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  1. #1

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    rf vs slr image quality?

    Difficult to quantify I know but how much difference in image resolution and sharpness would you expect to see when moving from a high quality 35mm slr system to a high quality rangefinder system. I'm thinking specifically of comparing contax/zeiss to zeiss ikon/zeiss image quality. Perhaps in terms of how much extra enlargement you could get out of the rangefinder before noticeable degradation of image quality compared to the slr.

    I fully realise there are many other factors to consider about the differences and use of the two systems and what they are best at doing, but for this specific question assume expansive landscape images and cameras on tripods.
    Will the rangefinder give noticeably better quality images at say 12 times enlargement.

  2. #2

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    It's all about the lens not the camera body. If the lenses are equal, you should see no difference.

    But for expansive landscapes shot on a tripod, I'd use my 8x10 sheet film camera over 35 mm.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

  3. #3

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    The only optics instruction I got was phys101 about a million years ago, but it seems advantageous to have the rear element of the lens right up to the film plane, like on a RF, instead of a few cm away to accomodate a mirror assembly.

  4. #4

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    The generalized thought that wide angle lenses would be better on RF bodies isn't necessarily as true as it once was. Back in the day, it was impossible to make aspheric elements and retro-focus designs suffered in comparison to the wide angle lenses on RF, especially the Biogon. Nowadays, you will actually see RF lenses that are using retro-focus designs in order to minimize vignetting issues, but they are top notch performers. My guess is that if you use top quality lenses on both and put them on a tripod, the differences will be minimal. That said, there are some Leica M designs that are probably the best that can be had for wide-open shooting, but I think that has to do more with the particular lens than a generic RF/SLR difference. There may still be a slight advantage for hand held work with RF for some people due to the absence of mirror slap...

    Isaac
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Ullsmith View Post
    The only optics instruction I got was phys101 about a million years ago, but it seems advantageous to have the rear element of the lens right up to the film plane, like on a RF, instead of a few cm away to accomodate a mirror assembly.


    Ahh, but isn't it the inverse cosine rule that states that the closer you get to the film, the more vignetting you'll have? Light falls of at the square of the distance, there's no free lunch. Every thing that might optimize one aspect of performance usually will screw up something else... Lens design, and more importantly lens construction, has come a long way over the years. The newer lenses with retro-focus designs can be amazing. That said, I still do want to own biogon one day... :-)

    Isaac
    See my adventures in Yemen here:
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  6. #6
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    There is the leaf shutter vs focal plane shutter and mirror bounce arguments that have to go into this against the TLR, but then the RF camera is hard on macro photography and parallax in general causing offsets in the image. All of the above posts are true as well. It is what you prefer.

    The Mamiya RZ has the best of both worlds as much as is possible. The low mirror bounce and a leaf shutter. The weight makes camera movement from the mirror very low.

    PE

  7. #7
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    At slow shutter speeds the absence of "mirror slap" in a RF body might give you some edge over an SLR but if optics are equal, noticeable differences in the image will be very small if at all. To me useing a RF is more about the way I shoot with it. RF shooters know what I am talking about, hard to explaine but I feel more freedom than with an SLR.
    DIGITAL IS FOR THOSE AFRAID OF THE DARK.

  8. #8

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    Ok let me put the question another way. If I wanted the best possible image resolution and sharpness from 35mm film, which 35mm film camera and lenses would you recommend and why.

  9. #9

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    Leica M7 with the newest aspherical lenses. But, that would be "prohibitively costly"? Another way to go would be the M6 (M7) with the previous series of lenses. The benefit there is cost and size/weight. I believe they are a little smaller and lighter. Another series of lenses are the Zeiss Biogons. On that point you would need to compare each lens as per quality, weight, size, & cost. That would be a lot of homework but worth it.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob champagne View Post
    Ok let me put the question another way. If I wanted the best possible image resolution and sharpness from 35mm film, which 35mm film camera and lenses would you recommend and why.
    Well, I'm pretty sure that the current Leica 50mm f1.4 is the same design on both the RF and SLR mounts, so you could take your pick with either system. I personally would (and have before, and will again) go for a Leica M system, the lenses are all as good as it gets. I like to shoot wide open, and they are a revelation... Of course, if you can't focus accurately with the RF, or you can't focus at all (macro for example) it doesn't really matter how good the lenses are. In any case, use a tripod and shoot at the "optimum" aperture of a modern non-zoom lens and you are going to have some trouble telling lenses apart unless you really blow the images way up with super fine grain film.

    I suggest the current Leica 50mm f1.4, shot at f4, on tmax 100 or Delta 100 developed in a high sharpness developer like Rodinal, one of the pyro developers, or Buetler's (or DR5), focused at infinity, on a tripod, with a shutter release for the optimum sharpness/resolution available in 35mm. Not sure if anyone would be able to tell it apart from another good 50mm lens set up the same way, but that combination will get you as good as you can get in 35mm... Of course the easier way to get better resolution (and save some money) is to go up in format size...

    Isaac
    See my adventures in Yemen here:
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