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Author Topic: 8x10" vs 4x5" vs IQ180 vs ... Great test by Tim Parkin et al.  (Read 25599 times)
BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #20 on: December 25, 2011, 07:23:34 PM »
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Don't forget that the scenic image was shot on Velvia without grads - that film has a lot more dynamic range than people give it credit for. Of course - using both would be perfect!

Hi Tim,

Thank for the test. Apart from anti-halo protection layers in film, the obvious remedy with digital sensors would be exposure bracketing (which is much faster, and very much cheaper than with film) and clever tonemapping.

Cheers,
Bart
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #21 on: December 25, 2011, 09:12:09 PM »
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The 4x5 velvia shot isn't as sharp as the 4x5 portra shot but obviously it should be - I think wind affected this area. My estimate is that they are closely matched with some fine detail going to the 4x5 and the good contrast at slightly lower resolution going to the IQ180. The IQ180 would inevitably look sharper in prints but given some of the print tests we've tried, some people have said it doesn't look as 'real'.

There is some strange painterly effect going on with the IQ180, I wonder if that results from the processing applied by the back to the raw files to reduce aliasing?

Cheers,
Bernard
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #22 on: December 25, 2011, 09:50:21 PM »
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Hi Bernard,

I don't know. At these enlargements the digital images start to fall apart. Please note that I'm not saying that the comparison is invalid, just that bicubic interpolation does not look very convincing. But you may have a point.

One observation with the digital images is that there is "staircase effects" on everything. If you look at Tim's resolution series it's quite obvious that the IQ180 starts aliasing at Nyquist frequency although the lens seems to have a lot of resolution left. When I see the images I'm asking if the IQ180 would not have been served well by a mild OLP filter. Smaller pixels obviously would help a lot.

If you want to compare "the lesser" cameras the 50% images are preferable in my view.

My own testing indicated clearly that my Sony Alpha 900 performed on par with the Pentax 67 regarding resolution, but coming out on top in most other aspects (including MTF for fine details). That conclusion was based on the technique I had. Tim's work puts this into perspective.

I actually never really believed IQ-180 being superior to 8x10". In the 2006 shootout here on LL the authors found that the P45 performed on par with 4x5". 8x10" is four times the area, so if a 40 MP back matched 4x5" it would take 160MP to match 8x10" all parameters being equivalent. But parameters are not equivalent, so it was nice that Tim has shown how well large format film really could perform.

Best regards
Erik


There is some strange painterly effect going on with the IQ180, I wonder if that results from the processing applied by the back to the raw files to reduce aliasing?

Cheers,
Bernard

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timparkin
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« Reply #23 on: December 25, 2011, 10:08:16 PM »
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I just happened to pick that one image but all the samples lead to the same conclusion for me.
Try reading the 'hassleblad' and 'carl zeiss' on the hassleblad image. Or perhaps looking at the grid of the number 20's in the bottom right of the 20 pound note example (with Delta 100 in particular) or the 'II' in EIIR on the rhs of the 20 note.

In fact, just look at the rendering of the trumpet chart. The 4x5 does have more resolution. However it has more noise and the IQ180 is very good at post processing it's clean data to reveal small details - up to a point. I think the feature that confuses things is that at the limit of the IQ180 not only does the IQ180 have more contrast, but the raw algorithm is very good at edge detection. On the other hand, when the 4x5 renders the same details it is at a lower contrast. However, the IQ180 stops at that point whereas the 4x5 carries on for a little longer. Hence why it is so difficult to make an absolute choice

Tim
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #24 on: December 25, 2011, 10:22:23 PM »
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I actually never really believed IQ-180 being superior to 8x10". In the 2006 shootout here on LL the authors found that the P45 performed on par with 4x5". 8x10" is four times the area, so if a 40 MP back matched 4x5" it would take 160MP to match 8x10" all parameters being equivalent. But parameters are not equivalent, so it was nice that Tim has shown how well large format film really could perform.

Well, the present test is more about whether the IQ180 is better than 4x5 or not, which makes sense since 4x5 is about 3 times the resolution of 6x7. I personnally never believed the claims that 39mp was as good as 4x5 resolutionwise.

Of course, stitch a few frames with an IQ180 and you go as high as you want resolutionwise so this discussion is very theoretical. In reality I guess many landscape shooters concerned about resolution will not do the economy of not equiping themselves with stitching skills.

Cheers,
Bernard

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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #25 on: December 25, 2011, 11:09:35 PM »
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There is some strange painterly effect going on with the IQ180, I wonder if that results from the processing applied by the back to the raw files to reduce aliasing?

I believe you are referring to the look generated by their method of up sampling the IQ180 to match the scan resolution of the 8x10. I don't suspect you would note any such effect on the image when viewed at the original 100% pixel size. (I'm not saying I think the method chosen was unfair - there are many ways to approach such a comparison and I think they've selected a perfectly fine one)

In general this test shows what I would expect and have posted many times before: the 8x10 film shows a modest advantage in absolute resolution (on subject matter within it's DR) over a single frame from an IQ180 when enormous care is taken to get the most ouf the 8x10.

In practice 8x10 is extremely difficult to get the most out of every frame, and the only advantage I see in these comparisons is in the extremely fine detail when printed/viewed large enough to view those details. The color, tonality, DR of the IQ180 all strike me as excellent in these comparisons. It should be noted this comparison is of default rendering; the raw files the IQ180 raws could be pushed around fairly significantly (color, contrast, dodge/burn, etc) and still look great.

As Bernard states you could easily overcome the modest resolution advantage of the field shots with as little as one additional IQ180 frame, especially if your desired output is wide-aspect-ratio (e.g. 16:9, 2:1 or other panoramic). A two-frame stitch on a camera like a Cambo Wide RS (static lens - moving the back only) takes less time than it takes to load a single 8x10 sheet of film.

Or give the camera to Bernard and he can take a 16-shot long-lens pan-and-stitch :-). Just be careful to get the camera back afterwards.

Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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« Reply #26 on: December 25, 2011, 11:24:09 PM »
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One other point is affordability. With analogue the equipment is quite affordable especially if we can find used equipment. High end digital tends to be very expensive.

No getting around it: an IQ180 is a big hunk of change. An Aptus II 12 / Mamiya DM80 with the same sensor a good bit less so, though still not cheap by any stretch of the imagination.

But of course the price of an 8x10 piece of color film, processing, drum scanning is not inexpensive. No one can predict the future but it's hard to imagine those prices going down and pretty easy to imagine them going significantly higher.

Of course the weight of carrying a dozen 8x10 film holders helps keep a landscape shooter from taking too many frames even aside from the high per-frame cost.  Grin

Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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« Reply #27 on: December 25, 2011, 11:27:03 PM »
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Always good to see what you have to say about things like this Doug.  Outside of the cost being the big factor of the equipment.  If you can afford it, which of course it is very expensive, nothing comes close to shooting with a Phase system.  I will have to say having used nearly 8x10, 4x5, 6x7 and now the IQ180.  I'm shooting nearly everything I have never been able to shoot before.  As I mentioned before the choice of lenses, dynamic range, color accuracy, processing your files and the ability to stitch with precision to gain perspective of the landscape is amazing.   I will always stitch,  everyone should think of stitching as banquet camera approach.  The ability to capture exactly what you see in any ratio of vertical to horizontal scenes is really the way to go.  The added resolution is more of bi-product.  The added resolution does give you the ability to see very fine detail by choosing a longer focal length lens  but you have to be careful not to loose the depth of field.  

I would agree the price to scan.  I bought a very expensive Scitex scanner that is now retired.  Because labs were very expensive.  But the weight is about the same because I traded the film holder for carrying more lenses 13 of them.  Nothing replaces having the best lens for the scene. 

Sure its expensive, but shooting large amounts of 8x10 is also.  But great comparison, but I think we are missing some points.  Even at 4x5, you could make the prints larger than you can really mount anyway.  So really resolution is not as much a factor.  The real point is to capture amazing images in fantastic light or capture the Soul of Nature.  T
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #28 on: December 25, 2011, 11:36:23 PM »
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I believe you are referring to the look generated by their method of up sampling the IQ180 to match the scan resolution of the 8x10. I don't suspect you would note any such effect on the image when viewed at the original 100% pixel size. (I'm not saying I think the method chosen was unfair - there are many ways to approach such a comparison and I think they've selected a perfectly fine one)

Probably so indeed.

As Bernard states you could easily overcome the modest resolution advantage of the field shots with as little as one additional IQ180 frame, especially if your desired output is wide-aspect-ratio (e.g. 16:9, 2:1 or other panoramic). A two-frame stitch on a camera like a Cambo Wide RS (static lens - moving the back only) takes less time than it takes to load a single 8x10 sheet of film.

Or give the camera to Bernard and he can take a 16-shot long-lens pan-and-stitch :-). Just be careful to get the camera back afterwards.

Yep, very good idea indeed. I have a short trip coming up later this week in the Japanese Northern Alps and will perform the test! As far as the camera not coming back... Mountains can be unpredictable...

Wishing a very happy year end Doug, don't work too much. :-)

Cheers,
Bernard
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #29 on: December 25, 2011, 11:42:05 PM »
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I have a short trip coming up later this week in the Japanese Northern Alps and will perform the test! As far as the camera not coming back... Mountains can be unpredictable...

Wishing a very happy year end Doug, don't work too much. :-)

Sounds like a great trip! I hope it's productive, safe, and enjoyable. Happy New Year to you too.

Also, I don't think I said it earlier, but thanks to the testers! Seriously. Everyone who reads a well done test like this can imagine the enormous amount of time spent on it - and even so usually underestimate that amount. It also opens you to a hundred variants of "you're test is worthless because of X Y or Z" which, after investing so much effort is hard not to take personally. This strikes me as an especially well done test (based on it's goals) and clearly took enormous effort. Thanks!
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #30 on: December 26, 2011, 12:20:22 AM »
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What I found interesting was just how well the cheap Epson scanner did. On the 8X10 at least, strange how on 4x5 it looks so awful while on the 8x10 it looks almost as good as the drum scan?
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #31 on: December 26, 2011, 12:30:31 AM »
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Hi,

Thank you very much for saying and saying it so well! I have also done some test with 67 against DSLR, and it is a lot of work.

Best regards
Erik


Also, I don't think I said it earlier, but thanks to the testers! Seriously. Everyone who reads a well done test like this can imagine the enormous amount of time spent on it - and even so usually underestimate that amount. It also opens you to a hundred variants of "you're test is worthless because of X Y or Z" which, after investing so much effort is hard not to take personally. This strikes me as an especially well done test (based on it's goals) and clearly took enormous effort. Thanks!
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timparkin
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« Reply #32 on: December 26, 2011, 04:04:43 AM »
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Of course, stitch a few frames with an IQ180 and you go as high as you want resolutionwise so this discussion is very theoretical. In reality I guess many landscape shooters concerned about resolution will not do the economy of not equiping themselves with stitching skills.
Absolutely, although I do stitch my 5x4 and 10x8 occasionally ..

Here's a 3 shot rotational stitch on my Ebony 45SU using Schneider 110mm SSXL



and a section (downsized to 2000dpi from 4000dpi)



And I recently stitched two 8x10's for a potential 8m x 3m print for on the UK's national parks..


larger size

Expensive, yes. But I bought huge batches of 4x5  at 60p and sheet and 30p to develop. 8x10 has cost me about 6 a sheet plus 1.20 a sheet to develop. Plus I bought my own drum scanner for 500 which brings the cost of top notch scanning right down (you need some space and health care insurance to move it around!)

Tim
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #33 on: December 26, 2011, 04:56:21 AM »
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Absolutely, although I do stitch my 5x4 and 10x8 occasionally ..

Here's a 3 shot rotational stitch on my Ebony 45SU using Schneider 110mm SSXL

Small world, I have that same exact combo! Smiley

Did you use a center filter for the stitch? I didn't remember the 110 XL being that good in terms of light fall off when shifted that much.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #34 on: December 26, 2011, 07:02:24 AM »
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Is it just me or that when you are uprezzing the film images, they seem so much nicer than the digital images uprezzed to the same size? The grain seems to fill in the gaps where you would expect to see more detail but where on digital you seem to hit a brick wall for detail the moment you uprez with too many blank patches of nothing. I'd never fully understood the point of adding grain in Genuine Fractals (Perfect Resize as they're now known) but now I see the point, it gives the impression, albeit false, of more detail than there actually is, but that impression is more pleasing to the eye.
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timparkin
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« Reply #35 on: December 26, 2011, 03:33:27 PM »
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Did you use a center filter for the stitch? I didn't remember the 110 XL being that good in terms of light fall off when shifted that much.

No center filter - the stitching software handles this quite well (ptgui) and shooting with neg film means the drop off is not an issue in terms of losing info in shadows (unlike shooting the 110 on my 8x10 camera on which even the center filter doesn't compensate enough (probably about 2.5 stops difference across the frame).

Tim
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timparkin
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« Reply #36 on: December 26, 2011, 03:55:46 PM »
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Is it just me or that when you are uprezzing the film images, they seem so much nicer than the digital images uprezzed to the same size? The grain seems to fill in the gaps where you would expect to see more detail but where on digital you seem to hit a brick wall for detail the moment you uprez with too many blank patches of nothing. I'd never fully understood the point of adding grain in Genuine Fractals (Perfect Resize as they're now known) but now I see the point, it gives the impression, albeit false, of more detail than there actually is, but that impression is more pleasing to the eye.
Grain can definitely make digital images look a lot better when you upsize past a certain point. A colleague is going to write an article about this in a future issue. On the Nikon lens picture I added grain to the IQ180 image to see if it makes a difference. It seems to help somewhat.
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marfa.tx
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« Reply #37 on: December 26, 2011, 04:57:33 PM »
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-- redaction --- not on Post ...
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richard
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« Reply #38 on: December 26, 2011, 05:23:52 PM »
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direct quote: "Based on current sales, KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 400NC AND 400VC products are expected to be available in the market though December 2010."  NOTE the date of update of their webpage (last year)...

One has to wonder how they guessed they would have an award in 2011. Smiley

Apparently 400NC and 400VC are still widely available, eventhough they have been replaced by the 400.
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Fine_Art
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« Reply #39 on: December 26, 2011, 10:05:33 PM »
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Its a good test. I really appreciate the effort sharing this.
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