D850 vs 8x10 film

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by alastairanderson, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. Canon loan Kelby a camera and he no longer uses Nikon. For you Shun you would have problem focusing the 8x10.
    Off topic: Do you celebrate new year today Shun?
  2. DOF is brutally shallow even in 4x5, but smart use of movements can let you control DOF for the things in interest without going to small apertures.

    I try to stick in the f/16 to f/32 range in 4x5-that saves me from taking TOO much of a hit on diffraction.

    Here's a photo that caught my eye as I was leaving work one afternoon-I loved the cloud play and overall "look" of the light. This was on well-expired Velvia and shot in my Speed Graphic with the 135mm I mentioned above. I think I used f/22 and used a bit of tilt to keep my car in focus.

    4x5 Velvia frame 2 copy.jpg

    BTW, I don't consider film flatness to be a huge issue at least in 4x5 provided that your holders are in good condition. LF stocks are coated on polyester(~.18mm in the case of Velvia) and good holders hold it securely on three edges. I worry more about it in MF than I do in sheet film. The film path used in most SLRs is SUPPOSED to promote flatness more so than a straight path, although I know Hasselblad also warns you to shoot a frame or two before something critical if the camera has sat for even a day or two. Also, I have a Graflex 6x8 back that I could use on my RB67, but I've been warned that the particular back I have was meant for when film and backing paper were both thicker and the flatness is poor with modern film.
  3. 5"x4" will beat any DSLR on resolution alone, let alone 10"x8".

    The maths is simple. 'Average' film will resolve around the equivalent of 3000 ppi. Multiply that up by 5 x 4 (or a little under) and you get in excess of 150 Megapixels. So even if the lens and film combined 'only' resolve 50 lppmm at reasonable contrast, that's still the equivalent of over 100 Megapixels.

    That resolution can drop to 30 lppmm on 10"x8", and you still have well over 150 Megapixels equivalent resolving power. I don't think there's any digital back that can equal that while being untethered and portable enough to use in the depths of a pyramid!

    Of course the situation is different for 3D objects where focus-stacking and other digital tricks can be used to give digital capture the edge. Not to mention the far superior 'micro cleanliness' that digital has, and only the most scrupulous film processing can equal. Not many 'pro' labs run their C41/E6 lines under sub-micron filtered clean room conditions.

    Anyhow: I suspect what it basically boils down to is economics. For small runs of shots in remote sites, large format film still offers excellent returns, in terms of image quality, for a relatively small outlay.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018

  4. 1. My Chamonix 045n with a Fuji 150mm lens is actually lighter than my Nikon D800E with Sigma 50mm f1.4A. The Chamonix with 90mm f4.5 (Nikon),150mm f5.6 (Fuji), and Rodenstock 300mm f9 weighs less than my D800E with Nikon 24mm PC-E, Sigma 50mm f1.4A, and Nikon 105mm f2.8 VR Micro. Add film holders and the weight is about even.

    2. I collect 19th C. photos and early 20th C. photography books & journals. In my 1911 copy of "The American Annual of Photography," there is an article by a guy who photo'd birds using an 8x10 camera and 16 inch (400mm) Bausch & Lomb lens. The camera was set up near a perch and he fired the camera remotely (bulb?) from a blind. He actually got some nice photos doing that. While I would not choose a view camera for sports or wildlife myself, it is possible.

    As for resolution, I actively shoot 4x5, 5x7, along with my Nikon D800E. Looking directly at the negatives I think the D800E roughly matches the resolution I get with the D800E, taking into account the differences in DoF. I haven't checked, but I doubt the D850 matches an 8x10. One other thing I'll mention is Howard Carter, being British, would have certainly be shooting dry plates. At that time pro photographers weren't sold on film because glass plates are perfectly straight & rigid, where film can bend in & out of plane just a bit, throwing off perfect focus. The larger the format, the more that is true. There is a guy now making dry plates as a retirement hobby turned cottage industry, and I've been experimenting with them. They seem to be about the same resolution as film to me. The plates are ISO 3 if you're curious. Wet plates (1850-1882) are ISO 0.5. I only shoot these with period lenses, and mostly in my 1905 Century Camera Co. Model 46 4x5, with Wollensak Velostigmat 6 inch (150mm) lens mounted in a gorgeous polished brass Volute shutter.

    Kent in SD

    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  5. Modern digital sensors can record an enormous amount of information per square inch of sensor. But where are you going to find an 80 square inch digital sensor?

    Even if the film records less detail per unit of area, and the lenses resolve less detail per unit of area, the 8x10 film is 80 square inches!
  6. Where do you find a lens with that resolution over a 4x5" area? A few process lenses, maybe. Even 3000 lp/in (120 lp/mm) is a bit of exaggeration. 2000 lp/in (80 lp/mm) is more realistic based on film data sheets, and only with high contrast resolution targets (1000:1). Every day scenes average closer to 6:1 contrast, which yields about half the optimal resolution on film. In case you hadn't noticed, large format film doesn't look as sharp as MF or 35mm under a loupe, and nothing looks sharp under 10x magnification.

    While re-igniting film v digital debate, the details devolve to philosophical quibbling. The point is that large format film yields large prints with little or no visible grain, and enough resolution to render fine details in these enlargements. Sometimes enough is all you need. It is also likely that you can replace a $2500 view camera with a $50K digital camera for archival documentation, fashion and landscapes.
  7. It is so funny to read, people trying to compare formats in digital terms. Why not to try analog, look at megapixels as a film grain, more megapixels means smaller grain , but thats about it. Images shot with different formats, have different look when printed, thats why Ansel Adams was using large format camera. He certainly could afford Leica and I am pretty sure he wasn't "in love" with view camera because of its overall size and weight.
  8. What is analog about anything we're discussing?
  9. What we call digital cameras capture an image with each pixels as an analog voltage and then digitized.
    ben_hutcherson likes this.
  10. You can put film in that sentence instead of analog, if it will make you happy.
  11. On no planet is film an analog medium and calling it as such is the height of ignorance. Digital capture is more "analog" since-as Bebu points out-the sensor responds in proportion to the amount of light hitting it before being being fed into an A/D converter. That's as opposed to the "on or off" nature of film grain.

    That's why I fight such a crusade against the use of the term "analog" in reference to the medium I have used seriously for the past 15 years, and in some capacity most of my life.
  12. Keep fighting :)
  13. Before digital photography, film was film. Now, if we wish to make an objective comparison, film is "analog." If language did not evolve, we would be using "thee" and "thow". and our S's would look like "f's." Going back further, perhaps we would just grunt and point. Oh wait! I forgot about school cafeterias.

    In presenting digital images, we are concerned about "grain," only we call ig "pixelation," or something of the sort. Grain, in B&W film" is noise to the extent there is no useful information in the individual particle or thread. Grain is there, or not there, with variations in size and spacing. The image is only visible in the aggregate. Each pixel in a digital image stands on it's own with regard to luminosity and color. There is noise (random variations) among pixels, and certainly defective pixels, but these are not directly comparable to grain in film.

    Ansel Adams did use a Leica, as well as Hasselblad, as described in his books and illustrated in his photography. Even carpenters don't use the same hammer for every nail.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  14. I have never seen mentioned of Adams used Leica. He did use the Contax 35mm rangefinder.
  15. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Appears to be correct. See first sentence in

    LEICA Barnack Berek Blog: ANSEL ADAMS
  16. Film isn't analog at all. Analog involves a continuous grading of some parameter, and film doesn't really support that.
  17. Guys, you still fighting about electricity on photography website.
  18. I have a friend of mine that shoots primarily with view cameras., 4 x 5 and 8 x 10. He used to shoot with Nikon digital bodies. Check out his equipment at his website:
  19. Are you referring to the oxidation/reduction reactions in photochemistry and processing, which involves the exchange of electrons?
  20. Perhaps it would avoid some repeats if I pointed people at this recent discussion on the beginner forum (you can ignore MTT uber-post near the start of that saves time, we later get on to film).

    Conclusion: film is digital, and "grain" isn't the same thing as silver halide particles that determine the film resolution.

    And I feel I should point out that sensor shift techniques mean that even micro 4/3 bodies are offering 80MP, and 200MP is coming (and with stacking, achievable) for medium format digital. That's before you start stitching images. And even f/22 is 2-3x smaller than when a D850 starts losing resolution to diffraction.

    Larger formats theoretically do allow for higher resolutions. But it's absolutely a matter of the right subject and conditions, and the trade off between moire and micro-contrast.

    There are many gigapixel images out there, generated by stitching. As far as I know, they've all been captured digitally.

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