Film Formats

Long time ago when I participated in such things as Review Nights at the Camera Club, I showed my series of photos from the Detroit Zoo to a local gallery operator who asked, “What camera did you use?”

Sure, that’s a curiosity we camera nerds get hung up on—but it’s a tool.  Nobody asks a mechanic, “Hey what kind of wrench do you use?”  Or maybe they do.  

These were done with a 35mm Nikon FM3, but I also owned and used a 6x9cm view camera back in the day—both of which employ the same 2:3 aspect ratio.  The cameras handle entirely differently—the Nikon is really portable and quick to operate, the Arca-Swiss et al. relatively unwieldy but encourages an intensional and deliberate work habit—and their resolution and grainy-ness differ widely, so the images hold differing amounts of information.  But we photo-philes gotta resist assigning ‘value’ to one format over the other.  Which is what I suspect this gallerist was getting at.

The top photo is, like I say, done on 35mm film—I add the second from my old 6x9cm for comparison.  First one is from Zoo, the latter from Backsides.