Mamiya 7 VS 24MP Digital?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by susan_henderson|1, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. I know the film VS digital debate is getting old, but I've read about this to the point my eyes are sending a self-destruct signal to my brain. Ultimately, I want to be able to make large prints, say 30" to 40", and occasional 50" at the largest. I chose the M7ii because I figured it being a rangefinder combined with its highly regarded lenses would give me the resolution I need for big prints. But I guess I hadn't figured that scanning would prove to be such a major roadblock in getting from film to print. Based on what I've read, no "affordable" scanner can extract even close to all the information available in 6x7, and the pro level scanners (flatbeds and drums) are expensive and have a significant learning curve. What this mess has got me wondering is whether or not scanned 6x7 has any major advantage over 24MP digital. I've read, eg, the Pentax 67 VS Canon 1DS on luminous landscape, but I've read competing statements that suggest 6x7 is closer to 50-100MP when scanned properly.
    I'm not even sure how many different options I've been through concerning this. All have pros and cons. Right now, the two I'm mostly considering is:
    1. M7ii + pro scanner like Eversmart Supreme or Aztek Premier
    Pro: Should extract almost full potential from the Mamiya, more resolution than digital(???)
    Con: Expensive, plus all of the other disadvantages of using film and scanning instead of digital (long term cost, loss of all those handy digital features like white balance)
    2. M7ii+ Epson V750 + 24MP digital + send-out scanning for "big print" shots
    Pro: Maximum versatility
    con: Even more expensive than 1, send-out scanning adds to cost
    I think I'm closest to 2. The Epson would at least allow me to scan the Mamiya and get an idea of what I've got while allowing me to make smaller prints if needed. The digital will also help out in the film for figuring out exposure/aperture settings, and I can use it on shots that I don't need poster prints for. Of course, just thinking about this hassle about scanning has me almost wanting to just give up film for good, but then I get this sinking feeling when I think about selling the Mamiya. But I get a similar feeling when I think about dropping this kind of money on any of these options, really.
    Any advice regarding any part of this dilemma (including alternative suggestions) is appreciated.
     
  2. Susan, I went through the same brain twist that you are describing.
    I went with the Epson V7XX scanner initially, for 6X6, 6X7,and 4X5 sheet film.
    For MF and LF, the Epson is just fine for 8X10 prints, and prints up to the occasional 16X20.
    Are you an amateur or a professional?
    What is your budget for a scanner?
    Do you regularly have at least one image per roll worthy of enlargement beyond 11X14 or 16X20?
    If you are selling large prints in the $400-$700 range, or more, then you will be able to
    recoup the cost of drum scans from a lab for those occasional prints enlarged to 40X50 or larger.
    The price of a Nikon Coolscan has gone through the ceiling, now that it seems true production of these machines has ended,
    probably in 2008 or early 2009 at the latest.
    Now, you can get used Imacons for less than a new Nikon Coolscan.
    Ask yourself some of the questions above. If you feel that your work flow, volume, and quality of your captured images are worthy of the investment, then by all means, get yourself a quality, dedicated film scanner.
    If not, then the Epson line of V7XX family scanners, and the occasional send-out for drum scans, is a fine route for the budget minded, amateur or semi-pro.
     
  3. I'm not very experienced in scanning or in MF. However, Luminous Landscape's tests are not only questionable, but even the results that they do show are contrary to the commentary that goes with them.
    Second point: you don't need a drum scanner or anything like it to get most of the detail from a MF frame. Nikon and Plustek have desktop scanners that cost 'only' a few thousand. You may as well get a CD of JPEGs with previews when you get your film processed. Use those to choose your best frames and go from there.
    FYI, it has been demonstrated that 35mm film is very competitive with a high-res 24x36mm sensor. I dare say there isn't much in it, although the digital frame would be cleaner by default. So you can figure out where MF stands in relation to an FX DSLR.
    I don't have an axe to grind. I'm posting so that the very worst advice you could get will not go unquestioned.
     
  4. I don't print this big, but assuming 36" on the long dimension (which is a standard roll paper size):
    (a) this is ~13x from a 6 x 7 negative, which is within reasonable limits from a Mamiya 7.
    (b) this is 24x from a 1Ds III file, or 156 pixels per inch on the print, which is about half what a good printer is capable of.
    So if it were me, I'd pay for someone to take high-resolution scans from the Mamiya negs.
    Having said all that,
    (c) An alternative is to turn back the clock a couple of decades, and print optically.
    (d) Second alternative-- might consider 4 x 5 sheet film when you're getting into this size range.
     
  5. I think you are better off actually trying some tests yourself then surfing the web. If you have any decent digital camera you should be able to figure out pretty well what your prints will look like at the size you want. Then shoot some 35mm film and find someone who can scan it on what ever scanner you're interested in. You can scale the results to 6x7. Just make sure you stop down and use a tripod.
    Personally I think you're asking the wrong question. The quality is there either way. There are better reasons to decide for one or the other.
     
  6. I run a small custom printing lab, and also happen to use a Mamiya 7, so I am quite used to printing large files from it. You will not see much difference between 24mp digital and the Mamiya 7 up to about 20x24", after that, a properly scanned Mamiya shot (from black and white or slide film) will look better. The digital may well look sharper and finer grain at 20x24. This is more a function of the behavior of film versus digital at the extinction point of resolution than it is about sheer resolution (though at 6x7, it does have more detail in the film than full-frame 24mp film does). Film has a gradual fall to fuzziness and grain, which gives the impression that it has more resolution that it really does. When digital reaches the extinction point, it just stops completely. There are different algorithms for upsampling, but while they take away the squareness of the pixels, they do little to give the impression of resolution -- so upsampled digital files generally look over-smooth and blotchy on closer inspection.
    Have you considered an option 3? Mamiya 7 and higher end consumer film scanner like Nikon 9000, Minolta Scan-Multi pro or Imacon 343 and a less than 24mp camera? There are some rather excellent prosumer Canon and Nikon cameras in the 18mp range.
     
  7. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    If your objective is prints up to 50", then having done both routes to 36" I'd rather use a drum scanned 67 than a 24mp digital. Mind, its not as clear-cut as pixel counting indicates because in reality most people won't expect prints that size to be viewed from up close and the need for a 300ppi print file isn't really there. I'd probably be looking for 180ppi, and thats achievable from a 24MP camera with a moderate amount of uprezzing. So--
    • The cheapest way to get to a (say) 40" x 30" print with expectations of competence is undoubtably to use a digital camera
    • But there is more resolution available from scanning film than from a digital camera of that MP count. My 36" prints from drum scans do not rely on viewing distance for apparent sharpness.
    • To achieve that resolution then IMO you need to use a drum scan or as a clear second option an Imacon, rather than a Coolscan 9000. In my experience a good drum scan starts to make a visible difference vs a Coolscan at about 24" x 20".
    • I personally wouldn't consider analogue prints. I've printed digitally from MF originals for ten years now, because the combination of drum scan and LightJet or big Epson gave me sharper, more detailed , more controllable and repeatable prints than anything I've seen off an enlarger. Ten years ago clients had to pay a significant premium to get that and mine at least were pleased to do so having viewed the alternatives side-by-side.
    • Unless you are planning to make big prints from a large number of originals, many people will find it more economic not to own an expensive scanner. Its not entirely a numbers game since you might find the space/weight requirements of a drum scanner, the learning curve you have to get through, the requirement to manage and maintain a machine that was designed primarily for use in a lab/printer environment, and the fact that scanning itself is some way from being fun are also issues for you to think about.
    So , whilst I'm more drawn to your option 2, I have one query which is that I don't really feel I understand why you are feeling the need to buy a digital camera as part of option 2. I guess I feel that with a Mamiya 7, a decent flatbed scanner for screen -based applications and small/test prints, and a lab you trust to make drum or at the least Imacon scans , you're good to go for your large prints.
    Having tried to work digital and film alongside each other for a while, I found that hard to do and that most times laziness took over and I stuck with whatever I had ready to go, and in my case that was digital- which I have to use for my stock agency work anyway. I can't always tell before I take a photograph whether it's going to have potential for a great large print or not, so I'd feel uncomfortable with having to make that choice at the point of taking. For me I decided that I'd be happy making prints up to around 36" x 24" and mostly smaller. For you if you certainly want 40" anf maybe bigger then the only way to assure that all the time at the best quality you can do, is to take everything on the Mamiya.
     
  8. If you want to print big I would recommend using a better scanner than an Epson V700/V750. I scan my images on a flatbed for internet and to make a final selection for hires scanning. I don’t want to print a massive amount of images, just one or two series a year, so for scanning I rent an Imacon at my local lab to scan big (350mb) files of which I then have lambda print made after processing them.
    I think film isn’t necessarily better, but, it looks very different, I prefer the look of negative film because of the wider dynamic range.
     
  9. Best quality: M7 and darkroom printing
     
  10. Susan,
    No chance of getting an MF digital camera/digital back (say Pentax 645 etc)? That would seem the best approach to me? Too expensive?
     
  11. Mag, I've used a Leica for years, but they don't produce technically "best quality" prints, if you're talking
    detail and resolution- to my medium format stuff... No way.
     
  12. An immense thanks to everyone for their thoughtful and informative responses!
    @Marc Batters
    I'm a serious amateur, perhaps hoping to become a professional. I had hoped to limit my entire camera endeavor (for now) to about $8k. The M7+80mm+150mm ate up $2k of that, and either of the options I listed would barely bring me in at around that budget. I would say I typically have at least one image per roll that I want a 16x20 of, and perhaps 1 shot out of 3 rolls I would like a 40" or 50" print from.
    @Karim
    I have seen where LuminousLandscape's results have been challenged, but there just seems to be such a variety of opinions on this subject in general and for all the talk, I've seen surprisingly few actual tests. I think RN Clark came up with apprx. 70-80MP for 6x7, but he also formulated something called Apparent Image Quality to explain the perceived difference in film VS digital, essentially encapsulated by the fact that digital has a better signal-to-noise ratio, and states that a 16MP would have almost equal Apparent Image Quality to 6x7. When you say "it's been demonstrated that 35mm is competitive with 24mp," what are you referring to?
    @Dave Sims
    I actually have started considering 4x5, and I'm actually wondering why I didn't consider it sooner. This would certainly have saved me the problem of worrying about getting super-shot poster prints. Any suggestions on where I could start reading about LF cameras?
    @Rob Piontek
    I am trying to set up a test. I had planned to borrow an A900 from a friend, but that recently fell through a bit and I'm back to sitting on my hands for the time being. I may look into renting one.
    @Stuart Richardson
    I had considered a dedicated film scanner, but with the 9000 being OOP, drum scanners that have the same amount of resolution (like Howtek 4000) are much cheaper, and I'd still prefer the easier to use high-end flatbeds like a Creo.
    @David Henderson
    Thanks for sharing your experience. First-hand accounts like yours are certainly very helpful. As for why I thought a digital would be useful in option 2, there's two reasons. One, I felt that the digital would be better for prints up to 16x20 if only because of the money I'd save on film and developing. Granted, it's not much in the short term, but film+developing works out to about $10 per roll, which translates to about $500-$1000 per year. Two, the preview functions on digital allow me to fine-tune shots before taking them, and this is much easier than "guessing" with the Mamiya's meter, which changes between lenses and that I'm still not quite used to using.
    The latter is my own lack of experience with a rangefinder and film. Let me give an example: the other day I was out photographing some white, blooming trees. I took a few on my digital (Canon Rebel, the older 8MP version) and discovered that overexposing 2/3 a stop produced a better image. This is something I would never have caught with my M7. Again, this is certainly MY limitations as someone who's rather new to being serious about photography. I mean, I've been photographing from a young age, first with my mom's old Minolta XD11 and then with consumer digital, but I've more recently started learning about the art and the craft, and digital is certainly easier for the learning part of things.
    As for the hassle of having, using, and maintaining a high-end scanner, I've tried to take that into consideration too, but those like the Creos are supposedly "built like tanks" (a constant cliche I've heard said about them from owners) and most seem to insist that they need very little servicing over periods of 10-20 years. Granted, that was when they were new, and there is certainly an unknown element as to how long a used one will hold up, but I still wonder if it wouldn't pay for itself in the long run even with considering repairs. It's hard to tell.
    @Sander
    I wouldn't use the Epson for big prints, but just to have a way to digitize my Mamiya images to decide which to make big prints of.
    @Mag
    I had considered this as well, but in the end I felt it was way too much hassle and the inability to print slides was a killer for me.
    @Robin Smith
    It's pretty darn expensive. When the cheapest MF out there is $10k without lenses, then the idea of 6x7+high end scanner just seems more attractive. The Creo+M7+2 lenses comes in at about $8k.
     
  13. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Here's another few things following your latest post.
    What are you going to do with all these big prints? For most people who aren't doing it pretty successfully for money, there's a limit to the amount of wallspace they can access and they tend to follow a route of making large prints to meet a known opportunity rather than making big prints for the sake of it. Don't forget these large prints are hard to store unless mounted and framed , and hard to look at unless on a wall. I mention this now rather than have you realise it later after you've spent several $k on a scanner . You should be asking yourself why most serious photographers, including professionals, don't own top-end scanners.
    Second and related, if you can say on the one hand that you're not totally up to speed with the Mamiya 7 yet , but that one shot in 30 you make is worth printing at 50", and one in ten is worth printing at 20" x 16", then either you are a genius or there's going to be a huge drop in those numbers as you improve and the difference between the really good and the pretty ordinary becomes more apparent, I can promise you that if you have any talent at all, this is going to happen.
    Third, if you want to take perfectly exposed shots with a mamiya 7 then IMO get used to a lot of bracketing, or alternatively and maybe better, consider getting a decent hand-held meter. The metering system in the Mamiya is not a strength. I used mine with a spotmeter virtually from the outset, albeit that i took slides in the main and they are more critical to expose.
    Fourth you're still i see hanging on to this thought that it would be nice to use a digital camera for those shots that you won't print, or will print only to medium size (20" x 16" ), but a Mamiya 7 for those you deem to be worth a large print. I really do question whether you can tell the difference reliably before you see the images. You ( indeed anyone) will be prone to making a lot of misjudgments and sometimes you will end up wishing you had a higher resolution version of a subject and other times you'll be disappointed in how the film shots work out. It seems implicit that you will keep the digital for what you consider will be your second quality work , but then you want to make prints from it anyway. Most good photographers will only print at any size what they consider to be their best work and are selective within that.
     
  14. stp

    stp

    Susan, I'll offer my experiences, but folks with backgrounds like Stuart Richardson and David Henderson have a lot more basis for their opinions than do most of the rest of us.
    I'm not a professional, but photography is my life. I had a Mamiya 7II and a host of lenses, but after discarding two entire rolls of shots taken along a marine shoreline (something I've never done in my life), I gave up on the Mamiya, despite its reputation for some of the sharpest lenses in the industry. I don't think I'll ever understand why I just couldn't connect with the Mamiya.
    With film, I'm currently using a Pentax 645 (had it for years) and a Hasselblad 501cm (had it for about a year). I'm also scanning on a Nikon 9000 (previously a Nikon 8000, and I got one of the last Nikon 9000s in the country, literally a day before they announced discontinuation of the scanner). I use Fujichrome Velvia 100 pro and Astia.
    With digital, I'm using a Canon 1DsMkIII. My primary interest is landscapes.
    I've discovered that I can get much better scans and prints from the Hasselblad than I can from the Pentax (that may be a "duh!" observation to some of you, but seeing the difference side by side has been revealing). I would expect the Mamiya lenses to be more on par with Hasselblad (that's just a semi-educated opinion with no basis in experience).
    I can get about equal prints from a scan (either camera) and a Canon digital up to roughly 24"x36". Beyond that size, I'd much rather be scanning rather than using a 21mp digital.
    At the same time, however, scanning can be a real pain. Dust is a killer, digital ice reduces sharpness everywhere, it's slow, it's a pain getting an individual frame lined up correctly, and there's a steep learning curve for all of the pre-scan functions that are available (much like preparing a RAW file for conversion). I know I'm not getting as much out of the scanner as I could, and I really should sit down and study the manual more -- just haven't done that yet, and I'm very happy with the scan/prints at my limited size.
    At the same time, however (this is a common introductory phrase for me, indicating there are tradeoffs and no bright path to the best solution), I'm concerned about the future of film, especially some color emulsions. I've never been too concerned about this in the past, but with the virtual loss of 220, with the loss of some particular films, and with the loss of so many labs, I (a long-time film supporter) am starting to question the wisdom of pinning my future on this medium. If I did B&W I think I'd feel a bit more confident, but I use color.
    If I were in your shoes at this moment, I'd have three or four choices, all dictated primarily by budget.
    1. For the least amount of money, I'd get the film camera that I want (and I'd recommend renting a Mamiya 7 first if you've never used one in the past), a Vxx scanner to make initial scans and for web posting, and find a lab that will do quality scans of the few that I want to print larger than 16x24 (or maybe even smaller -- I have a V750, but it seldom gets used except to scan historic prints).
    2. For a bit more money, I'd get the film camera that I want, a medium-end dedicated film scanner (Nikon or Imacon), make my own scans for 24"x36" or slightly larger prints, and send out only the scans for which I wanted exceptionally large prints.
    3. If it's possible to make the largest prints that you want from a high-end flatbed, that would be my next step.
    4. Finally, I'd get a good medium-format digital camera, such as the Hasselblad H4DII and 2-3 of their best lenses. For higher initial up-front cost, you're going to have far less on-going hassle down the line. I think (but I'm not positive) that a 40mp digital camera can produce stunning prints at the maximum size you want.
    I'm considering a digital back for my Hasselblad, and if I find that to be viable I'm likely to give up film more than I already have, sell my Nikon 9000 scanner, and employ professional labs when I use film and need a good scan. If I had a good income (I'm retired), especially if that income were being derived from photography, option #4 would appeal to me the most, and that's based on my past experience using digital cameras as well as dedicated film scanners.
     
  15. @David
    To respond to each of your paragraphs:
    1. I have plenty of blank wall space. That was actually one thing that started me wondering about large prints and the best way to get them. Plus, there's no reason I can't pursue this semi-professionally, since my other profession allows me the time and opportunity.
    2. This is a fair point, but I feel I should specify the only aspect of the Mamiya I have any real difficulty with is the meter. The 1 in 3 was a guess, and if I really think about it's probably closer to 1 in 5 or 7, but it's hard to say since I don't have much experience with printing at these sizes. But I'm certainly not a point & shoot photographer. I've often walked around for hours without taking a single shot because I didn't see anything worth photographing. I tend to wait until I see something that really catches my eye.
    3. I'm not sure why you think a light meter or bracketing is a better option than using a digital camera, unless I'm going to be doing some post-HDR or some type of stitching. Bracketing would likely be more useful for DOF and focusing than metering, though I've gotten pretty used to figuring out the DOF I want/need on the M7, and I haven't had any problems focusing AFAICT, although I might notice some issues on larger prints.
    4. This is another fair point, but I think you slightly misjudge my intentions. I don't think any 16x20 prints would represent my "second-quality" work. It's not like I would be frivolously printing at this size. I mean, is Monet's Impression, Sunrise really a "second quality work" compared to Snow at Argenteuil because the latter is on a bigger canvass? I think it's less about second-rate VS first-rate or even first-rate VS Top .1%, but simply that I think some images work better on a bigger "canvas" than others. I wouldn't call, eg, Steichen "second rate" next to Ansel, but I enjoy looking at larger prints of the latter more than the former, and smaller prints of the former more than the latter. Granted, maybe I would have difficulty telling the difference in the field, but I think I could be reasonably sure enough of the time that the savings would be worth it. The digital would also be much more practical for general photography applications like family gatherings or other instances where auto-focusing, zooms, long telephoto lenses, changeable ISO, et al. would be needed.
    @Stephen Penland
    Thanks for sharing your own experiences. The M7ii is a finicky camera that has certain quirks that, if not fixed or compensated for, can ruin the image. When I bought mine I immediately had it calibrated, but the tech said it was perfect out of the box and (thankfully) didn't even charge me to look at it. I haven't had any problems with focusing or getting super-sharp results so far (looking at the images I had scanned at a local place) except when stopping all the way down. If you're shooting landscapes then that probably wasn't your problem. Thus far, I can't imagine throwing away ANY role on the M7, so perhaps yours just wasn't calibrated or had some other technical issue?
    I also share your concern about the future of film, which is one thing amongst many others tempting me more towards digital. I mean, I love the look of film, even down to preferring film grain over the super-smoothness of digital, and combined with the cheaper prices for cameras with superior resolution and I'm having a hard time giving it up. Of course, that's before I consider scanning, which adds a whole other layer of messiness. One reason I was looking at the Creo is that it's a flatbed made to compete with TOL drum scanners and it should be much easier to use, even if I try wet mounting. That, combined with having an opportunity to get one at practically 90% off makes it very tempting.
    As for your options, there are good arguments to be made for all of them, but I simply have to rule out MF digital right now because of the price, but I look forward to the day when I can get a Phase One IQ 180 for a few hundred dollars because the new Phase One IQ 500 has just been released. I've gone back and forth on all the others. The Creo has 5600DPI, which would produce 15.4k x 12.3k images, which is just big enough for 50x40 prints at 300DPI. A similar scan from West Coast Imaging is $100.
     
  16. IMO an epson scanner is a waste of time for MF, for any use. I did not have anything I would describe as a success with my old epson. In contrast my Nikon 9000 is a a good tool, great results and a lot less work. But, IMO for most things a good 24mp full frame dslr with a good lens well do a better job.
    It may sound like a contradiction, but MF gear is a good buy if you are in it for the long term. Manufacturing tech is getting better and MF sized sensors are becoming more of a reality for those of us who can not spend $20k on a camera.
    Until then, I would suggest a good full frame DSLR. Or if you insist on film, a Nikon scanner or send it all out. Otherwise why shoot MF?
     
  17. I think you should go digital, putting your money into a Sony 900 or Canon 5D2, a couple of good lenses, and a big inkjet printer. You won't lose much on your Mamiya gear when you sell it and you won't have the hassles of scanning. I don't know if you described your subject matter, but you did allude to stitching and that can work for some subjects when you want huge prints....
    BUT -- if that last paragraph just feels wrong to you, for whatever reason (affection for film/Mamiya/grain/workflow/whatever), then you should try for a few months continuing with the Mamiya and jobbing out your scans. I say this because you probably won't be happy with large prints from a scan done on a flatbed and any decent MF film scanner is going to be very expensive. You don't have to go to drum scans; digmypics.com scans 6x7 negs at 4000 dpi for $8 (there are cheaper services that come at the expense of American jobs, sending your film to India for scanning). That size scan produces a 30x36 print at 300dpi.
    After awhile, you'll have enough information to go on. You can figure out how many keepers you get per year that are worth drum scans, you can decide whether you should invest in your own 4000dpi film scanner, and you can judge whether it's even worth sticking with film at all. You won't have "lost" anything, as you'll always have very sharp Mamiya film shots in your archive.
    Bottom line: I'm thinking you're not an ideal candidate for large-format at this point (judging from your description of your Mamiya experience and ambivalence about scanning) and I would think long and hard before investing in a really high-end scanner with a steep learning curve and lots of time demands. Since MF digital is out of the question, there are only so many choices left for someone who wants big prints, and those choices are relatively easy to sort out (there are many, many full-frame digital-SLR samples available on the web that you can download for free and print out at 30x45 to see whether the quality meets your needs).
    Re: your metering hassles, it's a simple matter to calibrate your Mamiya to any digital SLR (preferably a recent one, as the LCD is larger). Just shoot a roll or two at 1/3-stop increments, noting what the SLR (with comparable lens) says is correct metering, what is 1/3 under, what is 2/3 over, etc. Whichever frames of the film look right to you will give your answer, whether it's 1/3-stop under the "correct" assessment by the SLR meter or whatever. Then just take the SLR with you and compensate accordingly when setting the Mamiya aperture and shutter speed.
     
  18. Susan:
    I had the exact dilemma. In my case I shoot a Horseman 6x7 view camera. I scan with a Minolta MultiPro. A fellow photographer named Klaus Puska has published a very detailed analysis between the Mamiya 7 and the Canon 5d Mark II. He even gives you the files to download and print yourself. Which is what I did. The answer for me at least was revealing Here is the link:
    http://www.naturewindows.com/articles/article090116.html
    hope this helps
    Jim
     
  19. Oops, I didn't know Mamiya 7 was referred to as an 'M7'. I was thinking Mag was talking about a Leica
    M7.
     
  20. @Don V
    That's an extremely sensible post, and I think I think I will end up eventually running some kind of first-hand test on this myself. As for the metering, what you describe is what I already do with my DSLR. AFAICT, the DSLR and the Mamiya meter pretty close to each other except in very dark or very bright parts, and simply using the preview on the digital I've gotten the desired exposures on the M7 consistently.
    @Jim Hein
    That article seems to fall in line with the one on Luminous Landscapes, and I'm starting to wonder if I'm missing something when people insist that 6x7 has more resolution. Now, for that link, the fact that he scanned at 4000DPI on a "dedicated film scanner" makes me worry about what the difference a high-end flatbed or drum scanner would make. But I've yet to see any similar tests that suggest 6x7 on either has definitively more resolution. I'm probably just going to have to do my own tests.
     
  21. stp

    stp

    Susan, I made a number of great images with the Mamiya 7II. Any problems I had with the camera were strictly me. For whatever reason, I found it hard to "see" good compositions in certain environments. It had nothing to do with the camera itself. As I said, I doubt I'll ever fully understand it.
     
  22. <<But I've yet to see any similar tests that suggest 6x7 on either has definitively more resolution.>>
    Susan,
    There is so much made of marginal resolution differences. However, visual perception is more important than absolute resolution. The only question is which LOOKS sharper, and digital generally wins. I would be picking based on other differences, such as the format (I prefer 6x6, and I generally hate composing within the odd constraints of the standard long rectangle of 24x36 where much of the frame gets cropped), or idiosyncracies of certain film types. For example, there is software to emulate black and white grain, but I consider this to be rather cheesy for anyone other than large-volume wedding hucksters. I'm committed to film for the near future, but if I had $10,000, at this point I'd strongly consider a Mamiya or Pentax digital MF system. If you go the Mamiya 7 route, you will certainty surpass this investment with film and scanning costs. If you go with the Mamiya, you'll be able to use film anyway.
    Another thing to consider is the gigantic size of drum-scanned files. Do you really want to be dealing with 2 gig files?
     
  23. Susan, if you only generate a few hundred large pictures per year several people who own a Coolscan 9000 will scan them for you.
    I scan for other people and I never charge as long as it is low volume.
    The Mamiya 7II produces excellent 30x40 prints from a Coolscan 9000. At 4,000 dpi from 6x7 it gives you aprox a native 300dpi scan for 30x40 output. It is perfect.
    You can always drumscan a few select images but I never found the need.
    If your intention is to produce fine art 30x40 prints a DSLR is not a feasible tool.
     
  24. @ Scott Frindel Cole
    The Mamiya MF digital systems cost $20k+. The Pentax 645D is maybe an option, but we're still talking about $2k over my budget plus the cost of lenses. Sure, I'd make that up with film and developing over time, but I could probably shoot about 400-500 roles of film before I hit that point.
    @MauroFranic
    That's another good suggestion. Free scanning would be great, but of course I don't want to take advantage of people either. But that's basically my major concern when I consider digital, that it won't suffice for 30", 40", and certainly not 50" prints. But all this hassle with 6x7 is certainly off-putting as well.
     
  25. I'm in line with Mauro on expectations from 6x7 film scans in an LS-4000 vs a 24MP DSLR. My D3 is 12.1MP, and I find that 16"x20" is as big as I care to enlarge. Extrapolating by the square root law, that translates to 24"x30" from a 24MP camera. A lot depends on the subject and the manner of display. I'm thinking of a landscape hanging on the wall, where it has lots of detail and is subject to close examination.
    30"x40" from a 22MP medium format digital back is a reasonable expecation too. There is no anti-aliasing filter on MFD backs, and the output resolution can be resampled by a factor of two without excessive degradation. As with film, you have to be very attentive to focus and vibration control to achieve good results at this size. The Pentax 645D has a price point competitive with the 1DsII, and used backs in this category are becoming available.
     
  26. Point 1: David Henderson is an extremely credible fellow. I trust his judgment completely.
    Point 2: Scanning is expensive if you have pro labs do it and tedious if you do it yourself.
    Point 3: Digital capture provides some advantages that you might want to consider.
    • Virtually limitless exposures through which you can later sort for the best shots
    • More latitude than positive film
    • Modern lenses with useful features such as image stabilization
    • Better performance at high ISO values than any film of any size
    • Faster lenses (small format digital only)
    • In the field composition, focus, and exposure verification
    • Unmatched ability for handheld shots
    • X-rays and temperature changes won't harm digital data
    • Immediate usability of images
    Even if you use film for your most critical shots, it would be handy to take a lightweight, high resolution digital camera (e.g. Canon 7D or 5D mark II, Sony A850) along for the ride. Each camera (film and digital) will offer something that the other cannot, so you end up with the best of both worlds.
     
  27. Medium format also is unbeatable for the price.
    Mamiya 7II sells new on ebay between 1100-1200. Mamiya 80mm for the Mamiya II only adds 800. Price/quality for new equipment is unbeatable.
    If you are willing to buy used equipment and carry a whole lot more with you, the RZ67II +110mm can be had used for 800. This is one -if not the most- customizable system ever made and a pleasure to use.
    I own both and a full set of lenses and they both get used about equal.
    Scanners are more of a difficult thing. If a Coolscan 9000 were still sold new for $2,000 you would be all set but that is not the case and a suitable replacement is still not in the horizon (if ever).
    If I were you, I'd still get a new Mamiya 7II. The pictures you take can always be sent out for scanning. I doubt you will print for you more than a dozen or two a year. It'd be no trouble for me to scan them for you.
    What film would you use?
     
  28. Hi Susan, it's late here, but I just had some random thoughts. Have you worked with a Creo? I was using an Eversmart Supreme today. It is a superb scanner. It is also absolutely gigantic. It is roughly the size of an outdoor barbeque. I scanned a 4x5 transparency at 4000dpi, 16bit with MaxDR. It took over an hour to do the one scan. A full resolution scan on my X5 takes 3 minutes (albeit at 2040dpi). I would think really long and hard before winding up with one...they are great scanners, but they are really more meant for labs and institutions than individuals, and more for 4x5 film and larger than for single 6x7 frames (though they will do them well!). You could probably fit 25 Minolta Scan-Multi-Pros or 10 Coolscan 9000's inside it. The learning curves on these scanners are not exactly easy either...I have been working in FlexColor with the Imacons and Hasselblads for about seven years now, and I am still learning things all the time. oXYgen is even more complicated since it was really designed for pre-press, not photographers. It is a bit more intuitive though.
    There is definitely something to be said for farming out this work to someone who already has the equipment and experience built up. It may cost more in the long run, but it does free you up to take pictures rather than spend your time earning an unaccredited degree in scanner operation. The Imacon 343 or Precision scanners can usually be had for a few thousand dollars, and they will take Mamiya 7 files up to about 40x50" and look great doing it. They are not quite as nice as the Creo in terms of Dmax or top resolution, but they are much faster and you don't need to worry about dust as much (no top and bottom glass etc). They are also much smaller and currently supported by FlexColor with free updates (2.6.4 is the last oXYgen software, so you will need to stay with Snow Leopard or dedicate a workstation to run the scanner).
    BUT, I would have to agree with several other people -- if you are not tied to film, and you plan to have a digital camera anyway, have a look at used digital backs, or even the Pentax 645D. There are several sub 10K now, and the 40mp in the Pentax will easily do 40x50 and look superb. And it will be your only real expense -- no scanner, no lab fees, no film cost etc. It might be cheaper for you in the long run.
     
  29. Maybe rent a Mamiya, then have a couple of well exposed and sharp negatives scanned at a place that has known skil with lets say a Nikon 9000 and see if you can get a print as large as you would like. It's an expense, but then you'll know if you want to go that route. Try it with a Imacon. A lot will depend on your commitment to quality and your budget:)
     
  30. There are a lot of quality and lengthy comments and input. I have a couple comments that mirror many of the others in one form or another but also have some experience that you may be able to benefit from. In the end, it is your journey that only you can decide.
    I own a Mamiya 7 with the 43mm, 80mm, and 150mm lenses and an Epson V750 scanner. I also send out for super high res drum scans if needed. I find the V750 scanner when optimally calibrated meets my expectation the vast majority of the time no matter if I am scanning MF or LF film.
    I owned a Nikon D3X which is the flagship 24MP DLSR.
    After shooting both I sold the D3X.
    I personally don't enlarge many photos beyond 8x10 no matter the format. I shoot 4x5 LF along with other MF cameras (Hasselblad 503CW, RZ67 Pro II, Pentax 645, etc). Many of these prints are contact prints and only a few are enlarged.
    For my fine art prints I choose to print darkroom archival gelatin silver prints on fiber paper because I think they are the only prints that meet the expectation that I have in my minds eye. I've printed on the latest and greatest Epson LF printers with many different fine art papers with the source image coming from film and digital and the b/w darkroom prints win hands down. Are they are a pain in the butt to create at times, yes..., but the rewards are so sweet. I actually love the challenge and process.
    The last thing I would say about the Rangefinder vs a DSLR is that you are giving yourself the opportunity for a parallel workflow. Meaning you could shoot film and never touch a computer and print in the darkroom or you could scan in your negatives and print on an inkjet printer. You will find tons of people that do one or the other or even both. That decision is ultimately up to you and my best advice to is explore as much of it as your wallet will allow and your future direction should be clear.
    Best of luck.
    Tim
     
  31. FWIW I have an epson 750 and while it is good, it is just a tad soft for my liking despite my best efforts. What it is good
    for is culling images and getting the color correct. You should then have something to work from when you do get a drum
    scan (the cost of which I think is trivial when your talking about prints at 50"). I think this is a personal prefence battle
    between media. I personally prefer to have a cheap camera I can throw around (vs a 10k pentax) in the field and not have
    to worry about all the tech gear and "review" done on the spot. Does anyone really enjoy all that time in front of the LCD
    screen? Take the photo and move on. No laptop or batteries to lug around the jungle or through the surf. Guess it
    depends on where you go. I love film and if someone stole my $250 bronica I would be more concerned about the
    undeveloped film in the back than I would the equipment! I look at it this way: shooting film is expensive BUT digital
    cameras depreciate quickly... So if that's they way you go you'll need to either accept the loss in value or upgrade every
    year. Meh. Film is too much fun for me.

    The best of luck!
     
  32. Thinking of giving up film? Susan, I think that once you have the scanning sorted, you'll get the advantage of that huge dynamic range you just won't get with digital, and of course that distinctive film look (I'm not sure whether that does it for you or not). You'll have digital images, and still have negatives....in short, your images will be worth more. Of course, film will cost you more, but if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right.
     
  33. When you say "it's been demonstrated that 35mm is competitive with 24mp," what are you referring to?​
    Mauro Franic can comment on that. He's done basic testing that shows how close Velvia is to a high pixel density sensor. Also:
    http://www.twinlenslife.com/2011/01/digital-vs-film-canon-5d-mark-ii-vs.html
    Interpret those results as you will. Then you can make a reasonable mental comparison between the Canon and 6x7 film.
     
  34. Susan - what are you making big prints of? If you're shooting landscapes from a tripod you can easily stitch 3 x 24 MP shots to yield an image with IQ superior to 6x7 scans.
    Along those lines I can't help but wonder what a 24 MP camera and a 1:1 macro lens could do with a 6x7 frame of film when stitching comes into play. I wouldn't be surprised if a 3 frame stitch of the film, which doesn't even exploit the full magnification of a macro lens, would out perform a flatbed and possibly reduce the number of outside scans you have to have made.
     
  35. Karim -- those results are not necessarily what you always get. For example, here is a comparison of a Leica M9 to a Leica M7 with Kodachrome 64 scanned on an X5 at 8000dpi, both with the 75/2 APO Summicron. The Kodachrome is slightly overexposed, but the difference in detail is very clear...at least it is on my screen. Believe me, I am a HUGE film proponent, but for equal area, the resolution battle is over, at least for sensors without AA filters. I had the same results comparing a 22mp back to 645 Fuji Acros! The look still might be nicer, but there is little question in my mind, working with both everyday, that digital gives higher resolution and sharpness per unit area.
    [​IMG]
    22mp Sinar back compared to 645 Fuji Acros 100 developed in Xtol, scanned on an X5 at 3200dpi, both with a 150mm f/4 Tele-Xenar...100% crops
    Digital
    [​IMG]
    Film
    [​IMG]
    I will be the first to say that resolution is not everything, but if it is something you are concerned about, digital will take you a long way if you get a big sensor for it....
    P.S. Photo.net is now shrinking the images to fit a certain width. If you open the images in a new tab, you can see them larger.
     
  36. Karim, while I do enjoy the posts from the Brothers Wright, a shot of a face that is out of focus isn't really a resolution comparison.
     
  37. This is a scan (mine) of TMAX 400 shot with my Mamiya 7 and scanned with the Coolscan.
    The focus is marked in red (TMAX 100 would be finer but this gives you an idea of what you can expect):
    http://shutterclick.smugmug.com/Landscapes/Mamiya-7II-Pushed-TMAX-400/11732163_tSzxF#827984342_qPmbv-O-LB
    00YOXj-339579684.jpg
     
  38. Darkroom all the way.
     
  39. Weird no one mentioned: scanning itself degrades images quite a bit! The images on film, from my experience, are always significantly better that whatever the (Nikon) scanner spits out. Obviously, digital technology always improves. And so will the quality of scans of the films shot today. But not the quality of digital files saved today.
     
  40. I agree with the previous poster. If you're going to introduce a digital conversion into the workflow, then you're really better off starting with a digital sensor. There's less of a dust issue or scanner optics to consider, plus the scanning time and demands on computer hardware are not inconsiderable.
    A 40" print from MF is a 16 diameter enlargement however you go about it. The demands on your technique and darkroom cleanliness are extreme at this magnification, plus the availability and cost of wet-process materials will increasingly become an issue over time. So if you really want to make life difficult for yourself and concentrate on equipment and technical aspects, rather than just getting on and taking pictures, then by all means go the film route.
     
  41. Some of the most famous prints in the world are very small whether they were contact or enlargements made in the darkroom. I have no idea why there is such a fascination with huge prints and how that correlates to quality or value. I am not against large prints by any means. If the image is best presented at 40", then great. We have to keep in mind that the ultimate goal of any serious photographer is to make a print, whether it is very small or extremely large. I shoot a lot of large format and the bulk of my prints are silver gelatin contact prints of the negative. That doesn't mean my approach is acceptable to any other photographer and I respect that. Some of the greatest photographers have been quoted as saying that the image determines the size of the print. Trying to produce or sell prints by the square yard is a silly notion. If we as photographers spent more time on visualization, composition and proper presentation of our photographs the rest of the photographic process just becomes a means to get there. Producing large prints just for the sake of it is an illogical goal in my humble opinion.
     
  42. Tim, I think one fundamental factor is that it is easier to convince people to pay big money for a big print. When you are already so established that your name alone convinces people to pay big prices, then printing small is fine! I don't agree with this, but it is a factor in the work of a lot of the people I print for. Clients will pay more for big than they will for small. It might be silly, but it is true.
     
  43. 24 MP Digital is the way to go!
    I own the Sony Alpha A900 plus all the Car Zeiss and Sony G glass. I also own a complete Pentax 67II system, and more than one Nikon 9000 ED film scanners. I routinely print 16x24 on an Epson 4880. I would have thought the Pentax/Nikon conbo would have lead to the best results, but in my experience, the Sony yields better results in 16x24. My guess is it has to do with the superior sharpness of the Sony glass. I never would have expected this, if I hadn't seen it myself.
     
  44. Joe, it's simply because 16x24 isn't a test for either system. Even the Sony is already at 252ppi at that size....not far from 300ppi. Now pump those prints up to 40" and the film begins to show more detail, albeit with grain.
    The A900 is indeed a great camera. I did a test a while back where I compared the A900 to 4x5 film at 16x20. Scanned on an Epson V700, there really wasn't any difference. 16x20 just isn't that big a print to test this high rez gear.
     
  45. I can't think everyone enough for the wealth of thoughtful and informative replies. I'm always of the mind that more information can never be a bad thing, and even though I'm still uncertain as to what to do, I feel like I've gotten closer to a decision. Right now, I'm actually leaning closer to just selling my Mamiya and going all digital. For whatever reason, I hadn't even thought about stitching, and that would be a great way to make big prints for certain images I felt warranted it. Granted, there's a bit more work involved, but certainly no more than learning how to properly scan film. Plus, I can always save up for a LF camera or MF digital. All that said, it still pains me when I think about selling the Mamiya. Whatever it's worth, it was my first "serious" camera and I guess I've become a bit attached to it. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, as I cried as a kid when my mom threw my favorite drinking cup away! I guess I get attached to inanimate objects too easily.
    To answer some select posts:
    @ Mauro
    I'm certainly overwhelmed by the offers by many here to make scans for me, but I certainly wouldn't want to be a burden. If I do keep the M7, I shoot Velvia 50 and Astia for color, and usually either Ilford Pan F, Delta 100, or FP4 for B&W depending on my mood.
    @Stuart Richardson
    I have not worked with a Creo, though I did work with a flatbed scanner at a local film shop that recently closed down, and it didn't seem to be TOO much trouble. Of course, mastering the technology is essential for getting maximum quality, and I'm equally not sure how much time I'd want to/be willing to devote to such an endeavor. Again, thanks for the very sensible advice. I mean, I'm certainly thinking "long and hard" about the Supreme, as the offer came up over two months ago and I still haven't pulled the trigger.
    @Daniel Lee Taylor
    As I mentioned above, the stitching is an excellent idea, and something that I wondered why I didn't think about before.
    @Tim Layton
    I mostly agree with you, and if you read my second reply to David Henderson I said exactly the same thing, that my desire for big prints is dependent on the image and which I think would work better in a large format. I think there's a certain power in seeing a big print. It's the reason why Kubrick filmed 2001: A Space Odyssey in 70mm instead of 35mm, because he wanted that level of detail to be apparent on a huge screen to create an immersive visual experience. I regularly look at and am awed by much smaller prints, say 11x14s and 16x20s, as presented in various photo/art books and galleries, but they never quite have the overwhelming power that prints/works >2x does when the work is of an equal quality. I rather think this large VS small "canvass" concept applies to all the arts, even non-visual ones. John Milton's Lycidas is a perfect "short" poem at 190-or-so lines, but it's hardly a match for the 10,000 line Paradise Lost. Some works just need that big canvass.
     
  46. <<Some of the most famous prints in the world are very small whether they were contact or enlargements made in the darkroom. I have no idea why there is such a fascination with huge prints and how that correlates to quality or value. I am not against large prints by any means. If the image is best presented at 40", then great.>>
    Finally, someone makes this point. What IS the fascination with biggie-size prints anyway? I see lots of exhibits in my area, like the local camera club taking over a coffee shop, and people seem to think that if you make a mega-size photo of peeling paint then it's somehow better. It's like people are falling over each other to see who make make the largest prints.
     
  47. @Scott: [[[What IS the fascination with biggie-size prints anyway?]]]
    If you read my post above, the response to Tim Layton, I tried to answer this. I guess it's kinda like asking what's the difference between staring at a hole in the ground and visiting The Grand Canyon. Humans have been fascinated with "big" things since as far back as we know. It's a primitive thing that either triggers that part of your brain or it doesn't. It does for me.
     
  48. After working making wide format prints for 6 years I still don't see the fascination with huge over enlarged images. Myself I like to make 8x8 inch and smaller prints from 2 1/4 square negs. I just never got any kind of urge to make huge prints for myself.
     
  49. Susan, the other thing I would mention is that maybe consider keeping and using both systems. Digital has no room in my fine art black and white print work, but I use a Canon S95 for personal snapshots, family vacations, etc and I absolutely love it. I think the point is that it is easy to get caught up in the technology and equipment and we lose sight of our art. When I see a print that moves me I could care less of how it was captured or what process was used to make it. It either "works" in my mind or it doesn't. Of course there are always limitations in any tool that we select but I am hopeful that modern day photographers stay close to the art of photography and not worry so much about the tools and process to create it so much. With that being said we all have our biases, just like a painter prefers a certain type of brush, paints and canvas over another. Good luck in your journey and let us know what you end up deciding.
    Tim
     
  50. Regardless of the proposed solution, it would be great to try it out before making the investment.
    The effect of lines per mm increase always seems to show up when looking at the finished image. I have a Canon Rebel T2i which suits my family and amateur needs very well. I was attracted to it by one print in Pop Photography showing a cityscape. The printed image looked great. The T2i has 18MP res which will (in my experience) create a 51MB file. This is way over what is required for the size images I make but I can crop and not lose apparent resolution.
    You could try out any of the major DSLR camera brands that have capability of large file output using their pro level lenses to see if satisfactory images could be achieved.
    Good luck!
    Randyc
     
  51. You can stitch film too.
    [​IMG]
    100%
    [​IMG]
    You can do anything with a scan that you can do with a digital file, obviously. Stitching is pretty lame though. I usually do when I've run out of ideas for the rest of the roll.
     
  52. Susan,
    I've hesitated for years before going digital because i liked my pictures looking like film. Finally, after much research, i've made a choice i'm very happy with. It's a full-frame (FX) Nikon DSLR.
    In my experience (for one part) and opinion (for the other), Nikon FX DSLRs, or upper-end Leicas, yield a digital noise that is close to film grain in texture.
    I've made some tests prints from the same subject shot with both the Canon 5D mark II (24MPix) and the Nikon D700 (12MPix) in A4 size (where the difference in resolution doesn't matter), and the difference was striking: while the Canon image clearly looked digital, the Nikon one looked amazingly film-like. I've printed a series of black and white shots taken with the D700, and people thought it was film ! According to full size sample pics found on the net, the D3, D3s and D3x (24MPix) yield the same film-like texture.
    The thing is, shoot RAW (or TIF, if you must), because noise reduction and JPG's minute alterations degrade the fine grainy noise into ugly digital clogs. In your workflow, use a bit of chromatic noise reduction (because chroma noise is cloggy anyway) and no luminance noise reduction. If you MUST shoot JPG, disable in-camera sharpening !
    Now I enjoy the quality of film with the flexibility and resolution of digital. The only thing is: if you blow up film really too large, you get huge grains, while if you blow up a digital picture too large, you get huge pixels, which is less appealing. But with an adequate rip (and a good print artist) you can push the media quite far yet.
    (Note to Canon lovers: admittedly, i've only tried the 5D2 for a couple of days and obviously haven't learnt to push it to its best.)
    And now a bit of a general remark :
    Keep in mind than megapixel resolution expresses surface, not edge length. So, doubling resoltution only changes max. print size by factor 1.41x. Increase in resolution less than 2x is negligible.
     
  53. I think the thing to remember is that the difference between the two systems isn't all about resolution. I am coming up against the same choice but from the opposite angle. I shoot digital (Canon 5DmkII which isn't that far off from what the 24mp the Nikon offers). But realise that I don't like the prints beyond 24x36. This isn't because of a lack of resolution, its more that over that size the print stops looking like a photograph and starts looking more just like a big image. There is a kind of flatness in the image produced by DSLRs ( and this was true of my Nikons also) that you constantly have to deal with even with smaller prints. People try to overcome this look by whacking up the contrast and saturation with often ugly results.
    I certainly wouldn't sell your Mamyia but would go with both systems if you can, they both have their strong and weak points and it seems the way to go. I certainly wouldn't sell your Mamyia , (though if you do thats just the camera I'm now looking for!).
    Regards AG
     
  54. @Tim Layton
    Keeping the Mamiya just for B&W does have a certain appeal, though I'm still up a creek as to what to do for a scanner. An analog darkroom isn't very appealing to me either. I mean, attempting to master Photoshop OR scanning OR an analog darkroom is hard enough without combining them. Part of me wishing darkroom printing was still viable with slides. I think I would be more apt to try it. But HAVING to go digital with e6 complicates it, and using a darkroom for B&W and something else for color seems like way too much of a hassle.
    @Lee
    The Kind of stitching I had in mind isn't about making panoramic images, but basically finding a way to increase the resolution in a "normal" shot, which should just be a matter of, say, doubling the focal length for a 2-piece stitch or tripling for 3, etc.
    @Fred Scalliet
    Thanks for the advice. I've always shot RAW with digital. What do you mean by: "Keep in mind than megapixel resolution expresses surface, not edge length. So, doubling resoltution only changes max. print size by factor 1.41x. Increase in resolution less than 2x is negligible."? At least, I'm not sure what you're referring to.
    @Andrew Gardiner
    That "ugly digital" look is certainly part of my concern as well. I guess that's something I'll simply have to test myself. But, like I said, I really am between a rock and hard place here because any choice involving my Mamiya involves me figuring out how to scan them.
     
  55. Susan, if you're just doing landscapes or other large things that don't move then pano stitching is the best way to go (and by pano stitching I mean just making high resolution regular ratio prints, not 360 degree ones).
    As long as you have the patience to spend 30-60 minutes on one shot you can make prints as large as you want to and still put a lupe on them to see more detail. I've made a few myself over the last year. Here's one of Portland, OR made from 48 shots that's approx 2'x12' with plenty of fine detail:
    http://www.pbase.com/mikeearussi/image/129382638/original
    and many more here:
    http://www.pbase.com/mikeearussi/panos
    These are far higher in resolution than any dslr or MF digital back, for that matter, and cost far less--any good point and shoot or cheapy dslr will work.
     
  56. Susan, if you want to see what Nikon 9000 scans from Pentax 67 or Pentax 645 look like uncropped, send me a message.
     
  57. Stuart, how big is that Sinar sensor? That's impressive that a 'mere' 22Mpx can trump a 6x4.5 negative.
    Mauro, be careful - some of us might avail you of your scanning services! :p
    Big prints: depends on the subject matter but I love drama and I love to be overwhelmed.
    Ugly digital: maybe it's due to crappy lenses and photographers not thinking about lens choice? It seems that most people choose compromised lenses and even then don't think about how to use them. That 18Mpx APS-C camera is great but why bother if your lenses are sub-par? If you're on an overseas trip, for example, and photography is not your priority, you might be using a compact or a superzoom on a DSLR. If so, you won't be getting the best images you can.
     
  58. Mike, very nice job.
    Still, stitching is not only time consuming but leaves artifacts or sections of inconsistency when there is complicated detail. It can all be fixed by cloning different areas of the image but it is very difficult and not flawless. That is a part of the reason why people shoot MF with film instead of just stitching 35mm.
    If you look for example at the stars (very pretty by the way and nice small aperture control) the rays do not align where they are stitched.
    00YOol-339721884.jpg
     
  59. Karim, that is no problem.
     
  60. Stitching is not a reliable way to increase resolution. It only works on static scenes, doesn't work very well without a tripod, "decisive moments" are impossible, and you can't actually compose the shot in the finder. It's tempting to talk about it, if all you want to talk about is huge numbers of pixels, but it's quite limiting in real use.
     
  61. For a 50" print you might consider 8x10" film instead of 6x7. Or one of those Leica S2s.
     
  62. Stitching is a very reliable way of making prints well beyond the capability of single medium format film images. It doesn't matter if you scan smaller film or use a smaller digital camera. It takes a technique and skill level, and you need to plan your image, much like medium and large format. Lets face it with the cost of film in money and time it is not like they are built for "decisive moments" either. Nobody can seriously claim to be making sharp prints from any method without using a tripod, so that is moot too.
    But, as opposed to many posters in this thread, with the notable exception of Stuart Richardson who obviously uses both effectively, I have no hangups with digital use at all.
    Mauro's scan comes out at 24mp, my camera native outputs at 21mp. My 21mp camera out prints the wet prints I get professionally printed from my Mamiya 6x4.5, 6x6 and 6x7 at both 20"x30" and 24"x36". Depending on subject the 6x9 still holds its own until I stitch the digital.
    Here is a stitched 135 format digital image, it is a native 7501x5626, or 42mp. This will easily give a very high quality 50" print. It has zero parallax and the stitching is entirely automatic. The image and following crop have had zero manipulation done in post other than the automatic stitch, no sharpening etc.
    00YOr6-339751784.jpg
     
  63. And here is the crop, with unsharpened cobwebs.
    00YOr9-339751884.jpg
     
  64. It seems that I have an answer to my question about the Sinar back which Stuart used:
    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0209/02090601sinar22mp.asp
     
  65. There are obviously some issues with stitching when things are moving around. But there are ways around this, too. You can get creative with where your images will overlap, for instance. Multiple frames before moving the camera. Also you can figure out ways to pre-visualize, just use a zoom to figure out what you want, then all you need to do is make sure you get enough coverage from the same location. I find the actual process of stitching pretty simple, with free software called hugin, as long as you're using a correctly set up pano head and a lens with simple, easy to correct distortion.
    I don't really stitch much these days, but I agree that stitching is also viable for film. I was in monument valley earlier this year. Unfortunately my fixed 80mm lens on my TLR wasn't wide enough for one shot I wanted. So I took two shots and stitched.
    Personally I find the experience of shooting digital compared to film totally different. I prefer film. I enjoy it more. If you have no real preference then I would just go with the DSLR.
    00YOsN-339773584.jpg
     
  66. Hi Karim,
    The Sinar back was a 54LV, which is 48x36mm, so a 1.1 crop. It had impressive resolution, but to be fair, I sold it because I usually shot film at the same time, and almost universally preferred the look of the film shots, even after a lot of work on the digital files! As I said, resolution isn't everything....also the film shots from 6x7 seemed to look better at very large sizes (1x1.2m etc). I now use a Leica M9, and while it does not have quite as high resolution, I like the color and handling vastly better -- it is the first digital camera I could envision replacing color film for me...but personally I don't have any incentive to get rid of film. I love the look, I have the cameras, and I process, scan and print everything myself, so it is not a burden to shoot film.
     
  67. Rob, that is a fantastic picture.
     
  68. Scott, the truck is actually a 97 megapixel scan from TMAX 400. The Smugmug picture viewer seems to top out in its capacity to show it all.
    Here is a 100% crop of the 97 megapixel scan. Even you, a very accomplished stitcher, won't want to deal with the complexity of producing this with stitching. This picture sold on a 24x24 print embosed on a 32 x 32 frame.
    00YOvb-339817684.jpg
     
  69. Here is how it was presented:
    00YOvi-339819584.jpg
     
  70. That makes more sense, but you have to admit at 100% that crop is pretty horrible. That 400 really breaks down much faster than the 100. Having now seen your presentation of the print I am surprised at how hard you crop, coming from a slide background, cropping, other than for format considerations, never made any sense to me.
    It just illustrates a different approach, neither being right or wrong. From my full 135 format digital single frames I don't have any problems printing very nicely to 20"x30". But I would never dream of cropping my print from 30% (a rough guess) of the capture. That means, if your scan is 100% the film area, your 24x24 print is from a film area not hugely bigger than a native 135 format film image anyway. Why shoot with a 6x7 to get the quality of a 135!
    I am not a very accomplished stitcher, I use the technique when I want, or need to, my example was a new to me lens test to ascertain fov, it isn't even focused optimally, my main reason for stitching is fov, not image quality. However it is very rare that I envision a print over 24x36, but on those occasions I have a choice of approaches, stitch the digital I have with me, plan to return with my personal 6x9 film camera, rent a bigger film or digital camera etc. These are all just techniques to get the quality each individual wants for the print size they are thinking of. There are many ways to use the equipment we have, the flexibility now goes far beyond the days of wet prints.
    My main point for the thread was, if Susan wants to make 30" to 40" prints she can comfortable do that with 135 format single digital captures, well I do it regularly. If she wants to make the occasional 50" print there are techniques that enable her to use a 135 format camera (film or digital) to get those too. With regards learning several disciplines, I am a reasonable wet printer and an average photoshop user but I drew the line at learning scanning, there are professionals out there that can do a far better job, with far better equipment, than we can hope to achieve and own. I read an article by a very highly regarded printer recently, in it he pointed out that basically every five years he has to rescan all his best film images to keep up with the current best practices and resolution capabilities. Yes you have the capture and can rescan it, but really, who wants to.
     
  71. Here is a 100% crop of the 97 megapixel scan. Even you, a very accomplished stitcher, won't want to deal with the complexity of producing this with stitching.
    To match or exceed 6x7 requires a 1x3 frame DSLR stitch with the camera orientation opposite the desired photograph orientation, the easiest stitch to do. For a still subject like the truck it's pretty much a matter of shooting and letting your stitching software put it together. At closer ranges you might need a pano head.
    Stitching has its pros and cons but it is certainly a useful method for producing larger prints of the types of subject matter people like to print to very large sizes.
     
  72. Scott, there is no grain on the print using TMAX 400 (You may print yourself to check), if looking at the screen you prefer it smooth, you can remove grain with the click of a button; or sharpen for print equally easy (other than that, it looks great even at 100% from 97MP).

    For a square print like this, 35mm only offers 1/5th of the area of MF. Cropping both for the same subject leaves you still with 1/5th of the detail. You would need at least 6-9 shots with 35mm to at least try to match it considering minimal overlapping requirements.

    Even if you never cropped, you are also incorrect with your calculation of the cropped rectangular area. The crop was a 42mm x 42mm crop of the film. This is over three (3) times the area of 24mm x 24mm assuming no waste. These are silly points since you can make this calculation yourself. Four to six (4-6) 35mm shots would be required for this with even zero cropping!

    35mm (film or digital) is not ideal for 30x40 prints to my standard. If a single 35mm shot is regularly good for you to make 30x40 prints, that's ok. It is not for me. This is obviously subjective to the application, personal threshold and the level of quality desired.
     
  73. I'm not sure it is good advice for the OP to leave her with the idea that 35mm is a feasible solution for 30x40.
    Stitching can help with some scenarios but it is limited in its applications and convenience.
     
  74. Susan, I love 35mm as well (film or digital), and use it often, but it is not the correct format for fine 30x40 prints.
     
  75. Another consideration while stitching is that your subject comes in and out of focus as you rotate the camera creating a wavy in and out of focus problem.
    00YPAF-339983684.jpg
     
  76. Scott, there is no grain on the print using TMAX 400 (You may print yourself to check)
    Your idea of grain and mine are very different.
    For a square print like this, 35mm only offers 1/5th of the area of MF. Cropping both for the same subject leaves you still with 1/5th of the detail. You would need at least 6-9 shots with 35mm to at least try to match it considering minimal overlapping requirements.
    Even if you never cropped, you are also incorrect with your calculation of the cropped rectangular area. The crop was a 42mm x 42mm crop of the film. This is over three (3) times the area of 24mm x 24mm assuming no waste. These are silly points since you can make this calculation yourself. Four to six (4-6) 35mm shots would be required for this with even zero cropping!
    Don't know how you came up with those numbers, but they are wrong. To get exactly the same film area you used you would need 2 135 frames even allowing for plenty of overlap, so why would you say you'd need 4-6? You used about 30% of a 6x7 neg (I downloaded your full image and cropped the print you made and counted the pixels, the numbers showed you used about 1/3 the original), or 1,250mm², a 135 frame is 864mm². When you stitch 135 size you are not looking at a 24mm square, you are looking at a 36mm square. But that was not my point, my point was that that 24" print could be made quite well with one 135 sized frame, especially if it is a modern high mp digital camera. I print to 20" and 24" on the short side regularly.
    35mm (film or digital) is not ideal for 30x40 prints to my standard. If a single 35mm shot is regularly good for you to make 30x40 prints, that's ok. It is not for me. This is obviously subjective to the application, personal threshold and the level of quality desired.
    And that is the point, to your standard. That can mean many things and having been involved with several threads with you before I know your digital expertise is not on the same level as your film abilities. To be honest I was never happy with 24"x36" images from 135 film, digital is much better though and is more than acceptable for many users and buyers.
     
  77. FWIW, I can tell you that I have printed 7 and 8 foot canvas murals from my 8x10 Large Format negative at 300 dpi and could have printed even bigger if that is what the client needed. No stitching required, just endless details that were supremely sharp. Used 8x10 camera was $750, used lens from keh $290 and i sheet of film about $4 and self developed. Scanned at 2400 dpi making a 19,200 x 24,000 16-bit TIFF file. Could have scanned at 4000 dpi making a 20 foot print if that is what was needed. As I said in an earlier post, the vast majority of my prints are 8x10 or smaller, but since everyone is talking size I figured I would at least make sure the OP was aware of the possibilities of LF.
     
  78. With regards your latest red herring, if panning is set up correctly with the entry point, again your comments are incorrect, focus stays where it should. But I rarely rotate, I normally shift, this is exactly the same as using a larger sensor, indeed it is effectively a scanning back, just like some of the most expensive large format digital cameras.
    P.S. Where are the results from the colour rendition competition?
     
  79. Scott, the crop was 42mmx42mm of the film. I won't argue a silly point you can stitch 2 35mm shots to make this. Not possible.
     
  80. Tim,
    I absolutely agree. Were I to be commissioned for very large prints then that would be the route I'd go. But there is a pretty big learning curve in there, as there should be, to get good results from LF cameras and scanning, it is not a straightforward thing.
     
  81. Scott, you said that 35mm was enough for 30x40 and in the next entry that it is not enough for 24x36.
    I understand that participating on the forums has some factor of unproductive discussion but this is a bit silly for me and I don't have the energy to keep contributing at this level.
    To the OP, you may have to run some test to weed out the facts from this thread. If you need scans from the Coolscan and the Mamiya so you can print at 30x40 and evaluate, email me and I'll send you full resolution versions.
     
  82. No Mauro,
    My comments have been consistent. With regards 135 sized captures, I don't find film good enough on many occasions printed to 24"x36", but am normally happy when it is printed to 20"x30", however with extreme care and the best technique and appropriate subject matter larger prints are possible. Digital captures on the other hand are normally very good at 24"x36" and almost with out exception are perfect at 20"x30", with care 40" prints on the long side are very achievable.
     
  83. I misunderstood because of this
    "My main point for the thread was, if Susan wants to make 30" to 40" prints she can comfortable do that with 135 format single digital captures, well I do it regularly.".
     
  84. The results for the color rendition competition are posted here:
    http://www.photo.net/film-and-processing-forum/00YIXt?start=160
    Judges are still picking the winners....
     
  85. How does that contradict anything I have said?
     
  86. "I rarely rotate, I normally shift, this is exactly the same as using a larger sensor, indeed it is effectively a scanning back, just like some of the most expensive large format digital cameras."
    This would resolve the focus problem. It may take a lot of walking and several ladders to shoot a landscape like this though....
     
  87. "How does that contradict anything I have said?"
    I misunderstood you meant with a single shot... instead of single shot(s).
     
  88. "It may take a lot of walking and several ladders to shoot a landscape like this though...."
    Mauro,
    Your complete ignorance of semi advanced shooting techniques is very surprising. Shifting can be achieved with a shift lens! That is what I used for the stitch I posted earlier in the thread. You might find this article interesting, Richard Sexton is a highly regarded professional architectural photographer and for his work quality is an absolute, he has used many formats through the years and his current main workhorse is a Canon 5D MkII.
     
  89. Susan, here is my experience since it mirrors your concern to a T. I started with 35mm film and jumped to digital in
    2000 I believe with nikon's D1 maybe 2001 but after I bought it I realized a few months later that although the camera
    was good at some things, quality as I compared it to a scanned 35mm slide shot on my F5 was not one of them. Yes
    it took instant images and yes my clients where very impressed but the quality was not there. Before the D1 I was
    used to shooting 35mm for certain clients and with my Mamiya RZ for others depending on their needs so you can
    imagine how I felt when I compared a scanned image from even the 35mm to this new 2.74mp camera. But the speed
    at which I could get the images to my clients over quality won for some while others never embraced it. Of course like
    a good little photographer I followed the upgrade path and every time a better more megapixel camera came out I
    bought it because it would help my clients. Eventually I decided enough was enough. I no longer run after the
    megapixel upgrade in fact I stopped at 12.4 and I think it's enough for a decent 13X19 which is what my current printer
    can do. Instead I chose to upgrade my medium format film camera to a higher level with a digital back. This way I can
    shoot film when I need to and digital when I need to. I also now shoot large format film for those occasions that require
    it. It all depends on what your final output is fo an image.

    If I had it my way though I would like to own a camera that can take a shot using both film and digital at the same
    time. And when I say film I say medium format 6x7 cm and digital around the 40megapixel range.

    Final thoughts! You will eventually come to your own conclusion once you hit enough walls and figure out what you
    want to do, till then enjoy the process because once you get there it's not as much fun. The fun is in the process!

    Cheers
     
  90. Scott, I appreciate no insults. I use tilt and shift lenses. Shift only buys you in general half a frame leveling the midline to the bottom for example.
    Good luck with the thread I can no longer rationally participate.
     
  91. Regarding the color rendition, the last three entries are the results from scanning all films.
     
  92. Hi Susan:
    You've received a number of quality responses. I'll just add my own experience. I have been using a Pentax 67II or 645N and a Nikon 9000. I've never printed large enough to consider a drum scan; I have sent troublesome slides to be scanned with an X5 and found the quality no better than what I can get from the 9000. I have a 15 MP DSLR, but do not find it competitive with MF. I purchased a 645D in December and have done a number of tests and my conclusion is that is comparable to 67 film scanned on the 9000. There are a number of advantages to digital but I prefer the fall off to fuzziness and grain that Stuart Richardson mentions. Here is a comparison using the Pentax 120mm macro on a 645D and 645N (9000 scan). The test completely removes the lens as a variable (assuming correct focus, which is not a given) and in my eye the 645D is clearly better.
    http://tsjanik.blogspot.com/search/label/1)645D crop 2) full image 3) 645N crop
    Here’s another comparing 645D, 645N and 67II. In this case, different lenses were used:
    http://tsjanik.blogspot.com/2011/01/blog-post_2775.html
    I'd go for your option #2 and then determine which system gives you what you want. I'm not entirely convinced the 645D was a wise purchase for me (only because of the cost/benefit, not the quality of the camera), but traveling with film is very difficult nowadays and digital solves that problem.
     
  93. Tom,
    Thanks for those links, they really put some of the issues in perspective. The 645D and 645N really confirm what so many people have also found, it is just nice to see such a direct and straightforward comparison. The other set is just as illuminating, few could argue that the 645D is performing above the level of the 67II, but even if you are micro analytical, nobody can deny they are close.
    Thanks again.
     
  94. I have not had nearly the problems with stitching that Mauro would have us believe.
    I am mostly going after a wider field of view. I like to shoot using a 28mm lens, my camera with a 28mm lens can see a bit more detail then I can with my eye, so I am capturing all that I can see in the scene.
    Here is an example
    Pretry big photo
    This is just a photo of the road that I use to run on a lot, I took a bunch of stitched photos going up and down this road, just to have something to remember the road that I have spend so much time on.
    I use a panoramic head and good stitching software, which might not be needed but it makes stitching very easy.
    I can understand that stitching is not for everyone, but it can work very well indeed and is not nearly as hard as some would have you believe.
     
  95. The amount of fringing on the bottom of the 645D frame is interesting. One thing I don't like about digital.
     
  96. Scott (Ferris): I'm glad you found it useful, thanks.
    Scott (Cole):
    Yes, fringing is a problem. I assume you're referring to the shot with the 35mm, not the 120 FA. The 35mm A has a red/cyan fringe which is correctable in ACR (these images were not corrected).
    A more severe example can be seen in this series from the same shot:
    http://tsjanik.blogspot.com/2011/01/blog-post_7244.html
     
  97. While I try to remain silent for this thread I fail to understand how a shift lens could be used to caputre what Scott Ferris stitched landscape shot without having to at least extending the tripod head significantly. Unless there's a shift lens with a 100cm image circle AND a special camera that allow a movement as big, how, by shifting alone could produce the stitched picture is really beyond me.
    Scott, care to share with us what shift lens and body did you use? :) I'm keen to invest in one.
     
  98. Here is a comparison using the Pentax 120mm macro on a 645D and 645N (9000 scan). The test completely removes the lens as a variable (assuming correct focus, which is not a given) and in my eye the 645D is clearly better.
    http://tsjanik.blogspot.com/search/label/1)645D crop 2) full image 3) 645N crop
    IMHO there is almost no difference - well, almost no difference! Which goes to show just how good a 6x4.5 frame is. It takes 40Mpx to match it (depending on the film). And, dare I say, Portra 400 @ 1600 would probably be better than a 645D @ 1600. Not that I actually know, but those MF sensors are not usually known for low-light performance. Either way I'd like to see a comparison.
     
  99. Huang,
    You find my stitch to be remarkable, but it is very easy. I used a Canon 1Ds MkIII and a 17mm TS-E. The lens shifts 12mm in any direction, do that in both directions and you have 24mm, 24mm is the short side of a 135 frame, to double your sensor area set up your image on the tripod, shift up 12mm, take one shot, shift down 12mm (24mm from where you are) and take a second shot, zero the shift and take a third shot, this gives you a third frame that is a 100% overlap onto the other two, that is how I did the image earlier in the thread. If you want to be super pedantic, though I have found it to be unnecessary, you can move the camera on a 24mm rail and leave the lens in the same position for the shifting, that is, you shift the body behind the lens rather than shifting the lens in front of the body, this removes even the smallest theoretical parallax issues.
    Now most Canon shift lenses shift 12mm in any direction. This gives you a remarkable configuration of effective format sizes and resolutions. You can get an effective 36mmx48mm 42mp sensor, you can get a 24mmx50mm 36mp sensor, a 36mm x 36mm sensor, etc etc. All with zero tripod movement, heck I have done 24x50mm sensor two shot stitches handheld on a rolling yacht and software has done a superb job of aligning the images.
    If you want to invest in one, and for me it was a good investment, a Canon 5D MkII has the same sensor and can be had for under $2,500 new, secondhand a good bit less, the new MkII shift lenses are in the region of $2,000, though again secondhand will give you a good saving. Is this good value? Well if you compare the prices to used film gear alone not really, but if you factor in film costs including the scanning then for many it works out way cheaper to get a digital. How does the value compare to medium format digital? Welll my system is way cheaper than even secondhand MF digital backs. My way has limitations, but they are not as limiting as most think, especially those who have not actually tried them.
    Is the way I sometimes use my camera and lenses the answer for everybody? Absolutely not, but it is worth looking into if you are chasing big prints. I went this route because I wanted one camera body that could effectively do all the various shooting that I do, from very low resolution very fast turn around newspaper images, to high energy fast action sports, to environmental portraits, to large, high quality, scenic and macro prints.
    I attach another uncropped stitch that I did without moving the camera, it is a two shot 36mp image with an effective sensor size of 24mmx50mm, on this occasion I did it to get the fov to include the entire island, this gave me an effective 11mm lens on a 135 format camera, so 118° horizontal view. It will print effortlessly with high quality to 24"x 50".
    00YPeK-340301584.jpg
     
  100. I know this thread has really shifted in terms of topic, but what would be preferable between a scanner and darkroom for B&W MF film?
     
  101. Get ready for a lot of replies and the short answer is it all depends on what you prefer and what variables are involved.

    For example, I specialize in b/w fine art prints. My archival work is all created in the darkroom on silver gelatin fiber
    from my MF or LF negatives. I custom mount all my work as well giving me total control over my final product from
    capture to print.

    For my lower cost or non-archival prints I scan my MF or LF and print on a LF Epson inkjet in advanced b/w mode. I
    use a variety of fine art paper depending on what I am trying to achieve.

    I prefer the look of my silver gelatin prints or even my AZO (silver chloride) contact prints over the inkjet version.

    Just do what makes you happy and enjoy it.


    Tim
     
  102. Susan,
    Both are big investments in time and skill sets not even thinking about money and space, the results from both can be argued about by the likes of us posters all the time we have an internet connection:).
    The truth is if you are going to do big prints seriously and you want to do the entire process yourself then most would agree scan and digital print is the way to go. I didn't, I felt scanning was a waste of time and have only had film images wet printed (though the labs could well be scanning), but large wet printing is very involved and skillful and I didn't do them myself. 50" digital prints from scans are effortless by comparison.
    Between the two I'd go scan. If I were starting out fresh I would beg borrow or steal a suitable digital camera.
     
  103. In my opinion, the b&w darkroom is the better way to go up about 20x24", or perhaps 30x40". Bigger than that and you cannot really get sheets anymore, and you need a special enlarger that can project the image horizontally, you need to process the print in troughs of chemicals and roll it rather than just use trays, the volumes of chemicals required go way up...basically, 20x24 in trays is easy and looks spectacular from 6x7. For larger prints, digital's convenience becomes an overwhelming advantage.
     
  104. Darkroom, IF you have access to a good enlarger and lens and prefer to spend your time on that sort of thing. Scanner, IF you have access to a good scanner and prefer to spend your time on that sort of thing.
    And nobody responded to my actual criticisms of stitching as one's primary method of getting large numbers of pixels, which are that you can't use it on anything that moves (which is why you always see stitches of landscapes but not sports, people in general or street) and you can't compose a shot in the finder. When it comes to landscapes I'm as stitch-happy as the next guy but that's about the limit of it. Architecture too, in limited circumstances, but to increase field of view.
     
  105. Andy,
    I didn't think you were serious, did you see my last stitch, it has people and waves in it, the stitch is perfect. Would I recommend stitching as the most practical way to shoot for large prints regularly? No. But Susan said "say 30" to 40", and occasional 50" at the largest" I find with good technique 36" prints are easily achieved with one 135 format digital frame, if I was shooting one of my "occasional 50"" prints I'd stitch.
    Anybody recommending Susan to commit to a darkroom workflow to print her own 30"-50" prints really is doing her a disservice. Either they have never tried to actually wet process 50" prints, or they have been doing it so long they have forgotten how much skill and equipment it takes. Besides, the use of optical enlargements much over 30" has been shown to have so many issues with enlarger lenses it really isn't the way to go anymore.
     
  106. Can't believe I've been following this thread from the beginning, but must say it's interesting. Susan, I can't say that I'm in the same barge as you, but I've been looking closely if I can do quality B&W with my D700....and I came to conclusion that I'll either have to get RB67 or 4x5 to get there. I just got a chance to get the RB67+3 lenses for incredibly reasonable price, though I'm still second guessing the obvious quality of 4x5. I feel that I have v. little to lose w/67....and I intend to do high quality scans of the choice shots. Sure it's possible to crank 30x50 B&W print from digital, but the last two years of tweaking thought me that I'll never get the IQ that I desire within such enlargement. Like many here, and for whatever it's worth, I've done my share of nega processing and wet printing....and have no desire to go back to chemicals. Perhaps I should try doing B&W stitching ?
     
  107. Leszek,
    There is a huge difference between a 12mp camera and a 24mp camera. Susan specified a 24mp camera.
     
  108. I have a few points to make before trying to provide my pov to Susan on her needs
    @Scott Ferris,
    While I think your landscape stitch is very good, I don't think you beach shot is of an equal high standard. When you rebuke Andy's point by pointing there's people and waves in it, I thought I could have myself appearing in both sides of the photo for the kind of stitch job :) Furthermore, this sort of stitch job is really limiting as you can't even have fast moving cloud taking up prominent frame space, at least without heavily editing the result. I know very well because I made this mistake in believing stitching is a poor man's medium format back, a solution for wide angle, high resolution and a bit of medium format perspective (isn't it nice to think that 2 x your 1DsIII frame is equal to a Hassy H3D39 36mm x 48mm sensor?) This couldn't be farther from the truth. On top of that Andy made a very valid point about the inability to use stitching to shoot 'anything that moves'. Your people in the above example is considered static!
    On your reply to my query, I was a bit disappointed to find that your landscape shot (being very good) was created by the 17mm superwide. I thought it was a very well planned stitch done with at most a 28mm. As you've mentioned, the right way to do it is to fix the lens but move the camera to create the perfect stitch. In your example the only plus side that I can see is in increasing the pixel count from 21 to 42, with not much increase in FOV. With a 17 mm superwide all you need might be 5 steps backwards rather than go through all the hassle. Under the circumstances I can settle with 21 MP... Furthermore, your example of using SHIFTING on a rolling yacht is really puzzling, if not an over exaggeration to show that shifting does indeed work. Why on earth do you want to shift the lens rather than move the camera considering you're not even on a tripod (means accuracy in framing is so much a secondary factor)?
    The last point that I want to bring up is, from the various threads it showed your tendency on mixing facts (objective) with your personal opinion (subjective) and package it as another fact. Just look at your statement for the above beach shot.
    It will print effortlessly with high quality to 24"x 50"
    Mind you, you can print it effortlessly to whatever dimension, key point here is high quality according to your standard only. I certainly don't consider, or don't even want to print as big with only approx. 3700 pixel (1DsIII short end) to 24" (155 real px per inch ?!). That is no where near 'high quality', to me. I know it's not high quality for me, but I'd not want to force it to everyone.
    What'd be a true disservice to Susan is if she choose the stitching path and be limited in especially time and responsiveness towards a photographic opportunity. Furthermore, I think along the thread Susan did mention about her concern with the 'digital' look, which will not get away if she're to take the digital approach.
    @Susan
    Sorry for the above, but I can assure you that I'm really tired, out of steam and won't repeat it again. It's just a habit to debunk some of the pseudo science always show up in cyberspace.
    My opinion on your situation is that, you should keep the Mamiya 7. Since you can't cash in much with it, why not keep it as an option, at least for B+W work Then, invest the time and effort in darkroom work. I always find scanning very taxing and if I've enough $$$ I'd buy a minilab to do colour print up to 12x18! While plenty of people look down on minilab prints ( I think it's more towards the operator than the equipment), I can consistently get very good result from the pro shop at my place. Sad fact is that the very rich old man discard the machine due to lack of business and he now runs a durst laser printer for big prints :( For B+W, if you want 24x30 or smaller I'd think that the Mamiya 7 + wet print is hard to beat. As for colour, buy any digicam that suits you, although I still shoot plenty of colour 135, positive and negative. If you want 50" enlargement you do not have much option but send it out for scanning, B+W or otherwise.
     
  109. Huang,
    Thank you for your thoughtful input. Please understand, I use both a 24mp digital camera and an interchangeable backed Mamiya with 6x9, 6x7, 6x6, 6x4.5 and polaroid backs. I do not advocate one camera system over the other, I just try to point out what is possible with either, I get particularly annoyed when people say, you have to do this, or this medium can't do that.
    While I think your landscape stitch is very good, I don't think you beach shot is of an equal high standard.
    My first posted stitch was done as a lens test, the second was merely used as an illustration of a 24mmx50mm sensor, the side benefit, and the reason I did it, was to get a 118° fov, it was not posted as an example of fine art, and neither are of print quality.
    When you rebuke Andy's point by pointing there's people and waves in it, I thought I could have myself appearing in both sides of the photo for the kind of stitch job :)

    No, I stopped doing that in school year images :). But that has been used as a technique long before digital.
    Furthermore, this sort of stitch job is really limiting as you can't even have fast moving cloud taking up prominent frame space, at least without heavily editing the result. I know very well because I made this mistake in believing stitching is a poor man's medium format back, a solution for wide angle, high resolution and a bit of medium format perspective (isn't it nice to think that 2 x your 1DsIII frame is equal to a Hassy H3D39 36mm x 48mm sensor?) This couldn't be farther from the truth. On top of that Andy made a very valid point about the inability to use stitching to shoot 'anything that moves'. Your people in the above example is considered static!

    I always said there were limitations to stitching, I don't do it very often, my point was, as Susan was only talking about occasional 50" prints, even though we don't know her actual subject matter, that stitching a smaller camera might be a possibility, not that it was the answer to all situations. Software has moved so fast in this area too, clouds, unless they are hurricane speeds, are no issue at all, have you seen the CS5 demo images of crashing waves?
    On your reply to my query, I was a bit disappointed to find that your landscape shot (being very good) was created by the 17mm superwide. I thought it was a very well planned stitch done with at most a 28mm. As you've mentioned, the right way to do it is to fix the lens but move the camera to create the perfect stitch. In your example the only plus side that I can see is in increasing the pixel count from 21 to 42, with not much increase in FOV. With a 17 mm superwide all you need might be 5 steps backwards rather than go through all the hassle.
    Well if I had taken 5 steps backwards I would have fallen into the water off the dock! But its relevance to the thread was the fact that it is 42mp, if Susan had chosen this style of image to print to 50" then she would have the data to do it.
    Under the circumstances I can settle with 21 MP...

    Again, it was just a lens test and illustration of a 36mmx48mm 42mp sensor, for cheap.
    Furthermore, your example of using SHIFTING on a rolling yacht is really puzzling, if not an over exaggeration to show that shifting does indeed work. Why on earth do you want to shift the lens rather than move the camera considering you're not even on a tripod (means accuracy in framing is so much a secondary factor)?

    A valid point. There was no real reason to do it other than to see if it could be done, I haven't found a use for it. Yet. But again, my point was how far stitching software has moved on. I do find hand held shift and tilt works surprisingly well, but so far have only used it seriously for single captures.


    The last point that I want to bring up is, from the various threads it showed your tendency on mixing facts (objective) with your personal opinion (subjective) and package it as another fact.
    Well we can all only offer our opinion. I only say what can be done when I have personal experience of it though, as opposed to many posters.
    Just look at your statement for the above beach shot.

    It will print effortlessly with high quality to 24"x 50"
    Mind you, you can print it effortlessly to whatever dimension, key point here is high quality according to your standard only. I certainly don't consider, or don't even want to print as big with only approx. 3700 pixel (1DsIII short end) to 24" (155 real px per inch ?!). That is no where near 'high quality', to me. I know it's not high quality for me, but I'd not want to force it to everyone.
    Ah the old "my standards" chestnut. Well again, that is a valid point, that is why I normally suggest to people to test. It is very easy to enlarge a 135 format film image to mimic a crop of a larger film and print size, the same can be done with digital via an abundant supply of RAW files freely available on the web. Having said that, I am very far from alone in considering the current 21mp cameras of being able to print 24"x36" prints to a high quality, the numbers game is one that has been fought over time and again, I am not interested in rehashing it, but I was once told my 1D, a 4.2mp camera, couldn't print any larger than a 4x6, I even had a magazine editor refuse to look at my images because the file sizes were too small, I went home, resized waited one month, told her I had a new camera that had the required file size, she was very happy and ran several full page images. Unless you have actually done it, don't say it can't be done. I, and many many others, have done big prints from 135 digital images, I have no hesitation in saying it is worth looking at.



    What'd be a true disservice to Susan is if she choose the stitching path and be limited in especially time and responsiveness towards a photographic opportunity.
    Again, if stitching won't work, then it won't work, but as we don't know what might work for Susan it seems worthwhile to say "this might".
    Furthermore, I think along the thread Susan did mention about her concern with the 'digital' look, which will not get away if she're to take the digital approach.

    That is another complete red herring, and one film fanatics love to tout, but the truth is, if a particular film look is important to you, for way less than $100 I can get a guy to match any film emulsion to an incredibly accurate level, alternatively, do it yourself. Out of digital camera images are RAW images, they are like looking at negatives, it is the foundation with which to make your print, not the actual print, too many people look at the file as a finishing point, not a starting point.
    Ultimately, the best advice for Susan is to send off to a pro lab tests, print a film image from the Mamiya and a downloaded RAW file from the internet. Compare the two at the print sizes she is interested in and make her own quality assessments from there. Easy, personal and cheaper than making the wrong decision.
     
  110. Susan
    You've received a lot of good advice, but I thought I would add my two cents. First, if your subject and shooting style will accommodate it, you should try large format (4x5). Scans on any moderate priced scanner will look good up to 13x17 and you can tell which shots deserve to be professionally scanned for larger prints. I think you will be very surprised at the quality and a good LF setup with 1 lens can be had for under $1000.
    Another thing worth trying is the Gigapan system - a device which automates panning a camera for stitching - quite amazing. Models are available for digital p&s cameras and DSLR's.
    I think the variety of responses points to my perception about the state of the art - affordable digital capture is hard for high quality 16x20 and above but scanning MF with enough quality for 16x20 is also horribly expensive as well. The next generation DSLR will probably convincingly overtake MF film in image quality. MF film will continue to be used because people enjoy this approach to the photographic process, not to get ultimate quality. There is a lot to be said for finding equipment and a process which appeals to you. Ansel Adams owned a Contax and a Hasselblad as well as several view cameras. I think any large format, medium format or 24 MP approach will take you where you want to go but the experience of using them will be very different. Only you can decide which is best for your style.
     
  111. Susan, I've tried to read all the excellent posts here only to see if a certain recommendation was made ... which it may have, but admittedly my eyes glazed over 1/2 way through ... LOL!
    Firstly, I'd recommend joining the GetDpi forum run by Jack Flesher and Guy Mancuso ... it is the most informative digital forum for people looking to do exactly what you want to do. Not taking anything away from this forum at all ... just another very good source for highly experienced shooters in a forum populated with advance enthusiasts, semi-professional and fully professional shooters who print large. Just ask your question there:
    www.getdpi.com
    I would NOT rule out going Medium Format Digital ... you do NOT have to invest in the latest greatest to realize the benefits of larger sensor digital capture. Many digital backs that are 1, 2, or even 3 generations away from the current digital backs are far more reasonable in price than most people imagine. These backs work on almost every MF SLR camera ever made, and many of those MF cameras are very reasonable in price. The bonus is that they also can shoot film. In past, I would shoot a digital capture and swap backs to shoot a B&W of the same scene. Even a sub $5,000. 22 meg DB will cream the top DSLRs available today for what you want to do. Size still matters whether film or digital.
    I have used almost everything out there ... including a Mamiya 7, Hasselblad V, Mamiya645/Mamiya RZ Pro-II, Contax 645, Hasselblad H (my current MFD kit).
    I also have used every Canon digital camera up through the 1DsMK-III, and most of the Nikons, up to the D3X ... plus a current Sony A900 and all the Zeiss optics.
    I have THE top of the line Imacon/Hasselbald "virtual drum" scanner sitting on the desk behind me, the fastest high-end desktop scanner made ... now dormant for well over a year ... and an Epson V750 I used to use for contact sheets. I also have a complete darkroom with the best equipment money can buy ... also dormant for quite awhile.
    I do professional work that is either printed quite large or cropped severely by art directors pulling features out of a master shot. The work ranges from scenics with architectural components, to people (especially environmental portraits involving landscape settings), to editorial, to highly detailed commercial product work. I also do my own personal work with either a Leica M9 or a Medium Format digital rig. The 35mm DSLR is used only for the weddings I do each year. As good as it is, I wouldn't even think of using the A900 for any of my professional assignments.
    I love film, but moved on and with the help of some very good advice on GetDpi (among others), have no regrets at all in switching to MFD ... so I just offer that it should be on the consideration list.
    Marc
     

Share This Page

1111