Hi,In my view there is nothing wrong with expensive equipment. If you afford an IQ180, go and buy it.
There is little doubt that same or better resolution can be achieved by other means. Stitching certainly can do it in many cases. With stitching, essentially any resolution is achieveable, assuming that the subject cooperate. Large format film will also give higher resolution if properly deployed and scanned at high enough resolution.
With the IQ180 you take a shot, check histogram and focus on the LCD and you have it in the bag.
Now, if you happen to have an IQ 180, I'd suggest it is nice if you can make best use of it. Putting it on a body with tight tolerances, calibrate as well as possible and put the best lenses on it.
In my view Mark makes a lot of good points on image quality. On the other hand it is my firm belief that we need to make large prints to observe fine detail or print at very high resolution and pixel peep on the print, possibly using a loupe.
Mark states that the differences can be seen in a small prints, which I think is missleading information.
1) Downsizing an image introduces a lot of artifacts (unless properly made)
2) You never know if downscaling was properly made.
3) You need to sharpen after downscale. The advantage, does it come from the original image or from the sharpening step?
4) Impression of sharpness depends on contrast. Adding a color checker and adjust grey fields to match levels the playing field.
5) I actually find that pixel peeping is fine. The pixels are actually what are going into the print. Does color mapping and dithering in the printer driver add artistic value to the print?!
I certainly don't agree with everything Mark writes. That said, I did not have the opportunity to test neither the Phase One IQ180 nor the Leica S2 that he uses. Testing those camera would be great fun. Would I have the opportunity to use that kind of stuff, I may change may mind.
I don't think that Mark's or Michael's writing is colored by their teaching efforts and cooperation with Phase One. Obviously they like Phase One and that is the reason that they use Phase and take part in PODAS. Not the other way around.
I use Sony, and tell about my experience. I never ever said that Sony is better than stuff I have not tested. That said I may see the world trough Sony glasses.One more issue I'd like to point out, and that is openness. Michael Reichmann knows those guys at Phase One, he met their engineers and have seen how they build their cameras. Leica has done something similar. That kind of openness is a good way of creating trust and relations.
I just don't get this. There are many ways to push the enveloppe way beyond the image quality delivered by a single IQ180 image. 8x10 scans, scanning backs, stitching,... Besides all of these approaches are much cheaper.
Using an IQ180 might be the most convenient way to achieve a high level of image quality, but it is very far from being the end of the road in terms of image quality.