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Thread: MF Look

  1. #51
    Super Duper
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    Re: MF Look

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Marc, I remember making that very same request (not a suggestion from my part) to Keith Laban, sometime ago, elsewhere.
    Well, in many ways he's right ... more focus on the actual art of the images is a good idea. That's why in Peter's thread on Lens design in this issue of Victor, I was more taken with the images in the publication than the article. Powerful stuff.

    However, that isn't what this thread is about at all.

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    Re: MF Look

    Pete,

    No offense taken. I assume you're talking about the leaves in the top foreground above the grapes - I find them distracting as well.

    What I was trying to do with this example was to show that the "look" is achievable with a DSLR and in fact is not that terribly uncommon. Jack mentioned he'd rarely seen it with his Canon DSLRs which runs counter to my own experience. The particular example is one I just shot out on my walk (not specifically trying to create the "look") that I thought would serve to show the effect. This one isn't the classic razor thin focus plane one gets when shooting wide open with fast long glass but was achieved with a 28mm at f/4 with a significant depth of field.

    Greg

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    Re: MF Look

    This is where I keep getting a bit confused in this thread......the somewhat hard to describe "look" of MF digital, which some describe as "3D", while others are talking more about color roll-off, no-AA filter color crispness, and other things. Achieving the very shallow DOF look is not such a big deal, and can be done quite nicely with MF or DSLRs and good glass. That seems to be a part of what is getting lumped into the entire discussion.

    From what Guy originally started this post with, the "look" is more related to how colors transition and separate, not just DOF separations, and those color separations seem to be more related to sensors (maybe CCD) and lack of AA filters. The DOF issue does help create a different kind of dimensionality, which does get melded into the entire image and how we tend to view things, IMHO.

    Greg's shot above shows great DOF separation, but to me, it still does not have that more interesting color crispness aspect that many tend to see more with the MF images. Not always, but more often than not, as many have been describing. So, putting the compositions aside (yes, that is very hard sometimes, and that is also where as much of the more artistic qualities tend to come into play), the "gear" components come back to glass and sensor. This is what I was trying to say earlier about shooting a DSLR side by side with an M8. They provide a different "look", much as the MF does against the DSLR also.

    I am sure folks much smarter and experienced than me can construct all sorts of pro/con arguments, but in the end, there is something different about the image from a MF back (and even the M8 with its CCD and no-AA filter) that imparts a somewhat distinctive color sharpness (for lack of a better descriptor right now) that contributes to the perceived dimensionality of the image, beyond what is delivered by DOF manipulations alone. I think this is what I thought Guy was trying to describe, and with which I tend to agree. Yes, the lighting plays into this a whole bunch, as does the specific lenses. What would be interesting to see is a set of comparison shots, as best that could be assembled, with identical lighting, closely matched lens equivalents for the sensor sizes, etc. This may help remove some of the personal passions about specific lenses and stuff. Shoot it at the equivalent DOF/aperture for each. My bet would be that the MF backs would show a bit more of the color sharpness and roll-off that we started to describe, followed by the M8 or other non-AA filter, CCD camera, followed by the DSLRs with there CMOS and AA filter set-ups. Just my thinking again on all of this.

    LJ

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: MF Look

    Pretty much right in line on what I was describing LJ. This was not really a thin DOF arena which obviously we can do with almost any format. It does have more to do with color transitions, separations and tonal ranges, big pixels lack of AA filters and stuff that actually defines the look per say. Even my lame examples are from a 35 and 55 lens stopped down to about 6.3 or so. Certainly not the thin DOF lenses we would use for such things which in a sense will confuse the issue at hand. Thin DOF will certainly give a 3d look in many cases with certain lighting and subject. This has more to do with a overall effect throughout the MF systems that I just see more on a consistent level.
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    Re: MF Look

    I think everybody above has raised good points. It's clearly more than DoF separation, and more than how the oof areas get rendered. Maybe it has more to do with the tonal separation in SIMILAR colors? I think Peter may be onto something with his comment on the Green channel and LJ with his "color sharpness" comment. Historically, I've always been disappointed with digital greens, and have noted that colors from the DMR, M8 and MF backs seem to be "cleaner" and more detailed and hence more appealing to me, especially notable in the Greens...
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    Re: MF Look

    Tonality, tonality, tonality. Probably the least mentioned of all image atributes in these digital days but we certainly knew what it meant in the film era when it was the prime reason for shooting any larger format. Methinks there has been far too much dumbing down of what inherent quality is in an image these days. It's all resolution and noise. So little talk of drawing, tonality and the small and invisible attributes that come together to make an incredible whole. I have almost no doubt that all here knew exactly what the difference between 35mm and MF was in the film days and why MF was the obvious choice for any people photography. I have little doubt that the majority of DSLR shooters have no idea and as such have no idea of the importance tonality plays in an image. I attribute most all of the vehement denials from the crop and 4:3 camp as to the benefits of larger chips to this. They don't know what they are missing! No doubt the resergence of LF shooters is directly attributed to this, lots of people realising there is more to an image than the pure resolution.
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    Re: MF Look

    Many good points in this thread. In some images what is being described (or attempted to be described) is rather subtle. In others it's quite obvious.

    Ben's mention of tonality fits well, and it's pretty clear to me that the lack of AA filter is material. The way that these systems render certain scenes or subjects is just different than most other formats. And I agree that the M8 carries similarities, while not the same.

    The night before last we took a walk in the evening and I shot some scenes at dusk. The shots were mostly intended as an exercise (as was the 6 mile walk), but I have to say the files have a characteristic to them makes the images very pleasant. There are details and tones which I would not have captured with my Canon gear (having shot this type of scene countless times with Canon) and would have tossed the Canon files. After all, the outing was for exercise, practice and fun. But actually I'm enjoying the images, though humble as they are, for the delicate details and tones which I have not captured with lots of other digital gear in the past, especially in the absence of "special" light. The light on this evening was very unremarkable.

    Cheers

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