Megapixels & Film_ What is the Meg Pixel of 120 Film_

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Megapixels & Film: What is the Meg Pixel of 120 Film?

Comparing film resolution across digital cameras and original film style cameras is something that many aspiring cinematographers seek to understand early in their filmmaking careers. While many videographers believe that film will never compete with the incredibly high definition resolution that can be achieved with a digital camera, it’s important to understand how megapixels and original film formats relate.  In fact, in the world of digital versus film style videography, learning to recognize the similarities and differences between megapixels and film resolution is a common challenge that has many aspiring cinematographers wondering, “What is the megapixel of 120 film?”

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Comparing Resolution

When comparing the resolution between digital video megapixels and film, a common balance between 35mm film and 12 megapixel digital images can be seen. These two examples, although one is digital and one is standard film, provide a comparable view in terms of resolution. 

120 film film is available in a variety of sizes and happens to be significantly larger than the standard 35mm film that most cameras use. In fact, when 120 film is used, the negative is approximately three times the 35mm negative size and the resulting resolution is incredible.

In fact, when you ask, “What is the megapixel of 120 film?” the megapixel comparison of 120 film to digital resolution terms is significantly stronger.

The film improves the rendering of images compared to a 12 megapixel digital image, showing features and close up details in pristine view.

Medium Format Film the Chosen Option for Many

Many cinematographers and photographers alike continue to turn to 120 film, also known as medium format film, because it provides such wonderful, detailed quality in images that are viewed in large format.

While a digital camera can have a variety of megapixel image options including 12mp, 15mp, and even 20mp or more, medium format film or 120 film can provide an image that is technically the quality of 50mp if it were to be converted to a digital comparison. 

The Takeaway

So, when you ask, “What is the megapixel of 120 film?” A good comparison in digital terms is 50 megapixels would be close to the resolution of a 120 medium format film image. Because the quality is so good, many cinematographers choose to work with medium format film.

They are particularly drawn to the fact that this film can be used to produce images that are four times larger than those that can be created with 35mm film.

While many different film formats have been introduced over the decades of filmmaking, only medium format film and 35mm film continue to be utilized today.