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Author Topic: IDs MkII vs 22 MP back vs MF film  (Read 10169 times)
jeffok
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« Reply #20 on: December 25, 2004, 09:00:23 PM »
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I do not understand why we need to debate this point. I have looked at the post that started this thread and all I can see are assumptions based on scanner resolution and Dmax. No other facts or valid comparisons. Resolution for example is not just about numbers of megabytes. My only interest in this discussion is, can you take a better picture more easily with a digital camera most of the time than you can with a film one? In my experience, the answer would have to be yes and this is what most people seem to have discovered in the last two or three years.
The reason for starting this discussion was not to start another silly film vs digital debate. That is much too broad and simplistic but unfortunately, this is how some people choose to perceive it. I am committed to digital (Canon 20D) and certainly am familiar with its advantages and disadvantages.

Again, my point was that, at this point in time and FOR LARGE PRINTS (ie: bigger than A3) does it make sense to spend $8,000 or even $30,000 to assure yourself that you are getting superior image quality?

As a photographer, I can evaluate this subjectively without the need to quote technical details. The "proof" is in the perception, not the "facts", which as you know can support any contention you care to imagine.

For thoughtful people who are open to different opinions, we have debates. In dictatorships, only one view counts. Which do you prefer? It is not beyond question that an 16 MP camera is better in every respect than MF film. No matter how often Mr. Didger offers his entusiastic support for Michaels' views, I still think there is a debate here, as evidenced by the opinions of other very experienced photographers in this same forum.

This year, I won an international photo competition in Japan with a 6x7 image that bested many 12MP and up digital photos. Does this prove 6x7 is better? No, of course not. What it does show however, is that making a good picture is determined much more in composition and technique, and finally by perception. It's not in the number of megapixels. (and yes, I agree digital workflow is superior) Which brings me to the final point I was trying to make.

This was about cost- the upshot tbeing that IF you already have a MF film camera, and IF you are on a limited budget, AND you want to retain excellent image quality for large prints, THEN it would be wiser to buy one of the newer scanners, scan the film and wait until 22MP camera prices fall into a reasonable range.

I guess that means I respectfully disagree with Michael that an 11 MP image is "better" than 6x7. All I can say is I there is a legitimate time and ocassion to still use this format. Viewing the images from both formats side by side, I made my own subjective evaluation.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2004, 05:44:38 PM »
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I decided I might as well offer some images as "proof" to back up my claim above.  

The 1Ds2 image was taken with a 35mm f1.4 L lens at f8, a very sharp lens.  The 4x5 image was taken with a 90mm Rodenstock lens, which is NOT the sharpest 4x5 lens in my bag.  I used the 90 since I wanted to equal the 35mm FOV on 6x9cm format film. The film was scanned at a fairly low 1800PPI on my Imacon scanner, to further make my point.

Here is the full frame shot showing the 50x50 pixel (high contrast) crop area from both images.  Note that with my naked eyes from where I am standing, I can just barely read the street sign -- last time I had my eyes checked, I had slightly better than 20-20 distance vision:



Here is the 50x50 crop from the 1Ds2 file at actual pixel view, after careful conversion in C1. With proper sharpening you can almost, but not quite make out the street name on the sign:



Here, in the effective 6x9 film scan, you can CLEARLY make out the street name:



My only point is that scanned MF film can generate more detail than 16MP digital capture -- I am NOT claiming one is better than the other.  In fact, 32" prints of this image from the 1Ds2 file look better to me from an overal image quality standpoint than the film print does.  Even when closely inspected at critical viewing distances -- meaning my nose in the print!  I cannot actually see better detail in the scanned film print until put a loupe on it. And FWIW, my Epson printer is good enough to replicate those details from the files -- under the loupe I cannot read the street sign in the digital print, but I can read it in the scanned film print.

(Please note that I do not consider this an artistic image.  While the building has the potential for that, I use this shooting position as it provides a variety of qualities to look at for comparison purposes.)  

Cheers,
Jack
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jeffok
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« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2005, 07:42:48 PM »
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Some of the world-weary "digital fundamentalists" on this forum wonder why they have to keep evangelizing us "film pagans" about the coming of the digital messiah. I offer you a comment by Roger Hicks which is pretty typical of the views of most professionals and industry watchers on film vs digital

In the January Shutterbug magazine review of digital and medium format developments at Photokina notes:
" In digital “medium format,” too, there were two surprises. One was a new Mamiya ZD (www.mamiya.com), a big brute of a camera but not a lot larger than the current generation of vast 35mm and multi-megapixel SLRs. It offers 22 megapixels. This genuinely does compete with or even surpass 35mm, but it is (to be generous) disputable whether 22 megapixels begins to approach 645 film in potential resolution, let alone 6x7cm or bigger." See: http://shutterbug.com/show_reports/0105sb_cameras/
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2005, 02:32:23 PM »
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The Canon mount is such that just about any lens can be attached to an EF mount camera with appropriate adapter. MF lenses can be used, although you'll get a narrower FOV since the 1Ds sensor is smaller than MF film. But you're also using the sweet spot of the lens.
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Ray
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« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2005, 01:43:44 AM »
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No, I'm not overlooking that. I'm assuming that professional photographers are familiar with the range of focal lengths for 35mm cameras, which have been around for a long, long time and that the same confusion that has applied to the smaller format DSLRs that use 35mm lenses is less likely apply to 35mm cameras attached to MF lenses, although the cropping principle is exacly the same.
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didger
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« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2004, 09:07:57 AM »
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Michael, thanks for that combination of common sense and credible personal experience report.  I'm surprised that it's still ever necessary to convince anyone that digital is a suitable medium for landscape photography.

I have, however, been wondering about comparing 4x5 film with 22 MP MF, even very very good 22 MP.  With all your experience now, would you say that the MF back can absolutely rival 4x5 film in terms of the sharpness you'd see in a 30x40" print?  Does a really accomplished 4x5 shooter like David Muench really have no advantage at all over a 22 MP digital photographer of comparable skill for very large prints?

I'm seriously considering Mamiya ZD, but I was figuring that for extremely large prints even the best 22 MP outfit with the best lenses and best technique all around would still visibly fall short of 4x5 film for very large prints.  Not so, you think?
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« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2004, 12:26:07 PM »
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I'd say it's a push as to whether a  properly produced 22MP file from an MF camera would be slightly better or worse than a 4X5" drum scan.

The 4X5" scan at 4000ppi could be printed larger, of course, but then ressed up so could the digital file. It's a matter of ressing up vs enlarging grain.

It's a quibble really, but at print sizes up to 20X24" there isn't much to choose between them, except that the 4X5" is harder to produce both pre and post exposure, and the 22MP costs more in terms of gear.

Michael
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2004, 01:20:03 PM »
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You can click here to download and print a 1Ds images shot with the 70-200/2.8L IS zoom. Download it, print it, and draw your own conclusions.

You missed my point.  Eric (see earlier post) has at his disposal MF film and a 10D.  He made comparable shots and printed them out.  

I can go here and there and collect various files and print them.  But I know of no where that I can download samples of the same scene shot under the same conditions using different cameras.

As the old saying goes...  "Seeing is believing.".

If such samples were on line the Doubting Thomases could judge for themselves.
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Graham Welland
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« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2004, 11:42:27 PM »
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I think that once you start looking at 4x5 your motives are not just in terms of image resolution/quality but should also be based on the flexibility of the platform (i.e. movements) to capture the absolute 'best' image of the scene. You could argue that perhaps something like the Hartblei T/S lens for MF can achieve this, although only at a limited focal length. I hope to get one in the new year some time to compare - maybe that'll be another reason to consign the LF to the cupboard again (although I actually enjoy the 'process' of LF capture on occasion).

In terms of workflow, no contest. Digital capture is so much more convenient.
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Graham
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« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2004, 10:44:32 AM »
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The 35 mm film/6-8 meg dSLR, MF film/1Ds type questions frequently occur all over the web (at least on photography forums).  People respond with numbers or with what they've observed from their tests.

That leads to faith-based decision making.  Is Michael a god, or is Michael a liar?  I've seen him portrayed as both depending on the individual's need to support their personal beliefs.  I'm thinking that if it were easy to hold the evidence in one's hand....  

The Doubting Thomases who most interest me are the long term MF film shooters who are just encountering the idea of digital perhaps being an equally valid way of producing a print.  They've often been put off by the limited abilities of lesser digital cameras.  

These people most certainly know how to evaluate a print.  Put something in their hands and let them decide for themselves.

There are a few isolated places where one can download and print some examples.

I've been thinking for a while that it would be nice if there were a repository of comparison shots.  Someone like Eric could post his test 10D/MF film shots, Michael some 22 meg/MF film shots, ....  (Especially I'd like to see a 'reasonable' scanner/drum scanner 35 mm film/20D/1Ds study.)

When the 'Which is better?" type questions arise people could be pointed to the site.  They could print them out at their convenience.  

Perhaps the samples should be coded (Tree1, Tree2) and the codes tied to camera on a separate page.  (I'd really like to print out a MF film and 22 meg MF back and hang them on the wall for a few days without knowing which is which.)
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Jose Luis Gonzalez
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« Reply #30 on: December 24, 2004, 02:17:21 PM »
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I´d like to add my two cents to this thread. I´ve been a pro for more 35 years, and through all these years I´collected quite a collection of the best gear that one can dream, from Leica Ms outfits, Hasselblads, linhof, Sinar p2 etc. all of them with the best glass. when the transition to digital postprocessing started I bougth a drum scanner to extract the last drop of quality from my chromes ( 10.000  ppi and 4.6 Dmax ) . From the moment that I got a D30 a few years back I knew that the status of photography as we knew it was to change very fast. I found out quickly that a D30 could match a 6x7 drum scanned( I must add that I´m a very competent scan operator) and printed to to 8x12 inches. As soon as the D60 came out and I got one plus the three TSE lenses, since then  my drum scanner is iddle, in fact I have it connected to a old laptop and installed in the armoured room where I keep all my cameras, rigth now it is more than a year that I have not used it. With the D60 and the TSE lenses I get flat stitched files of more than 16 Mp and even more when I attach it to my Sinar P2 and using my Hassel lenses. I get quickly shot tiles files of 9 images that give me more than 30 Mp files with zeiss quality. I´m getting a 1DSMk2 next month to simplify things a bit or if using the same stitching methods get much more bigger files than now.

In my opinion the digital images are vastly superior to film , specially  if you are like me a grain avoider. for me there is no way back. specially since last summer that under a retro attack  I took my Master Technika and three lenses to a outing. to make short it,  never more.

Didger. I understand that you are a Mac user, there is a simple and beautiful solution for the problem of handling big files with personal computers. it is called Live Picture a software that was discontinued a few years back, but still runs pretty well on OSX Classic, it was very advanced in its time, all the wonderfull tricks that you have learnt lately with layers and layers mask were  routine for us  LP users when Photoshop 3 even did not have layers, and in real time with any size image , and I mean  any size, with just 64 Mb of ram,. When it came out it was over 7000$ and now you can have it sometimes in ebay for as low as 25 $. It is a bit different working philosophy, but if you get to master it, you will not want anything else. I´ve been using it the last 11 years and plan to do it as long as I last :-) it is a very nice way of skipping the need for upgrading computers

Well I wish you all the best of ligth for the next year
Jose
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didger
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« Reply #31 on: December 24, 2004, 05:17:57 PM »
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Didger, if you decide to go Live Picture route, contact me to tell you how configurate the OS9  Classic for a stable running of LP
Thanks.  At the moment I'm running a day late getting my stuff together for a big cold solo Sierra shooting/camping trip.  Then a bit of business stuff in January and some more cold shooting with a friend., then February in India, and so it goes.  Nepal some time.  Patagonia some time.  Utah again some time.  Too many fun and interesting software options (ray tracing and really far out image processing not even started yet), too many interesting places to go, too little time, too little money.  Familiar scenario to anybody else?
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RobertJ
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« Reply #32 on: December 26, 2004, 12:52:32 AM »
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This year, I won an international photo competition in Japan with a 6x7 image that bested many 12MP and up digital photos.

I guess that means I respectfully disagree with Michael that an 11 MP image is "better" than 6x7.
I think most of us know that a good image requires good technique, but all of these "1ds2 vs. blahblah" threads are questioning the technical aspects of one main thing: A photographic PRINT.  Whether the photograph is artistically acceptable or not, most of us are talking about actual detail that we see in prints.  So far, from Michael's tests, along with some other people, it appears that digital looks better than film in prints - up to a certain printable size.  (13x19, and in some cases, larger)

As for 6x7 being better than 11 megapixels?  Well, I guess a drum-scanned 6x7 will result in a file that allows you to make a larger print.  However, file size and dimensions do not necessarily have anything to do with "Resolution."

T-1000
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #33 on: December 26, 2004, 10:35:42 AM »
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I guess that means I respectfully disagree with Michael that an 11 MP image is "better" than 6x7. All I can say is I there is a legitimate time and ocassion to still use this format. Viewing the images from both formats side by side, I made my own subjective evaluation.
Me too...  I've said from day one that the 1Ds was a tad better than scanned 645 and a tad behind scanned 6x7, though all are very close.

Also, Michael stated earlier in this thread:

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"As a rule of thumb, 6MP cameras (I'm talking DSLRs, not digicams) outperform 35mm film, 11MP+ cameras outperform medium format film, and 22MP MF backs outperform 4X5" film when it comes to overall image quality, including resolution."

I would have agreed with him except for the last two words, "including resolution."  The problem is no comparison of digital to film resolutions is complete without also stating the contrast ratio of the detail areas at the same time. Film's resolution limits increase with contrast and  I have too many examples where my Imacon-scanned 4x5 Astia outresolves my 1DsII in these areas to be convinced otherwise. Film simply has more resolution capability than a 16MP FF or 22MP MF digital sensor in certain situations, period.

HOWEVER, I do believe that the "normal" 16MP FF or 22MP MF file is capable of producing images that regularly appear more detailed than the "normal" scanned 4x5 file will, up to say 32x40/48 in print size.  Mind you, it is not always in fact more detailed -- putting a loupe to the print will confirm this -- but the larger spatial frequency areas do appear crisper and thus give the entire print the illusion of better detail.  And customers vote with their checkbooks... (I'm sure Michael and I would agree on this point :: )

Lastly, as a practical matter, 32x48 is as large as I'm ever likely to print (at least for photo-quality) since I can only frame them out to 40x60 maximum.  (I might go larger on canvas, but I don't really think canvas cuts it for a true fine-art print...  But that is a debate for another thread  :: )  Hence, my use for film -- more accurately 4x5 film -- will be restricted to special projects where its assets outweigh its inconvenience and per-shot cost.

Cheers,
Jack
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dwa652
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« Reply #34 on: January 14, 2005, 01:46:33 PM »
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FWIW, Steve Hoffman has some comparisons on his web site with MF, 4x5 and a 1dsM2.

http://www.sphoto.com/techinfo/dslrvsfilm.htm

In addition, there was a decent article in Nature Photographer with comparisons between 4x5, a P25, and a 1dsM2, with the 4x5 narrowly out-resolving the P25 which out resolved the Canon.  But they did not post photo comparisons in that article and the reader is just left to take the writer's word for it.

Don Allen
www.donallen.net
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howard smith
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« Reply #35 on: January 18, 2005, 03:08:36 PM »
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And all of the auto focus/exposure stuff that you are paying for won't work (?).

I think if I were going to spend $8K for a 1ds plus adapter for lenses that wouldn't work quite right, I might be inclined to wait for a back that would let the MF camera/lenses work as designed.  Just an unprofessional opinion though.
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Ray
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« Reply #36 on: January 19, 2005, 06:03:41 PM »
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This does seem to be supported by PhotoDO's measurements of MTF for 35mm and MF lenses, where the 35mm lenses generally do better. Note that they test MF and 35mm lenses at the same 10, 20 and 40 lp/mm, and at the same range of distances from center, 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 21 mm. Thus their results correspond very directly to an asessment of performance when used with 35mm format and its 21mm image circle radius.
There are a couple of issues here that are not clear.

(1) Photodo applies a greater weighting to centre performance than to edge performance when arriving at their over all rating for a lens. Therefore, the superior performance expected of MF lenses at the 21mm mark may not be fully reflected in the rating figures.

(2) Because MF lenses are generally used at smaller apertures than 35mm for DoF purposes, some of the lenses tested by Photodo might have been designed for optimal performance at f11 or even f16 instead of f8 which is the smallest aperture at which Photodo does its tests.

I can think of at least one lens where this is the case; the Russian made Hartblei 45mm MF tilt & shift lens. The figures on it's website indicate this lens is equally sharp at f16 and f22 (at least very close) and noticeably sharper at f22 than at f8.

Another example of a lens being sharper at apertures that Photodo doesn't use in its test, is the Canon 100-400 IS. This lens appears to be best at f11, according to a comaprison done by Michael with the 400/5.6 prime.

Once again, unless manufacturers provide comprehensive, individual MTF charts with their lenses, we can only speculate on such matters.
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howard smith
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« Reply #37 on: January 19, 2005, 07:30:33 AM »
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I am familiar with the attachment of a lens designed for MF to a 35mm camera, and the "sweet spot" arguement.

Frequently, a good MF lens will not be as "sharp" as a good 35mm, even in the sweet spot.  Yes, the MF lens might produce the same sharpness to the corner of a 35mm frame, but the sweetest spot on the 35mm might be better.  Would a 35mm format lens on a less than full frame 35mm camera be better than a MF format lens on the same body (generally speaking of course)?

Can such a practice lead to internal flair and "fogging" since the lens with the larger image circle will create more "stray" light than a 35mm lens with a smaller image circle?  Are 35mm bodies designed to handle the stray light?
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #38 on: December 23, 2004, 10:01:13 AM »
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After reading all of the discussions of digital vs. film on the LL forum some months ago I decided to do my own modest comparisons, just as Michael has suggested. Just a few years ago I had gotten rid of my 4x5 (and much earlier my 8x10) because I was getting too old to want to lug it around, and I settled on a Pentax 67II for landscape work. Last January I got my first digital, a Canon 10D. The rest of my equipment is at the budget end of LL readers: Epson 2200 printer and Epson 2450 scanner (neither the 4870 nor the 3200 had come out yet when I bought it). Lenses at the time: prime 55/4, 135/5 (macro), and 200/4 on the Pentax; 17-40/4L and 70-200/4L on the D10.

The question in my mind was basically: how much more detail will I get on a large (for me) print from the Pentax than the 10D. So I set up my Gitzo by a small pond with houses and trees all around it on a good day with lile wind and good light. I took several shots of several scenes using the same aperture and same angle of view with both cameras and various lenses. The film was Provia 100.

I scanned the transparencies using the 2450's transparency unit at the highest resolution, and "developed" the D10 images in Capture One LE. The scans and the digital images were minimally processed (necessary USM) in PSCS, and 8.5x11 sections of each (to save paper) were printed to full-frame size of 13x19", the biggest my Epson 2200 will do.

At that size, the film and digital images looked different, of course, but the differences were like using Kodak film vs Fuji, rather than differences in detail or resolution. To my utter astonishment, there was no difference in visible detail! None whatsoever! And the D10 isn't even full-frame! I was shocked.

Yes, I used MLU on the Pentax, but the Pentax was using primes while the Canon had zooms. The probable limiting factor in my workflow was the scanner. If I had the films drum-scanned, or even if I got a good MF film scanner I'm sure there would be a noticeable difference. And my test didn't investigate differences in Dmax, where film would surely win.

But the bottom line is: for my workflow and the equipment I can afford, MF film has no practical advantage over the dinky D10.

But yes, I still plan to use the Pentax (at least for a while). It's just a different medium and a different way of working.

Eric
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
didger
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« Reply #39 on: December 24, 2004, 09:05:35 AM »
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Right on, Drew.  It's hard enough to choose equipment for your own use wisely without realizing 6 months later that some of that hard earned money was spent poorly, in spite of maximum conscientious effort to get the best information possible.  If we also take it upon ourselves to educate everybody else how they should make they wisest choices, when will there ever be any time to take pictures?
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