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Author Topic: Medium format vs DLSr  (Read 5335 times)
kevs
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« on: January 08, 2012, 12:34:36 PM »
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I starting a new fine art portrait project which could entail printing super large down the road.

For those in the know, who have really used all the various size cameras, for printing real large, what have you discovered -- i.e. medium format -- Mamiya Rz for example (film vs Digital)/ vs the best dslr (Canon 5D2 for example which I have and know)

I have never used 4x5 or 8x10 personally, but for those conversant -- how does the Canon 5d2 // medium format digital//, stack up? This is for the few who have actually done A:B tests.

thanks!
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Scott O.
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2012, 12:39:47 PM »
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The quality line between DSLR and medium format as far as image quality has certainly become very blurred.  Were I in your position I would be waiting for the D800 to see what that has to offer.  36mp with no anti-aliasing filter (if true) should yield a file which could be blown up to a rather impressive size.
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2012, 12:44:29 PM »
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Pick your system for the qualities it will bring to the image. Print size is not limited by format or the number of pixels something has.

I have used film formats up to 8x10 and MFD. I print in dimensions measured in feet.
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2012, 01:13:59 PM »
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One small point or clarification, you really can't imitate one format or process with another. Just because A resolves the same as B, does not mean they produce the same kind of images. I would start with the qualities you want in the image and go with the system that can produce that.
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henrikfoto
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2012, 01:22:52 PM »
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I would say the differense between medium format digital and the smaller formats are larger than ever right now.
The new 80 mp backs are in its own division. But of course if the pics are only printed small this will hardly show.

Henrik
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Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2012, 02:40:13 PM »
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Even if your only buying a 22mp or a 30mp or even a modern 40mp back you will notice a difference over a ff 35mm sensor. Simply put, the pixels are larger, which leads to the images being better in almost every conceivable way.....60-80mp backs and even the 50mp really offer huge and noticeable differences in terms resolution, dynamic range and all that good stuff.

If your an go out and buy mf, go for it, especially if its portraiture where you will have enough light to fully be able to utilize a medium format sensor which has a severely limited ISO range when compared to even the most basic ISO's at the moment. the 35-50-100 range is really where these cameras shine. but they are often usable into the 200-400 range with some pushing 800 but not any further within reasonable standards.
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kevs
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2012, 02:53:40 PM »
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Thanks Guys.

Well for a website this is a non issue. But I could see printing these up huge, in feet size -- maybe 12' x 5' big, who knows.

I own a 5D2, and am very conversant with it.

I could rent a medium format, but that would make each day of shooting much more expensive. I would also have to learn the camera. I could do it. (unfortunately those suckers are like 50k? -- film days you could buy a great used one)

What about: 4x5 or 8x10? a think some fine art portrait guys still go that route? There is no digital for that correct? I would have to learn that as well.  Bulky too.

Finally, this popped into my head today. I tested a couple of years ago stitching in Photoshop with a landscape image. It came out ok, but I remember thinking how huge that file came out to be.
(of course that's what we want now for super large printing, a huge file right?)

Brian, others --Could that rival medium format? Picture a room in a hotel with 2 subjects usually. Maybe three once in a while.  The people take up up 25 to 40% of the image. The room takes up the rest. Maybe with the 5D2 and a 50mm lens I could shoot one person or two or even three at a time and then the background and stitch? Would that print out large close to the quality of medium format? (or is the sensor in the 5D so inferior for dynamic range etc that even that idea would not match MF?)

btw, no one is considering medium format film correct?  Brian 
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2012, 03:01:00 PM »
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Hi,

Regarding the larger film formats there is a good discussion here:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=60589.0

But you may need to have access to high end drum scanner to make the best of film.

Regarding DSLRs vs MFD I would say that:

- A bigger sensor can collect more photons

- A bigger sensor may yield higher MTF on given feature size, unless it needs to be stopped down to obtain better depth of field

- A sensor with more pixels like 80 MP will resolve more detail than a 24 MP sensor

Also, MFDBs lack OLP-filter, which gives higher apparent sharpness and resolution, but in my view this is much coming from aliasing artifacts. You see more detail, but it is fake detail.

Best regards
Erik

I starting a new fine art portrait project which could entail printing super large down the road.

For those in the know, who have really used all the various size cameras, for printing real large, what have you discovered -- i.e. medium format -- Mamiya Rz for example (film vs Digital)/ vs the best dslr (Canon 5D2 for example which I have and know)

I have never used 4x5 or 8x10 personally, but for those conversant -- how does the Canon 5d2 // medium format digital//, stack up? This is for the few who have actually done A:B tests.

thanks!
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Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2012, 03:09:16 PM »
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I shoot an IQ180 and film for fun and as a secondary for the aesthetic. Film is honestly to impractical interns of turnaround time and steps involved in getting it from capture to process and even then you will be scanning it and making it a digital file, so unless you desperately love the aesthetic its pointless and without spending significantly per-scan (assuming you don't happen to own a drum scanner) won't be able to yield comparable results.

In terms of getting to know the cameras......

Hasselblad H: bit of a learning curve, but fairly fluid once you know it....I originally owned a H3Dii-39ms and it took a little while, say a couple of months but it was second nature to me...I also rented a H4D-50 and H2D with PhaseOne P65+ at times and they preformed equally as nicely but with added attributes that you would expect form bigger sensors.

PhaseOne 645DF: very very very straight forward, (same as the Mamiya 645DF and very similar to 645AFD although lacking some modern feature of the 645DF), frankly I think its the easiest to learn coming form pro DSLR's like my D3s and D700 which are comparable to the 5D. Absolutely love my IQ180 and all things PhaseOne.

Leica S2: extremely straightforward, although the least economical of the options when investing in a system....very very very nice, incredibly build, small like a DSLR and great but only 40mp for 30k...doesn't work out the best ...

Stitching for people is very impractical, because getting it right is impossible unless the people can stand absolutely still while you move your lens around...very very hard, and even if you could achieve a theoretical equivalent megapixel count it still won't have the dynamic range etc of a medium format sensor.

4x5 and 8x10 are film, and even more difficult to use, because they involve loading and unloading film holders, learning how to accurately focusing using bellows and a loupe and all o the different functions of the on the lens which are incredibly simplified and totally manual...putting a digital back on these and using a sticking back is equally impractical for the reason mentioned above...
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fotometria gr
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2012, 03:20:39 PM »
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I would say the differense between medium format digital and the smaller formats are larger than ever right now.
The new 80 mp backs are in its own division. But of course if the pics are only printed small this will hardly show.

Henrik
The thing is that this high resolution applies to less photographic needs the higher it goes and the high cost shrinks the possible market further..., its also the cost of building the system to add... and the fact that the DSLR is still needed (in most cases). The quality is (much) higher, but does this better quality improves our photography? IMO MFDBs should advance more features like exposure+, multishot and microstep or move to new "true color" sensors (without BP) and expand the appliance of these features to the basic models if they are to survive. The compatibility with LF and tech cameras should also be enhanced and expanded. Closed systems must open up and be compatible to "competition" and the S/H market of older 2004 backs, should be further supported from the manufacturers. Nikon suggests that with the D3X "reached MF performance" which is far from the truth..., even with the older backs, but there are so many photographers that ignore MF quality. Older MF cameras that are available at "silly" prices, if accompanied with a 2004-5 MFDB could create a base market that would only benefit the current manufacturers in the future. Its the best for them to "sit around a table" and find a common policy that will attract a much wider base of customers, thus securing survival. The wider the base, the more the benefit at the top... its simple law of (marketing) physics! When people realize how well their investment performs through time and on the other hand look at their 2004 DSLR and its today worth, they will be convinced! Regards, Theodoros. www.fotometria.gr
« Last Edit: January 08, 2012, 06:53:39 PM by fotometria gr » Logged
theguywitha645d
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2012, 03:38:48 PM »
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Leica S2: extremely straightforward, although the least economical of the options when investing in a system....very very very nice, incredibly build, small like a DSLR and great but only 40mp for 30k...doesn't work out the best ...

If you want the poor man's S2, the Pentax 645D is very good. I have printed up to 4x5 foot single frames and panos up to 12 feet.

Stitching portraits could be tough (unless you just want to stick unregistered sections together like Hockney). You could probably find solutions with group portraits, but it would take planning and work. The problem is we don't know your vision and creativity. I always believe something can be achieved, it is just figuring it out. It comes down to what you are looking for and working backwards to get the equipment and process to do that.

Cheap, good, and easy; pick any two...
« Last Edit: January 08, 2012, 03:44:44 PM by theguywitha645d » Logged
ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2012, 11:51:12 PM »
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Hi,

A very hands on review of the Pentax 645D by Miles Hecker is given here:

http://wyofoto.com/Pentax_645D/Pentax_645D_review_pt2.html

http://wyofoto.com/Pentax_645D/Pentax_645D_review_pt1.html

And check also this discussion: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=50977.0

This link may also be of some interest: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/51-a-closer-look-at-pentax-645d-image-quality

My interpretation: I don't really think that MF has "magic" qualities. The sensor is larger which reduces noise somewhat. On the other hand the processing chain in MFDs is less clean than on modern DSLRs, which may lead to DSLRs having cleaner shadows. The larger sensor makes relatively less demands on lenses, so they may be sharper. Also, MFD is normally used with primes or low ratio zooms while a typical DSLR may more often be used with a 24-70/2.8 zoom lens. As they used to say, there is no substitute for square centimeters. On the other hand, MFD will need to be stopped down more for same DOF (Depth Of Field) leading to more diffraction.

Best regards
Erik

I starting a new fine art portrait project which could entail printing super large down the road.

For those in the know, who have really used all the various size cameras, for printing real large, what have you discovered -- i.e. medium format -- Mamiya Rz for example (film vs Digital)/ vs the best dslr (Canon 5D2 for example which I have and know)

I have never used 4x5 or 8x10 personally, but for those conversant -- how does the Canon 5d2 // medium format digital//, stack up? This is for the few who have actually done A:B tests.

thanks!
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2012, 05:19:57 AM »
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What prevents you from trying to stitch with your 5DII to see whether it gets you where you want to be? It would only take a few hours to figure this out by yourself.

I would suggest the following course of action:

1. Select a typical scene you work on,
2. Identify the longest possible focal length that enables you to get the people in the scene in one single image captured in portrait orientation,
3. For a start, just put the camera on top of a level tripod, start by taking the image of the people until you get it exactly right,
4. Mark down the angular position of the tripod head,
5. Then rotate the head left so that you see a 30% overlap between the first image and the second one (your models are still into place),
6. Add a few more shots to the left,
7. Go back to the initial tripod head position you marked in step 4,
8. Then rotate the head right so that you see a 30% overlap between the first image and this one (your models are still into place),
9. Add a few more shots to the right

This should have take no more than 2 minutes since the end of step 3 (more like 45 seconds if you know what you are doing).

10. Download a free trial from Autopano pro and/or PTgui Pro,
11. [Example of Autopano Giga] Import the images with "select images" and click on "Detect",
12. In the right part of the interface, click on "Edit",
13. Change the projection mode to "planar projection" (4th icon from the left) if it is something else,
14. Click on "render" in that window (3rd icon from the right)
15. 2 or 3 minutes later you will be able to open the image in Photoshop,
16. Try a print at the largest possible size you think you are likely to need -> this will tell you how far you current camera can take you in terms of size when using stitching
17. Multiply this size by 1.2 to figure out how far the 5DIII or a D800 would be able to take you.

You might see some issues, they will typically result from the lack of usage of a pano head and the lack of masking in the super basic workflow I explained above.

Those would need to be checked with a pano head like this one: http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductDesc.aspx?code=Ult-Pro-OPP&type=3&eq=&desc=Ultimate-Pro-Omni-Pivot-Package&key=it

And of course some more learning of pano software. :-)

This may or may not enable you to save a lot of money in gear. Only you can figure out whether it makes sense it terms of workflow and the time and skills this requires for your applications.

Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2012, 06:16:41 AM »
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Some further differences are...

that MFDB sensors are designed/made by Dalsa or Kodak, while DSLR sensors are made by Canon, Sony and the like. They are designed for different purposes, the DSLR sensors having a higher base ISO and designed for also higher ISO and between. Medium format sensors should primarily be shot at low(er) ISOs and the older the sensors the more important it is to shoot at near lowest ISO and which yields a superior image quality compared to DSLR sensor of similar generation/age. That said if you compare two processed JPGs you may not see all of difference because the MFDB sensors capture information (RAW) that can be pushed more in processing.

Further while cameras from Canon, Nikon and Sony are fabricated in higher numbers it is my understanding that quality control is to a mean/average sensor and not as tested before packing and shipping, thus that they do not undergo as strict quality control and in optimizing for each sensor that deviates for the mean in order for the camera to deliver at its optimum. It is my understanding that Leaf, Phase One, Leica (S2) and Hasselblad on contrary do such scrutinized testing and optimizing.

That leaves the Pentax 645D with a question mark, if it is rather perhaps the first medium format sensor which is designed, fabricated and tested as a DSLR sensor? It does have a higher base ISO and ISO range...

Best regards
Anders
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2012, 06:28:42 AM »
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Further while cameras from Canon, Nikon and Sony are fabricated in higher numbers it is my understanding that quality control is to a mean/average sensor and not as tested before packing and shipping, thus that they do not undergo as strict quality control and in optimizing for each sensor that deviates for the mean in order for the camera to deliver at its optimum. It is my understanding that Leaf, Phase One, Leica (S2) and Hasselblad on contrary do such scrutinized testing and optimizing.

Care to share any public document describing what the DSLRs manufacturers do in terms of quality control to the sensor used in their bodies?

Or if that is not available (which I would assume), data showing that there is harmful variation of the sensor behavior actually used in high end DSLRs?

Thanks.

Cheers,
Bernard
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2012, 07:02:47 AM »
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Note: incorrect statement as pointed out by Anders HK. S2 uses Kodak KAF 37500 while Pentax uses Kodak KAF 40000.

Data for the KAF 4000 is here: http://www.kodak.com/ek/US/en/Evaluation_Kits_amp_Application_Notes_-_KAF-40000.htm


Hi,

P645D uses a Kodak sensor, probably same as Leica S2.


Best regards
Erik

Some further differences are...

that MFDB sensors are designed/made by Dalsa or Kodak, while DSLR sensors are made by Canon, Sony and the like. They are designed for different purposes, the DSLR sensors having a higher base ISO and designed for also higher ISO and between. Medium format sensors should primarily be shot at low(er) ISOs and the older the sensors the more important it is to shoot at near lowest ISO and which yields a superior image quality compared to DSLR sensor of similar generation/age. That said if you compare two processed JPGs you may not see all of difference because the MFDB sensors capture information (RAW) that can be pushed more in processing.

Further while cameras from Canon, Nikon and Sony are fabricated in higher numbers it is my understanding that quality control is to a mean/average sensor and not as tested before packing and shipping, thus that they do not undergo as strict quality control and in optimizing for each sensor that deviates for the mean in order for the camera to deliver at its optimum. It is my understanding that Leaf, Phase One, Leica (S2) and Hasselblad on contrary do such scrutinized testing and optimizing.

That leaves the Pentax 645D with a question mark, if it is rather perhaps the first medium format sensor which is designed, fabricated and tested as a DSLR sensor? It does have a higher base ISO and ISO range...

Best regards
Anders
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 11:15:48 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

fotometria gr
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« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2012, 08:15:22 AM »
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Some further differences are...

that MFDB sensors are designed/made by Dalsa or Kodak, while DSLR sensors are made by Canon, Sony and the like. They are designed for different purposes, the DSLR sensors having a higher base ISO and designed for also higher ISO and between. Medium format sensors should primarily be shot at low(er) ISOs and the older the sensors the more important it is to shoot at near lowest ISO and which yields a superior image quality compared to DSLR sensor of similar generation/age. That said if you compare two processed JPGs you may not see all of difference because the MFDB sensors capture information (RAW) that can be pushed more in processing.

Further while cameras from Canon, Nikon and Sony are fabricated in higher numbers it is my understanding that quality control is to a mean/average sensor and not as tested before packing and shipping, thus that they do not undergo as strict quality control and in optimizing for each sensor that deviates for the mean in order for the camera to deliver at its optimum. It is my understanding that Leaf, Phase One, Leica (S2) and Hasselblad on contrary do such scrutinized testing and optimizing.

That leaves the Pentax 645D with a question mark, if it is rather perhaps the first medium format sensor which is designed, fabricated and tested as a DSLR sensor? It does have a higher base ISO and ISO range...

Best regards
Anders
+++1. So where that leaves us Anders? I agree that the Pentax is not a MF camera in terms of MF qualities, it is only from sensor size POV.., which means that it won't last through time when tech advancement will bring DSLRs to perform better, but history has proved that (for all the reasons you state above) MF quality of 2004 still surpasses the best of DSLRs of today, when MF does its design purpose (low Iso, studio use, highlight DR), the point is that people of no experience (or of theoretical one only) of it, use their knowledge (?) and try to influence the rest of the market just to justify their personal Ego! This will always happen and the "Canonikon" boys will take advantage of it, shouldn't then the manufacturers protect them-shelves by finding the way to explain to the market what they are doing, rather than suffering all the market pressure that is ignorance and theory originated? Regards, Theodoros. www.fotometria.gr
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2012, 08:45:02 AM »
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+++1. So where that leaves us Anders? I agree that the Pentax is not a MF camera in terms of MF qualities, it is only from sensor size POV.., which means that it won't last through time when tech advancement...

Some facts to back up these claims for once?

Or are you trying to sell your Leaf back by any chance?  Grin

Cheers,
Bernard
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2012, 08:45:50 AM »
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That leaves the Pentax 645D with a question mark, if it is rather perhaps the first medium format sensor which is designed, fabricated and tested as a DSLR sensor? It does have a higher base ISO and ISO range...

Best regards
Anders

40MP Hasselblad and Phase/leaf share the same sensor. Except for size, the sensor is the same as the Leica S2. Pentax seems to have better signal processing and so has made the sensor perform better than its competitors. Having both Phase MFDB and the Pentax 645D, I can say the Pentax is equal to or better than the Phase.
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« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2012, 09:05:12 AM »
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P645D uses a Kodak sensor, probably same as Leica S2.

@ Erik, @ Bernard,

Both of the Leica and Pentax uses Kodak sensors yes, but not same ones;

S2:  30x45mm  37.5MP  16-bit  ISO 160-1250
645D: 33x44mm  40MP  14-bit  ISO 100-1600

Different implementation and quality control one should assume... and different price. If my humble eye judge from posted jpgs, which show and not show all, files from Pentax look more DSLR, perhaps due similar design aim and/or implementation. The Leica files look MFDB, albeit more like a Kodak sensor  Wink. Dalsa sensor have a different (better?) character.

Another example was Leaf Aptus 22 and Mamiya ZD which indeed used identical same sensor from Dalsa, different price. Those two were indeed documented different implemented and different quality control. The Aptus 22 was stellar (low ISO), see Frank Doorhof;s website, and ZD came with a design/implementation/quality problem I posted of on LuLa ("ZD has Problem") at the time.

As for a DSLR that you pay a few thousand USD for, how many hours do you believe they spend on quality control and custom mapping of a sensor at factory when there is X number coming right after it on tha band Huh Sorry, no documents to prove. If you search for an older LuLa Video Journal when Michael visited Phase One factory you will see that they do spend much effort in custom mapping a senor. With latest 80MP pixel backs I can assume that Leaf and Phase One quality control and mapping must have been stepped up. I doubt it is mere related to the sensor, and pixels aside my AFi-II 12 blows my prior Aptus 65 straight out of water in preciseness and color accuracy (and more). Saying that, I am not smoking or imagining the latest is best, it is based on my impression from processing files.

It all is of course about more than mere same number of pixels...

Regarding 40MP Phase One and Leaf, those are Dalsa sensors per what I recall, while the 39MP P45+ was an older Kodak sensor. If size of sensor is different, it is different sensor. While it can be same generation sensor that does not make it same sensor.

Best regards
Anders
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