IF YOU’RE A working professional then the chances are that you’ve got at least one cupboard full of kit that you rarely, if ever use, and which is still perfectly serviceable and with a value. Somewhere there’s another photographer who could make good use of the gear you’ve grown out of and, by selling it, you could raise funds that could go towards something that could genuinely help to move your business on to another level.
With innovative companies such as MPB now taking the stress out of buying and selling, the whole notion of trading up has moved on. No longer do you have to go through the aggravation of placing an ad, handling enquiries, dodging the scammers out there and then physically despatching the kit. Now you can trade with confidence, working with a trusted partner.
Buying with Confidence
For the professional, there’s a lot to like. For a start, you can buy with confidence, knowing that the kit you’re acquiring has been thoroughly tested and that you have the comeback of a six-month warranty should something go wrong. You can also cut the cost of an upgrade by cashing in kit that’s no longer being regularly used, so that’s a big tick in the cashflow box. Then, of course, there’s also the point that you’re putting gear back into circulation, which is good for the environment and helpful for others in the business. What’s not to like?
FOR THE PROFESSIONAL, every piece of fresh kit has a job to do, and the potential to move your business on and to open up fresh opportunities. Naturally, you love photography, but when it’s your living you have to be a little more hard-nosed about things, so have a think about where you’re looking to go and plan your journey accordingly.
To kick things off, we’re going to take a look at medium format and the opportunities that taking a step up on the quality front can open up. There’s never been a better time to consider the move: where just a few short years ago medium-format cameras would have cost upwards of £20,000, now they’re relatively affordable, way more compact than previously and designed to be as easy to work with as their smaller 35mm-style mirrorless rivals.
One of the key drivers in this direction has been Fujifilm with its GFX series, and while early models in the line-up still came in at around the £10,000 mark, the latest offering, the 100MP GFX100S, delivers extraordinary resolution for around £5,500. That’s still a sizeable chunk of cash to find, of course, especially if you’re going to need a lens or two to go with the body, but if you’re happy to go with a pristine version of a slightly older model, which still features at its heart a formidable 50MP sensor, then the Fujifilm GFX 50S or 50R could be your answer for around half that price.
Why Medium Format?
It’s all about size, so if you’re looking to produce images that are packed full of incredible resolution, then medium format is the way you should be looking to go. For a start, the sensor of a medium-format model is nearly 70% bigger than that of a full-frame 35mm-style sensor, which is a huge upgrade. The difference is even more startling, of course, if you’re working with an APS-C or MFT cropped-sensor camera.
The advantage of scale is not just confined to better resolution, however. Because there is more sensor acreage, the pixels on board can be made larger, meaning they have the ability to gather more light, leading to less noise. Medium format sensors also capture more dynamic range, meaning images can withstand a greater degree of adjustment in post.
Previously, medium-format models have lagged behind on the tech front since they were a smaller part of the market and less likely to benefit as much from R&D budgets. However, things have moved on and the latest models from the likes of Fujifilm and Hasselblad are really user friendly, physically not much bigger in size than the high-end professional 35mmstyle models and they’re perfectly capable of being handheld.
Who is Medium Format Ideal For?
❚ MF cameras are perfect for portraiture, with that wide dynamic range giving you brilliant files to work with.
❚ Fine art photographers can offer monster-sized prints that you can walk into, with detail that’s off the scale.
❚ Landscape photography is generally slower paced, and a medium-format file will have the ability to blow the socks off a 35mm equivalent.
Disadvantages of Medium Format
❚ They are still more expensive than fullframe cameras, with specialised optics also having to be factored into the mix.
❚ File sizes are huge and so your whole system needs upgrading and you’ll also need to up your storage game.
❚ While way more portable than once was the case, inevitably a mediumformat kit will still be bulkier than an equivalent 35mm-style outfit.
TANTALISED BY THE thought of moving to medium format? Trade in your used gear and you could find the switch to a high-resolution way of working is more affordable than you might have previously thought.
The days when medium format was the sole reserve of the highend, high-turnover professional are now well and truly behind us, and secondhand specialists such as MPB have a range of options to offer at a number of price points that will make the dream truly achievable.
The cost becomes yet more affordable if you choose to trade in unwanted used kit to cut the outlay, which not only makes it easier to trade up but also puts more kit back into play and moves on gear that you
might not be using in any case.
❚ Canon EOS 5D MkIV, Good condition £1,240
❚ Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM, Good condition £495
❚ Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM, Good condition £820 TOTAL: £2,555
The MPB website is geared up to offer the best possible trade-in value and you’ll be able to input details of kit you have to sell and also add at that stage any gear that you’re looking to buy. You’ll receive an honest quotation and will be able to work your way up to the cost of the kit you’re looking to acquire, topping up the amount with cash if necessary or coming away with a surplus that will be paid direct into your bank account.
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