The New Photographer

Each new day is a chance to learn.

35mm Photography

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For this blog’s maiden post, I am going to try to explain what the term “35mm” means for someone who wanted to attend basic photography classes and requires him to bring a 35mm (film or digital) camera.

So, what is 35mm?

Honestly, you can always go to google, yahoo, or any other search engine hoping to find answers to questions such as this. I’ve done this before and continues to do it since I don’t have a version of the mind of Mr. Adrian in Monk with photographic memory.

In a purely technical terms, 35mm refers to a measurement using millimeter (or mm) of the metric system, as the unit of measure. If inches is more convenient to your reading, 25.4 mm equates 1 inch. Thus 35mm is about 1.38 inches.

In the film era, 35mm is the most common format of photography. Every sensor of a film camera, either a single-lens reflex or simply an automatic, the size of its width is 35 millimeter. The film that lays flat on the sensor also measures 35mm. Thus coining the term 35mm camera or 35mm photography.

Transitioning to digital. Modern digital cameras, SLR and point & shoots alike, employ a sensor smaller than 35mm. The common measure that buyers and consumers normally look at is the amount of megapixel a camera can contain in every shot. As I write this, most cameras now can handle 6 to 12 megapixel compared to 2 or 3 years ago when 4 megapixel is already a blast. A physical 35mm digital sensor size is yet to be manufactured and that could present a whopping 24-megapixels.

35mm is a convention referring to the size or format of the film being used. This widely accepted format has also been the basis of digital cameras of today. That’s why when a focal length is define in a digital camera specification, an equivalent range in that of a 35mm is stated for comparison purposes.

So whenever one refers to 35mm, remember that it is the size or format of how the picture should be taken.

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Written by Jervis

May 18, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Photography Terms

Tagged with , , ,

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