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Author Topic: And the winner is ...  (Read 13635 times)
hdomke
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« on: May 17, 2006, 06:37:26 AM »
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This was a fascinating study, but I felt let down, confused at the end.
Was it impossible to draw clear conclusions?
Normally a "shoot out" has a ranking of winners in different categories.
What I sense happed here was there was a ton of carefully genereated data and then a lot of subjective analysis with no real consensus.

Is that right?

Thanks,
Henry
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michael
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2006, 08:03:19 AM »
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The reason there was no conclusion or even a consensus was quite deliberate. There are so many variables associated with the processing and preparation of an image that any attempt to be definitive is like trying to nail Jello to the wall.

As Bill stated clearly in the article, the use of a different raw processing program, difference in contrast of the image, differences in sharpening settings, even differences in colour rendition, all affect ones perception of "sharpness" and resolution.

I stated what I saw as the major differences in my section. And, the order in which they are displayed (left to right and from top to bottom) is my personal ranking.

But I believe that you'll find that when you process the raw files yourself the difference between the back or camera immediately to the left or right in the listing of the one that you're interested in can easly be made to appear better or worse than the other.

The other reason for there being no consensus ranking is that we did not attempt to measure or evaluate dynamic range, colour accuracy, long exposure or high ISO characteristics. Each and all of these will play a major role in determining how these backs and cameras rank.

No. No ranking is possible, except for the one that each reader needs to do for themselves after they've processed and studied the raw files for some time. That's the ony ranking that has any meaning.

Michael
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Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2006, 10:45:14 AM »
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It would have been interesting to see corner crops. That may have helped to separate the medium format pack.

There was a huge difference in colour between the Canons and Phase Ones. That race wasn't even close.
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Quentin
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2006, 01:14:36 PM »
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My observations on an admirably impartial exercise in pixel peeping are

-  The differences, top to bottom in price, are not as great as might be thought.  If you own a Canon 5D or equivalent you still have a very good camera;

-  Film has yet to be bettered if you have the right scanner.  

-  It will be a while before any commercial digital product matches my 8x10 provia shots in terms of absolute resolution, although not in terms of convenience and versatility.

Quentin
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Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2006, 01:19:40 PM »
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-  Film has yet to be bettered if you have the right scanner. 

In a way that's true, but it is not really a meaningful comparison to compare a 645 SLR with an 8x10 view camera. The latter is very limited in application.

It makes much more sense to compare film and digital on the same platform, and in that respect digital is clearly ahead.
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Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2006, 01:37:23 PM »
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It makes much more sense to compare film and digital on the same platform, and in that respect digital is clearly ahead.


I'll wait until the DVD arrives and I can print some of these shots, but strictly on the evidence of the screen shots within the article it's difficult to see how anything could be judged as ahead of anything else.

Every single camera/lens combination seems to do a terrific job, for example all of them resolve pretty much every last detail in the bank note enlargement. On the evidence presented, and taken against the test's expressed objective of purely evaluating resolution, I can't see how any independent and objective person could conclude that there's any significant advantage for any of the participants.
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Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2006, 01:55:03 PM »
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I'll wait until the DVD arrives and I can print some of these shots, but strictly on the evidence of the screen shots within the article it's difficult to see how anything could be judged as ahead of anything else.

Velvia 120 film:


P45:


In this comparison you can clearly see more edge detail and crispness from the P45, plus the film is so noisy at this scale that subtle details such as the texture of the paper are completely lost. The P45 image is ahead in every respect.
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Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2006, 02:50:28 PM »
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In this comparison you can clearly see more edge detail and crispness from the P45, plus the film is so noisy at this scale that subtle details such as the texture of the paper are completely lost.


Your point about paper texture is well taken, I hadn't spotted that. But isn't "edge detail and crispness" just another way of saying "sharpness"? And the commentary accompanying the test went to pains to stress that it wasn't evaluating sharpness, or colour or dynamic range, it was purely about resolution.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2006, 02:59:35 PM »
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Foto-Z, that the p45 beats Velvia 645 is hardly suprising, they would be in serious trouble if it didn't! I think it is also based on what it was manufactured for, I sincerely doubt that the p45 was designed as a 645 beater.
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2006, 03:14:18 PM »
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Foto-Z, that the p45 beats Velvia 645 is hardly suprising, they would be in serious trouble if it didn't! I think it is also based on what it was manufactured for, I sincerely doubt that the p45 was designed as a 645 beater.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=65825\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I agree. I was responding to the statement: "I can't see how any independent and objective person could conclude that there's any significant advantage for any of the participants."
« Last Edit: May 17, 2006, 03:15:39 PM by foto-z » Logged

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Faintandfuzzy
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2006, 10:00:45 PM »
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I have no arguments with the results as posted.  I've ordered the DVD as well.  My difficulty is that for years, we were told that the 1Ds outresolved 6x7 film.  Now we are told that the 1Ds Mk2 is pretty close to 645.  That's quite a step back, wouldn't you say?  I noticed this before in the D30 vs 35mm film.  We were told the D30 beat 35mm film....which I can't seem to recreate in prints done by myself nor anyone else.  Then we were told that the D60 pretty well matched 35mm.  How odd that the extra 50% allowed it to match film when the D30 was superior to it.

All in all though, a superb comparison.  There is no doubt that high end backs are encroaching on film and surpassing it.
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michael
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2006, 10:41:47 PM »
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I don't mean to be cranky, but why do some people fail to comprehend that all that was tested here was resolving power? Wasn't that clearly enough stated in the article?

The tonal smoothness and absense of grain at low to moderate ISO is a huge factor to consider when comparing image quality between systems. It is the case now and it was the case 6 years ago with the D30.

It was only 3MP, but its images were so clean that as long prints were within the constraints of its file size, film had met its match. I said it then and I say it now. But people love to take that statement out of context, and it's grown really tiresome.

(If this hadn't been the case we'd all still be shooting Velvia, now wouldn't we?)

Image quality is a composite of a great many factors  file size, image size, resolution, accurance, colour accuracy and rendition, noise floor, highlight retention, dynamic range, variable ISO noise characteristics, long exposure noise characteristics, and on and on.

Perspective folks. Keep perspective.

Sigh.

Michael
« Last Edit: May 17, 2006, 10:42:41 PM by michael » Logged
David Anderson
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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2006, 01:03:39 AM »
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The early digitals may or maynot have been better then film for image quality, but as a working tool most left a lot to be desired.

I think most of the pro digital stuff is much better then film now for getting the job done.

What we need more of now is functionality and some bugs ironed out in the systems, who cares how many megapixels the next 1DS is if the corners on your 24mm shots are soft ?

Also IMO the price of the medium format backs is still way to high, medium format was always more then 35mm but not three times as much.  

David.
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Ray
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« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2006, 04:02:26 AM »
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The problem I have trying to evaluate these tests is similar to the problem I experienced some years ago comparing different lenses using my D60. One searches for some tell-tale small detail that is discernible in one shot but not another. It's frustrating because one rarely finds it. What tends to happen is, the better prime lens displays the same detail but with better accutance. When processing such images, it becomes apparent that the slightly softer image from the budget zoom can almost be brought up to the standard of the prime lens shot through various sharpening techniques, including perhaps a bit of 'local contrast' enhancement. However, similar sharpening processes can also be applied to the prime lens shot, so one is left with the final impression that the prime lens has produced a sharper image although there is no specific item of detail one can point to that makes it incontrovertible.

Oddly enough, the same situation applies shooting test chart lines, provided the sensor is the same. The prime lens does not seem to reveal more lines than a budget zoom even though its MTF chart would indicate it is a much better lens; same number of lines, just better defined lines with greater accutance from the better lens.

What is surprising with these latest tests from Michael is, despite many of the sensors being significantly different as well as many of the lenses used, there is an over all similarity in image resolution. I get the impression that the differences might be there on the DVD but Michael has not given us sufficiently enlarged crops of relevant detailed sections of the target which would highlight such differences more clearly.
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Ray
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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2006, 05:33:26 AM »
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Velvia 120 film:


P45:


In this comparison you can clearly see more edge detail and crispness from the P45, plus the film is so noisy at this scale that subtle details such as the texture of the paper are completely lost. The P45 image is ahead in every respect.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=65815\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That might well be true. Unfortunately the 645 format shot was an error not corrected. Consider the following statement from the article.

Quote
One error that we did not have time to correct, is that the Velvia 645 shot was composed to fit the slightly smaller rectangle of the P45 sensor, instead of using the full 645 film area. This will make the Velvia 645 look a little worse than it could be.


The slightly smaller rectangle of the P45 is 36.8mm x 49.1mm compared with a full frame 645 film of around 42mm x 56mm, which is about a 30% greater area. If the full 645 frame had been used, the resolution would probably be about 10% greater.
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Quentin
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« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2006, 05:44:11 AM »
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In a way that's true, but it is not really a meaningful comparison to compare a 645 SLR with an 8x10 view camera. The latter is very limited in application.

It makes much more sense to compare film and digital on the same platform, and in that respect digital is clearly ahead.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=65807\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That does not seem to be the view of the testers as the comparison includes 4x5 film which is also obviously not medium format, but its nonetheless relevant for those interested in sheer resolving power and the same applies to 8x10, which has 4 times the film area of 4x5 film.

It seems from various tests that a P45 is nearly at drum scanned 4x5 levels.  Thats more than good enough for most purposes, but I'll wait uintil similar resolution comes at a less ludicrous price  

Overall I think Ray is right.  One hunts for largely invisible differences in tests.

Quentin
« Last Edit: May 18, 2006, 05:46:46 AM by Quentin » Logged

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Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2006, 06:10:55 AM »
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I agree with Ray's general sentiment that the differences are so small in these shots that you have to ask are they worthwhile?

In my own work I use a Canon 5D, a Canon 1Ds MkII, and a Phase One P25. Under certain circumstances there are resolution or other quality differences to be seen between them, but normally only at relatively large levels of enlargement. If you're content with an A4 or even an A3 print (and for the last hundred years they've been considered sufficient by many photographers to show their work to advantage) then the differences between the cameras and lenses in these tests would appear to be vanishingly small. Furthermore, Michael has rightly emphasised the gap between test photography under ideal conditions like these, and real world photography under less favourable conditions, where we should expect the real resolution differences to be further eliminated.

I'd consider that a healthy conclusion.

There's many extremely talented photographers out there who are unwilling or unable to indulge in the mega pixel race, but that in no way detracts from their talent. And with extremely narrow results like these those same photographers can relax and concentrate on their photography, knowing that their more modest DSLR or medium/large format film cameras will give them every last scrap of quality they could possibly need to allow their photographic vision to be fully expressed.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2006, 11:14:57 PM »
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There's many extremely talented photographers out there who are unwilling or unable to indulge in the mega pixel race, but that in no way detracts from their talent. And with extremely narrow results like these those same photographers can relax and concentrate on their photography, knowing that their more modest DSLR or medium/large format film cameras will give them every last scrap of quality they could possibly need to allow their photographic vision to be fully expressed.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=65895\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

A good summary Gary.

And for those who cannot afford to spend this much, but still want higher resolutions, stitching is still there as a credible back up.

Regards,
Bernard
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« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2006, 05:48:07 PM »
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In a way that's true, but it is not really a meaningful comparison to compare a 645 SLR with an 8x10 view camera. The latter is very limited in application.

It makes much more sense to compare film and digital on the same platform, and in that respect digital is clearly ahead.




[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=65807\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I agree strongly with this poster. My D200 comes pretty close to my medium format stuff , and is much easier to carry around. It certainly far exceeds the quality of any 35mm film I am familiar with (I am not familiar with some of the airphoto films and the like mentioned for resolution comparisons). I'll still use MF (especially my Horseman 6x9 view camera) for very considered landscape shooting, because it still IS better than my D200. The great thing about the D200 is that, under certain conditions, and for certain subjects, I can take an art shot I'd put in a gallery while I'm out hiking... Nothing I've owned before can do THAT. I would switch to digital backs on the big stuff if they weren't $30,000 for a really good one!

                                                       -Dan
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2006, 09:59:34 AM »
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It seems from various tests that a P45 is nearly at drum scanned 4x5 levels.  Thats more than good enough for most purposes, but I'll wait uintil similar resolution comes at a less ludicrous price   

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=65894\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Quentin, did you see that Betterlight file?  

Seriously, the BL back is a very viable option for a studio shooter and Bill is selling his Super 6K HS now that he's done with his part of this massive test    It's even an option for a landscape shooter willing to live with its limitations -- much the same limitations as those for Ultra Large Format (your 8x10 and up) in the field.
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