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  1. #51
    narsuitus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xtolsniffer View Post
    ...at what level of enlargement you think you can see the advantage of medium format over 35mm? I ask because I set myself this little task and compared 35mm and 6x7...
    When I was shooting Tri-X film for newspaper publication, it made little difference if I used 35mm small format or 6x6cm medium format film to print 3 or 4 column images. However, when I tried to get high-quality 16x20-inch exhibition prints from the negatives, it made a big difference because the medium format images were so much better.

    Evidently, I am not the only one who can tell a difference. Once, as I was preparing a presentation for a photography class, one of the other guest lecturers (a sports photographer) asked to see my portfolio. When I pulled out the first 16x20-inch photo, the first words from his mouth were, “Oh, you shoot medium format too.”

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11336821@N00/6085773891/
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  2. #52
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by narsuitus View Post
    Evidently, I am not the only one who can tell a difference. Once, as I was preparing a presentation for a photography class, one of the other guest lecturers (a sports photographer) asked to see my portfolio. When I pulled out the first 16x20-inch photo, the first words from his mouth were, “Oh, you shoot medium format too.
    Another photographer... Do you often find the general public viewing your exhibitions mentioning the same thing?
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  3. #53
    narsuitus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    I'm convinced that it's photographers only who agonize over what camera format was used to make that gorgeous 16x20.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    Another photographer... Do you often find the general public viewing your exhibitions mentioning the same thing?
    No, the general public has never asked me about the camera format. Only other photographers have mentioned format.

    I have, however, had artists ask about the camera I used. When they do, I have to bite my tongue because I want to retort with the question, “… and what brush did you use on your paintings?”

  4. #54
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by narsuitus View Post
    No, the general public has never asked me about the camera format. Only other photographers have mentioned format.

    I have, however, had artists ask about the camera I used. When they do, I have to bite my tongue because I want to retort with the question, “… and what brush did you use on your paintings?”
    So, is it important what camera format to use, then?
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  5. #55
    cliveh's Avatar
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    I know this is a bit of a tangent to the original thread, but relevant if using your images at very large sizes. Am I correct in thinking that when converted to digital, there is software available to add extra pixels to blend in tonal/colour variations for massive enlargements?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  6. #56
    Slixtiesix's Avatar
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    Yes but this is merely interpolation. It will not enhance the optical quality in any way, since there is no real information added. I saw this at Photokina at the Fuji booth. Large blow ups from 120 film looked grainy but sharp, while those made from X-Pro 1 files looked smeared like a watercolor painting when viewed at close distance.

  7. #57
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slixtiesix View Post
    Yes but this is merely interpolation. It will not enhance the optical quality in any way, since there is no real information added. I saw this at Photokina at the Fuji booth. Large blow ups from 120 film looked grainy but sharp, while those made from X-Pro 1 files looked smeared like a watercolor painting when viewed at close distance.
    Interpolation, thank you, that was the word I was searching for. I saw a print in Paris the size of a block of flats and it could have been taken from 35mm and looked amazing. I also saw one at Milan airport that was about 20 feet high with fantastic detail. Does this not negate the format size question to a certain extent?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  8. #58
    narsuitus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    So, is it important what camera format to use, then?
    Yes!

    If image detail is important to me, a larger format is more important to me than a smaller format. However, I do not think it is important to advertise the tool used to make the detailed image.

    Also, format is only one of a number of important factors that are important to me. These additional factors also require no advertising.
    Last edited by narsuitus; 10-03-2012 at 05:08 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #59
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Advantages of MF over 35mm

    Quote Originally Posted by narsuitus View Post
    Yes!

    If image detail is important to me, a larger format is more important to me than a smaller format. However, I do not think it is important to advertise the tool used to make the detailed image.

    Also, format is only one of a number of important factors that are important to me. These additional factors also require no advertising.
    I'm glad you're so passionate about what you do. I do realize that photography is also craft, where practitioners choose what they want to use in order to get what they want. So I respect your choices, and everybody else's as well, as long as there is a mutual understanding that detail, no grain, and smooth tones isn't what makes a great print of a great image. Those things are subjective and something mostly photographers care about. Museums and their curators don't seem to care, for example.

    Personally, 35mm makes me work harder with the print, which in the end gives me a greater final result. The camera is also more intuitive to use, although sometimes I really love how the Hassie or 5x7 forces me to slow down for certain things, and I appreciate choosing and owning those tools for those moments. But I never pick one over the other to achieve a better print, because of negative real estate. To me that would be counterproductive, so I represent the flip side of the coin, an alternative to conventional logic that I feel is more right for me, and takes me away from the whole thought process of 'bigger is better' because to me that simply isn't true. A good image will make a really fine print from any format, if proper care is taken. How else could Salgado, HCB, Erwitt, etc have such amazing prints produced, which captures people's imagination and spirit?
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  10. #60
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by narsuitus View Post
    No, the general public has never asked me about the camera format. Only other photographers have mentioned format.

    I have, however, had artists ask about the camera I used. When they do, I have to bite my tongue because I want to retort with the question, “… and what brush did you use on your paintings?”
    I don't think it tells you anything to note that photographers ask what format or what camera you used for the medium format images while non-photographers don't. Most non-photographers have no idea what different formats mean so would not even know to ask the question.

    I think a better comparison, if one wants to do such, would be to show non-photographers prints as otherwise similar as possible from both 35mm and medium format and simply ask which they preferred. Unless grain was a part of the appeal (in which case they'd probably prefer 35mm on fast grainy films) I think you'd start to get answers favoring medium format at 8x10 or certainly at 11x14. For my own uses I don't like 35mm Tri-X, for example, larger than 8x10 for most subjects, while printed 10" square on 11x14 paper from 6x6 or even 11x14 (or as close as possible crop) from 645 I think it still looks superb.

    In general I don't like going larger than 8x10 from 35mm, but with some caveats. If you use 35mm like a larger format camera, carefully, with slow to medium speed film, on a tripod, it can look great. But then I might as well use the larger camera.

    I think it matters and I find myself shooting more and more medium format. I mostly shoot 35mm black and white when I need fast film (TMZ until now, or Tri-X in Diafine) and fast lenses, or I'm working fast and want to be able to frame with zooms. Otherwise I mainly shoot black and white in either 6x6 or 645. My 645 lenses are 2.8 and 3.5, the Yashicamat 3.5 - the 2.8 645 lenses are fairly fast but I have no zooms, and nothing longer than the 80mm at 2.8; my 150 is the 3.5N. So it's a convenience thing. If I need the convenience of shooting with the 35mm cameras and lenses, I do, otherwise I shoot medium or large format. Color is a bit different because I've been shooting a lot of slides this year and I don't have a medium format projector (yet) so that gets shot on 35mm.

    I wonder if the money for the Mamiya 80mm 1.9 would be worth it to me, but even so the shallow DOF would become more of an issue than it is with a 50mm 1.7 in 35mm.

    In the other direction, medium format supplants some of my large format. The difference going up to 4x5 is much less in normal print sizes than the difference going down to 35mm. Sometimes I wonder why I bother with the hassle of sheet film at all and don't just sell the 4x5 stuff and get an RB67, but I do enjoy working with the view camera (and even then mostly if I shoot color it's with a 6x7 back, but that's largely due to the insane prices of color sheet film these days.)



 

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