D850 vs 8x10 film

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

  1. Sorry, that was my phone's autocorrect combined with my general incoherence. You can ignore the massive uber-post (that I wrote) near the start of that thread to save time, is what I was trying to say - that post was about digital, and we talk about film later.
  2. "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."

    - What's your point Nick? You simply cannot compare a single opaque film 'grain' size (if such a thing is even measurable) to a pixel that holds 255 levels of grey. You'd need to squeeze 255 'grains' into the same area as one pixel to get a comparable smoothness of tonality. Which leaves the only parameter of comparison as resolution, which is visible and measurable.

    Whether you express that resolution as pixels per inch, or as line-pairs per millimetre is fairly irrelevant.

    "Where do you find a lens with that resolution over a 4x5" area?"

    - You don't Ed. If you'd read further before going off on one, you'd see that I was referring to the resolution of film itself, with an estimate of best combined film and lens resolution at 50 lppmm. A not impossible figure from high-quality, and expensive, LF lenses.

    The specific application in question is that of recording near 2 dimensional hieroglyphs, which require no lens movements and hence no surplus coverage of the 5" x 4" format. Therefore a high quality apo process lens would be an extremely good choice.

    "Before digital photography, film was film."

    - It still is! No need to invent a mystique-inducing epithet for the stuff.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
    Andrew Garrard likes this.
  3. Hmm. "Before digital photography, film was film. After digital photography, film was expensive."?

    Or: "Before digital photography, film was film. Before film was film, glass plates were glass plates."

    Although I'm sure that former employees of Kodak, Fuji, Ilford et al. will be a little unimpressed at the suggestion that film technology was static.
  4. I am not talking about single "grain" size, I am talking about physical frame size 24x36, 6x6 or 5" x 4" . I don't see much difference between 24x36 film or digital frame of the same size, I can see difference between 24x36 and 6x6, that's what I meant in my previous post. Different formats have different look, megapixels numbers doesn't matter that much.
  5. I'll challenge you on that, Nick. There are things which are clues as to the format, such as film grain size, sharpness and depth of field - but if you put a good f/1.4 lens on a D500 and compared the output with an f/2.8 zoom on an original 5D, I bet you'd guess wrong which one came from the smaller format.
  6. OK, tell Annie Leibovitz she was overspending Pirellis money using Hasselblad.
  7. Compared with what? Did she get better recorded local contrast and less grain from a 6cm x 6cm film frame than a 36x24mm one? Very likely, but I can do the same with a D3200, with the right lenses. Yes, the latest medium format digital backs slightly outperform current full frame bodies, but that's not true if you compare current FX to the early digital medium format - sensor size helps for any given technology, but it's not magic.

    I'm not disputing the merits of a larger sensor (I mostly shoot FX digital, I have a medium format camera), and there's a trade off between coverage and the aberrations that get worse with relative aperture that tends to favour larger formats, but what most people think of as "the medium format look" is apocryphal.
  8. In order to compare film with digital imaging, you start by finding areas of commonality. These include resolution and dynamic range. With film, these properties are essentially continuous (aka "analog"), whereas with digital they are quantized in discrete steps. Perhaps the key word is "compare," because without comparison, there is no need to define common terms.

    Incidentally, 255 steps is rather outdated. since it represents 8 bit data words. A more common specification for digital sensors is 14-16 bits, which have as many as 65536 steps, or as many as 16 stops dynamic range (typically 12-13 stops in newer cameras).

    The proposed use of a 100 (or more) MP camera is not just for hieroglyphics (which are actually 3 dimensional), but specimens of insects, plants, and other perishable specimens. How many historic movies have been lost to equally perishable film? Most of Matthew Brady's famous photos of the Civil War ended up glazing greenhouses. We have scraps of documents written in ancient Egypt (and earlier), but virtually no samples of documents on sulphite paper older than 80 years or so.
    Andrew Garrard likes this.
  9. Ed speaking of images lost, I wonder how many folks in the early 2000's stored images on floppy discs? I wonder how many of those have been lost or have no means to be viewed for the owners?
  10. .
    The conundrum of archival storage is that the media may endure longer than the means of retrieval. This actually applies to archeology. For many years hieroglyphics were unreadable, even after the Rosetta Stone was discovered bearing the same message in Greek, Aramaic and heiroglyphics. (The key was that the pictographs represented syllables rather than words or thoughts.) Cuneiform tablets are perfectly legible after 5000 years, and we mostly know what they mean. We don't know how the language sounded, but can infer meaning because most are business records for various commodities.

    It has been years since I've had the ability to read floppy discs (starting with the 8" versions). Soon CDs and DVDs may suffer the same fate (Best Buy recently removed all CDs from their shelves). I still make CDs and DVDs for clients, but the bulk of my deliverables are via the internet. I still have several reel-to-reel recorders, including a large Ampex, weighing about 120 pounds. Oddly, older, red oxide tapes are holding up very well, while black oxide tapes from the 70's may shed their entire coating in flakes unless baked in an oven at low temperatures for several hours. I've had better luck with CDs, going back to the early 90's. Problems are not with aging, rather faulty recorders or physical damage. The endurance of color film is spotty. Kodachrome, cited for its longevity, is misplaced. Kodachrome holds up better against the intense light of projection, but Ektachrome holds up much better in storage.

    In order to maintain digital archives, it is necessary to update the storage method in a timely fashion. As long as the original is readable, it can be transferred without loss to a new medium. You can't say that about analog systems, including film.

    Meanwhile, Voyager I sails merrily (and silently) in interstellar space, bearing a gold record with digitized sound form Earth. Three hundred years from now, that may come to plague the real Captain Kirk.
    Andrew Garrard likes this.
  11. I'm unsure how much of the stuff I archived onto CD in the 1990s is still readable; I've certainly got a lot of stuff on floppy disks still, but no idea whether they're still readable. Currently I'm concerned that I may not have backed up some images from a very elderly laptop that I own, so I'm going to have to rearrange furniture until I find the laptop and then pray that it fires up successfully.

    Normally I try to buy a backup disk that's at least twice the size of what I've been using so far, and just transfer everything across to the new storage. This may or may not continue to be viable. It would do me a lot of good to get better at throwing out the obvious discard shots among my photos - I rarely go through and prune, so a significant proportion are blurry or incorrectly exposed, or just of my feet when I accidentally pressed the shutter release, and are never going to get used.
  12. None for me. None on ZIP discs either (still have one drive and a few discs, but it has been a while since I tried to read those - anything that's on them should be backed up elsewhere anyway). Nothing on CD or DVD either - I just don't trust them since I have a few instances where a CD or DVD burned on one computer wasn't readable in another.

    I agree that is key. I just looked at 6 (of initially 8) hard drives that I have taken out of rotation quite some time ago - I am now wondering how many of them still work (stuff on them is backed up on newer ones though).

    My problem too (although I am getting better at cleaning newly shot stuff out) - I have a huge backlog of images to go through and clean out - never seem to be able to work on those consistently and hence a lot of backup space is wasted. One issue with that sort of very belated clean-up is that it takes time and effort to propagate it through onto the more recent drives - there's no point cleaning up an old drive and then have it fail before the clean-up could be propagated through to the newer backups.

    Aside from images (where I am fairly certain I have not lost any significant number), I am sure I have other stuff that I may no longer have access too (and most of it I luckily wouldn't need to anyway).
  13. Usually I agree, Dieter. My current cause for concern is that I was looking for more images of my recently-departed cat, some of which were taken on my original digital camera (Agfa ePhoto1680 - somewhere between the serial port interface and the SmartMedia card I'm not inclined to use it much these days) and transferred to the windows partition of a laptop that I normally used in Linux. I've got the Linux side backed up, but I'm struggling with any photos from before I started using a DSLR, in early 2004. The longer I leave the investigations the more trouble I'll have getting at them, though - already I was struggling to get data off a "backup" disk which seemed to be failing.

    I must get more backups. "Jesus saves" as the story goes.
  14. Interestingly enough, a co-worker has given me two compact Macintoshes. Each had quite a rare and unusual external drive-the Apple HD20-which connects to the floppy port. These drives are notoriously unreliable, but both still work.

    She has some items on them that are truly priceless-including things that her daughters wrote when they were young, and letters from her husband(who is here in body but not in mind as he's in the late stages of Alzheimers).

    Most were written in a Macintosh specific work processor called Nisus. I have a current version of Nisus, but the "old" files are unreadable by the current one.

    Fortunately, aside from printing(which I've already done and have given to her) there are a couple of non-destructive ways to get those files, but unless you have access to an older Macintosh running OS 9 or earlier and EITHER with a serial port or built-in floppy drive(or both) you may be up a creek.

    The easy way is to the computers to a newer Mac running OS 9 or earlier via a serial port, bring the files in over Local Talk, and then work with them. Provided that up to this point you've kept all volumes in a Macintosh compatible format, you have a couple of options. Ideally, you'd track down and install Nisus on the newer computer(it will run) and then can open and resave them as a more friendly modern format(I'd have to check what options are available). Barring that, though, provided that you've stayed on Macintosh formatted volumes, you still have the files in what's known as a "resource fork" and "data fork" format. For a Nisus file, the text is in the data fork and can be opened as an ASCII document with most any program. The resource fork contains the formatting.

    In any case, that's going what I'd call the easy way with Apple Talk/Local Talk.

    The floppy("sneaker disk") method is actually a bit more complicated. You first have to FIND blank disks or disks that can be erased, and hope that the drives work(I can fix them most of the time, but for someone just trying to get the files off it can be a nightmare). These computers have 800K "low density" disk drives. A 720K PC disk will generally format with zero issues to a Macintosh 800K disk, but the much more common 1.44mb disks are a different matter. "Virgin" 1.44s are usually okay, but formatted ones are VERY iffy and even if they format to low density often have a short "shelf life." Once you've written files to an 800K disk, reading them is another matter. The ability to fit 400K/800K(as opposed to the 360K/720K of PCs) on a disk was one of Steve Wozniaks brilliant implementations. The "logic" to do so, however, is in a special controller called the "IWM"(integrated Woz machine) or "swim" in later computers. You CAN NOT read a Mac 400K or 800K disk in a USB floppy drive-you must use a Mac with an internal(or at least controlled by the logic board) floppy drive.

    There is a third, more obscure alternative that is more PC friendly and that is to connect the hard drive to a Mac that has 1.44mb HDDs and an external floppy port. You can then put them on easier to read 1.44s. Offhand, only the SE FDHD and SE/30 come to mind.
  15. Kodachrome had better longevity in dark storage but Ektachrome in projection.
  16. Ilkka, got an interesting comment on my "Kodachrome yellow" t shirt from Dwaynes Photo indicating they made history 12/20/10 when they developed the last roll of Kodachrome. I was told it was a roll from Steve McCurry. Now need to get a couple of rolls of MF film off to them for development.
  17. Color Film 8x10 will capture more colors than the D850, and a view camera gives you movements, which translates to technically superior images. The D850 is compact, faster, lighter, and less fragile than 8x10, you can toss it around without a care in the world, without critically damaging something fragile like a bellows. So, buy the D850 and get something closer to a 6x7 film camera.
  18. Ah .. we went from cameras and resolution to storage. As long as your stuff is in 0's and 1's, there are a host of good options these days. Multi offsite mirroring and a local NAS provide all the backup you need... and these days it's dirt cheap too ($10/month for limitless offsite storage).
  19. "Color Film 8x10 will capture more colors than the D850"

    - Evidence for that assertion please?

    Looking at 2 dimensional colour space diagrams (of dubious authorship) may show better green saturation than the sRGB or Adobe RGB spaces, however, those deep greens are only obtainable at high dye densities on the film - i.e. very dark areas. Colour reversal film is incapable of highly saturated and bright greens; due to the requirement of mixing cyan and yellow dyes with very little white-light contamination. Likewise with saturated blues and reds.

    Beside which, there are almost no viewing systems - screen or print - capable of showing those dark and saturated colours.

    Large format film wins out on detail resolution, but that's the only parameter where it betters digital capture - and it may not even excel there for much longer.

    "There is a third, more obscure alternative that is more PC friendly and that is to connect the hard drive to a Mac that has1.44mb HDDs and an external floppy port. You can then put......"

    - Why the **** would you ever do that?!
    Why not just copy the disk content to a contemporary medium?
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  20. I have been largely unsuccessful matching film colors with a digital camera for an original capture. Film is often redder, greener, brighter than digital. There is one oddity though. If you copy reversal film with a digital camera, paying due diligence to white balance of the light source, exposure and focusing, the results are nearly indistinguishable from the original. It's not that digital capture can't duplicate that of film, rather the designers choose not to, in favor of objectivity.

    As extracted from film data sheets, color reversal film has only a 6 stop dynamic range of capture, but has high contrast in the results, from nearly opaque in the darkest areas to nearly transparent in specular highlights. Color negative film has a much wider dynamic range of capture, but lower contrast in the resulting image.

    A view camera is obviously superior with regard to movements and the Scheimpflug Effect. However it is easy to restore parallelism in digital post processing. The Scheimpflug Effect can be obtained using a tilt-shift lens on the D850, or you can use focus-stacking on static subjects.

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