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It all comes down to the print


mauro_franic
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<p>People often wonder how film holds in resolution and sharpness on large prints. <br>

Even though photographers who work with film and large prints share their experience, there is no substitute to observing the print results first hand.</p>

<p>So here it is. I created a letter sized 360dpi test sheet everyone can print at home and make observations with the print on hand.<br>

This test will show how detail holds on prints of different sizes from different MF films scanned with a Coolscan 9000. You can also observe what a 10MP DSLR looks like in comparison.</p>

<p>If you are interested, just click on the link below, save the picture to your computer, open it in photoshop and set the image size to 360dpi (8.5x11) and print it on your printers maximum resolution.<br>

http://shutterclick.smugmug.com/Photography/Resolution-and-Diffraction/6302153_PLzKe#836991470_Gx2FJ-O-LB</p>

<p>Enjoy.</p>

<div>00WErk-236577684.thumb.jpg.aba6c6d59a60113478131cf8b30f7685.jpg</div>

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<p>So a print made with less enlargement (medium format to a given size) looks better than one with more enlargement (APS-C to a given size).</p>

<p>I bet if you tested against large format, you'd find that large format fares even better.</p>

<p>This isn't about how well film holds up. This is showing that the less you enlarge, the better resolution you end up with. </p>

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<p>Eric, a 10MP crop sensor 40D with the 60mm macro is not limited by the lens or the format. This is as good as a 10 MP DSLR can give you. Especially since we are no measuring DOF or high ISO noise.<br /> <br /> A 20MP DSLR only has 35% more linear resolution than a 10MP DSLR. This is a minimal difference. Immaterial for large prints.</p>

<p>About this exercise; (how well scanned film holds detail when printed large):<br /> <br /> For one moment try to ignore the DSLR, since it is leaps below MF film.<br /> <br /> Just look at how well the detail holds on 30x40 MF fim. That is the point. You are holding it in your hand.</p>

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<p>Most people by now know that many 35mm films (especially B&W) outresolve DSLRs and Leica digitals.<br /> The goal of posting the test sheet I created is for people to print it at their homes and learn first hand how film preserves detail on large prints. This is a question that many people seem to ask nowadays when moving from digital to film. Hopefully having this test readily available for them will help.</p>

<p> </p>

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<p>What magnification is represented on the test print at 8x11"? Rephrasing, what is the original size and resolution of each test patch? Please describe the process by which you created this test print, starting with the resolution chart (i.e., the geometry). If there is a link to this information, I didn't see it on your website.</p>
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<p>THE SHOT:</p>

<p>The shots are from a previous test. They were taken as follows:<br>

<br /> A resolution chart was shot in a studio using an RZ67+110m lens (at f11 I recall) and multiple revolving backs for the different films. The same chart was shot with a Canon 40D+60mm macro at ISO100 (at f5.6 I recall). All shots were composed so the resolution chart occupied the same proportion on the frame.</p>

<p>The resolution chart fits 6.9 times in the height of the film frame and 7.2 times in the 40D frame. They are as close as I could compose them.</p>

<p>The chart represents 100x lines per pic height You can multiply the number in the chart by 690 on the film shots to translate into lines per pic height. You can multiply by 720 in the 40D shot.</p>

<p>The 40D resolves just under mark 3. Aprox 2000 lines per pic height.</p>

<p>Scanned TMAX film resolved btw mark 11 and 12. Aprox 8000 lines per pic height.</p>

<p>(TMAX film under the microscope resolved mark 17. Aprox 12000 lines per pic height.)</p>

<p> </p>

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<p>THE TEST PRINT:</p>

<p>On the test print, the 24x30 mark represents the scan at 100% (360 dpi from a Coolscan gives you aprox 24x30 print).<br>

The rest of the film and 40D squares were sampled proportionally (up or down) as needed to produce prints of the several sizes at 360 dpi.</p>

 

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<p>What is the size of the resolution target? Were the shots taken with the long axis of the film/image in the same direction as the long axis of the resolution target? Did you compose to fill the frame on one axis, or contain the entire resolution target (perhaps you could post a representative thumbnail of the entire 6x7 shot and from the 40D)? How do you define "lines per pic(ture) height"?</p>

<p>Please bear with me. This is a good presentation, I'm just trying to understand what it means and how it could be reproduced.</p>

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<p>What is the size of the resolution target?</p>

<p>The size of the resolution target was slightly over 12x18. The distance to the target was set to make the target fir aprx 7 times vertically so it could register both the resolution of the DSLR on the low end and the resolution of the film on the high end without being out of boundary.</p>

<p>___<br>

Were the shots taken with the long axis of the film/image in the same direction as the long axis of the resolution target?</p>

<p>Yes.</p>

<p>___<br>

Did you compose to fill the frame on one axis, or contain the entire resolution target (perhaps you could post a representative thumbnail of the entire 6x7 shot and from the 40D)?</p>

<p>The target fit about 7 times in the frame. I think this is the full shot with the 40D: http://shutterclick.smugmug.com/Photography/Resolution-and-Diffraction/6302153_PLzKe#397417081_DDt6c-X2-LB</p>

<p>___<br>

How do you define "lines per pic(ture) height"?<br>

This is how many lines are resolved in the height of the picture (e.g. the 40D resolves aprox 2000 lines from top to bottom of the frame).</p>

<p> </p>

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<blockquote>

<p>It all comes down to the print</p>

</blockquote>

<p>That is simply not true. While it is free to choose to be as restricted/narrow minded as we want, we cannot assume that is ALL there is. Obviously, one can choose to work only with B/W films, choose to use large format only, choose to do lanscapes only, ..., for examples. But dont assume that photography is ALL about B/W large format lanscapes.</p>

<p>1. I dont consider positive slides as "prints". Some may like these slides more than prints. One reason is that they have better dynamic range than prints</p>

<p>2. More and more people are looking at "pictures" on "monitors". They buy digital picture frames, they store their favorite pictures on computers, cell phones, and key chains. Even here, in photo.net, we discuss about many pictures of our members, we vote and give awards to many members for their pictures posting on this site. My question is how many of us say "wait! Let me PRINT the picture out first, with my best printer before I can say it is a good or bad picture" or we just zoom in( and out) on our monitor and say "Wow, this is the picture of the month!"</p>

<p>3. I believe our habit of consider the "prints" are the pictures comes from the fact that in the beginning we dont see what we captured until we print it out. That way of thinking may be "printed" (or burnt) in some of us. This is similar to the reason why some of us dont want to read books (including comic books, newspaper,...) uploaded on the internet (they need to print them out before they can read), dont consider RAP is any kind of music,...</p>

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<p>Ben, comparing APS-C to a MF camera like a Mamiya 7ii for example, involves two cameras of the same size. He simply used a RZ67. Pretty easy concept to grasp.</p>

<p>Try this instead....use a FF 5D2 and compare it to RZ. The RZ still wins. </p>

<p>Funny, people have no problem comparing a FF 24mp Nikon to a tiny 35mm rangefinder like a Leica for comparison. I guess it's only unfair if the results don't agree with your biases.</p>

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<blockquote>

<p><a href="../photodb/user?user_id=419409">Edward Ingold</a> <a href="../member-status-icons"><img title="Subscriber" src="http://static.photo.net/v3graphics/member-status-icons/sub9.gif" alt="" /><img title="Frequent poster" src="http://static.photo.net/v3graphics/member-status-icons/3rolls.gif" alt="" /></a>, Apr 15, 2010; 03:16 p.m.</p>

<p><em>Ben, comparing APS-C to a MF camera like a Mamiya 7ii for example, involves two cameras of the same size. </em><br />16x24 mm vs 56x64 mm is the same size? Who's nuts? Are you implying a Leica would hold up against 6x7? We are so not worthy ;-)</p>

</blockquote>

<p>If you look at the camera BODIES, they are about the same size. Who cares if the sensor or film inside is smaller or larger than the other. That has been an excuse for years for people getting upset their mighty, multi-thousand dollar DSLR couldn't match the quality of a $300 MF film body.</p>

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<blockquote>

<p>People often wonder how film holds in resolution and sharpness on large prints.</p>

</blockquote>

<p>But that is not what you have shown. You have shown that MF film beats APS-C digital. But has anyone claimed otherwise? Surely a better comparison would be 5DII vs MF because some <em>have</em> claimed parity or 5DII against 35mm film (plenty of those have been done)</p>

<blockquote>

<p>A 20MP DSLR only has 35% more linear resolution than a 10MP DSLR. This is a minimal difference. Immaterial for large prints.</p>

</blockquote>

<p>Then why, oh why, is 5DII seen as being so superior in all respects to APS-C in larger prints? Either I misunderstand everything I have read on this, or everyone who says this is wrong, or you are bringing your own biases to the extrapolation.</p>

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<p>Dave,</p>

 

<p>A typical luxury yacht is about the same size as a fighter jet, yet the jet can go about 50 times

faster than the yacht.</p>

 

<p>A Canon Digital Rebel is about the same size as a Canon film Rebel, and yet they both produce

results of comparable quality. On the other hand, a Canon 5DII is about the same size as a Canon 3-series film body, and the 5DII blows away the film body in terms of image quality.</p>

 

<p>Compare a modern medium format digital back with its film equivalent, and they’re about the

same size. But you have to go to large format film before the image quality compares with the medium

format digital.</p>

 

<p>So, again…which medium has the size and quality advantage?</p>

 

<p>By all means, shoot film. It’s a wonderful medium. There’s lots of great art yet to be

created with film, and I’d love to see you be the one to create some of it. But do please

let’s be realistic when making comparisons, okay?</p>

 

<p>Cheers,</p>

 

<p>b&</p>

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<p>The point it is not to compare the resolution of MF film to a DSLR. Although my Mamiya 7II, as Dave pointed out, is the same size as a DSLR. As you can tell the differences in resolution are not in the same order of magnitude and cannot be compared.</p>

<p>The point of this exercise is, for those interested, to create a handy tool for people to be able to definitely answer the question of how detail hold on large prints from film. </p>

<p>By SIMPLY PRINTING A LETTER SIZED TEST at home, people can now answer that question decisevly and first hand while holding the print to your eyes.</p>

<p>I never saw a tool like this shared before; so I hope it becomes valuable for many people.</p>

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