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Author Topic: 8x10" vs 4x5" vs IQ180 vs ... Great test by Tim Parkin et al.  (Read 26111 times)
theguywitha645d
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« Reply #60 on: December 31, 2011, 11:46:49 AM »
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Erik, "Standard" viewing distance is a well documented basic concept. Norman also states what he "believes" to be the best viewing distance (in relation to SQF) and your link is to a specific method of determining SQF which is a way to compare image quality for a system, not for simply judging print quality. Naturally, that does not stop folks from putting nose prints on their work. Most prints on a wall are viewed from greater than the standard. Pixel peepers look a viewing distance very much closer than standard. The standard viewing distance gives a good metric of how an image will look like for an average viewer.

But one thing is clear, print size does not change the image. Stating print specs based on personal aversions to grain or noise or whatever is nothing more than stating blue is the best color in the world. All I can say when someone say x cannot be printed larger than yXy, I have not found that to be true--I don't use anything wider than 44" roll paper, but you are going to have to do some serious explaining why an image printed 44" wide will suddenly not work when made bigger than that.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #61 on: December 31, 2011, 12:00:34 PM »
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Hi,

Just to mention a few cases:

1) In one of the Reichmann and Schewe videos they are looking at landscape from the Antartica, a sole Penguin is an important element in the image. It's nice to walk up to the image and check the Penguin.

2) I have a pano covering perhaps 135 degrees of horizontal view, printed at 100x50 cm. If you look at that image at 1.1 meters it's beautiful, but if you look at it from close you feel like a part of the image, because field of view corresponds to angle of view in the picture.

I didn't refer to Norman's article like to an absolute norm, but he spent much effort in finding correct assumptions for Imatest.

Best regards
Erik


Erik, "Standard" viewing distance is a well documented basic concept. Norman also states what he "believes" to be the best viewing distance (in relation to SQF) and your link is to a specific method of determining SQF which is a way to compare image quality for a system, not for simply judging print quality. Naturally, that does not stop folks from putting nose prints on their work. Most prints on a wall are viewed from greater than the standard. Pixel peepers look a viewing distance very much closer than standard. The standard viewing distance gives a good metric of how an image will look like for an average viewer.

But one thing is clear, print size does not change the image. Stating print specs based on personal aversions to grain or noise or whatever is nothing more than stating blue is the best color in the world. All I can say when someone say x cannot be printed larger than yXy, I have not found that to be true--I don't use anything wider than 44" roll paper, but you are going to have to do some serious explaining why an image printed 44" wide will suddenly not work when made bigger than that.
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« Reply #62 on: December 31, 2011, 02:03:41 PM »
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From my experience running the test, you can blow up a 24Mp DSLR with a good lens to 20x24 and people will accept it although in a side by side with a higher res camera it will show (just). I imagine the Nex7 will be close but possibly 16x20 may be the limit. (I'll be testing this when I get rid of my 5Dmk2)

MF film is happy up to just over 20x24 and will look good up to 30x40 although grain will be showing unless treated and then it could look a bit 'plasticky' depending on NR

MFDB should be OK to 30x40 for landscapes although with Portraits I imagine you could get larger with acceptable results

LF 4x5 should be good for 50x40 or maybe larger if you accept some noise.

8x10 you could get to 60x80 and show no grain..

6x17 is interesting, I've found this produces very sharp 120's that easily exceed 4000dpi (with good technique of course) and you should get a 25x70 print from a 4000dpi scan.

Tim



Tim,

Thank you for this useful summary, this supports my experience with a few additional caveats.

1.  All 24 Mp cameras so far are 1:1.5 format, so max size would be 20"x30" which nicely matches Costco's excellent service.
2.  You're comment about medium format film being slightly better than 24Mp A900 is supported by your resolution target tests but not by the actual scenic tests in your comparator images.  Getting good image quality out of MF film with scanning is not easy, and I often think I was doing better years ago with direct enlargement.  But at that time 16"x20" was my maximum size.  Today I use Nikon 9000ED but flatness is always an issue, and I feel I don't see film grain as well in these scans as we used to see using a grain focussing aid in the old days with direct enlargement.  We could stop down the enlarging lens to reduce the issue of flatness.  Recently I obtained a glass film holder for the 9000 and this may help.
3.  I agree that 24 x 70 is a reasonable size for 6x17 cameras.  I recently printed one at 30 x 90 but this was for mounting higher on the wall which precludes nose-pressing.  Regarding cost, the cost for printing, mounting, and framing for this was $600 with most of the cost in the framing.  At this cost, in hindsight, I realize that drum-scanning would have been a reasonable option.

==Doug

Edit Jan 2:  I just did some scanning on Nikon 9000 with my new glass holder.  At 4000dpi I can now begin to see the grain pattern in Velvia.  Not so visible at 3000dpi, rather more like clumping.  It seems like the 9000 can just barely begin to extract the detail from 120 Velvia if everything is pefect.  I would guess that the Epson Multipro would be insufficient.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 10:32:25 AM by douglasboyd » Logged
theguywitha645d
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« Reply #63 on: December 31, 2011, 04:02:44 PM »
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Erik, I think we are misunderstanding each other. There is nothing wrong with images that show more and more detail as you get closer. I don't even advocate standing at standard viewing distances if you don't want to--I guess I could put up velvet ropes when I hang stuff to keep people in their proper place, but I enjoy watching them see big prints and they do funny things. I certainly am not against detail as I enjoy it in my work and I always view other photographer's work at different distances. All I am saying is you can print as large as you want and nothing really changes, except framing cost. The idea that there is an absolute scale to print size is wrong--your print size is just one control in the presentation of the image, whether large or small. Unfortunately, this is so deeply planted into the psyche of photographers that is hard to even talk about this. Oh well, their loss. I will just keep making "miracle" prints.

Hi,

Just to mention a few cases:

1) In one of the Reichmann and Schewe videos they are looking at landscape from the Antartica, a sole Penguin is an important element in the image. It's nice to walk up to the image and check the Penguin.

2) I have a pano covering perhaps 135 degrees of horizontal view, printed at 100x50 cm. If you look at that image at 1.1 meters it's beautiful, but if you look at it from close you feel like a part of the image, because field of view corresponds to angle of view in the picture.

I didn't refer to Norman's article like to an absolute norm, but he spent much effort in finding correct assumptions for Imatest.

Best regards
Erik


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« Reply #64 on: December 31, 2011, 08:21:59 PM »
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I've  printed 24X36" with my 5D2 after doing every trick (that I know) in the book to get the best IQ possible. Printed with a 7880 using Harman FbAl (a very sharp paper). They look really great. I'm sure DMF would render to some extent, superior "everything". But also I'm sure about this: Side to side, the picture with the better image content would win without any doubt.
Eduardo


From my experience running the test, you can blow up a 24Mp DSLR with a good lens to 20x24 and people will accept it although in a side by side with a higher res camera it will show (just). I imagine the Nex7 will be close but possibly 16x20 may be the limit. (I'll be testing this when I get rid of my 5Dmk2)

MF film is happy up to just over 20x24 and will look good up to 30x40 although grain will be showing unless treated and then it could look a bit 'plasticky' depending on NR

MFDB should be OK to 30x40 for landscapes although with Portraits I imagine you could get larger with acceptable results

LF 4x5 should be good for 50x40 or maybe larger if you accept some noise.

8x10 you could get to 60x80 and show no grain..

6x17 is interesting, I've found this produces very sharp 120's that easily exceed 4000dpi (with good technique of course) and you should get a 25x70 print from a 4000dpi scan.

Tim


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« Reply #65 on: December 31, 2011, 11:12:46 PM »
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"I've  printed 24X36" with my 5D2...."

Yeah, that's it - looks great until you see it next to something better.  It's all relative. 
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #66 on: January 01, 2012, 03:30:23 AM »
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Hi,

There seems to be some consensus among some photographers that 12 MP is essentially enough. I don't really share this opinion, but mention it for a reason. I made a few comparisons between my APS-C camera with 12MP and full frame at 24. The differences in file were large but very small in print. In one case the prints were impossible to tell apart, although the files themselves were a world apart.

The other issue is that sharpening matters a lot. The image below is from an analysis I tried to do from images from Imaging Review, comparing the than new Pentax 645D with the Nikon D3X. The images are 300 PPI scans from crops corresponding to A0 prints. The images are from left Nikon D3X (landscape sharpening in LR), Nikon D3X (deconvolution sharpening) and Pentax 645D landscape sharpening. In my view the deconvoluted Nikon D3X image was sharpest in print. On the other hand, the Pentax 645D could also be more intensively sharpened. The reason I tested deconvolution on Nikon was to compensate for OLP-filtering.



For full size: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/images/Pentax645D/A0_print_center.jpg

The third point that my experience is that my Pentax 67 doesn't 'beat' my Sony Alpha 900. There are areas where more resolution may be tweeked out from a Velvia or Ektar 100, but in general the image quality I get from the Alpha is superior. That said, it is possible that the Pentax 67 enlarges better, but at this stage it is not very clear to me that so would be the case.

Now, we use different equipment. Tim has tested the Mamiya 7, which has very fine optics while the Pentax 67 90/2.8 is probable more like "adequate" than "excellent". My scans were mostly with a CCD-scanner at 3200 PPI (Minolta Diamge Scan Multi Pro) but I also had two 6000 PPI scans made by Dominique Ventzke (who was most helpful in every way).

A final point is that my experience is that with digital I just set up the camera and "nail" the shot. With analogue I need to do focus bracketing and scan the image to find out which to use. A microscope would help, but a 15X loupe is of little help. To this comes turnaround time from the lab, in my case > one week.

An additional observation is that Bernard actually has a good point on stitching. Many subjects are not well suited to stitching, waterfalls come to mind. On the other hand, todays stitchers are pretty good, and we can buy an automated pano head for less money than what we would pay for a decent lens.

See below:
http://www.kolor.com/buy/photo-hardware/motorized-head/kolor-panogear-motorized-panoramic-head-gigapixel-3.html

The two articles below compare the Pentax 67 with Sony Alpha 900.

http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/59-sony-alpha-900-vs-67-analogue-round-2

http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/16-pentax67velvia-vs-sony-alpha-900

I'd also like to add that I much appreciate Tim's article, and I don't argue with any of his findings.

Best regards
Erik


From my experience running the test, you can blow up a 24Mp DSLR with a good lens to 20x24 and people will accept it although in a side by side with a higher res camera it will show (just). I imagine the Nex7 will be close but possibly 16x20 may be the limit. (I'll be testing this when I get rid of my 5Dmk2)

MF film is happy up to just over 20x24 and will look good up to 30x40 although grain will be showing unless treated and then it could look a bit 'plasticky' depending on NR

MFDB should be OK to 30x40 for landscapes although with Portraits I imagine you could get larger with acceptable results

LF 4x5 should be good for 50x40 or maybe larger if you accept some noise.

8x10 you could get to 60x80 and show no grain..

6x17 is interesting, I've found this produces very sharp 120's that easily exceed 4000dpi (with good technique of course) and you should get a 25x70 print from a 4000dpi scan.

Tim


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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #67 on: January 01, 2012, 03:38:51 AM »
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Hi,

That was exactly what the original poster wrote:

"I've  printed 24X36" with my 5D2 after doing every trick (that I know) in the book to get the best IQ possible. Printed with a 7880 using Harman FbAl (a very sharp paper). They look really great. I'm sure DMF would render to some extent, superior "everything". But also I'm sure about this: Side to side, the picture with the better image content would win without any doubt."

I have printed "A2-size" from slightly cropped 6MP APS-C. It's a great image and I had it on exhibition a few times. No one complained that is was not sharp enough, but neither did they say 'Gee, that image is sharp!'. I would be happy if I had a newer camera with me on that trip, but I had not.

It is possible to print large from a small image, but it is stretch, sometimes it works sometimes it does not. One good reason to always use the best equipment we can afford. The best equipment is not always the most expensive one, a fact that Tim's images demonstrate pretty well.

Best regards
Erik


"I've  printed 24X36" with my 5D2...."

Yeah, that's it - looks great until you see it next to something better.  It's all relative.  
« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 03:42:23 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

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« Reply #68 on: January 01, 2012, 04:09:13 AM »
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Erik - correct, I agreed with Eduardo. Last year I made prints from my 5d2 and my p20 on the same day and the prints from the 5d2 looked flat and lifeless compared to the p20 prints.   And I'll add that recently I reprinted several large prints I made about 5 years ago with a epson 7600 with my new HP Z3200.   Definitely the improvements in printers and papers really shows: The new print from the same file was significantly better.   What I'm saying is that even though the printer is the weak link now and masks differences in files from different cameras, you can't count on that being true in the future.   
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« Reply #69 on: January 02, 2012, 01:30:46 AM »
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Tim,

Your comparison is excellent and must be the most in-depth, truthful and correct evaluation of digital and film ever made.  Most others and in forums tend to go blind and exaggerate digital merits.

Per my own experience, if there is something to emphasize it is with digital first with latest 80MP backs from Leaf and Phase One that the colors and fine gradation of colors have reached the levels of quality slide films. When stepping to digital I went through substandard Nikon dslrs and Mamiya ZD, then an excellent 28MP Leaf back but was unable to let go of shooting Velvia 50 side by side due to the color and rendering for landscapes. This kept me shooting 35mm, then 6x7 and some 4x5 and 617. Upgrading to the latest 80MP Leaf back last summer made me drop film completely, including prematurely also 4x5. Similar to your conclusion for the IQ180 it is not first the pixels that impress (although they are appreciated) but the excellent colors, finer gradation of colors, improved shadow response and wide DR. The 80MP Leaf and Phase One backs share same sensor from Dalsa but with differing implementation (Leaf cheaper due no wiz iPhone interface). Selling nearly all of five camera systems more than financed my upgrade and it is interesting what one gather and such can bring. Additionally should be mentioned that Capture One stands out as a high quality RAW converter which functions more photographic like my brain (there is no need for Photoshop).

Important is not only the media, digital or film, but the seeing and visualizing using/for a camera. A viewfinder, groundglass, waist level finder do influence greatly how we see, perceive and work an image. And manual lends to a more planned and thoughtful approach. Else the choice of media digital vs. film is mere individual. Indeed I very much admire Joes and your work. It is fortunate that in UK you can buy large format film and have quality labs, whereas in many places worldwide it is nowadays impossible to keep up.

Lastly, it would have been wishful to have read your comparison around ten years ago since it would have helped towards wiser choices and $$$ savings. Regretful, since the event of digital the industry is in madness exaggeratedly selling us on GEAR including also websites such as Lu-La and all forums that emphasize latest gear rather than photography. The website by Joe Cornish and yourself seem revolutionary since it contrary appear to be about landscape photography and art. I have happily signed up, thank you!

Please keep it up!

Best regards,
Anders

Leaf AFi-II 12 on Hy6 (also Shen-Hao 4x5 without film  Grin)
« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 01:33:46 AM by Anders_HK » Logged
Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #70 on: January 02, 2012, 10:41:05 PM »
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The new 36MP D800 might then push MFDB in a very tight corner!
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« Reply #71 on: January 02, 2012, 11:28:35 PM »
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Hi,

I don't think so. Canon and Sony had 20+ MP backs for long. 36 MP will not be a great improvement over 24 MP. For Nikon owners the D800 will be great news, as it will be an affordable alternative to present day D3X. The 16 MP APS-C sensors of today exactly correspond to a 36 MP FF sensor. So we can use a 16 MP APS-C sensor to predict the performance of the coming 36 MP sensors. I tried to do this here: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/60-what-about-36mp-dslrs . The difference is a quible.

A larger sensor will still have two  basic advantages. It is larger and will therefore collect more photons and it will also have higher MTF for a given feature size.

On the other hand, DSLRs today are probably good enough for most needs and that certainly affects the MFDB market.

Finally, MFDBs have the advantage of flexibility, you can use them with technical cameras, optical bench cameras and so on.

Best regards
Erik


The new 36MP D800 might then push MFDB in a very tight corner!
« Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 12:22:19 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

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« Reply #72 on: January 03, 2012, 12:57:23 AM »
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36MP lets you print Super B (13"x19") at 360DPI off one shot with a border. That is a significant step.
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #73 on: January 03, 2012, 03:33:51 AM »
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36MP lets you print Super B (13"x19") at 360DPI off one shot with a border. That is a significant step.
360DPI is just a number. Comparing visual end-results (like Erik tries) is more relevant than comparing numbers, I think.

-h
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #74 on: January 03, 2012, 10:07:07 AM »
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36MP lets you print Super B (13"x19") at 360DPI off one shot with a border. That is a significant step.

I can print 16x20 with my 12MP E-P1. I am glad I did not get all those pixels if I have to print smaller. Wink
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« Reply #75 on: January 03, 2012, 09:22:18 PM »
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The new 36MP D800 might then push MFDB in a very tight corner!

I can print 16x20 with my 12MP E-P1. I am glad I did not get all those pixels if I have to print smaller. Wink

Early high end backs such as Leaf Volar had 6MP... It is not as if iPhones have overtaken that market, or is it??

Attached is a 4.7MP crop from 80MP Leaf AFi-II 12 file, shot with an 80mm Xenotar lens and processed in Capture One. To get 80MP with same crop would have taken a 330mm lens, which I do not have. The image quality of the crop is better than from my iPhone... From an amateur shoot arranged by Poco.cn in Shanghai. For this frame I simply liked the cropped pose but not remaining pose of the model. For landscapes the pixels see different use by aid of a solid tripod... for more refined detail and/or larger prints.

4.7MP crop for download here http://www.yousendit.com/download/T2djeFlheFhubHg3czlVag

Film would have given a different rendering. In the end what we shoot with is mere a tool.

Best regards,
Anders
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« Reply #76 on: January 03, 2012, 09:41:49 PM »
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But wouldn't the D800 without an AA filter be better?
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« Reply #77 on: January 03, 2012, 10:54:16 PM »
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But wouldn't the D800 without an AA filter be better?

If you are more happy with it as a tool, buy it when comes out. Choice of tool is individual.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #78 on: January 03, 2012, 11:00:43 PM »
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Hi,

In short no. It will have artifacts that may be interpreted as better resolution, but you can achieve the same impression of sharpness with some more sharpening using small radius (< 1) and high amount.

The SLT55 I have has a very weak AA filtering and it shows a lot of Moiré in my test shots. In real life much less.

There is a reason they have an AA filter in DSLRs, it's actually quite expensive. The only MFDB having it was the Mamiya ZD and I that costs 2894 USD at B&H right now.

Stopping down beyond f/11 on 6 micron sensors will by large eliminate color Moiré, but that will also reduce sharpness.

Best regards
Erik


But wouldn't the D800 without an AA filter be better?
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #79 on: January 04, 2012, 02:26:34 AM »
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...you can achieve the same impression of sharpness with some more sharpening using small radius (< 1) and high amount.
Also in high-noise conditions?

-h
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