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Author Topic: 20-30 MP: Backs or DSLR ?  (Read 10385 times)
fredjeang
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« on: May 13, 2010, 09:21:25 AM »
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Hi,

I woud not like this thread to be seen as another war 35mm vs MF.

As there are more and more "vintage" digital backs circulating in the market at more reasonable prices, I'm asking myself this simple question:

If speed is not required, will a 22MP back be a better option in terms of IQ than a 20+ MP FF DSLR?

Is the fact that there is less pixel-density, no AA filter, in the MF backs crucial? and are you truly able to make a clear difference between a file from a FF dslr and a same resolution MF back?

Thank you.
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KLaban
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2010, 09:38:48 AM »
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Depends on how you shoot, what you're shooting and the file size you need.

At base ISO, bolted to a tripod and pointed at static subjects, the 22MP backs are the equal of anything out there, including the 31/39/40/50/65MP backs. Of course, if you need a larger file size then the larger backs come into their own.
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Guy Mancuso
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2010, 09:44:32 AM »
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Man this is loaded for WWIII. Fred let me simply say this. I will take ANY 22mpx back over and above ANY DSLR out there. Why because it is better image quality. If IQ is not enough for you to shoot MF than go with a DSLR . I have never seen any DSLR outpace a MF back when it comes to image quality and I don't give a rats droppings what anyone says. I have been doing digital only since 1991 and I am NOT going to sit here and go through a million reasons why i feel this way. It's really not my issues if you don't buy into my comment but as a very experienced Pro that is my gut feeling and won't back off it in any way shape or form. Now taken other factors into account a DSLR maybe better for a lot of folks because of functionality, ergonomics and such. That is a given but when I put image to paper i love what i see coming from MF backs. Let me clearly state before some armchair scientific ding bat responds, I go by what I see and my most valuable asset is my eyes and what they see and i trust that over any scientific evidence of anything when it comes to photography on any level and after 34 years as a working Pro i earned that right to believe in my eye's. That's my story and I'm sticking with it. LOL
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 09:46:06 AM by Guy Mancuso » Logged

Roskav
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2010, 10:03:15 AM »
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What he said...

R

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bigalbest
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2010, 10:07:20 AM »
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Personally I have owned and used virtually every dslr available before purchasing my H3DII-22. In anything but low light high ISO this camera has more dynamic range and a level of crisp sharpness along with more accurate color than any dslr out there period. When used with strobe lighting at 50 ISO the detail and sharpness is amazing. That being said I have also seen other better photographers than myself using the cheapest out of date equipment and producing spectacular images.

Some samples from the H3DII-22:





Of course I would take a 20-30 MP MF over a dslr any day but there is a tool for every job. I recently sold my 5D and all my Canon lenses and haven't regretted it for a second.
My cameras:
Leica M6
Hasselblad H3DII-22
Hasselblad H1
Hasselblad 500CM
Canon D10
My next camera:
8X10?

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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2010, 10:14:58 AM »
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Quote from: Guy Mancuso
I will take ANY 22mpx back over and above ANY DSLR out there.
One relevant question might be: ¿why can they not now produce a 24Mpx DSLR that is better (IQ) than a MFDB several years old?

Is it just the Anti-Aliasing filter?

Is it the limitations of the (24 * 36mm) format size related to the pixel density and the wavelength of light?

..and how do quality small modern cameras like the M9 compare?

Will the availability of professional software (Phocus) make a significant difference?
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amsp
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2010, 10:17:47 AM »
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Yeah, I don't want to get into yet another battle over formats so I'll give a short simple answer. I'm glad I have both a DSLR and a P25, but if I had to keep only one I'd keep the back for sure. The top 3 reasons why would be picture quality, the 645 format, and I just find the medium format camera more fun to work with. But like I said, it's nice to have the convenience of the DSLR too sometimes.
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Guy Mancuso
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2010, 10:29:35 AM »
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Quote from: Dick Roadnight
One relevant question might be: ¿why can they not now produce a 24Mpx DSLR that is better (IQ) than a MFDB several years old?

Is it just the Anti-Aliasing filter?

Is it the limitations of the (24 * 36mm) format size related to the pixel density and the wavelength of light?

..and how do quality small modern cameras like the M9 compare?

Will the availability of professional software (Phocus) make a significant difference?


Yes the AA filter is a big factor and simply Can/Nik sell 100's of thousands of these units and just imagine the PR nightmare if it produced moire on a daily basis among all those folks. They will never let this happen and why they are in place.

Software will always play a roll just look at your Hassy system for example and as a Phase user I certainly get better image quality and more important the most tuned between back and software. Phocus and C1 along with Leaf Capture and Sinar software is all obviously tuned to there backs.

Size has a roll but let the scientist handle that one. Bottom line even in film bigger is better period. Not any different in digital.

The M9 as i have tested is maybe one of the best examples of what you can draw from a 35mm FF sensor. It is very good overall but my P30+ smoked it in many area's but that is fine it is IMHO one of the best I have seen to MF. Don't get me wrong the 35mm DSLR are awesome and produce very well and since I started digital in 1991 I can't tell you the vast improvement from those days and i do mean VAST. Folks we are lucky dogs compared to those days very lucky indeed. The top DSLR's are wonderful examples of what can be done, no one should degrade them on any level for that but MF is overall better IQ but you pay for that also.
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mtomalty
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2010, 10:47:08 AM »
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Will a digital back provide a better Raw file?   Without question

Will a digital back make anyone a better photographer?   Not a chance.


Mark

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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2010, 10:50:31 AM »
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Quote from: Guy Mancuso
Size has a roll but let the scientist handle that one. Bottom line even in film bigger is better period. Not any different in digital.
The difference in digital is that you can measure size in pixels or mm... but everybody has conveniently forgotten about line pairs/mm (lp/mm), and in the real world...

res = (lp/mm) * (sensor size in square mm)

...or, for a lens (lp/mm) * ∏((image circle diameter)/2)^2

...but the IQ of a system has aspects in addition to res.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2010, 11:00:40 AM »
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Well, I think that's a good moment to asked this thread because of the current situation where more choice is offered.

We know that the Canons and Nikons Dslr are going to increase resolution in their future FF models.
But the new situation IMO, is that is circulating now 22, 30mp first or second generation backs with reduced price that allows to guys like me an access to these gear. Logically, these informations are important to know.

I think, out of the possible forum war, that this is an important moment for a lot of us because prices between both systems are reducing and resolution is getting closer.

I'm happy to see that most of you are actually using both systems so your observations are very interesting.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2010, 11:07:50 AM »
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Quote from: mtomalty
Will a digital back provide a better Raw file?   Without question

Will a digital back make anyone a better photographer?   Not a chance.


Mark
Digiback or whatever technology will not make anyone better in his art. No tool is able to do that.

I think that it's good to know what to expect on a system when comes the moment of choice. More we are informed, more we can choose well according to
our aims. IMO. Of course, nothing can replace trying the gear, but it is interesting to hear experienced users (and there are many here), many points of views etc...
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bcooter
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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2010, 11:10:53 AM »
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Quote from: mtomalty
Will a digital back provide a better Raw file?   Without question

Will a digital back make anyone a better photographer?   Not a chance.


Mark

I started to write a detail response but the quote above sums it up.

Personally I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Some people love the look of a non aa filtered ccd camera, some don't , though most professional photographers select a camera weighted toward the scene, subject and project.

In the film days you selected the camera/lenses first, because any film would go into any camera and workflows were virtually equal between a Hasselblad, an RZ or a Nikon.  One might shoot faster than the other, or focus easier, but they all used the same film, "sensor".  Size may have a resolution difference but looks were comparable.

Today, regardless of camera the film (digital) portion of the process is equal or takes precident, more so with 645 cameras than 35mm, because most medium format cameras are shot tethered and are very software, computer dependent.

Even to get to the detailed preview, software is 1/2 of the process and  will have as much to do with the look as any back, or lens.

Personally, I select a camera first, because that' the first point of contact between you and the subject.  If your not happy with the camera and lens, you'll probably never be happy with the result, even if the results are acceptable.

Just FYI, the standard for all medium format cameras (not always backs) is the H series blads, at least in the digital world.  Probably more backs are mounted onto these bodies than any camera twice over, so that means specialty lenses you might want to rent, or backups/repairs are fairly easy to source.

Then if I found the camera I loved, I'd start exploring the backs and their related software.

Since your in Madrid, I am sure it will be easy to do a test between a lot of systems.

This you probably know and is not really worth mentioning, but beautiful images, hundreds of thousands of beautiful images are shot with virtually every brand, every format daily so the camera is probably not as important a factor as lights, subject and talent.  BTW:  talent covers a lot of territory, from pre production, on set all the way through post.

Also keep in mind that web conversation is a democracy where every voice carries the same weight.   This forum is no exception and you'll notice in the answers some people are more prone to loving cameras that what they actually produce, others see the camera as but a small (but vital) part of the process.

Test it yourself and do what makes you happy, because attitude goes a long way into producing an image.

BC
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fredjeang
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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2010, 11:13:37 AM »
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Quote from: bigalbest
Personally I have owned and used virtually every dslr available before purchasing my H3DII-22. In anything but low light high ISO this camera has more dynamic range and a level of crisp sharpness along with more accurate color than any dslr out there period. When used with strobe lighting at 50 ISO the detail and sharpness is amazing. That being said I have also seen other better photographers than myself using the cheapest out of date equipment and producing spectacular images.

Some samples from the H3DII-22:





Of course I would take a 20-30 MP MF over a dslr any day but there is a tool for every job. I recently sold my 5D and all my Canon lenses and haven't regretted it for a second.
My cameras:
Leica M6
Hasselblad H3DII-22
Hasselblad H1
Hasselblad 500CM
Canon D10
My next camera:
8X10?
Nice little girl!
Well, yeah, the d.o.f...I forgot about that too.
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bjanes
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« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2010, 11:35:46 AM »
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Quote from: bigalbest
Personally I have owned and used virtually every dslr available before purchasing my H3DII-22. In anything but low light high ISO this camera has more dynamic range and a level of crisp sharpness along with more accurate color than any dslr out there period. When used with strobe lighting at 50 ISO the detail and sharpness is amazing. That being said I have also seen other better photographers than myself using the cheapest out of date equipment and producing spectacular images.

Some samples from the H3DII-22:


Of course I would take a 20-30 MP MF over a dslr any day but there is a tool for every job. I recently sold my 5D and all my Canon lenses and haven't regretted it for a second.
My cameras:
Leica M6
Hasselblad H3DII-22
Hasselblad H1
Hasselblad 500CM
Canon D10
My next camera:
8X10?

Those are nice shots, but a good dSLR could likely do just as well at 800 x 600 pixels. Those shots prove nothing.
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HarryHoffman
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« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2010, 11:44:14 AM »
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Quote from: fredjeang
If speed is not required, will a 22MP back be a better option in terms of IQ than a 20+ MP FF DSLR?

Is the fact that there is less pixel-density, no AA filter, in the MF backs crucial? and are you truly able to make a clear difference between a file from a FF dslr and a same resolution MF back?

Thank you.

I tried the D3X against a 18mp P21+ and the files were very close, no clear winner whatsoever.
I would think a larger MF in the 22mp-30mp range would be much better especially one with a bigger chip
The used 22-  30mp backs are in a really great price range right now too


I have a D3X and a P40+
I love both of them. If the DF body would focus faster and have more focus points, I would sell the Nikon in a heartbeat. Till then I'll keep both systems
To all the MF only guys...go rent a D3X and give it a spin...it doesn't suck

Right now I would have to say the P1 lenses are much better. Bought an adapter for Mamiya to Nikon and am going to do some tests in the next couple weeks to see if this is the reality or at the least my reality.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 11:50:58 AM by HarryHoffman » Logged

Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2010, 11:46:52 AM »
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Quote from: mtomalty
Will a digital back make anyone a better photographer?
It would be nice to imagine that photographers get judged by the quality of their photographs, so, does a good camera capable of producing good photographs make you a better photographer?

Digital cameras, through instant feedback, can let a photographer learn fast and thus become a better photographer... but if you have been "getting it right in camera" for decades, then you do not need this instant feedback, unless you are working to a higher standard, or doing more technically demanding work...

You could argue that using a 5*4 sheet film camera would make a digital photographer better, by slowing them down and making them think, and a Medium Format Digital View Camera might slow them down enough to help.

An MFD camera is a useful tool that enables a good photographer to "get it right" to a higher degree, especially with live view and view cameras.

None of us were born good photographers, but MFDs help the next generation realize their potential more quickly than we did.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 01:40:29 PM by Dick Roadnight » Logged

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fredjeang
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« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2010, 12:01:35 PM »
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Quote from: bcooter
I started to write a detail response but the quote above sums it up.

Personally I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Some people love the look of a non aa filtered ccd camera, some don't , though most professional photographers select a camera weighted toward the scene, subject and project.

In the film days you selected the camera/lenses first, because any film would go into any camera and workflows were virtually equal between a Hasselblad, an RZ or a Nikon.  One might shoot faster than the other, or focus easier, but they all used the same film, "sensor".  Size may have a resolution difference but looks were comparable.

Today, regardless of camera the film (digital) portion of the process is equal or takes precident, more so with 645 cameras than 35mm, because most medium format cameras are shot tethered and are very software, computer dependent.

Even to get to the detailed preview, software is 1/2 of the process and  will have as much to do with the look as any back, or lens.

Personally, I select a camera first, because that' the first point of contact between you and the subject.  If your not happy with the camera and lens, you'll probably never be happy with the result, even if the results are acceptable.

Just FYI, the standard for all medium format cameras (not always backs) is the H series blads, at least in the digital world.  Probably more backs are mounted onto these bodies than any camera twice over, so that means specialty lenses you might want to rent, or backups/repairs are fairly easy to source.

Then if I found the camera I loved, I'd start exploring the backs and their related software.

Since your in Madrid, I am sure it will be easy to do a test between a lot of systems.

This you probably know and is not really worth mentioning, but beautiful images, hundreds of thousands of beautiful images are shot with virtually every brand, every format daily so the camera is probably not as important a factor as lights, subject and talent.  BTW:  talent covers a lot of territory, from pre production, on set all the way through post.

Also keep in mind that web conversation is a democracy where every voice carries the same weight.   This forum is no exception and you'll notice in the answers some people are more prone to loving cameras that what they actually produce, others see the camera as but a small (but vital) part of the process.

Test it yourself and do what makes you happy, because attitude goes a long way into producing an image.

BC
I certainly agree with your points.

Recently I falled in love with the Contax 645 that I found in a Madrid's shop for nothing. This is just the ergonomics I wanted and I wish more camera makers could do something so well implemented. Also, the compatibility is perfect.

My first idea was to use it with film, but with the recent backs that are circulating now in the market at prices much more according to my current budget, the choice is there. As far as I know, others are also in the same dilema.

You point a crucial factor IMO, is that talent covers a lot of territory.
I was in the studio of a spanish fashion photographer a few weeks ago and there was some huge prints on the wall from an editorial made with the Canon MKIII.
Really impressed by what I was seeing, but very studdied light, talents in all the chain involved, from the photographer to the make-up, model, retoucher (very good woman actually) printer etc...

The camera for me has always been just a part of the process, I'm shooting with mostly anything, even my mobile phone.
But I'm in a moment where I also want to invest in something solid. As the gap between the 2 systems is reducing step by step,
I think we are in a very interesting moment.    

In Madrid, the range of MF back is strangely very reduced compare to, let's say Paris. It is not le Boulevard Beaumarchais.
Sinar and Leaf for example are difficult to find and try. (Phase and Hasselblad are very present thought, maybe a distribution issue).

Software is important, work with C1 5 and ACR depending on the task and a very very old   version of Photoshop: the CS3. Happy with it.

The things that drives me nuts with digital are the constant changes, updates, unstability, information sometimes difficult to find...I really enjoy
"being crazy in a reliable world" not so much "being reliable in a crazy world" (sorry, can't find the way to say it in english).

I think I'll go for the 22mp backs and mount on the Contax.

And yes BC: attitude goes a long way into producing an image, wise sentense.
 
Cheers.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 12:13:45 PM by fredjeang » Logged
BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2010, 12:16:13 PM »
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Quote from: Guy Mancuso
Yes the AA filter is a big factor and simply Can/Nik sell 100's of thousands of these units and just imagine the PR nightmare if it produced moire on a daily basis among all those folks. They will never let this happen and why they are in place.

Hi Guy,

Are you suggesting that aliasing is less of an issue on MF, or that since there are fewer images produced with MF the issue is less frequently encountered? I have difficulty understanding what you are actually saying.

Cheers,
Bart
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jimgolden
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« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2010, 12:20:48 PM »
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"Will a digital back provide a better Raw file? Without question

Will a digital back make anyone a better photographer? Not a chance."

perfect
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