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Ektar 100 versus Alpha 900, Velvia 100, Portra 160VC and TMax 100


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Very nice and detailed review. I also agree with a previous poster, that I'm not willing to get caught up in the debate which format is better. Rather, I am happy that digital is now resolving in the film range and has given me a choice to consider more looks for my shooting, (I have a 1Ds and 40D). With digital I always get the shot first, and follow up with film if desired. I also shoot at medium format film for those special scenes that I feel would benefit.

 

The fact that Kodak is releasing a new emulsion is comforting in itself in terms of film being around for a while longer. I may just try a few rolls to see how it works for me in lieu of 160VC. I don't have a dedicated 35mm scanner, (I actually shoot my negs against light table on stand with a digital (fix in lightroom), and use an Epson Expression for medium format. Most of my prints are up to 30", and it suits me well.

 

Fantastic times were are living in, more choices... for now.

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Well, for those like Mauro concerned with the max. resolution of the Alpha 900, it turns out DPReview has done a good job and answered all of your questions. They photographed a test chart with double the resolution of mine, so going all the way up to the Alpha 900 theoretical max. resolution of about 84 lp/mm (4000 line pairs per picture height). See here for the result page with a comparison to Canon's top model 20MP+ beast:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydslra900/page35.asp

 

To download the actual test chart photo, it's here:

http://a.img-dpreview.com/reviews/NikonD700/samples/comparedto/res/A900_Res_f7.1.JPG

 

As you can see, my prediction of the Alpha 900 fulfilling almost it's full 84 lp/mm max resolution, was justified and confirmed by DPReview. Scroll down on the main page to the resolution table as well.

 

Cheers,

 

Marco

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Marco, I think I did not make it too clear to you and I think you have misunderstood my response. My fault. I love films. What I was trying to point out is the grainy scans of films could easily mislead one's mind to jump on a negative perception toward films. Some would probably look at the grains and say: look, films are clearly inferior. I understood that wasn't your intention. That should not be a significant factor in comparing those films vs. Alpha 900. When printing at moderate enlargements these films are grainless. At max enlargement those grains could easily carry people's minds away. I actually do not like grains. But at the sizes that I print I do not have a problem with them.

 

On the other hand, if the test focused a little more on comparing dynamic range, color characteristics, highlight and shadow performances then the differences among these films and Alpha 900 will be more objective. Maybe you did in your test. Maybe I missed it. Any way, knowing the differences is a tremendous benefit for us photographers. So, again thank you for your effort. I hope I got it right this time.

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So would everybody be happy if I put 154 lp/mm as the resolution for Ektar 100

in <A HREF="http://cacreeks.com/films.htm">my film comparison table</A>?

I got this number by dividing 2700 LPPH by 24mm, the frame height for 35mm film.

That number seems close, because datasheets say TMX resolves 200 lp/mm,

and by the same calculation above, Marco's test concluded 220 lp/mm.

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<p>Mauro, in another thread you say: "the new Ektar 100 has very fine grain, wide latitude and it outresolves the new 24MP Sony A900."</p>

<p>I'm sorry, but where's your direct evidence for this? I must have missed it. Marco's data clearly shows otherwise.</p>

<p>Also, I'm really curious about your numbers of 3700 lpph for Ektar 100 and 4100 lpph for Velvia... and how that relates to how much of the detail the CoolScan can really extract out of the film compared to what's on the film. Do you have an extended thread with these results? I'm curious about 4000ppi of LS-9000 vs 8000ppi of Imacon for scanning 35mm film. I have some results from real world pictures I haven't posted yet, but haven't shot resolution test charts yet to compare scanners... though I fully intend to. Have you done this (shot test charts to compare scanners)?</p>

<p>Thanks,<br>

Rishi</p>

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<p>And Mauro, the chart I have (Stephen Westin's) doesn't allow me to test higher than 2000 lpph, correct? Do you use a different chart?</p>

<p>And, sorry, naive question -- do you just set it up so that it is normal to the lens axis, and fill the entire 35mm frame with the chart?</p>

<p>I'd really like to try this all myself to convince myself.<br>

Thanks,<br>

Rishi</p>

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<p>Rishi,<br>

"Mauro, in another thread you say: "the new Ektar 100 has very fine grain, wide latitude and it outresolves the new 24MP Sony A900."<br>

I'm sorry, but where's your direct evidence for this? I must have missed it. Marco's data clearly shows otherwise."</p>

<p>Yes. I posted the result above in this thread.</p>

<p>"<br>

And Mauro, the chart I have (Stephen Westin's) doesn't allow me to test higher than 2000 lpph, correct? Do you use a different chart?<br>

And, sorry, naive question -- do you just set it up so that it is normal to the lens axis, and fill the entire 35mm frame with the chart?"</p>

<p>Just shoot it from farther away so you can't resolve the number 20 detail but close enough so you can resolve at least the number 1 detail.<br>

 </p>

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<p>Mauro, perhaps I'm not understanding something correctly.</p>

<p>The 4.2 you point to in your Ektar resolution chart image: If the test chart is photographed such that it fills the full frame of the camera, DPReview says that if the value '20' is sufficiently resolved, then the sensor resolves 2000 lpph. Meaning their 'chart factor' = 100 lpph.</p>

<p>Now, I know that your resolution chart doesn't take up your full frame, but how did you determine your 'chart factor' to be 890 lpph, therefore resulting in something as low as resolving a value of '4.2' equating to a resolution of 3700 lpph?</p>

<p>How do you determine this 'chart factor'?</p>

<p>Thanks in advance for your help,<br>

Rishi</p>

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<p>Oh, wow, I didn't realize that was a 1:1 crop representing only 1/9 the total image height!<br>

<br /> Is it? If so, you really zoomed out from the resolution chart!<br>

<br /> Still, I think 4.2 is a bit of an exaggeration. If that's a 1:1 crop, I'd probably cap it off somewhere between 3.2 and 3.5, not 4.2. Which would then yield: 3.2 x 8.93 x 100 = 2858 lpph.<br>

<br /> Don't you think?<br /> Rishi</p>

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The films look like trash compared to the A900, like 35mm vs. 4x5. Seeing and seeing clearly are two different things, a point too often missed in discussions of "resolution."

 

It would be nice to see a real scene photographed on all of the above. The films are all at their best with a high contrast, black and white resolution chart. But it's down hill from there for film as film's resolving power is strongly related to detail contrast. The A900 should show similar resolving power even with mid and low contrast details. In the real world the gap will be wider.

 

Pretty much any full frame body will produce higher IQ on real photographs than 35mm film. This A900 comparison, on a target which lends itself to film, just shows how big the gap is with current 20+ MP bodies.

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