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Old Jun 8, 2006, 4:14 AM   #1
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wburychka said

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Peripatetic, can you refer me to a source for your image quality info? I have not seen a statement that a 16MP 24x36 sensor had resolution comparable to medium format film. All I've ever seen suggested that the Canon 1DsMkII was close to 35mm film but not quite there yet.

First of all I really like the start to Roger Clark's Film v Digital page:

Quote:
"Digital is Better than Film! No It's Not! Film is BETTER than Digital! No, You're wrong! No, you're wrong! Guess what? Flat statements like this are both wrong, and both right! Why? There is no one single correct answer. Thus, depending on what you want to do, one tool may be better than another. "
But then moving into the detail the following suggests itself; that 6-8Mp DSLR cameras give similar or slightly better overall quality compared to 35mm film. That the 12-17Mp DSLR cameras give similar or slightly better overall quality compared to medium format film. That the new 39Mp digital backs give similar quality to 5"x4" large format film. All these comparisons when produced by people who are very good at using film; IMO when the film skills or access to "pro" resources diminishes digital takes a clearer lead.

From my own experience I find that the results I can achieve from my 20D and Epson R800 far surpass what I am able to achieve with 35mm film at reasonable cost; i.e. using high street labs rather than the professional houses in Soho.

Now for the internet links...

All these sources seem reasonably credible to me, and absent a conspiracy, for which I cannot imagine a reason, it all amounts to sufficient grounds to leave me pretty much convinced.

1) Luminous Landscape

Michael Reichmann, love him or hate him, believes very clearly that the Canon 1Ds passed his Pentax 6x7 back in 2003. The 5D and 1DsMkII are both better than the 1Ds i.t.o. picture quality.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/re...shootout.shtml

And for the current state of the art

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/es...-testing.shtml

And you can get those files to decide for yourself.


2) R.N. Clark

http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedeta....summary1.html

Go down to the bit where he says: "My working AIQ equation that fits my data so far is:"

For a very interesting table.


3) Norman Koren (developer of Imatest)

A two-pager starting at...

http://www.normankoren.com/Tutorials/MTF7.html


4) Various others, e.g. Andy Luck

http://luck.spotfolio.com/mediumformatordigital.html


Digital workflow of course is SOOOOO much quicker and more convenient, and I am very comfortable with computers and software, so it suits me better than a darkroom, for which access is not always easy or convenient.

I also find it interesting that these sources don't agree that film has better dynamic range than digital which is something one often hears bandied about. They say the reverse is true.


Finally there's something I've been thinking of; what should my upgrade be from my 20D?

I have been amazed at how good my A3 prints are with a little interpolation, far better than I expected, I only expected to produce high-quality A4.

My upgrade will either be a 5D or just maybe I'll keep the 20D and invest in a 5"x4" view camera. To get equivalent digital quality I would need to spend £20,000+ on a digital medium format system, which I can't afford, but I can get a 5"x4"camera and a couple of lenses for maybe £2,000. Of course processing costs are very high per shot, but I wouldn't be putting that much volume through it, only the stuff that my 20D couldn't handle. On the other hand a 5D could use most of my existing Canon lenses, would give me medium format film quality and is far more convenient. I expect the practicality of the 5D will win out in the end, but for now I'm dreaming of a view camera.

I have also come across a bunch of film die-hards who refuse to believe on principle that any digital capture could compare to even 35mm film, some quite recently. They are working in academia and fine art applications with some modest degree of fame. For them digital anything isn't photography. I find it weird but not really annoying, film isn't worse than it used to be, if anything it's better, so for those who still love film then they should still use it.



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Old Jun 9, 2006, 9:52 AM   #2
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Just wanted to keep this thread alive...
http://www.naturephotographers.net/a.../dw0105-1.html
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/filmdig.htm
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Old Jun 9, 2006, 11:09 AM   #3
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peripatetic wrote:
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I also find it interesting that these sources don't agree that film has better dynamic range than digital which is something one often hears bandied about. They say the reverse is true.
Well... I think that depends on the film used, and what digital camera you're comparing it to.

I can remember being very surprised shooting some snapshots at a friend's wedding a while back, using both film and digital. Digital outperformed the film for Dynamic Range (or appeared to, but that may have been user error on my part). ;-)

However, I was using Kodak "Digital 400" film (marketing for let us provide our more expensive processing and also give you a CD with images) and it was very contrasty, impacting results.

The new Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) Feature in the Sony DSLR-A100 (a.k.a., Alpha 100) is an interesting feature that may improve results even more, cutting down on post processing time.

We'll have to wait and see how well it works from a production camera. Since they'll be shipping this model towards the end of next month, that shouldn't take too much longer.

Since this is not a Canon Lenses specific discussion, I'll go ahead and move the thread to the General Forum.

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Old Jun 9, 2006, 11:30 AM   #4
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NHL wrote: Ken Rockwell loves digital, huh? ;-)

I was just skimming the article and noticed this comment:

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Digital is always stuck in whatever quality you shot it. Digital or video has nothing to rescan. What you got it is all you're every going to get.


http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/filmdig.htm

I'd disagree. Raw conversion tools and image editors are continuing to improve. So, as advancements are made, you could always reprocess cherished images later using newer tools.


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Old Jun 9, 2006, 11:32 AM   #5
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NHL - good reading both.

I personally find Ken Rockwell to be worth taking with a much larger dose of salt than most sources; it's not so much what he says as the way that he says it!

If it comes to a straight "who do you believe more"? Ken Rockwell or Michael Reichman, my money's usually on the latter, and they usually disagree.

But the thing that is remarkable is how theFACTS are largely agreed upon by people who prefer film AND by people who prefer digital.

Then they (sometimes) end up with the personal preferences coming into play and the pronouncement that one is better than the other. For instance the OutdoorPhoto article gives an interesting point of comparison between someone who has a very poor digital workflow, contrast against Reichman who has his down to an art in itself and you can see why for one digital is no easierand for the other digital is dramatically more efficient. And this has nothing to do with how good they are behind the camera.


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Old Jun 9, 2006, 1:36 PM   #6
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The usual saying that I have heard about Reichman's site is:

"If you read on Luminous-Landscape that it is dark at night and bright during the day...it is wise to get a second opinion."

I'm afraid the 'tests' are staged to deliver a predetermined result. For example, I have seen a film vd digital comparison where the film image was scanned (which degrades quality) compared to a digital image that was run through multiple enhancement programs to increase resolution, remove noise, and improve the overall image. The film image was given no such 'enhancement' and...guess who won?

Personally, I feel that is a dishonest and misleading approach and I don't feel he has much credibility.
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Old Jun 9, 2006, 1:49 PM   #7
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Meryl:

Most users aren't making contact prints from film, and film is being scanned at many processors used by most consumers anymore (versus using optical enlargers to print). ;-)

As for the digital darkroom, that's a normal process with many photographers, too; in order to bring the most out of a digital image.

I've even used the same techniques with images from film (noise reduction software to reduce grain, enhancing the images via image editors).

I'm more "in the middle" with these arguments (I see pros and cons to film versus digital).

But, I would not question Michael's honesty or intent. IMO, he's quite sincere in his beliefs, and is trying to judge the differencesas fairly as possible. You can't please everyone with the test methodology.

I may disagree with some of his conclusions from time to time. But, that doesn't make him dishonest.


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Old Jun 9, 2006, 1:58 PM   #8
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I don't know - I think Meryl Arbing has a point

-> If you compare film through a 'digital' process then It has lost even before it starts...
If you compare with the final output use such as print or projected slides for example Ken Rockwell is quite right... :-)
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Old Jun 9, 2006, 2:10 PM   #9
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I don't disagree that you can do a great job with film if it's not going through a digital process.

Like I said, I'm more "in the middle" in these kinds of debates, and I still use film from time totime (although not lately).

My wife still shoots with film, too (and she's the better photographer in the family). lol

I just wouldn't question Michael's honesty.

I'd be more likely to question Ken Rockwell's "conclusions" (he does tend to be very biased with his articles).


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Old Jun 9, 2006, 4:06 PM   #10
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The usual saying that I have heard about Reichman's site is: "If you read on Luminous-Landscape that it is dark at night and bright during the day...it is wise to get a second opinion."
Well over at dpreview I would suggest the actual saying is that if Reichman says it is dark at night and bright during the day he is lying and being paid by some mysterious force to say so. Don't believe anything he says, and if your own experience agrees with his that's because you are in on the conspiracy too.


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I'm afraid the 'tests' are staged to deliver a predetermined result. For example, I have seen a film vd digital comparison where the film image was scanned (which degrades quality) compared to a digital image that was run through multiple enhancement programs to increase resolution, remove noise, and improve the overall image. The film image was given no such 'enhancement' and...guess who won? Personally, I feel that is a dishonest and misleading approach and I don't feel he has much credibility.
A great many derogatory things are written about him, curiously most of his detractors can't seem to manage to write a coherent rebuttal of his tests and publish their own results which show where he has gone wrong.

One must of course judge every source oneself and come to one's own conclusions.

It is far easier to impugn the source than address the argument. To ad-hominem attacks I give all the credence they deserve; precisely none.

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If you compare with the final output use such as print...
Which goes to show how much attention you have paid to his tests and journal. His final arbiter is ALWAYS the print.




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