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Author Topic: The Future of Medium Format  (Read 10053 times)
Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2013, 04:58:51 AM »
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Yeah, unique to be out-of-focus all the time. It's already a chalenge with FullFrame sensors in motion and I can't imagine the mess with a bigger sensor. Unless they come with a magic and trully powerfull AF suitable for video, it's going to suit a very niche and limited type of footage. Very wide, slow mouvements, slow aperture...mmm

Yeah, but not everyone shoots at f/2! Today, Red cameras are flaunting their ability to shoot fashion, on an APS-C sensor, and now we have the 1DC with 4K stills and video.

What if a Pentax 645D Mark II can shoot video, with tracking autofocus? I'm just itching to find a reason to go medium format digital. Video is just the push I need!
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fredjeang2
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« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2013, 06:23:24 AM »
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It's gona be a remake of dslrs saga with more weight at
A non competitive cost. At best, they'd use the central part
Of the sensor, but what would be the leitmotiv? 8k ? 10k?
Today, under a 100k budget it's a crazyness to even think
Of arriraw workflow. In film here, 99% of alexas are prores
Or dnxhd, arriraw only shows-up on the highest prods.

We all jumped into dslrs for video because it was new
And fun, and we could get this cine look on the cheap. But
Passed the falling-in-love step, we all agree that design sucks
And finally, camcorders are the tools for the job. One
Successfull fashion photographer here had fun with the
Canon for awhile, but last time I saw him he told me that
He had ordered 2 camcorders and would never use again
A still CAM for filming.

When I see those guys with grass valley and their fujinons,
They zoom, they frame and focus all in their fingers and
Footage is just smooth, spot-on etc...at least 2 people
Will be required to operate a mf video, and then we are
In cine land. If you think that a mf with video capability will
Cost more than a red, the choice for motion is already made.

I think this market would be extremely reduced for mf manufacturers

People will bite at first, like we did with dslrs, but dslr can
Maintain the buzz because they are cheap, lenses are easy
to find etc...with mf it's going to be much more elitist and
The motion elite is not going to use those cameras.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 06:33:43 AM by fredjeang2 » Logged
BJL
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« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2013, 07:27:22 AM »
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Yeah, but not everyone shoots at f/2! ... I'm just itching to find a reason to go medium format digital. Video is just the push I need!
Once you have stopped the medium format down to get adequate DOF, also attainable with existing digital movie camera formats, what is the advantage of the larger format, to offset the higher costs and greater bulk of both the bodies and the longer focal length lenses needed? Equal DOF in MF needs an aperture about one f-stop higher than 36x24mm, two stops higher than super 35mm (about 25x14mm), and so to get equal exposure times, you need exposure index ("ISO") about twice that needed for 36x24mm, four times that needed with super 35mm.

And the resolution needs of motion photography are easily met and exceeded with mainstream movie formats like super 35mm.

So I am not sure that a bit more DR in well-lit scenes where base ISO speed can be used would offset disadvantages.

Since you mentioned RED, I note that, contrary to some of its big promises a few years ago, all of its cameras are in formats smaller than 36x24mm.
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fredjeang2
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« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2013, 07:59:19 AM »
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Once you have stopped the medium format down to get adequate DOF, also attainable with existing digital movie camera formats, what is the advantage of the larger format, to offset the higher costs and greater bulk of both the bodies and the longer focal length lenses needed? Equal DOF in MF needs an aperture about one f-stop higher than 36x24mm, two stops higher than super 35mm (about 25x14mm), and so to get equal exposure times, you need exposure index ("ISO") about twice that needed for 36x24mm, four times that needed with super 35mm.

And the resolution needs of motion photography are easily met and exceeded with mainstream movie formats like super 35mm.

So I am not sure that a bit more DR in well-lit scenes where base ISO speed can be used would offset disadvantages.

Since you mentioned RED, I note that, contrary to some of its big promises a few years ago, all of its cameras are in formats smaller than 36x24mm.

Absolutly. Very nice precisions here.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2013, 11:22:48 AM »
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Once you have stopped the medium format down to get adequate DOF, also attainable with existing digital movie camera formats, what is the advantage of the larger format, to offset the higher costs and greater bulk of both the bodies and the longer focal length lenses needed? Equal DOF in MF needs an aperture about one f-stop higher than 36x24mm, two stops higher than super 35mm (about 25x14mm), and so to get equal exposure times, you need exposure index ("ISO") about twice that needed for 36x24mm, four times that needed with super 35mm.

And the resolution needs of motion photography are easily met and exceeded with mainstream movie formats like super 35mm.

So I am not sure that a bit more DR in well-lit scenes where base ISO speed can be used would offset disadvantages.

Since you mentioned RED, I note that, contrary to some of its big promises a few years ago, all of its cameras are in formats smaller than 36x24mm.

I was hoping the same advantages to MFD stills would apply to video, even if stopped down. Is shallow DOF the only advantage of MFD?

If I applied this logic, an m4/3 sensor does the same to Full frame 35mm, with similar ISO and DR. For even more DOF, I would highly recommend a 1/3" sensor.

Anyway, I was hoping the introduction of video would pass on the benefits of MFD stills to video. Some of the things I was thinking of (I could be wrong and it could be just wishful thinking):
1. Shallow DOF with programmable AF-tracking
2. Truly modular, like having the option to use a 4x5 view camera with a back with video capability
3. 16-bit color precision and that tonality everyone keeps talking about
4. The possibility of much higher resolution years from now, like a Nikon D7100 sensor scaled up to a 4x5 size will give 1 Gigapixel, and 8x10 will give 3.5 Gigapixels.

Why do I need all this? I don't know.
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fredjeang2
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« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2013, 11:42:52 AM »
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I was hoping the same advantages to MFD stills would apply to video, even if stopped down. Is shallow DOF the only advantage of MFD?

If I applied this logic, an m4/3 sensor does the same to Full frame 35mm, with similar ISO and DR. For even more DOF, I would highly recommend a 1/3" sensor.

Anyway, I was hoping the introduction of video would pass on the benefits of MFD stills to video. Some of the things I was thinking of (I could be wrong and it could be just wishful thinking):
1. Shallow DOF with programmable AF-tracking
2. Truly modular, like having the option to use a 4x5 view camera with a back with video capability
3. 16-bit color precision and that tonality everyone keeps talking about
4. The possibility of much higher resolution years from now, like a Nikon D7100 sensor scaled up to a 4x5 size will give 1 Gigapixel, and 8x10 will give 3.5 Gigapixels.

Why do I need all this? I don't know.

Yes, but at the price point that would show-up, probaly at least 60k 80k, you could buy this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGt1P_kWi3k

uncompressed 16 bits raw, 3d luts, huge DR, CCD etc etc...

Would you hesitate?
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 11:46:54 AM by fredjeang2 » Logged
Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2013, 11:58:01 AM »
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Hi Fred,

Shooting three camera interviews like this are really tough without a cameraman. Chris was not able to make it down, and I did all the shooting, sound and editing myself (FCP X MultiCam editing is awesome).

The best shots were with a Canon G10 camcorder (the two shot), because it has wide DOF. The other two cameras were a NEX7 and NEX6 and often the focus was off as a result.

Frankly, a high-end handycam shoots far better video that any video DSLR as long as you're willing to settle for wide DOF, which in the case of interviews is just fine.

Michael


Michael, I fancy that Fred was commenting on the use of medium format for video, pulling focus would be a nightmare. Not your interview. All the best.
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BJL
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« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2013, 05:27:11 PM »
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Is shallow DOF the only advantage of MFD?
Not at all; if fact I think it is rather low on that list, since AFAIK, most MF photography is done at f-stops high enough that the same DOF is attainable with 35mm format (at a lower f-stop).

Instead, a lot of the image quality advantages of formats larger than 36x24mm are tied to using ISO speeds not far above the minimum, so that the sensor can then gather more light from any given part of the scene than is possible in a smaller format, allowing some combination of greater dynamic range and/or higher resolution. Thus, these larger formats are most often used either with good light or longish exposures: thinking studio lighting, flash and tripods. Unfortunately, the needs of motion recording rule out the longer exposure option.

Also, a warning about slippery slope arguments that ignore the degree of the differences between different formats and the need to balance pros and cons rather than declaring that a move in one direction is always an improvement. The reality is that when you move in either direction along the format size scale, bigger or smaller,
- the advantages grow by less at each subsequent step (e.g. resolution, dynamic range, shallow DOF and low light options, VF image quality)
- the disadvantages grow by more at each step (e.g cost, weight, shutter/mirror vibration, flash sync speeds with focal plane shutters, slower technical innovation due to smaller sales volume and revenues.)

Thus the best choices (and the one most likely to be pursued by camera and sensor makers) are usually not at either extreme of very large of very small formats.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2013, 10:50:26 PM »
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Yes, but at the price point that would show-up, probaly at least 60k 80k, you could buy this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGt1P_kWi3k

uncompressed 16 bits raw, 3d luts, huge DR, CCD etc etc...

Would you hesitate?

Actually I prefer the Arri Alexa XT!

After NAB we should know more about the Dragon and the Aaton.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2013, 11:13:16 PM »
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Also, a warning about slippery slope arguments that ignore the degree of the differences between different formats and the need to balance pros and cons rather than declaring that a move in one direction is always an improvement. The reality is that when you move in either direction along the format size scale, bigger or smaller,
- the advantages grow by less at each subsequent step (e.g. resolution, dynamic range, shallow DOF and low light options, VF image quality)
- the disadvantages grow by more at each step (e.g cost, weight, shutter/mirror vibration, flash sync speeds with focal plane shutters, slower technical innovation due to smaller sales volume and revenues.)

Very much true, no argument here.

Just wishful thinking on my part. If MFD died, who else would even try?
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2013, 01:03:15 AM »
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Hi,

I would agree that optimal conditions are needed to fully utilize larger formats.

There are some areas where I may have a somewhat different opinion:

1) Getting shallower DoF with larger apertures is indeed possible, but you also need to check out bokeh at those apertures. I have the impression that MF lenses tend to be quite OK at full aperture but large aperture lenses often have color bookeh (axial chroma).

2) I'm not really sure about rate of innovation. There is a lot of innovation going on in MF, consider all different technical cameras. Small firms can be innovative.

At this stage MF has some advantages. Objectively it is about resolution and to some extent shot noise, surface area on MF sensors is much larger than 135 formats. It is also about flexibility, you cannot put a DSLR on a technical camera if you want short lenses. There are also some subjective factors which may be hard to measure.

We could compare it a bit with watches. There is not much difference between a Casio and Rolex, both show the time and I doubt the Rolex does it better than the Casio. My guess is that those "radio controlled" watches syncing to an AM signal are probably most accurate and they tend to be on the cheap side. Me personally? I would never buy a Rolex, my present watch is a solar powered Citizen in titanium shell. It doesn't need batteries and wears well. I bought it when I needed a new watch in a hurry, the salesman made a good job and things made sense to me.

Still, the swiss watch industry is doing just fine, but I guess that it is more about life style than about utility. MF does offer some utility smaller formats don't have.

The MF market being small may be an advantage for a well established vendor. In a larger market other actors may enter who can offer similar benefits at lower prices. Hasselblad and Pentax do it to some extent, but I guess Hasselblad operates in a different market. Would be interesting to know how they are doing. Fred says they must be struggling, I simply don't know.

The way Phase works they need high margins, they sell trough a dealer chain, that is their echosystem. Hasselblad you can buy at B&H.

CI has a refurb P45+ at reduced price for 12,990, at B&H you can buy a brand new 40MP Hasselblad back for 15,495, but that price also includes a camera, viewfinder and lens.

Best regards
Erik



Not at all; if fact I think it is rather low on that list, since AFAIK, most MF photography is done at f-stops high enough that the same DOF is attainable with 35mm format (at a lower f-stop).

Instead, a lot of the image quality advantages of formats larger than 36x24mm are tied to using ISO speeds not far above the minimum, so that the sensor can then gather more light from any given part of the scene than is possible in a smaller format, allowing some combination of greater dynamic range and/or higher resolution. Thus, these larger formats are most often used either with good light or longish exposures: thinking studio lighting, flash and tripods. Unfortunately, the needs of motion recording rule out the longer exposure option.

Also, a warning about slippery slope arguments that ignore the degree of the differences between different formats and the need to balance pros and cons rather than declaring that a move in one direction is always an improvement. The reality is that when you move in either direction along the format size scale, bigger or smaller,
- the advantages grow by less at each subsequent step (e.g. resolution, dynamic range, shallow DOF and low light options, VF image quality)
- the disadvantages grow by more at each step (e.g cost, weight, shutter/mirror vibration, flash sync speeds with focal plane shutters, slower technical innovation due to smaller sales volume and revenues.)

Thus the best choices (and the one most likely to be pursued by camera and sensor makers) are usually not at either extreme of very large of very small formats.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2013, 01:20:17 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

fredjeang2
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« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2013, 03:26:56 AM »
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Actually I prefer the Arri Alexa XT!

After NAB we should know more about the Dragon and the Aaton.

Agree. We should know more and we don't. Too bad if Aaton
Hasn't succeed in their transition to digital. They are legendary
For their balance on shoulder. They do good stuff but their
Marketing is not correct.  They still think too much film days.

About MF, I don't think it will die. They May have however to
Grow differently.
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BJL
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« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2013, 09:15:20 AM »
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If MFD died ...
For the record, I see little risk of the death of MF (meaning formats larger than 36x24mm, so really "digital large format").

I might bet a bit on the team of Phase One, Mamiya, and Dalsa (or some future CMOS sensor supplier like CMOSIS) being the sole survivor, along with some third party lens suppliers.
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Dave (Isle of Skye)
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« Reply #33 on: April 01, 2013, 08:13:36 AM »
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For the record, I see little risk of the death of MF (meaning formats larger than 36x24mm, so really "digital large format").

I might bet a bit on the team of Phase One, Mamiya, and Dalsa (or some future CMOS sensor supplier like CMOSIS) being the sole survivor, along with some third party lens suppliers.

I think what you are saying is, that the question - "Is Medium Format Dead?", is actually the wrong question and that the question Michael should really be asking is - "Can Medium Format Digital survive?"

I think the answer to the former is a definite No, MF is obviously not dead. Will it survive against such competitively priced innovations as the D800E and whatever Canon et al releases in response to it, then the answer has also probably got to be No.

Lets face it, the D800E is the 800 lb gorilla sat in the corner of the room as far as MF digital is concerned, it cannot be ignored, 2K/3K Vs 50K/60K....  Huh

Dave

« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 08:18:04 AM by Dave (Isle of Skye) » Logged

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fredjeang2
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« Reply #34 on: April 01, 2013, 09:31:31 AM »
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Everybody point this Nikon as the potential MF killer.

What IMO could really threaten MF is maybe not CaNikon dslrs but Red.

Strange statement but some serious editorials are actually been shooted and printed from Red footage frames. This image business isn't going still-only anymore.
The problem with the CaNikons is that in terms of moving images, they suck.

It will be way more easy for a manufacturer to solve the still imagery demands from a motion point than the opposite.

I think that the real threat for MF survival could come from a "hidden" player like Red.

If I would be next to a MF executive, I'd say to him/her: don't look too much at Canon or Nikon but yes, look very closely at Red.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 09:34:50 AM by fredjeang2 » Logged
BJL
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« Reply #35 on: April 01, 2013, 12:28:28 PM »
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... the question Michael should really be asking is - "Can Medium Format Digital survive?"

... Will it survive against such competitively priced innovations as the D800E and whatever Canon et al releases in response to it, then the answer has also probably got to be No.

Lets face it, the D800E is the 800 lb gorilla sat in the corner of the room as far as MF digital is concerned, it cannot be ignored, 2K/3K Vs 50K/60K....  Huh
Actually, I was predicting the survival of _digital_ cameras in formats larger than 36x24mm, even if the market shrinks to a low volume, high price niche dominated by one brand ("Team Phase One"), akin to the way that the true rangefinder camera(*) has survived mostly in a high-priced niche dominated by Leica, and color slide film survives with dominance (or it now a true monopoly?) by Fujifilm.

Differentiation from whatever Nikon et al can do with 36x24mm might be as simple as retreating to distinctly larger formats, close to the full 645 format --- as it was with film. I almost wonder if the less expensive 44x33mm "tweener" backs are mostly marketing bait, sold at about break-even or a modest loss in order to lure people into the systems whose optical designs (lenses and viewfinders) are based around the 54x42mm "645" format. So long as the cost of DMF gear is no worse that for the truck and tools needed by many blue-collar professionals, or costs like travel and the wages for assistants, it looks viable for a good many professionals. And rich amateurs seeking a visible distinction from the masses are always abundant!


(*) Where by true rangefinder camera I mean one with a split image rangefinder focusing system, not merely a camera that lacks a TTL optical viewfinder allowing it to have the slimmer, hump-free shape of a rangefinder camera.


P. S. I totally fail to see why a maker of video cameras in formats smaller than 36x24 keeps coming up as the main threat to still cameras in formats larger than 36x24mm!
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fredjeang2
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« Reply #36 on: April 01, 2013, 09:54:15 PM »
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P. S. I totally fail to see why a maker of video cameras in formats smaller than 36x24 keeps coming up as the main threat to still cameras in formats larger than 36x24mm!

Because it's only (IMO) in a similar business model that MF can inovate and grow in the future. In many aspects, Red is very much like a company like Phase, but Phase is very not much like Canon or Sony.

They have a lot to win in studdying the Red success and why. They have all to loose in trying to follow the big giants steps.

Red was and still is a small company, and they acheived a phenomenal success, and prices are very very studdied. It's not because it's small that it has to be expensive and exclusive. And Red cams are built under cine standarts, wich means military standarts. IMO, the equation in future MF stands in attractive Price-different product tan the mass-military built for pro use. And they will need the most creatives: Hello Phase One, I'm Fred. You gona need someone like me in your strategy!

« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 10:02:42 PM by fredjeang2 » Logged
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« Reply #37 on: April 04, 2013, 06:08:26 AM »
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When the Nikon D800E came out there were many who thought this as a MF killer. Today I saw the following comparison between the 22MP Canon 5D mkIII and the 36MP Nikon D800 here http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Publications/DxOMark-Reviews/Which-lenses-should-you-choose-for-your-Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-III/Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-III-vs.-Nikon-D800-Competition-is-closer-than-expected

I have both a Canon 5D mkIII and among other lenses the amazing Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II and the Nikon D800E with the Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8VRII. From looking at images from the two there is not much difference in real resolution between them. I'm also shooting with a Phase One IQ160 and to my eyes (no measurements with lenses on DxO!!) I would estimate that the resolution is likely in the 50MP+ area from this camera. So if you need the resolution, a huge resolution advantage over the best full frame DSLR's today.
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« Reply #38 on: April 04, 2013, 02:38:25 PM »
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Hi,

Thanks for the link. Somewhat surprised, I must say.

We need to keep in mind that the Nikon has a lead in sensor resolution, but at lower frequencies MTF is limited by lens more than sensor.

I am not at all surprised that the IQ 160 has a healthy lead in resolution, that is one of the advantages of larger sensors, and I think there would be an advantage fine detail contrast, too.

I have seen that clearly when I compared a few raw images kindly posted by Marc McCalmont: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/71-mf-digital-myths-or-facts?start=5

Best regards
Erik


When the Nikon D800E came out there were many who thought this as a MF killer. Today I saw the following comparison between the 22MP Canon 5D mkIII and the 36MP Nikon D800 here http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Publications/DxOMark-Reviews/Which-lenses-should-you-choose-for-your-Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-III/Canon-EOS-5D-Mark-III-vs.-Nikon-D800-Competition-is-closer-than-expected

I have both a Canon 5D mkIII and among other lenses the amazing Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II and the Nikon D800E with the Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8VRII. From looking at images from the two there is not much difference in real resolution between them. I'm also shooting with a Phase One IQ160 and to my eyes (no measurements with lenses on DxO!!) I would estimate that the resolution is likely in the 50MP+ area from this camera. So if you need the resolution, a huge resolution advantage over the best full frame DSLR's today.
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