Copying 35mm vs 120 with Nikon D810

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by andre_chor, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. Hi all,

    After much consternation and dabbling in all kinds of digital solutions, I've finally settled on a Nikon D810 as my main camera, in part due
    to its resolution to double as a copier for my negatives. Right now, I just have 35mm but am thinking of moving up to 120-- probably 6x7
    or 6x9-- as I really want archival black and white. Will be using 55/3.5 Micro lens with extension tube as needed.

    Not having started to copy yet, may I please ask, what is your experience with copying 35mm negs compared to 6x7/6x9 negs with a
    circa-2017 high-res camera like a D810? At what size print enlargement did you say, whoa, major difference!?

    Even though I'm sure there will be a lot more information on the monitor when comparing 35mm to 120, reality for me is that if i can see
    no incredible difference in, say, up to 2'x3' prints, I don't know if I'd spring for 120.

    Your thoughts, thanks!
  2. Simple answer: It depends on the film you were using.
    IMHO optical 8x10" prints from 35mm ORWO NP 27 at box speed or HP5 pushed to ISO 1600 in Microphen or from TMZ / Delta 3200 at ISO 3200 don't look great / way too grainy.
    Printing the 8x10"s from 6x6 negs provided bearable results.
    If you are shooting PanF and soak it in Perceptol you'll probably get finer grain than I had from the faster film mentioned above.
    I guess you'll see the difference already at smaller print sizes.
    I'd try to guesstimate which percentage of a direct digital capture your first digitized 35mm neg equals and would base the decision what to shoot next on that evaluation.
  3. I'm pretty lazy and do the simplest developing i can think of: a few drops of Rodinal, stand develop.

    Sounds like I'm going to have to up my game if I want a good comparison! Thanks for the advice.
  4. I have hundreds of 6x6 film scans (Nikon LS-8000) which I can compare to more recent digital images, up to 42 MP. On this basis, I suggest that the Nikon 810, at 36 MP and no AA filter, is more than up to the job of copying MF film. The results will be grain-sharp, hence not detract from the resolution of the MF camera and film. For the purpose of this discussion, there is only a minor difference between 6x6 and 6x7 (or 6x9) images.
    Both of the following images were taken with a Leica (M3 and M9) about the same time with the same lens, a Summicron 90/2 c1965. The scanner resolution is the same, 4000 dpi, regardless of the film size, so 35mm and 120 film looks the same on the pixel level. The colors are as-is from the scanner or camera, and in this case, irrelevant. Look at the relative clarity of the details.
    Whereas the scanner has the same linear resolution regardless of the film size, the camera resolution is fixed. That said, the D810 has twice the resolution of the M9, but MF film is only about 1.5 times as large. The Nikon 55/2.8 Micro is one of the sharpest lenses in the Nikon lineup, and will not be the limiting factor.
    Ektacolor 100 @ 4000 dpi
    Film isn't as good as it used to be - and never was ;)
    Leica M9 Digital (18 MP, no AA)
    The moral of this story is, film isn't as good as it used to be - and never was ;)
  5. Thanks for your input Edward. I think 120 is worth a try for black and white; I haven't used a roll of E-6 or C-41 for ages.
  6. I am currently developing my own strategy for copying 35mm, 6x6, and 4x5 negs/transparencies. If you end up copying your 35mm negs at 1:1 then consider shooting your 120 films at the same 1:1. You will need to move the neg or the camera to capture the entire 120 frame with several images that you will then need to stitch to provide one much larger file. This larger file will reflect the increased capability of the 120 format film.
    I plan to shoot even closer and stitch 3 images together to build up the 35mm frame providing a digital image that should get everything possible out of my 25 and 50 ISO legacy film shots.
  7. So I've since returned the 120 camera I bought-- faulty meter on a Plaubel 67-- sticking with 35mm and going to scan with
    a Pakon F135. Will compare to D810-- I'm sure the D810 will look nicer but the Pakon is so darn blazing fast! Thanks all

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