Shooting Larger Than Full-Frame Without Breaking the Bank or Carrying a Tank

When you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, sometimes the best bet is to wander off the beaten path and take an alternate route. The ‘road less travelled’ if you will.

As demonstrated by DigitalRev in the video above, this can mean taking a step back in time if you’re wanting to shoot something larger than full-frame without, “breaking your bank or your arm.”

In the video, Kai teams up with cameraman Lok to choose between a collection of analogue cameras whose negatives are greater in size than that of a standard 35mm frame. Kai quickly claimed the Hasselblad X-Pan, known for its unique panoramic approach, while Lok took a bit longer and ultimately settled on the Fujifilm GF670, a foldable medium format rangefinder.


They stroll through the streets of Hong Kong, each giving their respective cameras a run-through and showing us how the two different options offer up a unique advantage over your standard full-frame camera, be it digital or analogue.

The results are impressive, and we can’t help but share the sentiment of Reddit user R0B0_Ninja, who said, “I’ve never seen Kai get [such] consistently good shots as in this video.”


While it’s probably inevitable that this will spark a flame war in the comments between digital and analogue, that’s not the point of this video. In fact, they aren’t comparing the two in any manner.

What the DRTV team is doing (in what has to be one of their more useful videos to date) are offering up alternatives for those who would like to shoot larger than full-frame, without making a huge investment in either money or bulk.

The video comes in at eleven and a half minutes, but it’s definitely worth the watch. So press play, enjoy and, if you’re in the US, get the heck off PetaPixel and go enjoy some quality time with your family this Memorial Day… just maybe grab your favorite medium format film camera first.

(via Reddit)

  • battlepriest

    The correct word, when referencing electronic or audio technology, is “analog”. “Analogue” is a term used in literature, rather than technology.

  • Daire

    ” the result produced by a digital camera is an analog of the scene it captures” Surely you mean “analogue” .

    Unless I missed the joke entirely, which is entirely possible :-D

  • louisleblanc

    Kai’s pictures are really good in this video. He mentioned in other videos that he was a landscape photographer, the panoramic might suit him better. But the images look like they’re straight out of a movie.

  • mary

    I knew years ago that film was the only feasible way for me to shoot medium format, since I knew I would never spend an insane amount on a medium format digital camera. Of course, in a few years digital medium format cameras will probably be as affordable as DSLRs are now.

  • Richard

    Very nicely done. Kai makes almost everything he does accessible and fun and I like it when he tones down the snark (like this one) better.

  • genotypewriter

    Have you checked in the used market? Unless you want the latest and greatest, you can buy DMF pretty cheap.

  • genotypewriter

    The Fuji GF670W (wide, with the 55/4.5) is a lot more fun to shoot with than the GF670 which has a 80/3.5. No bellows to damage… no metal pieces to accidentally damage if folded incorrectly, ready to shoot straight out of bag, no restrictions on filters that you can keep attached, easier to keep stable (even though fnumber and shutter speeds cancel each other out), etc.

  • bob cooley

    Analogue and analog are both acceptable uses. colour/color grey/gray, etc. Feel free to check with Mr. Webster on this one.

  • tttulio

    His take on the Leica M3 is not bad at all.
    Even though his info is wrong. The M3 was not the first Leica M.

  • Thomas Lawn

    Last time I checked, you can’t get an X-Pan under 2,000USD. Whose definition of breaking the bank is this?

  • Zos Xavius

    If you want to exceed 35mm there aren’t many cheap options. $2k is still a lot cheaper than a hasselblad digital MF, which was their point. You can easily find working 6×7 and 645 systems for under $1k if you shop around.

  • Zos Xavius

    I watched that too. The M3 was perhaps the most iconic of them all.

  • Zos Xavius

    agreed. this is probably the best performance I’ve seen out of him. I think its the UW perspective that forces him to slow down and think rather than the run and gun he usually tries to pull off.

  • Thomas Lawn

    There are a bunch of 6×6 TLRs for $100-200. Maybe not a Mamiya or Rollei, but Yashica TLRs are pretty cheap and deliver great results. I bought my RB for $150 on ebay, and was able to find a mini speed graphic, which will shoot 2 1/4×3 1/4 sheet or 6×6 or 6×7 or 6×9 rollfilm for $200.

    My point is that you can get a working MF kit for way less than what he’s using there, and if you’re thrifty enough 1k would get you a lot more than just a camera.

    Plus, for 2k, you can almost buy a Mamiya 7 *drool*

  • OtterMatt

    Since I’ve been reading through Gregory Heisler’s “50 Portraits”, I find myself wistfully dreaming of large-format film. Of course, that’s even given the fact that I’m flat broke and have absolutely nowhere near the talent required to shoot with it. :

  • Zos Xavius

    That’s true. Most of the cameras they had to pick from were newer, in production cameras. I’m guessing they went to a store and picked from whatever they had. Looks like it at least. The Yashica is a pretty good TLR. The 2nd version of the lens they used was supposedly exceptionally sharp. I really want an old 6×7 myself.

  • Vlad Dusil

    Absolutely, this was the first time the shots posted didn’t seem like random snapshots but showed some real substance.

    Time to dust off that ole Xpan II.

  • Vance Lester

    Really? What M camera was before the M3?

  • tttulio

    Damm, He was right. I always thought the M2 was older because it had that silly disc that you have to rewind yourself to count the number of shots. and the M4 came afterwards. But no, The M2 is from 1957 onwards.

  • Cinekpol

    Ultimate proof that bigger sensor == better photos. ;)

  • Sid Ceaser

    I’ve only caught a small amount of the DigitalRev stuff, and was never impressed with Kai’s sample images. But clearly his thing is landscape/environments. Some of these street images are simply stellar.

    And you can find all kinds of fantastic medium format film rigs at really fantastic prices now. Since film photography is going through a small “resurgence” definitely be on the lookout.

    I used to carry around a Mamiya RB67. A fantastic studio camera built like a TANK, but that thing sucked for carrying around for location work. In a weird stroke of luck, I ended up buying a Hassy 500C/M from John Kovacs, a.k.a Hilton Command Exposures, just as he retired some years back for an incredible price of $200. The story that came with me obtaining the camera was worth the price alone.

    I’ve been trying to integrate shooting film more into my work after having left everything in the fridge for a decade. Digital is awesome and fast, but film has that certain je ne sais quoi that digital can’t replicate.

    Viva la Film!

  • Vance Lester

    You actually don’t have to rewind it if you are shooting rolls of 36. The disk goes to 39 and that gives you three frames to load on then it is back at #1. Works pretty slick.