Large Format Cameras vs Digital Cameras

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Updated July 27, 2022

If you have been shopping around for a new gadget, you may be comparing large format cameras vs digital cameras. The best digital cameras, after all, tend to fall into one category or another. Keep reading to learn more.


  • Large format cameras use film which can allow for some unique aesthetic effects and a certain level of photographic warmth, a decent depth of field, and a suitable dynamic range.
  • Digital cameras are more convenient, as images can instantly be sent to a computer or a cloud.
  • Digicams also tend to be easier to use, thanks to a range of automatic modes.

Differences Between Large Format Cameras and Digital Cameras

The most obvious difference is that large format cameras use film and digital cameras do not. Large format cameras are the go-to choice for professionals who are addicted to that “analog feel,” whereas digital cameras have the leg up when it comes to convenience. Many other differences are similar to when you compare a full-frame digital camera vs an APS-C camera.

Here is some more detail as to how large format and digital cameras differ.

Insider Tip

Digital cameras tend to be much smaller than large format cameras, which is something to consider.


Large format cameras use film, meaning that film has to be developed after taking photos. This process can be costly and time-consuming, not to mention you have to actually purchase and properly install the film. Additionally, digicams typically allow all kinds of settings to be adjusted either before or after a photo is taken. Many digicams let you perform slight edits on the fly right on the camera itself. For a large format camera, you would have to develop the film and scan it into a computer to use Photoshop and the like. For a digital model, you can just upload the photos to the cloud.

While some newer large format cameras do include viewscreens of some kind, so you can monitor your images as you take them, they are not typically as robust as what can be found with a digital camera. Modern digital cameras include electronic viewfinders or optical viewfinders, both of which offer a birds-eye view of the action. This allows you to know exactly what you are taking a photo of before you take it and allows you to check the photo out after it has been taken. Although, compare a DSLR camera vs a digital camera, and a digital SLR camera vs a mirrorless camera before you buy one.


Digicams include all kinds of automatic modes for shutter functionality, exposure, autofocus, and more. This makes them perfect for amateur photographers and all-around enthusiasts. Large format cameras, on the other hand, typically lack automatic modes, as they are fully analog by design. Digicams also offer manual modes, but you’ll be able to choose between manual modes and digital modes.


What are the cons of medium format cameras?

Medium format digital cameras are usually larger and bulkier than standard DSLR cameras. Medium format cameras do integrate with a nifty format lens or two, though the number of lenses available will be fewer than with a full-frame DSLR. As for image quality, format photography, medium format sensors, and format lenses are all up to snuff.

What is camera format? What does camera format mean?

The term camera format refers to the size of the image sensor. Medium format cameras, for instance, feature a medium-sized image sensor that may offer a shallower depth than a large digital sensor.

Can you use an FX lens on a DX camera body?

Yes. These types of lenses should be interchangeable.

STAT: “The main advantage of large format film is a higher resolution at the same pixel pitch or the same resolution with larger pixels or grains which allows each pixel to capture more light enabling exceptional low-light capture.” (source)

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