to be on top of this, and it is there for a reason. The reason is its flawless design and smart engineering that provide photographers with a result that they absolutely love. This unit is one of the very few that impresses all its users, and it will be sure to do the same for you.

Lomography Diana F+ Medium Format Camera with Flash

PROS

  • Can be purchased separately with accessories like a flash kit, lens, and others
  • Flash works with a two-pronged plug that plugs easily into the F+ camera body
  • Electronic flash works on standard AA batteries that are cheap and easy to find
  • Comes with two different adaptors for better compatibility and versatile shooting
  • Variable shutters allow you to adjust to the light no matter what time of the day it is or what the lighting is like

CONS

  • Use may take a while to figure out
  • Heavy and can’t be carried comfortably without a strap
  • 120 film that it uses may be considerably hard to find and not easily available

What Recent Buyers Report

Those who have invested in this unit will tell you all the reasons why you need to invest in this camera too. They find it to be highly functional and absolutely worth the price tag that it comes with. Users say it may take some effort to carry it around due to its heavy built, but the results are always worth it in the end.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are a lot of features that this camera offers. But there is something about it that simply makes it stand apart from the rest. And that is the light adjustment that it provides. 

It efficiently and seamlessly adapts to the light in the room and allows the best exposure for your photos that you never need to worry about how much light there is and where it is coming from.

Who Will Use This Most

A lot of times, while taking pictures, users find themselves in trouble with the lighting of the room. Finding the right angles to capture sufficient light and adjusting the light source itself proves to be a great hassle. But the functionality of this camera simply eliminates all those issues. 

So if you wish to invest in a model that works like that, this is the product that you need to invest in.

Bottom Line

All in all, this product is simply outstanding. It may be the runner-up on our list, but only by a very small margin. All its features and its functionality are on par with the high-end cameras that the market has to offer. This unit hasn’t failed its users before, and it will continue to do so.

Best for the Money:
Holga 120N

Holga 120N Medium Format Film Camera (Black) with 120 Film Bundle

PROS

  • Compact design makes it a perfect fit in hands for a good grip
  • Comes with the film needed, saving you from a run to the market to find the film
  • Features a 60mm f/8 plastic lens that is perfect for the high image quality you need
  • Allows shutter speed of 1/1000 seconds which is better than that provided by any other unit
  • Designed with a zone focusing system that helps you take the perfect shot with the perfect focus

CONS

  • Does not perform well in low light
  • Plastic built of the camera is not very durable
  • Users can’t adjust the settings according to need

What Recent Buyers Report

Users investing in this product have been absolutely stunned by the performance of this unit. They admit that the camera looks toy-like, and they doubted that it would be able to provide the ideal functionality. 

But they also admit that they were proved wrong. According to them, the camera was absolutely perfect in terms of design as well as ease of use.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Of all the other products that are available in the market, we chose this one for one of its features. And that is its zone focusing system. This camera may be cheap with good image quality, but the ideal focusing that it allows clearly steals the show, with the flawless pictures that it takes.

Who Will Use This Most

We all want to experience high-end results from the camera that we invest in. But we all may not be able to afford a high-end model which simply may be too expensive. 

If you want a good idea of how a high-end product performs, then investing in this unit may be the right choice for you. You may finally experience the best of medium format cameras without having to pay the full price.

Bottom Line

Why pay more when you can pay less? Get all the features you need at a price that doesn't weigh too heavy on your pockets. With this product, you don't only get the features you want at the price you want, but also a functionality that will simply fail to disappoint you.

Best Medium Format Film Camera for Portraits:
Fujifilm GFX 50R

Fujifilm GFX 50R 51.4MP Mirrorless Medium Format Camera (Body Only)

PROS

  • G mount comes with a very short flange back distance which is no more than 26.7mm
  • Available in four different configurations for you to pick one that suits your needs best
  • Provides users with superior sharpness and image quality provided by the X Processor Pro 
  • Features two memory card slots that use SD card so you can capture and store more images
  • Designed to be dust and weather-resistant so you can get the perfect shot anytime, anywhere

CONS

  • Connecting the Wi-Fi on the unit may be tricky
  • Users may find the functionality to be a little slow
  • Considerably more expensive than others of its type

What Recent Buyers Report

Once you were to hear what recent buyers have to say about this product, you'd be convinced to invest in it yourself. Users have found its performance and built to be highly impressive. From the ideal memory capacity to its weather-resistant design, users say this model has everything they could ever ask for. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you ask us to suggest a medium format camera, we would suggest you this one of all others available in the market. That is because of the high-end processor that it is equipped with. 

This unique and efficient processor ensures that you get the best image quality with every click. And that's what makes it stand out. 

Who Will Use This Most

All medium format cameras come with different sizes and features. This makes them good for different uses. The size and features that this product allows make it perfect for taking portraits. 

So, if you're looking for a camera that serves to be your perfect companion for taking portraits, then this is the one for you. 

Bottom Line

Medium format cameras can be used for a lot of different types of shots. And when it comes to taking portraits, this product is the best choice for the job. It will allow you the ease of use with the ideal results that you simply can't find elsewhere. If you want to experience such excellence, do not wait and invest in this product. 

Best Fuji Medium Format Camera:
Fujifilm GFX 50S

Fujifilm GFX 50S 51.4MP Mirrorless Medium Format Camera (Body Only)

PROS

  • Provides users with operating temperatures between -10 and 40 degrees
  • Compact design along with the lightweight built makes the unit convenient to use and carry around
  • Comes with a detachable 3.69M dot organic electronic viewfinder that helps to take the perfect shot
  • Invest in the camera alone, or get it with a lens of your choice that you feel would enhance the results
  • 51.4 MP CMOS sensor allows an image quality that is simply a class apart from that provided by the rest

CONS

  • Viewfinder may be hard to find
  • ISO performance may be a little lacking 

What Recent Buyers Report

Users investing in this product found its functionality and performance to be outstanding, which is exactly what they expected from a unit by Fuji. 

They have found everything about it to be absolutely perfect, from its size and weight to its sensor and processor. They would have liked it if the price wasn’t as much, but it is still worth the price tag.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Why do we choose this product to be on this list instead of the many others in the market? It’s simple. Its wide temperature range for operation makes it more functional than all other units out there. It is capable of performing the best even in extreme temperatures, providing users with the ideal results at all times.

Who Will Use This Most

Those that have invested in Fuji once prefer to do so over and over again. That is simply because of the quality and excellence that the brand provides them with. 

Users that are looking for a medium format camera by Fuji, and find themselves confused about which product to choose would find this unit to be a perfect choice.

Bottom Line

We end this list with one of the best products that the market has to offer. Featuring qualities beyond those that one could ask for and an image quality that is simply better than the rest, this camera will never fail to impress you. It has everything you need and much more for an experience that will result in outstanding photos.

Pros and Cons of Medium Format Cameras

Medium format cameras are great for certain features that they provide. But being the old model that it is, it does come with some cons. Deciding if the cons of these products are worth the functionality they provide is up to you. In order to help you choose, here are some pros and cons of these cameras.

Pros

Let’s first have a look at the pros  

Resolution

The resolution provided by these cameras is outstanding. There are a lot of different sizes of medium format available. And if you pick the right unit, you will see that the resolution you get is simply incomparable to any you’ve experienced before. Such a resolution is ideal for taking any sort of images that you want.

Durable

As we said earlier, these cameras date back to a time where not every device has to be sleek and smart. The functionality matters more. Given that, these units come with a sturdy design. This design makes them a lot more durable than the standard modern-day cameras.

Modular

Medium format cameras have always been designed with a modular design. This design enables users to replace a number of parts that they want according to their needs and liking. This customizable design allows them to take a versatile range of photos.

Cons

On the other hand, there are some cons, including:

Heavy

As mentioned earlier, medium format cameras are bigger in size. They have a bigger sensor and a sturdy built. These features make them a lot heavier than other cameras. While taking photos with these can provide a better result, one must bear in mind that they can’t do so for a long time without getting tired.

Medium Format Camera vs DSLR - Comparison Overview

These cameras provide you the best of classics, but a DSLR is equipped with modern-day technology. So which is better? 

Both types have their own perks, making them suitable for different users. Here is a comparison between the two that will help you pick one for yourself.

Cost

The first difference between the two lies in the cost of these cameras. Both of these types are considered to be professional cameras and are not cheap at all. Despite their heavy price tags, medium front cameras are comparatively cheaper than DSLRs. 

Focal Length

Another great difference between these two cameras is that of focal length. It is no secret that medium format cameras are designed with a bigger sensor. This allows a focal length that is considerably more than that of DSLRs. Depending on your requirement of focal length, you can pick the unit that is more appropriate for you.

Response to Light

Older cameras were not designed to adapt to the light as fast as modern-day cameras can. DSLRs are designed to detect and respond to shifts in lighting in an instant. This makes them more functional and allows better light adjusted pictures. If that is the response you want, then you should definitely invest in the latter.

How to Use a Medium Format Camera

A medium front camera is a little different than the standard modern one. Not only is it different in design and built, but its operation isn’t the same either. In case you aren’t sure about how to use these, do not worry. Here is a quick guide:

1. Before you start using the camera, you need to insert the film. Twist the back lock on the backside of the camera, and it’ll open the chamber for the film. Put in the new film and wind the film spool. Once done, close the chamber again.

2. Wind the level till the little window shows you the number 1. Once you see the digit, your film is ready to shoot.

3. Once the film is ready, you need to change the camera settings to start shooting. The two dials will allow you to adjust the shutter speed and the aperture. A lever next to the dials will allow you to set the timer.

4. Your camera is now ready to shoot as well. All you need to do is look into the viewfinder located on the side and capture your shot. But remember, the view that you see in the viewfinder is flipped.

And that is how easy it really is to use a medium format camera. If you still have some questions, refer to the video below to find a better illustration of use.

Conclusion

A medium format camera may be from the older days, but its functionality and quality are still up to the mark. This is what makes it one of the best choices a photographer can make. 

If you, too, have decided to make this choice, make sure that you have considered all the pros and cons of these models, so you can make better use of the camera.

People Also Ask

Medium format cameras are not the cheapest around. In fact, they are quite expensive. Therefore, before you invest in these units, you need to make sure all your queries regarding them are answered. 

In order to help you out, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions.

Why Are Medium Format Cameras so Expensive?

Medium expensive cameras may not be new to the market but are still considerably expensive. This is because they utilize a bigger sensor than standard cameras. These bigger sensors are very expensive. And the limited demand leads to a further increase in their price.

Is Medium Format Better Than 35mm?

Comparing a medium format to 35mm, one may notice that the sole difference lies in size. The former has no fixed size, but it can be about 2 to 6 times bigger than the latter. So if you are looking for a bigger and variable size, then you should definitely choose a medium format.

Is Medium Format Film Better Than Digital?

The superiority of one of the two, over the other, depends upon you and your needs. If you are looking for greater image quality, then a digital camera would suit your needs better. But those units are expensive and very tricky to use. 

So if you need a cheaper product that has a simple operation with satisfying results, medium format film would be considerably better.