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Author Topic: Does the D800E reach MF quality ?  (Read 18823 times)
bjanes
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« Reply #40 on: May 15, 2012, 05:36:33 AM »
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Is just me, or do the Nikon exposure in the Nikon v. 'Blad test linked above consistently seems to have greater exposure? Especially the kitchen still-life.

- N.

I agree. The Nikon shot of the biscuits is overexposed and the red channel is blown.

Regards,

Bill
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kers
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« Reply #41 on: May 15, 2012, 07:30:34 AM »
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Is just me, or do the Nikon exposure in the Nikon v. 'Blad test linked above consistently seems to have greater exposure? Especially the kitchen still-life.
- N.

Yes , it seems to me a bad test.
testing is not that easy- you have to do it right or not do it. (or at least not jump to conclusions after one little test.)
Also software is very important in the outcome. Especially the choice of a raw converter and the use of it.
The remarks about 'skin not looking right' is very complex one and can also have many causes apart from the camera.
If you work with a camera for a long time these issues usually get solved along the way.
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« Reply #42 on: May 15, 2012, 10:38:40 AM »
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testing is not that easy- you have to do it right or not do it. (or at least not jump to conclusions after one little test.)

I'm thankful for the tests people share but realize a test is most useful for the person doing them because they do it the way that makes sense in their shooting environment.  
Ker's I read your comment as being a bit ungrateful.  I hope you will now go out and rent a MF set up and a D800, do your own testing and publish it so we can all have a turn knocking your work too.  
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 01:25:18 PM by EricWHiss » Logged

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kers
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« Reply #43 on: May 16, 2012, 07:18:34 AM »
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...Ker's I read your comment as being a bit ungrateful....

Sorry, you are right, I sounded a bit ungrateful…
In fact I am very pleased with all i can find on the d800 at the moment to get an idea what the camera is capable of.
On the other hand I see a lot of ' in between testing'  and people jumping to conclusions to easy. It is a common problem on the internet: there is a lot of information, but a lot is not very valid or true- you have to filter yourself.
So doing tests myself with my stuff and comparing it with other peoples findings on the net i get some grip on valid information. For instance Diglloyd an Rob Galbraith are among those that have good information i find… That does not mean i agree with all their findings but i find them very trustworthy.
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #44 on: May 16, 2012, 09:39:54 AM »
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I guess it depends why you are doing a test. Many test seem about winning. And much of the criticism of tests seem about losing. Testing, at least in this context seems strange--all cameras take fine pictures, so what exactly is a test going to prove except the cameras take fine images.

Test don't have to have a level playing field, partly because it is impossible--there is going to be at least one factor that cannot be equal. But also because the evaluator can take that into consideration when looking at the results. Since image quality and how we use cameras is subjective, how can any test, at least the type of tests that show "real world" images, show anything conclusive about the camera. Of course "real world" test, or pretty picture tests, are fairly useless--unless you think the camera is the reason for the image to look good. Objective testing using targets is usually derided, but is really the only useful data. The problem is most photographers don't understand what they are seeing.

Does the D800 reach MF quality? I will let you know as soon as someone defines MF quality.
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« Reply #45 on: May 21, 2012, 08:03:02 AM »
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Does the D800 reach MF quality? I will let you know as soon as someone defines MF quality.

Medium Format Quality:  the resolution, dynamic range, noise profile and colour fidelity produced by a given tranche of the MF market.

If one is speaking of the +- 40MP range of the MF market, the D800E matches it in resolution (though in generally less useful format - which will knock the D800 image down substantially in resolution in most final applications, if that matters), matches or exceeds it in dynamic range at base ISO (expose for the highlights carefully, recover the shadows), trounces MF on noise, and colour (?? can't say myself - think you need to profile your camera before you know).

So yes, frankly, the D800 does match MF quality.

- N.
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« Reply #46 on: May 21, 2012, 12:13:30 PM »
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Medium Format Quality:  the resolution, dynamic range, noise profile and colour fidelity produced by a given tranche of the MF market.

If one is speaking of the +- 40MP range of the MF market, the D800E matches it in resolution (though in generally less useful format - which will knock the D800 image down substantially in resolution in most final applications, if that matters), matches or exceeds it in dynamic range at base ISO (expose for the highlights carefully, recover the shadows), trounces MF on noise, and colour (?? can't say myself - think you need to profile your camera before you know).

So yes, frankly, the D800 does match MF quality.

- N.

You left out look.  Larger film/sensor areas yield a different look.    Even if all the tech specs are better with the nikon d800, there is a look you can not match.   It will be interesting to see what happens when all the phones have 40mp like the nokia and people are comparing their phone images to the D800.  What's going to be left is look and character - and of course the shooter's creativity and technique or lack thereof.

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« Reply #47 on: May 21, 2012, 01:18:23 PM »
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You left out look.  Larger film/sensor areas yield a different look.
Could you explain the very vague term "look" a bit more? Naively, the only two factors I see are (a) particular qualities of the lenses or lens systems, and (b) FOV/DOF effects.
Item (b) is almost entirely a matter of adjusting the choice of focal length and aperture ratio (to have the same effective aperture diameter, for example) ... except at close range, with magnification more than about 1/10. Item (a) is tricky: it seems like to depend on particular lens designs, or on the design approaches of entire lens systems, but very hard to pin down as intrinsically related to format size alone.
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Rob C
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« Reply #48 on: May 21, 2012, 02:05:44 PM »
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"Look."

If for the sake of illustrating the thing, you are willing to keep to film, then the difference in 'look' between 35mm and 120MF is fairly easy to see: it's all about tonality and also, in many cases, the lack of grain at similar enlargement sizes, but not exclusively so: you can also sometimes get grain from 120 where you can avoid it in smaller 35mm, depending on film type, but that tonality thing is still there.

I have no access to MF digital cameras, but I would think that the same sense of tonality difference will apply there: it's really a measure of how the essence of something is held or lost within the medium itself. If you've had experience of both formats in film, I'm fairly sure you can't avoid understanding the differences even if it's well-nigh impossile to articulate such a sensation.

Rob C
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John R Smith
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« Reply #49 on: May 21, 2012, 02:11:44 PM »
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Could you explain the very vague term "look" a bit more?

This was something which was very, very obvious in film days. Then, it would have been easy to say that it was just a matter of grain (less of it in the MF neg) or resolution (more of it in the MF neg), but -

Swapping as I was from Pentax 35mm to Rollei MF and back again all the time in the wet darkroom, I became convinced there was just more to it than that. Somehow the transitions and subtleties of tone in the upper-mids and highlight areas were just so much nicer with the Rollei. Even James Ravillous' work with a Leica, lovely though it is (and I have stared very closely at his original prints) does not quite get there.

Now, this may not hold true with digital, particularly when the "grain" playing field has been levelled. I would like to see some prints (not web images, please) for comparison. Same subject, same light, same time.

John
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« Reply #50 on: May 21, 2012, 02:17:31 PM »
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Could you explain the very vague term "look" a bit more? Naively, the only two factors I see are (a) particular qualities of the lenses or lens systems, and (b) FOV/DOF effects.
Item (b) is almost entirely a matter of adjusting the choice of focal length and aperture ratio (to have the same effective aperture diameter, for example) ... except at close range, with magnification more than about 1/10. Item (a) is tricky: it seems like to depend on particular lens designs, or on the design approaches of entire lens systems, but very hard to pin down as intrinsically related to format size alone.

What follows is my understanding, as a photographer and not a scientist.  I've shot documentary, fashion, beauty, and portraits for 25 years, on everything from 8x10 down to a Minox.  My experience with these formats reveals a different look associated with film/sensor size, at a given distance and working within "normal" apatures for teh format.  My experience is that 8x10 has a particular look because at a normal portrait distance you are always closer to macro type magnification/depth, which manifests itself in fall off, while the in focus area is very, very sharp.  So take a normal lens for each format (300 for 8x10, 150mm for 4x5, 80mm for 645, 50mm for 35mm), frame for a portrait, practical F stop for typical light, and the larger formats will always have faster fall off contrasted with very sharp in focus areas.  I don't know if this is a concern for landscape guys because it seems landscapers desire everything to be sharp, but for people, the larger formats and the fast falloff of larger formats can create a striking photo.

I think the Canon 85 1.2 and the 135 2 can get close, but it is different than say 4x5 of 8x10, or even 645 with an 80 1.9.  It is more than just a wide aperture.  If anyone can chime in who (a) can see a difference in look between formats and (b) has some physics to explain, please be my guest!
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #51 on: May 21, 2012, 02:36:05 PM »
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Medium Format Quality:  the resolution, dynamic range, noise profile and colour fidelity produced by a given tranche of the MF market.

If one is speaking of the +- 40MP range of the MF market, the D800E matches it in resolution (though in generally less useful format - which will knock the D800 image down substantially in resolution in most final applications, if that matters), matches or exceeds it in dynamic range at base ISO (expose for the highlights carefully, recover the shadows), trounces MF on noise, and colour (?? can't say myself - think you need to profile your camera before you know).

So yes, frankly, the D800 does match MF quality.

- N.

So, would you also think a 24MP APS sensor matches a 35MM and a MFD sensor of similar resolution and such? Is this the end of format in imaging?
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Rob C
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« Reply #52 on: May 21, 2012, 02:45:25 PM »
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This was something which was very, very obvious in film days. Then, it would have been easy to say that it was just a matter of grain (less of it in the MF neg) or resolution (more of it in the MF neg), but -Swapping as I was from Pentax 35mm to Rollei MF and back again all the time in the wet darkroom, I became convinced there was just more to it than that. Somehow the transitions and subtleties of tone in the upper-mids and highlight areas were just so much nicer with the Rollei. Even James Ravillous' work with a Leica, lovely though it is (and I have stared very closely at his original prints) does not quite get there.

Now, this may not hold true with digital, particularly when the "grain" playing field has been levelled. I would like to see some prints (not web images, please) for comparison. Same subject, same light, same time.

John

As I indicated in my post just above yours here, it is more than granularity with film: a difference exists because of the way that the same captured and reproduced information is held over a larger surface area. This, apart from hiding or minimising grain, holds more of a real sense of the original surface being shown as photograph.

As an extension of that, I would imagine that were one to make a similar size of image on both formats, say FP4 in both 35mm and 120, both images covering no more than a 24mmx36mm piece of the film with the same portion of the original subject, the subsequent enlargements of that same area would be identical. In other words, it’s the size of enlargement that makes the difference, not the film (where the same stock type is used in both formats). I don’t believe that lens differences will make a printable difference unless you bring Leica M into the equation, because I’ve seen the difference between those lenses and Nikon in my own developing tray!

To make this even more obvious, a contact print from a well produced 8”x10” negative will show that quality far more clearly than an 8”x10” print from either 120 or 35mm (of the same subject). But the reasons remain the same.

Why am I spending time writing this, John? You know it already, and anyone who doesn’t through lack of experience is probably too late now to get it first hand anymore...

(I do wish that WalterEG would come in here: if anyone has, he has the practical experience in spades.)

Rob C
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« Reply #53 on: May 21, 2012, 02:51:40 PM »
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So far I have only seen very unscientific or quick tests to compare the new Nikon and a similar mp MF camera.

Have you all seen any good comparisons? Can someone who have both thesesystems do one?

Henrik
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TMARK
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« Reply #54 on: May 21, 2012, 02:53:02 PM »
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So, would you also think a 24MP APS sensor matches a 35MM and a MFD sensor of similar resolution and such? Is this the end of format in imaging?

I think that "matching" is too broad because it encompasses resolution, color, look, etc, but for prints, I think its close.  I think what is left is the "look" of a larger sensor.  I own a back, and I will say that the X100, in terms of color and tone, is close.  That thing is an APS C camera.  The D7000 is really close as well.  Again, the look is different than from 35mm full fram, and different against from cropped 645.  I am speaking generally, I haven't tested and I don't think I will, but that is certainly my impression.

That being said, how much is that "look" worth?  The cost of a rental on a project?  $30,000?  It all depends on what you shoot, as we all know.  There are exceptions to all general rules, and what I think th D800 has done is to change the general rule to mean:  the D800 matches MFD, rather than the 35mm dslrs can get close to MFD but not there yet.  The exceptions to the new rule follow:  Not in terms of look, not in terms of the larer and new 645 sensors, not for all types of photography, and the list goes on.  And again, this is just my observation.  I could be wrong, sure, and I mean no ill will.  After all, I can't part with by Aptus 75s, even thougfh I haven't used it seriously in years.
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« Reply #55 on: May 21, 2012, 03:17:04 PM »
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As I indicted in my post just above yours here, it is more than granularity with film: a difference exists because of the way that the same captured and reproduced information is held over a larger surface area. This, apart from hiding or minimising grain, holds more of a real sense of the original surface being shown as photograph.
Rob C and John R Smith,
Your comments about grain and tonality with film in different formats seem to have a lot to do with the fact that the same film emulsions are used in different formats, and then printed with different degrees of enlargement. That of course means that effects on the print of grain, resolution, accutance and so on vary with the format, and also the effective dynamic ange and fineness of tonal gradations is increased by the greater "dithering" caused by printing at a lower degree of enlargement from a larger negative.

This comparison must at very least be revisited when instead the different formats are using photosites of different sizes and also of quite different capabilities in terms of light sensitivity and noise levels. It might well be for example than when the larger format has the same pixel count, and worse dynamic range and a higher noise floor despite its larger pixels, that all those advantages of finer grain and finer tonal gradations go away ... or are ever reversed due to the "per pixel" technical advantages of the best CMOS sensors compared to the CCD technology of current medium format sensors.


TMARK: I am not completely sure what you mean by "faster fall-off", but it sounds like fall-off in sharpness due to out-of-focus effects, as one would get when using aout the same f-stop in different formats. And that roughly equal f-stop is what one would get when using the same film emulsion of the same speed and wanting to get about the same shutter speed. But as I indicated in my previous post, that is not really inherent to the format, and can generally be compensated for, if desired, by adjusting the f-stop in proportion to focal length and linear format size. Note that the lenses for 35mm format usually offer lower minimum f-stops than those for larger formats, so comparing at equal f-stop is not in general justified.
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« Reply #56 on: May 21, 2012, 03:21:46 PM »
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So, would you also think a 24MP APS sensor matches a 35MM and a MFD sensor of similar resolution and such? Is this the end of format in imaging?
That comparison is quite different, because the APS-C and 35mm format cameras use similar photosite technology, whereas in the comparison between current 35mm and MF cameras, there is a large and growing gap between the sensor technologies, especially between the Sony/Nikon version of CMOS and the CCDs of MF.
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TMARK
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« Reply #57 on: May 21, 2012, 03:46:00 PM »
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I believe that with larger formats, for a given FOV, you are always closer to 1-1 repro size, which gives a different look, and that look, aside from tonality, is the rapid focus fall off contrasted with extreme sharpness.  I haven't been able to replicate 8x10 portraits with a 35mm system, using Nikon 85 1.4 or Canon 85 and 50 1.2.  They are close but not the same.  There is something to this, and I'm sure someone on this board can explain it in technical terms. 

Talking about 8x10 and 4x5 is at the extremes, because what we are really talking about is either 35mm FF or at most 645.  There is a difference, but not as great as 4x5 versus 35mm.  Maybe I'll get around to shooting a comparo between the Aptus 75s and the D800.  The Aptus I would use the RZ 110 2.8, and the Nikon the 85 1.4.  Don't hold your breath!  It can't be high on my to do list, but if I get a chance I will.
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« Reply #58 on: May 21, 2012, 04:03:41 PM »
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What follows is my understanding, as a photographer and not a scientist.  I've shot documentary, fashion, beauty, and portraits for 25 years, on everything from 8x10 down to a Minox.  My experience with these formats reveals a different look associated with film/sensor size, at a given distance and working within "normal" apatures for teh format.  My experience is that 8x10 has a particular look because at a normal portrait distance you are always closer to macro type magnification/depth, which manifests itself in fall off, while the in focus area is very, very sharp.  So take a normal lens for each format (300 for 8x10, 150mm for 4x5, 80mm for 645, 50mm for 35mm), frame for a portrait, practical F stop for typical light, and the larger formats will always have faster fall off contrasted with very sharp in focus areas.  I don't know if this is a concern for landscape guys because it seems landscapers desire everything to be sharp, but for people, the larger formats and the fast falloff of larger formats can create a striking photo.

I think the Canon 85 1.2 and the 135 2 can get close, but it is different than say 4x5 of 8x10, or even 645 with an 80 1.9.  It is more than just a wide aperture.  If anyone can chime in who (a) can see a difference in look between formats and (b) has some physics to explain, please be my guest!

Hi TMARK,

I think both of us discussed this before in this forum and agreed in this point. I definitely see the difference, so (a) is confirmed.

I try (b): I see two main reasons for this:

1. The transition from sharp to unsharp depends on the maginification. In case of a portrait the head is biggest on 8x10 inch film. The smaller the format the smaller the head on the film/sensor. You are completely right that 8x10 is already in the macro world if you take a portrait, even with a full length shot you are at about 1:7 (25 cm on film, 175 cm the real person). With 35 mm you are at 1:50 (3.6 cm on film, 175 cm the real person). Consequently the dof in case of 8x10 is almost symmetrical around your focal plane. In case of 35 mm you have the 1/3 to 2/3 rule: dof is 1/3 in front of the focal plane 2/3 behind. The further the distance of the subject the less difference in magnification. Everything further away than 15 meter should look pretty identical on 8x10 and 35 mm if you have the same resolution. Everything between 1 and 10 meter should look pretty different. Even if you use corresponding f-stops you should see the effect - and I can see it. Corresponding f-stops are the f-stops which leed to "similar" dof, but the distribution of the dof in front and behind the focal plane is different (diagonal of 8x10 / diagonal of 35 mm is approximately f-stop 8x10 / f-stop 35 mm, numbers 300:43,3 = 5.6/0.8, that means if you use an f-stop of 5.6 with an 8x10 inch camera you would need 0.8 with 35 mm —> Noctilux).

2. The lenses for smaller formats are heavily corrected to get higher resolution. This leads to a different form of sharpness fall of. The rule of the thumb is: the higher the correction, the less pleasing the fall of. You can see this even in one format: Macro lenses usually have a slice of super-sharpness and they run out of sharpness quickly. Compare a 50 mm macro with a 50 mm standard lens on 35 mm. I compared the Rodenstock 360 Apo Ronar, the 360 Sinaron-N and the 360 Fujinon on 8x10 and I see the difference in a portrait - not a resolution chart.

Things like that where discussed over and over by the developers of the various lens designs in the 1920ies. You need old books about this stuff to find what you are looking for. Google for Paul Rudolf, he designed/co-designed the Protar, Planar, Tesar and Plasmat lenses, he wrote a lot about it – not about sharpness and resolution but how the render space and people. I'm not shure whether you will find english translations. It is always a question which lens errors you leave uncorrected and which you correct. The smaller the format the less options you have.

It is not easy for me to write this in english, because it is not my first language. But at least I tried.

If I want to take a photograph, I first think of the lens I want to use to translate this set in two dimensions, then the format and camera is dependent of the lens. Lenses I like for portraiture and environmental portraits are the 360ies I mentioned, the Sinaron-N 300 obviously 8x10 film, the Canons 50/1.2 and 85/1.2. I like the Planar 80/2.8 and the Sonnar 150/4 for Hasselblad V but not what they show in combination with a digital sensor.

I learned all this when I studied the images of my heros: Nadar, Atget, Sander, Sudek and Lartigue. Look at Avedon, Penn and Roversi - in my opinion they learned also from these masters. Now I try to forget about all the technology to be able to make at least one or two meaningful pictures in my life.

What was this tread about? Sorry, it just came over me.

Hope that helps,
Best,
Johannes
« Last Edit: May 21, 2012, 04:15:53 PM by jsch » Logged
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« Reply #59 on: May 21, 2012, 04:24:41 PM »
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1. The transition from sharp to unsharp depends on the maginification. In case of a portrait the head is biggest on 8x10 inch film. The smaller the format the smaller the head on the film/sensor. You are completely right that 8x10 is already in the macro world if you take a portrait, even with a full length shot you are at about 1:7 (25 cm on film, 175 cm the real person). With 35 mm you are at 1:50 (3.6 cm on film, 175 cm the real person). Consequently the dof in case of 8x10 is almost symmetrical around your focal plane. In case of 35 mm you have the 1/3 to 2/3 rule: dof is 1/3 in front of the focal plane 2/3 behind. The further the distance of the subject the less difference in magnification. Everything further away than 15 meter should look pretty identical on 8x10 and 35 mm if you have the same resolution. Everything between 1 and 10 meter should look pretty different. Even if you use corresponding f-stops you should see the effect - and I can see it. Corresponding f-stops are the f-stops which leed to "similar" dof, but the distribution of the dof in front and behind the focal plane is different (diagonal of 8x10 / diagonal of 35 mm is approximately f-stop 8x10 / f-stop 35 mm, numbers 300:43,3 = 5.6/0.8, that means if you use an f-stop of 5.6 with an 8x10 inch camera you would need 0.8 with 35 mm —> Noctilux).

Isn't that the phenomena that Nikkor DC portrait lenses is trying to reproduce?

Cheers,
Bernard
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