Can You Fake Medium Format?

Medium format photography offers a wide variety of benefits in terms of image quality, but is it possible to try to achieve those results when shooting on a camera with a much smaller sensor?

Jamie Windsor talks you through his detailed process, which uses a technique known as the Brenizer method. The difference here is that rather than simply trying to achieve a wide angle of view with an amazingly shallow depth of field, Windsor is specifically attempting to replicate the results from a Hasselblad loaded with Kodak Portra 400 film.

Both Lightroom and Photoshop have a feature for stitching a number of images together, the advantage of Lightroom being that it outputs a raw file on which you can continue working. Windsor throws in a few other useful Photoshop tips for good measure.

One aspect that I really appreciate in Windsor's videos is his editing. Funky transitions add a little bit of flair to content that can otherwise be a little bit dry. This seems a much better option than awkwardly shoehorning some female flesh into a video to try to hold people's attention. In addition, Windsor uses graphics very effectively to help explain some of the technical aspects, such as sensor size and the way that photographic film responds to light.

I wrote recently about how you shouldn't pay for Lightroom presets, but — and I say this without having tried any of Windsor's bundles — this is one instance where I'd make an exception. Many of the comments on my other article argued that film replication is an area where many people are happy to pay a little bit of cash to tap into the extensive knowledge and testing clearly invested by the likes of Windsor, and I'd certainly agree. If you want to blow $20 on a pack of orange and teal presets, go ahead and waste your money. If you want to use the expertise of a seasoned pro in replicating film, this seems to be well worth the investment.

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11 Comments

John Dawson's picture

Pretty interesting

Or why not just shoot film? Film, is film.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Hold on... there are presets for making my photos orange and teal...? Who would have thought it possible... :)

Buy and shoot a Hasselblad and quit being a fake.

Joe Martinez's picture

This video is excellent. I think the Brenizer method is pretty well-known for getting close to that medium format look, but it's presented here in a really refreshing way. Great explanations on sensor size, simple and well illustrated instructions, and those transitions! Really cool.

Michael Holst's picture

I've always meant to take a stab at this but I usually forget about it when I'm shooting. Thanks for the reminder.

...Comments on FS are getting closer and closer to YouTube Quality.

Andy Day's picture

Yeah, the quality of comments can be pretty frustrating. :/

Good video, but he could use a refresher in math. It is square mm, not mm squared. The way he stated it, the full frame camera would have sensor area 864 times its actual size.

dierk topp's picture

Andy,
did you notice, that you are comparing a one shot image to a stitched image?
What, if he was laughing or talking.... ?
Shooting a one shot image you get any moving object without problems, in the Brenizer method you only can shoot static objects. On his wedding shots he uses one or two shots for the couple and all the other of the static scene around.
Medium format is not just a different DOF.

Andy Day's picture

I don't believe I compared any shots! Windsor did all the work, I just wrote a short description. 😂

dierk topp's picture

I use Hasselblad lenses with Rhinocam adapters from Photodiox and Sony cameras (FF and APS-C) and get images up to 200 MPix. and even more.

As long as you shoot static objects stitching from the same image circle like Hasselblad and Rhinocam or using a nodal correct panorama head gives you any resolution, that you want. When moving the camera for the shots on a nodal pano head you will get some distortions, that have to be corrected in post.

I have prints up to 3,60m wide from this combo. If interested you will find some results here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dierktopp/albums/72157634801332367

Is this meant faking the DOF of MF, or the resolution, or the colors (as in part two)?

Sony NEX-7 with Hasselblad 40mm Distagon