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  1. #1

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    Does Velvia really hold more detail than other transperency film?

    I have asked a similar question before on Photo.net about a year ago, but was never quite satisfied with the answer. Maybe some of the "old timers" on this board can help me on this one. I shoot strictly landscape/nature shots with 35mm SLR.

    From what I can read on the data sheets, Fuji Velvia has the highest lp/mm resolution (160) out of any of the slide films. Compare that to 140 for Provia and less for Astia. I can't seem to get a lp/mm out of Kodak's data sheet - anyone able to help me there? I like Kodak E100GX and E100VS.

    My question is, does this "increase" in lp/mm resolution come solely from the higher contrast that velvia has? For example, is it like a USM in photoshop, or that sort of thing, where it looks sharper, but isn't necessarily sharper, or is it really something different in the film that captures more detail?

    I hope my question makes sense...you can see where I'm going with this...could you simply shoot a less contrasty film such as Provia or E100GX and then post-process the scan to get the same "sharpness" out of them?
    Thanks for any information my way.
    Sincerely,
    Jed Smith

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedidiah Smith View Post
    I have asked a similar question before on Photo.net about a year ago, but was never quite satisfied with the answer. Maybe some of the "old timers" on this board can help me on this one. I shoot strictly landscape/nature shots with 35mm SLR.

    From what I can read on the data sheets, Fuji Velvia has the highest lp/mm resolution (160) out of any of the slide films. Compare that to 140 for Provia and less for Astia. I can't seem to get a lp/mm out of Kodak's data sheet - anyone able to help me there? I like Kodak E100GX and E100VS.

    My question is, does this "increase" in lp/mm resolution come solely from the higher contrast that velvia has? For example, is it like a USM in photoshop, or that sort of thing, where it looks sharper, but isn't necessarily sharper, or is it really something different in the film that captures more detail?

    I hope my question makes sense...you can see where I'm going with this...could you simply shoot a less contrasty film such as Provia or E100GX and then post-process the scan to get the same "sharpness" out of them?
    Thanks for any information my way.
    Sincerely,
    Jed Smith
    When I want the highest possible color resolution and highest fine detail resolution in my color transparencies (and/or color negatives), I use a format larger than 35mm:

    Thus:
    4" X 5"
    8" X 10"
    6cm X 4.5cm
    6cm X 6 cm
    6cm X 7cm
    6cm X 9 cm
    6cm X 12 cm

    ETC.

    Post Processing a smaller format film does not get the job done!
    Tom Hoskinson
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    Everything is analog - even digital :D

  3. #3

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    g'day Jed

    "Does Velvia really hold more detail than other transperency film?"

    does it matter?

    does it, or whatever materials you use, do what you want/need?

    how do your results look to you?

    what answer do you want?

    why have you considered this for more than a year?

    Tom, so what?

    "Thus:
    4" X 5"
    8" X 10"
    6cm X 4.5cm
    6cm X 6 cm
    6cm X 7cm
    6cm X 9 cm
    6cm X 12 cm
    "

    huh, so pick one

    wouldn't 11x14 be "better"?

    no wait, 20x24 would be "better"

    oh hang on, if you could make a ginormous camera like the size of a house, that would be "better", wouldn't it?

    Ray

  4. #4
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    Jed, this is a reasonable question. The answer depends on how you define detail.

    I'd define it in terms of signal-to-noise ratio, which includes both lp/mm resolution and also tonal range, versus noise sources such as grain, fog etc.

    Thus I'd say that amount of detail you actually capture depends on a host of issues such as the range in the scene, the film's response curve, and the particulars of your exposure. And then there is the issue of how much detail you can actually get out of the film when you project or print or scan....

    As you know, when we use velvia in a contrasty scene, then we are sacrificing either shadow or highlight detail, or both. But if the contrast of the scene matches the range of the slide and the exposure is optimal, then, yes indeed, velvia can capture levels of detail unrivaled by almost any other colour film- way more detail than you will ever work into a print.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedidiah Smith View Post
    My question is, does this "increase" in lp/mm resolution come solely from the higher contrast that velvia has? For example, is it like a USM in photoshop, or that sort of thing, where it looks sharper, but isn't necessarily sharper, or is it really something different in the film that captures more detail?
    The film is different in that it is able to hold finer detail assuming you do everything perfectly when you make the image. That detail is resolvable under 1000:1 lighting conditions and if each line pair is one black and one white.

    To extract 160 lp/mm from your scan, your scanner would need to be able to scan at a native resolution of 8128 dpi (160*2*25.4) and the scan lines would need to line up exactly with the lines on the chrome (assuming they were lines). Your scanner is unlikely to be able to scan at that resolution unless its a highend drum scanner such as an ICG. If your scanner is anything else, then you will likely loose at least half of that resolution in the scan and if its a flatbed or cheap film scanner, then you won't get more than 25% of that film resolution in the scan.
    Will sharpening it put back? Are you serious? No it won't. It will reduce it even further. You are making the mistake of thinking sharpness equates to resolution. It doesn't. Resolution (lp/mm) is about resolving detail. Sharpness is about edge contrast. Two completely different things. Adjusting edge contrast digitally does so at the expense of edge resolution. Sharpening is a destructive process in that sense.
    However, because the scan process loses so much resolution through various factors including inaccuracies in the step motor, the spacing between each scan receptor etc etc, it results in a soft image. At least on screen it is because your screen is such low resolution. Print it at high enough pixels per inch and that sharpness will come back. But the resolution won't.
    But if you don't print at high pixels per inch, then sharpening digitally will put the sharpness back. But not the resolution.

    In short, unless you are doing very high end drum scanning, you lose the resolution your film is capable of. There is nothing you can do about that.

    Could you actually see that fine detail if you could retain it? Your eyes can detect upto 8 lp/mm if you have 20/20 vision and alternating lines are black and white and the lighting contrast is very high, maybe 1000:1 or greater. In normal lighting, then maybe 5 lp/mm max.

    So you can do the math to work out that if you need 5 lp/mm in the print, then what pixels per inch do you need to print at to obtain that and what image pixel dimensions do you need for the print size to give that and what scan resolution do you need given your film format to obtain that and whether your scanner is actually capable of giving that and whether the scanner manufacturers claimed figures are true or not.

    The consensus as I have seen it, is that 20x16 is the biggest you can go from a 4x5 neg/chrome scan on an epson flatbed before you start to see a loss of resolution in the print because the scanner is simply not upto it. That's from a 4x5. For 35mm neg/chrome you can forget it unless high resolution is not an issue for you. Fact is that it's really not an issue for most people who, since they have never seen a truly high resolution print, would never notice anyway.

    Good luck

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    Tom and Ray, I see what both of you mean, yes there is that argument here as well. I have tried MF, wasn't really my idea of fun shooting, and I can't believe LF would be either; but yes, at some point I may just have to go LF to be satisfied. :-)

    However, let's say just for the 35mm size - I am looking to get the highest (theoretical here) detail capture with my Minolta SLR.
    The reason I am even asking this question is, I love the look of Velvia 50 and Velvia 100 on a light box with a Loupe, or projected through my Leica projector.
    However, and this is a big one - I scan my slides to get prints made on Fuji Crystal Archive. It is hard work to get the true look of Velvia on a light box out of a scan of Velvia. I have to really play with the settings, etc, to get it to look that way - the density of Velvia is really hard to capture with a film scanner - no, I do not have access to a drum scanner, and can't afford to use one regularly. I'm using a KM Scan Elite 5400, though, which is a very good "consumer" film scanner.

    So...I would be willing to shoot a less contrasty film such as Provia or E100GX to make scanning (and therefore prints) easier, but ONLY if it will not penalize me in the detail captured department. If the actual slide will not capture as much detail as Velvia, then I'm ok with the harder time scanning if I will really end up with more detail.
    Hope I'm making sense here...
    Thanks,
    Jed

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Heath View Post
    g'day Jed

    "Does Velvia really hold more detail than other transperency film?"

    does it matter?

    does it, or whatever materials you use, do what you want/need?

    how do your results look to you?

    what answer do you want?

    why have you considered this for more than a year?

    Tom, so what?

    "Thus:
    4" X 5"
    8" X 10"
    6cm X 4.5cm
    6cm X 6 cm
    6cm X 7cm
    6cm X 9 cm
    6cm X 12 cm
    "

    huh, so pick one

    wouldn't 11x14 be "better"?

    no wait, 20x24 would be "better"

    oh hang on, if you could make a ginormous camera like the size of a house, that would be "better", wouldn't it?

    Ray
    Obviously, "better" Depends on your objective, Ray.

    But if your objective is a Big, Sharp Image, A Big, Sharp Transparency or Negative is a good place to start.
    Tom Hoskinson
    ______________________________

    Everything is analog - even digital :D

  8. #8

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    Keith, and especially Rob - THANK YOU! That was exactly what I was looking for...
    ...so even at 5400dpi with the Minolta film scanner, I am still throwing away a ton of the resolution. Well, that's about the best film scanner for any price less than an Imacon or drum scanner. I've had the Nikon scanners, and while they are about equal, they don't do a better job. The 5400II I had was marginally better for ICE use, but not as good for scanning B&W film...so it's a toss up there. I will have to do the calculation you suggest at 5lp/mm and see where this puts me as far as format size and print size.

    Bottom line I'm getting from this is, if I like the look of Velvia, that's what I need to shoot - and just work my tail off in the scanning process to get the best results I can. There's no way to simulate the look w/ a different, easier to scan film.

    Rob, you seem very well versed in this - can I ask you what film and format you shoot then, knowing all this? Not that it really matters, I suppose one man's trash is another man's treasure and all that, but maybe it will give me something to mull over...
    I certainly appreciate your time,
    Jed

  9. #9
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    Jed I honestly don't think anything short of a drum scanner can do 35mm velvia justice. You'd probably get a lot more bang for your buck out of astia just because of scannability.

    I am a bit surprised that you didn't find satisfaction in MF; did you try any 645s? There are many in various configurations....
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedidiah Smith View Post
    Keith, and especially Rob - THANK YOU! That was exactly what I was looking for...
    ...so even at 5400dpi with the Minolta film scanner, I am still throwing away a ton of the resolution. Well, that's about the best film scanner for any price less than an Imacon or drum scanner. I've had the Nikon scanners, and while they are about equal, they don't do a better job. The 5400II I had was marginally better for ICE use, but not as good for scanning B&W film...so it's a toss up there. I will have to do the calculation you suggest at 5lp/mm and see where this puts me as far as format size and print size.

    Bottom line I'm getting from this is, if I like the look of Velvia, that's what I need to shoot - and just work my tail off in the scanning process to get the best results I can. There's no way to simulate the look w/ a different, easier to scan film.

    Rob, you seem very well versed in this - can I ask you what film and format you shoot then, knowing all this? Not that it really matters, I suppose one man's trash is another man's treasure and all that, but maybe it will give me something to mull over...
    I certainly appreciate your time,
    Jed
    I don't do colour, at least not quite yet. I'm purely black white film to silver gelatin. But I'm thinking about doing 4x5 provia for scanning. I work in IT so pixels don't phase me. The maths is really simple common sense but you have to understand the major limitations of ccd scanners. Basically they are crap at resolving detail and no amount of software processing can put back lost resolution. It may be able to interpolate it but that's based on assumptions and so is fundamentally altering the image.
    The question is whether that really matters since a photo is always a representation and not literal regardless of whether it was taken on film or digitally.

    And if you do the math and work backwards, you can work out how much lp/mm you need in the film and I think you will find that neg film will give you that and it will give you much greater available subject brightness range to play with and that your scanner will easily be able to cope with the dmax of a neg film resulting in a better quality scan with less noise, albeit in the highlights where it could show more

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