Medium Format Digital Cameras vs Full-Frame DSLRs

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Updated July 27, 2022

If you are shopping around for a new piece of photography equipment, you may be comparing medium format digital cameras vs full-frame DSLRs. The best digital cameras, after all, typically arrive with one of these designs. Keep reading to learn the differences between the two types.


  • Medium format cameras typically include a larger sensor than what is found with a full-frame DSLR.
  • This translates to better color accuracy, a clearer depth of field, and a higher dynamic range when taking photos with medium format sensors.
  • A full-frame camera will tend to be cheaper, which is something to consider, and easier to use.

Differences Between Medium Format Digital Cameras and Full-Frame DSLRs

The most obvious difference here is the size of the image sensors. Medium format cameras boast large digital image sensors than full-frame DSLR cameras. What does this mean? You are likely to shoot photos with greater detail and richer colors while using a medium format camera over a full-frame DSLR. The difference, however, will be rather negligible, as both types of cameras are geared toward professionals. They are both high-grade digital cameras, which is something to consider when comparing the differences between a digital camera vs a DSLR.

Insider Tip

If you are an amateur, choose a full-frame DSLR, or even a compact camera, otherwise known as a point-and-shoot.

Color Accuracy

Being as how medium format digital cameras have larger image sensors, this translates to a higher level of color accuracy when shooting still images and video. A bigger sensor means more light, and more light translates to a more accurate image. This is why medium format cameras are the go-to choice for fashion photographers, food photographers, and other professions where accurate color is a must-have. Additionally, medium format models will feature a better dynamic range than a full-frame camera and a better depth of field, as high-end DSLR cameras boast something of a shallow depth.


Medium format cameras can feature a steeper learning curve than traditional full-frame DSLRs, as they are primarily intended for professional photographers whereas DSLRs are typically used by both pros and amateurs alike. This means that a medium format camera may lack certain auto functionalities that full-frame DSLRs include. This can be important if you are comparing manual vs digital modes on your preferred digital camera.


Full-frame DSLR cameras are cheaper than medium format cameras, though the difference in price has been narrowing in recent years. Certain medium format models can be purchased for around the same price as a high-end DSLR. Though, we still recommend choosing a medium format camera only if you are a professional. If you are a hobbyist or amateur, a full-frame DSLR will offer plenty of bang for your buck. Additionally, you can score a cheap compact digital camera instead of a DSLR.


What are the cons of medium format cameras?

They tend to cost more than DSLRs and they feature a steeper learning curve.

What is Hasselblad medium format?

Hasselblad is a company that manufactures medium format cameras. The company’s cameras tend to have increased focal lengths, larger pixels, and availability in a larger format.

The medium format look: Real or hoax?

This is not a hoax. Medium format cameras feature a fantastic depth of field, whereas full-frame cameras boast a shallow depth and a larger sensor size.

STAT: While at one time a variety of medium-format film sizes were produced, today the vast majority of the medium-format film is produced in the 120/220 film sizes. (source)

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