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Author Topic: Interesting comparison of IQ180 and 8x10" film  (Read 32284 times)
John Rodriguez
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« Reply #100 on: October 13, 2011, 06:56:05 AM »
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But what is the status of the now younger (20-30) creative who is not  in the knowledge and experience to do this ?


I'm in my early 30s and I've just switched to 4x5 from DSLRs because I want to create large (32x40) prints without spending 40k.  I make 10-20 exposures a month, so the economics of a digital back just don't come close to working out.  Until they do I think large format film will have a place.
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Stefan.Steib
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« Reply #101 on: October 13, 2011, 07:56:39 AM »
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I think this makes sense - use the possibillities of large format and the labs as long as they are there, a viewcamera is the most direct way to understand photography and itīs magic.

But I fear that this will not be a way for many young photographers in the not so far future.

What will happen if the last commercial lab has closed down, tetenal stops making E6 one time chemistry and the last Jobos have died ?
And what will happen as soon as you have success and want to make a living from Photography ? Comes volume - comes economic reasoning- comes need for speed and customer satisfaction.
Romantics are one thing - earning money another one.

Greetings from Munich
Stefan
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« Reply #102 on: October 13, 2011, 10:25:35 AM »
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Hi,

For me it's more about finding out. I cannot afford an IQ180, nor do I really see the need of it.

I'd agree on the practical side of using digital, but my tests indicate that at least 6x7 Ektar 100 in combination with high end scanning may have an advantage in several aeas over digital full frame 135.

Best regards
Erik


Erik

to me all this uproar on the shown results simply clarifies how much confusion is in all this subject right now.
And how difficult it seems to be to achieve the final quality from a scanned film , not to speak of the exact exposure with all settings made for an optimum resolution.
Whereas this also showed that depth of field is an issue and usability is much more on the digital side. (faster , cheaper, easier to make plenty of variations to nail the target....).
It should also be taken into account that the infrastructure for film is dissolving now, many people who rely on this are forced to move digital, even if they do not want to do it.
Many of the still very knowledgeable colleagues are autark, working off their own experiences of many years of usage of film, develloping their own E6 and now scanning to get their work into the actual workflow. But what is the status of the now younger (20-30) creative who is not  in the knowledge and experience to do this ?
So as much many may regret this I think this will all dwindle away into non existance latest in 10-20 years.
And by then digital will probably heave left behind ANY disadvantages on resolution that 8/10 may still have today- so nobody will even  drop one tear about it.
We should not forget that the professional digital photography is only 16/17 years old(Leaf Brick) and already has erased nearly a complete structure that had grown over 150 years of silverhalogenid.

maybe this is not "haptic" or "romantic" or  "artistic" (yes I liked to build up my huge tripod with my 8/10 and take my black cloth and make my show on the set.....;-)
but photographic craftsmanship is not defined by using film.

Itīs about the images , nothing else. In this case the way is not the goal.

Greetings from Munich

Stefan
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lenny_eiger
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« Reply #103 on: October 13, 2011, 12:33:35 PM »
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For me it's more about finding out. I cannot afford an IQ180, nor do I really see the need of it.
I'd agree on the practical side of using digital, but my tests indicate that at least 6x7 Ektar 100 in combination with high end scanning may have an advantage in several aeas over digital full frame 135.
Best regards
Erik

I agree. I already have a top 8x10, 4x5 and 6x7 camera. I also have an Aztek Premier. When the quality matches and the costs come down I'll be happy to switch. There are clear benefits, basically not having to develop film. I'm not a commercial photographer so the money doesn't come in at a rate that would justify the purchase of an IQ180.

For me, it's about the truth. There is so much disinformation out there. I visit photo.net on occasion and just cringe at many of the responses to a variety of questions. On one of the other forums, there are many who think that an Epson 750 is good enough for their work. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that statement. However, it isn't good enough for me, and more importantly, it isn't the same as a top drum scanner and someone who knows how to use it. Comparing the blurry 750 to a Premier or ICG is like comparing a Maserati to a jackass. Both ways can get you to some destination. But they clearly aren't the same quality, and the results won't be the same.

There is much said about the quality of digital capture, but it isn't there yet, it clearly is NOT as good as film. The public is being informed incorrectly - because the test was incorrect - as have been all of the digital to film comparisons. They have never used a good scanner. It's time this changed.

I agree with Stefan that it will change. However, we have to realize that they are focussed primarily on the endless supply of consumers who need very little in terms of quality for their family snapshots. Today's cameras will definitely suffice. Who will pay for the R&D of the high end, what will be their motivation going forward?

Lenny

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hjulenissen
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« Reply #104 on: October 13, 2011, 12:54:56 PM »
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There is much said about the quality of digital capture, but it isn't there yet, it clearly is NOT as good as film. The public is being informed incorrectly - because the test was incorrect - as have been all of the digital to film comparisons. They have never used a good scanner. It's time this changed.
If some film format need a <insert expensive scanner> operated by a <insert expert operator with 20 years of experience> in order to make it "better" than digital cameras for some scenario/quality parameter, then that in itself is relevant information to many. It may mean that the total cost of film (at that level) increase by the price of the scanner. Or that the difficulty in finding a reliable lab that have access to and expertise in handling the right equipment may or may not tip the weight against film.

If it is really difficult to make a fair test scenario where film really shines, then it is perhaps really difficult to make film really shine for day-to-day use as well?

-h
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lenny_eiger
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« Reply #105 on: October 13, 2011, 01:08:29 PM »
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If some film format need a <insert expensive scanner> operated by a <insert expert operator with 20 years of experience> in order to make it "better" than digital cameras for some scenario/quality parameter, then that in itself is relevant information to many. It may mean that the total cost of film (at that level) increase by the price of the scanner. Or that the difficulty in finding a reliable lab that have access to and expertise in handling the right equipment may or may not tip the weight against film.

If it is really difficult to make a fair test scenario where film really shines, then it is perhaps really difficult to make film really shine for day-to-day use as well?

-h

Scanner operators don't need to have 20 years experience. One would suffice, but it ought to be someone who at least cares about photography. They should look at the film, see what the person is trying to accomplish and scan with that in mind.

Used drum scanners are around for anywhere from $1500-6500, with all the bells and whistles. That's not far from the cost of a flatbed. It isn't really difficult to make film really shine, or to make a fair test. There are lots of good scanners available, and plenty of good scanner operators who would have done the test for free. They just didn't want to.

The IQ180 is $44,000. That doesn't include all the extras that could add up to another 20K easily, depending on what you are doing. Or that it will be obsolete soon and you will want to buy another. And it won't do as good as something that will cost $6500. That's the truth.

I think they have done marvelously, some of the new features are terrific. They are just "not there yet" in terms of both quality and price for what I want to do.

Lenny Eiger
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #106 on: October 13, 2011, 01:54:27 PM »
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The IQ180 is $44,000. That doesn't include all the extras that could add up to another 20K easily, depending on what you are doing. Or that it will be obsolete soon and you will want to buy another. And it won't do as good as something that will cost $6500. That's the truth.
Isnt this just another way of saying that film (and film cameras) have stopped development, while digital has not?

The fact that even better digital cameras will come in a few years does not change the rating of digital vs film today. If the IQ180 is better than film today, it will probably still be in 4 years when the IQ360 is introduced. If it is worse than film today, it will still be in 4 years.

-h
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lenny_eiger
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« Reply #107 on: October 13, 2011, 02:02:51 PM »
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Isnt this just another way of saying that film (and film cameras) have stopped development, while digital has not?

I don't think I said that, but I wouldn't disagree.

The fact that even better digital cameras will come in a few years does not change the rating of digital vs film today. If the IQ180 is better than film today, it will probably still be in 4 years when the IQ360 is introduced. If it is worse than film today, it will still be in 4 years.
-h

The IQ180 is not better than film is today. But why would you imagine it won't be in 4 years? Phase, Leaf, Hasselblad and others all seem to be working on it...

Lenny
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Stefan.Steib
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« Reply #108 on: October 13, 2011, 02:04:44 PM »
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If it is really difficult to make a fair test scenario where film really shines, then it is perhaps really difficult to make film really shine for day-to-day use as well?

-h

 Smiley  Good question ! We are reaching a point here.

Thesis: It always was and it still is difficult to use an 8/10 " film camera to reach itīs limitations. This technology has stopped devellopment, worse support diminishes daily.
It is difficult to reach an 80Mpix Digital backs limitations today, but as we see the speed of development catches up and todays 20-40 (maybe also 60) Mpix are mostly carefree and easy to use.
Devellopment just starts, Autofocus is getting better and better, new concepts in the wings or already existing (mirrorless, electronic finders, live view, electronic leveling.....)

Film already had to go hybrid to survive anyway - nobody today still delivers a slide, the "analogue" photographer relies on highend scanning (drumscans) to reach on par or better quality than digital.
A pro grade drumscanner used to cost 100 000 € and upwards, the only reason why those are cheap today is that they have lost 90 % of their customers so the amount of scanning volume per existing scanner has ruined the prices of hardware. Operation is still a task, it needs good experience and craftsmanship to fully exploit the capability.

Now film is only cheaper if you use it low volume  and this is only true because of the former expensive cameras have also dwindled down in price because of shrinking demand on used analogue  gear. The so called cost advantage is a bit like driving a 15-20 year old Mercedes 600 which has become cheap but still sucks 20 liters/100km and telling - well if I donīt drive it much itīs a cheap car.
Also there wonīt be repairs and I also do not need tires if I only get it out of the garage once in a while.

You all know that this is not what this car was built for. And unless you are a collector or 80 years old and do drive only to your heart specialist once in a while to check if you are still alive
using such gear in such a way does not make much sense to me.

A photographer takes pictures , he does not collect historic gear to see how nicely it was working 20 years ago.

Greetings from Munich

Stefan

« Last Edit: October 13, 2011, 02:07:31 PM by Stefan.Steib » Logged

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hjulenissen
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« Reply #109 on: October 13, 2011, 02:12:54 PM »
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The IQ180 is not better than film is today. But why would you imagine it won't be in 4 years? Phase, Leaf, Hasselblad and others all seem to be working on it...
I was merely saying that :
1. Digital will be better in 4 years than what digital is today
2. Film will probably not be better in 4 years than what film is today
3. At that rate, the curves ought to cross at some point in time. Perhaps that point was 10 years ago, perhaps it is 10 years into the future. Internet wars have been fought over that issue and I wont pretend to have the experience to add anything useful to that debate.
4. The fact that digital progress while film does not cannot be a rational argument against choosing digital today:
(about the IQ180)... it will be obsolete soon and you will want to buy another.
My point:
Buy what works best for you today. Don't worry about shinier gadgets being introduced next year.

-h
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John Rodriguez
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« Reply #110 on: October 13, 2011, 03:51:10 PM »
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The bulk of the photo industry is driven by hobbyists, not pros.  Even if one day I can justify 40k for a back, there will still be plenty of folks who can't.  Obviously film will die once demand is low enough to kill off the last supplier.  At the least that won't happen until the hobbyists that want to print large can do so at an affordable price with digital.  Beyond that I think there's enough interest in the younger generation to possibly keep it around beyond that (I've seen a resurgence in film interest within youth culture, same thing with vinyl records).

I think this makes sense - use the possibillities of large format and the labs as long as they are there, a viewcamera is the most direct way to understand photography and itīs magic.

But I fear that this will not be a way for many young photographers in the not so far future.

What will happen if the last commercial lab has closed down, tetenal stops making E6 one time chemistry and the last Jobos have died ?
And what will happen as soon as you have success and want to make a living from Photography ? Comes volume - comes economic reasoning- comes need for speed and customer satisfaction.
Romantics are one thing - earning money another one.

Greetings from Munich
Stefan
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Stefan.Steib
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« Reply #111 on: October 13, 2011, 05:03:16 PM »
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At the least that won't happen until the hobbyists that want to print large can do so at an affordable price with digital.


Well- now comes the funny part: nearly any large print (> A3+) done today is made digitally with plotters, so the "Analogue" people do exactly the same as the "Digital" people.
I have not heard of higher prices for printing of "pure" digital (I was just thinking of Kubrickīs Dr. Strangelove - Scottish well water......;-)  versus converted "Analogue to digital".

in the end its pretty much the same piece of paper for the same price.   Isnīt this crazy ?

Greetings from Munich
Stefan
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« Reply #112 on: October 13, 2011, 05:14:35 PM »
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Well- now comes the funny part: nearly any large print (> A3+) done today is made digitally with plotters, so the "Analogue" people do exactly the same as the "Digital" people.
in the end its pretty much the same piece of paper for the same price.   Isnīt this crazy ?
Greetings from Munich
Stefan

Stefan, There are many more choices for digital printing than there are for the standard darkroom. One can print on paper that simulates a darkroom paper, such as a baryta-coated paper (or with a chromira), or a matte paper, on Japanese Washi, etc. Very large prints are also possible. I have made many 20 foot long prints for my customers.

There are lots of different inksets, I print color with a 12-color set, I custom-mix my own b&w from my own formulas, do split tone and everything else...

While I have not appreciated digital capture as yet, I would say that, depending on what one wants to do, digital printing is quite a number of steps ahead. One of the best papers is from Germany, of course, the Hahnemuhle series, very impressive and expensive... I use a lot of it.

Lenny
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John Rodriguez
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« Reply #113 on: October 13, 2011, 05:32:53 PM »
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Well- now comes the funny part: nearly any large print (> A3+) done today is made digitally with plotters, so the "Analogue" people do exactly the same as the "Digital" people.
I have not heard of higher prices for printing of "pure" digital (I was just thinking of Kubrickīs Dr. Strangelove - Scottish well water......;-)  versus converted "Analogue to digital".

in the end its pretty much the same piece of paper for the same price.   Isnīt this crazy ?

Greetings from Munich
Stefan

It's only funny if you have an "Analogue" and "Digital" people mindset.  I just want to make large landscape photographs.  I don't really care about what tools I use as long as I like what I end up with and I can afford it.  The majority print digitally because it's high quality and affordable, once capture gets there it will be the same story.
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« Reply #114 on: October 13, 2011, 05:39:49 PM »
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Hi Lenny

Good you say it - otherwise someone certainly would have counted down former photopaper brands and how good they were......Did I mention Cibachrome ? I always hated that.... ;-))))

I think I wrote this in another thread, but as even Durst has stopped doing Lambdas and is using plotters now for all and everything I think this says it all.
I am sure a 12 step color set for BW prints will look marvelous. AND you can probably use about any surface any color of paper, elephant skin, pergament like stuff, whatever.
Yes I even think that about 99 % of the so called "Analogue retro hype" have only become possible because of these fine art print media for large format plotters.

And thatīs even more crazy........ ;-)

Greetings from Munich

Stefan
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NicolasBelokurov
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« Reply #115 on: October 14, 2011, 03:56:48 PM »
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Speaking of crazy and that at the end all that matters are the photos, I'd LOVE to see ONE former LF landscape shooter whose work got better with switching to digital, yet I see a lot of really young people ditching DSLRS and using film, getting better and better and they are all of pragmatic type, not the romantic lomo shooting emos..... that's crazy
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« Reply #116 on: October 14, 2011, 04:34:27 PM »
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Nicolas

I donīt think this has anything to do with digital or analogue. More with the hunger to search for something new.
If some old guns have already done some mileage with good equipment and decide to go digital this is an expression of pragmatism.
this does not necessarily mean they will become better photographers - technics have nothing to do with creativity - I hope we agree on that.
But if a young hungry and searching guy is switching to a new approach that is ANTI-mainstream this expresses a struggle and a wish
to change for better. This and nothing else improves their images..........

So stay hungry, search for change look at everything every day from another angle, forget about the old stuff and mostly forget about all the others.
make your thing, photograph what interests YOU. It does not matter what this is. Sooner or later you will make your pictures.

Ah- Iīm getting pathetic. Sorry   Smiley

Greetings from Munich
Stefan
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« Reply #117 on: October 15, 2011, 02:50:40 AM »
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Stefan, actually I was going to argue right until the end of time but have to admit that I agree with you, like Gallen Rowell wrote:
"An equally important trait is the size of the rat...... The rat refers to the voracious creature gnawing at a person's stomach from inside that drives him or her to repeatedly leave the comforts and security of civilized life to challenge him or herself in the natural world".

Now, getting back to the whole technical topic, almost all the test I see tend to be presented on landscape oriented websites but ALL seem to ignore or leave aside several vital issues to the landscape photographer (at least for me Smiley )
1). Long exposures (battery issues): I do mountain photography, that is several days (quite a few sometimes) far away from any power supply. The solar packs add too much weight considering their effectiveness. About 2 or 3 long exposures with my 5d2 in low temperature with the consequent dark frame drain a complete battery, not fun at all. I can leave my 4x5 or almost any mechanical camera ticking for hours in below 0š with no side effects.
2). Long exposures (highlights and DR): just a couple of quick and simple tests I did a while ago to calibrate my developing (all epson, I didn't drumscanned these samples):
Number 1 is a long exposure (more than 20min) made more than an hour after the sunset. The same shot on digital (at least with the 5d2) would have the sky completely blown to a thermonuclear white with absolutely no hope of recovery, I don't have the digital sample at hand but anyone who tried it, know that this is true. It can only be done on digi with some really heavy filtration, impossible to use in many cases.

Number 2 is a long exposure made in similar conditions, the same story here, I could leave my 4x5 ticking there for the whole night and walk away with a correct exposure.

3). Contrasted scenes: I'd compare the performance of digital and film in really contrasted scenes. For example a flat scan of a mountain forest scene shot during the winter (with temperature that have me swapping my digital batteries after a while outside). The sun is directly exposed with no filters. As I mentioned above, these are epson samples, I didn't drummed them yet. On the neg, the only thing blown out is the sun itself! Even the patches of snow on the PP have texture. And I have other scenes shot over glaciers in high mountain with the same result. And no flare!

4). Big prints or big upsamples of completely organic nature: Almost all the tests I see out there are usually done in some parking lot with some leaves on a wall, or cars, or other regular, monotone, man made objects. These are pretty easy to blow up, even a 6mpx DSLR can provide enough horsepower to upsample a regular, predictable surface to a huge size using the current interpolation algorithms. But landscapes are shot in the wilderness and usually are about the nature, not some license plates. I'd like to see how the digis hold up an interpolation to a 4000dpi scan size (from a 4x5 or a 8x10) of an organic, chaotic scene, full of textures, leaves, irregular patterns and completely random objects distributed all over the scene. In my tests, the digi that I own, that is a 5d2 is completely pathetic in this situations when compared to scanned film. How an MFDB would perform for example in the following situation? I shot this scene in the jungle some time ago using fine grain slide film, it has all the features I mentioned. Sorry, once again, it's a fresh sample and I have just the epson version at hand, but here is the full scene anyway in a pretty straightforward scan


And some random crops from my 11000 pixels sample scan. No PS sharpening applied, it's what it would look like on a 90cm print viewed from close distance and unsharped. And a drum scanner would add an additional truckload of info, and crisp info






I guess that a test published on a website that has the word "landscape" in its name, should at least try to walk through common landscapes situations and use real life scenes before drawing some conclusions Smiley

Best Regards
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« Reply #118 on: October 15, 2011, 08:27:53 AM »
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Nikolay

I also have to agree that for the long exposures and available light photography off the tracks film still has a stronghold.
As long as neither Phase , nor Leaf , nor Hasselblad do darkshot compensation afterwards (which is possible).

see also other thread here om LL   http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=58394.0   my reply #9

The method exists described as : "Denoising photographs using dark frames optimized by quadratic programming" see here (english pdf download)
and is develloped by people from Stanford and Max Planck Institute so I guess they know what they are writing about :

http://www.kyb.tuebingen.mpg.de/fileadmin/user_upload/files/publications/ICCP09-GomezRodriguez_5491%5B0%5D.pdf

I also see that new sensortechnology is in the wings, coming up from the lowend amateur mini chip usage (e.g. backside illuminated sensors, Fujiīs EXR technology)
Battery usage will also be improved as a side effect of Car battery research we will have very cheap and usable batteries at least in 5-10 years. Lab samples already exist.

So we are on the wings of change.

Today -for this kind of photography use film. Definitely.

Greetings from Munich
Stefan
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« Reply #119 on: October 15, 2011, 05:42:29 PM »
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1). Long exposures (battery issues): I do mountain photography, that is several days (quite a few sometimes) far away from any power supply. The solar packs add too much weight considering their effectiveness. About 2 or 3 long exposures with my 5d2 in low temperature with the consequent dark frame drain a complete battery, not fun at all. I can leave my 4x5 or almost any mechanical camera ticking for hours in below 0š with no side effects.
If and when your usage pattern matches one technology much better then another, then the choice of technology should be obvious. Seems that film clearly fits your use. I don't do such long exposures, and I charge my single battery once every 2 weeks or so, so clearly I belong to another cathegory of users.

Did you consider doing the dark frames once per session (or one for each likely iso setting at e.g. 20, 0 and -20 degrees Celcius)? That might have the potential to double the available number of exposures. Perhaps others have experience with heating the battery pack or using 3rd party batteries that can stand the cold (if such a thing exists)?

-h
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