You can only shoot one format for the rest of your life

21 replies [Last post]
pdexposures's picture
Joined: 01/16/2012

What is it?

110? 35? 120? 4x5? 8x10? I know there are plenty more but I'm curious to hear what you would stick with it it could only be one and why it would be that.

Myself? 35mm. Cameras are everywhere and many of practically free. Film is generally the most cost effective and you can print up to 11x14 pretty easily. You just need to pick a slower film and a low grain developer. There is also a wide variety of camras, and in each sub-genre there are really stellar examples. You aren't just limited to a few gems of the bunch. Not to mention you can shoot it half frame (Pen F) or double frame (X-pan) and even use swing lens cameras for different pnaorama effects. Let's not even get into the lomography cameras and the options they provide.

Olivier Sylvestre's picture
Olivier Sylvestre
Joined: 12/08/2011
35mm for the compactness and

35mm for the compactness and the quality of the images, definitively.

robb_albrecht's picture
Joined: 01/21/2012
Medium format

I want to say 6x6 but you're probably right about 35mm.

Mat Marrash's picture
Mat Marrash (not verified)
8x10 All the Way!!

If I haven't said it 1000 times already, 8x10 is the perfect format, IMO. It's slow, contemplative, contact prints nicely, enlarges like a boss, and so long as my freezer doesn't explode, I'm set shooting it for the next couple of years anyway. If the day comes where I can no longer stock pile color negative film, I'll simply filter 3 sheets of B&W and make trichomies. If B&W ever goes away, I'll shoot wet plates. Should paper somehow also disappear, I can already coat my own papers via traditional silver and non-silver methods.

The only real problem will be staying in good enough shape over the years with the big 'ole camera to still be using it into my 60's, 70's, and beyond.

Dan Domme's picture
Dan Domme
Joined: 06/16/2011
If I were absolutely forced

If I were absolutely forced to choose, it would be 35mm.  When enlarging, you can get either really grainy or really smooth images, depending on your film and developer.  Also, the cameras are freakin' awesome.

6x6 has even cooler cameras (Hassy, TLR's) and enlarges even more beautifully, but you're limited to 12-exposure rolls and can't get a nice grainy image like you can on, say Tri-X.

Mat Marrash's picture
alex luyckx (not verified)
You had to make me choose...didn't you?

Oh well...

I would have to go with 120 format. Simply because it's one of the more versatile formats out there, 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7, 6x9...and even more. Plus you have every camera under the sun out there, from TLRs, to Point and Shoots, SLRs...and having some of the best glass out there to shoot through.

Sure you're limited to the number of shots per roll, but maybe that's a good thing.

Eirik Russell Roberts's picture
Eirik Russell R...
Joined: 01/02/2012

120: Versatile and fairly compact. Yet very good results, technically. Tempted to say 135 as I like my Leica a lot, but 120 wins the day, I shoot mostly 6x6, but can do 6x7, 6x8, 6x9, 6x12 and 6x17. Hard to beat.

superjessmeister's picture
Joined: 06/17/2012

to be honest i would choose polaroid sx-70 if i could only choose one.

ok, i dont have any sx-70 cameras but just think about it for a minute. a FOLDING slr camera, all automatic (auto exposure, auto wind and on some models autofocus), you get to see your picture soon after you take it, the photo is big and watching it develop is fun

you get my handle?

Opiatephoto's picture
Joined: 05/26/2012
Given the state of things

Idon't care what format it is, as long as I have film to shoot the rest of my life!

Nano_Burger's picture
Joined: 08/30/2011

or 9x6 for those across the pond

HoodedOne's picture
Joined: 07/11/2011
Polaroid Type 100 (peel film)

Polaroid Type 100 (peel film)

ludwigvan66's picture
Joined: 07/24/2012


Shelly Sometimes's picture
Shelly Sometimes
Joined: 10/06/2012
I was going to say 120...

...until I read all of the good arguments for 35mm.  :)

Tony Belding's picture
Tony Belding
Joined: 11/28/2012

I'd go with 35mm for all the reasons stated at the beginning.

I'm glad we don't have to choose just one.  I've never got into 120, but I'd like to.  It's intriguing and versatile.

I had to laugh at the suggestion of Polaroid SX70.  The camera and film are amazing feats of technology and engineering, and it's definitely a cool thing to have, but...  No.

110 gets my vote for most worthless.  No, wait...  I almost forgot about Disc film!  But 110 is pretty weak, anyhow.


Michael Raso's picture
Michael Raso
Joined: 06/14/2011
Hey man, easy on the format

Hey man, easy on the format bashing - "110 gets my vote for most worthless"

Just because it's not for you doesn't mean it's not without merit. Viva 110.

Where's the grain? 110 can hold its own.

Tony Belding's picture
Tony Belding
Joined: 11/28/2012
110 not so bad?

OK, I'll admit my experience with 110 was limited to mostly toy-like and semi-disposable cameras, certainly nothing like the Pentax Auto 110, and that has probably biased me against 110 film.

Then again, the limited choice of equipment for 110 could be considered a valid knock against it too, so I dunno.


mikendawn's picture
Joined: 06/30/2012

4x5.  Simply because I don't have an 8x10 :)

it's slow, the quality of the image is better than anything out there, other than anything larger, and you can get 2 4x5 frames per 8x10 frame (s0 X-Ray film goes further).  Paper negatives, something that you can't do with 35mm.. (at least not very easily).

Yeah, definitely 4x5... 
But since that is not the case, I'll shot anything I can get... I'm not for 110, because it's not my shooting style, but if someone gave me a 110 camera with film, I'd use it..

Mat Marrash's picture
Thats a mean question....
Only one format for ever?? 120 and 220 roll film for versatility of frame sizes and enlargements as well as ease of Hobo scanning and push processing with reduced or no aparent grain in enlargements. I would really lament not having larger formats but If I can still use 120 roll film in my 4x5 speed graphic Ill survive the format sweats and sleep well enough at night... But my 120 system ( RB67 Pro-S with 2 user bodies 4 lenses 2 tele doublers and 6x7 and 6x8 motorized backs) will have to be pried from my dead hands some day....Just sayin...
rhmimac's picture
Joined: 05/29/2013
ok then...

35 mm film and my nikon F90x + sb24 flash

lenses of choice would be my 28mm 2.8 AFD and my sigma "squeel pig" macro 105mm 2.8

Mat Marrash's picture
Definately 120 I've got my
Definately 120 I've got my Yashica D and Bronica S2 if I use a good 100 iso film (acros) and D-76 I can print 20x30's all day. The scans from my V600 alone are great, theres so many cool cameras, TLR's SLR's, rangefinders point and shoots you name it. Some would say well you don't get as many shots per roll, I would say yes but I also have to think about what I'm gonna shoot rather than going crazy. Others yet would say the films too expensive. I'm personally pretty impressed with Arista EDU Ultra 100 $2.87 a roll from freestyle and Ultrafine 100 $2.39 from ultrafine online. Plus some of those lenses are amazing especially my 75mm Nikkor f2.8 on my bronica I feel it matches the Carl Zeiss lenses on a Hasselblad, for a fifth the cost.
Conter's picture
Joined: 01/07/2014
35mm for certainthe most
35mm for certain. the most conceive film. multipurposed and usual for a everyman
f11dude's picture
Joined: 01/28/2014

What a terrible notion. Give up my Bilora Bella 127-size film camera? Abandon 4x5, 2 1/4 x 3/14, subminiature and my lovely 120 cameras and concentrate on, say, 35mm? I'd be tempted to go for the 120 size. But before I do that I will make  my own film.

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