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Author Topic: LEICA M9 vs Phase one  (Read 15465 times)
woof75
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« on: September 10, 2009, 07:41:12 AM »
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I wonder, with the M9 having a CCD with no AA filter as you find in a phase back and the same resolution as a P21 I would love to see an image comparison. Could the Leica match up to Phase one file quality? Michael, you've used them both, any thoughts? I use a P21 with a Mamiya and only ever use the 35mm lens, I would love to replace this with an M9 with a 28mm lens. I've tried the canons and there look is just not for me.
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michael
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« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2009, 07:53:43 AM »
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It's always hard to theorize about these comparisons. I rally wouldn't want to hazard a guess, though I imagine the results would be close.

Michael
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marcs
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« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2009, 04:35:12 PM »
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I never understood why/how people can compare sensors of different sizes.  I would think the larger sensor would always win, due to better tonality (among other things).  Maybe that is naiveté on my part.  It annoys me especially to hear people say D3X files are superior to MF film.  Am I missing something?

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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2009, 05:02:28 PM »
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Quote from: marcs
I never understood why/how people can compare sensors of different sizes.  I would think the larger sensor would always win, due to better tonality (among other things).  Maybe that is naiveté on my part.  It annoys me especially to hear people say D3X files are superior to MF film.  Am I missing something?

Speaking as someone who profits from larger sensors I'm happy to say that is a gross over simplification.

Every part of the image chain effects quality.
 - the quality of the optical glass (including IR filter)
 - the type of sensor (CCD/CMOS)
 - the generation of sensor (more recent sensors have better native noise and spectral response characteristics)
 - the absolute size of the pixel
 - the size of the pixel which is sensitive to light
 - quality/pureness of the cabling inside the back
 - A/D converter bit depth
 - the quality of the A/D converter (the bit depth only tells one part of the story)
 - the heat-sink characteristics of the chassis (less heat near the sensor and A/D converter means less noise)
 - the quality of the raw processor
 - the degree to which the raw processor is fine tuned to a specific camera system (including lens corrections)

It is generally true that larger format systems use higher quality parts and pay more attention to each point in the above chain. However, it is not a given. An example would be the Mamiya ZD which used a mid-grade A/D converter rather than the high-end A/D converter used in a back like the P25+ (same sensor).

Doug Peterson
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« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2009, 01:36:43 AM »
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Quote from: marcs
I never understood why/how people can compare sensors of different sizes.  I would think the larger sensor would always win, due to better tonality (among other things).  Maybe that is naiveté on my part.  It annoys me especially to hear people say D3X files are superior to MF film.  Am I missing something?

I scan Hasselblad medium format film on a creo IQ Smart 3 scanner and I've scanned THOUSANDS of negatives and positive, drymounted and fliudmounted, and get I the excellent results out of both the cameras and the scanner. I am not a "digital evangelist" the D3x is my first digital camera which I use for my work.

I have looked carefully at my MF scans and compared them to the D3x files and I have no doubts whatsoever that a properly shot D3x file has better detail than a properly shot and scanned hasselblad MF/Creo IQ Smart 3 file, and the D3x file if properly shot and printed is indisinguishable from MF film.

http://www.adriantyler.net/
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georgl
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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2009, 02:16:44 AM »
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"I never understood why/how people can compare sensors of different sizes. I would think the larger sensor would always win"

Usually yes, but not always. Digital is an electric/mathematical process unlike film, sensor size helps and we still see physical barriers but when a lens can resolve the same amount of detail/resolution at higher frequencies (because of the same amount of photosites on a smaller sensor) and a sensor is able to resolve a similar s/n-ratio despite smaller pixel-pitch (due to fill-size, microlenses...) a smaller (sensor/lenses) digital systems don't have to be worse than larger digital systems. Once the digital data is created all you have is binary information anyway you can enlarge as you wish without the side effects of analouge enlargements.

The big problem with the older MFDBs is the age of their sensors. They're less demanding for the lenses (not an issue when comparing it to the M-System) but the actual light-sensitive area which could improve s/n-ratio, dynamic range, tonylity... isn't bigger than with the M9. Kodak/Dalsa... increased the fill rate with every new CCD-generation, the "gaps" between the photodiiodes became smaller and to avoid losses regarding sensitivity/DR they hardly changed the actual size of photosites going from 9µm (22MP MFDB) to 7,2/6,8µm (33/39MP & M8/9) to 6µm (P65+, S2).

So when you enjoy M-Photography (some people never got along with it) and can deal with the limitations of such a system (framing, <135mm, barely any macro) the results will hardly disappoint you. Leica still uses MFDB-technology in it's system cameras and the points Mr. Peterson mentioned seem to be pretty well executed.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2009, 03:39:49 AM »
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Hi,

It's hard to generalize. Regarding the D3X being superior to MF film it may need some qualification:

1) What MF film? Velvia, T-MAX 100, Technical Pan, print film?
2) How is that film processed?
3) What is the imaging chain, is it intended for digital printing or wet-lab? If digital workflow is used, how is the film scanned?
4) What is your definition of better?
5) Lenses matter a lot
6) Mechanical tolerances play a major role

Digital has a few characteristics that differ from film:

- Digital images have low noise levels, no grain.
- DR on digital is higher than on normal films.
- The response curve for digital is essentially a straight line with abrupt clipping, where analog film has more of an S-curve with soft clipping.

Once you leave the wet darkroom sharpening will be an essential part of the process. Sharpening does not significantly increase resolution, but increases edge contrast at intermediate frequencies.

My own take on the issue is that:

- Digital images are smoother than film unless you go to absurdly high ISOs and compare with slow film. This probably depends on digital capturing a larger part of photons thus having better statistics. Capture efficiency on the sensor itself is around 90% but perhaps only 2% on film. How many photons are captured depends on microlenses, sensor size, color filter grid, etc.
- Some film may resolve higher than a D3X sensor, but probably at very low contrast. So it may resolve resolution targets or even text better than digital, but low contrast edges may be sharper on digital.
- A lot depends on scanning equipment and competence.

I have an ongoing project on investigating this based on the equipment I have (Pentax 67, Velvia, Minolta Dimage Scan Multi Pro scanner and my Sony Alpha 900).

It is available here: http://83.177.178.241/ekr/index.php/photoa...-sony-alpha-900

My plan is to add more tests when I get more Velvia delivered. Film is now special order...

Best regards
Erik






Quote from: marcs
I never understood why/how people can compare sensors of different sizes.  I would think the larger sensor would always win, due to better tonality (among other things).  Maybe that is naiveté on my part.  It annoys me especially to hear people say D3X files are superior to MF film.  Am I missing something?
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woof75
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« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2009, 12:18:35 PM »
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Quote from: marcs
I never understood why/how people can compare sensors of different sizes.  I would think the larger sensor would always win, due to better tonality (among other things).  Maybe that is naiveté on my part.  It annoys me especially to hear people say D3X files are superior to MF film.  Am I missing something?

I'm guessing you mean that a larger sensor would always win because of actual bigger pixels but following that logic would mean a P25 was better quality than a P65. If you took a 35mm size lump from a P65 you'd probably have about 18mp and if thats what is in an M9 and they haven't messed anything up I would be a very happy man.
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Dan Wells
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« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2009, 07:43:57 PM »
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My own subjective evaluation of D3x against medium and large format film - no tests, just high detail landscape subjects printed large:

D3x (Nikkor 24-70 f2.Cool at ISO 100 vs. 6x6 cm Fujichrome Velvia 100 shot with Hasselblad V bodies and lenses (scanned on a Nikon Super Coolscan 9000), both tripod-mounted at optimum aperture (F10 on the D3x, F16 or 22 on the Hassy). D3x is superior, and it's not all that close. Detail is somewhat better on the Nikon, the really clear difference is the Nikon's dynamic range. Both of these are based on a lot of experience (I've had my D3x from Day One, and made 11,000 images with it, with a couple of thousand under these ideal conditions). I made thousands of V-system images and carefully scanned hundreds a few years back.

D3x (same lens, ISO, aperture)  vs. 6x9 cm Velvia 100 (Horseman view camera, Fujinon 180mm large-format lens). The extra area gets the film quite a bit closer here - the detail is about the same (both make awfully nice 24x36 inch prints). I still prefer to work with the Nikon, due to the dynamic range.

D3x vs. 4x5 - here, the D3x is clearly beat on detail - it would take a P65+ or similar to reach 4x5 detail... I don't have nearly as much 4x5 experience as I have D3x or MF film experience...

Anyway, from a resolution perspective, the best modern 24x36mm digitals will print 24x36 inches on a high detail subject with no problem. The D3x certainly will, and a number of other cameras I have no experience with (including the M9) probably should. We've reached a point where the OTHER requirements to print 24x36 inches (really good tripod, near-perfect focus, care with depth of field, etc...) are much harder than finding a camera that can do it. It's hard to get enough in focus for a print that big without a tilt lens (my next big purchase).

We now have "35mm" SLRs with so much resolution that you have to handle them almost as a view camera to see their full potential - that is a worry with the M9 - a cute little rangefinder that can't be handheld at its full potential? Or will its lack of mirror slap permit extremely sharp handheld shots, at least at higher shutter speeds?


                                                         -Dan
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Slough
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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2009, 06:23:10 AM »
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Quote from: Dan Wells
My own subjective evaluation of D3x against medium and large format film - no tests, just high detail landscape subjects printed large:

Astonishing. And in a few years time 20MP+ FF sensors will be standard issue, maybe even in modest consumer grade cameras. And the 'only' barrier to achieving top rate images will be imagination, and hard work.
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woof75
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« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2009, 08:37:27 AM »
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Quote from: Dan Wells
My own subjective evaluation of D3x against medium and large format film - no tests, just high detail landscape subjects printed large:

D3x (Nikkor 24-70 f2.Cool at ISO 100 vs. 6x6 cm Fujichrome Velvia 100 shot with Hasselblad V bodies and lenses (scanned on a Nikon Super Coolscan 9000), both tripod-mounted at optimum aperture (F10 on the D3x, F16 or 22 on the Hassy). D3x is superior, and it's not all that close. Detail is somewhat better on the Nikon, the really clear difference is the Nikon's dynamic range. Both of these are based on a lot of experience (I've had my D3x from Day One, and made 11,000 images with it, with a couple of thousand under these ideal conditions). I made thousands of V-system images and carefully scanned hundreds a few years back.

D3x (same lens, ISO, aperture)  vs. 6x9 cm Velvia 100 (Horseman view camera, Fujinon 180mm large-format lens). The extra area gets the film quite a bit closer here - the detail is about the same (both make awfully nice 24x36 inch prints). I still prefer to work with the Nikon, due to the dynamic range.

D3x vs. 4x5 - here, the D3x is clearly beat on detail - it would take a P65+ or similar to reach 4x5 detail... I don't have nearly as much 4x5 experience as I have D3x or MF film experience...

Anyway, from a resolution perspective, the best modern 24x36mm digitals will print 24x36 inches on a high detail subject with no problem. The D3x certainly will, and a number of other cameras I have no experience with (including the M9) probably should. We've reached a point where the OTHER requirements to print 24x36 inches (really good tripod, near-perfect focus, care with depth of field, etc...) are much harder than finding a camera that can do it. It's hard to get enough in focus for a print that big without a tilt lens (my next big purchase).

We now have "35mm" SLRs with so much resolution that you have to handle them almost as a view camera to see their full potential - that is a worry with the M9 - a cute little rangefinder that can't be handheld at its full potential? Or will its lack of mirror slap permit extremely sharp handheld shots, at least at higher shutter speeds?


                                                         -Dan

Detail and resolution isn't so important to me, many cameras are very capable in this regard, the feel of the image is my concern and that is where I don't like any dslr's that I have used. I'm not saying that one is better than the other, just that for me an 18mp P21 file is what I find pleasing and I wonder if the 18mp M9 file will have the same feel to it, being that it too uses a CCD chip too.
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Anders_HK
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« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2009, 09:19:27 AM »
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Quote from: woof75
I wonder, with the M9 having a CCD with no AA filter as you find in a phase back and the same resolution as a P21 I would love to see an image comparison. Could the Leica match up to Phase one file quality? Michael, you've used them both, any thoughts? I use a P21 with a Mamiya and only ever use the 35mm lens, I would love to replace this with an M9 with a 28mm lens. I've tried the canons and there look is just not for me.

Hi,

Mmm... title asks also compared to P25, which is a 22MP 48x36mm sensor... ,nah based on posted files so far of M9 (jpg & dng) - per my eye no compare. Although... I bet posts here will argue that their and latest 36x24mm sensors are equal to 48x36mm sensors. The fact that the Leica M9 / M8 have Kodak sensors is interesting though, and more towards MFDB than Canikon club sensors. Though, if your eye is sensitive I believe you will see that 22MP MFDB is something else. Sensor size and pixels is one, and sensor design/characteristics. There is also the different camera systems. With Mamiya 645 though the 35mm is not stellar, but ok up to 22MP, I had that one with ZD before.

In digital I now use M8 and Aptus 65 / Mamiya 645. M9 files look much like the M8 files, only slight more pixels. Also do take a look at an M9, it has similar tiny viewfinder as M8... Will this be ok for your use? Please read me right, for indeed I am very happy with my M8 which I bought as recent as end of May this year. The M8 is my small camera, both serious small and point and shoot. I much like it! However it is a different tool than my Aptus on 645, although... I think it would be lovely if someone made a 6x7 sized Dalsa sensor to clip onto Mamiya 7... - under ten grand. That would be something!!! + a Voigtlander 30mm lens to go with it     Leica? Phamiya?

Regards
Anders
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2009, 12:23:14 PM »
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Quote from: Dan Wells
My own subjective evaluation of D3x against medium and large format film - no tests, just high detail landscape subjects printed large:

D3x (Nikkor 24-70 f2.Cool at ISO 100 vs. 6x6 cm Fujichrome Velvia 100 shot with Hasselblad V bodies and lenses (scanned on a Nikon Super Coolscan 9000), both tripod-mounted at optimum aperture (F10 on the D3x, F16 or 22 on the Hassy). D3x is superior, and it's not all that close. Detail is somewhat better on the Nikon, the really clear difference is the Nikon's dynamic range. Both of these are based on a lot of experience (I've had my D3x from Day One, and made 11,000 images with it, with a couple of thousand under these ideal conditions). I made thousands of V-system images and carefully scanned hundreds a few years back.

D3x (same lens, ISO, aperture)  vs. 6x9 cm Velvia 100 (Horseman view camera, Fujinon 180mm large-format lens). The extra area gets the film quite a bit closer here - the detail is about the same (both make awfully nice 24x36 inch prints). I still prefer to work with the Nikon, due to the dynamic range.

D3x vs. 4x5 - here, the D3x is clearly beat on detail - it would take a P65+ or similar to reach 4x5 detail... I don't have nearly as much 4x5 experience as I have D3x or MF film experience...

Anyway, from a resolution perspective, the best modern 24x36mm digitals will print 24x36 inches on a high detail subject with no problem. The D3x certainly will, and a number of other cameras I have no experience with (including the M9) probably should. We've reached a point where the OTHER requirements to print 24x36 inches (really good tripod, near-perfect focus, care with depth of field, etc...) are much harder than finding a camera that can do it. It's hard to get enough in focus for a print that big without a tilt lens (my next big purchase).

We now have "35mm" SLRs with so much resolution that you have to handle them almost as a view camera to see their full potential - that is a worry with the M9 - a cute little rangefinder that can't be handheld at its full potential? Or will its lack of mirror slap permit extremely sharp handheld shots, at least at higher shutter speeds?


                                                         -Dan

A D3X has more DR than high contrast and high saturation E-6 film? Really?  
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woof75
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« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2009, 12:42:22 PM »
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Quote from: Anders_HK
Hi,

Mmm... title asks also compared to P25, which is a 22MP 48x36mm sensor... ,nah based on posted files so far of M9 (jpg & dng) - per my eye no compare. Although... I bet posts here will argue that their and latest 36x24mm sensors are equal to 48x36mm sensors. The fact that the Leica M9 / M8 have Kodak sensors is interesting though, and more towards MFDB than Canikon club sensors. Though, if your eye is sensitive I believe you will see that 22MP MFDB is something else. Sensor size and pixels is one, and sensor design/characteristics. There is also the different camera systems. With Mamiya 645 though the 35mm is not stellar, but ok up to 22MP, I had that one with ZD before.

In digital I now use M8 and Aptus 65 / Mamiya 645. M9 files look much like the M8 files, only slight more pixels. Also do take a look at an M9, it has similar tiny viewfinder as M8... Will this be ok for your use? Please read me right, for indeed I am very happy with my M8 which I bought as recent as end of May this year. The M8 is my small camera, both serious small and point and shoot. I much like it! However it is a different tool than my Aptus on 645, although... I think it would be lovely if someone made a 6x7 sized Dalsa sensor to clip onto Mamiya 7... - under ten grand. That would be something!!! + a Voigtlander 30mm lens to go with it     Leica? Phamiya?

Regards
Anders

Interesting, I really like the viewfinder of the M8, though I've never shot with it. Virtually all of my work is at about 5 to 15 feet away from the subject and with a wide angle lens so I think the M9 could be ideal. I hear the M9 files are very similar to the M8 files. Any way you could tell me about the different file characteristics of an M8 file when printed at say 10 by 13 inches compared to an Aptus 65 file. I know it's hard.
thanks
-a
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2009, 12:58:25 PM »
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Hi,

Absolutely! When we discuss DR it refers always to the subject side. Slide film has a dynamic range of around five steps (2 steps over and three steps under). Any decent DSLR has a dynamic range of at least 10 steps, that is an illumination ratio of 1:1024. I won't go into discussions about how DR is defined but 1:1024 is a conservative figure.

Now, Velvia has a D-max of about 4, so in projection it can achieve a contrast ratio of 1:10000, but it is still just 5 steps (1:32) on the subject side. Ektachrome on the other side has a D-max of about 3.2, something like 1:1000 ratio, but subject side DR is still about 5 stops.

Negative film has much higher DR, like 7 stops but it is still short DR for digital.

Best regards
Erik





Quote from: pom
A D3X has more DR than high contrast and high saturation E-6 film? Really?  
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photodan
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« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2009, 03:05:11 PM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Hi,

It's hard to generalize. Regarding the D3X being superior to MF film it may need some qualification:

1) What MF film? Velvia, T-MAX 100, Technical Pan, print film?
2) How is that film processed?
3) What is the imaging chain, is it intended for digital printing or wet-lab? If digital workflow is used, how is the film scanned?
4) What is your definition of better?
5) Lenses matter a lot
6) Mechanical tolerances play a major role

Digital has a few characteristics that differ from film:

- Digital images have low noise levels, no grain.
- DR on digital is higher than on normal films.
- The response curve for digital is essentially a straight line with abrupt clipping, where analog film has more of an S-curve with soft clipping.

Once you leave the wet darkroom sharpening will be an essential part of the process. Sharpening does not significantly increase resolution, but increases edge contrast at intermediate frequencies.

My own take on the issue is that:

- Digital images are smoother than film unless you go to absurdly high ISOs and compare with slow film. This probably depends on digital capturing a larger part of photons thus having better statistics. Capture efficiency on the sensor itself is around 90% but perhaps only 2% on film. How many photons are captured depends on microlenses, sensor size, color filter grid, etc.
- Some film may resolve higher than a D3X sensor, but probably at very low contrast. So it may resolve resolution targets or even text better than digital, but low contrast edges may be sharper on digital.
- A lot depends on scanning equipment and competence.

I have an ongoing project on investigating this based on the equipment I have (Pentax 67, Velvia, Minolta Dimage Scan Multi Pro scanner and my Sony Alpha 900).

It is available here: http://83.177.178.241/ekr/index.php/photoa...-sony-alpha-900

My plan is to add more tests when I get more Velvia delivered. Film is now special order...

Best regards
Erik

Erik - re your P67 vs Alpha 900 tests. Thank you for sharing your results, and it's really quite an undertaking to do digital-to-film comparisons (having tried to do them myself in the past).

Pentax 67 - I used to own one, and in order to get the best technical results I had to 1 - focus with a magnifier (either the flip up accessory that can be used on the viewing prism, or the chimney type as in waist level viewing 2 - have the camera on a sturdy tripod and head, 3 - use mirror lock up 4-  most importantly, due to shutter vibration, I had to use both my hands to press down on top of the camera (exerting steady pressure), 5 - gently push the shutter button 6 - take more than one shot. Pressing down on the camera is most important for shots 1/60 and slower (1/15 being the worst, followed by 1/30, 1/8, and 1/4 sec).

Mamiya 7II w/ 80mm & 65mm - I used to own that outfit. I found the lenses better than the P67 lenses generally (P67 90mm, 105mm, 75mm, 55mm, 45mm, 135mm, 200mm). However, sometimes focusing on intermediate to longer, but not infinity, distance objects was not always perfect (rangefinder focusing). The metering system wasn't great, but of course you learn and adapt.

Fuji GW690III - 6x9 format with 90mm lens, very sharp shots except near edges.

Analog printing with film compared to dslr digital capture: Prints made from medium format C41 low ISO color negs, via analog enlarger - xlnt tonality and sharpness up to 16x20 (I didn't try much above that size). Some grain visible when looking up close. For my taste I like the look of the analog prints (at that size or smaller) better than prints made from digital capture with Canon 5dMII and Sony Alpha 900,which I also owned at one time (laserjet or chromira/commercial inkjet , approx 300dpi/360dpi).  

Scanning film - I had some of my 6x7 and 6x9 color transparencies (velvia & provia 100F) commerically scanned using a Nikon 9000 at 3000 dpi and some at 4000dpi, with some of the same shots re-scanned at different times. Some scans came out better than others (comparing the same shots) - in some the grain was more visible than others, and of course the color and density/contrast varied.  The advantage of having a scanned file was that I could use software to get the contrast and colors more of what they were like in 'real life' a lot easier than I could get a lab to do something similar with film printed in a darkroom. However I feel that the scanning process lost some resolution and most definitely some 'life' of the shot compared to film (again I only printed 16x20 for the most part - larger analog prints probably would have shown the negative affects of optical enlargement). And mostly the grain in the film seemed to be exaggerated. Maybe a top-of-the-line drum scan would have been better.

Looking at my 6x7 and 6x9 transparencies with 20x loupe, there is far more detail than from the Canon 5DMII and Sony Alpha 900 files. But getting all that detail into a print seems very difficult if not impossible - either with analog printing or with non-drum scanned film (perhaps even with that; others on this forum would know more than I about that I'm sure).

Getting the desired color and contrast seems a lot easier with digital capture than film. And getting a 'good' print seems a lot easier and less expensive via the digital chain as well. For the 'best' tonality and yet with at least as good resolution as dslr digital capture, with the possible exception of the D3X) 6x9 medium format (and large format) still win, in my opinion.

I have no 'real' camera at this point - having sold off my 8x10, my DSLRs. If I was a pro and could afford it (via depreciation expense) I'd get the PhaseOne 65+. Heck, if I wasn't worried about having to get a car in the next year I might buy the D3X. Given that it doesn't seem Nikon is going to come out with a '700x' anytime soon, unexpextedly for me, otherwise I should have kept the Alpha 900,  I might have to settle for an Alpha 850 as a temp solution, and be content within it's limitations.  BTW, there is something about the Canon 5DMII images I didn't like as much as the Alpha 900, but I can't pin it down.

As far a lenses for DSLRs go, I think one of the limitations is the focusing accuracy, especially for zooms, but that's another post on another topic.

photodan - Dan
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Slough
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« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2009, 03:57:44 PM »
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I always thought negative film had about 11 or 12 stops of DR, compared to about 6 stops for positive film.
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« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2009, 04:14:17 PM »
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Interesting feedback, thanks.  I suppose everyone will have their own opinion.

I have a D3X with Zeiss 100mm F2.  While it is a nice set up, I can't seem to get decent larger prints with nice tonality.  My Mamiya 7II w/150mm lens blows it away in 30x40 inch inkjet prints.

My subject is low light landscapes/cityscapes.  I use a tripod, mirror lock and stitch vertically using an L plate with the D3X to get a nice, fat file.

With the Mamiya, there is no stitching and it is mounted horizontally on the tripod.  My printer uses a Howtek 4500 scanner.  The scan isn't modified much.

Perhaps I am doing something wrong with the D3X...or in PS.  I apply sharpening, etc, after stitching the files in PS4.  

The P65+ is another story...

Help?  


Quote from: Dan Wells
My own subjective evaluation of D3x against medium and large format film - no tests, just high detail landscape subjects printed large:

D3x (Nikkor 24-70 f2.Cool at ISO 100 vs. 6x6 cm Fujichrome Velvia 100 shot with Hasselblad V bodies and lenses (scanned on a Nikon Super Coolscan 9000), both tripod-mounted at optimum aperture (F10 on the D3x, F16 or 22 on the Hassy). D3x is superior, and it's not all that close. Detail is somewhat better on the Nikon, the really clear difference is the Nikon's dynamic range. Both of these are based on a lot of experience (I've had my D3x from Day One, and made 11,000 images with it, with a couple of thousand under these ideal conditions). I made thousands of V-system images and carefully scanned hundreds a few years back.

D3x (same lens, ISO, aperture)  vs. 6x9 cm Velvia 100 (Horseman view camera, Fujinon 180mm large-format lens). The extra area gets the film quite a bit closer here - the detail is about the same (both make awfully nice 24x36 inch prints). I still prefer to work with the Nikon, due to the dynamic range.

D3x vs. 4x5 - here, the D3x is clearly beat on detail - it would take a P65+ or similar to reach 4x5 detail... I don't have nearly as much 4x5 experience as I have D3x or MF film experience...

Anyway, from a resolution perspective, the best modern 24x36mm digitals will print 24x36 inches on a high detail subject with no problem. The D3x certainly will, and a number of other cameras I have no experience with (including the M9) probably should. We've reached a point where the OTHER requirements to print 24x36 inches (really good tripod, near-perfect focus, care with depth of field, etc...) are much harder than finding a camera that can do it. It's hard to get enough in focus for a print that big without a tilt lens (my next big purchase).

We now have "35mm" SLRs with so much resolution that you have to handle them almost as a view camera to see their full potential - that is a worry with the M9 - a cute little rangefinder that can't be handheld at its full potential? Or will its lack of mirror slap permit extremely sharp handheld shots, at least at higher shutter speeds?


                                                         -Dan
« Last Edit: September 12, 2009, 04:16:18 PM by marcs » Logged
ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2009, 04:22:48 PM »
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Hi!

It could be nice if you posted some samples from the Howtek and from the D3X. Also you are talking about tonality, what is your definition of that term? Sorry for the asking.

I could perhaps also recommend that you post a new topic here on LL-forums if you wan't suggestions.

You don't need to post full images, crops do fine, but it should be the same subject under the same conditions.

By the way, what tools are you using for stitching? Is your color handling consistent between all your tools?

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: marcs
Interesting feedback, thanks.  I suppose everyone will have their own opinion.

I have a D3X with Zeiss 100mm F2.  While it is a nice set up, I can't seem to get decent larger prints with nice tonality.  My Mamiya 7II w/150mm lens blows it away in 30x40 inch inkjet prints.

My subject is low light landscapes/cityscapes.  I use a tripod, mirror lock and stitch vertically using an L plate with the D3X to get a nice, fat file.

With the Mamiya, there is no stitching and it is mounted horizontally on the tripod.  My printer uses a Howtek 4500 scanner.  The scan isn't modified much.

At 30x40 inches, the Mamiya print blows the stitched D3X print out of the water.

Perhaps I am doing something wrong with the D3X...or in PS.  I apply sharpening after stitching the files in PS4.  

The P65+ is another story...

Help?
« Last Edit: September 12, 2009, 04:25:38 PM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2009, 04:36:38 PM »
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Hi Dan,

I made an astonishingly sharp 70x100 cm print with that Pentax, but it took me two hours to sharpen and noise reduce, D-max was well a hell. I think it was with the 45mm lens, don't know who to read EXIf info on Velvia.

Next series of test I plan to use a studio flash (so vibrations won't be a problem) and staggered test targets. Got a lot of responses on that posting and I really want have correct results

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: photodan
Erik - re your P67 vs Alpha 900 tests. Thank you for sharing your results, and it's really quite an undertaking to do digital-to-film comparisons (having tried to do them myself in the past).

Pentax 67 - I used to own one, and in order to get the best technical results I had to 1 - focus with a magnifier (either the flip up accessory that can be used on the viewing prism, or the chimney type as in waist level viewing 2 - have the camera on a sturdy tripod and head, 3 - use mirror lock up 4-  most importantly, due to shutter vibration, I had to use both my hands to press down on top of the camera (exerting steady pressure), 5 - gently push the shutter button 6 - take more than one shot. Pressing down on the camera is most important for shots 1/60 and slower (1/15 being the worst, followed by 1/30, 1/8, and 1/4 sec).

Mamiya 7II w/ 80mm & 65mm - I used to own that outfit. I found the lenses better than the P67 lenses generally (P67 90mm, 105mm, 75mm, 55mm, 45mm, 135mm, 200mm). However, sometimes focusing on intermediate to longer, but not infinity, distance objects was not always perfect (rangefinder focusing). The metering system wasn't great, but of course you learn and adapt.

Fuji GW690III - 6x9 format with 90mm lens, very sharp shots except near edges.

Analog printing with film compared to dslr digital capture: Prints made from medium format C41 low ISO color negs, via analog enlarger - xlnt tonality and sharpness up to 16x20 (I didn't try much above that size). Some grain visible when looking up close. For my taste I like the look of the analog prints (at that size or smaller) better than prints made from digital capture with Canon 5dMII and Sony Alpha 900,which I also owned at one time (laserjet or chromira/commercial inkjet , approx 300dpi/360dpi).  

Scanning film - I had some of my 6x7 and 6x9 color transparencies (velvia & provia 100F) commerically scanned using a Nikon 9000 at 3000 dpi and some at 4000dpi, with some of the same shots re-scanned at different times. Some scans came out better than others (comparing the same shots) - in some the grain was more visible than others, and of course the color and density/contrast varied.  The advantage of having a scanned file was that I could use software to get the contrast and colors more of what they were like in 'real life' a lot easier than I could get a lab to do something similar with film printed in a darkroom. However I feel that the scanning process lost some resolution and most definitely some 'life' of the shot compared to film (again I only printed 16x20 for the most part - larger analog prints probably would have shown the negative affects of optical enlargement). And mostly the grain in the film seemed to be exaggerated. Maybe a top-of-the-line drum scan would have been better.

Looking at my 6x7 and 6x9 transparencies with 20x loupe, there is far more detail than from the Canon 5DMII and Sony Alpha 900 files. But getting all that detail into a print seems very difficult if not impossible - either with analog printing or with non-drum scanned film (perhaps even with that; others on this forum would know more than I about that I'm sure).

Getting the desired color and contrast seems a lot easier with digital capture than film. And getting a 'good' print seems a lot easier and less expensive via the digital chain as well. For the 'best' tonality and yet with at least as good resolution as dslr digital capture, with the possible exception of the D3X) 6x9 medium format (and large format) still win, in my opinion.

I have no 'real' camera at this point - having sold off my 8x10, my DSLRs. If I was a pro and could afford it (via depreciation expense) I'd get the PhaseOne 65+. Heck, if I wasn't worried about having to get a car in the next year I might buy the D3X. Given that it doesn't seem Nikon is going to come out with a '700x' anytime soon, unexpextedly for me, otherwise I should have kept the Alpha 900,  I might have to settle for an Alpha 850 as a temp solution, and be content within it's limitations.  BTW, there is something about the Canon 5DMII images I didn't like as much as the Alpha 900, but I can't pin it down.

As far a lenses for DSLRs go, I think one of the limitations is the focusing accuracy, especially for zooms, but that's another post on another topic.

photodan - Dan
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