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Thread: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

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    Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    I was out the other day comparing some 150mm lenses for my 6x6 cameras, and I figured I would set the M9 on the tripod and see how it did. When adjusting the contrast and curves to match and applying basic sharpening to all three, I find them to be very comparable. I love the look of film, so this is not about X is better than Y, but I found it to be wonderful how close they came. The framing is not exactly the same since I shot the 6x6 and then went back and did the M9...the M9 is a little closer, which I guess benefits it.
    So, without further ado, here are the shots. Again, this was really informal and meant more for my curiosity rather than for any decisive judgements. I shoot film and digital side by side and appreciate the advantages of both.

    Hasselblad 150mm f/2.8 FE at f/4:


    Schneider 150mm Tele-Xenar f/4 at f/4:



    Leica M9 with 75mm f/2 Summicron at f/2



    And here are some crops -- I did the medium format at 50% to give a similar file size, but will include the 100% later.

    Hassie:


    Rollei:


    Leica:


    Hassie at 100%:


    Rollei at 100%


    They were all shot on a tripod with mirror lockup and self-timer (except the rollei...I just used mirror lockup. The film was Fuji Acros developed in DD-X. Scanner was a Hasselblad X5, sharpening for all in lightroom with lots of masking and low radius. I also tested the Mamiya 150/4.5, but the focus was a bit off in this close test. It is as sharp as the Tele-Xenar though, and it was the sharpest lens in the longer distance test. Keep in mind that none of these lenses are at their best apertures for this test...the Tele-Xenar and Summicron were wide open, and the 150/2.8 was one stop down (though it is a very fast lens for medium format and will do best at f/5.6-f/11.
    Anyway, maybe you guys find this interesting!
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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Stuart, thanks for posting this. I find this kind of stuff interesting as I don't shot film any more and can't help but wonder what I'm giving up. Looks to me as if the M9 has held it's own in this august company.

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    I've done a similar comparison between my Fuji GW690III and my M8. Pretty close there, too, but the Fuji just edged out the M8 (stands to reason, I guess).

    I'd love an M9, but I think I could get by with the Hassy given a good-condition standard kit can be had for around $1200. 'Course it's a lot bulkier than the M9. I'll just keep shooting my Fuji MF cams.

    Thanks for the comparo...

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Impressive! Thanks for doing this. I know I've been curious myself.

    The M9 shot is clearly smoother (no film grain) but it does lack a certain amount of... "Texture." One thing I've always said about MF is that there's so much more "texture" (detail) over 35mm and digital.

    One thing that's curious - the 2/75 Summicron was shot wide open (as was the Rollei), whereas the Hasselblad was stopped down a little... Don't know if that would help the situation with the Leica resolving those details.

    Might be interesting to toss a CFV back on the Hassy and see how it does digitally.

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Interesting. I think the blad ultimately wins but they're certainly very close on detail. The M9 is kind of ratty/unrefined in texture by comparison.

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Thank you for that - interesting to know where we've got to.

    Of course, these kind of comparisons are only useful up to a certain extent, but at the very least we can say:

    The M9 is quite good!

    it doesn't make me want to rush out and leap into medium format digital, that's for sure.

    all the best

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Double Negative -- I shot them all at f/11 as well, and the situation did not really change. One thing is sure though, the amount of bokeh at f/11 on the Leica is far far less than on the Hasselblad...the difference in format is more apparent.

    Kip -- this has been my general experience. The M9 will hold its own up to quite large print sizes, but when you are over 50x60cm or so, the digitalness of it (specifically aliasing of fine details like grass or hair and moire) becomes a bit too visible. At this point the film looks significantly better at very large sizes, even though the sharpness impression is quite similar between them.

    But again, I think what is more telling is that a 35mm digital camera with good lenses can get extremely close to the clarity and resolution of a 6x6 camera using a very fine grained black and white film. Ultimately, I like that I can shoot both without hesitation, and as Jono said, the M9 is quite good! I feel it is the first digital camera I can say that about without hesitation. And that includes a 22mp medium format back, the M8, DMR and the D3! Resolution is not everything...it is also about the color and the character of the camera, and the M9 just hits the ball out of the park for me. Doesn't mean I am even close to stopping my use of film though...
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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    I think one important question is how much of the wall texture is real and how much of it is film grain. If I add a little grain and a smidgeon of structure (in Silver Efex Pro) to the M9 crop it looks very similar. (I may have overdone it in this example. Better would be more structure and less grain.)


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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    ... I think what is more telling is that a 35mm digital camera with good lenses can get extremely close to the clarity and resolution of a 6x6 camera using a very fine grained black and white film...
    Since the 2/3 of the M9's image data is ignored in a B&W photo and adding color to film reduces its resolution I suspect that a comparison of color 6x6 film and the M9 will make us appreciate the M9 and its lenses even more (and I'm still there will be no R10).

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    Double Negative -- I shot them all at f/11 as well, and the situation did not really change. One thing is sure though, the amount of bokeh at f/11 on the Leica is far far less than on the Hasselblad...the difference in format is more apparent.
    Interesting. I guess this is where the difference in format becomes more apparent as you suggest - most definitely the DoF/bokeh.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Brittenson View Post
    I think one important question is how much of the wall texture is real and how much of it is film grain. If I add a little grain and a smidgeon of structure (in Silver Efex Pro) to the M9 crop it looks very similar. (I may have overdone it in this example. Better would be more structure and less grain.)
    The added grain to the digital shot does seem to impart more "texture" to the image. I guess a certain amount is just "noise" (grain), but I'm still convinced that MF offers more "real" texture as well. I'm thinking it's more apparent when comparing digital-to-digital or film-to-film.

    I'll have to try a test of the M9 and Hassy CFV. One's 18MP, the other 16MP, both with Zeiss glass. Similar sensors and "look" too. Might be interesting...

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Jan -- the grain does help, certainly, but I think if you look at the 100% crops of the film shot, it is clear that there is more detail there. But again, the importance of that detail is up for debate.
    Doug -- what do you mean when you say 2/3rds of the image data is ignored in a B&W photo? It is still using the same number of image sensors, it is just not trying to decide which color each one should be...It is different than a 18mp monochromatic sensor, which I would agree would be much higher resolution, but the M9 in color and black have the same resolution. Perhaps not the same "data" in that it is not attaching a color to each pixel, but that does not really affect its image quality (other than to make it black and white...). Maybe I am misunderstanding you...

    For the curious, this is the M9 at f/11 versus the Rollei at f/11. I do not have time to do the hasselblad as well right now.
    M9



    Rollei


    M9 100%


    Rollei 50%

    100%
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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    It's a tough call. The M9 and Rollei appear similar, but something about the texture of the Rollei... While the M9 seems to have more contrast, the Rollei's details are more crisp and defined... Not so much the lettering and knobs - look at the detail in the rusted sheet metal panel.

    But I'll tell ya what... If you have to look THIS hard to tell the difference between MF and the M9 - I'd say the M9 puts on a DAMN good show!

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Yes, I am pretty much with your second statement. But I would say don't pay too much attention to contrast. I edited these separately and did not try too hard to match them perfectly. I could easily make the Rollei match the contrast of the M9, or vice versa.
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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    True, true...

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Thanks Stuart. Interesting and well presented.

    I did some tests 12 months ago with the M9 and CFV in my ever continuing quest to discover whether I could abandon everything but my M9 . I found that the image 'content' was crucial.

    From the same tripod position, the M9 c/w 75mm Summilux, with less than half the 'content' could just out-resolve the CFV-16 with 80mm CFE, but when the M9 was moved backwards to include the whole scene 'content' taken in by the CFV, i.e. matching the short edge of the M9 frame to the square of the CFV, the M9 lost the game big time.

    With a 6x6 film frame, the content requires an M9 with a 35mm lens from the same position, as shown in the attachment: first, 8,000 M9 cropped width only to make square format; second 80 Yashica Mat. (This comes from a debate with a friend about whether the M9 could emulate a TLR). For accuracy a 28mm lens might be a better match for content, but then the 28mm would be different from the 80mm MF lens.

    Doing the opposite and using the 3x2 135 frame format as the benchmark would no doubt produce different results, but that hardly interests me.
    Last edited by Rolo; 13th May 2011 at 08:04.

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    It is not only the content that changes, but the relationship between the different parts. The larger focal lengths compact more what is close and what is far (a building in the back would be smaller compared to one in the front-with a small focal leangth-) so you would see what is far larger and thus more defined.

    To me, this is the most importan thing about different format sizes(eventhough the angle of view is the same, they are very different).

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Actually gero, I don't think this is actually the case. A super wide on large format will render objects in the distance just as small as a super wide on 35mm. This is a matter of perspective, not of focal length. For example, if you took an extreme crop from a 15mm lens (on 35mm) and cropped it to the same angle of view of a 200mm lens (on 35mm), they would have the same perspective, though the 200mm lens would have shallower depth of field. Depth of field is a property of the physical focal length of lenses, but perspective (the relative appearance of objects in the field) is not.
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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Stewart, if you had two trees in front of you and a house far away, the trees would fit in the picture with a 90 deg lens with both a small and large frame camera; but the house would be drawn bigger with respect to the trees.

    That is what I am thinking.

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Yes, and it is in that respect that I think you are wrong for the reasons I described! A lens with a 90 degree field of view on 35mm will render the same as a 90 degree field of view lens on say 6x9 or 5x7...the house and trees will look the same. The only difference will be the depth of field at a given aperture.

    But, of course, I could be wrong.

    To further explain what I mean: If you have a tiny digital point and shot with a normal lens, that lens will be something like 7mm or 10mm. But if you take a picture of someone with that, the objects in the background will have the same relative size if you shot with a normal lens on a large format camera (which would be around 150mm). More of the background would be out of focus, because focal length impacts depth of field, but it does not impact perspective. Otherwise if you shot with that 7mm lens on a digital point and shoot, everything would look impossibly tiny, which it does not. Just like when you shoot with a 150mm lens on a large format camera, not everything looks compressed and like it is all in one plane.
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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Gero, I think you are wrong on this one. A 50mm on 35mm will give you exactly the same view as a 50mm equivalent on large format. What will change is that at the same aperture you'll get a lot less depth of field on the large format camera - that's all.

    Think of it as taking a 35mm camera and physically blowing it up to a larger size. All the ratios stay unchanged. The depth of field however does change, as this has to do with the ratio between the film/sensor size and the size of the actual objects in the photo, roughly speaking.

    To put things yet another way: the relationship between object sizes in a photo depends only on where you place the camera. I.e., it is also independent of the focal length.
    Last edited by sizifo; 12th May 2011 at 17:09.

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Perspective is purely a result of relative distances to the camera. As long as the camera and all distances are unchanged, perspective remains the same. You pick your shooting position based on the perspective you want, then pick a focal length for framing.

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    I've rented an M9 and several lenses to try precisely this experiment (M9 vs MFDB). The speed and the size of the M9 and its lenses make for a very compelling offering.

    I've been shooting with it for a couple of days now, and find myself getting quite used to the ergonomics.

    The M9's IQ is stunning for 36x24 at low ISO, but does not compare favorably with my AFi-II 10 over a similar field of view. The AFi requires a lot more muscle and sweat to use, but I feel there is a reward for the extra effort. Also, the M9's mid-to-high ISO performance is closer to MFDB performance than small format, and thus, isn't that much of an advantage over medium format.

    I'll be sending it back tomorrow.

    But jeez, it's a nice, tiny package, even with Summilux lenses! Nice job, Leica.

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Perspective is a function of camera position, but detail improves with closer proximity and aesthetic with depth of field.

    Given a fixed subject, such as a house or full body portrait, say, one would need to back way off with a 35mm body, or use a much wider angle lens, sub 30mm, to capture the height that wll be a given on an 80mm MF outfit. A 24mm lens would need to be shot at f1.4 for the same aesthetic; no 28mm can produce an equivalent to a standard 80mm MF lens at f2.8.

    IMO, a wider MF lens, 50/38mm, nor a longer, 110 f2/250 f4 cannot be directly aesthetically matched because of the need to adjust camera position due to the letter box format of 35mm.

    Retaining image quality will always be under pressure in a comparison, but of course, wonderful images are regularly produced with the M9.

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    I still think I am right. I will do the experiment with my M8, a 15mm, 21mm & a 35mm; I place the camera on a trypod and without moving it, shoot three images with the three lenses. I crop the 15 & 21 images in the computer so that both have the same outer most objects in the frame as the 35mm and will find out.

    I don't have my m8 working right now so I hope someone wants to do it as well.

    It's all in Einstein's theory of relativity.

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Sorry gero, you are incorrect.

    The distinction you are neglecting is the coverage angle with different formats. Given a single location, a 150mm lens on a 35mm camera will produce a much tighter crop on the film/sensor than a 150mm on a MF camera, but the relationship of the objects in the images will be identical.

    If you are trying to match angle of coverage, you will need to adjust the focal length, but the geometric relationship between objects will still remain the same as long as you don't move the cameras position.

    For example, you need a 300mm on 8x10 to match a 150mm on 4x5, to match the coverage of about an 100mm on a 6x7 (cm) camera, to match approximately a 50mm lens on 35mm film/sensor

    All of these will have (almost) exactly the same relationship of objects in the image, but the relative images will be different sizes. Since they don't all have exactly the same aspect ratio, it is impossible to make them exactly the same without cropping one or more a little, but that is a minor difference.

    There will be differences in the images having to do with the DOF and optical characteristics of the various lenses, but for all in tents and purposes, the images will be functionally the same, but the larger formats will likely have a lot more information recorded in the film due to limitations of film resolution, etc.

    Even this is not assured, however, as the optical systems become more and more critical and difficult to manage as you get into larger formats. Larger lenses also are not as optically corrected as smaller lenses (larger in format, not necessarily in focal length!), which will result in more complicating factors.

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    Yes, and it is in that respect that I think you are wrong for the reasons I described! A lens with a 90 degree field of view on 35mm will render the same as a 90 degree field of view lens on say 6x9 or 5x7...the house and trees will look the same. The only difference will be the depth of field at a given aperture.

    But, of course, I could be wrong.
    This is absolutely correct.

    The other way to look at it is a 90mm lens will produce the exact same image reproduction (magnification) on ANY film size you use. The only difference will be how 'tight' the image is framed. On a 35mm frame, it will appear to be a telephoto shot, and on 4x5 sheet film, it will be a mild wide angle lens.

    Large format photographers fully understand this because the camera and lenses aren't married. I routinely used the same lens on various cameras from 4x5 inches up to 12x20 inches and occasionally larger.

    On the 4x5, a 450mm is a telephoto, and on 12x20, it is a wide angle, but if you took a negative from the 12x20 and cut a 4x5 sheet out of the center of the image, it will represent exactly the same image you will get if you shot that lens with a 4x5 camera at exactly the same location.

    I have found that the people who struggle with this concept are often single-format users who never needed to get their heads around the differences in reproduction that comes from switching formats. It used to be 35mm shooters primarily, but digital has brought these topics into the realm of even P&S shooters these days (full, vs. micro, vs. 4/3ds, etc...)

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by mjm6 View Post

    The other way to look at it is a 90mm lens will produce the exact same image reproduction (magnification) on ANY film size you use. The only difference will be how 'tight' the image is framed. On a 35mm frame, it will appear to be a telephoto shot, and on 4x5 sheet film, it will be a mild wide angle lens.

    ---Michael
    Michael, this is true; but also true, is the fact that the relationship between the sizes of two objects (one close and one far) will change with different focal length's, regardless of the size of the sensor that it is recorded in.

    The test would be eassiest with a wide zoom.

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Gero,

    That is not correct. The relationship between the sizes of two objects is purely dependent on the geometry of the arrangement, i.e. the location of the camera to the respective subjects.

    What you are forgetting is that most people think of lenses in the specific context of a relative geometry, not an absolute geometry. For example, you want to take a photo of a person, and generally that may be a portrait that mostly fills the frame. with a WA lens, you will move in closer to fill the frame with the subject. With a telephoto, you will move further back to fill the frame (to the same percentage filled, or to about the size in the frame). The movement results in different angles of coverage for the same subject.

    When you stay in the same place and change focal lengths (zoom), your angle of coverage for the subject remains the same, and the magnification of that coverage changes. Since the angle of coverage is constant, the proportions of various subjects will be constant.

    When you try the test you proposed, you will see this to be true. By all means do the test, it will help you understand how these relationships work, but you'll probably have to go through a bit of sketch pad to really understand how this all works out.


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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    The longer the focal length the more the distance between far and near is compressed even if you don't change the point of view.

    If I'd remember how to draw perspectives, I could explain in a drawing; if the point of view doesen't change, the vanishing point can be further away or closer so that the objects get smaller-quicker.

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by gero View Post
    The longer the focal length the more the distance between far and near is compressed even if you don't change the point of view.
    If you make two photos from the same location of the same subject with two different focal length lenses on the same camera and enlarge & crop the photo made with the shorter lens so the framing matches the photo made with the longer lens, the perspective will be identical. Try it.

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Doug, I don't think so, the object far away would be bigger compared to the one closer to you (with the larger focal length).

    I'd try it if I had my camera.


    this is not a grate example but, with a telefoto, the girl in the back would be closer to the size of the girl in the front. (she would be more out of focus, but that is depth of field)
    Last edited by gero; 13th May 2011 at 16:04.

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    This discussion hinges on what is changing in the two scenarios and what is not. If you swap out a wide angle for a telephoto and don't move the camera, there is no change to perspective. If you swap lenses and move the camera to fill the frame with the same subject, then the relationship between far and near objects changes.

    "Crop sensor" discussions get heated over differing assumptions. The full "equivalence" is surprisingly subtle, i.e., what would you have to do to get exactly the same print from two cameras with different sized sensors. From perspective considerations, they would have to be in the same location and the lens focal length would have to scale with the sensor size, but then the DoFs are different, so we have to adjust f stops, but then the shutter speeds would be different, so we have to adjust ISO.... it's a real mess.

    Matt

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    Senior Member mjm6's Avatar
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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Gero,

    I know how to do perspective drawing; I'm an engineer by training.

    The example you cite is exactly an example of what I was talking about above; you are neglecting that to get the foreground to be comparable in size with different focal lengths, you would need to move the camera, thus negating the geometric relationship between near and far subjects.


    ---Michael
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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Ok, here's an example...

    The images taken with the M9 and an 18mm, 24mm, and 50mm lenses.

    Here are the three initial images:

    50mm


    24mm


    18mm


    Shot at the same location, with the same exposure. Not on a tripod, but you'll get the idea.

    Here are the same coverage crops...

    50mm


    24mm


    18mm


    Without the EXIF (or me telling you), it would be nearly impossible to tell which one was which, except that I may have moved slightly, or the falloff may be more apparent, etc.


    ---Michael
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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Ok, to beat a dead horse...

    Here is a composite of the three crops showing that the relative relationships between them are the same...



    Since I did this handheld, they aren't EXACTLY matching (look at the orange bucket for slight misregistration), but they are pretty darn close, considering I had to bend over between shots to exchange lenses.



    ---Michael
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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Michael, that looks convincing. I will have to experience it myself to be 100 but thanks for the help.

    In constructing a perspective drawing, can't you choose a vanishing point that is closer or further in the plan before you start drawing the persp.? And doesent that change how fast the objects get smaller as they get further?

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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Gero,

    You can't pick vanishing points without some limitations. The most mportant thing to choose is the projection plane distance from the object. That effectively determine the amount of distortion that will appear in the image, and also the near-far size differences you mention. The further from the subjects the projection plane is, the more 'telephoto' the objects will feel with respect to each other, i.e. that compressed image feel.

    ---michael
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    Re: Quick M9 vs 6x6 comparison

    Here's a good page on perspective:

    http://www.khulsey.com/perspective_basics.html


    ---michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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