Photo printout comparison between MF vs DSLR

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by ws_ho, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. Hi, do anyone here have seriously compared the photo printout say 20x24 or display sizes (colour photo)taken by MF gear in films (negative or transparent), direct silverprint or scanned by high-end scanners, with modern High-end, High-resolution's DSLR or even prosumer grade Aps DSLR. What would be the difference? I am very much appreciate for your comments. Thanks.
     
  2. Aside from the character of film being different than digital, MF cameras still produce images in the 100mb range or more (depending on the negative size). A couple of colleagues and I did an experiment by taking the exact same scene with a Nikon D3 and Mamiya 645. We scanned the 6x4.5 MF slide with a Hasselblad scanner, and our colleague worked in his version from the Nikon. Then they were printed through the same lab to the same 16x20", 20x24", and 30x40" sizes. Even with the 16x20" print, we all agreed the MF result was clearly better, and result was more obvious in the larger two prints. The prints were color, not B&W, and the MF film was Fuji Provia 100. This result would surely be even more substantial with a 6x6, 6x7 or 6x9 MF transparency, obviously.
     
  3. This is a very difficult topic as the images are different. Here are my conclusions from a number of tests.
    1 Black and white done from film in a wet process is still the best. I have scanned it but I personally do not like the way black and white film scans so I generally process it in a darkroom
    2 I find that 645 MF (Mamiya Pro / ProTL) slide film when scanned produces results that are as sharp as my 5DII and as photographs I tend to slightly prefer the Mamiya results. I scan on a Nikon 9000 and the Mamiya files are 200-250 MB per shot. I can post some examples but the results are very close between the two methods
    3 Moving up to my GX680 (6x8cm) the Fuji scanned results are definately superior to the Canon. However, I suspect a lot of the difference is due to lens performance. The GX680 lenses (with due respect to Zeiss and Leica) are about as good as lenses get - perhaps this is why Fuji makes the H series lenses, similar performance for less money than Zeiss. The image files of the Nikon 9000 are between 300MB (8 bit colour) and up to 650 MB (16 bit colour).
    4 Colour negative does not scan as well as a positive so the 645 images are not as good as the 5DII and the 6x8 images are probably slightly better at 100 ISO but I suspect will be worse at 400ISO. I have really only compared 400 ISO at 35mm as I do not use many print films in MF bodies - especially over 100 ISO.
    Let me know if you are interested in seing some sections of images - I have not managed to sucessfully post full images as when I compress files down from these sizes strange things happen. To get a 650 MB TIFF file down to a 2 MB JPEG is not what i would think of as a sucessful process.
    You should also be aware that the scanner is an important aspect of the process and can be very time consuming. Big files are also require a lot of storage and are sow when you edit them.
    All this is to say that for top quality large enlargement landscape photographs my 5DII with L series glass cannot compete with the Fuji GX680 but gets close to the Mamiya 645s. My guess is that the DSLRs will get a little bit better but that lens performance will become their limiting factor. In addition the Fuji has full front movement with all of its lenses (except the 50mm).
     
  4. Michael and Philip, thanks for your information.
    I do not intend to raise another debate between film and digital. But just wish to know whether a latest High-end DSLR have the ability to compete the image quality produced by MF film nowadays.
    I owned Hasselbald camera with several lens for more than 15 years. Perhaps photography is just my hobby but I desired very much in image quality therefore I upgraded my equipment to MF. However, as the price of high-end DSLR going down, I have the intention to buy one like Philips's to replace my MF, not only benefits of ease of use, save processing time and cost and also the availability of ultra long telephoto lens.
    As long as silver-base enlargement is not available in my local Lab, I really miss the nature film look result. Now, they could only provide service of scan-and-print for both negative films and slides. I wonder whether the final results may not better than a modern high-resolution DSLR with more than 20M effective pixels.
    I wish to find my way to go and looking forward to have your comment and happy to share with your great experience. Thanks.
     
  5. "What would be the difference?" - Actually, not a lot!
    With colour, a full-frame DSLR gives quality very close to what can be obtained from MF film. In fact the DSLR will easily beat slide film when it comes to dynamic range. I agree that there's still nothing to touch film and silver-gelatine prints for B&W, but for colour the DSLR is pretty close to MF. And when you have to wind up the ISO sensitivity past 400 then the DSLR is the clear winner.
    I think the main difference is that most MF users always use prime lenses, whereas DSLR snappers tend to have a rather crappy zoom strapped to the front all the time. A full-frame DSLR fitted with a good prime can produce quite amazing image quality. Far superior to anything that 35mm film ever produced.
    You also have to consider the overall system cost. Good MF lenses aren't at all cheap, and neither is a decent MF scanner. The cost of a decent scanner alone can outweigh that of a pro-quality DSLR, and if you're going to farm out the scanning and printing to a lab - well, what's the point?
    I also find it interesting that the previous posters are all using a hybrid film/digital workflow, and not comparing a DSLR to MF film traditionally enlarged.
     
  6. Joe,
    Could you show us that and how a full frame DSLR clearly wins from MF film?
     
  7. Philip,
    Colour negative scans lots better than positive.
    Colour negative is the better film in all respects, except suitability for being used in family slide shows. ;-)
    Lens performance will not be the limiting factor.
    Not as long as sensor technology does not make a giant leap forward, and get rid off, for instance, the need for bayer and other patterns.
    Aliassing too will keep hanging round digital technology's neck like a millstone for the foreseeable future.
    Then there is noise, an increasing problem with higher pixel densities, i.e. increasing pixel count within a fixed, small sensor format (there still is a marked difference in quality between full-frame DSLRs and MF digital capture).
    So no need to start worrying about lenses.
     
  8. Joe - as I stated I find that MF film will beat a good DSLR - I use all L series glass on a 5DII which is Canon's best sensor. You are correct that Digital has a wider dynamic range than film - especially one like Fuji Velvia but I prefer the colours of Velvia. I scan because that is pretty much the only way to print from slide film these days - Cibachrome etc... all went years ago. I kmow of no lab that prints from slide film without scanning. I almost always use a wet process for black and white and the rolls of colour print that I shoot usually get printed in a darkroom. I do not always print my own colour film as I do not shoot a lot and setting everything up for a colour process is rather time consuming given the temperature sensitivity of the materials.
    Q.G. I find that I get better results from scanning slide than print. When I shoot print I tend to use Fuji Pro 160 (or 400 with some 35mm rolls). I also shoot Kodak Portra 160 NC (sometimes VC). While I use a Nikon 9000 Scanner I also use the Nikon software and find that I get better results with slide film. If you have any suggestions let me know. I am surprised that you beleive that lens performance is not a limiting factor for DSLRs like the 5DII. I know that if I put a cheap lens on it (e.g. a 35-70 EOS lens that the kids have) the camera shows all of the lens failings. Similarly I suspect that with low contrast targets and at the edge of the frame the lens perfomance limits the final image quality. I do not find that this is the case with the GX 680. If you look at the 5DII sensor you have 156 pixels per mm which is better than the high contrast resolution of most 35mm lenses. To get the equivalent situation on the 78mm wide Fuji negative the lens would only need to resolve 72 lines per mm. Am I miss understanding you or are you suggesting that lens resolution is not a limiting factor for a dense DSLR sensor.
     
  9. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    There's room for a few more issues in this one.
    • Those people volunteering their experience seem to have used the Coolscan 9000 for scanning film. Now I accept that this is a decent scanner- in fact I used to own one- but I do wonder whether this is the best way- and not just a good affordable way- to present the film half of this assessment to its best advantage. Would the conclusions be similar using drum scans for example?
    • There is a great deal of this comparison that needs to be considered subjectively. Certainly in most people's hands there is very often a difference in look between film and digital. You can't quantify everything.
    • My own experience tells me that there are certain types of photograph that are much easier to get with a digital slr than with medium format film. Given the choice between a decent image and potentially no image or a poor image on film I'll take the former. Equally the reverse is of course true and certainly when I look at fall foliage photographs with a lot of tiny detail I much prefer those made on film to those made on digital. So what sort of photgraphy you want to do and how will influence the answer.
    • Its hard to bracket the different ways of printing from film together. On the one hand I still, like others here, prefer the look and feel of a traditionally printed b&w photograph. But with colour, I strongly prefer the scan and print route over a traditional enlargement in terms of the size I can get, the sharpness and detail at larger sizes, and the controlability/repeatability of the process.
    • Its also hard to suppose that all prosumer and above DSLRs are the same and that all MF film is the same. The answer to your question might be very different comparing a Holga or Seagull's output on a fast film to a top of pro-line Nikon or Canon than you'd get from comparing say a Fuji 6x8 using Velvia with a 30D or similar.
    So if the OP was hoping for a nice clear-cut answer - 20 plays 18 maybe- then he is going to be sorely disappointed.
     
  10. David - your assessment is spot on and matches my own. to me one of the big advantages of MF is that it makes you slow down and think more. I know that you can do the same with a DSLR but somehow you tend not too. While a drum scanner produces slightly better results than the Nikon 9000 from the few professional scans I have had done I found the differences small and not worth the extra cost (for me a 6x8 Imacon scan costs $70 CDN after tax). If you are only planning to buy a single camera system than a full frame DSLR is probably the best and most versatile option. I shoot a range of systems from rangefinders via micro 4/3 to SLRs (digital and Film but all full frame) through Mamiya 645 to Fuji 6x8. At some point I will probably add Large Format just for completeness. I was answering the question from my perspective where a big MF camera system will still just beat a high end DSLR (Canon even suggests that the 5DII has their best sensor - although I imagine the Nikon D3x is better and the replacement for the 1DsIII will be better). That said I take a 35mm system out the most often and Digital is now at least half of my outings with a camera. The Fuji and to a lesser extent the Mamiya are special event cameras - the things you take for a dawn shoot for example - they are not general purpose. It should also be remembered that to get the results from MF film is a much more time consuming process than downloading a card. I still love to shoot film (I think part of it is waiting to see the results) but for most practical uses (LF Landscapes aside and B&W aside) you can get very similar results much faster with a top DSLR.
     
  11. I think it is not particularly useful to criticize a hybrid digital and "analog" print process. The question wasn't about a digital vs. negative/tran to print, it was about the image quality. The problem comparing an all-analog print to one from a digital source is that it introduces too many variables and a comparison between image quality is not really relevent. There is a lot of speculation about the difference between formats, and that's why we decided to determine the difference on our own. It was pretty clear to us.
     
  12. Philip,
    A quick, incomplete reply for now: the 5D II produces an output that would equate to 156 P/mm.
    But that doesn't translate to a physical resolution of 78 lp/mm (which actually is a low figure) because of Bayer patterns and dumbing down filters (a.k.a. anti-aliassing filters).
    Don't worry about lenses. ;-)
     
  13. Regarding Cibachrome-it's still being made under the name Ilfochrome and there are people printing it commercially.
     
  14. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    I think it is not particularly useful to criticize a hybrid digital and "analog" print process. The question wasn't about a digital vs. negative/tran to print, it was about the image quality.​
    I don't think thats true. I think the OP's question is about print quality and that the quality of the original image is but a part of this. Therefore it is not only reasonable but essntial to take into account the complex interaction of variables that produce prints. It is entirely possible that what starts off as the best original image makes a poor print if sub-optimal decisions are made about what processes are used to print and if necessary scan. There's much more to this question than lp/mm, though of course that is part of it.
    Speaking of which, Philip's point on scanners. My own subjective impression was that I'm happy making prints of say 18" sq from a Coolscan but that for a larger size (which the OP specifies) then I'd be a little happier with a scan from an Imacon or a drum scan than from the Nikon. I won't be providing "evidence" since that view is subjective, but its frankly helped by the fact that I can get cleaned16 bit Imacon scans from 6x6 for the equivalent of $10/11 USA. But the real tester to me is the 36" sq. prints I've got here from 6x6 originals, via drum scan and Chromira, that are viewable from arms length. I couldn't get that with analogue printing from transparencies, Ilfochrome or otherwise. And I wouldn't get it unless all the elements - the original transparency, the scanning method and technique, and the printing machine and its management , were working well.
     
  15. "However, as the price of high-end DSLR going down, I have the intention to buy one like Philips's to replace my MF, not only benefits of ease of use, save processing time and cost"
    When you see how much time and money people "invest" every couple of years into the latest RAW processing software, you might reconsider which is the most cost/time effective between MF and digital! As someone who uses MF and has shot consumer DSLR for years now, I can say that neither is easier to use than the other. With MF you even have some usability advantages, like not having to stand gawping at the back of your camera while things are happening in front of you for a start. Its a common myth to say that digital is easier to use. Its easier to use carelessley, and easier to produce hundreds of frames of crap, but not easier to produce genuinely good results.
     
  16. I shoot a 5D mk1 and Mamiya RZ67 and scan with a coolscan 9000 and have printed from both. I find prints over 40x30cm clearly look better with MF. When you have the time and image quality is a top issue I think MF is a good choice. If large size is not a factor then 35mm is still worth shooting, and the look feel and quality is also tops at smaller sizes. But ISO on digital cameras adds a factor to speed and low light situations that is worth having.
     
  17. I measured the resolution given by my Epson V700 flatbed scanner, it is about 45 line-pairs per millimeter.The 645 negatives are 42 mm high so comparing with a full frame DSLR 24 mm high this corresponds to 45x(42/24) = 78 lppm for full frame DSLR.
    This is the same as quoted above for the 5D11 so on paper at least it appears that even the more modestly priced V700 flatbed scanner working on 645 film should compare with a full frame DSLR.
    I never actually did this comparison so there may be other factors I missed.
     
  18. I find that 645 is very similar to the 5DII here are two samples
    00TnER-149245684.jpg
     
  19. Here is the m645 / Nikon 9000 - this is actually scanned at 2800dpi but 4000 dpi makes little diference
    00TnES-149247584.jpg
     
  20. Now crops from GX680 and 5DII - same scene
    00TnEb-149249684.jpg
     
  21. 5 DII for reference
    00TnEg-149251584.jpg
     
  22. Remenber these are very large enlargements - the GX680 is sized for 40"x30" and on my screen shows at a size that would be 100" by 72" - ie a 50 square foot print.
     
  23. Philip, one of the reasons we did our tests with actual prints between a Mamiya 645 and D3 was because viewing screen resolution is a futile exercise when your intent is to make a print. A monitor is never going to look the same as a print.
     
  24. "A monitor is never going to look the same as a print"
    I fully agree and this thread obviously is not an apples to apples comparison. In the end however, the common element here is the post processing to get to that printed final piece. To answer the question of WS HO, there are many discussions in the Digital Darkroom section of PN
     
  25. The limiting factor is the scanner.
    Inherently, film has a wider color gamut and sharper resolution than a FF sensor. The color advantage is obvious when you're doing a wet-print.
    I've only scanned on my Epson V700 at home and the Nikon 9000 at school. The V700 doesn't seem to match digital, although I've never tried a wet-scan. On the 9000 film seems to be the winner. I'm guessing that a Hasselblad scanner blows the digital away.
    The main advantage with slide film is color correction. It took me a long time and a lot of different approaches to get a good color negative scan, but slide film requires little more than a simple color-cast correction, and usually not much of that either.
    For those who are curious, my current negative workflow is:
    VueScan to produce a raw, unconverted scan.
    Assign the generic icc profile that came with my scanner to the scan.
    Convert to positive using ColorNeg.
    Convert to Lab and adjust luminance curve.
     
  26. It is true that it is easier to recognize colour problems, if you can compare a scan to a slide.
    But it is not too hard to get the hang of colour correcting in post-scanning processing software, like PS. On a well adjusted monitor, it is not hard to recognize colour problems. If in doubt, the colour picker tool and the info palet help.
    My 'workflow' is simple: Scan using the original Nikon software. With as little correction as possible (usually only a bit to the tone scale/histogram). Then transfer processing to PS and do all the necessary tweaking there.
     
  27. In Mar 2009 I attended a Santa Fe Photography Workshop. One of the participants showed about a hundred images he had shot on Kodak Portra VC film with a Mamiya 6 camera. The prints were on Epson Fine Art Velvet. I've been making and looking a photographs since 1965 and his prints were the most technical superb and aesthetically beautiful color images I've ever seen. Simply breathtaking with a color palette unlike anything I've seen from digital capture devices. He used Nikon 9000 scanner. I shoot with a Nikon d300 and print with an Epson 2400 for most of my work. I'm still wedded to my Leica m7 and b/w film but his work is simply exceptional.
     
  28. OTHER FACTORS:
    I just finished chatting with the salesmen at a local store about a digital option to use my Hasselblad lenses and we compared MF to the D3X and other options.
    IMHO:
    - lens quality for dslrs is definitely a factor. Nikon and Canon slr primes just can't compare to the MF and LF lenses like a Planar, Xenotar or Apos.
    - Scanning a 6 x 6 piece of film at 4000dpi produces a file at least about four times the equivalent of a 12mp dslr, so one would expect a better result.
    - Sensor filters: the dslr's sensor filter will always soften the image. Not an issue with film.
    The biggest advantage of digital is RIGHT NOW. As for cost, I'd say it is cheaper with film, especially in the long run. There is so much depreciation with digital equipment that you pay a fortune for the priviledge.
    The state of things is very frustrating right now. Too much crap is being produced, too easily and it is watering down our sense of good imagery.
     
  29. With respect to all writing here, this digital-vs-film struggle in all its variations is simply tired and old. There is really nothing new or useful that could possibly be said about it.

    Do we have nothing better to discuss?
     
  30. May I suggest, Michael, that you find another thread to attend to if this one is not of interest to you. I don't see how the OP is making this a film vs. digital debate. Perhaps he is really interested in how to get the best quality print. If it is a debate, it is only because you are making it one.
    I do fine art prints and have been struggling to balance quality, cost, future technology, etc. I have not found a way to produce a larger size print with straight digital, than with medium and large format film. I have no trouble with a hybrid system. I've tried just about every level scanner. Canon and Nikon DSLR. Hasselblad H series. And I use Hasselblad V and Sinar 4x5. I have a number of Epson and Canon scanners. I send out drum scans. All I'm trying to do is find the best mix of film and digital, because I can't get the size print I need from current digital cameras.
    My current workflow is MF and LF film -> drum scan -> PhotoShop -> Print. It is expensive, but after just 35 years of doing enlargements, I'm not good enough to do all the print dodging and burning with an enlarger, that I can do in PhotoShop.
    That means I need digital conversion somewhere along the way. I have also tried film scan -> silver gelatin print, and not totally happy. So I'm now working with converting film -> hi-rez larger format film -> silver gelatin or color prints. This is hardly the realm of a digital vs. film debate, but a dialog about how to get the best print. This is not what the OP asked, but it IS relevant to many of us wanting to produce the highest quality fine art prints. For all those who try to make this a digital vs. film debate, all I can say is I KNOW I can't get the size prints I need, and quality, with any existing DSLR--yet. And that is what the OP asked.
     
  31. Q. G. If you read what I said more carefully, you'll see that I was referring to the realm above 400 ISO where a Full-frame DSLR will easily beat MF film, and I don't think anyone will argue with that. The noise from current DSLRs in the 800 to 1600 ISO region is negligible, whereas colour film is horrendously grainy above 400 ISO and isn't even available in a true 1600 ISO sensitivity. There's also no reciprocity effect or colour-shift with a DSLR at long exposure times.
    What I definitely didn't say was that a DSLR is better than MF film in all respects.
     
  32. I have compared 6X6 slides shot with a Hasselblad V system and scanned with an Imacon 848 at 3200 ppi with digital files from my Nikon D700 and, in terms of resolution, MF slides are clearly superior (in both prints and pixel-peeping at 100% magnification on screen). If you are interested, details can be found here.
     
  33. Michael, I agree that when printed you get (to my eye) more appealing photographs from the MF scan than from the DSLR. I think the main difference is not resolution but the colour, contrast etc... of the print. The DSLR is probably a more accurate representation of events but the scanned film shows it more like you saw it. I guess that is why when we see a rainbow it can be quite dramatic but when we photograph it the colours are less stunning. I obviously had to post digital images as I cannot post prints. On the subject of colour two thing I notice are:
    If you scan Kodachrome (a film I have rarely use) I notice that you get discreet lines in the histogram - while the pictures look fine I wonder if this is due to it being 3 monochrome layer with filters. Has anyone else noticed this.
    When you look at a slide on a light table through a loupe you get a real sense of three dimensions but you can never capture this when you scan or print. Again any thoughts
    For what it is worth I shoot both digital and film and recognize both have their strong points and weaknesses. I also agree that digital cameras (and the ubiquitous zoom) lead to lazy photographers and lots of uninspired images - I often get comments when I lug a camera (system) up a mountain and take few or no photographs as the light is poor.
     
  34. What would be the difference? It depends on many factors.
    (1) Lens quality. Modern DSLR lenses can be extremely sharp if you own a good sample. Most MF lens systems were designed 10, 20, or 30 years ago.
    (2) Image stabilization/Vibration reduction technology. Not available on MF or LF cameras.
    (3) The film used.
    (4) The scanner used.
    (5) Camera stability. Some MF systems kick like a mule, while others have smooth leaf shutters that create less vibration than a DSLR's shutter, even with mirror lockup. Most DSLR's also have shutter delay modes to reduce vibration even further.
    (6) Mounting systems. Tripod, head, and custom quick-release plates. There's enormous variation here regardless of the camera system used.
    (7) Exposure latitude - DSLR's have more latitude than slide film, but print film has even more. This can make or break a high-contrast shot.
    (8) Pixel noise and High ISO noise reduction. Either can degrade digital photo quality. But then, so can film grain, and the film world has no answer for D3/D700 high ISO performance.
    (9) Dust. In the real world, dust mars BOTH film and digital images.
    (10) Wind.
    (11) Exposure and focus technique. In the final analysis, the photographer's technique and experience matter a great deal.
    (12) Post-processing/darkroom technique.
    (13) Digital printer setup.
    (14) Quality of paper, enlargement lenses, etc.
    (15) Depth of field with respect to film/sensor size. (Bigger isn't always better).
    (16) Diffraction with respect to film/sensor/pixel size. (Then again, sometimes bigger IS better).
    (17) Aperture and shutter speed. (Remember them? The classics. Like Leonardo and Michelango.)
    (18) Lens cleanliness.
    (19) Sharpening. (The mysterious "voodoo" process that often gets overlooked in digital vs. film comparisons.)
    That's a lot of factors, and I'll bet you can think of even more. No wonder this is a difficult topic.
    This is a Medium Format forum. It's not surprising to see claims such as "645 is just as good and 6x7 would be way better." On a Canon or Nikon forum, you'd hear the opposite claim. Who's right? Probably everyone is to some degree.
    I've seen 35mm film photos that are sharper than images taken by large format cameras. The grain is far worse, but actual lens sharpness can be much better. Stick your nose into some of Galen Rowell's best prints and prepare to be amazed.
    I've seen DSLR photos (mostly shot on Canon, even though I'm a Nikon guy) that blow away any MF image that I've ever seen. And of course I've seen plenty of DSRL photos that don't compare to lowly 35mm film when shot and processed properly.
    I have images that I've taken with a Pentax 67 II that rival or surpass the quality of photos that I've taken with a 4x5 camera. And I have 4x5 stuff that blows everything else away.
    There are SO many factors that it's all but impossible to make a serious claim that "Format X beats Format Y," at least consistently. What can you do? Learn how to get the best from your equipment and use the best tool for the job. Low light? Difficult light? Hand-holding a must? Use a full frame DSLR. Bird or wildlife photography? Use a crop frame DSLR. Great light and room to set up a solid tripod? Medium format film. Need movements and not likely to be disturbed while you fine-tune your focus for up to ten minutes? Large format. Ultra-light and discrete? 35mm rangefinder. B&W contact prints? LF or ULF. Huge prints for advertising banners? MF digital backs.
    Here's the GREAT news! We have CHOICES! More than ever before!
     
  35. "I've seen 35mm film photos that are sharper than images taken by large format cameras. The grain is far worse, but actual lens sharpness can be much better. Stick your nose into some of Galen Rowell's best prints and prepare to be amazed."
    Galen only shot with the same nikon lenses and bodies as everyone else. His shots with his 24mm on a manual focus body on a tripod at f/16, correctly focussed, will be no sharper than anyone else using correct technique. The difference is that all his prints are produced from drumscans, and then all worked on in photoshop by professionals to do things like smoothing out the film grain in areas of sky etc (you can read about this in his Inner Game book) and worked on to produce the best prints, by trained professionals on professional kit rather than hobbyists at home. Most of us don't have recource to these kind of facilities so our 35mm work won't look at good. I'm sure Galen's 35mm prints will still knock most DSLRs out of the water for this very reason. If you apply the same crumscaning and workflow to MR of LF film shots, then you'd need a hell of a lot of digital pixels to compete.
     
  36. Comparing a high-end 12 mpix full frame DSLR (Nikon D3) and a Hasselblad with a good ISO 100 film and a Coolscan 9000, I found that the MF film had better detail in a 16x20" print.
    But this is sort of an intellectual exercise. What matters is what do you want to accomplish with a camera and how you visualize the end result to be. A 8x10" from the said 12 mpix DSLR is easily good enough for 99% of people. Both 16x20" prints looked, without a side by side comparison, the DSLR would almost certainly have passed as a remarkable print. Still I often end up using a Hasselblad since it does what I want. A 35 mm doesn't provide the same look in close ups as a 6x6.
     
  37. The difference is that all his prints are produced from drumscans, and then all worked on in photoshop by professionals. Most of us don't have recource to these kind of facilities so our 35mm work won't look at good.​
    Toward the end of his career, that's true. I've seen his traditional prints, too. But this same technology is available to anyone today at top labs around the country.
    I'm sure Galen's 35mm prints will still knock most DSLRs out of the water for this very reason.​
    I don't think anyone's 35mm prints compare to 20 megapixel digital images in terms of detail, but film has a magic all its own. When the right film meets the right light in the right amount, it's difficult to replicate the effect with any amount of digital technology, resolution and bicubic algorithms, notwithstanding.
    If you apply the same drumscaning and workflow to MR of LF film shots, then you'd need a hell of a lot of digital pixels to compete.​
    Again, it depends on many factors. For instance, optics can be a limiting factor. How many MF and LF lenses can compare to the optical quality of the best modern DSLR lenses? There's a reason why Schneider and Rodenstock have developed new lenses specifically for use with digital backs. The old ones that we use for film photography don't provide enough resolution.
     
  38. "How many MF and LF lenses can compare to the optical quality of the best modern DSLR lenses? There's a reason why Schneider and Rodenstock have developed new lenses specifically for use with digital backs. The old ones that we use for film photography don't provide enough resolution."
    Digido Myth # 237 rears its head again.
    The answer to the first bit is "All of them".
    The reason behind the second bit is money. Your money. They wanted it.
    And you probably gave it to them, even though there is nothing wrong with the lenses you already had.
    The old ones provide more than enough resolution. In fact too much.
    Why is it that digifolk forget about dumbing down filters found in all but the most expensive (think MF digiback) digital capture devices? And about the Bayer (or other) pattern as well?

    'Old' lenses are too good for digital. Even the not so good ones.
    What's more, there is nothing special about the new lenses.
    The only thing we have seen change lately is that brute force computer power has led to more intricate IF designs, making AF a bit easier and faster.
    And though the correction of these variable lenses can be quite good, very many have problems keeping up with the old fashioned ones. Luckily, many old designs have made the transition to the Digido without problem too.
    The "specially made for digital" thing is a marketing ploy. Just like "light" on food. Or the "turbo" thingy that everything once was said to be, even chewing gum.
    It never fails to work.
    What Myth is next?
    ;-)
     
  39. "I don't think anyone's 35mm prints compare to 20 megapixel digital images in terms of detail"
    Oh, silly me! There is the next Myth already!
     
  40. "How many MF and LF lenses can compare to the optical quality of the best modern DSLR lenses?"
    The differences are pretty negligable at the type of apertures frequently used for landscape shots, i.e. f/11-f/22. Certainly by f/22 almost all lenses are operating at or near diffraction limited results, generally around 60lpm regardless of the format. On top of that, i'm sure lenses like for the mamiya rangefinders can give any 35mm/digital lens a run for their money even wide open.
     
  41. I think it is laughably absurd that 'we' are comparing 6x6 to 2.4x3.6, and rejoicing that MF is better... :)
     
  42. "How many MF and LF lenses can compare to the optical quality of the best modern DSLR lenses? There's a reason why Schneider and Rodenstock have developed new lenses specifically for use with digital backs. The old ones that we use for film photography don't provide enough resolution."
    Digido Myth # 237 rears its head again.
    The answer to the first bit is "All of them".
    The reason behind the second bit is money. Your money. They wanted it.
    And you probably gave it to them, even though there is nothing wrong with the lenses you already had.
    The old ones provide more than enough resolution. In fact too much.
    Why is it that digifolk forget about dumbing down filters found in all but the most expensive (think MF digiback) digital capture devices? And about the Bayer (or other) pattern as well?

    'Old' lenses are too good for digital. Even the not so good ones.
    What's more, there is nothing special about the new lenses.
    The only thing we have seen change lately is that brute force computer power has led to more intricate IF designs, making AF a bit easier and faster.
    And though the correction of these variable lenses can be quite good, very many have problems keeping up with the old fashioned ones. Luckily, many old designs have made the transition to the Digido without problem too.
    The "specially made for digital" thing is a marketing ploy. Just like "light" on food. Or the "turbo" thingy that everything once was said to be, even chewing gum.
    It never fails to work.
    What Myth is next?​
    Wow, that's quite the analysis there, Q. G.! :)
    For the record, I'm only part "digifolk." I shoot MF and LF film - Velvia 50 and Velvia 100 mostly, sensitive, high contrast, notoriously difficult to expose emulsions. I even know how to meter for film without the benefit of a histogram or an LCD screen. ;-) But I shoot with a D700, too, so an admitted digihead I am! Every tool has its strengths and weaknesses.
    Since I have a foot fimly planted on both sides of the digital/film fence, I think I'm in a good position to be objective. If you'd prefer to think of my comments as "myths," that's fine, but maybe you can explain what benefit I derive from perpetuating "myths" about the quality of digital gear since I've invested more in FILM gear over the years than digital gizmos.
    No, I haven't spend my money on Schneider or Rodenstock digital lenses. (Sorry, German engineers!) I can't afford a D3x, let alone a P65+. Not that I wouldn't love to HAVE one of EACH!
    "'Old' lenses are too good for digital. Even the not so good ones."
    And I'm too good for Jennifer Aniston. Please tell her to stop calling me. :-D
    Do you OWN any of the new lenses? Have you used them? Were your results disappointing?
     
  43. I am hanging my head in shame since I won't "upgrade" from my Hasselblad 500 C/M and my CF lenses. I can't even fathom "upgrading" my Omega D-2V and cold light head and Schneider 80mm elarging lens. Since my equipment is so far down in quality from the new schnazzy Degutul "full frame" cameras. Gosh, maybe I will just order some film, paper and chemisty from Freestyle on Monday.
     
  44. Dan,
    That would make you perhaps the person to explain to us why it would not be a myth.
    So give it a shot!
    It also raises eyebrows about how discerning you might be. ;-)
    But yes, digital does not put demands on lenses.
    There is that thingy about sensor pit wells being too deep, so the exit pupil of a lens must not be too close, to avoid 'shading'.
    But apart from that, none at all.
    In fact (and that is the 'objective truth'), most 'old' lenses, even the not so good ones, are too good.
    What can we do? That's just how it is.
    A pain, isn't it? ;-)
     
  45. No problem! Just post a couple of the images that you've captured with Rodenstock digital lenses and/or Phase One backs and tell us why you think they're crappy. We'll be happy to critique them for you!
    :-D
     
  46. Sure there is a problem.
    You seem to be rather confused about the issue.
    Now tell us what special demands digital puts on lenses and their performance, and why that should be.
    If you like posting things, post a few of your images shot with "digital" and non-"digital" lenses, and point out why you think the non-"digital" lenses are not good.
     
  47. My answer is a little more low tech, but it is the reason I still use film: processing. When I run my pictures through film processing, I get effects quickly that I understand in a reasonable amount of time. Then, once scanned, whether slide or print, I also have the next layer of digital editing options available to me.
    I suppose I could find a way to edit the pictures in digital so that they could mimic my film processing; but, it is just easier for me to do, to understand, and to edit the final image if I just change the chemistry along the way to meet my needs for that subject.
    I don't know much about the engineering specs; but, I haven't seen a good way around developer changes with digital-only processing. This is kind of a lowball answer, but it's what I do. I use the digital processes to share a copy of what the film has done. Or, use digital only to make a digital only picture. My process methods look different, and are not a perfect match. The contrast adjustment between developer changes and the contrast slider on the digital image file is not quite the same for me. There is a difference in the exclusions.
    Many of the comparisons I have seen are based on the idea of trying to match what is included. The methods for recording are a different set of logic processes, so I don't quite buy it; it's apples and oranges; with, "by degrees cutting into film" on one side and "collections of pass or fail" on the other. A lot of my pictures are based on exclusion. Unifying by tone can help. The technology that tries to present many different tones may not match; I find myself putting traditional contrast filters before the lens still for this reason, when I make a black and white photo in digital. At least then the optical filter works in a way that I better understand; I believe the intensity of the filter unifies the picture a little more, and knocks down the over-sensitivity or width of the range per tone. I suspect that a big part of this lies with how I work with the equipment, and may not have a scientific result.
    A full range and many tones are not always helping me. Many times, I find I need to simplify. With film at hand, I have a method for that which I readily understand. The digital monochromes look like different pictures to me, when done all-digital.
    I understand in my mind the difference between D-23, D-76, and my homemade developers, and their combinations through papers and VC filtration against Dektol and homemade developers. I can work the sliders some, but they go left to right. Exposure, film, developer, exposure, developer, and then scan if I want. I understand this. Digital only, all the way through, is good, but it yields a different set of editing answers in the final image.
    Editing controls. It's a lowball answer, but that's what I do. I prefer the film-based exposures first. The digital files are helpful because of computers; not because of the picture quality. I feel the film has a superior picture quality for the way I use it. If there are no exclusions, if everything is sharp, if every aspect is done to maximum perfection, you won't be able to tell what's in the picture. It will be like a photo of a squirrel in a tree made from 50 feet away with a normal lens. Too crowded with details to see what it is a picture of. I made many of these errors when I was younger. Exclusion, editing and simplicity in the final image, and picture structural qualities like durability, drive my preference for film.
    You can always scan it in and get what everyone else uses.
     
  48. Film is like a detailed form of illustration by hand, with greater accuracy to shape, greater control over tone and greater speed to final printing. Digital technologies are driving to meet the eyeball; the world doesn't look that good to begin with.
    Editing, exclusion, simplicity, unification to present the idea are all easier with the film as the base for initial recording. Other people can work another way, and that's fine with me; but, this how I respond to it.
     
  49. Hi?
    I recently had a 6 by 17 slide (Velvia) printed to 7 ft long. It was scanned with an Imacon and then printed on a Lambda printer.
    The amount of detail is stunning.
    Here's a JPEG:
    00Tqnw-151401584.jpg
     
  50. Color rendition is another consideration. Under certain conditions, negative film clearly trumps digital. Take a look at exhibit 1 here .
     

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