Why Folding Cameras Are Great for Beginners

Starting medium format film photography can feel overwhelming. There are lots of different types of cameras to choose from with medium format photography and they all look very different. 

Our journey into medium format started with a folding camera, and here are our reasons as to why we think they are a great option for people new to medium format film photography.

Why folding cameras are great for beginners to medium format photography

What is a folding camera?

A folding camera is one of the most simple medium format cameras. It comprises of a lens that is housed at the end of a set of bellows that fold out from the body of the camera. 

Focus, shutter speed, and aperture is all housed within the lens. The viewfinder of folding cameras is not linked to the lens in any way, so focusing is achieved by measuring how far away your subject is and setting the lens to the correct distance.

Folding medium format film camera in someone

Why Folding Cameras Make Great Beginner Cameras

There are a few reasons as to why we think folding cameras are a great introduction to the world of medium format film photography.

1. Folding cameras are simple to use.

Folding cameras consist of four main features: the folding bellows, the winding knob, shutter speed selector, and aperture selector. You don’t need to worry about lots of added features, like waist-level viewfinders, light meters, advance mechanisms, and more. This makes them really easy for beginners to use and master.

Choosing settings on a folding medium format film camera
Choosing settings on a folding medium format film camera

2. Folding cameras allow you to learn the basics of medium format film photography.

Without a light meter and complicated advance mechanisms, these folding cameras allow you to get to grips with the basic principles of medium format photography without feeling overwhelmed. All the settings on a folding camera are manual and can be adjusted easily. Once you have learned the basics, you will understand more about medium format film photography.

You will also learn more about exposure, aperture, and other important elements to photography in general.

3. Folding cameras are affordable.

Folding cameras are often amongst the most affordable medium format film cameras. Their simple features and very good build quality make them an affordable yet lasting investment in your film photography journey. 

Explore our range of folding cameras below. 

As standard, all of our cameras are tested and cleaned, and supplied with everything you need to get started, from a roll of film to film developing discount.

Looking to get started with medium format film photography?

Medium format film photography offers a unique and rewarding experience for photographers looking to take their photography to the next level. With larger negatives than 35mm film, medium format cameras capture stunning detail and depth in each shot. 

Medium format photography can sound and look really intimidating to a beginner, so we are here to help you. Here is our complete guide with everything you need to know about medium format photography:

If you like what we do, but can't buy a camera from us, please consider buying us a cup of coffee! It helps us to keep these resources free, consistent, and accessible. 

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Max, owner of Cameras By Max

Article written by: Max

Max is the owner of Cameras By Max. They work full-time repairing and refurbishing all the 35mm film cameras you see on the website. Their favourite camera (at the moment) is the Olympus XA, and their favourite city in the world is Edinburgh.


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