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Author Topic: 35mm film vs medium format vs D80  (Read 24152 times)
SlimE
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« on: May 16, 2007, 05:05:39 AM »
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Hi Guys, this is my first post ever...so here goes
I have three cameras. A Minolta X700 35mm film camera with a 28-70mm lense, a 2.8F Rollieflex medium format and a new D80 with a 18-70mm lense. I am an avid landscape photographer and often hike up mountains to get the best shots. The question is which should I take if I could only take one due to weight constraints.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2007, 03:33:02 PM »
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If your question is which one to take, then the answers is that they each have their own pros and cons.  If the question is which one to take due to weight constraints, then the obvious answer is the lightest one...

Mike.

BTW, welcome to the list!
« Last Edit: May 16, 2007, 03:33:17 PM by wolfnowl » Logged

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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2007, 11:32:40 PM »
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I would say the D80. Used properly, you should get image quality and detail roughly comparable to medium format with weight closer to 35mm film, assuming the lens you mention is not a consumer-grade coke bottle (I'm not a Nikon shooter, and am not familiar with their lenses). Proper exposure is important; you always want your non-specular highlights to be about 1/3-1/2 stop away from clipping (any of the color channels reaching maximim value). Shoot RAW, and process in 16-bit mode, converting to 8-bit mode only when saving a JPEG copy for web display or something like that.
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Aboud
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2007, 06:34:26 AM »
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I would differ on the format opinion. The Nikon digital will not be equivilant to the scanned negative or transparency of the 6X6 Rollei. I am sure the glass on your Rollei is superior to any Nikon zoom lens be it the "coke bottle" or even a low dispersion glass. Unless you need the longer perspective of the 35MM Minolta or the Nikon digital, I would recommend the Rollei.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2007, 09:29:48 AM »
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I would differ on the format opinion. The Nikon digital will not be equivilant to the scanned negative or transparency of the 6X6 Rollei. I am sure the glass on your Rollei is superior to any Nikon zoom lens be it the "coke bottle" or even a low dispersion glass.

Not unless you have the 6x6 film drum scanned. If not, the digital is going to have an advantage over the 6x6. And if you stitch, digital can deliver resolution far higher than the 6x6 even with coke bottles.
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Neil Hunt
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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2007, 04:03:37 PM »
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Hi SlimE,

There are any number of different perspectives on the technical strengths and weaknesses of each format - most of which are totally irrelevant. I'm assuming you are shooting for pleasure not profit so the answer is take whichever one you feel comfortable with and enjoy most.

PS Shooting for fun it would be the Rollie for me every time, but thats just me!
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chez
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2007, 08:14:16 PM »
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I have both a medium format system ( pentax 6x7 ) and a digital camera ( canon 20d ). My medium format is with me anytime I'm out doing landscape photography. Resolution and dynamic range in the medium format out performs the digital every time. I scan my slide / negatives using a Nikon 8000.
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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2007, 11:57:20 PM »
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Hi Guys, this is my first post ever...so here goes
I have three cameras. A Minolta X700 35mm film camera with a 28-70mm lense, a 2.8F Rollieflex medium format and a new D80 with a 18-70mm lense. I am an avid landscape photographer and often hike up mountains to get the best shots. The question is which should I take if I could only take one due to weight constraints.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=117836\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I can offer another perspective. Why don't you buy a nice little digicam like the Ricoh GX100? RAW, 24-72mm nice zoom lens, image stabilization, excellent controls, all in a small package that you can carry in a belt pack while hiking.

I do some hiking in the mountains of Oman, and my EOS 1V stays home quite often; it is the little digicam that I take with me for longer hikes.

In the end, you are the only one that can answer your question! You know how much wieght you are comfortably carrying. Otherwise, you are getting answers that are the typical "pissing contest" from the digital vs. film moot discussions.
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SlimE
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2007, 07:07:20 AM »
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Guys thanks very much for your opinions.

Neil Hunt - You right about the fun factor with shooting with the Rollie.

Shooting the D80 in raw will probably be the most practical, all things considered.

I was interested to note that nobody suggested shooting with the 35mm with fuji velvia?
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bjanes
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« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2007, 08:32:42 AM »
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I would say the D80. Used properly, you should get image quality and detail roughly comparable to medium format with weight closer to 35mm film, assuming the lens you mention is not a consumer-grade coke bottle (I'm not a Nikon shooter, and am not familiar with their lenses). Proper exposure is important; you always want your non-specular highlights to be about 1/3-1/2 stop away from clipping (any of the color channels reaching maximim value). Shoot RAW, and process in 16-bit mode, converting to 8-bit mode only when saving a JPEG copy for web display or something like that.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Personally, I would also take the D80. I have two comparable film cameras (the Nikon F100 and the Hasselblad 500C) and a comparable digital (the D200). The medium format with Velvia would probably have the best image quality but you would be stuck with its bulk, fixed focal length lens, no histogram or preview, and the need to scan the film. The 18-70 Nikkor zoom was introduced as the kit lens for the D70 and it is a consumer grade lens, but one that generally gets very good reviews. For example, see [a href=\"http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html]Bjorn[/url]. I have been quite happy with my copy, which I acquired with a D70.

Bill
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SlimE
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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2007, 03:29:34 AM »
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[The 18-70 Nikkor zoom was introduced as the kit lens for the D70 and it is a consumer grade lens, but one that generally gets very good reviews. For example, see Bjorn. I have been quite happy with my copy, which I acquired with a D70.

Actually I have the same lense and have been happy so far (I've only had my D80 for two weeks). Eventually I'd like to get the 17-35mm or the 14mm prime.
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Paul Kay
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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2007, 05:30:43 AM »
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This may sound silly/obvious but the gear you should take should probably depend on why you are taking it. I have climbed mountains with full medium format outfits and taken images which I am very pleased with, but carrying substantial weight like this is hard work and essentially means that your reason for going is purely photographic and does meant that the actual climb may not be terribly enjoyable (depending on fitness, etc.)!

If, on the other hand you simply want to go out and enjoy taking images then perhaps a smaller, lighter option might be a great deal more enjoyable to carry and use. All the cameras you list are very capable of taking high quality images and their differences will depend very much on the use you wish to put the images to.
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SlimE
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2007, 06:44:04 AM »
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...also the collector value of the Rollie has to be considered. I should probably resign the Rollie to light duty and safe shooting. The Rollie also has a lot of sentimental value to me being my grandfather's camera. I would like to hand it over to my kids one day. My own interest in photography was very much started due to inheriting this camera. There is just something about a Rollie that really inspires...
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bjanes
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« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2007, 07:24:50 AM »
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[The 18-70 Nikkor zoom was introduced as the kit lens for the D70 and it is a consumer grade lens, but one that generally gets very good reviews. For example, see Bjorn. I have been quite happy with my copy, which I acquired with a D70.

Actually I have the same lense and have been happy so far (I've only had my D80 for two weeks). Eventually I'd like to get the 17-35mm or the 14mm prime.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The 18-70 is good wide open, and gives excellent results stopped down a bit. I wouldn't hesitate using it with the D80 if its max aperture meets your needs. In addition it is small and light.

Another lens to consider for available light work is the Sigma 18-50 f/2.8. It got a stellar review in [a href=\"http://www.popphoto.com/cameralenses/4118/lens-test-sigma-18-50mm-f28-ex-dc-macro.html]Popular Photography[/url]. It is much more compact than the 17-35, but is is a DX lens and it is difficult to predict where Nikon is going with their sensors. At $400 street price, I would consider the risk of it's becoming obsolete with a full frame switch to be acceptable. On the other hand I would be reluctant to spend $1400 on the DX 17-55 f/2.8 Nikkor.
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NashvilleMike
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« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2007, 03:25:41 PM »
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I think it comes down to the Rollei (sigh, wistful thinking of the old days) and the D80.

With the very best drum scanning and printing quite large, yes, the Rollei will likely offer marginally superior image quality.

With careful technique, top glass, and assuming proper knowledge of post processing, the D80 will approach and often equal the Rollei in terms of image quality up to moderately large print sizes (I would roughly say 16x20 is where the line in the sand would be drawn).

The D80 is of course lighter in weight and far more flexible, so that would be my choice. However, if you are not "into" digital photograhy (or have not yet learned the craft of it), you might find the Rollei to give you quicker satisfaction without a lot of work after the fact.

As far as the 18-70 kit lens goes - it's okay stopped down, but it's not the best glass that Nikon offers either, so maybe if that's your lens, we have to "reduce" the max. print size for my "line in the sand" theory stated earlier to about 13x19 or so.

As an aside, I've shot 35mm film, DSLR (D2X, D80, D70, D100), TLR medium format (a few Mamiya C330F's) and 4x5, and for the combination of image quality vs portability and flexibility, I personally prefer the DSLR, but this decision as to which attributes (quality, flexibility, portability) you personally weight stronger than others in the mix is totally up to you and should be secondary to "getting the shot" in the right light and right location.

-m
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tsjanik
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« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2007, 09:29:01 PM »
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Hi SlimE:

My suggestion is to try the digital and 6x6, see which produces want you want to accomplish.  For me, I use a 6MP DSLR for web, snapshots and anything that will not be enlarged beyond 8x10.  Any work that I hope to print big, I still use a 645, 6x7 or 4x5.
This topic has been discussed ad nauseam and you can find much with a web search; ultimately, it is a subjective, personal preference.  You might enjoy the discussion at http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00LDZX
You might also find the cited links worthwhile.
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RomanJohnston
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« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2007, 11:00:05 AM »
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I am with Jonathan on this one....take the D80 and your tripod. I hike all over the NW with my D2X and regularly get 30"x45" prints for my customers from it from single shots. Your 10MP should do about the same. Use your mirror lockup...quality glass, and a remote cord with your Tripod and you will be amazed with the results.

Keep the F-stop below f/14 if your running 1/3 stop divisions to keep diffraction from blurrig your work. (huge sharpness hurdle with my D2X till I found out about diffraction) Now I stay at f/11 or wider and no more problems (about f/11 for 12mp, f/14ish for 10mp should be fine)....which shouldnt be a problem with wider lenses....longer ones you have to be more creative as DOF issues start to rear their ugly head.

If you cant get solid 20'x30' prints from your D80....your doing somthing wrong.

Plus a tip....consider picking up a Tokina 12-24 to complement your current lens. Its one of my favorites and at $500.00 its a steal.

Roman
« Last Edit: May 29, 2007, 11:01:55 AM by RomanJohnston » Logged

Deep
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« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2007, 05:55:31 AM »
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I find this an intriguing topic.  There is so much theory spread over the internet about what is better!  I am right now in the process of doing a very relevant comparison.  I have taken a series of photos using my 3.5 Rollei, my Canon FTb and a range of lenses and my Olympus E300 DSLR (8Mp), also with a range of lenses.  All on a heavy tripod, in good light,  all with comparable focal lengths and apertures adjusted to give equivalent depth of field and chosen to give the cameras the best chance.  I pick up the 35mm slide film tomorrow; the medium format film is still in the camera.  The digitals have been in the computer for a week already.  I am really looking forward to seeing what "the truth" really is.

Despite what nearly everyone says, my experience has been that, when I use digital and film at the same time, I catch a lot more detail with slide film than digital. It also holds together much better in the more exposed areas, losing out to digital in the shade areas - which actually gives a much more pleasing photo for what I do (this depends a lot on what film you use - Agfa RSX was my benchmark when I could get it).  I am convinced that I would need 12-16 Mp and lenses to match my FD lenses to equal the overall quality with digital.  (My tests may prove me wrong!)  I also like shooting film, I like being patient, I like making each photo count instead of taking a whole swag of them and then being tied to a computer for hours.  But I still use the digital all the time.

I just get so sick of scanning slides and then correcting the scans to try to make them close to the original slides.  A more expensive scanner would help, but I doubt I will ever buy one.  Just lazy!  In most cases, certainly up to the 12x8 prints I normally make, digital is indistinguishable from film.  Bigger than that, it's not so simple.  I get stunning 24x16s from 35mm slides - the prices I have got support that.

If picture quality counts most, the Rollei will beat the 35mm simply because of the big film size and decent lens.  So why do I almost never use it?  I find the fixed focal length too limiting and the back-to-front viewfinder frustrates me.  BUT - I have a friend who gels with it.  I went away for nine days with her and she took ten photos in that time.  Every one was amazing (black and white) and would have been hard to acheive with the cheaper digitals.

The point of all this?  All the theory in the world gets in the way of making the right decision as much as it helps it.  Travel with the camera that falls into your hands right and gives the pictures you like.  They will all give you good results.  If you have the Rollei mindset, take that and expect to take your time over your fewer, expensive photos, which will reward you with greater quality if you make big prints.  You might be surprised, if you weigh all your cameras, to find the Rollei is no heavier and may be lighter if you are taking an extra lens with the other cameras.  It's also quiet, inconspicous and can be used with ridiclously slow shutter speeds.  If you don't have the Rollei mindset, you will almost certainly get more "keepers" with your digital than your film camera, but the keepers with your film camera could well be better!

I know this hasn't helped much.  I've taken it as an opportunity to let off steam.  What the heck, I've written it, may as well post it.

One last thing.  When I travelled around Australia a few years ago, I ended up selling a light zoom lens and carried around heavy Canon 24-70/2.8 and Tokina 80-400 zooms instead.  The weight is no penalty when you get the shots that count (you can see some on deeppics.com, under "landscapes, Australia").  Really and truly, you may never get there again and the best lens is the most important thing.

Sorry about the rave,

Don.
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Don
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« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2007, 03:16:28 PM »
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Hi Guys, this is my first post ever...so here goes
I have three cameras. A Minolta X700 35mm film camera with a 28-70mm lense, a 2.8F Rollieflex medium format and a new D80 with a 18-70mm lense. I am an avid landscape photographer and often hike up mountains to get the best shots. The question is which should I take if I could only take one due to weight constraints.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=117836\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

How about buy a photo backpack and take them all? That's what I would do.
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James Godman
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« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2007, 04:48:48 PM »
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I would take the Rolleiflex.

Good luck!
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