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MFD 'the look' conundrum

jerome_m

Member
What we've been seeing on this forum recently is quite strange, I checked and haven't seen any posts on the Sony/Nikon/Canon side from owners of M4/3 cameras or smaller formats suggesting that anyone who spends loads of money on full frame 35mm is a fool when simply stitching a smaller format would do exactly the same thing, surely a pixel is a pixel after all. I haven't seen any MFD owners on Sony/Canon/Nikon etc forums questioning why 35mm owners don't just work a bit harder so they can afford MFD or mocking anyone who has to stitch just to get similar resolution. I wonder why that is?
Actually, I have seen plenty of owners of APS-C and M4/3 cameras suggesting that anyone who spends loads of money on full frame 35mm is a fool. I have not seen them on this forum lately, but then full frame 35mm has got much cheaper lately.

This kind of posts have always been with us. The real problem, however, is that the more interesting posts, the ones which used to provide interesting content are largely gone. I wonder why that is.
 

dchew

Well-known member
Aside from the way a specific lens renders, I personally never bought into the MF look. That could be because I'm not clued into it, not sensitized to see it, not good enough in image capture / post processing (probably the case).

Odd thing happened the other day. I printed an image from the a7rii that my wife said she liked. I printed it kinda big-ish since I had the roll paper installed and I was testing some new paper, but still about 300dpi native. The image was 22" wide. She came up and saw it on the table and said, "that's nice, but how come it doesn't look the same as some of your others?" I asked her what she meant. She said she didn't really know, it just didn't look quite as good. I have a bunch of images framed on the walls so of course I asked which ones she though looked "better." She proceeded to point out all the MF images. I just stood there and stared at her, speechless.

Of course that story doesn't prove ****, except that different people have different perceptions, and it is not always driven by the need to justify a purchase.

Dave
 

thomas

New member
the magic/look is mostly just a myth that dealers/manufacturers use to sell stuff and people use to post rationalise their purchasing.
Apart from the fact that I am finding this stereotype inappropriate IMHO it really depends what pieces of gear exactly you are comparing... and IMHO the lenses have the strongest impact on what we call "look". So if you use a "classical" MF system the character of the respective lenses pre-defines the "look". When you compare 2 systems that deliver the same resolution, say, a ~40MP Back with a 49x37mm sensor (a P45 for instance with 39MP) with Zeiss glass from the old days to a ~40MP 36x24mm camera (a Sony A7R2 for instance with 42MP) with the most recent Zeiss glass the look may be pretty different. Better or not is not the question here - but it is different!
I use said P45 on a Contax (and a tech cam) and an A7R2 ... and personally I still clearly favor to use the P45 when the conditions are appropriate (so that I can shoot at ISO50 or ISO100). Maybe I also prefer it because I actually do like the "look" of the Kodak sensor... I don't know (really don't know!).
In the same way we could talk about any other possible comparison of sensor / lenses ... and so we would talk about Leica-S lenses, Hasselblad H-lenses, Schneider/Phase One lenses and you name it. And as long as we talk about single shots (not about stitched images) we would always see a "difference". Whether the difference is "magic" or not is in the eye of the beholder...

But when we talk about a smaller sensor that features actually the same tech and pixel pitch than a larger sensor ... and you flat-stitch the smaller sensor within the image circle of a large format lens to cover the same sensor size... then of course the look is the very same (same lens and "virtually" the same sensor). Then again IR filter, signal processing etc. may also play a role ... so the same sensor is not necessarily the same sensor...
 

jerome_m

Member
Odd thing happened the other day. I printed an image from the a7rii that my wife said she liked. I printed it kinda big-ish since I had the roll paper installed and I was testing some new paper, but still about 300dpi native. The image was 22" wide. She came up and saw it on the table and said, "that's nice, but how come it doesn't look the same as some of your others?" I asked her what she meant. She said she didn't really know, it just didn't look quite as good. I have a bunch of images framed on the walls so of course I asked which ones she though looked "better." She proceeded to point out all the MF images. I just stood there and stared at her, speechless.

Of course that story doesn't prove ****, except that different people have different perceptions, and it is not always driven by the need to justify a purchase.
Statistically, what are the probabilities that she would be able to point at all the MF images, excluding the others, by chance only?
 

ErikKaffehr

Well-known member
Hi,

Without any specific reference to any post, I did make an experiment that is analogous to what has been suggested in the original posting. The purpose of that test was to find out how my old Hasselblad lenses would work with a 100 MP sensor.

Method:

Shoot a Sony A7rII on HCam Master TSII that allows around +/- 12 mm shift with the A7rII mounted vertically, shoot three images with +15, -15 and 0 mm shift and merge. This gives a 48x36 MP image at something like 85 MP. Size is very close to the P45+ sensor 49x37 mm. I also shot the same subject from the same position with the P45+ using the very same lens:

The lens used here was the Zeiss Planar 100/3.5, one of the best lenses in the V-system for long distance shooting. A central crop of both images is below, forum software may downsize the image, here is a link to the original crops:http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Articles/GETDPI/1/SS1.jpg


I also downsampled the Sony A7rII merged image to P45+ size, it is shown below, with the origianl crop here:http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Articles/GETDPI/1/SS2.jpg


The raw files are here:
http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Articles/GETDPI/1/20150227-CF047086.iiq
http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Articles/GETDPI/1/20160227-_DSC4360-Pano.dng

What I see is:
  • The A7rII image renders much cleaner
  • The A7rII has much higher resoultion
  • That holds even if the A7rII is downsized to P45+ resolution

Things like MFD look is beyond me. Processing is not identical, but you have the raw files so you can compare at will.

Best regards
Erik
 

dchew

Well-known member
Statistically, what are the probabilities that she would be able to point at all the MF images, excluding the others, by chance only?
14 images on the wall of various sizes (no correlation to sizes and format). 2 are film so I will throw those out, although she picked those correctly too. 8 are MFD, 4 are 135 format. None currently on the wall are stitched.

12 possible outcomes, 50% chance on each image.
0.5^12=0.02% chance.

Damn. She's pretty good.
 

Dan Santoso

New member
Hello,

I have been using MDF since P65+ and I have IQ180 now.

I shoot primary people for advertising.

I also have Sony A7R as a walk around camera. I have used A7RII for 1 commercial shoot becoz i did not have my phase one at that time.

My first impression with A7R2 was, the skin tone and color is not nearly in MDF league, more saturation, more unnatural color. MDF has better clarity and gradation (shadow to highlight). Nikon for example never have a nice gradation, highlight to shadow is not smooth ( i found in d800 test long time ago)

MDF absolutely has the look. The photo looks more polish and define. But in the end of the day It still depends on the photographer. Only them can bring the full potential of their tool.

Here is the shot I took with A7RII: Tiger Beer Campaign (talent/food/bbq) color is different from raw


And with IQ180: Samsung Campaign (1 shot no compose, except photo frames)


P65+ before and after:



The images has been photoshop but you can see the different in clarity. The phase one photo looks very polish even in the original state, the sony looks more raw and needs more work in post.

Hope this helps to give some ideas why MDF for me has the quality that the 35mm cant achieve.

Thanks,
Dan
 

CSP

New member
Hello,



My first impression with A7R2 was, the skin tone and color is not nearly in MDF league, more saturation, more unnatural color. MDF has better clarity and gradation (shadow to highlight). Nikon for example never have a nice gradation, highlight to shadow is not smooth ( i found in d800 test long time ago)
n
this is hilarious because your statement is followed by an un retouched phaseone images which looks rather horrible to me.......

in the hands of an skilled retoucher or photographer every file from todays cameras can give excellent results how long it takes has more to do with the knowledge and practice than the camera the file was shot with. many high level shooters use 35mm to produce extreme wonderful photography one of them is peter lindbergh and he never touches a mf camera but look at his work !

( when it comes to natural color rendering and skin tones imho hasselblad does a far better job than phase )
 
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darr

Well-known member
As someone that has shot 4x5", MF film and digital, and 35mm film and digital, there has always been a difference in the results so much so, I can distinguish what was shot with what gear just by looking at my film or files. Maybe to others that do not see a difference, it might be best left to vision science or ophthalmology, seriously. Some people can be tone deaf, maybe there is a similar thing with vision.
 

jerome_m

Member
Statistically, what are the probabilities that she would be able to point at all the MF images, excluding the others, by chance only?
14 images on the wall of various sizes (no correlation to sizes and format). 2 are film so I will throw those out, although she picked those correctly too. 8 are MFD, 4 are 135 format. None currently on the wall are stitched.

12 possible outcomes, 50% chance on each image.
0.5^12=0.02% chance.

Damn. She's pretty good.
So your wife can tell the MF prints from the other prints. That is not a scientifically valid double-blind study (pun intended), but is a strong indication that MF prints can be recognised by laypersons, hence are visually different.
 

Lars

Active member
14 images on the wall of various sizes (no correlation to sizes and format). 2 are film so I will throw those out, although she picked those correctly too. 8 are MFD, 4 are 135 format. None currently on the wall are stitched.

12 possible outcomes, 50% chance on each image.
0.5^12=0.02% chance.

Damn. She's pretty good.
This seems very relevant to this discussion. Any chance you can post some of those images?
-Lars
 

satybhat

Member
To hell with all this..
People who are really hell bent on proving MF is equal or worse than 135 format can put their money where their mouth is.
I have the MF gear. PM me and I will send you my PayPal address.
I promise I'll buy 135 Gear with the money you send.
And thus, you'll prove your point when I realise my mistake.
No? Then STFU ..
 

dchew

Well-known member
This seems very relevant to this discussion. Any chance you can post some of those images?
-Lars
I'm not sure it is all that relevant, I just thought it was a timely, curious if not funny story. But here they are in the context of the room. Sorry I didn't take any time with lighting; there is a lot of glare on some of the plexi. These images are from various shows and/or jobs so they don't all match with identical frames and glazing.

A few notes:
-The Death Valley image on the wood easel doesn't count; it was out of the room.
-2 of these 3 images are MF, the other 135



-This one is actually the largest print; 135


-On the right wall: Middle one MF, bottom 2 film, top Left 135


-The Brandenburg wolf doesn't count for obvious reasons!
-The other two are MF


-Top 2 135, bottom 2 MF


She didn't get nose to print on any of these. The interesting thing was the first one she pointed out as being "better" was the single tree in the middle on the upper wall above the doors. That's the one that really stumps me because it is not a particularly big image (20x24 frame).

Dave

PS: And no laughing allowed regarding my 32" tube TV downstairs. P1 owners don't have any money left for frills like TV's. :(
 
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