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Author Topic: Counting Ants revisited  (Read 4874 times)
Jack Flesher
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« on: April 03, 2006, 12:00:50 PM »
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I thought I would post a clip from a recent "mini" field trip.  I took my Betterlight scanning back into the field for the first time to see how well and even if I could deal working with the relatively slow capture speeds and mandated computer tether in the field.  

A few initial points of reference:

1) My back has the high-speed sensor, but even that takes about 40 seconds to capture a standard resolution 6000x8000 pixel image.  

2) My back can also capture in "high resolution" mode up to 9000x12000 pixels, and this scan takes nearly a minute to complete at the fastest scan speeds.

3) For the shot below, I used my new Cooke SOFT FOCUS lens -- but it should be noted this lens does get quite sharp after f11.

4) This scan was done at the standard 6000x8000 capture resolution -- so I could have probably gleaned even more detail than I am showing here...

5) I captured the original in IR color for the express purpose of converting to an IR B&W image. But the crop I show has been taken from the image before processing and thus before the B&W conversion -- hence the odd, low-saturation tone, which is the way IR color looks before manipulation.

~~~

Here is the overall image, 8000 pixels wide initially, downsized to 800 wide and some cropped off the top and bottom for web view, so you are looking at less than 1/100th the original file (!)  Note the power pole by the house and barn, which is approiximately 1/4 mile (400 meters) away:



Here is the IR color "actual pixel" crop view of that pole.  Note that not only can you clearly see the power lines, you can also see the splices in the lines to the right of the pole and the individual rings on the insulators that support those wires.
FWIW, I was impressed... :




DISCLAIMER: Note that the verdict is still out as to whether or not I am going to be willing to deal with the hassles incumbent to using this system in the field and therefore I am NOT recommending this as a viable digital capture solution for all photographers.  The commitment required to use a view camera is significant to begin with and adding a tethered back re-doubles that commitment IMO.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2006, 12:02:21 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

mtomalty
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2006, 12:24:11 PM »
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Impressive detail,Jack.  I believe line #3 will need repair soon :>))

I've always been impressed the the detail a scanning back is capable of resolving (obviously
when mated with a lens that is up to the task) but I have been led to believe that the
impracticalities of using this type of device would make it a less that ideal solution for
day in day out shooting.

For example,this past weekend I shot a landscape image (vertical) on 4x5 of a classic
near/far composition of a freshwater swamp with sedges and grasses in foreground fading
to distant drowned trees,etc-sharp front to back.

Shot near dusk in overcast conditions with a faint drizzle. Using a polarizer and f16 1/2
required exposure times approx 15 seconds. Tripod in water with nowhere to put anything
down. Not an atypical situation for me.

Based on this criteria,am I misinformed to assume that a scanback solution in these sorts of
conditions (working alone,no assistant,etc) would be next to impossible?

Also,given the lighting conditions I summarized what would be a typical time required for
the scan back to complete an exposure?

How would the slight movement of grasses,or something equivalent, appear in a finished
scan exposure? Is it something that is easily overlooked if it is a small element in a 16x20
print or is it something very obvious?

Thanks,
Mark
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2006, 01:33:20 PM »
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Based on this criteria,am I misinformed to assume that a scanback solution in these sorts of
conditions (working alone,no assistant,etc) would be next to impossible?

No you are not misinformed as that is precisely the type of situation where the scan back is near useless -- where would you set down your computer?

BUT! Since the Betterlight uses my existing 4x5 camera without any modification I simply carry a box of Readyloads and holder and shoot film just as you did.  And FTR, scanned 4x5 is still a very viable alternative to direct digital capture -- and many would say better still than the best digital capture -- but a lot more expensive per frame to use  
~~~

Quote
Also,given the lighting conditions I summarized what would be a typical time required for
the scan back to complete an exposure?

Probably close to 6 minutes.
~~~

Quote
How would the slight movement of grasses,or something equivalent, appear in a finished
scan exposure? Is it something that is easily overlooked if it is a small element in a 16x20
print or is it something very obvious?

Yes, it can be.  Anything large and moving will generate little rainbows of color as the tri-color sensor sweeps the scan area.  When these are small, they are easily dealt with as you would conventional noise.  But for large objects in motion, this is another time I reach for the readyloads and shoot film.
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mtomalty
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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2006, 02:03:29 PM »
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Thanks Jack

That's about as concise a 'summary' on outdoor scanback useage as I've come across.
Very helpfull.

Later this spring I'm hoping to get access to a Hasselblad/Imacon multistep back
to see how a 16 shot multistep exposure would perform in outdoor conditions.


Mark
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2006, 02:22:42 PM »
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Later this spring I'm hoping to get access to a Hasselblad/Imacon multistep back
to see how a 16 shot multistep exposure would perform in outdoor conditions.
Mark
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=61676\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Actually you may find that multi-shot has even more limitations than the scan back, especially with motion...
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Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2006, 04:39:01 PM »
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Jack, you're the first person I've met who also has a Cooke Portrait. And I never thought I'd stumble across anyone else who has used a Cooke Portrait with a digital back.

I can't say that I use it as much as I did when I had a 6x9 back on the Linhof, after all a 9" lens is a tad long with a 37mm x 49mm sensor. But I couldn't bring myself to sell any lens with a serial number as low as 0027! I wonder how many they've sold now, doubt it's more than a hundred or so.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2006, 10:35:34 PM »
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Hi Gary:

Really interesting comment!

Frankly, for me the Cooke 945 was one of the considerations that drove the Betterlight back as a solution -- its large sensor area allowing me to use all of my existing LF lenses (the Cooke being extra special) with only about a 1.2 crop factor compared to 4x5 film...
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Ed Jack
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2006, 09:55:52 AM »
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Hi Gary:

Really interesting comment!

Frankly, for me the Cooke 945 was one of the considerations that drove the Betterlight back as a solution -- its large sensor area allowing me to use all of my existing LF lenses (the Cooke being extra special) with only about a 1.2 crop factor compared to 4x5 film...
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

See also betterlight article on this lens/back combo

[a href=\"http://www.betterlight.com/soft_lens.html]http://www.betterlight.com/soft_lens.html[/url]

Jim Collum (also a 6K HR back user) tried this lens first... his impressino s can be found here

http://web1.omniblog.com/_smartsite/module...how_blog&path0=

Ed
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drew
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2006, 11:09:28 AM »
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Jack,
An interesting thread, particularly as I find myself at a bit of a crossroads (as I am sure are many others). I still have a big investment in 5x4 equipment and the Betterlight back would be a sensible way to 'digitise it'. I have already ruled out an MF back such as the P45 as just being too expensive. LF film scanned through an Imacon can stll give good quality, but I am finding that stitching 1DS MKII files with PTGui yields just about as good results with less hassle and effort. Not only does this method turn the Canon effectively into a 40-50MP camera, but you can vary the focus btween stitched frames to achieve similar results to traditional swings and tilts on an LF camera. So the question is, are you going to find investment in the Betterlight worthwhile and if so why? This would help me to make my mind up. The option of the 1DS MKII as effectively my one and only camera is actually very tempting.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2006, 05:44:01 PM »
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So the question is, are you going to find investment in the Betterlight worthwhile and if so why? [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=61904\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

And this is the very question I have not yet answered for myself...

I can tell you that I do enjoy having full camera movements available while composing -- as opposed to just tilt and shift with a TSE lens on my 1Ds2.  I also like being able to use some of the more interesting LF lenses like the Cooke.  Lastly, I do enjoy the process of using the view camera in the field.  

I can also tell you that as good as a shift-stitched 1Ds2 file is -- and I do that a lot myself -- drum-scanned 4x5 still beats it.  And the Betterlight in high-res (9000x12000) mode is even better than drum-scanned 4x5 IMO...

However, having ONE camera and a few lenses that can do everything I want to do is appealing and I defiunitely understand your comment.  Point in fact, when the 1Ds2 first came out, I felt it and the TSE lenses were "good enough" to cover my view camera needs and I sold my complete 4x5 outfit...  Then about a year ago I decided I really did miss all the view camera movements and repurchased an entire outfit...

So for now I have two systems -- and since obtaining the Cooke and the Betterlight, the 1Ds2 has been getting almost no use in the field even though I have brought it along on every excursion
« Last Edit: April 05, 2006, 06:10:22 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

Jack Flesher
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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2006, 06:03:25 PM »
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PS:  FTR, Mike Collette tried the Cooke with the Betterlight before Jim or I did. It is actually Mike's Cooke that Jim used for his shots -- and since Jim and I are regular shooting buddies, it is also where I got my first-hand experience with the Cooke, having grabbed a few 4x5 film images with it while shooting with Jim one day.  After seeing the results, I decided I had to have a Cooke of my own -- so that was Jim and then by default, Mike's faults    At about that time, I became aware of a used Betterlight and having seen Mike and Jim use them in the field without too much effort, I decided I needed to try one for myself.  So while the final verdict is still out on the Betterlight as a viable field camera solution for me, I have fallen in love with the quality of the files from a color and detail standpoint and will definitely keep it for studio applications regardless. In either case the Cooke works just as well with film as it does with the Betterlight, so it has found a permanent home in my LF bag -- and that is why I say I feel the Cooke in large part drove the purchase of the Betterlight.  Hope that clarifies the chain of events for everybody
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