Which Format is Best?

The trend in the development of cameras is more convenience at the expense of lower quality. In the 19th century very large cameras and powerful lenses were the norm. In the beginning of the 20th century photojournalists began using smaller cameras (Graflex) for 4x5" sheet film, and 120 roll film  (Rolleiflex) because they were faster and more portable. The trend continued with the adaptation of 35mm movie film to the little Leitz camera (Leica), and today we have tiny "compact" cameras and even cell phone cameras for the ultimate in convenience.

Improvements in film and lenses have attempted to minimize the decrease in quality, so in combination with some traditional materials (e.g. pyro developer and platinum printing) the highest quality photographs are still possible. Some nostalgia has remained for older materials and processes (e.g. grainy Kodak Tri-X film, which was designed for  photojournalism), even though the resolving power and apparent sharpness are inferior to more modern materials and processes (e.g. Kodak T-Max film and developer). Some of the highest quality film has been discontinued (Technical Pan and Kodachrome), but there's always hope that similar or better film will be produced in the future.

An indication that film photography is not dead is that Zeiss has recently teamed up with Cosina and developed an entire line of rangefinder cameras and lenses for film, as well as a new 16mm movie camera for film under the Arri brand, highly respected in the huge cinematic industry. Kodak has recently released a new color negative film for movie cameras, and in its advertising says despite all the hype about digital cameras, film is still the state of the art in quality imaging.

Leica Macro Elmar 100mm f4 on expired Fuji color negative film.

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