(When) Will 35mm DSLR Exceed MF Film Image Quality?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by rafall, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. I realise that this topic has been touched on repeatedly since the forum has started but as 2010 is around the corner it is the customary time for predicting the future. I wondered what members thought about the next few years of the best in 35mm DSLR image quality with respect to prints, say up to 30x40" in size viewed on a home or office wall, as compared to what can be achieved from a 6x6 or so traditionally enlarged or scanned (is that 81MP?) and digitially printed film.
    Personally, I am slightly more interested in the B&W angle, but color is also of great interest to me.
    Happy New Year,
    Rafal
     
  2. Alas, the laws of physics don't line up well behind quality results from that much information collected on a sensor that small (35mm). Not without making some serious compromises (and asking a lot of lenses - which already show their flaws at a fraction of that resolution when projecting an image circle in that format).

    A well exposed, carefully made image from something like a D3x is going to look beautiful at 30x40 in any sort of rational viewing situation. If you can't make a satisfying print using that rig, then it's very possible that moving to medium format will just present the same technique problems in even more glorious detail.
     
  3. I have made 30X40 prints from my Hasselblad 100 ASA film and the same type and size photo with my Fuji S5. I think the 30x40's are identical in quality and detail. So from what I have enlarged, the "35mm" is equal to 120 film in photo quality. Now with that said, I have also used the medium format ditigal, a Hasselblad, and enlarging an image from that camera blows away the "35mm SLR". The larger chip in the medium format has so much better detail and dynamic range that you just can't compare the 2 formats. Truly an amazing difference.
     
  4. If you're talking about scanned film, then yes, a Nikon LS9000 scanning a 6x6 frame gives you 81 MP (and yes you can get film and lenses that do give you that much detail), which is 225 PPI at 40x40, and nothing in 36x24mm can compete with that. (Of course, you also can't see that much detail unless you stick your face in the print, so for most viewing it's not going to make a heck of a lot of difference.)
    To get that much information on a digital sensor of that size, and in a useful manner (getting the same per-pixel performance as a 12 MP camera instead of just jacking up the MP numbers like P&S camera makers do) will probably happen in the unforeseeable future but it's going to take a lot of technological advancement. I wouldn't put it in the "next few years" timeframe. For the highest amount of detail, get out your MF camera and get some good B&W film of your choice and have at it.
    Since you're interested in B&W, one thing I keep hearing for the next-year-or-two timeframe is a B&W version of the Nikon D90 which will eliminate the Bayer grid and with it the need for an AA filter and therefore be incredibly sharp - and I'm a huge fan of the D90 - but it still won't have the detail of MF film.
     
  5. To answer a question like this, you really need to very carefully and elaborately define "quality". I think this isn't even possible to do in such a manner that everyone agrees on the conclusions. Ultimately, you need to try both in your workflow with your destination and compare for yourself.
    The easy conclusion that digital has surpassed MF with X MP is not all that interesting. Digital falls apart when enlarged too much (I have seen this effect in a print measuring 2x1,5m and costing more than 25000 Euro), whereas film degrades gracefully. Film also has a nicer shoulder when over-exposed, whereas digital can blow out in very unattractive ways. On the other hand, noise/grain sets in much earlier with film.
    I do shoot both, and primarily digital, in fact, but I am very aware of the strengths of each, and trying to make conclusions about "better" or "quality" is impossible on a general level. It is a personal preference.
     
  6. The better dslr cameras have already surpassed many of the medium format film cameras. It depends on the particular lenses and cameras.
     
  7. DigitalPhotoPro Magazine wrote a recent article on this very topic. Of the professional photographers they interviewed, the consensus was that a quality DSLR such as the Canon EOS1 series, or the Nikon D3 have already encroached upon the territory once dominated by MF. It becomes more of an issue of economics in the decision to stay with a MF camera, even a MF using digital backs.
    The MF camera makers are losing ground in the R&D area when it comes to the inroads made with sensor technology accomplished by Canon & Nikon. The argument goes that economies of scale are just not their with MF digital cameras. Consumers, both Professional and Amateur are gravitating to DSLR's for that reason.
    Most likely, within the next couple of years, Pro-level DSLR's will have closed the gap significantly.
     
  8. The answer, is that in most cases DSLR technology is already there. The photographers that I have heard about switching back to film have done so because of workflow/business issues or they wanted a particular "look" that they already knew how to get from film. There is also a reverse marketing tool here. Using film makes a wedding/portrait photographer stand out the same way that a digital photographer did years ago.
     
  9. My fully functional $50 Rolleiflex Automat (6x6, 1938) and $180 Agfa Billy Record II (6x9, 1952) make the question academic. The quality available in ancient and cheap MF is so excellent that a multi-thousand dollar digital system that just might be roughly equal is uninteresting.
    Volume of pictures matters, size of enlargement matters, the "feel" of the medium matters, the joy of the gear matters, etc. I work in technology, and the last thing I want to do with my hobby is turn it into another technological twiddle. To each, his own, though.
    When a DSLR can reliably beat MF Velvia, cost <$500, and use my Nikon AIs prime lenses, then I'll jump.
    In the mean time, I love film, and I love my old, excellent cameras.
     
  10. Rafal, there's no such thing as 'exceed MF film image quality'. It's an unquantifiable expression. So I suspect you're asking two questions:
    1. When will digital have more resolving power than MF film?
    The answer is whenever digital files can capture more pixels than can be digitised from film in scanning. Not sure when that will be, as it depends on whether anyone invests further in scanning technology. But at the moment, I can get files roughly three times the size from 6x7 format on 120 film than I can from a 24 Mp sensor.
    2. When will digital look similar or better than MF film?
    The answer is it depends on what you mean by 'better'. If you appreciate the look of film then the answer is never. Digital can never be an analog process by definition, hence will never look the same.
     
  11. Let me add another data point to Neil's post: scanning on a quite affordable Epson V750, I can get 25MP from 645-sized Adox CHS 25, a very fine-grained B&W film. Increasing the scanning resolution beyond that, I do not see any improvement.
     
  12. Nope, no deep pondering on this. I've already compartmentalized this the same as everything else in my photography. My black and white is very traditionally handled on the Hasselblads and FP4, with some occassional color neg work and everything else is handled modestly on the D200s with good prime lenses and lower ISO speeds 100-400. Occassionally 800ISO with NR on max. My only future addition will be a full frame D700 or whatever model is best when I'm ready to drop the $$. I think some of the results are already pretty close for color neg vs digi with the full frames but the black and white digi does nothing for me, I don't like it. Just my opinion of course, but certainly no sleep lost over this stuff, just whatever tool I feel like using for what.
     
  13. As I have stated on another post, I regard face detail of a large group (75 plus) as a pretty good benchmark of quality.
    A shot of a baby sitting in a field of blue bonnets can be enlarged quite a lot no matter what the original. When I worked in advertising (not as a photographer), guys were blowing early 3mp point and shoot digital up to poster size and declaring it "as good as film". Kind of "declare victory and go home."
    It should also be remembered that films are constantly being improved, though maybe that's slacked off.
     
  14. It might be worth reading the article in Digital Photo Pro www.digitalphotopro.com, since all of the photographers interviewed use both film and digital, full-frame cameras and medium format.
    Bottom-line: Noise at high ISO is an issue of concern. At certain size enlargement FF digital vs Mf, there is no discernable difference in image quality. It comes down to what the client wants.
     
  15. When I looked at Erwin Puts comparisons from from a Leica M6 with a very finegrain B&W film and a Canon 5D, and recently with a Leica M9 digital (18 Mpix with no AA-filter), its clear that there is stil a very long way for digital to catch up. I dont think it is possible for a 24x36 mm Bayer sensor to ever compete with the best B&W films at larger film sizes if the best MF lenses are used.
    I think the future for high end 24x36 digital sooner or later will be to capture all RGB colors in each and every pixel location. Sigma are using that technology with small ( 1,7 x crop factor) 4,7 Mpix sensors. Despite some problems, is the result remarkable. I am confident that the large chipmakers are looking at this kind of evolution but I think it will take more than a few years before any will launch a three layer RGB sensor. Maybe Sigma/Foveon have something going on.
    It is of course easier to make a B&W sensor. Kodak did make one some years ago. If I remember right it was a 6 Mpix sensor with a quite high crop factor.
     
  16. I go with Brad's post above. Ok, you can chase the ultimate in digital quality, but there is a huge gulf opening up in the cost of pro-level quality digital cameras (both 35mm FF and especially MF digital) and their corresponding lenses with 'consumer' digital offerings and of course with old film cameras and lenses.
    As Brad and others point out, you can still get high quality scanned results from 35mm and MF (and do you want to talk about 5x7 LF and above?).
    A fundamental assumption about the 'digital revolution' is that film, scanning and digital back technology for film cameras are all dying. It may happen, who knows, but despite gloomy forebodings, super sharp new film types (Ektar 100) and better scanning solutions are all happening. This could go either way.
    This thread was about IQ, but if you need convenience of high ISO digital for low light, fast moving reportage, or for client expectation and turnaround times etc, obviously super digital cameras and matching lenses are the answer - at a price.
    But to get top quality images at reasonable cost, digital will take some time to bury our old 6x6 and 6x9 folders, our old 35mm Canon/Leica/Nikon/Olympus lenses, and any of the great MF systems out there, mostly available now at bargain prices. And I have to add, while I love my 5D and its super-zooms for certain times and purposes, the photographic experience can be entirely different if you want it to be when you revert to these classic cameras.
     
  17. "(When) Will 35mm DSLR Exceed MF Film Image Quality?"
    Why- when a 35mm DSLR sensor is BIGGER than MF film!
     
  18. Quality is about the same. How about cost? I have saved (kept) around 7000 exposures with my Nikon d700. That is 583, 120 rolls. At a film and processing cost of $12, that is about $6996. in film costs saved. If my arithmetic is wrong ( I am not good at it) let me know. If it is about right, I have already paid for the camera and all 7 lenses with film savings. Moreover I prefer the freedom of making extra exposures with a digital camera. For me, the real problem with digital is no longer quality or cost, it is about how the pictures are stored. I prefer a large format negative to any other option.
     
  19. Erwin Puts comparison was slanted toward film. He shot high-contrast targets (film measures better at high contrast, not so good with real-world contrast on small details), on a B&W microfilm, and compared to a color digital system.
    -All- of us who have actually compared 35mm color film to 35mm digital think that under almost all conditions, digital captures more detail.
    I will leave the perceived 'beauty' of film's tone/characteristic curve, and color interpretation to the individual photographer, while pointing out that digital can replicate those characteristics given the proper post-production tools and knowledge.
     
  20. The issue of cost is all relative. Maybe someone who shoots a lot of photos can same money in the long run with digital. But, for someone like me, it would take many years for a high dollar digital to same me money over using 120 black and white. And, as I've mentioned many times, comparing digital to 35 film, would put the results in digital's favor. Since only 110 and 16 are smaller than 35. Heck, 828 is bigger than 35!
     
  21. I saw some show on TV about a movie made with a bunch of high-tech stuff; they went on to hypothesize that 3D movies would be the next big thing. Then, there was another article that mentioned living magazines; these were thin electronic films used as paper, but showed video. We're all passe' because we're 2D!
    "I love ya, baby, but you always were two dimensional."
    Right about the time that it's obvious that rich people can make a ton of money with even higher technologies; that'll happen right after 2D DSLR imaging has milked most of the gravy out of the market. When the profit power in that is gone, they'll line up the next technology, and give it to the masses.
    Somewhere in there, maybe real soon, the DSLR will peak out at slightly in excess of what we've been using all along. Then we'll get fed something else to scrabble over. This keeps the steps of the maximum of what we expect ever-increasing, but at a very small overall progress. This way they don't have to break their backs with coming up with something genuinely new. Then, with each new layer of technology distributed, we'll have plenty more expense to justify the newness.
    It maybe a nihilistic view of the marketplace, but it's mine.
    I prefer the films as it is.
     
  22. "All generalizations, with the possible exception of this one, are false." paraphrasing Kurt Godel.
    It's interesting reading all these opinions.
    Reverting to my scientific background, I would suggest that the experimental conditions could greatly affect the outcome of a film vs. digital format.
    First, we have to control variables, so it should be for the same size "sensor" e.g. 24X36 mm or 2-1/4 sq (57.15 mm sq), etc. Digital sensor resolution is the next variable, and while one might think the higher resolution the better, it depends on the light level of the test for noise, so let's use the range of sensors available, 12, 18, 24 MP. Then we get into ISO. With the intrinsic sensitivity of a digital sensor somewhere around ISO 200-400, depending on the pixel size, comparison to a similar film will make for a fair comparison. At lower ISO film shines while digital sensors are working below their normal operating range. So let's repeat the test, at ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800 (I guess we can stop now, unless there is a film I don't know that can go that high.)
    Next, use the same optics, preferably a top quality prime optic at mid F-stop to ensure best performance.
    Take pictures of resolution/dynamic range targets, process images and compare resolution and dynamic range.
    Now we get into another variable that's difficult to control - processing of film/prints and image processing for the digital image. (I'm assuming the film is inspected optically - not scanned, as that adds another set of uncontrolled variables! Since it's a "who's best comparison, I guess anything goes. (I'll come back to this later.)
    Sounds pretty straightforward to me. Why hasn't it been done? I'll bet the labs at the major camera, sensor and film manufacturers do this quite often, but, strangely, I've never seen a controlled comparison. DXO? Kodak? Canon? Nikon? Fuji? Leitz? Come on, guys, share what you know!
    But let's return to the issue of image processing. A pro is not sending film to the drugstore for processing, even if it's being printed optically, not digitally. Massaging negatives and prints in the darkroom the way we did it 50 years ago (dodging or burning-in, etc. somewhat amateurishly, compared to a Adams or Weston, of course) allowed us to manipulate the print to get better results - often much better. An expert at digital processing, back to the software engineers creating the programs for conversion of raw data from the sensor up to the manipulation in a image processing program (DXO, Photoshop, etc.), resizing using sophisticated digital processing and finally color adjustments, will obviously do a lot to enhance the comparison. I suspect that digital signal processing is as important to digital image quality as is the sensor. Anybody from the industry care to comment?
    So once we do the lab tests - over the full range of digital sensor resolution and film ISO, we'd have a better basis for our opinions.
    But wait, why not also take ten photographers to the same location, use different equipment - film and digital - take the same photo, print big prints the same size and let 100 people view them and judge them subjectively. Sounds like a photo contest to me! Sponsors interested?
    Regards,
    Jim
     
  23. unfortunately when these magazines/websites reveiw film vs digital, they can only measure to a given standard such as resolution. for black and white work, you'd have to be compltetely ignorant to think that a 35mm digicam could match the 'look' of mf film,. i couldn't give a rats arse if someone wants to count vertical and horizontal pixels, and the sharpness of each one. measure all you like. resolution has nothing to do with a great image, and besides, the only way you can print images from a digicam is digitally.
    only when digital can match the dynamic range of film, especially b&w, should we even start to compare the two. digicam fanboys, come back and try again in a few years.
     
  24. When?
    Approximately 2006, i.e. when Canon released the 1Ds MkIII.
     
  25. There we have it.
    Complex and carefull considerations are brushed aside as if of no value at all, and the thing someone plumped for sometime or another is put up as the difinitive answer.
    For Dan South it was when he in 2006 bought (or began to want to buy) a Canon 1Ds Mk 3.
     
  26. MF is a vague term but I would say the best DSLRs have already caught up with 645 film in terms of resolution. 67 still has the edge.
    Medium format digital surpassed MF film years ago.
     
  27. The Puts comparison is confused since it compares B/W film exposed with no consideration to dynamic range with a AA-filterless sensor exposed to a pattern smaller than the pixel spacing, and to no one's surprise sees Moire effects in the color image. Turn the color digital image back into black and white, choose a raw development package (Capture One in this case) which goes for detail, don't worry about the noise, and the digital sensor is a clear winner at constant image size, same lens. But I don't think there is much photographic relevance.
    As for me, I've spent a small sub-prime mortgage on Leica M8/9 gear with very pleasing results, and less than the price of one lens on a Hasselblad Xpan and a 500 C/M. I'm having a lot of fun with the Hassies, and I expect as my scanning technique and equipment improves, sometime in 2011, film will surpass digital again.
    scott
     
  28. I have done side-by-side tests tests of 35mm E6 and D3/D700 and - on a purely resolution basis only - the slide film yields clearly higher detail. Digital was better for colour separation and much better for dynamic range. The film was scanned on a Coolscan 9000 and the digital files went through NX2 (the best IQ for NEFs you can get). As I don't own a 1Ds III or a D3X I can only speculate that they equal or surpass 35mm slide film. But there is no way that they can touch well processed/scanned/printed medium format film yet. Give it a few years I would guess.
     
  29. The answer is whenever digital files can capture more pixels than can be digitised from film in scanning.​
    This is one of the most often used arguments in the film vs digital debate. It is a flawed theory. You can keep scanning film at higher resolutions year after year. You can capture as many pixels as you like but all you'll be doing is filling your hard drive faster than before.
    Film is an analogue format and is made up of microscopic particles stuck to a sheet of gelatine. Opinions vary on the optimum scanning resolution but it's usually between 4000 and 8000dpi. At these resolutions you can clearly see the grain of the film. Scan at a higher resolution and all you'll see is larger grain.
    You can only scan film so much. Film does not have a hidden infinite amount of detail that is yet to be discovered. No-one's going to announce in 100 years time that they can scan a frame of film at 1,000,000dpi and discover that your Aunty Eve did indeed have an eyelash in her eye on the day of her silver wedding. If you've already scanned your film on a top class scanner at 4000dpi or 8000dpi then you've got all the detail you're going to get. Film technology is no longer being advanced. The film we have now is the best it's ever going to be.
    So, to summarise, a future 200 megapixel scan of a 35mm negative won't come anywhere near the image quality of today's 60 megapixel MF digital files which is what your theory implies.
    My own personal opinion (and one that will, no doubt, be open to heated debate) is that 35mm film was surpassed years ago and medium format film already has its back against the wall when compared to the latest 35mm DSLRs.
    Which one looks better when printed at 36x24"? That is indeed a matter of opinion. Personally, I much prefer the look of film.
     
  30. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Given the number of people who convince themselves that they can make great large prints from flatbed scans, I'd suggest that for those people, a top of range new dslr will indeed exceed the resolution of MF by the time you make a print.
    A flip example but hopefully one that demonstrates that there is no universal answer and that you really have to understand the needs of your application before forming a view, and that different applications have different answers. IMO it is unwise to base this decision on pixel count alone; as people used to say a lot on here, not all pixels are created equal.
    Further there's more to life than resolution when choosing a camera for a particular task- for example if I really can't use a tripod then I'm going to lean strongly in favour of a dSLR with IS. If I need the ultimate in dynamic range I'm going to value neg film and so on.
    The whole debate is a bit like comparing the bhp of similar cars- might from time to time be important but there are so many more factors that are or should be in play that you don't really expect anyone to decide what to buy with that at the forefront of their mind. The output of photography is almost invariably judged subjectively- you either like that print or you don't, you're moved by someone's work or you don't and so on. Why then do some people find it best to reduce their choices to numbers when in large measure you can use either to make the biggest print you're ever going to want, and either to satisfy the most demanding commercial applications until we get seriously specialised.
     
  31. Lad Lueck , Dec 29, 2009; 10:01 p.m.
    Erwin Puts comparison was slanted toward film. He shot high-contrast targets (film measures better at high contrast, not so good with real-world contrast on small details), on a B&W microfilm, and compared to a color digital system.​
    First, there was more than one film used. Ilford Delta 100 is a conventional B&W film....not a microfilm. Second, high contrast targets are valid. In a finely detailed landscape type scene, texture is recorded as fine microcontrast regions on the film. This is why digital B&W is so much more difficult....the sensors do not have that final bit of detail needed to provide the depth to the image. Finally, as there are only color digital systems, it appears that will always be an excuse.....its no fair, he used B&W film against a color sensor.....apples to oranges. Until they come out with a B&W sensor for you, color is the only option....so it is a completely valid comparison.
     
  32. Such an incredible amount of words and "brain power" wasted on a seemingly infinite number of threads with assertions from both sides.
    Here's the best course: Conduct your own scientific experiment, keeping everything equal (lighting, field of view, etc). Rent or borrow the top digital (D3x? 1Ds3?) and compare to your favorite MF camera. Have a great scan done. Or 2 from different houses (I had 2 large drum scans from 2 different houses made). Post process to get your favorite "look" from each. Compare in the largest size you ever print. Then you are done. No wondering if a poster is prejudiced or presented the results fairly. No wondering if the person doing the tests is reliable or unbiased. And great comfort in the fact that you made the decision for yourself and do not have to revisit it until substantial changes have been made in the "best" camera systems that might change the results. Best of all, you can read threads like this and just smile, not caring who asserts what!
     
  33. I know the topic has been driven into the ground but I still find the discussions very interesting. I think it is something a lot of us are still arguing with ourselves about. I do a lot of amateur architectural shots and I bought a D700 so I could get full focal length out of an older 28mm PC. The 11x14 prints I am getting out of digital certainly rival any 35mm results I was capable of, or even the results I got from 6x7 at 11x14. The ease of use over my 4x5 view camera/darkroom path is also significant. My reality is that 11x14 is as large as I normally print so the D700 is getting a lot of use but the view camera is still there and my path if I want 16x20 and above. The ability to automatically geotag my photos is just icing.
    I think the real question is how soon 6x4.5 digital backs are available at prices affordable to an amateur. This could happen within 18 months and when it does, I’m a little worried that the medium format cameras unable to take auxiliary backs like the Pentax line and the my Mamiya 7 may be expensive doorstops. Hopefully with the large amount of good glass out there someone will make adapters to fit these lenses to something that can hold a digital back.
    Ultimately, nothing beats real estate. With the price of sensors falling, there is nothing stopping manufacturers from making cameras with larger sensors. Certainly 6x7 sensors should be very hand holdable on a camera that looks like an RB or a Mamiya7. Digital’s advantages of instant view ability to confirm you got the shot, flexibility to set scene appropriate ISO and ability to store larger and larger numbers of photos on smaller and smaller devices far outweigh only disadvantage of being a need for battery power (something pros accepted some time ago). Film just doesn’t have any inherent advantages over digital capture. It’s hard to see how film will have very much appeal outside of art and niche advanced amateur circles. I’m sure film will be available for sometime from Kodak or a descendent and some 3rd world countries but the question we’ll be asking ourselves is why use film with it’s chemicals and disadvantages when image quality will be with the digital capture path.
     
  34. *****Re * inespensive digital backs in the future*:

    If one looks *backwards* in the rear view mirror of digital backs history; the tunnel goes back about 1 1/2 decades; and NO back has ever been low in cost. I hate to be abit negative; but I really see no magic bullet that will *magically* make digtal backs cost way less.
    The *wish* for an inexpensive digital back is like the wish of an inexpensive metal lathe or big tractor; it might happen it is is made all in chine with super mature stable technology. Early digital backs for a Hasselblad wer only 32mm square; an early one was a huge 4 megapixels and cost as much as new car.The long term trend as been down in pricing; but I see no infection point with a radical drop coming. The market is dinky.

    ****Re MF versus digtial:

    As for comparing film versus digital; it will go on forever. The topic is almost 2 decades old. Newcomers want an exact answer to justify the purchase of the new toy ! :) The downside of folks wanting an exact answer is that folks equate their 1950's brownie 120 negatives to holding gobs of usefull info; and often a dumb 1200 dpi flatbed is a vast overkill. Most all MF shot in the last 100+ years is by amateurs and most were with simple 1 element lenses.

    If one wants goosed number one can shoot with panatomic-x of tech pan at F11 and have ones rig on a granite block; then have the film drum scanned. The *goal* is to brage to otherss that this super best case negative *holds* XYZ megapixels.:)
     
  35. I think the current DSLRs can equal the quality. But not in a strict one shot comparison test. What if you shoot your MF scene and then take your >20megapixel DSLR and divide that scene up into 5 or 6 separate images that you stitch together?
     
  36. >Early digital backs for a Hasselblad wer only 32mm square; an early one was a huge 4 megapixels and cost as much as new car.
    Now, that 25 Mpix sensor on a SONY costs under $3K. The high Mpix sensor will drop in price when they are mass produced.
    >If one wants goosed number one can shoot with panatomic-x of tech pan at F11 and have ones rig on a granite block; then have the film drum scanned. The *goal* is to brage to otherss that this super best case negative *holds* XYZ megapixels.:)
    Drum scans will give you the resolution but it cannot remove grains without removing resolution. If one likes grains, then by all means use film.
    Additionally, try using film shooting at ISO 6400 and let me know how often those images are publishable. I am sure you will be able to show me one out of 1,000. With the current Nikon D3 or D3S, you will get publishable images most of the time.
    Back to using wet lab to process films and make prints? No ... I can do all these on my desktop with a few clicks. If you enjoy wet lab, go for it; I won't.
    Last question: how many professional photographers are still using film and is able to make a comfortable living? I do not have the actual number but I can certainly bet it is less than 20%. I am almost certain that number is less.
     
  37. Even after saying that digital is already as good as film, I still shoot B&W film and greatly prefer it to B&W conversions for printing. However, it is the PRINTS that love the look and feel of not the negatives.
    As for the savings, when I shot MF film for weddings (RB67) it cost me $1 everytime that I pushed the shutter release on the camera. That was film, processing and proofing. I used to shoot about 300 - 400 images at a wedding. Shooting digital, I get 600 - 1000 images at each wedding with almost no marginal cost at all. So, each wedding costs me about $350 less to shoot. Twenty-five weddings a year . . . $8750 savings for my business. This doesn't even include the fact that I can experiment more and improve my images faster, nor does it include all of the family pictures and other images that take. My D200's also require far less care and maintenance than my RB's.
    The OP asked about 30x40 inch prints hanging on walls: I haven't printe anything quite that large, but I do have many 16x20 prints that I would challenge anyone to tell me if they were printed from film or digital. I also have a 24x30 inch print of my son playing youth football (about age 6). This print is a vertical crop from a hortizontal image taken with my Fuji S2. The S2 was not even set on it's highest resolution. I admit that if you look very closely at some of the helmets and the logos on the side of them, there is a little bit of stairstepping. If I knew then what I know now, I could probably have avioded that. But, you can't come close to seeing it at normal viewing distances.
    The other thing to point out is that if I had taken the same image of my son's football game with my RB, I would have been forced to crop even more in order to produce the same print.
    There are still plenty of reasons to shoot film in all sorts of different situations. But, objective quality is not one of them anymore.
     
  38. Medium format has two things going for it regardless of whether we're talking digital or film:
    - It has a shallower depth of field. This makes it more suitable for portraits.
    - It has better circles of confusion (or whatever it's called). This allows sharper lenses. Or to be more accurate, it takes better advantage of sharp lenses.
    On the other hand, medium format digital will certainly overtake film some day.
     
  39. Medium format has two things going for it regardless of whether we're talking digital or film:
    - It has a shallower depth of field. This makes it more suitable for portraits.​

    If the same lens is used you would be correct. But how many medium format lenses open up to f1.2 or beyond? As far as I'm concerened, the depth of field on MF is actually a disadvantage, especially for landscape photographers. To get front to back sharpness using MF you often have to close the aperture down way beyond its optimal point, thus reducing sharpness by way of diffraction.
     
  40. I have done side-by-side tests tests of 35mm E6 and D3/D700 and - on a purely resolution basis only - the slide film yields clearly higher detail. Digital was better for colour separation and much better for dynamic range. The film was scanned on a Coolscan 9000 and the digital files went through NX2 (the best IQ for NEFs you can get). As I don't own a 1Ds III or a D3X I can only speculate that they equal or surpass 35mm slide film. But there is no way that they can touch well processed/scanned/printed medium format film yet.​
    Let's discuss this a bit.
    First of all, the D3 and D700 aren't the kings of resolution; their strengths lie elsewhere. That said, the D700's output is superior to any 35mm slide that I've ever had professionally drum-scanned, even those captured with the same top-quality f/2.8 Nikon lenses used for the digital capture (lenses were shared on both the D700 and the F100). If you have a different experience, that's great, but I'd love to know your scanning secrets so I can stop paying big bucks for less-sharp-than-digital results. If 35mm film really does exceed the quality of the D700/D3, I can go back to carrying a lightweight N80 for most of my shooting. :)
    I have several 600 MB, 16-bit scans of 6x7 chromes produced by well-regarded labs. I would say that the detail is a similar to a D700 image, but a file from a 20+ MP camera (5DmkII in my case) shows considerably more detail when properly captured and processed. Again, if you can tell me how to get even MORE detailed images out of my Pentax 67 II, I'd love to hear the secret. I already use mirror lock-up, fine-grained film, a heavy Gitzo tripod and custom quick-release plates to maximize stability and resolution.
    I'm not a digital fanboy. I'm a big believer in film. Film looks great, the colors are always accurate, and you don't spend your life in front of a computer. Plus I love to use movements on my 4x5 camera. For years I have stubbornly held onto the belief that film is superior when used properly, but IMHO film, even in the larger formats, is starting to lag behind digital capture when you compare the quality of the final print. Part of me (nostalgia) wishes that this weren't so, but the other part of me wants to produce the best images that I can. I still shoot flim in some cases, but I suspect that my days of arguing with the X-ray scanning people at the airport may finally be coming to a close.
     
  41. In this thread there have been many strange claims about the resolution of 35mm digital, comparisons of the number of images made economically (when was that ever a sensible metric? Every 35mm digital owner I know shoots too many images), and odd assaults on flatbed scanners, but I will not go point-by-point with any of this, and simply add a data point:
    W.r.t. film, scanning 645 high-resolution film (Adox CHS 25) on an Epson V750, a decent consumer flatbed scanner, I find that about 2400dpi hits the point of diminishing returns, which yields about a 25MP image, and compares well to a Sony A900 (and I presume to the D3x, and probably exceeds the resolution of the somewhat softer 1Ds3 and 5D2). I could push the point of equivalence a little further away by buying a much better scanner, like the Imacons. This would have cost about the same, and yielded similar quality to my existing setup. The workflow would have been a bit slower, with less certainty of the outcome while working. The look of film is beyond debate and into preference, but I prefer it, so I would say that at this point, we are rapidly approaching the resolution equivalence, but not quite the overall IQ equivalence. The next generation of 35mm FF high-end cameras will probably match 6x7 film for resolution.
    W.r.t. digital, MFDBs have already gotten cheap enough for serious amateurs. I paid about 5000 Euro for my Sinar eMotion 54LV, with 22MP on a 36x48mm sensor. My entire MFDB system (3 Hasselblad FE lenses with adapter, 3 Contax 645 lenses, a Hartblei T/S 45mm, Contax 645 camera, MFDB) costs less than a similar system built around the D3x or 1Ds3, but probably a bit more than a system built around the 5D2 or A900. The MFDB outresolves the 35mm systems by a small margin, due to the lacking AA filter, and it has a greater dynamic range, possibly excepting the D3x. Overall, parity has almost been reached at the high end of 35mm and low end of current MF (there are of course older backs which have already been exceeded; in reality, 22MP sensor in MF are almost obsolete, and 31MP would be the current low-end), but in the future, due to improvements in both systems, there will likely be continued parity across high-end 35mm FF digital and low-end MFDBs.
    Just a data point, not too many hidden assumptions or opinions.
    As a personal opinion, I find that I do better work with film. Given how much I have invested in MF and digital, this is a little disappointing, but I still keep both. The mindset of shooting less with film actually gives me more top-notch keepers, in an absolute sense. This works for me because I work slowly and deliberately, and might not be applicable in high-pressure jobs like weddings.
     
  42. My two cents in that I hate these kind of threads. Endless technobabble - and the question has already been discussed 100 times here on PN.
     
  43. I have several 600 MB, 16-bit scans of 6x7 chromes produced by well-regarded labs. I would say that the detail is a similar to a D700 image, but a file from a 20+ MP camera (5DmkII in my case) shows considerably more detail when properly captured and processed. Again, if you can tell me how to get even MORE detailed images out of my Pentax 67 II, I'd love to hear the secret. I already use mirror lock-up, fine-grained film, a heavy Gitzo tripod and custom quick-release plates to maximize stability and resolution.​
    Dan, I agree with you completely. I also have the 5D2 and plenty of professionally scanned 6x7 slides and the sharpness and detail from the 5D2 files beats every one of them. Even if it is possible to get better scanning results from 6x7, you have to ask yourself is it really worth carrying all that extra gear, with all the expense of film for any marginal advantage that may be attainable.
     
  44. The reason I shoot with film has nothing to do with reoslution, MTF curves, dynamic range, etc, etc.....it has to do with the fact that film looks diferent than a digital image....and I like it.
     
  45. This is one of the most often used arguments in the film vs digital debate. It is a flawed theory. You can keep scanning film at higher resolutions year after year. You can capture as many pixels as you like but all you'll be doing is filling your hard drive faster than before.​
    Jamie, that's true in broad terms. I'm aware of the limitations of the theory, and if you read what I wrote carefully you'd notice my comments are on the same lines. There will always be a point where digital capture exceeds what can be obtained from scanning, as long as there are no changes in film or scanner design. But exactly where that point is though depends on the format. There's a world of difference between the limits of data that can be reasonably extracted from 35mm, 6x6 and 6x17, for example.
    As an aside, not sure it's true that films won't get better. I believe they're already getting better. Kodak Ektar, for example, is superlative when scanned and grain does not become intrusive unless scanned well beyond 8000 dpi. I can enlarge a frame of Ektar much further than an equivalent frame of Portra, for example. I also wouldn't use a V750 flatbed as any arbiter of scanning quality - as you're aware, there are limits to what it can resolve not to mention inconsistent flatness and severe limitations in focus adjustment, all of which restrict potential quality.
    FWIW, I haven't seen anything from my own digital work (with D700 and Imacon CFVII) that can surpass a 6x7 frame that has been scanned well in a fluid mount on a drum scanner.
     
  46. Why- when a 35mm DSLR sensor is BIGGER than MF film!​
    I agree with this.
    I think digital technology has reached a quality plateau such that the quality of one type is similar to an identical size of the other. e.g. 24x 36mm film is equal to a 35mm frame. When a 6x7cm sensor exists it will probably equal a 6x7cm frame of film.
    It's not down to clever technology and software any more - both mediums have probably reached the limits imposed by the laws of physics.
    -All- of us who have actually compared 35mm color film to 35mm digital think that under almost all conditions, digital captures more detail.​
    Perhaps replace -All- with -Some-
     
  47. The answer to the OP’s question is a good case of "it depends". Which MF, 645, 6x6, 6x9 or something else? A 30 x 40 inch print is pretty big but how close will people be viewing it. What is the subject that is being photographed, is it static or moving and how long of a lens is needed.
     
    If we take the best that MF can do, slow film with a stopped down lens using a tripod with a static subject and a 6x9 camera and a good scanner, then 35mm digital has a ways to go. But change any of those items on the list and things can be very different.
     
    I think 645 cameras are not going to give you anything that a good 35mm digit can’t
     
    If a faster film is use then even a 6x7 MF camera can start to suffer.
     
    If I need to shooting moving subjects with a longer lens handheld, which in my case I often do, then there is no way MF can come close to what I am getting.
     
    If the MF camera is loaded with ISO 100 film and has to shoot at f/2.8 while I shoot at iso 400 and f/5.6 the MF camera is going to be at a huge disadvantage. And if I am shooting at f/2.8 and ISO 1600 there is not much the MF can do to even get the shot, and don’t tell my about tripods because most often the subject is moving more then the camera.
    If the print is not going to be close then any resolution past 6-8 MP is not going to affect the perceived quality of the image.
     
    There are going to be cases where something like a 6x7 MF camera is going to produce a noticeable better print then a 35mm digital, but each photographer has to ask the question how often everything will be just right for that to happen.
     
    Now if you just like the look of film then none of the above matters, or if you have a good MF film camera but not a digital you might not be in a hurry to dump the MF gear.
     
  48. khi

    khi

    Good grief. Rafal this topic HAS been touched on over and over and over ad nauseam. I wish people would concentrate a little more on their photography, and a little less on technical specs and googahs. The greatest photographers in the history of the human race took excellent SOULFUL photographs using cameras that in many cases didn't even have a coupled rangefinder, and no high resolution LCD screens to preview their shots. How did they ever manage to do it? Im stumped!
    Take photographs with whatever camera you like, whether a P&S, rangefinder, SLR, medium format or whatever. Maybe concentrate on "seeing" something, putting some "feeling" into your pics and forget about megapixels, iso 12,500 performance and try to be a better photographer. If your photographs don't have soul, don't have heart, then it just doesn't matter what you take those photographs with.
    The one thing that does my heart good is knowing that the "real" photographers will continue to take excellent soulful photographs with whatever camera they have and the "wannabees" will continue to prattle on about the HD video capability, and technological nonsense. There is one inescapable, undeniable fact that has remained constant since photography was born. IT'S NOT THE CAMERA, IT'S THE PHOTOGRAPHER. Happy New Year!
     
  49. There is one inescapable, undeniable fact that has remained constant since photography was born. IT'S NOT THE CAMERA, IT'S THE PHOTOGRAPHER.
    There is truth in this perspective, but there are also limits. Skill and taste are the most important elements of any image making process, but that doesn't mean that we can trade our Nikons and Hasselblads and view cameras in for drugstore disposables and still create images of the same quality. The gear DOES have an impact.
     
  50. Scott, there's so much wrong with your response (4:15pm) that I don't even know where to begin.
    Let's just say that a couple of weeks ago I shot a series of low-light, handheld shots on a Voigtlaender 667, using Neopan 1600. Max aperture was f3.8. Shutter speed was around 1/60. The subject was a bride getting ready before her wedding. I also shot with a D700 using an 85 1.4, mostly to ensure a margin of error in case of processing problems with the film, and used a range of ISO values to ensure optimum shutter speed.
    The D700 images were excellent - no question. I'd happily enlarge any of them to 30". But the 667 images were stellar. When I made the final selection, every shot I wanted from that sequence was on film, shot on the Voigtlaender. They had a character and beauty that the Nikon couldn't match, despite being taken with one of the best Nikkor lenses available, and on an exemplary DSLR.
    MF can be used in a far wider set of conditions that you suggest. In fact, some of the best fast action photography I've seen has been shot on MF. Ever seen Nick Brandt's wildlife photography, for example? He shot it all on a Pentax 67, and his work is astonishingly good - witness two books and worldwide exhibitions.
     
  51. My experience is similar to Carsten's - my Canon 5D2 with top quality glass is almost identical in performance to Mamiya 645 using Velvia scanned on my Nikon 9000 (although the scanned image is a much larger file size). When I compare the Fuji Gx680 to the Canon I find the Fuji is clearly the better performer. Does this mean that I use the Fuji, the Mamiya, the Canon DSLRs (or even my EOS film, FD film or Contax G series film) at the expense of the others? No I like to mix it up and I find that there is something about the MF process that can lead to good shots as you slow down and take more care. In addition the Fuji GX680 makes every lens tilt / shift.
     
  52. I use medium format film and 35mm film cameras. Just bought my first digital SLR camera Pentax KX. So I plan to have a shoot out and find out which is better. I also have the Nikon 9000 film scanner with glass carrier and fluid mounting system. I had a professional take some b&w and color portraits using the Nikon D300. My brother and sister just love her work, but I don't. I know what quality b&w looks like because I shoot film and work in a lab, and this woman's b&w from her D300 look like sh...t. Even her color shots have that television look in the highlights. But to the layman, who has never worked with film, the D300 looks fantastic to them. To me, they look overly sharpened, plastic like, and like they're taken off an HD TV screen. There is a tonal quality to film that is hard to see in digital. That may be different in the $37,000 MF digital. But I was not pleased with the HD TV look of 35mm digital SLR. I mainly want the digital as a tool for low light and high ISO work.
     
  53. When I made the final selection, every shot I wanted from that sequence was on film, shot on the Voigtlaender. They had a character and beauty that the Nikon couldn't match, despite being taken with one of the best Nikkor lenses available, and on an exemplary DSLR.​
    Would you care to share any details as to how you processed the Nikon files? A lot of different "looks" can be coaxed out of a RAW file. Film is beautiful, but it's less flexible in terms of the number of ways that you can render the final output.
    MF can be used in a far wider set of conditions that you suggest. In fact, some of the best fast action photography I've seen has been shot on MF. Ever seen Nick Brandt's wildlife photography, for example? He shot it all on a Pentax 67, and his work is astonishingly good - witness two books and worldwide exhibitions.​
    Lots of people have published books and held well-received exhibitions with photos from 35mm cameras. That doesn't mean that a 20+ MP digital camera wouldn't provide better resolution. The two concepts aren't related in the slightest.
     
  54. I've tested my 7D using the map test devised by Les Sarile (http://www.fototime.com/inv/E0D372FC8001820).
    Here it is against the two top 35mm performers, Tech Pan on a 4000 dpi scanner, and Velvia 50 on a 5400 dpi scanner:
    http://www.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/4b81ff164b.jpg
    Here it is against the top MF sample, Velvia scanned on a Howtek:
    http://www.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/8e317d4a8e.jpg
    The 7D does very well against the 35mm films. I think it's safe to say that it out resolves Velvia 50 and matches Tech Pan, at least for detail at this contrast level.
    The MF scan out resolves the 7D, which isn't much of a surprise given the large difference in sensor and film size. It's actually surprising that the 7D does so well by comparison given the relatively small sensor. A 40" print is pretty big and I think at that size you would notice that MF has higher quality. But at the same time I don't think anyone would complain about a 16x24 or 20x30 7D print. These print sizes are well within the range of current top of the line DSLRs.
    Many factors play into final print quality. For this reason I believe it when somebody claims their 5D2 produces sharper images than their 6x7 scans, but I also believe those who say the opposite. It depends greatly on subject, lens, technique, film, RAW settings, etc, etc, and things are close enough that variables can throw the contest to either side.
     
  55. Note regarding my last post: on my browser the MF/7D sample needs to be zoomed in quite a bit. It should be 1185 pixels high, but it doesn't display that way in FireFox unless I use the page zoom command (View >> Zoom >> Zoom In).
     
  56. In the process of taking a large space with stuff in it (subject) and turning it into a large print, it is reduced in size in camera and then blown up big again in printing.
    This reduction in image size at the film or sensor is the weak point in the process and the smaller this area is, the worse the problem is.
    It doesn't really matter what the recording medium is now, they are both good, but the larger you can make it, the better the result will be (better being a subjective term). This is why an 8x10 contact print from film will always have more detail than an 8x10 printed from a 35mm negative.
     
  57. Lots of people have published books and held well-received exhibitions with photos from 35mm cameras. That doesn't mean that a 20+ MP digital camera wouldn't provide better resolution. The two concepts aren't related in the slightest.​
    I don't disagree, Dan. But you've taken my remarks out of context and drawn some incorrect conclusions. I was not making a comment on resolution; only on handling.
    If you'd read them in the appropriate context as a response to Scott Wilson you'd see I was addressing his point that MF can't be used handheld - specifically, his assertion: "If I need to shooting moving subjects with a longer lens handheld, which in my case I often do, then there is no way MF can come close to what I am getting."
    Nick Brandt is only one example plucked from the air but he illustrates the point. The fact is there are lots of MF users who use their cameras exactly like it was 35mm, and gain better quality from scanned files, with less grain, more signal to noise in scanning, and enhanced enlargement potential. Not to say one could not achieve equivalent sized files from digital (clearly one could) but they certainly would not look the same. Fixating on resolution is a one-dimensional argument.
     
  58. What is the sound of one pixel clapping?
     
  59. The fact is there are lots of MF users who use their cameras exactly like it was 35mm​
    Indeed. And to go one step further there are all of those 1930s to 1950s press photographers who hand held their Speed Graphics to get all sorts of shots including sports and other 'action' shots.
     
  60. With regards to shooting with long lenses handheld I often shoot with a 300mm lens + 1.4 extender on a 1.6x cropped sensor. To get the same field of view with a 6.7 camera you would need a 1568mm lens, I don’t think many people would be shooting handheld with that kind of lens. What more I often am shooting at f/8 to get enough DOF for the image, with a MF camera you would have to shoot at around f/30 to get the same DOF. I just don’t see that happening with a MF camera.
    Oh and the photo has to be in color, the newspaper is not going to publish a B/W photos in the sport section.
     
  61. With printing for the public; I have pro customers who are convinced that their Canon 5D records more details than their old 6x7 camera; ie rb67. One person; lets call him "Mr67" long ago totally poo pooed anything digital. We had 24x36 posters in the shop made from 1.3 megapixel cameras back when a pro camera was this size. When cameras got so say 3 megapixels; a 24x36" color poster for courtcase or wall was even overkill. With each improvement of camera MR67 poo pooed digital all the. For court case images he still shot 6x7 and we scanned it; then made the big posters. Then MR67 got a Canon 5D and now his brain is wired that digital is better than film; ie says a Canon 5D toatally blows away a 6x7 fiom shot. It probably *does* for his application; since his old 6x7 shots often had little DOF. ie an indoor shot of as store's accident/fall woule be shot in the past with the 6x7 under low light; and thus the lens was open and one had little DOF. The smaller 5D solved his dof issue. The same customer has gone from digital is total crap; to film is obsolete and worse in about a 10 year time frame. 10 years ago he did not know a jpeg from a tripod socket; or what a memory card is; now it is like he invented digital; an expert in all fields. Part of the folks wanting to know mf/lf/35mm versus number of pixels is to justify the new tool; justify to wife or accountant. Here for me being an early user of digital cameras in the early 1990's; it is interesting to see customers preach that xyz digital is better than ABC film. Here many customers seem to get better images with the dinky P&S digital and 35mm dlsr jsut because they get better DOF or chip out the duds
     
  62. Particular to the OP's question interested in Black and White, there is not as 35mm DSLR today that comes even close to just 35mm film. Not in resolution and not in tonal information. Much less in the visual experience of B&W grain vs Digital pixels when enlarged. (just compare a 30x40 print from 100MP-8000dpi scans of 35mm film to a 20MP DSLR).

    Every photographer I know that currently shoot B&W films (like TMAX in Xtol) and shares the same lenses he uses with his 35mm digital understands this. If there is a photographer here that uses B&W film and a DSLR with the same lenses and disagrees I would love to here his/her experience.

    Flatbed scanners do not provide acceptable quality for prints, if that is the next question. For the price of a good L lens one can buy a Nikon CS9000 that will do very good scans of 35mm and MF as well.
    When MF film and a 35mm DSLR will be comparable? Never. Aside of the simple facts of resolution and diffraction limitations, there is much more. A MF lens can project more information than a 35mm lens and it is not a matter of upgrading a sensor. Also an analog capture will look random pleasing distributions if scanned with a deep enough resolution - a digital capture is limited by squares pixels at the time it is taken.
    Here are my 2c: since most/all interested in B&W already own very good Canon or Nikon lenses for their DSLRs, try 35mm film with a very good SLR body you can get on ebay for just $100 and have the film properly scanned. The question on 35mm DSLR for B&W vs MF will soon became ridiculous, and you will have a fantastic tool for work/pleasure to carry along in your bag together with your DSLR and lenses.
    When will a crop sensor dslr be the same as a FF? Never. DF aside, there may be one lens in your bag at f4-5.6 that in resolution terms can make a high density crop sensor comparable to 35mm, all other lenses and apertures (>99% of the combinations a photographer will use are not comparable). Same logic from 35mm to MF.
     
  63. For the average user the technology is probably already there. Considering what the final images are used for, you probably can't tell the difference.
    My concern as a shooter of various subjects is how much time I have to spend working on a specific project in order to achieve my goal. If I spend 1 hour shooting digital on site then have to spend 4 hours editing, dealing with computer image manipulation, batch processing etc. later on I'm not a happy camper. If however, I spend 1 hour shooting film and 1 to 2 hours editing and filing later on I am certainly a much happier camper and I have used my time much more efficiently.
    The only advantage I see to using a digital system is the ability to self edit at the shooting stage. What I see happening is people shooting arm loads of crappy images in the hopes that the "good one" is in there somewhere. There is no self editing on site. Which means they end up doing the editing at a later time, even if they beat the crap out of the "delete image" button on the camera. Using my film cameras has taught me to slow down and pay attention. Strictly digital users don't have that frame of mind, in my opinion.
    I'll leave you with this link to an article by shooter Chris Nicholson.
    http://www.nicholsonprints.com/Articles/digital.htm
    00VNa2-205213584.jpg
     
  64. I think John Jennings has said it best.
     
  65. I do not know which one has more techno stuff. I would be interested in viewing a 30x40 print shot with film/6x6, especially if it were b/w. I have no interest in viewing digital prints except maybe snapshots of family and stuff. My point is there is more to photography then techno stuff. What does it take to reach a viewer or audience.
     
  66. Subject: (When) Will 35mm DSLR Exceed MF Film Image Quality?
    Of course it will. That is why I don't paint anymore, it's so much easier to just shoot a digital image.
    Also I used to have a machine that took pictures and at the same time printed them "instantly" in color. This archaic device was of course replaced by the digital image, I don't even need a print to enjoy the image, I just know its there! Now thats advancement!!
     
  67. Neil, I apologize for quoting you inaccurately. That wasn't my intention.
     
  68. The funny thing about these types of posts are the sizes of prints always mentioned. Everyone needs to ask themselves how often they even print a 16x20....and then ask what differences there really are.
     
  69. Dave Luttmann , Dec 31, 2009; 01:15 p.m.
    The funny thing about these types of posts are the sizes of prints always mentioned. Everyone needs to ask themselves how often they even print a 16x20....and then ask what differences there really are.​
    I like 20x30 inch prints, they are cheap and are a nice size for hanging on a wall. I also make a fair number of 12x18 inch prints, which I like people look through much like a stack of small prints. In a way the 12x18 inch prints need more detail then the 20x30 inch print because people look closely at the 12 x18 print but not so much for the print on the walls.
    I do like to look at sharp prints and am pretty near sighted so I do tend to put my nose right to the print, but from watching most other people view prints you could get away with a fairly low reasolution image even for a large print, in the range of 6-8 MP.
    Often people will judge how "sharp" a print is not from how fine of detail is in the image but based on the contrast and lighting of the image, which is how it should be IMO.
     
  70. I think a better question to ask would be: "When will my 8x10" (20x25cm) prints from digital look better than 35mm or MF?"

    While 35mm has been handily out-resolved from digital for some time now, the labs are still using 300DPI (~115 dot/cm) output almost exclusively on RA-4 prints.
    As I have neither the time nor interest in learning dry printing, I recommend that people realize that, for all intents and purposes, they are getting lower resolutions in their prints than they were with film.
    Until at least 450 DPI output becomes common (let's not even talk about 600+), you are only getting 7.2MP of information in an 8x10" (20x25cm), no matter what you use. With 6x7cm, ignoring the crop, you got about 60MP on the negative and maybe in excess of 30 on the print (of course everyone is using glossy for finest detail) after the printing lens was factored in.

    Of course, optical printing had its own problems, like printer lens resolution loss, especially if it weren't stopped down two stops; now it's big problem is that no one does it anymore.
    Anyway, if people want to rail on about their gripes about film resolutions in the past, they ought be far more enraged about the continuing "scourge" of matte paper today ;-)
     
  71. Particular to the OP's question interested in Black and White, there is not as 35mm DSLR today that comes even close to just 35mm film. Not in resolution and not in tonal information.
    That's not what I'm seeing. Note the 35mm Tech Pan comparison posted earlier. As to tonality, allow me to distinguish between the ability to discern subtle changes in tone, and the tone curve which gives each film its look. Digital sensors have an excellent ability to distinguish subtle tones. Notice the map contours in the previous samples. However, it takes some work to get a tone curve in digital which yields a print comparable to a traditional B&W print. It can be done, and tools like Silver Efex make it easier. But you can't just switch to B&W mode on your DSLR and expect shots comparable in look and feel to well printed, classic B&W film.
    When MF film and a 35mm DSLR will be comparable? Never.
    We're much too close now to claim never. The next Canon 1Ds will likely have a sensor in the 35 MP range, give or take a MP. If it's not able to resolve comparable fine detail to a CoolScan 9000 MF scan, which is softer than a Howtek scan, it will be darn close. At the 7D's sensor density Canon could make a FF sensor of 46 MP. I would guess that such a sensor would easily match scanned MF film even in fine detail.
    DF aside, there may be one lens in your bag at f4-5.6 that in resolution terms can make a high density crop sensor comparable to 35mm, all other lenses and apertures (>99% of the combinations a photographer will use are not comparable). Same logic from 35mm to MF.
    That logic is flawed Mauro. Diffraction is not a hard and fast limit on lens or sensor resolution, but rather appears as a slight blurring effect (which USM does a very good job of eliminating). A 7D is said to be diffraction limited at f/6.8, but it continues to show a resolution advantage over comparable APS-C DSLRs well past that. Also, if you compare DoF at a given FoV and distance (not aperture/focal length, but equivalent DoF/FoV) between formats, you will find that diffraction doesn't hit any of the formats much worse than the others.
    Example: an APS 17mm @ f/8, full frame 28mm @ f/13.5, and 6x7 50mm @ f/22 all have roughly the same FoV and DoF. Enlarged to the same print size they will also have almost exactly the same circle of confusion on the print.
     
  72. The reason I shoot with film has nothing to do with reoslution, MTF curves, dynamic range, etc, etc.....it has to do with the fact that film looks diferent than a digital image....and I like it.
    Well said. I'm of the opinion that it is theoretically possible to shape a RAW file into any look desired. But it's not always easy, consistent, or practical to do so. Where a particular film offers a unique look, sometimes it's just easier to shoot the film.
    I find that I need to periodically shoot and wet print classic B&W film to train my eye as to how a classic B&W print should look. Doing this helps me tremendously in my digital B&W conversions. While I feel I can make digital B&W prints comparable to my darkroom work, I can see why some people just stick to the darkroom for B&W rather than going through the effort to master the same look and feel in digital. It does take some work.
    I think you pointed out another look recently, here or on dpreview, which can be tricky to achieve digitally, and that is overexposed NPH. Given the manner in which digital sensors clip highlights, achieving the same look may require HDR. Given the intended subject (weddings and portraits), that's not really feasible and it just becomes easier to load and shoot NPH.
    Digital is very flexible and can also accomplish certain looks and tasks easier than film. Each adds to the photographer's toolbox and is worth exploring. I think we're at the point now with digital that it is no longer a question of technical quality (i.e. when will digital equal), but rather a question of artistic quality (which will give me what I need for this specific shoot and goal).
     
  73. Karl Fermedfor , Dec 31, 2009; 04:49 p.m.
    I think a better question to ask would be: "When will my 8x10" (20x25cm) prints from digital look better than 35mm or MF?"

    While 35mm has been handily out-resolved from digital for some time now, the labs are still using 300DPI (~115 dot/cm) output almost exclusively on RA-4 prints.​
    It is even a bit worse then 300 ppi since then tend to use slightly oversized light beam to avoid aliasing. I figure the real resolution of a digital print to RA-4 it closer to 200 ppi. I get far sharper prints using a very cheap inkjet printer then I do from Costco.
    Below is a comparison between a Costco print on the top and one from my Inkjet on the bottom, both scanned at 300ppi. My inkjet is a low cost one, a better inkjet would show a much better looking print.

    [​IMG]
    Having said that I have to point out a couple of things, I rarely got optical prints that were any sharper in the days when the labs were doing optical prints and in many cases I get really bad prints. At least with digital prints the resolution is consistent. The other thing I have notice is that the slight softness of a digital print bugs me when I look close most people can’t tell the difference.
    Of course if you want to see something really bad take a close look at a photo in most magazines, the 133 DPI on the magazine is the dot / inch it was printed at, not scanned.
    [​IMG]
     
  74. And I've recently picked up a film camera for the sake of getting my hands dirty again. Loading film, removing, developing...I have a 35mm digital (5D) for when I want it.
    It's nice to cross-process or home develop etc...versus simply plugging in the CF card
     
  75. Daniel Lee Taylor [​IMG], Dec 31, 2009; 05:48 p.m.
    Well said. I'm of the opinion that it is theoretically possible to shape a RAW file into any look desired. But it's not always easy, consistent, or practical to do so. Where a particular film offers a unique look, sometimes it's just easier to shoot the film.​
    Depending on the film it is not really possible to match the colors of film, this is because many films have spectral sensitivity curves that have much less overlap then the human eye and the filters used on digital camera. The effect of this is there is no way to map between the colors from most films to what a digital camera records. It is worth noting that digital camera are very close to the same curves as the human eye, so an image from a digital camera can match the real world colors much closer then what you can with film But if someone really likes the look of film then it can be hard to match with a digital camera, for some subjects. In theory a filter in front of the lens could block some of the light when film is lacking in sensitivity and get a much closer match, around 490nm and 590nm for Velvia for instance. For me I like the more natural looking colors from digital, if processed right.
     
  76. Scott, saying that film isn't close to the human eye and that digital is, is just silly.
    Film is natively UV-blue sensitive. Digital is natively IR-red. NEITHER is seeing the way the human eye does, IR filters/UV filters or not!
     
  77. Ed, you shoot up to a thousand images at a wedding! I have some old family wedding albums that were taken by relatives who were professionals. They would shoot at most two rolls of film, and just about every shot was a 'keeper'. They had one shot of each of the important moments of the wedding.
    Nowadays weddings are often made much more stressful by the presence of a photographer, and one or two assistants, possibly with a video crew, and then the guests' cameras all flashing all the time.
    Maybe there's a market for medium or large format at weddings?
    Back to the topic: when I want the best quality I still shoot large or medium format. For a learner, the slower process involved with MF film forces the learning process. When I shoot digital, I find myself becoming rather careless, and I'd hate to learn to be careless!
    My 'best' photos have all been MF or LF, the digital remainder are often more like images than photographs.
     
  78. Where do you want to go tomorrow? I too have thought about the question posed, and considered how to test it, but to what end? A year from now, the same study could yield a different answer. I believe that although film is still capable of meeting and exceeding needs and expectations, and still has room for further development, its future is limited in comparison to digital. The possibilities for digital photography are vast and limited only practically by what people will want to purchase. Consider what digital imaging (or remote sensing) can already do: Image everything from near IR to far UV (into the dark). Temperature. Through water and some opaque surfaces. Incredible distances (telescopes) and scales (microscopes). Multiple simultaneous images that go way beyond HD. Sequential near-simultaneous images at varying planes of focus. Sensor shifting to obtain multiple views of single physical points. Algorithm development to combine and transform data, and enhance signal-to-noise ratios. Increased processing speeds to allow all of this to occur. I don’t think we will want or need all of this, and I don’t know when it will become commercially viable for general photography, but these are some of the areas where digital photography can go, if we’re willing to pay for it. In my opinion. - Phil
     
  79. I should temper my previous comment by saying that I have found it worthwhile to cheaply 'improve' the pixel situation of some images by using my Canon 300D with a longer lens to take multiple images of and around subjects, and then using that rather nice free software called Hugin to stitch the images together.
    Theoretically that would be the same as using a more expensive camera with a shorter lens, and since funds are limited, I use the cheapskate solution with Hugin. Of course that would be useless for many situations, but I like landscapes, and in Ireland landscapes don't move too much from minute to minute.
    Ultimate quality demands film, however.
     
  80. Daniel, if the 1Ds Mark IV will be 35MP, then based on recent Canon performance (1Ds2: 16MP, 2005, 1Ds3: 21MP, 2008) we should expect in somewhere between 2013 and 2014 depending on whether you think the increase will be related to linear resolution, or overall MP increases? Alternatively, it will lose even more dynamic range than the 1Ds3 lost to the 1Ds2, due to moving to too-small pixels too fast.
    Why do you think the next 1Ds will be 35MP? Because you want it to be that? Repeating the last improvement, we should expect a 26MP camera in 2011.
     
  81. Without there being an enormous leap in semiconductor/imaging technology, it is my opinion as an Electronics Engineer that the more they cram onto a sensor, the less dynamic range and noise handling ability. Law of diminishing returns - sure it's fun to drive fast but you use more fuel.
    Film grain looks 'different' to 'sensor' grain (pixels, per-se)...and until they are producing AFFORDABLE 6x7cm sensors...count me out of the silly-megapixel-race. Film isn't digital, and digital isn't film. Apples and oranges. Like comparing a photograph to a drawing - some may be hard to discern but there's a fundamental difference.
     
  82. Daniel, I agree. I've found that despite the potential for 35mm to outrelve even my 7D, on print, I'm not seeing it. A family portrait session I did recently involved the printing of a 16x24 (Really, 16x20). With a camera like the 7D, I obtained a color print to my Epson 3800 that exceeded anything I've ever done from 35mm...even drum scanned. Sharper, less noise, etc. That said, it had a different look than from my Contax 645. I liked the film look better, but I happened tocatch the best pose on the 7D. As most of my wedding work is 8x10 and 11x14, resolution and noise aren't an issue be it 35mm or digital above 10mp.
     
  83. Liam; look at the trend in processors;and recording heads/sliders on disc drives. Both are smaller is size versus say 10 to 13 years ago. The first P6 of the series; CPU was a 150Mhz PPro; its die is about 17.6mm; area thus about 310mm **2 back in the fall of 1995; 0.6 micron process. Pentium II went from a 14.2mm die to a 10.2mm die. A more modern P6 grandson is the Cedar Mill cpu; it has only a 81 sq mm area with 65 nanomete process. each new generation of disc drive has smaller heads; a 4 decade old trend. Thus I ponder if there will EVER be an affordable 6x7 cm digtal sensor; or is just like a dream like Detroit will bring back the straight-8 engine.? It is possible for a 6x7cm sensor from a techncial standpoint; but there is no market to spread across the fully custom design. Thus one can always dream of low cost MF sensors; but next year or decade folks will still probably be waiting. I mention all this becuase the dream of a low cost MF sensor is about 1 1/2 decades old now. There is no volume sales to drop prices ; like common consumer P&S cameras; LCD TV's, refrigerators; or toasters.
     
  84. Why do you think the next 1Ds will be 35MP? Because you want it to be that? Repeating the last improvement, we should expect a 26MP camera in 2011.
    I could be wrong on that prediction of course. But the rumor mill suggests 30+ MP in 2010 (I've seen 32 and 35 rumors, the point being 30 MP class). The density achieved in the 7D suggests that Canon could go that high and still hold the line on DR and noise. Over 30 MP still wouldn't be as dense as the 7D sensor, and the 7D sensor pulls nearly 10 stops DR and does pretty well on noise.
    I'm also guessing Canon will want to out muscle the competition's 25 MP sensors, and do so by a noticeable margin. Looking at their recent history (APS-C 10>15>18; APS-H 10>16; 5D 35mm 12>21) it appears that they're making a concentrated effort to take the MP crown in each segment.
    We will see if I'm right or not.
     
  85. Liam and others, I would submit that semiconductor/imaging sensor technolgy not only will address noise handling issues but will exceed it. As Philip Alvarez hints in his post, the possibilities are limitless. Its just a matter of time when DSLR FF sensors will not need to rely on a Bayer filter.
    If Michael Belifor's "The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA Is Remaking Our World" is any indication of what has and what may be achieved, then the possiblity exists.
    Film will always have a place. Hollywood is a good example. But then there are motions pictures such as James Cameron's "Avatar - that make you wanna go Hmm ...
     
  86. Oh that's true - the really fast development from late 90s to mid 2000s in processors.
    This is the advent of Nanotech, and I'm really interested to see what's going to come along. One point to note though is that CPUs don't have to worry about ISO handling...but then to counter, there are heat and crosstalk issues.
    it's always going to be subjective so I think it's dangerous to fight either corner too strongly. I have a 35mm FF DSLR (5D Mk1), and starting into medium format film...I have no want or need for million million megapixel DSLRs yet, everything's what you make it/want it to be.
     
  87. Oh that's true - the really fast development from late 90s to mid 2000s in processors.
    This is the advent of Nanotech, and I'm really interested to see what's going to come along. One point to note though is that CPUs don't have to worry about ISO handling...but then to counter, there are heat and crosstalk issues.
    it's always going to be subjective so I think it's dangerous to fight either corner too strongly. I have a 35mm FF DSLR (5D Mk1), and starting into medium format film...I have no want or need for million million megapixel DSLRs yet, everything's what you make it/want it to be.
     
  88. Daniel, maybe your guess/hope is right, and maybe Canon will actually debut a 30+ sensor in the 1Ds Mark IV. I hope not for Canon's sake, to be honest. The last few iterations released to compete with Nikon's D3/D3x have been getting more desperate, with less dynamic range in the 1Ds Mark III than in the Mark II, with a more transparent colour array, i.e. higher ISO at the cost of colour accuracy, and more aggressive noise reduction, i.e. more smearing of real detail, earlier. In fact, it seems that every aspect of the latest Canons got a boost in most or all areas, *except* image quality. The 7D is not a good benchmark for FF performance. almost 10 stops of DR is very poor compared to the nearly 13 of the D3x, for example.
    Anyway, whatever the next Canon, Nikon and Sony FF pro cameras will be, they will almost certainly reach MF film in resolution, only. DR will probably be better than film in a technical sense, but what happens at the limit will still be quite a lot less attractive than with film. As in the past, there will always be good reasons to go with film, just like there are good reasons to go with digital.
     
  89. With the 24x36mm film frame; one has the limits of the lens too. Sensor density increases cannot go on forever; one has the wavelength of light to consider. At some point there is more a thing with *marketing* than performance issues. One could place a 100 megapixel sensor in a 35mm 24x36mm camera and it would NEVER really matter.

    Alot of consumer items sold *mush* into a *zone* of specs based on practical limits. Power tools today are all dancing in the 18, 24 or 36 volt range; ALOT are in the 18 volt range.

    Look at CPU's; eons ago there was this MHZ/GHZ race. One had 100Mhz in 1995; One had 200Mhz in 1996, one had 500Mhz in 1999; One had 1 Ghz CPU's in 2000; 2 ghz in 2001; 3 Ghz in 2002. Now nobody talks about clock speeds anymore! Thus we speed up the bus speed; we do several events per clock cycle; we add dual and quad cores! With some applications the extra cores are not used; and the clock speed can be the limit with number crunching programs. Thus newer programs try/strive to split the programs stuff into several cores; since the clock speed has hit a brick wall.
    A 2x3" MF sized cropped out section out of my 50 megapixels 4x5" back's 7x10cm image would still be a about 28 megapixels;and a WW2 era Kodak Medalist's lens would be overkill.
     
  90. Since MF can be a 2x3" frame; the question asked is when a digital sensor that ONE QUARTER IN SURFACE AREA will be equal. Ie a 35mm film frame is 24x36mm; ie about 1x1.5 inches.

    In like manner one might ask when a P&S digitals dinky sensor equals a 24x36mm film frame; ie a digital sensor that would be 12x18mm; one QUARTER in surface area. The 4/3's format is 13.5x18mm; 13.5 x17.3mm etc; ie close.

    SO do folks here believe 4/3's digital has ellipsed full frame 35mm film?
     
  91. <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } -->
    Film is better than digital at ISOs up to 200! I called the people at Westcoastimaging, on of the best printing and drum scanning services in the country. The lab technician who see's all the latest digital camera files and the film scanned files, told me that by far, medium format film blows digital away! Now, who would be a better expert than a lab tech at a reputable printing company? Large format film must really make digital look amateur.
    I know why pro's use digital. It saves them $$$$. No film to buy. You make more money in the long run. Who wouldn't use it? It's fine for small format prints, which is what most consumers are happy with. Pro's get a better low ISO image from weddings and low light photography. Digital also has built in computer processors so that even Uncle Borat can take great pictures. Digital allows everyone to take great pictures since one doesn't have to learn about F stops and such. Your average Joe doesn't have the same photographic standards as us photo enthusiasts. There are plenty of examples of high end digital files being compared to medium and large format films. The film scans always hold more detail, dynamic range, and tonal qualities! Kenrockwell has a lot of examples.
    kenrockwell.com/tech/why-we-love-film.htm
     
  92. it is my opinion as an Electronics Engineer that the more they cram onto a sensor, the less dynamic range and noise handling ability.​
    As another electronics engineer, I agree. Technology and clever software will not win in a fight with the laws of physics.
     
  93. Steve, precisely what I was getting at. There IS a fundamental issue with cramming things onto smaller and smaller die when nanotechnology isn't keeping up per-se. We don't know what's in the atom, so let's not try to make things that small until we do, guys ;)
     
  94. The digital Vs film debate goes on and on and on and on and on
    Does it realy matter what is better
    Does resolution realy mean any thing when you need an elctron microscope to see it
    an award winning photograph is just that and what was used to capture it is totaly irevelent and in 99.9% most people dont give a rats ass what was used .
    I have seen images in photography competitions where the winning photo was taken with a $50 holga ande yet photos taken with $30K hasselbalds never got a place or mention .
    If it is BIG prints you want I just have not realy seen any thing that compaires to Tmax 100 developed in FX 39 , and I have done wall size prints from a 6x6 negative with this .of course there is grain but film grain is not a bad look where as digital grain will allways look like *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* .
    I also like digital and have a $100 10MP P&S that gives me great photos and I have a lot of fun with this small and cheap piece of gear and I have fooled a lot of people into thinking I was using a top end DSLR .
    Its how you take the shot that is important not what you take it with
    All the resolution in the world is not going to make you a better photographer
     
  95. True. It's not the camera that makes the photographer just like it's not the brush that makes the artist. But a great brush in the hands of a great artist, makes fantastic art!
     
  96. Another fundamental flaw in saying that APS-C or FF sensors will ever outresolve MF has nothing to do with the sensors themselves, but the lenses.

    I forget where I heard this from, but the actual resolving power a 35mm lens is capable of, tops out at around 20MP (This is an expensive prime, of course). The lens is the weak link in the system, not the sensor.
    So there has already been a brick wall in the system for some time now, that resolution nuts were griping about back when Tech Pan and modified microfilms were all the rage.
    I can count on my two hands the number of times I've seen primes used on DSLRs, anyway. Same thing for the tripods and the F/stops used. Shooting wide open severely cuts into your resolving power on the lens. You have to shoot stopped-down 2- to 2-1/2 stops to get optimal resolution out of a lens.
    So, as usual, people are worrying about all of the things in the system (the ones that, ironically enough, are the priciest) that do the least to form technically high-quality images, and are worrying about the feature-benefits that the salesman at the store sold them on: ISO (glad to see someone else on this thread knows that there is no such thing as 12,800 just like there's no 128 either), megapixels, and lens focal length, either one way or the other.
    Both the F/stop used, the glass, and the ISO will subtract from the number of megapixels you get, even with a 24MP body. Then people talk about MP but shoot everything in JPEG or JPEG basic, and resave the files as JPEGs more than once. Divide your megapixel count by two if you are guilty of this.
    These are the things that will get you actual better resolution:
    ISO setting (I think 200 is the best on most cameras), the lower the better with film
    Shooting in RAW / shooting ISO 50 slide film when at all possible
    Shooting on a tripod/monopod when at all possible, bracing against something or getting down on one knee if not
    Shooting with a prime, when at all possible
    Stopping down 2-1/2 stops when at all possible; there is a wonderful invention called a flash that will help you get to the proper F/stop almost every time, again, when at all possible.
    It's hard not to get cynical towards the end of a stream of these post, having heard the same sort of stuff in person about MP this, software that, from a person that couldn't check off a single item on my list, nor even knows these simple ways to get you a technically higher-quality picture.
    Now these are the things that I personally worry about when taking pictures, but in terms of making a salable picture or a work of fine art, they matter almost NOTHING at all; when they interfere with my ability to take the best picture, composition wise, I discard things on the list. The clients don't care, nor does the subject what equipment you are using, unless they've picked up some "superstitions" from past photographers. Often when a client says they want one thing, they are actually talking about something else, and using the wrong terminology.
     
  97. Maybe digital has surpassed MF. Don't know. But, I do know that for me, if it has, it comes at a high cost. Don't shoot enough to save money by switching to a digital camera. As they say in the boating world. "A yacht is an expensive way to go third class."
     
  98. The work of Nick Brandt was mentioned. There is no question in my mind that his photos would have looked entirely different--and less dramatic-- without the grain (although I suppose he could have gotten grain via software). I also think Salgado's work would lack his characteristic look without the grain of Tri-X.
     
  99. Oh well, people make judgments based on experience and pick the tool they think it is best for their application.

    A self-convincing trend that a 35mm DSLR has matched 6x7 film for even landscapes has been endless from the 10MP cameras to today's 20MP ones. [[[ To put it in perspective, this is similar to comparing 35mm Velvia to a 2MP - 4MP crop sensor DSLR; ...yes that silly ]]]

    Due to miss information, many (even professional photographers I know) have taken very expensive trips for lanscape photography with their DSLRs only.

    I am just glad 10 year from now I can go back to my library of 6x7 Velvia and TMAX for those special shots instead of a 10+MP DSLR capture.
     
  100. Still, digital cameras are great tools when convenience is needed. Here it is with my blackberry yesterday hiking in Utah:
    00VPhz-206605684.jpg
     
  101. Also carrying a dslr to the top of a mountain in the middle of a blizzard is much easier than hauling my RZ67.
    00VPqX-206677584.jpg
     
  102. All the resolution in the world is not going to make you a better photographer.​
    No one ever claimed that higher resolution would make anyone a better photographer.
    Driving a car with better gas mileage doesn't make you a better driver, but it still has an effect on your driving experience. You might decide to take longer trips. You might visit distant relatives more frequently. You might decide that you can afford to take a job that requires a longer daily commute.
    A technical improvement doesn't make you a better operator of the technology, but it opens up options that might not have been practical previously.
    I find it amusingly ironic that contributors to a "medium format" forum would disparage the idea higher image resolution. Think about that for a moment. Why did you buy all of that heavy, expensive Hasselblad/Pentax/Mamiya/etc. gear when you could have just shot 35mm film for all occasions? Could it be that perhaps you wanted HIGHER RESOLUTION negatives and chromes?
    Would it be fair to suggest that the higher resolution of medium format cameras (with respect to 35 mm film) isn't important because it won't make you a better photographer?
    Who CARES why you want higher resolution? That's YOU'RE business. Shoot 8x10 if you like. Your chosen resolution is completely YOUR OWN choice whether you're a novice, an enthusiast, or a highly successful professional. Maybe one person wants to send baby pictures via email while another person wants to create mural-sized prints or their kids' smiling faces. Use a camera that can give you the resolution you desire and be happy.
     
  103. Due to miss information​
    Yes, I'm afraid that Miss Information has been an all too zealous contributor to this thread, but right now she's having her nails done with Miss Congeniality.
     
  104. Dan,
    It isn't just about resolution. In fact, quite often the resolution from 35mm is very good. The shift to MF and LF is also about finer grain, better tonality, and a for color, a more accurate color palette because of the larger surface area of the film. Greater resolution plays a smaller part than the above when making a large print for example. I get your point....but for some, the resolution is but a small part of the picture so to speak.
     
  105. I took the picture of myself above with a pocket Olympus Epic loaded with TMAX 400 (possibly one of the best films ever designed).
    I laid the Epic on the snow with its timer set, I could not see the camera due to the heavy snowfall and the fact my eyes couldn't stayed open without goggles for long in the -18F degree weather.
    The RZ was getting covered with snow but not wet since it was so cold. I just had to blow the snow off it every other minute.
    Both cameras performed greatly and never flinched. I was ready to switch the RZ to mechanical mode in case the battery froze but it was not needed.
    On portability.... when comparing an RZ with a 50mmULD lens as in the picture above, it is not bulkier than a 35mm DSLR/SLR with a 50mm prime and a 24mm prime (both ranges covered with a single prime on the RZ). I long ago realized the a a single 6x7 lens replaces at least two 35mm lenses making the size/weight comparison more even.
    ... I just had my snowshoes oversized to float on the soft snow...
     
  106. The film choice is often times not about resolution. The contrast and tones captured by TMAX 400 cannot be easily replicated from a TMX 100 shot. The dynamic range from TMX100 cannot be replicated from a TMAX 400 shot. The colors from Velvia cannot easily be maid out from Ektar. The texture of any of the above cannot be made starting from the other. None of this can easily be made from a DSLR.
    Yes, resolution of MF film (and in my shooting technique 35mm as well) are superior than any DSLR's. But that is not the main reason why people use film today. It is for all the other qualities that cannot be made out with hours of stitching and post processing from a DSLR and are ready-made out of the tank when using film.
    I covered the most beatiful places in Utah and Colorado this winter. I didn't use my DSLR once.
    In the end it is a personal choice. Like sculpting vs painting. When a DSLR will be the same as MF film? - Obviously never.
     
  107. Earlier last month I was commissioned 24x36 prints from a shoot with a Canon 5D taken by another photographer. This is one of my favorite DSLRs, but seeing the results of 12MP with interpolated color on 24x36 prints it was painful to my eyes.
    The customer was so happy it couldn't have loved the results better though. Myself - not so much. Sometimes it comes down to a point of reference of what one is used to seeing.
     
  108. Here is a cropped section of a 50 megapixel scan. Lens is 127mm F4.7 Ektar; on a 4x5 speed graphic. Scan area is sub 4x5" ie 7x10cm. The dslr here did not have enought resolution for this jobe; thus we dragged out the 12 year old beast. I could have shot several dslr shots and stitched them togther too; another fun job. All the 500 watt hot lamps are nice to use when it is below freezing too. :)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  109. Fresh off the tank from Utah. TMAX 400.
    00VQ3j-206769584.jpg
     
  110. Another...
     
  111. I it interesting how this thread has drifted with time. The OP asked about a 6x6 camera compared to a full frame digital and printed at 30x40 inches. It should be noted that the 6x6 camera would have to crop far more then a DSLR for that aspect ratio, and in fact would have no more film area then a 645 camera.
     
    So the thread started out comparing the film area of a 645 camera to a FF DSLR, but now I see Mauro wants to compare a 6x7 camera to a 10MP cropped DSLR. That is increasing the film area by about 43% and decreasing the DSLR’s resolution to less then half.

    The OP also asked about "Image Quality" not resolution of high contrast test targets. Here things get pretty subjective as some people have a harder time with grain then others, I am in the harder time with grain myself.
     
    The OP did not specify the subject or shooting conditions and this clearly will have a large impact on which system will produce the better print.
     
    The OP also did not say how the print from the 6x6 camera was going to be produced, I a flatbed scan is going to be way different then from a Nikon 9000.
     
    As to how much resolution is really needed for a large print the answer depends on how the print is viewed. I do like very high resolution photos, but I have to admit that for most prints the extra resolution does not add much to the print.
     
  112. Scott,
    The OP referred to "6x6 or so" (I assumed it included 6x7) ~ prints up to 30x40 ~ and b&W work. With these premises, The difference between film and any DSLR is HUGE in term of printed-viewable detail. Differences in structure and tonal distribution are also material but they would be in smaller sizes as well if scanned with at least a Coolscan 9000. People objecting otherwise are grossly misleading those who have an intent to learn.
    As I stated I finished printing a project for another photographer with a Canon 5D up to 24x36s. The nicest thing I can say is that some people must be luckily blessed with lower standards or crooked eyes not to see the difference.
    For b&w work in particular, 35mm film in my opinion has a as well a large margin of quality on the print vs DSLRs without having to move to MF. There is no need to purchase a MF rig to experiment and try this. Just an SLR from ebay and already owned 35mm lenses would do for most people to see the difference.
    It is worth noting that people obtain different level of results with film due to equipment and experience. I have posted dozens of 4000 dpi scans that look perfect to the pixel whereas other people say they cannot get detail pass 2000 dpi scans from their negatives.
     
  113. With these premises, The difference between film and any DSLR is HUGE in term of printed-viewable detail.
    I wouldn't call the differences in the crops I posted to be huge, and that was Velvia on a drum scanner.
    For b&w work in particular, 35mm film in my opinion has a as well a large margin of quality on the print vs DSLRs without having to move to MF.
    Are we speaking about technical, measurable qualities, or subjective qualities? As I've already said I wet print classic B&W film to help me produce better B&W digital prints. I very much admire the look of some B&W films. But I consider the 7D, which is not the best DSLR available (though it is very good), to be the match of 35mm on any technical quality except dynamic range with some films. See the Tech Pan comparison.
     
  114. Scott - all very good points. The answer to the original question will depend on many factors, not the least of which is subject matter. Rafal did give a print size, 40", which can be challenging to meet. MF will still show some advantage there, but not nearly as much as just a few years ago. It will be interesting to see what the next generation of 35mm sensors can accomplish.
     
  115. Daniel, I agree with you that when comparing 35mm film and DSLRs, the main differences are in style - a lot more so than in technical qualities like resolution.
     
  116. Daniel,
    I just finished framing the tree above and it is on the the wall ready to sell (picture with my phone). This is TMAX 400 35mm printed at 24x34 and framed at 30x40.
    Next to it, I have the prints - same size - from the commissioned 5D work from a different photographer (I can't show them since they are not mine). Post processed b&W.
    I am looking at them in front of me as I write this. 24x34 prints framed at 30x40. The difference is brutally obvious to the viewers that stopped by today. That's why I encourage people to try b&W film even 35mm and use the forum's help to progress.
    This is not a resolution chart test. Agreeing with Daniel, there is a lot more to it. Only understandable while standing in front of the prints.
    00VQGQ-206859684.jpg
     
  117. "(When) Will 35mm DSLR Exceed MF Film Image Quality?"
    For some photographers it already has. For others it never will. This suggests to me that the skill set, experience, and attention to detail of the photographer/processor/printer is much more important to finished print quality than the gear.
     
  118. Daniel,
    Thank you for the test. They are very good.
    Is there a reason why some of the rivers in the 7D example you posted show black when Velvia shows them blue?
     
  119. Frankly, the question is 100% irrelevant to me. 6x6 gives me more resolution than I know what to do with. I like the mechanical feel of my Bronica, and prefer the look of film over digital.
    The whole notion that more resolution = a 'better' photograph is just an outgrowth of the Megapixel flavored Kool Aid that the pixel peepers have become drunk on.
    When I can buy a $300 camera that kills MF in every way (not just raw pixel count), give me a call. Until then, "Phhhht!" :)
     
  120. Is there a reason why some of the rivers in the 7D example you posted show black when Velvia shows them blue?
    I'm not sure. At first I thought maybe the rivers were a Bayer artifact since they are very thin and are color detail, and I would expect a Bayer sensor to have lower resolution with certain colors than with others. But Les Sarile has a 40D sample that shows them correctly. I noticed his D2x sample has the same issue my 7D sample has. So I'm guessing it's a RAW converter or converter setting issue in this case, though that caveat about Bayer sensors still applies. A Bayer sensor will show a slightly higher resolution with a B&W test chart than with a color test chart, and the resolution will vary somewhat depending on the color.
     
  121. One of the things I notice in Daniel's test is that even with the MF shot there is a fair bit of noise in the image, gives everything a textured look. By the time you are looking close enough at a print to see the small extra resolution that the MF image might have the grain is going to be very noticeable. This gets us back into a subjective area when it comes to quality as that grain is going to bother some people far more then others.
    For years my scanned film photos had more resolution then digital camera images, but to my eye the film scans looked soft do to the gain. And prints from the scans also looked way softer then I would expect given the resolution of the scans.
    Now if it was just a question of resolution then I find resolution very easy to achive with stitching. I stated stitching photos not to get more resolution but to get wider fields of view. The full size version of the photo below has a bit more then 120 MP, as a 16 bit / color tiff that is a file 720 MBytes in size. For a print this is more resolutin then is needed. A print from a 8 MP image, when viewed from a normal distance, would look very close to the same.
    [​IMG]
    100% crop from above
    [​IMG]
     
  122. I wondered what members thought about the next few years of the best in 35mm DSLR image quality with respect to prints, say up to 30x40" in size viewed on a home or office wall, as compared to what can be achieved from a 6x6 or so traditionally enlarged or scanned (is that 81MP?) and digitially printed film.​
    Like other posters, I believe image quality is a subjective term and the two media can't be easily compared as apples to apples.
    Many people focus on resolution only. I believe the current top of the line cameras with 20+mp sensors provide comparable quality to MF up to 13x19" or maybe larger. I don't have direct comparison, but I believe for 30x40 you would need at least around 24mp. If you look at other attributes of image quality, as grain (or lack thereof) or color accuracy, digital has been better than film for some time now.
     
  123. I have to agree with Karl Fermedfor above.
    The resolution I have seen from labs at 300 - 450 dpi on RA4 from digital files leaves me feeling that the images are mushy, and the tones look plastic like.
    I recently had photo from Ireland enlarged to 10x10 at the lab from a 3000dpi scan of a 6x6 negative, and I wasn't impressed with the sharpness of the print. Just for laughs I then printed it in my RA4 darkroom with a good nikon lens, and the difference was very very noticable. It was this print which motivated me to set my darkroom back up and go on the hunt for elusive colour chemicals.
    It is true that dealing with problem negatives is easier in the digital realm, but I have come to the conclusion that the lab printing technologies are incapable of rendering the detail that an optical print can make, and that it isn't even really capable of rendering a full frame 24 mega pixel sensor's image to it's full glory.
    I have a 16x20 print of the Grand Canyon in my cube, and I always get comments such as "wow... what a sharp print... must be a digital print, or taken with a digital camera". They always seem shocked when I tell them it came from a 6x4.5 negative and they can see the individual shrubs at the bottom of the valley.
    If you're comparing a print from a digital file on a mushy RA4 led printer, then I'd say yes digital has has reached the capacity of 35mm (especially the full frame stuff), and maybe is close to medium format at the smaller sizes. However, if you compare it against a custom optical print, in my eyes anyways, the optical print is much sharper. That is why I have gone back to the darkroom. I just gotta make sure I expose well enough to not have a problem neg.
     
  124. Daniel, that is what I thought. If this is color interpolation where the 7D (or raw processor) guessed wrong, it is safe to conclude that, at least in color resolution, 35mm Velvia still outresolves the lates (crop) DSLR.
    I have seen similar problems when we were testing DSLRs against Ektar 35mm where the colors and shapes created were different than the original subject.
    This could explain why when I see a picture I've taken with my DSLR, even if it is downsampled for the web, it still looks somewhat synthetic to me. It is hard to explain, but this could be a contributor since colors that were interpolated wrong will ultimately be downsampled wrong as well.
    Thank you for the response again.
     
  125. Colin,
    It is a fact that a lot of information can be lost in a bad scan and also in the print. These also combine to make people believe that their DSLR capture similar information than their 6x7 negatives.
     
  126. Also, Daniel I observed even the Howtek scan looks very losy to me. This is my own scan at my humble Coolscan 9000 from not even Velvia but just color negative that Les Sarile provided for me to scan. I upsized your 7D example using Bicubic alg in CS4 to match the size of the scan.
    As you can see, the scan step is where most people leave the information behind.
    00VQXo-207073584.jpg
     
  127. Those differences will certainly be material on a 30x40 print. Using a full frame 20MP+ DSLR will be an improvement but not in the order of magnitude needed to catch up.
    Velvia or TMX B&W film are also vastly superior than Kodak UC.
     
  128. Mauro,
    I could be wrong but it looked like Daniel had already upsampled the output from the 7D in his examples.
    At this point some clearity as to what we are looking at would help a lot, such as what size MF was Daniel's shots, as well as what size film was used for your scan. I don't think it is safe to assume the same FOV in both shots. It would also be nice to know how much if any Daniel scaled up his samples and what his scan resolutin was.
    I for one am getting lost as to just what we are looking at with both the 7D shots as well as the film scans.
     
  129. A lot of this has to do with the kind of photgraphy one does. I have prints on my walls that are 60" wide from a 35mm digital system. These prints make a single image from any medium format system look sad. They even beat large format film. That is because they are composites. It takes me less time with my 35mm slr to make many of my composites than the same photographer making a single medium format or large format image.
    So if you are making images of things that are not moving, 35mm dslr images can now easily beat any form of SINGLE image made from film.
    If you are making images that require a great deal of DOF, 35mm systems are also superior to medium format.
    So it comes down to how you use your camera, and what you shoot. A wonderful development in photography for me is to have the ease of use of a 35mm system with almost any kind of image quality I want. True, MF digital blows away 35mm digital on many levels, but it's heavy, big, slow, no high ISO, silly expensive and has low DOF. So for me, it's 35mm digital for now.
    In the end though, I have to agree with Matt's first sentiment. If you can't blow people away in a 30x40 with a D3x and good technique, then quality is not your problem.
     
  130. Mauro - Daniel, that is what I thought. If this is color interpolation where the 7D (or raw processor) guessed wrong, it is safe to conclude that, at least in color resolution, 35mm Velvia still outresolves the lates (crop) DSLR.
    If there was no evidence of a converter issue with regard to the rivers I would agree that Velvia had the edge on high contrast color detail. But knowing that a 40D can resolve the rivers indicates a converter setting or issue. (I was using a beta version of ACR.) When I have the time I will re-convert using different settings and converters and see where the issue lies, but given the 40D sample I cannot conclude that this is actually a resolution issue as opposed to a software issue. I think the 35mm vs. DSLR debate in terms of technical merit is done, and I'm comfortable saying that the 7D out performed 35mm Velvia in all respects, and matched the well regarded but now discontinued 35mm Tech Pan.
    As for MF, a lot of the difference between your Kodak UC sample and the Velvia sample comes down to levels and chosen sharpening. That level of brightness and contrast in a normal print would come off as cartoonish. Though it still appears that the CoolScan recovered more B&W detail. Velvia on the Howtek did better on the contours. That's interesting because I would expect the Howtek to out perform the CoolScan in all respects, but apparently not. The CoolScan 9000 is really quite the scanner.
    The view you presented looks like the equivalent of a (roughly) 120 inch print. Scaled to a 40 inch equivalent magnification there's not nearly as much apparent difference between the two, especially if the 7D sample is given similar sharpness, brightness, and contrast settings. You would notice the difference in print, but it wouldn't stand out like it does in the above magnification. I consider the 7D to be an excellent 16x24 - 20x30 camera, depending on subject matter. If I needed a 40" print of certain subject matter (i.e. landscape) I would most likely stitch frames.
     
  131. Scott,
    All testers shoot the map covering the frame. For easy comparison, a long as the same area of the map is the same size on the screen the resampling is right.
     
  132. Daniel,
    I agree DSLRs today can make very good large prints. Unless someone hangs them on a wall next to a MF film based print side-by-side, they look good up to 16x20 or even higher for some people.
    I have always been happy with the CS9000. It is not the best out there but it is, by far, the best for the money.
    I love DSLRs and they do a good job even on large prints. I am able to tell the difference (both in technical and subjective qualities) when compared to film and as a result I prefer film. But some people prefer digital and some can't tell the difference.
    Most of what I do sell or present on my walls is from B&W 6x7 though. With film I can always count on what I envision to be ready-made out of tank. With digital I just can't achieve that. It may be a personal preference.
     
  133. I really don't want a 30x40 of any picture on my wall; Maybe a painting but not a picture. I actually prefer small pictures in 8x10 frames, and the composition and subject matter of the picture is much more important to me then the sharpness or lack of grain. Put me down for who cares about clinical photography. I'm into the art of it.
     
  134. I shoot digital for most of my shots of structures (bridges)...and find the resolution and convenience of computer storage and sharing just right for my purpose. However I do have a Mamiya C330 and still shoot some of the bridge details with Ilford HP5+...and do the processing in house. And I must say the detail on a 6 X 6 negative is hard to beat.
    I have a question for Brad Cloven...I also own an Agfa Billy Record (it doesn't say II on it) and obtained it in 1946 in Frankfurt Germany. Recently I tried to load 120 film in it but the plastic film spools fit too tight in the camera and won't pull through...have you had this problem? The film I used in 1946 I obtained at the Army PX and the spools were metal and probably thinner than today's plastic...Ed Armstrong
     
  135. Agree it is timely to revisit. I am fortunate enough to have a Mamiya 7 with 65mm lens, and a Sony A900 with a diverse set of alt lenses. I never enjoyed the linear, clinical faded colour of digital compared to a well-worked Astia 100F file, until the Sony sensor (D3X also uses it) arrived - it is a game changer and I hope the Nikon crew get a D800 (or whatever) with it soon.
    In terms of resolution I have no complaints about either. If large prints is the intention, both technologies are aided and abetted by the progress in printing and colour management, papers, processes, etc. A print is also kind to images in a way that high def screens are cruel.
    The main other point I want to get across is that the attraction to, and preference for MF film is the stylistic look and specific aesthetic that large film so effortlessly delivers; after a century of development it is one hell of a refined imaging system. The Sony is attracting a lot of pros and/or Leica users - not surprising, because of its film-like, decidely un-digital colour rendition. Separation of the kind you see in MFDBs but with less Mps. Not a particularly high pixel density either.
    I still feel the 6x7 images are very special, unimpeachable really. But for nature and travel work the Sony has giant advantages - DR, especially highlight roll-off, that just goes on and on (at low ISO) and very clean greyscale tones at and near each end of the tonal scale, even with high levels of chromaticity. These benefits really add to image authenticity, which combined with photographic appeal is the goal for me.
     
  136. Digtal images appear to be flat and lack image depth. They resemble an image cut out from a magazine. To see this difference between a film made print and a digital image, scan an 8 x 10 inch photo made with film and compare the two. To an experienced photographer the difference is apparent. It is not the sharpness but the quality of the print that is the defference. This difference is also apparent with images made from a digital camera and a image made via the traditional photography methords.
     
  137. By the way,
    Going to the OP's question in a more practical way:
    Theoretically, DSLRs can handle large B&W prints but in reality -in my experience- they don't. (AA Filter, color interpolation, B&W conversion difficulties, lack of resolution, etc are just attempts to explain that fact - plus subjective preferences as well as Daniel pointed out).
    I would like to see otherwise though. Is there any one who can provide their best DSLR file processed B&W so I can print it at 30x40 or equivalent to see what the results are?
    If that is possible, I would appreciate the experience and the comparison to my prints first hand (most are from 6x7 TMAX).
    Thank you in advance.
     
  138. I'm sorry Raymond but I can't agree. In my experience, with proper post-processing and proper printing, digital images ON AVERAGE look better to me than chemistry images. It's a matter of taste to some degree, but post processing matters so much here.
    The individual shot matters a lot as well. Sometimes film just renders the scene in a more visually pleasing way depending upon the light and subject. But other times it doesn't. I don't think it's a clear black and white issue.
    Cheers, JJ
     
  139. Well, the great news is is that is just does not matter anymore. If you are good matters, what you put on the wall matters. So if you want to use film, use film, if you want to use digital, use digital. All you do in trying to see which one is better in science is get away from raw talent, the thing that matters most.
    Oh, the magazine article I shot last night was on black and white film in a Hasselblad, because I like it.
     
  140. Scott, that is a nice picture.
    The gray tones do not look attractive to me but it is a subjective matter. It is difficult to explain but here you can compare against true B&W film (the one just I just posted but larger). It is a crop of TMAX 400 35mm pushed to 800.
    http://shutterclick.smugmug.com/Landscapes/Places/3639504_X4XUj#758134723_utqbU-X3-LB
    (there are several other shot I posted on the website to share with photo.net where you can look at the tones as well)
    The detail is very good. Is this several shots stitched together?
     
  141. Stitching and other techniques are very useful. Like you mention, in particular when you need a panorama shot with a compressed focal length. For this particular use, I have stitched film pictures as well.
     
  142. My shot is of several shots stitched, as you can tell it is a very wide angle shot.

    The gray tones can be adjusted somewhat to taste, for example I can boost the contrast to make it look more dramatic, but less realistic.
    [​IMG]
    Given the three color filters on my camera I can only approximate the spectral response of a given BW film, but with filters in from of the lens I could do much more.
     
  143. The only problem with digital (35mm DSLR) is that it has that glow around the edge look like it came from a TV screen in the highlights and shadow detail. I think most of the younger people raised in a purely digital work flow won't notice this problem, but I do.
    I own a new 12 mp DSLR, and Medium format gear with a Nikon 9000 scanner. This digital glow is subtle but evident if you look hard at the highlights and shadow area in a DSLR image. Film records light at the molecular level using silver halide. I don't think the digital sensors record info at such a molecular level.
    Digital makes subjects in the foreground look sharp and clean like MF film, but objects in the background lack the definition of film. That's why digital looks great for portraits and weddings. Also high iso and low light are better with digital. But when it comes to 16x20 and larger prints, film starts showing why it has better resolution than digital. There's been several discussions on photo.net about the resolution problem of digital. There was a great one last year showing how much better film was at resolving on http://www.photo.net/film-and-processing-forum/00SSfp. Notice the lettering on the crushed red pepper.
     
  144. One respect in which MF is much better than digital is in transparency projection. I had a Pentax 6x7 (which was stolen) and replaced it with a Linhof Super Technika with 6x7 and 6x9 backs. I also acquired a Linhof 6x7 projector, and the projected images can be huge. I understand it's the same format as Imax movies.
    The image can be so big, with such great detail, that you can walk right up close to the equivalent position from where you took the photo. Converging verticals seem to vanish. One seems to step right into the photo, and have to turn your head this way and that to see everything — just like it was on site.
    I don't think that digital projectors are anywhere close to this, but I might be wrong
     
  145. Scott, you do a fantastic job stitching. I did not see any obvious seams or DOF inconsistencies. Also the flow of the clouds looks very natural.
     
  146. Thanks Mauro,
    There really should not be any DOF issues since I always use manual focus when shooting for stitching. As for the clouds I shoot with a panoramic head that allows very fast shooting, about 1.5 seconds between shots, so there is very little time for the clouds to move between shots.
     
  147. Sometimes in panoramic shooting as you rotate the head the same subject would move significantly in and out of the plane of focus. Nothing I noted in your shot.
     
  148. Scott - you did do a very good job stitching that shot, and it's a nice composition. Nice work!
    Well regarded B&W work often has very strong areas of dark shadow detail and bright highlight detail, as in Mauro's shot, which is why (I think) Mauro made the comment about the gray tones.
    It should be noted that this look is not automatic with B&W film either. It can take quite a bit of work. The whole point of the zone system is to control tonal separation and placement with scenes that would otherwise produce either muddy prints or off the chart contrast. I've spent hours in the darkroom trying to produce prints with that crisp B&W look, strong blacks and whites without anything "blown", and also good mid tone separation. So it's no surprise that achieving the same in Photoshop also takes some work.
    Sometimes when these debates come up good B&W work is presented as "the B&W film look" as if all one has to do is load some B&W film. You might get that lucky with the occasional scene that just happens to match the range and tonal curve of your film. Likewise you might get that lucky with a digital shot and automatic conversion with a plugin. But more often than not it takes considerable effort.
     
  149. Erik Schaug [​IMG], Jan 09, 2010; 11:33 a.m.
    I don't think that digital projectors are anywhere close to this, but I might be wrong​
    About the highest resolution projectors that I know of do something like 4096x2400 a good 6x7 slide should have a fair bit more resolution then that. You have to be careful went comparing projector resolution to camera resolution. A really good sharp image at 4096x2400 is going to look sharper then the same number of pixels from a standard digital camera, the bayer pattern limits the resolution of a DSLR. I am sure the image from such a projector would be very impressive, given a good source image, but it comes at a very high cost.
     
    But I remember it was not that long ago that we were paying around $6,000 for a projector that did 800x600 pixels. So who know what will be available 20 years from now.
     
    As time go on it is going to be easier to project high resolution digital images and harder to find projectors for MF slides, so I would be sure to scan your slides now so that in the future you have the option of viewing them either way.
     
  150. Here's a small test. Is the following picture of film or digital origin?
    (other) scott
    [​IMG]
     
  151. Dan South wrote:
    Who CARES why you want higher resolution? That's YOU'RE business. Shoot 8x10 if you like. Your chosen resolution is completely YOUR OWN choice whether you're a novice, an enthusiast, or a highly successful professional. Maybe one person wants to send baby pictures via email while another person wants to create mural-sized prints or their kids' smiling faces. Use a camera that can give you the resolution you desire and be happy.​
    I just deleted what I wrote in pure frustration. You guys go on ahead now and waste your precious time debating useless comparisons and I will go out and make photos, daily.
     
  152. "As time go on it is going to be easier to project high resolution digital images and harder to find projectors for MF slides, so I would be sure to scan your slides now so that in the future you have the option of viewing them either way."
    Thanks for the response, Scott. You are right about MF projectors, even though mine is a battleship quality Linhof. I've had to replace the small rubber belt which drives the fan — had to get it specially made. I'm also apprehesive about replacing the halogen bulb, they won't be making them forever, I imagine. Your reply makes me think I should stockpile a few.
    Nevertheless making digital copies would be the smart thing to do, but I'm an amateur and the cost of digitizing over 2000 mounted slides would be prohibitive and not tax deductible. What are the prospects of copying them with a really good digital camera with a macro lens? In film days the slide copying device ( a slide viewer which attached to the lens of the copying camera, as I recall) seemed to work quite well. Maybe something similar, perhaps a hood placed on top of a light table?
    My present digital camera is a simple Sony Cybershot, which is not up to the task: the image at macro setting is very distorted. But I would like to get a good quality digital camera in the near future.
     
  153. Is the following picture of film or digital origin?​
    Yes.
     
  154. Nevertheless making digital copies would be the smart thing to do, but I'm an amateur and the cost of digitizing over 2000 mounted slides would be prohibitive​
    And it would be a waste of your time as the slides will still exist after the digital files have disappeared or gone corrupt. Just scan them as and when you need to use them. Setting out with the intention of scanning 2000 is just madness.
     
  155. I scanned a bit more then 2000 of my slides and a fair number of negatives. Not a waste of time since both the slides and negatives are deteriorating. And in the future there is no guaranty that I will have a working film scanner. It took a long time to scan the negatives, but it was kind of fun to go through all the slides and I am very glad I have digital versions now.
    Also when friends visit I can quickly find photos going back over 25 years, with slide this was much harder to do.
     
  156. Scanning 2000 slides is only stupid if you wait 'til AFTER you've cut them all to scan them.


    I've tens of thousands of digital files. Don't have all my film scanned, nor do I feel a burden to do so, because I know how to properly store negatives and slides, but it certainly is nice to have an (almost) free back up in case of a catastrophe.


    That windmill in the digital B&W photo is totally blown out. That's what I don't like about digital. It's quite easy to blow out a film print in the darkroom too, but with digital it is hard not too, especially in JPEG.
     
  157. Karl,
    Whereas it is indeed easy to blow out highlights in a digital photo the only ones blown out in the original full size image was a glint off one of the windows, and with the raw file I can get even this back in if I really wanted to. You can see the full size image here
    http://sewcon.com/samples/lighthouse.jpg
    The one you likely were looiking as was the small one where I really boosted the contrast, a look I often see in current BW film images.
    I find that when shooting in raw mode I rarely blow out the highlights, but when making a print were I am limited to a much smaller dynamic range then the image has it is often good to let some of the image go to all white. I have shot film for many years an know this is just as much an issue with making a print from film as it is from digital.
     
  158. In the 1970's I had several Cibachromes made. They have not changed. However the original Ektachromes have deteriorated very badly. But the B/W negatives from that era are still perfect. Moral: shoot more B/W film and use it as the ultimate backup to a digital copy.
     
  159. I feel obliged to say "Thank You" to everyone who contributed and "I'm Sorry" to those who may have been upset by my question. I have learned a lot and above all I now have a good feeling for how inconclusive this matter is at this point of time - excitingly. :)
     
  160. I believe you are comparing two completely different kind of photography. Neil mentioned in his posting that if you would like to get "film look" from digital SRL then I agree - answer is NEVER. If you look just for resolution power than answer is: "it is just matter of time". Today's 24Mp SRL files will probably one day equal 81Mp file from scanned 6x6, it would happen in probably less then 5 years. From my point of view when this will happen it will be still irrelevant to me and I will shoot film until last roll of 120 available because I love film look. So, it is your choice what do you prefer, what work you are mostly doing, personal preferences, budget (despite top digital SRL's price today equal MF gear pricing anyway). If you shoot reportage or weddings well, I guess 6x6 is not the gear you need or want to use, it is bulky, heavy and time required for films development is some kind of work just impossible to deal with. I believe the answer to your question is rather recommendation - make clear what your needs and preferences are.
     
  161. When Will 35mm DSLR Exceed MF Film Image Quality?​
    I think the answer is Tuesday.
     
  162. I thought the answer was "42."
    Interesting to see if anyone's opinions have changed in a year.
     
  163. I really don't understand why is film negatives suppose to last longer than digital files? Can't both format be victims of our careless? Can't a film negative be lost, destroyed, etc. just like a digital file?
    Yes, computers are untrusty machines, but it is always advisable, even more with our precious photos, to setup a good backup system. With a proper backup one can have two, three, etc. copies of our digital files.
     

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