Shootout comparison

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by gr82bart, Jun 19, 2004.

  1. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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  2. Timothy

    Timothy Member

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    Shootout..sorta

    It seems to me, that for all the apparant attention to detail the guy did, to provide a "fair" comparison, he was still comparing a Digital scan of a film image to a Digital image . I do not care what anyone says, a fiber based hand made print from an "old fashioned" darkroom still has a life of its own that should not be judged on mere "resolution numbers".
    Lens quality differences between the two systems should also be a factor.
    Anyway, good for you Art, for keeping your faith, you know what you like and yourown subjective judgement is not influenced by this guy's number show.

    Tim
     
  3. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    You have nothing to be depressed about. This guy has been a digital proponent for a long while and his bias shows in the article. There are many things wrong with it. For one a second generation scan from a slide is being compared to a straight digital image. Unless your purpose is to see pictures on a screen, I would have said how about they make a slide of their digital negative and see how it fares? Or how about prints.....I could go on, but lets just say next time you read something like this, write them back and say, ok, lets put my prints next to yours and we will make a judgement...whatch them shut up right away....
     
  4. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Oy, Vey...

    Anyone who has ben a student of Sociology might recognize tell-tale indicators suggesting "propaganda".
    Interesting opinions. He seems to shield them fairly well in one of his last statements (cracked me up):

    ""Ps: If you would like to write to me about this test and my conclusions, that's fine. But please don't write to me and simply say that you disagree."

    He requires that you perform similar "tests" - and not confuse the issues with "numbers or anything - because they don't count.

    What if I simply disagree with the parameters/ format of the tests?

    Anyway, there is one really significant passage:

    "What else is there to say? someone will inevitably ask - Why didn't you do a comparison with a traditional wet darkroom print? The reason is because I no longer do them and because current inkjet prints surpass them - No contest."

    To him, no contest - maybe. To me, SIGNIFICANT "contest."

    What logic - "Digital is superior, because I don't do wet darkroom prints any more."

    And .... and ... Oh, the h*ll with it...

    Anyone think we should all look to Shutterbug Magazine as the ultimate source of unbiased truth?
     
  5. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    LOL....I specially like the last question....
     
  6. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    So what he is saying is that a digital camera is arguably better than a mf slr when the film is scanned by a scanner that has a resolution of between 30% and 50% of the film and is known for its ability to over emphasize film grain ( see imacon's latest model which tries to correct this).

    This is not a shoot out, but a joke. I use an Imacon everyday -- it is a great scanner, but not the equal to the task it has been put to in this test. I have 'played' with enough digital images created by pro photographers, ad agencies (one would assume these were produced by pro's) and consumers made from most every DSLr and digital back.

    The digital images are often great and can (but not always) exceed their film peers when comparing similar sizes and both are producing digital output. When the image is drum scanned and the output is digital the drum scanned film will almost always be better.

    In their native environments film to paper via an enlarger, digital to inkjet or digital RA4 paper, the output from film will generally win in my opinion for a variety of subjective and objective reasons. I am sure this will change eventually.

    Digital offers and will continue to offer a unique image, an efficient work flow and ever increasing resolutions, latitude etc... Film at this moment, from my experience is inch for inch higher res, and has a wider colour gamut.

    I have yet to see a DSLR beat MF regardless of the work flow. Digital is only going to get better and will on its unique strengths and the shear brute force of technological advancements exceed film in most objective areas, but at present claims that the dslr's are better than MF is pretty much bovine intestinal scrap.
     
  7. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    As a very satisfied user of a P67 and three lenses, I can attest to absolutely incredible resolution, sharpness, and contrast when brought to bear on a print I've made myself. I've seen scores of very fine digiprints which (as noted here quite often) have a look of their own, but never one I'd prefer to my own prints using the criteria in this stupid article. Actually, it's the limitation of the digital equipment itself that fails to represent the film based image particularly well. Reading this, I actually got angry...and I hate getting angry. (I'm also not ready to concede 35mm's inferiority to digicams either btw.)

    What never fails to amuse me is that the 'reviewer' who lauds the latest megapixel wonder toy in January owns up the following December, in whatever magazine's 'Year End Roundup!!' he writes for, that next year's wonder toy will knock the socks off the thing that's now obsolete. In fact his whole piece will undertake to explain what major flaws are now significantly improved. And the suckers will run out to buy it. Pathetic!
     
  8. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    Don't worry about it. I ran across Michael's site several years ago. A Google search for Cibachrome printing led me there. His articles were very helpful. He did mention, however, that he was giving up analogue and concentrating on digital. If you work with digital, his articles are helpful. He was also the first site to post Mike Johnson's "Sunday Morning Photographer" so net net, his site is definitely "value added".

    The article you reference is at least 18 months old. When it first came out there was an uproar on photo.net and elsewhere. I wrote to him saying that unless he compared a totally analogue print from the 6x7 to a totally digital print, that it wasn't a meaningful comparison. I never received a reply.

    I've mentioned before that I print my wife's pictures from her Canon 10D using an Epson 2200 for output. I also print my own color negatives. I much prefer my analogue output to hers, especially for people pictures. The transition in skintones from light to shadow in digital is really ugly.

    People have talked themselves into digital, mostly for the instant gratification/security a la Polaroid. The irony is that an 80 dollar Olympus, loaded with kodak porta 400 UC, and processed in a drugstore, would blow away anything they're getting now, with digital.

    There was also a comment when his article came out, from someone who had seen an exhibit of Michael's, that his prints seems very oversharpened. I think there's a different aesthetic at work here. I prefer mine.

    Final note, compare the picture of the Canon vs. the 6x7 Pentax in terms of size. Which would you rather carry? A Hassey should be child's play!
    Take care,
    Tom
     
  9. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    Just to chime in a bit her it goes. I come from a background of printing negatives and chromes from 35mm up to 8x10 as I use to work in a pro lab where the person that trained me was considered a master printer. I learned a lot from this guy.

    I have made enlargements on all sizes and I can assure you that there is no way that a digital camera in the 35mm size can touch any MF or LF prints when enlarged above 16x20. The quality is just lacking in digital. For a one page or two page spread digital is hard to beat but when you want to exhibit your image in a gallery an enlarged 24 inch prints (cibichrome/fiber-bw) or greater blows away any digital file. Now a 4x5 scan back image blow me away with the quality but they are very expensive and not very practical.

    I am really getting tired of the digital hype. Like I said earlier it is all about marketing.

    I have personally taken a MF chrome and BW Neg had it drummed scanned and printed the image on a 7600 then taken a 1DS file and printed on a 7600 and the film print still looked better as it much crisper and sharper when enlarged above the 16x20 point.

    I wouldn’t worry about it to much. No matter how you look at it, right now film in LF and MF is still better in terms of quality than any 35mm digital camera. Also with digital, when photographing a scene with a lot of detail you just cannot enlarge the image as big as a scene with a single subject as the file doesn’t have enough information in the file and started to break up.

    Film on the other hand does not have this limitation.

    Anyway I am done and really tired of digital is better. It isn’t but the marketer will have you believe it. The only thing about digital that I believe it that most people use it because it is convenient. Also many need to realize that it is very expensive as well.
    For example a high end 35mm DSLR is $2K and up then depending on the MP count with current bodies you will have to guy a 1gig memory card, another $200 then you will have to upgrade you computer system to work on the larger files and lastly you will have to buy larger drives to hold the images as well as backup drives and DVD which get expensive. Also DVD and CD are not a long-term solution either. I archived 1 1/2 years ago a bunch of my journalism file and I made two copies of everything. They were stored in a cool dry place and 50% the discs were unreadable. If it weren’t for making two copies I would have lost my images.

    I still have slides and negs from years back.

    Digital is much more expensive then they have you believe and the only people who really win with digital are the companies that push their technology down your throat. Now this just came from a person who shoots both digital and film and lately I have been going back to film even for the assignment work I do.

    I can keep going on and on but I think I am done for now.

    Kev
     
  10. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

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    Whether or not digital is better than analogue is a moot point, if it isn't yet it soon will be! Who'd bet against a gigapixel camera being available before the end of the decade, with 64 bit or more colour depth and a huge dynamic range! Manufactuers are aware of the current shortcomings and will be working hard to overcome them, meanwhile joe public happily keeps buying "prototypes" to fund research. This technology is still in nappies (diapers!) and has a lot of growing up to do. This technology is accelerating quickly.

    Putting that to one side, my reasons for sticking with analogue are basically that I like doing it, I enjoy trying to make good prints and who knows maybe one day I'll manage it. The other is one of percieved value, an inkjet print has no intrinsic value to me, if I want another one all I have to do is open the file and press print, whereas with a traditional one it will have taken some effort from me to produce, however imperfect it may be. I've played around with photoshop, PSP and the gimp quite a lot and can do most things that I would require in them. It leaves me feeling cold though.

    It's no coincidence that ps sounds like bs!

    Also, from joe publics point of view analogue isn't as good as digital. Most high street labs give at best variable results with most being poor. Out of focus with poor colour being the norm rather than the exception. Take a memory card from almost any digital to a lab that supports printing from them and the results are far superior, regardless of the potential of film it simply isn't being taken advantage of. When it comes to snaps digital rules! and if someone can't have the big enlargment they wanted then I doubt it would break their heart, photography just doesn't mean enough to them.

    I believe that film will survive, but it will become marginalised. To do a comparison to the music business, lets hope this is the 80's of photography, with digital and electronic being experimented with by everyone, hopefully once the novelty wears off it will be back to real drums, guitars and pianos, not synthesisers.

    Cheers

    Martin
     
  11. ajuk

    ajuk Member

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    One question that I would like to arise is people mention digital, will get better, but cant film still get better as well?

    I am not acusing this of being BS but one thing I was reading one this guys site earlier today, and he said a few things I knew to be BS, one was along the lines of 'slide film is hard to get hold of and proccesed now"

    So its 6X7cm v Digi at 2.4X3.6 CM

    So the MF is 1.94r x wider and the same can be said for hight as cropping is needed to keep the ratio the same. so Ignor the 1.94 and lets say the the slide is twice the size or 4x the surface area. ok so that means despite what may look like a hugh difference in size the enlargemnt for the 1Ds is only twice that of the 6x7?

    Depite the grain the 67 does have slightly more res. And you could remove that grain in Neat Image if you really wanted to with very little loss of detail but grain doesn't normally show up so much in prints as on a sceen, does it?
    I had always been led to belive the top Slide films already have more res then any lens can deliver, on an SLR at least.
    So if this is wrong, then why are there no modern ISO 25 slide films???
     
  12. Daniel Lawton

    Daniel Lawton Member

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    When you have to blow an image up to extreme levels to see any difference in quality I fail to see the point. High end digital probably does give MF a run for its money and in years to come it will probably compete with LF as well (In terms of resolution). The bottom line however is that we are going beyond the limits of what the human eye can detect. Unless you are making 3x4 foot murals, the extra resolution means little. I prefer the other qualities that film has over digital as well as making the images myself in the darkroom. Almost all of my prints are 11x14 or smaller and a good MF system gives plenty of quality at this print size. No more resolution would make a visible difference in my prints when viewed by the human eye and since I make prints to be viewed by people and not microscopes the author's article doesn't impress me much. They could make a digital camera that resolves 2 million lines and it wouldn't matter at all to me.
     
  13. roteague

    roteague Member

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    No. The Canon Ds MkII, 16.2MP resolves to 75lpm, Velvia resolves to 160lpm. The limiting factor is still the lens.
     
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  15. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I've never been able to get 4x5 transparencies processed as cheaply as I do now, thanks to Calypso Imaging. And, I had no problem getting 100 4x5 sheets and 20 35mm rolls of Velvia. Luminous Landscape is full of ****.
     
  16. ajuk

    ajuk Member

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    So your saying I am wrong because the 6X7 has a lot more res?

    I doubt a 35MM digital camera could never out do large format, the sensor would have to get bigger for that to happen.

    I do think that poeple ditching the MF systems for 35mm digital system is a fad and wil stop when the price of digital backs falls.
     
  17. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Sorry, I mistyped. I believe you are correct. I personally don't believe that a 35mm digital can even out do a 35mm film camera. Resolution is still higher, as is color depth for film.
     
  18. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I can understand peiple being enthusiastic about what they are doing with their new technology. God bless them. Unfortunately, once they buy into it anyone else must be crazy to do otherwise. Sorta like a photographer buying Camera brand X and those who boughy brand Y are stupid.

    I believ that it will be a long time before one can resolve fine detail with greater clarity than 35mm film with these "35mm" digital camera. Remember going from 75 lpm to 160 lpm..to use Roteagues example.. will require over four time as many pixels
     
  19. roteague

    roteague Member

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    There are other issues as well. Remember, each pixel in a digital sensor is only one color (red, green or blue). You have to use software to tell you what the true color should be. With film, you have all three colors (and more) at the same location. Almost everyone of these sites or magazines who try to do a comparison, do so by scanning the film images - the scanning process itself degrades the image (and essentially you are throwing away all the extra sharpness and color that film produces). These people, assume the final image should be a digital one, and use cheap quality scanners in the process (adding another generation). You can mitigate that somewhat, by the scanner you use - I use a Heidelberg Tango; probably the best film scanner made (of course, I don't own one myself).

    As as Joe Cornish points out, film has a physical connection to the scene. Digital only has pixels that are created and deleted everytime the image is copied to a new medium.
     
  20. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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  21. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    I think that the discipline that should be most concerned with Luminous Landscapes is psychology (perhaps psychiatry), not photography. This guy is a zealot and blisters with so many insecurities he could keep a dozen therapists in business. Why this constant need to justify yourself? You like your digital camera - good for you and your flea market quality landscrapes (I've seen them - nothing to write home about). If you are really so sure of your position, good for you - is anyone shoving a film camera in your hands?
    And on top of that, its just humorous when someone puts in a huge disclaimer to stop people from making comments without real data AND quantifying that statement by saying that:
    a) real data is only data obtained in a test much like the one he performed
    b) "no numbers of formulae" - I am sure NASA just called up the guys who walked on the moon before them, so as not to rely on numbers and silly formulae...
    c) "don't send me opinions without backing..." from a man who dismisses the entire POINT of the picture taking process - the print - with an off-hand "I don't want to hear it, ink-jet is better and that's that." As well as someont already mentioned "I don't do them (wet prints) therefore they suck"...

    Not to mention that the drum scan - which is still a SCAN - shows me no visible adventage to the digital image. And complaining about the dust... well, complain to the lab, not the medium...

    And then there is still black and white photography...

    I think this Digital Goebbels needs his little propaganda speeches to boost his opinion of himself by justifing his choices - he should drag his ass to the nearest drug store and get some Viagra, or maybe stop repressing some childhood trauma, whatever it is that makes him so ... maybe he would be less bitter and insecure...
     
  22. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    He doesn't need Viagra - he has a big lens!

    Robert
     
  23. steve

    steve Member

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    Wow. Lot's of insecurity being shown in these posts - at least as much as Reichman's.

    This debate is sooo stupid as to be a moot point on both sides. His "tests" are hardly done in a scientific manner, or to show the best result from either workflow. That's just the facts. They only show an end result that meets his personal values and criteria. That's fine. It works for him - and he makes a living from it.

    Digital and analog have their strong points and weak points - neither is "better" - only different. You need to choose the methods that meet your aesthetic criteria and quit worrying about what or how someone else is working.

    Bashing digital is just as dumb as bashing analog - but, I know it makes you all feel better if you can find a reason that what you're doing is, in some self-justified way, "superior." How about just making superior images and not getting wrapped up in how they were produced? That's the best way to make your point.
     
  24. Troy Ammons

    Troy Ammons Member

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    Half dozen one or the other.

    I dont see that its such a big deal, digital or film. If I am ripping off 300 photos an hour, I want to be shooting digital otherwise I would prefer film.

    Personally for me know, I prefer to shoot film. Its tactile, and that is something that is absolutely lost with digital.

    And how about that plastic digital look. Thats a big negative (no pun). I have never seen people so blown away as when I walked into an art store with a loupe and we put an 8x10 piece of EPP E6 slide film on a light table. Oh but also no color moire with film. That is nasty stuff too.

    Also after 100 years when am gone, I hope someone in my family will still have my slides and negs, but I doubt they will be recopying cd's trying to save digital files, but maybe by then they will have some sort of electronic archival storage.

    As far as resolution, I went down the test it yourself path for a while since I have a drum scanner and I found that with E100G, scans are so smooth and sharp at 2000 dpi that its almost a dead ringer for Canon bayer digital. The same edge sharpness of around 1-2 pixels and smooth.
    With that test I used a Pentax 67II and a 300mm F4 EDIF lens. Absolutely a beast, but the best lens I have ever used.

    If you run NI on that 2000 dpi E100G drumscan to pound out the last bit of noise/grain that is still apparent and sharpen it, it gets that plastic look that a lot of people complain about with digital.

    Also around this time I emailed one of the digital camera makers and really picked there brains on this and that, but more specifically what was done to a raw file, before it was written, and there answer was they are heavily modified in the camera, color, NR, sharpened, etc etc with very complex algorithms.

    If you jump up to 2500 dpi drumscan, it still resolves more detail, but more grain started sneaking in and the edge sharpness goes down to 2-3 pixels. In that case it helps to be using a super super sharp camera like a Mamiya 7.

    You can keep going up and I have gotten even more detail at higher levels, but IMO the limit for super clean E100G scans is around 2000-2500 dpi.

    All that said if you were to compare the same formats like a Fuji 690 to 35mm 1ds mkII, a 2000 dpi scan you give you 4500 x 6750 or 30 mp and that is a file IMO that would be almost identical pixel to pixel straight off the scanner.

    At 2500 dpi you would be talking about 48mp, so I dont really buy all of his argument either.

    Still the tonality, and latitude of film makes it a better choice for me since I am not in a hurry, but if I were shooting weddings or whatnot, I would shoot digital for the most part, that is if they ever get the bugs out.
     
  25. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    I thought about buying a digital camera. But I'd have to spend several months studying just to know which one to buy. And a long time to figure out how to use it. So I bought a Pentax 67II instead. It fits my hands perfectly, and operatation is completely intuitive.

    My camera of choice is a 4x5 view. They are so simple to operate, and give such spectacular results without much effort. But they are bulky to transport, thus the Pentax for travel.

    Digital is different than silver based photography. Watercolors are different than oils. Each new medium expands our possibilities, but we don't throw out the old media.

    I find it interesting that ocassionally there will be a digital segment in a TV show--usually when some special effects are needed (maybe for ease of editing?). But I can always tell the digital shots--they have a different characteristic. Not bad, not good, just different. They do seem less realistic to my eyes. Maybe it's the over enhanced image?

    What I can't see about digital is spending the amount of money they want for something that will be technologically obsolete and probably unrepairable in a few years.

    Then there is the archival nature of black & white silver based photography. We have a generation who have lost their family snapshots as the dyes in their color photos fade. The prior generations (who used black and white) have permanent snapshots.

    Unless you convert your digital files every few years to the latest storage device, I suspect users will also lose their snapshots.

    Yes, digital is wonderful for commercial photography. I'm involved with this regularly at work, since I'm responsible for catalogs, ads, and other marketing materials.

    And it's great for temporary snapshots.

    But I just don't see it as "fun" for my recreational use.

    I predict a slight renewed interest in silver photography within a decade or so--not to the pre-digital levels, but some new kids will come along, find out about it, and think it's pretty wonderful. At least, I hope.

    There is an intrinsic beauty in the silver based print, that I have yet to see in any digital image.

    Charlie
     
  26. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    I agree, well said.

    If resolution is the end game of it all in photography, then film most certainly is going to die. But we know that is not the case and that there is much more to what we do than worry ourselves about resolution and that is why we call ourselves "apugers". So. let's get out there and "win one for the Gipper" (or for the "filmer")!

    CP