Mmmmm... Sorry to ask a dumb question, but... Where were you living in the past 5 years?
Heh. Well, I used to be up to date with film and digital about 5-6 years ago, and kind of kept up with it, but as they say, life happens. I decided recently to get back into it - and maybe explore medium format, again, since it had been about ten years since I sold my old Rollei TLR.
It's sort of like having missed windows XP and jumping straight from 98 to Vista. There are differences and such, but the technology takes time to get up to speed on.
Back then, the big debate was still manual versus AF. Digital wasn't anywhere close to replacing film.
More seriously, the flaws you're talking about may be real when one consider the ouput of a 2001' Canon D30 (and not 30D).
Today, a decently-processed DSLR capture at 1600ISO has a comparable amount of grain/noise as a scanned 35mm 100ISO slide, with dynamic range comparable to the corresponding negative.
And now, we can process all that (including defringing and a very nice falloff handling) with reversible selective adjustments in LR2beta... It's a good time to be a photographer.
I'd be glad if this was true, finally. But of course, I can't really afford a $3000 setup, either. This is a hobby for myself, and maybe a bit of artwork here and there as well. That software has improved is also good - but how much does this all cost? Yet, there's a simplicity about film that I like. Shoot, develop. Print or whatever as technology gets better. Doubly so with slides, since there's no printing (technically) required.
Anyways - this place has been helpful in many ways. (see, unlike a lot of people online, I can change my mind)
1 - I've realized that dye-sub printers have basically stood still and the inks have the same problems and so on in the last 5-6 years. Dot pitch, resolution, fading, susceptibility to VOCs and so on - nothing much seems to have been done.
So I'll just get a nice large format inkjet, most likely(unless there's a third technology I don't know about) How much do they cost, though? I'd like to find something that's good, but also not some consumer-level piece of junk. My only real requirement is it have zero banding and alignment problems. Used is fine, of course.
2 - For scanning, a Minolta scanner for $500 or so used will also be fine. 3200DPI for 6*4.5 or 6*6 should more than suffice. No need to get silly, really, considering that this is true pixels as opposed to a sensor type pattern. That's good for pixel for pixel, view it from 2 inches away printing up to 11*17 from 6*4.5. That's as large as anything handheld will ever get.(8.5*11 or so more realistically, even)
Few people get that close to a large framed picture as well. ie - if I print bigger, it would be framed anyways and likely 4x that size, but seen from a dozen feet away. But how much do large format inkjet printers cost? I'm not a fan of $20 ink cartridges. If I have to buy ink, I'd rather pour it into a tank.(my printing experience comes from when I worked with offset printing and such, mostly - from pictures and development to making the plates and so on). I'd rather his sort of approach, but then again, I'm not rich...
3 - The main question seems to be film or digital and cost. I just don't have the silly money that some people have. So let's pose this as a simpler question:
If I had $1500 to spend on a camera and two or three good lenses(this assumes no scanner - so maybe $1000 for film), and wanted something better than 35mm, what would I get? Used, of course, would be an option.
I don't want something that is junk or will break in 3-4 years, which is why I initially was considering a Nikon F4. (but was also looking around for other options - maybe some other maker had similar stuff)
I like the simplicity and straight-forward design of the professional stuff, but darn it, it's so silly expensive. I love the continuous tone output and technology of the Foveon sensors, for instance, but Sigma's digital cameras are such crap to use and the resolution is a whole generation or two behind. Have to shot in raw, have to set it to ISO100 and never change it, have to manually post-process every picture by hand... etc etc. Sigh.
Plus, 2640×1760 isn't "14MP". This isn't even what a typical 3000*2000 optical scan from a photo lab will do with cheap 35mm film. Nice technology, miserable implementation.
(see, I'm not *completely* out of touch with the technology - )
For me, the main problem with scanning film is the emphasize (almost a parody, without exaggerating that much) on the grain, probably because the square & uniform "pixel structure" is added to it.
Noise reduction can be applied, but it will be hard not to smear that "tad more information" (especially in textures) with it.
That makes sense, now that you mention it. Round peg, square hole in effect.(actually in projectors, which I do know a lot about, it would be a infamous "screen door" effect of DLP projectors). So does this mean you have to lower the resolution to less than the maximum optical, or apply a bunch of software processing to defocus it?
situgrrl, I know how big 6*4.5 is - it's just not taken very seriously(mostly by pros it seems), which is a shame - it's a very nice format. The Pentax 645NII isn't much larger than a typical full-size/pro SLR. And they *are* pretty inexpensive. Though, I do wonder about parts and such, since they seem to have abandoned them in the last year or so... But film means a scanner as well, so... maybe not as inexpensive as I was hoping for...