26 Megapixel 40D Compared to 35mm Film

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by mauro_franic, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. Some back ground on the origin of this article:

    I shoot mainly 6x7 TMX and Velvia 50-100. For quick studio work I use a Canon 40D.

    This month with the introduction of Ektar 100 I set out to use 35mm film which I had not used in a looong time to
    test the new film. The results were excellent in detail, saturation and fine grain like I don't remember seeing
    in color negative. It brought back my interest in 35mm - since I had stop considering the 40D an option for
    landscape work, could I bring my 35mm SLR instead of my Mamiya when I needed portability....? It looked worth it....

    Well, before sharing results, there is more to the story. Like always, we need new toys, so I went on B&H
    looking for yet another 35mm SLR. To my demise, only two Canon models seem to be in production the EOS 1V and the
    Elan 7ne. Without hesitation I ordered a 7ne seizing the moment in case soon they are no longer available new.
    The camera is a joy, great build, IR remote built in, eye control, metal body, etc. Feels similar to the 40D
    but a tad better with raised metal symbols and letters on the knobs instead of paint.

    This morning I set out the make a quick comparison between the new Ektar 100, TMX and Velvia 50. I also shot the
    40D from the same tripod, making it an equivalent to a 25.8 megapixel FF DSLR of great quality. I just developed
    the TMX and will send the color film to the lab. TO MY SURPRISE, the TMX film under the microscope far out
    resolves a 26 megapixel camera that still doesn't even exist. Even a simple scan of the film outresolves a 26
    MP DSLR of the future in areas of high contrast.

    The equipment:

    Lens: Canon 50mm 1.4 at f8 was used for all shots for film and digital.

    Digital camera: Canon 40D set on the same tripod with the same lens as the film camera. Making it a 25.8
    megapixel equivalent of the 40D.

    Film Camera: Canon Elan 7NE - new portable toy for landscapes.

    Film: Ektar 100, TMX and Velvia 50.

    Scanner: Coolscan 9000

    Manfrotto tripod and head.

    Lighting: A softbox from each side and a low power unbrella next to the camera for fill.

    Here is the comparison of the digital shot and the TMX scan:


    Conclusions are yours. I can email raw files to whomever emails me.

    I will post the Velvia and Ektar scans after they are developed.
  2. How do you get to 26 MPs for the 40D? Based on the attached comparison, I'd say the 40D wins hands down. I don't see how you came to the conclusion that TMX wins in this comparison - maybe the pictures are just too small, but the 40D shots are way cleared and seem to have more detail (and certainly much less noise) than the TMX shots. What am I missing?
  3. As an additional reference, the negative seems to have aprox 30-40% more resolution under the microscope than in the scan.

    e.g. All the small marks on d measuring tape are clearly defined. "Nutrition Facts" can be clearly read on the bottle label. The resolution chart resolves in between the 6th and the 7th mark.
  4. The 25.8 megapixels of the 40D are the result of shooting it on the same tripod as if it were full frame.

    You are missing that this is not a win-lose article. Just an observation on detail.
  5. Also remember you are just looking at the scan. The film outresolves the scan I posted.
  6. -- "TO MY SURPRISE, the TMX film under the microscope far out resolves a 26 megapixel camera that still doesn't even exist"

    So, you'll be using TMX from now on and watch your results under the microscope rather than using a camera that doesn't yet exist? ... If that is what you're meaning, I would say "clever move".
  7. Gotta give you that sounds funny.
  8. According to dpreview :


    the 40D was only 10 MP camera few days ago...

    what do the dpreview knows anyhow ?

    Boy... the technology changes that fast.
  9. "Even a simple scan of the film outresolves a 26 MP DSLR of the future in areas of high contrast."

    To my eye, your samples from the 40D are "better" than the scanned tmax. I don't care about absolute
    resolution of high contrast targets. My subjects rarely walk around with test charts taped to their
    heads. :) Comparing your medium contrast pictures looks like a hands-down winner for the 40D just
    based on noise alone. Same with low contrast.

    So while technically true, your quoted statement is misleading.

  10. Another note: the grain on the scans is barely visible. The reason why you see it is because I applied sharpening off-the-charts (on both film and digital) to make the comparison on detail quick and easy - This sharpening is not to make the picture look good by any means.

    This is what it looks like with milder sharpening:

    Obviously the TMX scan resolution extinguishes at the Coolscan's limit. That is the only reason why it stops at around "5". On the film it is around "6" or "7". Still, on the 40D-26MP moire starts after "4".
  11. ERIC; come on now.:) One's subjects might be Football, Basketball or Hockey REFS! :)
  12. I also agree the 40D-26MP looks very very good.
  13. I, too, nave abandoned cameras that do not exist.
  14. Call me stupid, but I still don't understand why shooting from the same tripod as the film camera makes the 40D a 26MP camera?
  15. I have read through this thread over and over. Maybe I am just dense, but for the life of me I don't understand how just putting the 40D on the
    same tripod and using the same lens as the 35mm camera makes it 26 MP ???????

    I guess I need to buy a tripod that has been used by someone with a Hasselblad H3D and then I could put a point and shoot digital camera
    on it to equal it. Yeah... that makes no sense, but you stating the 40D is now 26 MP because you are using the same tripod and lens makes
    about as much sense to me.

    Again, maybe this is just over my head, but I DON'T GET IT!
  16. The 40D is 3888 x 2592 with a sensor that is 22.2 x 14.8mm.

    If that were extrapolated to a 36x24 sensor (aka "full frame") while keeping the sensor density the same,
    the resolution would be a little over 6000 by a little over 4000 pixels. This would yield 26 megapixels.

    At least, that's my interpretation of what Mauro is saying.

    This is using a pixel size of about 6 µm, which is approximately the theoretical limit of resolving power
    for current sensors. Much smaller than this (like the 50D's 5 µm) and you're just resolving diffraction.
    Of if you use an f-stop smaller than f/8, you're also going to be seeing diffraction results at this pixel



    I modified the post so you can see the area captured by the 40D vs the 35mm camera.

  18. It's not that hard really: if you put the 40d with the same lens on the same position, you get a CROP of what would be a 26MP full frame image. So the 40d have the big disadvantage of missing part of the picture :)
    At first i didn't get it either; took me about 2 minutes to figure it out.
    I really look forward to see what the Ektar turns out to be; please post some samples when you can, Mauro.
  19. I too can't wait to compare TMX, Velvia and Ektar next to each other. Obviously TMX will be king in high contrast resolution, Velvia in low contrast resolution, and Ektar in D-range - price - convenience. But how much? I'll post when I receive them.
  20. Use this link to see at 100%. The above is at 75% -by mistake.

  21. I do not know what good is looking under a microscope but I like the 40D images much better than the film. I must admit, I do not have
    good eyesight. Sandy
  22. Being somewhat new to DSLRs myself, I'm going to have to put mine on a tripod more often because without it, it's only a 12.3 megapixel engine. I simply didn't know there were all those other cylinders it could fire on.
  23. the 40d gives essentially no noise, where the grain at this magnification even in unsharpened scans will certainly be a factor, and at some point beyond the resolution of your Nikon scanner will become resolution-limiting (which seems evident here anyway). Whatever the maximum resolving capability of these films, they will not match the smooth clarity of the digital image and given the inherent lack of grain in the digital image are not comparable "apples to apples". That said, I still use film and digital, and I tend to prefer film for most subjects I shoot. At these magnifications, however, the digital gives a more pleasing image which is essentially the same evident resolution as the film.
  24. Hm. I'm a big proponent of film, and I still think the 40D samples are far sharper and better resolved then the film. I don't quite get the 25MP assumption, but if I just take your word for it, I still don't see how you can say that the film outresolves the digital in this comparison. Maybe it's just the image quality of the JPEG you posted for comparison and you can't really see the difference on a photo displayed on a computer screen. As for the microscope, me neither. The closest I'll ever come to that is looking through a loup to decide what I want to print.

    I, for one, do believe that one can take a film and a digital image, which have been 'captured' under the same conditions, and compare them side by side and it could be a close call as to which has the greater resolution. Especially if both images are made under close to ideal conditions. I like the idea of this test, but I don't think you're making your point with this image presented in this way.
  25. Amazing how the 40D blows the film out of the water.
  26. Let me try to help. For the ones confused on the 26 megapixel subject:

    A full frame 35mm camera like the 1DsIII has a sensor roughly 2.6 times larger (area wise) than the 40D's APS-C sensor.

    In this test, the 40D was used with the same vantage point and lens as the 35mm camera. Thus used as if it were 26 megapixels. The area in pink was onviously not captured by the 40D.

    Detail wise then, the 35mm scan captured more than 2.6 times the detail of the 40D. If you remove the scanner of the equation (you can use a better one in the future), 35mm film actually captured 4 times the detail of the 40D.

    Also remember the grain in this example is exaggerated with sharpening for people to compare detail using a variety of monitors. In reality, grain is not observable even at a 100% magnification. Whether you like the grain or not is a preference and you can remove it with software easily if you want to.

    Also realize than the resolution you are looking at is the scanner's not the film. This film outresolves my scanner.
  27. I understand the 26mp equasion. The camera is repositioned to cover the same frame as that represented by the
    larger film full-frame sensor. Its mps are then concentrated into a smaller area of what would be a crop out of the full
    frame image. That is well known. If you shoot a full frame DSLR from the same position as an aps model, then crop
    the FF image to match that of the aps image, you would lose pixels. Therefore, the pixel density of that central part
    of the FF image would be more pixel rich with the 40D, similar to having a 26mp FF camera.

    But this TMX film may be grainier than other films, and not a good test. Look at the medium contrast image and see
    how many marks along the edge of the measuring tape you can count compared to the 40D image. There is your
    actual, visual resolving power.
  28. Tmax 100 in xtol is probably about as fine grained as you can get these days Mauro bumped the contrast to make the charts easier to read or something. I did some Tmax 100 in D76 some years ago and the results were really quite something if you like fine grained sharp images but I did not care for the waxy skin tones. You should make some 50-60 inch wide prints from both samples you don't need to make whole prints but just some sample crops from important areas. You could do the Tmax prints on an enlarger to take the scanner out of the equation and injet the d40 images. At least that way you would be able to say which on produces the more detailed prints. I does not matter if the film has more detail under a microscope if you can't get that detail onto paper. Personaly I shoot some B&W film because I like it not for anyother reason.
  29. Mauro, this is one the most awesome study of film posted. You constantly work to give us all more insight and understanding. I thank you for that.

    People don't stop to value this information. They respond too fast before they can assimilate.

    It is crazy to think the Luminous Landscape once argued that a 3MP digicam match Provia 100F. Oh well..... they have to sell.

    Can't wait until you post the Ektar and Velvia scans.

    Thank you.
  30. I still not getting how you think by repositioning the camera to make up for a full frame shot will make it same in comparsion to a 26MP DSLR. I unterstand what you mean about cropping a full frame shot will take away pixels, leaving you with a smaller image in terms of pixel size. But a full frame 26MP DSLR will always out resolve a 10MP DSLR if all else in the equation is equal. I promise you if you take a shot with a 26MP DSLR and then take same identical shot with a 10MP DSLR. Then crop the full frame DSLR so you only have a 10MP image, then view both at 100%. The 26MP shot will out resolve the 10MP shot in detail. So your comparsion doesn't hold up. Also when you have thousands of proffesionals out there saying that the current line up of 10MP+ DSLR's will out perform 35mm in terms of image quality, I tend to belive them. Last thing is when I look at your image comparsions, what are you seeing that I'm not. Because the DSLR shot looks awesome in comparsion to your scan, in detail and everything else. But if in your eyes the scanned film looks better and more detailed, than more power to you. I must say I was not impressed at all with the scanned film you showed.
  31. He is not repositioning the 40d it is shot from the same place with the same lens. My uploaded pic may explain it better
  32. Even assuming the Tmax offers greater resolution, when scanned, it also offers a grain pattern that looks like sand sprayed all over the image.

    Perhaps a direct print would be far better than a scan, and far better than the 40D, but in this thread, and in all variations of the images, the 40D looks clean and the Tmax looks dingy in comparison. Just visually, on the images presented, I doubt anyone would think Tmax was superior.
  33. Some observations, and I'm sorry I don't mean to sound arrogrant but:

    1. The Coolscan film scanners are medicocre when compared to an Imacon or other high end scanners. I did
    numerous scans with several models of scanners before settling on an Imacon. So far as consumer scanners are
    concerned, the Coolscan used in this test won't extract the maximum capability of the film.

    2. I own a refrigerator full of Velvia in 120, 220 and 4x5 along with a Pentax 645, a Horseman 4x5, a Horseman 6x9,
    a Fuji 617 and a Wisner Technical Field camera. I shoot digital with a 40D and a Rebel XSi. I do my film scans with
    an Imacon and my film is processed by A&I in Los Angeles. So, I've got a good bit of experience with a number of
    formats and technologies.

    3. I seldom shoot film any longer. I shoot mulitple frames digitally, HDR process and then stitch. I have stitched
    images in gallery my that sell along with images captured on 4x5 from several years ago and the multiframe stitches
    exhibit just as much, if not more , detail than film equivalents. To my eyes on the examples posted, the 40D single
    frame blows away the Coolscan scanned film frame.

    Giving the poster the benefit of a doubt, why even bother to post JPGs and apologize for what we're not able to see.
    If you want us to make a valid comparison, crop a detail section of both frames, post them as TIFF files rather than

    And for what it's worth. The Rebel XSi is superior to the 40D and the new 50D in terms of noise and resolution. It will
    be the backup for my 5D mkII on order. Anyone need any Velvia cheap?
  34. There are I think advantages and disadvantages to the different formats I think. The arguement seems a little pointless to me, I'd use either depending on what I want to achieve.

    Detail or not, the 40D images are more usable if I needed to crop that much and use aggressive sharpening. I don't take pictures for scientific experiments, I want them to look nice.

    Pictures from the 40D are nice.
  35. Obviously the digital looks a lot cleaner than the 35mm film here. I still shoot some B&W film and often use Plus-X
    which is grainer than TMX. But!!!! when I use the enlarger and make real B&W prints the grain is not visable at all.
    The grain shown on the examples above are the result of scanning B&W film which it was never made to do.
  36. "Giving the poster the benefit of a doubt, why even bother to post JPGs and apologize for what we're not able to see."

    Or denying what we plainly ARE able to see. I shot K25 then Velvia almost exclusively. As much as I loved them, I can't imagine why I'd want to go back to them, at least in 35mm. Add to this that the only lab near me still processing Velvia just went out of business...

    Even if a given film is miles above a DSLR, not many of us can practically use film with nearly the same convenience and ability to achieve fine quality as digital. I too own a Coolscan. It's great, but no match for a D200 at ISO 100.

    I've had Velvia scanned professionally and expensively via an Imacon into 70mb TIFFs. The results leave me wishing I'd owned a D200 instead...
  37. I don't get posts like this.

    If you want to shoot film, shoot film. If you want to convince me to shoot film, you've failed. My D200 and D700 take excellent photos. I can view the photos amost immediately. I can manipulate the photos on the computer at my leasure using many powerfull programs (I like DXO). I can print the photos on my HP photo printer and the quality of the prints is fantastic. The benefits of digital photography are numerous. The advent of digital photography brought me back to the art and rekindled my interest. Digital is great.

    You want to shoot film. OK.

    You think film is better. So what.

    Doug Santo
    Pasadena, CA
  38. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Can you recommend a microscope for viewing photos? I've never thought of doing this, so I don't have one, maybe I need one to truly appreciate photographs.
  39. Even though it is not the intention of this post, to help remove the confusion for those that are wondering about the 26 megapixel equivalent; I reshot the picture with the 40D using the exact same composition I shot with film. This is more apples to apples.

    This is the comparison side by side at 200%:


    (Tmx on the left and 40D on the right).
  40. (The Hunt's traditional went with fettuccine at lunch so I had to use mushrooms).
  41. Jeff, I'm not sure whether you are kidding or not. Just in case, the Carson 40X is the cheapest good quality alternative for the light table.

    If you are willing to make prints instead of just looking at the light table, you don't need a microscope, I find the difference between 35mm film and the 40D to be significant on prints larger than 11x14.
  42. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    It was a joke. I'm a photographer. What something looks like through a microscope doesn't matter to a photographer.
  43. Doug, I don't think film is better, just different. I like both film and digital. For landscape I like film like TMX or Velvia better than a DSLR because of its ability to resolve finer detail.

    In general I shoot 6x7 film for landscape but I will bring the 35mm when needed portability in the future.
  44. No worries Jeff. All good.
  45. Mauro, I believe your methodology is sound, and I am not about to laugh. We always knew somehow that there was more detail in the film than could be pulled out with any scanner. The problem, however, is that, unless one is going to print directly from the negative, there is no way that one is going to get around digitizing the negative and losing all that wonderful data.

    We need to go back to wet labs to get the full force of the power of film.

    That said, given the speed and other economics that come with digital, what is the likelihood of this happening?

  46. Now I'm confused. If I am to believe the first set of images, the 40D simply blows TMX out of the water. No comparison. However, if I am to believe the last set, the TMX has significantly higher resolving power. With all of this 26 Megapixel, looking at it under the microscope, scanner quality, etc, I have no clue what to believe.
  47. Nicholas, I'll explain:

    In this article I shot a) a composition using TMX 35mm and b) just the center portion of the same composition using the 40d. That is why I said 26 megapixels, because I would have needed a sensor 2.6 times the size of the 40d to capture the same composition I shot with film. Hence you were comparing TMX vs 2.6 times the sensor of the 40D.

    Since this added confusion with some people, I shot the exact same composition with the 40D as I shot with TMX.

    Yes you are correct, even just a scan of 35mm TMX resolved 3 to 4 times the detail of the 40D. (this is twice the resolution linearly , both vertically and horizontally).

    The purpose of the test was two-fold, 1) to compare the new Ektar against the films I use frequently (TMX and Velvia) and 2) to consider whether the 35mm film resolution advantage over a DSLR would make it a viable portable tool when I can't carry my RZ67 camera.
  48. Nicholas, you are right, my wet printing days are over too. Scanning film and printing is more convenient.
  49. I meant Lannie...

    FYI, I posted a couple more of the river pictures you liked on my portfolio.
  50. When you compare a 35mm film camera,compare it with a FF sensor,at least Canon 5D.
  51. Start from the top Rashed.
  52. I read this whole thing; I understand the "26 megapixel" bit. I noticed some logical flaws here. I mention them in hopes
    that they might support some future solutions.

    1. The DSLR sensor is 61% of the size of the 35mm film. This is a big point of contention. The characteristics of the
    DSLR were named so that they were "upgraded"; that is, the characteristics were projected into What Would Be if the
    sensor was full frame. Meanwhile, it is 61% of the size of the 35mm film. This was confusing in the labeling of what
    was going on. Somehow, it lent an inflationary tone to the claims.

    2. Same lens for two different formats? For example, I use 645 lenses on my 35mm film and 28mm DSLR
    (23.5X15.7mm CCD). These frame equivalencies are not the same. When you switch formats, either focal length will
    hold, or angle of view will hold.

    To hold angle of view (important here, because it implies images in the test are crops of either 35mm film or
    enlargements of the 28mm digital): 50mm lens on a 35mm camera at a factor of 1.5: 50/1.5=33mm equivalent focal
    length on the 28mm DSLR.

    So, if those comparison images were made under the same optical conditions relative to the capture surfaces involved,
    the same lens should not be used on both cameras. One would need a 50mm on the 35mm film camera and a ~30mm
    lens on the 28mm DSLR to hold angle of view, and compare the test images without reducing or enlarging one or the
    other in the side by side pictures.

    Were those side by side images originally of the same size? I don't think they would be. They are the foundation for our
    understanding of "which is sharper"-type questions. They are presented in the web page illustration as being the same size.

    I know, from using 645 lenses on 645, 35mm and 28mm that while focal length is focal length, the effect that same lens
    will have on different format cameras is not the same. There are distinct changes in what I see in the viewfinder, and
    distinct changes in what I see on the films and digital sensor. Moving a lens from one format to another is not the same.
    It is not equivalent. It is observably different.

    3. DSLR sensors are probably built with a structure that's a staggered matrix. Film grain distribution will be governed by
    randomness. This implies that the two different kinds of structures will respond differently to different kinds of lines and
    surfaces. Orientation and degree of curvature of the recorded surface will probably be illustrated by the two different
    kinds of matrices in two different ways, when examined closely.

    4. 35mm film for a clarity test? Now, if I submit anything less than 645/120mm film for a magazine cover, will they just
    throw it in the trash, or throw it in the trash and send me a rejection letter?

    5. That little 24mm sensor is pushing a level of clarity that is mighty close to matching a recording system that is
    almost 40% bigger, if size matters.

    6. Apples and oranges. I'll fire up the proverbial flamethrower with the best of 'em, but I think the whole film/digital
    decision is a local judgement call.

    I love film, and use it a lot more than this new DSLR. But this equivalency test, like every other equivalency argument
    I've seen, simply does not match up. I'm just gonna crawl back over to my baths and print some more.
  53. The vignette comparisons don't work because of the three dimensional curve of the lens glass.

    And before someone says it, I'll answer. Even though the 35mm image would be cropped down to an equivalent size for
    the image comparisons, it's still not equal.

    A lens is a curved, three dimensional piece of glass. Using a section of glass is not the same as considering the effect
    of the curve over the whole glass. Does a section of an arc have the same effect as a full arc? No. If it did, Non-
    Euclidean geometry would be invalid. The full arc, the effect created within the lens barrel has bearing on these tests.

    And, that video clip about the Nikon digital camera making a billboard sized ad alongside a 35mm film image doesn't
    work as an equivalency for the converse reason; in the pro-digital arguments, the effect of optics is always minimized
    during an equivalency claim.

    I'm no scientist, but I don't think this stuff, either pro-film or pro-digital, jibes with Newtonian Optics or basic mechanics.
    I could be wrong, but I consistently see equivalency claimed in tests between structures that are inherently different.

    I'm glad to see the OP tried to put some work into this, though. Kudos there. J.
  54. Nice to see you redid the comparison with the 40d regulary framed. I would also like to see some color comparisons but with more usual subjects. A portrait and a landscape would be a good example. I would also like to see some other films not just the usual fine grained velvia or tmax 100. Portra 400 against the 40d at ISO400 would be most interesting for me. Maybe some Fuji Press 800 against the 40d at ISO800. These are the sort of films that I used in the past.
  55. The points about optics are interesting - as film will capture an image where the angle subtended by the rays of light to it are far greater than is possible today using a digital sensor, and, if you are using the same lens the digital will only use the 'sweet spot' in the centre of the lens, it is clear that optically the two situations are probably going to be very different - one of the reasons why I think this is an 'apples and oranges' question like the poster above suggested.

    If I just wanted to capture an image I would not expect either the process or the results from sketching with charcoal to look the same as those from an oil painting - so why should I expect digital capture be the same as using silver halide?
  56. "
    John O'Keefe-Odom [Subscriber] [Frequent poster] , Nov 16, 2008; 02:51 a.m.
    Respectfully, the optics and mechanics don't jibe in this review.

    3. DSLR sensors are probably built with a structure that's a staggered matrix. Film grain distribution will be governed by randomness. This implies that the two different kinds of structures will respond differently to different kinds of lines and surfaces. Orientation and degree of curvature of the recorded surface will probably be illustrated by the two different kinds of matrices in two different ways, when examined closely.


    Thank you John,
    this is where it becomes apples to oranges in the comparison of the poster.

    What is the comparison about ?
    Grain / smallest detail that can be captured? Obviously not "quality" (whatever that is).

    The poster doesn't put a question, but only some observations without a clear goal.

    Conclusions are ours?
    My conclusions are simple:
    Film is fundamentally different from digital, so comparing them is only comparing them like apples and oranges,
    even grain size compared to pixel size doesn't say that much;
    A scanner is a bad tool to prove the details and quality of film, because it transforms one domain to the other;
    If one wants to shoot film or digital, please do.
  57. Personaly I don't mind film to digital comparisons. While they may be fundamentally different we usually use the DSLR the same way we used a 35mm film SLR. Many people replace their 35mm SLRs with DX sensor DSLRs so it is only natural to compare the two.
  58. I am still happy with my 35mm films SLR and still don't want to switch over DSLR or MF because it still full feeling my needs. It depends what and how you need, I don't always be in hurry so I don;t need to switch to DSLRs and don;t want huge details like MF so I don't go for that because if I switch to any of these mediums then I will definitely have to compromise some areas and may be those areas may not suite me, if I switch to DSLR then I will have to invest in large amount and I don't feel that I will get that much of benefit in ratio of investment. And if I upgrade to MF than I will have to carry a huge and heavy equipment setup with I don;t want that.

    I strongly feel that the equipment choice vary by person to person and need by need.
  59. Yay!!! 35mm film beats imaginary digital camera when photos are viewed through a microscope. Wait a minute...
  60. Whats cool about this is the 40D is now 26 megapixels. Thus my 35 megapixel 7x10cm Phase One scan back is now 64 mp "if full frame" and my 50 megapixel scan back is now 91 "if full frame". :) And my Blackberry's 2 megapixel camera would be about 2 to 4 Giga pixel "if full frame".
  61. All, this should further CLARIFY THE SETUP, for the ones struggling to understand it:

  62. I'd rather error on assuming people mean well and need help understanding, than assuming they are ill intended and already understand. Plus the former is the only one I can help with...
  63. That is my intention Les.

    I will post the other films' results as soon as I receive them.
  64. Thanks Mauro,
    Nice comparison.
    Almost everyone knows that low speed 35mm films easily out-resolve/outperforme small digital sensors, although not everyone admits due
    to ignorance, stubbornness or commercial reasons.
    Canon admits it in its brochures.
    Kodak and fujifilm say the same thing.
    Here is an interview with the disigners of Superia Reala/Provia.
    It is in russian but on can use easily translate it using one of the web programs.


    I think that the results of your test are valid. The simple explanation of this results is that almost all digital cameras have anti-aliasing filter
    with cut-off frequency of about 40-50lp/mm. Therefore any good 35mm film should outperform digital cameras by definition. Eventually
    bigger size digital sensors win due to very high number of pixels but one has to expect to pay a price, which is much more that the price of
    typical DSLR.

    What is the point to argue with someone who thinks that a graphic editor generated lifeless images have anything to do with real
    photography. Let them pay thousands for upgrades every year. The countries are in crisis (including Japan) and the industry needs our
  65. Why not call the test a test of a cropped 10 megapixel dlsr versus a piece of 35mm film or cropped piece of film that has the same area as the 10 megapixel sensor? *Then* one is not making up some 26 megapixel 40D; its really what the test is about a 10 megapixel 40D; ie reality.<BR><BR>There are many applications were one cannot get closer to the subject; ie one is shooting sports, birds; the moon, race cars and you cannot magically get closer in an instant. <BR><BR>Thus if one has a 50, 200 or 500mm lens the object is same size one the sensor or film. It might be tiny; the football player might be catching a long bomb pass and you are using a 500mm lens. Thus many folks really are using fraction of the cropped dslr's image or 35mm film's area for a newspaper or magazine. What matters in these practical applications is the results. Unless its the twlight zone one cannot halt the pass and shoot several frames to make a 26 megapixel image; one cannot walk on the the field and get closer; or change lenses; or even zoom. As a practical matter one really is comparing two digital files; one is scanned with a scanner; not even a high end drum scan. Its like commercial; sports and newspapers have mostly gone digital and landscape photographers still can enjoy film; since mountains and trees dont move much. :)
  66. Thank you Stan.

    Kelly, I agree you should choose the tool that matches your needs best.
  67. How much easier this all would have been if Mauro used a 5D... Mauro, don't you have one?
    Too much room for denial with this setup...
    BTW, Mauro, when you get the others films scanned, it might be a good idea to start a new thread for those.
  68. Sadly I don't have a 5D. It would have been a nice add-on to the test. Obviously it would have resolved a lot less detail than the 40D or 35mm film IN THIS SETUP.

    I will follow your advice and start a new thread once I receive the other films.
  69. I thought of sharing this example I shot with TMX last weekend to add some humor and have grouchy people loosen up.

    Entitled: "How can something that is dead look so good: Film."

  70. Evidence I have supports the contention that T-max 100 film outresolves any current digital sensor.

    But if the question is asked 'how much enlargement of film is allowable to achieve a grain-free result?',Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz have an answer in their book Quality in Photography p166: "With 35mm we find we can achieve a result which is reminiscent of a contact print from 5x7 by using Ilford Delta 100 or XP-2 and enlarging just 5x...Frances can go to 11x14 because she favours the 6x9 format."

    So the comparison for resolution and for grain gives different answers.
  71. Yep small prints from B&W film can look real nice. I made quite alot of 6 to 7 inch square prints from 6x6cm med format for a family album and made a lot of 3 1/2 x 5inch prints from 35mm. The tonality in those prints was real nice.
  72. Last week I printed the pictures I took with Ektar 100 35mm which is less fine grained than TMX. I printed them all at 11x14 and one at 16x20 on Epson Velvet Fine Art paper. None have visible grain on the print and tonality and detail like you mention in mind -blowing.

    You can download and print yourself to experiment (give me 1 minute to remove the download protection):


    Also none of my prints from Velvia or TMX (6x7 film) show visible grain. I print at 16x20, 17x25, 20x30 and 24x36.
  73. I dont have a resolution test result for color print film so cannot add anything on that.

    Regarding grain, Hicks & Schultz say "....in color we find the half tone effect less obvious....this means that enlargements as big as 10x are entirely feasible from the best current (this was published in 2000) color print films,typically ISO 100 or less..."
  74. Not sure I understand what "entirely feasible from best current" means, nor I can assert or deny other peoples results.

    From my own tests, the 11x14 prints from 35mm Ektar didn't show grain on Velvet Fine Art paper, that is higher than 10x. (You can download them and print them too if you have the same paper).
  75. "Obviously TMX will be king in high contrast resolution, Velvia in low contrast resolution, and Ektar in D-range - price - convenience."

    Why is that "obvious?"

    Ektar is cine film, a part of Kodak that is still very profitable and funded for decent R&D. It may well outresolve any "photographic" film, at any contrast. How well do you think TMX, Velvia, etc. are funded?

    The only surprise here is exactly how stagnant the photographic film industry had become, that something like Ektar could come out of left field and bowl everything over...
  76. The Kodak trademark "Ektar" goes back to the mid late 1930's; used for first rebadging Xenars on Retinas ; then its in house brand of upper quality lenses. It was used for lenses on movie cameras; instamatics; bomber aero lenses; and late 1980's early 1990's C41 color print films; some cine films; currently a newer C41 film fro still cameras.
  77. Ektar is cine film, a part of Kodak that is still very profitable and funded for decent R&D. It may well outresolve any
    "photographic" film, at any contrast. How well do you think TMX, Velvia, etc. are funded?

    The only surprise here is exactly how stagnant the photographic film industry had become, that something like Ektar
    could come out of left field and bowl everything over...

    That is just FUD
    The daft theory that Ektar is cine film with the remjet backing is just plain wrong, different contrast, different processes,
    different layer structures etc.
    They share one common property they use 2 electron sensitization-thats it.
    There's a big discussion over on APUG about your claims, pretty easily debunked by the Kodak engineers.
  78. jbm


    I have to say this is an interesting thread. The technical discussion is interesting, sure, but it's even more
    intriguing to see how rude people can be over something as trivial as the film vs digi debate. First, there are
    plenty of responses from people who were simply uninformed or didn't take the time to apply their intellectual
    horsepower toward understanding some basic math.

    Mauro, I found your post interesting if a little difficult to understand at first. Essentially if you are
    heading out and want to fire off a few landscape shots, preserve some more detail (and are planning to print
    reasonably large), shooting 35mm film with digital conversion is not a terrible idea.

    As someone who is about to start using 35 mm film (again), medium format film (again), and (gulp) large format
    film and scanning, it reinforces the reasons I plan to do this. At some point in the future, contact printing
    and wet lab work may be in my future and I hope there are still some rewards to be found there.


  79. Doesn't anybody but myself see that this post is
    a phish?
    Stir up an issue, get the reader to go to your
    BUSINESS site where you offer scanning services,
    etc., then hope to get a sucker.
    Bait and switch.
    Oldest trick in the book.
    People like you add to life's misery.

    Go sell used cars.
  80. Wow. I'm new around here and after wading through the "film vs. digital" debate going on, I thought you (all) were just argumentative....

    .....Turns out there there are many who are cynical and downright mean as well.

    This certainly isn't the only board I where I lurk, so I'm not completely new to this. Maybe it's just these recent threads, but I'm shocked by some of your behavior........
  81. Kelly, I was referring specifically to the new Ektar 100. Not the lenses, not the old Ektar films (which I quite liked).

    Mark, it only takes an open mind (and a nice microscope) to see who's got facts, and who's got FUD. ;)
  82. [[It was a joke. I'm a photographer. What something looks like through a microscope doesn't matter to a photographer.]]

    Things were going so well until you had to say this, Jeff.

    Things under a microscope matter a lot to some photographers. In fact, it takes a good photographer to know what to do to get these photos in the first place:

  83. "We need to go back to wet labs to get the full force of the power of film"

    Agree 100%! People take a picture with film, then, they digitalize it.
  84. uhmm, hey Mike, I have spoken to Mauro extensively and his "Business" site is really just to help out people who need their film digitized, he is actually a VP of a big corporate company and really does not need the money! I agree with Mark and others, all the negative comments should just stay where they came from and isn't there a forum moderator to kick rude people off !!!
  85. Film vs Digital is really a like a religious thing. I am a film addict but my experience suggests that they are different animals. I own a Nikon Coolscan (unfortunately just the 5000 not the 9000) and regularly scan films. In my experience a digital camera looks better on my computer screen than a scanned 35mm film. Even an MF film scanned using an Imacon does not look much better (indeed on a laptop I find they look worse) - this is even for Fuji Velvia 50 or 100. I have concluded that the digital image looks better on the digital medium as it was intended for it. When printed the scanned films looks great. You really see the beauty of film when you stay with it and process it yourself - I have given up with labs as they continually disappoint these days. Black and white is still an area where digital does not appear to have caught up - it is close and much less effort but still can't match the all analogue process. Colour print also works well but is a very complex process with film. I find these types of debate amusing due to the strength of feeling of the proponents. On a value for money basis film is hard to beat (the cameras can be picked up very cheaply today) unless you want to shoot thousands of images. There are still things that you can do with film that digital cannot yet match (for example the bellows movements of an LF or Rollei / Fuji GX680 MF camera). I know you can add digital backs but that is a very expensive proposition. Digital has advantages of convenience, the ability to avoid a wet darkroom and high ISO performance. I have just ordered a 5D MarkII for its high ISo performance but struggle with the price and shelf life of digital bodies. The 5D was almost $3000 three years ago - now it is obsolete and discounted to around $1800. The Canon EOS 1V is still almost the same price as when it was launched and will remain current for the long term (I have 2 1V bodies but I also shoot 2 new F1s from the early mid 1980s that still work fine). I beleive that digital has had three main impacts - it has shifted revenues from film manufacturers and labs to software and camera companies, it has made the hobby more convenient and added instant feedback, it has resulted in a vast quantity of very poor images.
  86. jbm


    Per the post above...you don't need to think of a 5D, or any dSLR for that matter, as obselete. The 5D is to my way of thinking the best deal in digital today. You can pick up a full frame machine with reasonable AF and great image quality for 1800 bucks. In terms of output, it is as good as any other FF camera. Sure the LCD might not be as pretty, but if you are happy with the photos that come out of your camera now, you can be happy with them for many years to come.
  87. Mark, it only takes an open mind (and a nice microscope) to see who's got facts, and who's got FUD. ;)

    Joe it means an emulsion, must have the same layer structure, contrast, process, etc to be considered the same film.
    The two are different in every respect, microscope not needed.
  88. I do feel that if a person shoots film, to get what it has to offer (in B&W), then use the wet darkoom. I had a 6x7 neg that I had the local lab make a small print. Result? It was over half pure white. The negative shows alot of detail in the highlights. The contact Argyrotype shows the details. The scanned digital shows none. The blowned highlights I've heard about with digital. Now, film can have blown highights. But, in this case, the film showed them, the digital did not. If a person shoots B&W film, my suggestion is to at least make a contact print in the wet darkroom. It's far cheaper than to do it digitaly.
  89. It's always surprised me how upset some folks get when someone even alludes to the possibility that maybe their
    expensive new investment in camera technology may not be quite as far ahead of the alternatives as the sales guy
    promised. Although Mauro's original point was not as clearly stated as it could have been I think the glib tripod jokes in
    response reveal either an unconscious fear of even countenancing the discussion, or else a fundamental deficit of basic
    knowledge about frame sizes, chip sizes, and image circles. As to the poster who responded

    "If you want to convince me to shoot film, you've failed."

    What makes you think the post was about you? If you don't find the discussion interesting, then why are you posting?

    My own opinion is that the debate is interesting but overly hypothetical. In practice the critical question in terms of final
    results is the over-all workflow. In this sense I think the poster who suggested comparing final prints instead of cropped
    scans made a great point. Film is definitely grainy by nature, and looks so in the scans, but to my eye it is not
    experienced in the same way as 'noise' when printed. Grain is what actually makes up the image's structure, and that is
    not how I perceive digital 'noise'. Nonetheless, at this point, for most images for most people, most of the time, digital
    will likely provide a more practical solution. For what I'm after, film remains the best practical option.
  90. I got the gist of the argument. It works. I wish there would be a new technology scanner that would really get the gusto out of film. Perhaps Kodak should work on that and sell it competitively .I'll bet it could save the film industry.
    I do not know what is involved in making a better scanner for film. Perhaps using the microscope's lenses and really get down there and check grain by grain.Software could automate the extensive decision making and give you a whopping megapixel equivalent out of good old 35mm film. I do like digital but I already have a heap of digital cameras that stopped working.Switches , displays, dead pixels ,etc.. On the other hand I still use Leicas from the 1930s.Thanks Mauro. Maybe you got the start of a new renaissance for film.
  91. Jack, you need a competent scan operator. The defaults just jack up contrast at the expense of highlight and shadow detail. This has nothing to do with the limitations of digital as a medium- you should actually find it easier to translate a huge contrast range from the film to your print with digital- you can selectively "dodge" and "burn" any portion of the image that you choose and set overall contrast using curves.

    If you're satisfied with your set-up, that's fine but if you are curious about a hybrid digital workflow check out the Yahoo digitalblackandwhitetheprint group. There are some really talented people there.
  92. Jorge, what do we need better scanners for? What is the problem a better scanner would solve?

    Grain does not equal resolution- resolving more grain doesn't buy you any detail if the image wasn't perfect to begin with (camera shake, mirror vibration, focus, etc). I use a "scanhancer" diffuser to cut the graininess in my 4000dpi scans, but it's not really a whole lot more enlargeable than the digital shots from my 20D. There's more resolution but also more grain obscuring detail.
  93. My problem with your test methodology is that you're comparing B&W film to a color camera. If you use color film, the resolution will not be nearly as good as the layers and dye clouds are not as sharp - and would provide a more equal comparison.

    I scan on an Imacon, and can tell you that there is no 35mm color film that I've used (Provia 100, Provia 400, E100G, 100UC, 400UC, E200, EPD200, Kodachrome 25-64-200, Portra 160-400-800, and Agfachrome), that will give the ability to make prints as large as I can make from a high-quality digital camera. I have not tried Ektar - so I cannot comment on that film. I have transparencies that go back to 1965. The films today are so much better in grain structure, that you cannot even compare a 120 format film from the mid-'80's to a current 35mm for detail resolution. When I scan film shot in the 80's and 90's - the grain structure is just plan awful compared with today's film.

    I also think looking through a microscope doesn't prove much - you're much better off looking at the final product - a print and evaluating the end result. Much of what you see with a microscope cannot be translated to a final print because of losses in the optical system with either a wet darkroom or scanners. So you really have to look at usable resolution - and not theoretical resolution.

    It's a bit like evaluting lens MTF and claiming it represents absolute lens performance. There is more to lens performance than shows up in MTF numbers. For example, Leica will often trade lower MTF for better contrast as edge differences show up more by contrast than MTF - making an image that appears sharper than from a lens with higher MTF.
  94. The best drum scanners can get everything there is from negative film - based on my own detailed comparisons. The issue
    is that a computer screen is a limited means of judging the potential print qualities of an image for a variety of reasons. A
    side by side comparison of prints is the best method, but getting really really good prints out of a computer is as difficult as
    making them in a 'wet' darkroom in my experience.

    My point about grain was simply that I think it's a mistake to equate film grain with digital sensor noise. Whatever about the
    technical arguments for comparing them, in practice they have different impacts on how a print is perceived. Moderate film
    grain is a 'characteristic' of a photographic image in my opinion. Digital sensor noise might not be perceived as benignly.
  95. Whew! Mauro did you just get laid off from your job in the finance industry?
  96. "Moderate film grain is a 'characteristic' of a photographic image in my opinion. Digital sensor noise might not be perceived as benignly."

    And, interestingly enough - some of the interpolation software programs have a feature allowing you to add back a bit of "noise" to the image as it can "give the image a sharper appearance." Not my statement, but from the interpolation software company.

    Where a digital image can be made to look better than film is in really large prints. The grain in the film degrades the edges because they aren't made of sharp edges like a pixel. When handled correctly, the interpolation software will fill in and smooth the pixels, but won't do that with grain. Edges with vectors (curves and diagonal lines) will be rendered more smoothly and sharper on the digital image - if you handle the image correctly. If the digital images are not handled correctly - you get stair stepped edges which are not as sharp as film - as has been pointed out in a previous post you have know what you're doing in either a wet darkroom or lightroom.
  97. Interesting study. I had no idea that film could possibly out resolve digi-sensor over 14 megapixels.

    I don't get the smug responses of those who can't their head around what was done. It a simple comparison film versus the 40D. The FF frame sensor megapix count was extrapolated from the 40D cropped sensor coverage. The poster could have used better equipment, but he did this study with what was in hand.

  98. I have nothing against digital. Heck,I bought an Epson printer for my digital negs. My 6 color printer gives the B&W a
    magenta cast. But, they are only negs.Since, buying an 8x10 camera is for now, out of the question. But, it seems
    in these digital vs film debates, that for the most part, people are using 35 cameras as "film" 35, a subminiature film,
    just like 110 and 16. Even my 828 camera is bigger than 35! Maybe a person can buy a digital to equal 120 or
    even 4x5. But, it sure comes at a high cost for me. Since, the Dslrs that people use instead of 35 cost a large sum
    of money. I'm not a pro that shoots alot of photos and I don't have to have it yesterday. For my old contact
    processes, MF and LF film works great.Even if for now, I have to enlarge the negs digitally.
  99. Thanks for the interesting thread, Mauro. I think that your post has to be assessed as one might assess a
    philosophy class--not for whether the professor got the right answers, but for whether he asked the right
    questions and made people think. Those who read it in that spirit surely got a lot to think about.

    Film and film photographers should not go gently into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the
    light. Yes, the future almost surely belongs to digital, since digital is still in its infancy and has already
    made great strides, but there will always be something special about film--and I hope that there will always be
    those who keep it alive.

  100. My apologies go to the late Dylan Thomas, who used the word "gentle," not "gently."

    "Do not go gentle into that good night."

  101. Lannie had finished the whole thing rather beautifully with Dylan Thomas. I thought that was perfect. Then another
    photographic comedian had to chime in to spoil it all. When will you lot realize that you are not funny...
  102. Mauro, thank you for sharing your test results here.
    I am currently involved in an intensive test programme about resolution of modern films and sensors. We have not
    finished all tests yet. Probably we can publish our results next year.
    So far we have found that a lot of modern films have significantly higher resolution than the best digital sensors. The
    physical resolution limit of a 22 MP 24x36mm sensor is 80 Lp/mm. We reached it (as well as dpreview for example,
    look at the Canon Eos 1 Ds Mk III test there).
    With many films we've got resolution values above 100 Lp/mm for system resolution (film + lens). With most of the
    modern ISO 100/21° color slide films such resolution is possible (with very good prime lenses even higher resolution
    is possible). Even with Fuji Provia 400X we achieved 100 Lp/mm (as well as with Kodaks TMY-2).
    With some BW films you can get above 160 Lp/mm system resolution.
    We are testing at a very moderate contrast of 1:20.

    We have achieved all these resolution values not only under the microscope, but also on paper in the traditional wet
    darkroom. We are using the Rodenstock Apo-Rodagon N 2,8/50.
    With a slide projector using a very good projection lenses (Docter, Zeiss, Leica) we have got so far 100 lp/mm on
    screen (much much more than every beamer on the market can deliver).
    Our tests ar not finished so far, because we have not reached the resolution limits of some films and lenses (both
    projection and printing). Therefore we are testing some films for even higher resolution values. Then we can publish all
    of our results.

    But I want to add some results of other scientific resolution tests made by Carl Zeiss.
    Zeiss is clearly emphazising the qualities of film, especially it's superior resolution. Zeiss is the world's most
    important optic company. About 99% of their camera optics are made for digital cameras. But nevertheless they
    have the courage to tell the truth: film has higher resolution in many cases (of course dependant on the film you are
    For example, they achieved 170 Lp/mm with Fuji Velvia, and 180 Lp/mm with Kodak TMX. And the absolute
    resolution record with Spur Orthopan UR with 400 Lp/mm.
    If they make such strong statements, it is of greatest importance, because they are an absolute reliable source.
    Nearly no other optical company has such detailed knowledge, so deep scientific roots and scientific test methods.
    But their test results are a bit hidden on their website. Therfore I hope the following links are helpful for you (all
    published in their magazine "camera lens news" No. 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, and in their magazin "Innovation: Fotografie







    ( page 10 + 11, article by Dr. Hubert Nasse, senior scientist and chief optic designer, and the pages about the Zeiss
    Ikon rangefinder camera)


    (furthermore please go to the "virtual tour of the lens production", and then to Foyer 06, "results of unparalled
    quality", there is an outstanding picture with the legendary Kodak Ektar 25)

    I hope these informations are helpful for you. Best Regards, Henning.
  103. You are welcome. I will post the results from Ektar, Velvia 50 and TMX for comparison next week.
  104. Maybe I ought to read through all the posts, but, regarding the original post, I don't understand how the 40D is somehow a 26 MP camera just because it's mounted on the same tripod as that with which the T-MAX was exposed.

    Also, to me, the digital shots seem clearer than those taken on the 35mm film. I'm not really sure how this comparison proves its point that the latter is superior...
  105. Arjun, read from the top and go slowly. Pay special attention to the setup explanation. If you still don't understand email me.
  106. To go faster just read only my entries.
  107. All right, I think I understand. You took a shot with T-Max 100, then, without moving the tripod, you mounted onto it a 40D, and, using the same lens from before, took another picture with that camera. As the 40D has a smaller sensor than 24mm X 36mm, you decided to think of it as a "26 MP camera" (considering what it would have captured had it had a 24X36-size sensor); and, in doing so, you utterly confounded and perplexed a host of readers (I among them).

    Looking at your work, it does appear as if the 40D is quite superior to T-Max, but, then, the way you set up the experiment, you actually had to enlarge a portion of the shot taken with the latter rather more than you did that taken with the 40D. In my opinion, things would have been more valid (and less confusing) if you'd 1) used a digital camera with a sensor as large as a frame of 35mm film, or 2) moved the 40D back far enough to give it the same field of view as had the T-Max. Of course, matters might still have been uneven, as, in the second case, the performance of the lens could have become an issue: focusing on something nearer, vs. on something farther away, places a different demand on optics.
  108. Mauro -- did you shoot RAW?

    It bothers me how soft the writing is on that Rose Infusions bottle - for the 40D image. It seems like a lot of the rest of the image is sharp, but the Nutritional Facts 1:1 crop you have of the 40D looks hideously soft. I don't recall ever seeing something that soft coming out of even a Rebel XTi... how do you account for this?

    Also, beautiful Provia 100 scan... is that 35mm film?

    And while we're on the subject, since you seem to be quite good (understatement) at Nikon LS-9000 scans -- do you find the LS-5000 gives you sharper scans of 35mm using the motorized feeder? For the LS-9000 & 35mm film, do you use a glass holder and/or wet mounting?

    Thanks! Cool comparison.
  109. you decided to think of it as a "26 MP camera" (considering what it would have captured had it had a 24X36-size sensor); and, in doing so, you utterly confounded and perplexed a host of readers (I among them).

    What if I took the results from a 1x1.5" negative and equated them to our old process camera that shoots a 24x36" negative! Then I would have 24 squared the resolution; ie a cool gain of 576! Thus a simple 10 megapixel number for full frame would be 5760 megapixels!
  110. Hi Mauro,

    Thanks so much for the comparison, I think it is well thought-out, and valid. It's a shame you can't post the photomicrographs.

    I've been hooked on film ever since I got my first optical 20x30" enlargement from fuji superia 100 film. I remember at the time warning a friend of mine (who was requesting the enlargement) that he may well be disappointed with the results, as 35mm film wasn't meant to be enlarged to that degree, but when it arrvied, myself and my photographing buddies were in total awe of the detail presented. (My friend was pleased too, but I think he was more happy with the way the colours and overall image had turned out, as opposed to my fascination at the detail to be found in sculptures I'd photographed in the background).

    Then digital came along, and it seemed that everyone had agreed, beyond doubt, that digital had out-resolved film. I remember when the D1 came out, and that apparently was 'comparable to scanned film' (a quote which can still be found on a well known camera review website), while being much cleaner and sharper. So it was no wonder than when we got 6mp, 35mm film was truly kicked aside. Clarkvision and thom hogan's conclusions pretty much cemented the belief.

    But I had that shadow of doubt the whole time. The great thing about digital was being able to download the original file to see just how good it was - and I wasn't convinced they were anywhere near my 30x20 print. So when it came round to upgrading my camera I went for a pro manual focus 35mm body, and really enjoyed being able to take full-frame, high resolution images, with much the less the cost and much less the weight of a Canon 1ds. I've now upgraded to a Nikon F6, so unfortunately I cannot claim the second point so much anymore.

    All this renewed interest in film is great - Ken Rockwell, yourself, and others seeing the positive aspects of film. This is great news for me, as it means more people are going to be trying out Fuji's and Kodak's films, and they will continue to develop the emulsions, hopefully keeping in check with advances in digital.

    Thanks again for your effort.

  111. Rishi, "
    Mauro -- did you shoot RAW?
    It bothers me how soft the writing is on that Rose Infusions bottle - for the 40D image. It seems like a lot of the rest of the image is sharp, but the Nutritional Facts 1:1 crop you have of the 40D looks hideously soft. I don't recall ever seeing something that soft coming out of even a Rebel XTi... how do you account for this?"
    I always soot RAW. Digital cameral have significantly decreased resolution on the red channel.
    "And while we're on the subject, since you seem to be quite good (understatement) at Nikon LS-9000 scans -- do you find the LS-5000 gives you sharper scans of 35mm using the motorized feeder? For the LS-9000 & 35mm film, do you use a glass holder and/or wet mounting?"
    I use a glass holder. The 9000 scan are a tad softer than the 5000 but there is no significant difference in resolution. On the 9000 you may need to sharpen a bit more yet the grain will be less visible.
  112. Thank you Duncan.
    If you shoot color negative, the new Ektar 100 has very fine grain, wide latitude and it outresolves the new 24MP Sony A900. It can also be developed at Costco for $1.5 in 30 minutes.
  113. Given that the Canon 40D pixel pitch is considerably smaller than that exhibited by Full Frame cameras, I don't think you, Mauro, can compare these results to a '26 megapixel camera'.
    A camera with a larger pixel pitch should perform significantly better.
    I know it's, like, heresy, to quote Ken Rockwell... but he has a point.
  114. No Rishi. A 26MP full frame will have the same pixel pitch than the 40D.
  115. Yeah I just figured that out. Sorry. I musta been tired or something.
    -Rishi :)
  116. I have to get myself one of those 26 megapixel Tripods for my 40D. :) (sorry couldn't resist.)
  117. This is absolutely ridiculous. If you want to convince someone, either put a print in their hand or don't show 'em anything at all. This type of pseudo-scientific pixel peeping crap is exactly why I don't spend time on places like Luminous Landscape or Dpreview anymore.
    FWIW, I've shot the same subject using a Nikon FE2 fitted with Ektar 100, a Canon 40D set to ISO 100, and both a Mamiya RB67 and Mamiya 7 fitted with TMax 100. Guess what? There are definite, noticable differences in how each setup reproduces the image.
    Is one better? Yes, of course. Which one? It depends entirely on which metric is most important to you, based on your needs (or your client's). Sharpness? The Mamiya 7 hands down. Resolution? Either the RB67 or the 7. Grain? The Nikon + Ektar combo is something to behold, but altogether different from either Mamiya + TMax combo. Speed? The Canon, of course.
    In the end, you have to do your own tests to determine what works best for you. And part of those tests includes making a print, no questions asked. Do it yourself or have a lab do it, doesn't matter. But if you continue to base things on what you see on a monitor, I don't care whether you have a $200 Wal-Mart special or a $3000 calibrated Eizo, you're missing the point entirely.

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