Right, 35mm lenses are optimized for sharpness. As you go up in format size, they are more optimized for coverage.
I have a xenotar 80mm f2.8 that begs to differ in 6x9 and 2x3, in both sharpness and coverage potential
Originally Posted by momus
stochastic grain patterns give the illusion of increased sharpness. the more visible the grain, the more apparent sharpness the print will have, until you look closely.
I like that BetterSense.
Originally Posted by BetterSense
Nathan King, while there are certain things in photography that are "straight forward and simple", I would not classify "visual effects" or "comparing shots from different formats and lenses" in that category.
A single lens is even hard to compare to itself because the characteristics of most any given camera lens varies between f-stops and in relation to extraneous light. The corners may get soft as you open up, the effect flare changes, the propensity for ghosting changes... I had been using a 50mm AF-D Nikon lens for my main studio lens for a while and picked up a 35mm Nikkor "O" lens and was having great fun with it in the field and needed to shoot a small group so I slapped it on the camera for a few test shots well ahead of time thank goodness. That Nikkor "O" without a hood turned properly exposed shots into visions of a snowstorm because there was so much flare.
The point I'm getting at is that shots from different setups and situations will look different for a variety of reasons.
With that said, it is important for me to remember that all the issues I've ever had with lack of sharpness have been traceable back to my use or my choice of the tools.
Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
Originally Posted by Nathan King
Sharpness isn't everything, true, but in medium format, it is an inherent quality far and above what is achievable in 35mm.
That said, the "far less grain" you are noticing in the 6x7 negative is a product of that format being 400% bigger than 35mm. If the 6x7 images have clear and obvious sharpness when viewed on the lightbox, then the problem is at the enlarger. Film flatness is very rarely a problem in medium format, but it is critical in astrophotography (e.g. fitting a vacuum back). The use of a tripod and mirror lock with these big cameras is standard good practice and will alleviate most incidences of mirror/shutter-induced vibration, but the risk increases the larger the lens used.
When an image is scanned (even by a pro lab), it will lose at least 50% of its inherent sharpness until USM is applied in post. I don't know if the lab you deal with has a policy of not making any change to the scanned image ('as is') when presenting it back to you; anything added to the scan is usually specified by the photographer, including baseline sharpness, contrast etc.
“The photographer must determine how he wants the finished print to look before he exposes the negative.
Before releasing the shutter, he must seek 'the flame of recognition,' a sense that the picture would reveal
the greater mystery of things...more clearly than the eyes see." ~Edward Weston, 1922.
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I have RB and Nikon. I've seen quite a difference in sharpness between lenses of the same format. I've also seen significant differences between samples of the same lenses, and pre and post calibration by the manufacturer of the same lens. It would be difficult for me to say which is sharper IF we are talking about per-square-cm of film sharpness.
Also, I had my camera body calibrated for focus. It made difference, too.... Maybe, just maybe, OP's RZ could use calibration? Or, if we are talking of lenses of different vintage, maybe difference in technology, such as design technique making difference? Some of my Nikon lenses are QUITE good....
Just some random thoughts by me....
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
To make my RB67 more sharp, I will shoot razor blades.
Surely is and nothing is worse han a sharp picture of a fuzzy concept (AA)
Originally Posted by markbarendt
Lenses can be corrected for abberrations in proportion to their focal length - so, all other things being equal, a lens of shorter focal length can made optically better than a similar lens of longer focal length. So you may well expect your relatively short focal length Leica lens to be better corrected than your Mamiya RZ lens.
Originally Posted by Nathan King
A characteristic of enlarging small format negs compared to larger ones is that for any given print size, the micro-imaging properties of the small film will be relatively more obvious. This would include the inter-image effects, caused by local development exhaustion that can raise the contrast locally at image edges, giving rise to a sharpening effect - not unlike the unsharp mask filter in Photoshop.
So taking the two effects together, small format photography can appear to produce sharper looking pictures than larger formats if the print size is not too large. What it cannot do is match the superior tone reproduction possible with larger formats - and it's this ability to convincingly reproduce subtle changes in tone that help to make larger format photography produce results showing a more three-dimensional quality.
I have a lightbox app for my android tablet which works quite well. It's a good deal more portable than a desktop PC monitor, too. The downside is that when looking through a loupe, I see pixels. YMMV.
Originally Posted by MattKing
Shoot more film.
There are eight ways to put a slide into a projector tray. Seven of them are wrong.