Medium Format Photography

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ART 227

       Course Name: Medium Format Photography

       Credits: 3 (0 lecture; 6 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

ART 115 or consent of instructor

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces Medium Format camera system and its format advantages for photographer. Content includes numerous Medium Format systems used in field of professional photography, use of specialized equipment to reveal form and function of variety of subjects, enhancement of experience in basic photography with refinement of film exposure and development, technical operation of the Medium Format camera, and selection of appropriate equipment and materials. Focus is on practical, problem-solving applications. See note.*

*Note: Students are expected to buy their own film and paper. Total cost of these items is approximately $150-200 in addition to the regular lab fee. The student who does not own a camera, tripod or light meter may borrow these items from the College by paying a refundable deposit fee. Deposits will be retained when equipment is damaged or not returned on the specific due date.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in the technical operation of various medium-format camera systems.
  2. Operate a digital camera back, as well as all required computer software.
  3. Produce photographs that demonstrate creativity.
  4. Integrate into photographs expressive devices that contribute to aesthetic interpretation of a photograph and emphasize development of the student's self-expression.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. The Cameras:
    1. Hasselblad
    2. Kiev
    3. Mamiya 7
    4. Mamiya 645AFD
    5. Mamiya RB 67
    6. Seagull
  2. Digital back:
    1. Computer interface
    2. Technical limitations
    3. Practical limitations
  3. Composition issues:
    1. Square format
    2. Shallower depth of field
    3. Other formats (645,67,69)
  4. Focusing issues:
    1. Range finder
    2. Waist-level finder
    3. Metered and non-metered prism
  5. Development:
    1. Developers
    2. High Acutance
    3. Tonal reproduction
  6. Color theory:
    1. Simultaneous color contrast
    2. Mood of color
    3. Color as composition
  7. History and survey of contemporary practitioners of the medium:
    1. Technical advancements:
      1. Body
      2. Lens
      3. Color correction
      4. Digital age
    2. Historical developments:
      1. Necessity for this medium
      2. Paper to film
      3. Range finder/ single lens reflex
    3. People in history:
      1. Documentary
      2. Political issues
      3. War photography
    4. Contemporary photographers:
      1. Social issues
      2. Cultural relevance
      3. Art

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Media presentations and discussions of relevant work.
  2. Demonstrations of shooting techniques and all printing processes.
  3. Critiques of student work, both in progress and at the end, to develop standards and evaluative criteria.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Active participation in all critiques.
  2. Produce a final project of at least 10 original pieces ready for display.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

    A light meter is required. A hand-held light meter is preferred, but an internal light meter is also acceptable.
  2. TRIPOD:
    Large enough to hold your camera steady.
    A six inch cable release will be more than adequate. Make sure that the thread fits the camera.
  4. FILM:
    Transparency film in, 2 ¼, both daylight and tungsten balanced.
    Buy the correct size for your negative format.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

The final grade will be based upon the following elements and their weights:

  1. Completion of weekly photographic assignments: 60%
  2. Final project: 40%

XI.   Other Course Information

Please note:
Some of the activities, lectures and assignments in this class may include imagery that is controversial, uncomfortable, shocking, has nudity, and personally unpopular to one's beliefs. If a student objects to this practice, he/she is encouraged to discuss with the instructor early in the semester alternative ways of completing course requirements.

It is essential to be on time; lectures and slide presentations take place at the beginning of class and will not be repeated. Attendance is expected for all classes and review sessions.

All assignments and projects are to be on time and demonstrate proficiency.

Instructors will specify in their syllabus the approximate cost of materials over and above the lab fee.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.