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Thread: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

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    IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    First of all I'd like to thank the people on the forum who have helped make this test work. We took on board nearly all of the suggestions and ended up using the IQ180 on four different camera systems (Linhof Techno, Alpa SWA, Cambo Wide and Phase 645DF). The different platforms each performed well with their respective lenses (40mm Digaron W, Schneider 35mm XL, 45mm Phase f/2.8 AFD) and we also used a Digraon W 70mm and Phase 80mm f/2.8 D.

    All of the systems acheived the maximum resolution the sensor was capable of although the Digaron lenses proved to have the greatest contrast and judging by the moire beyond the sensor resolution they were easily sharp enough to cope with a 200Mp sensor, never mind an 80Mp one.

    The post processing of the photos was handled as recommended by a few readers here and by the Phase One regional support team and Joe Cornish (landscape photographer). Obviously the IQ180 files have had to be uprezzed to compare with 4000dpi scans of 8x10 film but hopefully it hasn't been done too insensitively. We also tried adding noise to the IQ180 files to compare them with film scans.

    I've added my own commentary in a separate article on the homepage under Editor's Conclusion - in summary, I want one but I want to keep my film cameras too :-)

    http://www.landscapegb.com/issues/lgb-0028/

    Tim parkin
    http://www.timparkin.co.uk

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Tim, Spotted a typo on http://www.landscapegb.com/2011/12/b...ra-comparison/ ... Paul of Linhof Studio, would be Paula, who I understand is a friend of Joe and presumably yourself too

    This is amazingly useful. So much going on there. This must be the best real test ever done.

    - Paul
    Last edited by wentbackward; 23rd December 2011 at 06:04.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by wentbackward View Post
    Tim, Spotted a typo on http://www.landscapegb.com/2011/12/b...ra-comparison/ ... Paul of Linhof Studio, would be Paula, who I understand is a friend of Joe and presumably yourself too

    - Paul
    Ooops! Thanks! Yes she is, or was if she has already seen it :-)

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Superb work! Thank you!

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Tim,
    Excellent job. Thank you for all the effort!

    Dave

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Very nice work Tim, thank you first for the incredible effort and then for sharing it with us!

    One thing I would like to see added, is the test group's combined impressions of viewing say 30x40 or 40x50 prints made from each file. Ideally this would include traditional wet output as well as digital from the film scans. Obviously it's not necessary to make actual 30x40's, but perhaps pick one section, like maybe a portion of the Imatest target and one of the pieces of camera equipment, and print up comparative 8x10's from it. While it won't be "scientific," I think hearing from actual photographers involved on what their honest impressions of the perceived differences are would be interesting and maybe add a nice topping to an already excellent test.

    Kudos,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    I am always fascinated by folks who try to count the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin. Great test. I have nothing against the test at all. But to look under a microscope for all possible structure than will never be reproduced or even seen, is like making 10m circles buy using Pi to the 20th place.

    Why do photographers take resolving power so personally? This is what the argument comes down to--my camera is better than yours and a fear of being caught out with "inferior" equipment. Personally, I worry about whether my images are interesting. Resolution will not add interest. (Face it, that is the genesis of the film/digital discussion. It has been know for a very long time all these system produce great images.)

    But it is a great test. I have no idea what practical information you got from it--I bet the images made by each of these systems still look just as good.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Tim - Thanks for sharing the fruits of your Herculean effort. Very well executed and presented.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Is it just me or are the Portra 400 scans particular noisy/grainy compared to Portra 160?
    I'm asking because I currently try to decide which film to choose and scanned Ektar 100 vs. Portra 400 on my Eversmart, you can see the unfiltered/unsharpened result below. The difference in Mr. Parkins test seems extreme!?


    I am always fascinated by folks who try to count the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin. Great test. I have nothing against the test at all. But to look under a microscope for all possible structure than will never be reproduced or even seen, is like making 10m circles buy using Pi to the 20th place.
    It's a simple method to find out if the scanner is seriously limiting the potential of final IQ - like it happens often with these comparisons.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    I am always fascinated by folks who try to count the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin. Great test. I have nothing against the test at all. But to look under a microscope for all possible structure than will never be reproduced or even seen, is like making 10m circles buy using Pi to the 20th place.

    Why do photographers take resolving power so personally? This is what the argument comes down to--my camera is better than yours and a fear of being caught out with "inferior" equipment. Personally, I worry about whether my images are interesting. Resolution will not add interest. (Face it, that is the genesis of the film/digital discussion. It has been know for a very long time all these system produce great images.)

    But it is a great test. I have no idea what practical information you got from it--I bet the images made by each of these systems still look just as good.
    Well the microscope was the closest I could get to seeing what a perfect darkroom enlarger could image. People still use them. It also confirmed whether it was worth trying an 8000dpi scanner. It also confirmed that film *can* record more details than you can scan with a drum scanner. It also proved that Mamiya medium format lenses can resolve over 100 lines per mm. Personally I think a good enlarger set up should be able to get a little more detail out of the medium format than the drum scan (I've yet to borrow a 12,000dpi scanner - that comes in a future personal test).

    Resolution can add interest. People see a veracity in a very finely detailed large print and can engage with it in a different way. the whole Tableau movement in contemporary fine art photography relies to some extent on resolution .

    Also - the test talks about resolution but that is only one aspect. The images are also compared for tonality and colour which I think it more important personally. However, the 20x24 prints that were made looked different comparing DSLR's with MFDB's and LF - hence resolution made things look different. I've recently made some 20x24 prints from 35mm film and, if resolution isn't important, the they would have looked just as good. They didn't, they looked pretty awful in comparison.

    As for what practical information - how about just the information about diffraction and optimum apertures? The difference in moire dependent on aperture? The quality of the A900 colour? The difference in rendering of detail from film to digital? If you are using 8x10 for resolution, how aperture affects it's advantage over other formats? How chlorophyll challenges digital sensors and to test using foliage to asses digital colour?

    Anyway - it's more than resolution, hence why used real world images.

    p.s. I worry about whether my images are interesting *and* the quality of them.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by georgl View Post
    Is it just me or are the Portra 400 scans particular noisy/grainy compared to Portra 160?
    I'm asking because I currently try to decide which film to choose and scanned Ektar 100 vs. Portra 400 on my Eversmart, you can see the unfiltered/unsharpened result below. The difference in Mr. Parkins test seems extreme!?
    It's a trade off of detail and sharpness. I scanned at an aperture of 6 micron as a 13 micron scan will lose some fine detail. However, scanning at 6 micron does cause a lot more noise. However, scanning Portra 160 at 6 micron seems to result in some impressive scans, not much noise reduction needed at all.

    I've shot a fair bit of 6x17 of army groups and Portra 160 has produced the sharpest, smoothest images. As an example, one of the shots of a group of 400 had a guy in the front row with an analogue watch on which not only could you see the second hand but you could also make out the roman numerals that indicated the hours.

    Personally I use Portra 160 for as much as possible unless high dynamic range is needed or high iso. I can expose Portra 160 with the shadows placed at -2 however I can shoot the Portra 400 with the shadows places at -3 and get equivalent results. Hence Portra 400 can really be rated at 800 and still get equivalent results to Portra 160. Portra 400 does have a bit of colour crossover, needs some greens in the shadows and some yellow/green removed from the highlights. Portra 160 colour is just astonishingly good..

    Tim

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by georgl View Post
    Is it just me or are the Portra 400 scans particular noisy/grainy compared to Portra 160?
    Seriously? Yes, a 400 speed film has more/larger grain than a 160 speed film. Grain size is one attribute that increases speed/sensitivity.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    ...One thing I would like to see added, is the test group's combined impressions of viewing say 30x40 or 40x50 prints made from each file. ...
    +1, this would be the icing on the cake for the test. I could contribute a few large digital prints to 40x50, but would be limited to a few and unmounted (as must be shipped from HK).

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by timparkin View Post
    As for what practical information - how about just the information about diffraction and optimum apertures? The difference in moire dependent on aperture? The quality of the A900 colour? The difference in rendering of detail from film to digital? If you are using 8x10 for resolution, how aperture affects it's advantage over other formats? How chlorophyll challenges digital sensors and to test using foliage to asses digital colour?

    Anyway - it's more than resolution, hence why used real world images.

    p.s. I worry about whether my images are interesting *and* the quality of them.
    Tim, thanks for your reply. I just don't see it.

    For example, the information on diffraction and optimal apertures is not really practical. If f/22 is the optimal aperture for resolving power, what difference would it make if it gave me too much or not enough depth of field? No imaging system can reproduce color accurately and to break it into film and digital does not make any sense as both media have lots of variation in spectral response and color management in themselves. And I am not going to shoot an 8x10 image in regard to another format.

    I too am interested in quality, but that is a broad category. If I want grainy, low rez gritty images, I will use TriX in a 35mm camera and mess with the developing. And the quality will be perfect and so will the resolution--resolution is not an absolute frame in which to judge (I know, I know. I am a Getdpi member and I don't think the more resolution the better, but it take all sorts). (And print size will not affect the image--standard viewing conditions and the theory behind it work really well.) I take imaging systems and use them for their strengths and the results the process gives me. I understand how imaging systems work so I understand the compromises of my choices. An 8x10 is not "better" than a 35mm camera, it is just different.

    (BTW, A microscope really does not make an ideal enlarger. I have work in darkrooms a long time and professionally--remember dye transfer? I am not going to get the detail out of a print like you can get the detail out of a microscope (I also work with microscopes). That is not a real world system.)

    I think you test is a fine piece of work (it really is impressive), but it is just another in the film/digital debate. The only "practical" thing it showed is all of those systems work really well and make really nice images. But we already know that. It does quantify the differences in the system, in that regard, it is interesting, but some of your choices have already thrown in unrealistic biases.

    I am sorry if I sound like the Grinch that stole Christmas, but I am really disturbed by how photographers beat each other up over technical trivia. This film/digital thing was/is really ugly--this is not a comment of what you did, but the poison that has been floating around the intertrons for a long time. Unfortunately, your test will just be more fodder in the ongoing war.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Tim, thanks for your reply. I just don't see it.

    For example, the information on diffraction and optimal apertures is not really practical. If f/22 is the optimal aperture for resolving power, what difference would it make if it gave me too much or not enough depth of field? No imaging system can reproduce color accurately and to break it into film and digital does not make any sense as both media have lots of variation in spectral response and color management in themselves. And I am not going to shoot an 8x10 image in regard to another format.
    I'm afraid you haven't seen the point of this comparison at all. I didn't break it down into film vs digital. I chose representative imaging systems of the major types. You have just interpreted this as a film vs digital comparison.

    As far as colour reproduction goes, you are correct, you can't reproduce it accurately. However, you can compare the different reproductions and make an aesthetic choice. Hence picking the two major types of film that affect tonality. You could easily call this an "IQ180 vs Phase P45" comparison or a "Medium format vs DSLR" comparison. Or a "Drum scan vs Epson flatbed" comparison. Lots of these comparisons exist in the test results but you've chosen to characterise this as film vs digital.

    And if f/22 is the optimum aperture, you know where the compromises are. e.g. A lot of people say 'I'll stop down an extra stop to make sure I have enough depth of field'. If you know what effect this may have on image quality you may decide not to. Also, people may choose to shoot 8x10 over 4x5 because of resolution but unless they know the relationship based on aperture, they may be getting no extra resolving power. That's useful information in my book

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    I too am interested in quality, but that is a broad category. If I want grainy, low rez gritty images, I will use TriX in a 35mm camera and mess with the developing. And the quality will be perfect and so will the resolution--resolution is not an absolute frame in which to judge (I know, I know. I am a Getdpi member and I don't think the more resolution the better, but it take all sorts). (And print size will not affect the image--standard viewing conditions and the theory behind it work really well.)
    Judging print size by standard viewing conditions misses real world behaviour. People do walk right up to prints and check out the detail. Some people do have better vision than 20/20.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    I take imaging systems and use them for their strengths and the results the process gives me. I understand how imaging systems work so I understand the compromises of my choices. An 8x10 is not "better" than a 35mm camera, it is just different.
    Correct and I've just helped qualify what the difference is to people. If you haven't shot 8x10 or 4x5 before and only learned about it from what is available on the internet, you will have an incomplete idea about it's merits. It sounds like you have already shot with all of these platforms so you know the answers.


    (BTW, A microscope really does not make an ideal enlarger. I have work in darkrooms a long time and professionally--remember dye transfer? I am not going to get the detail out of a print like you can get the detail out of a microscope (I also work with microscopes). That is not a real world system.)
    Agreed, however it is representative of what information is actually stored on film and hence an indication of what may be retrieved.


    I think you test is a fine piece of work (it really is impressive), but it is just another in the film/digital debate. The only "practical" thing it showed is all of those systems work really well and make really nice images. But we already know that. It does quantify the differences in the system, in that regard, it is interesting, but some of your choices have already thrown in unrealistic biases.
    No - they all make different images and knowing the differences is useful if someone is thinking of spending a lot of money. I'd like to know what you mean by unrealistic biases as well please.

    I am sorry if I sound like the Grinch that stole Christmas, but I am really disturbed by how photographers beat each other up over technical trivia. This film/digital thing was/is really ugly--this is not a comment of what you did, but the poison that has been floating around the intertrons for a long time. Unfortunately, your test will just be more fodder in the ongoing war.
    If you know everything that is in the report already then well done. If you don't but just choose to ignore it as irrelevant then it doesn't really matter. What you are doing is choosing to say it is irrelevant to you and trying to tell everyone else it is irrelevant as well. I just don't know why you would do that? Can you honestly say that there is nothing that people may find useful in the report?

    I don't really want a response to anything else as you have made your position clear but If you can enlighten us of what these unrealistic biases are I would truly appreciate it otherwise it does sound a little like name calling.

    Sincerely

    Tim

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Tim, thanks for your comments on Portra 160 vs. Portra 400.

    Here are two samples that irritated me, based on that I would never choose Portra 400 but it seems to be a function of the Howtek (mine doesn't work properly, I cannot compare it myself) - especially the "sparkling" noise in the shadows:

    HTML Code:
    http://static.timparkin.co.uk/static/tmp/cameratest-2/studio-hassleblad/studio-hassleblad_0008_Mamiya%207%20Portra%20400.jpg
    HTML Code:
    http://static.timparkin.co.uk/static/tmp/cameratest-2/studio-hassleblad/studio-hassleblad_0009_Mamiya%207%20Portra%20160.jpg
    It's extreme compared to my sample of Ektar vs. Portra 400

    @Shashin
    Many tests have been seriously flawed and irritated many photographers I know - a <800ppi-drum-scan of 8x10 is soft, a 11MP-Canon beats a 6x7-slide. Yes, it's still the old "film vs. digital"-debate and it's tiring - but I don't see the point of letting faulty tests dominating the internet.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by georgl View Post
    Tim, thanks for your comments on Portra 160 vs. Portra 400.

    Here are two samples that irritated me, based on that I would never choose Portra 400 but it seems to be a function of the Howtek (mine doesn't work properly, I cannot compare it myself) - especially the "sparkling" noise in the shadows:

    HTML Code:
    http://static.timparkin.co.uk/static/tmp/cameratest-2/studio-hassleblad/studio-hassleblad_0008_Mamiya%207%20Portra%20400.jpg
    HTML Code:
    http://static.timparkin.co.uk/static/tmp/cameratest-2/studio-hassleblad/studio-hassleblad_0009_Mamiya%207%20Portra%20160.jpg
    It's extreme compared to my sample of Ektar vs. Portra 400
    Looks like I've missed the noise reduction on the 4x5. If you look at the twenty note one that is more representative

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by timparkin View Post
    Looks like I've missed the noise reduction on the 4x5. If you look at the twenty note one that is more representative
    What I meant to say was the Portra 160 looks like it has noise reduction and the 400 hasn't. They were post processed separately. I am post processing them again together and will upload the whole 160 vs 400 layers for you (plus an example of different apertures whilst scanning)

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by georgl View Post
    @Shashin
    Many tests have been seriously flawed and irritated many photographers I know - a <800ppi-drum-scan of 8x10 is soft, a 11MP-Canon beats a 6x7-slide. Yes, it's still the old "film vs. digital"-debate and it's tiring - but I don't see the point of letting faulty tests dominating the internet.
    I absolutely, agree. There have been some really awful stuff done. Lots of baloney has been said. And so this is a really fine test, not perfect, but really nice. But many (not all) are more interested in winning than learning and one side will hold this up as a "victory" and the other side will find some way of discrediting it on some technically and so the whole thing goes on.

    Folks who use a particular media or system use it for the results and workflow, both of which are personal. This won't get medium-format shooters working in 8x10 and MFD photographers are not going start selling their equipment. Prints from any of these systems will be fine.

    I am a big fan of the variety of formats and processes in photography. Just as I like routers and molding planes, I am happy to shoot a MFD and a Lomo. I am finding that photography is becoming more a technical exercise where resolving power is king in an unbending absolute scale where photography is actually a bunch of relative and subjective criteria that impact an image in different ways and the photographer needs to learn these compromises in order to create an image suitable for the subject. I mean, seriously, what are we, the US Congress? (I, for one, need to get things done.)

    This is just how I feel about this stuff. I think the test is great. I just don't understand the competitive nature among photographers. I find it sad because I think it has been destructive for the field.

    Whirled Peas...

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by timparkin View Post
    What I meant to say was the Portra 160 looks like it has noise reduction and the 400 hasn't. They were post processed separately. I am post processing them again together and will upload the whole 160 vs 400 layers for you (plus an example of different apertures whilst scanning)
    I've checked the original files and depending on how you scan it there can be a big difference. However, if you want smooth results, you can get them with both but Portra 160 does end up sharper. I've zipped up the files for you.

    http://static.timparkin.co.uk/static/tmp/portra.zip

    Tim

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    ¿Does this more or less confirm my thought that a top-end ¿MS? MF back with a top lens, hex-stitched to give 4 times the Mp is somewhere near equivalent to 10 * 8?

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    ¿Does this more or less confirm my thought that a top-end ¿MS? MF back with a top lens, hex-stitched to give 4 times the Mp is somewhere near equivalent to 10 * 8?
    At usual taking apertures this sounds about right - although I did stitch two 8x10's together recently for a potential 8m x 3m print.

    Tim

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Putting aside the sharpness results an important thing to keep in mind is the aesthetic of smaller format lenses compared to larger format lenses.

    I have yet to find a 645 lens that has the same dimensional rendering of foreground and background, bokeh and "3d-ishness" of the Schneider 480mm f8.4.

    The closest lens I have found to that is the Fuji GX680 on 6x8 film. Just has that large format look and a sense of depth combined with pictorical rendering of the background.

    Here is a snapshot after a shoot taken with the 180mm @ f5.6.
    I processed for 70s color. Shot on Ektar 100.



    So my point is that whatever the capture... digital or film... larger image circles just produce much nicer images.

    Digitals biggest limitation is that commercial products that can shoot instant images is the sensor size. It all ends at under 645.

    The best 645 Lenses I have found are the Hasselblad 110mm f2 V system lens and the Contax 80mm f2 (the latter is not super sharp wide open, but it looks simply beautiful). next up is the Schnieder/Rollei 180mm 2.8.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    A bit off topic, but I like the way the test shows how detail in film sneaks down right into the grain. I like to use this to shoot grainy film with my 680.
    Here is an example.
    While it is very grainy... look at how much detail there is ...look at the top of the bag, the jeans etc.
    I would never get this result with 35mm film due to the nature of lens despite being able to shoot 35mm with less grain.



    and another from the same roll.




    I think that a 60MP 6x7 sensor on an RZ would have been a far more interesting step up than going from 60MP to 80MP on a sub 645 sensor.

    Hell even a 40MP on an RZ 6x7.

    It should be possible to buid an Aptus 22 sensor twice the size for say 3 times the price. The Aptus sensor is already made from tiles.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    I think that a 60MP 6x7 sensor on an RZ would have been a far more interesting step up than going from 60MP to 80MP on a sub 645 sensor.

    Hell even a 40MP on an RZ 6x7.

    It should be possible to buid an Aptus 22 sensor twice the size for say 3 times the price. The Aptus sensor is already made from tiles.
    I must admit I think it would be very interesting to see a larger sensor. 6x7 starts to become quite attractive in terms of lens design and hopefully pixel density can come down too. The IQ180 definitely seems like a watershed sensor for me in terms of the overall look. I'd be happier with a 40mp with that look than an 80mp version of the old Phase P45+ (ignoring the long exposure stuff).

    Tim

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    I think you are both right on target with the wish for larger chips with less (60 Mpix) resolution. I pray that the MF companies will understand where their real market in the future will be. It´s NOT about more Megapixels. And as this test showed It´s also not about resolution. It´s about usability and instantaneous access to the tools used. A large film still has a better resolution. Did this stop people from using digital all over ? Nope.......

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    A 40MP 56x56mm chip would be my dream. A back fitting the Rolleiflex 6008 system (integral, integral 2, AF) should also be available, as well as Hy6.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Resolution will not add interest.
    I have to disagree with that. A truly high resolution landscape print, for example, is much more appealing than a low resolution version with lots of grain or pixelation. I would agree that it matters more for some types of photography than others but at the end of the day, you can never go back and add resolution, but you can always remove it if you feel it improves the image.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Hi Graham

    I am asking why do you think it is valuable for the vast majority of Photographers - even actual Medium Format users to shoot all and every image larger than 60x70cm at 300 dpi all the time. Actually for a decent print 150 dpi are totally ok and this would translate to 125x144cm and even at 100 dpi this is still a very good resolution- as sharp as good monitors with 186x216cm.

    Using such a trucklike heavyload vehicle for normal purpose photography all the time is total overkill, as we have seen in some areas the image quality even suffers from this approach - and to be frankly - for those few landscape or exhibition shooters who are printing larger than this (how many are these anyway - worldwide ???) I say : stitch it or use an IQ180 or a Hasselblad H4d200 MS ! But about 99% of all pro tasks are smaller.

    So these 99 % of other photographers would be very happy about a chip that gives less problems with wideangles, richer colors, improved dynamic range of lets say 17 or 18 stops, SNR, decent lenses and even handling and because of higher production lots - reasonable pricing.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by Stefan Steib View Post
    Hi Graham

    I am asking why do you think it is valuable for the vast majority of Photographers - even actual Medium Format users to shoot all and every image larger than 60x70cm at 300 dpi all the time.
    I wouldn't say it's the most valuable thing, and for many or even most assignments 30MP would be more than enough. However, if you can only have one camera, I'd want one which could deliver the extra resolution when needed. For me 40MP would be enough, but the only 645 sensor option for my camera was 80MP so that's why I personally ended up with that option.
    Last edited by Graham Mitchell; 25th December 2011 at 13:18.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Very interesting thanks to the OP for the work done! and I guess a good one place summary of a lot of information that many people have to dig around to find - so high utility/amenity factor as well.

    Still the issue for me in choosing between LF film and digital capture is very frustrating because there are limitations in practice that make LF film (for me) a no go zone.

    I want the movements and to be able to see the effect of movements which a large piece of viewing glass makes easier ( in certain conditions - eg studio) but I dont want the hassle of worrying about wind/rain/loading the stuff procesing the stuff and scanning the stuff or worse having a large format capable enlarging darkroom etc etc etc - been there done that and no thanks mate!

    On the digi side - I don't need the elephant gun megapixels to make portraits or even architectural shots - but I DO need the movements - but we have no real live view - so for all its workflow benefits and real world ease of use - the actual shot making isn't as easy as it should be could be for movement type photography.

    That pretty much describes the state of impasse for me and my needs. Everything is always a compromise - and we can never have the best from both worlds it seems.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    In my experience with 4x5", I find it difficult in practice to extract more detail than I would with my Mamiya 7 kit out in the field. In most situations diffraction limits resolution and slower shutter speeds are needed to achieve the desired DOF (when movements aren't appropriate.) It all adds up to mean that 4x5" may equal or sometimes even lack the resolving "bite" of the 6x7cm but tonality is sure better on the larger format. To be honest, I use 4x5" not to maximise resolution but to utilise movements and compose on a large viewing glass. It's a magical process, in my opinion. I just love it, at least enough to put up with what PeterA can not...

    One day I'd love to try shooting with an Alpa SWA or RM3D and digital back to see how I like it. If I stopped shooting film for a year I could afford a digital back and basic setup. Problem is I'm not prepared to slow down! Anyway, I have a feeling one of these companies is going to give the segment a radical shake up soon. Perhaps then we will have more options. It just better happen sooner rather than later because things don't look good for Kodak and film production in general in 2012!

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    In my experience with 4x5", I find it difficult in practice to extract more detail than I would with my Mamiya 7 kit out in the field. In most situations diffraction limits resolution and slower shutter speeds are needed to achieve the desired DOF (when movements aren't appropriate.) It all adds up to mean that 4x5" may equal or sometimes even lack the resolving "bite" of the 6x7cm but tonality is sure better on the larger format.
    Out of interest, what apertures do you typically use on each of these platforms?

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by timparkin View Post
    Out of interest, what apertures do you typically use on each of these platforms?
    When shooting 6x7cm (Mamiya 7II with 80mm, 65mm and 50mm lenses) I try not to go smaller than f11. I'll go half a stop smaller if really needed but it softens details quite quickly from there on. On 4x5" I'll shoot around f22 using 150mm and 90mm lenses. Most of the subjects I shoot are too three dimensional to use tilt movements, so f22 on 4x5" gives me equivalent depth of field to 6x7cm and enough for adequate foreground to background detail.

    I think a complicating factor is that the Mamiya 7 lenses are spectacular and the 4x5 lenses i own, while good, are not in the same league. I should invest in new lenses if I really want to take resolution to the next level. Man, if only the 7II had shift movements!

    With regards to Portra 400 VS. 160, I've tried the new flavors of both and for some reason preferred the 400. Something about the way the color saturated when overexposed seemed more pleasing. Your tests might have convinced me to give the 160 another try though. It does look sharper.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    I think a complicating factor is that the Mamiya 7 lenses are spectacular and the 4x5 lenses i own, while good, are not in the same league. I should invest in new lenses if I really want to take resolution to the next level. Man, if only the 7II had shift movements!
    tell me about it! I have a plan to add shift and tilt to a Mamiya 7 when I get my own workshop sometime in the future. The lenses seem sharper than most of the 35mm lenses I own..

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    With regards to Portra 400 VS. 160, I've tried the new flavors of both and for some reason preferred the 400. Something about the way the color saturated when overexposed seemed more pleasing. Your tests might have convinced me to give the 160 another try though. It does look sharper.
    Portra 400 does tend toward a slightly more magenta look which can be pleasing - I found it a little frustrating after a while. I would be happy if the new Portra 160 was the only colour film available, although velvia 50 and Portra 400 would be the icing on the cake.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Tim

    The problem with the mamiya 7 lenses is their short flange focal distance of 60mm for the bajonett mount , but additionally their wideangle has a recessed lens (as many Arri PL mount lenses). There have been tests to use these lenses as TS on 35mm, but
    this turned out to be difficult. It works on a Sinar (there is a special lensboard made by my Partner PK in Italy).

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    Putting aside the sharpness results an important thing to keep in mind is the aesthetic of smaller format lenses compared to larger format lenses...
    ..has that large format look and a sense of depth combined with pictorical rendering of the background....
    Fred you are quite right! One of my reasons for getting into LF and subsequently MF Digital was exactly what you state. Interestingly (and perhaps because we have such limited choice at present, Edit: in terms of digitally optimised glass), this element of lenses are not discussed so much. Results I've seen form the Schneider POne 150/3.5 look stunning, I have the 110 LS and can assert it is truly stunning. That said, I also love my little Agfa Isolette with the 75/3.5 Solinar lens. Truly pictorial results on 6x6, plus it folds up and goes in your pocket.

    Tim, how's your budget to start doing lens comparisons on film and digital

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    In my experience with 4x5", I find it difficult in practice to extract more detail than I would with my Mamiya 7 kit out in the field.
    Agreed. In the field, 4x5 is subject to vibrations by just a light breeze, and 8x10 even more so. The reality is that getting an "optimal" 4x5 or 8x10 capture *in the field* is EXTREMELY difficult. This is where digital MF sits heads and shoulders above traditional LF film capture. For me, I find I get superior net results in the field from direct MF digital -- and have been ever since single-capture MF digital hit 39MP -- than I ever did from LF and film. I am not saying I never got excellent LF captures, I did, just they were more the exception than the norm, and direct digital renders a much higher percentage of technologically superior files. I respect others opinions and experiences may vary. (Or if you only work inside a controlled studio environment, and have unlimited time to set each frame up, then I'd agree LF film has the edge.) Regardless one thing is for certain, and that is from capture to final print, the direct digital workflow is far more efficient than the traditional wet film to wet print workflow -- I don't think anybody can argue that point

    Re sensor resolution. Having owned 60 and 80 MP full frame, I will say that my current 80MP sensor is the closest thing to LF 4x5 I have used, and in most cases exceeds the actual 4x5 field performance I obtained most of the time. In fact, it renders very close to what I used to get with 8x10, and is excessive resolution for most of my current needs. But that doesn't mean I don't want or need 80MP, I do enjoy having it. I again respect everybody else's opinions that they'd be happy 40MP on an even bigger sensor, but not me. COnsider me on the record that I do not want a larger sensor, and I really don't expect to need more than 80MP on my existing FF MF sensor. Moreover, I do not want to build up yet another system -- I am quite satisfied with the performance of my existing back and lenses as they are rendering the absolute best images from a technical standpoint that I have ever created period. I would not mind an improved Phase body to utilize said lenses however. YMMV...

    Re print resolution: I am going to respectfully disagree with Stefan, and say that on a very large print, like 40x50, I think one can do with 180/200 PPI output, but for most images under that 240 PPI is going to be superior, and 300/360 PPI remains the ideal for "put your nose int eh print" detail. Canvas is a different story -- there you can drop to even 90 PPI and it can look pretty decent.

    Offered FWIW only, YMMV...
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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    ...I am quite satisfied with the performance of my existing back and lenses as ...
    Jack, I'm willing to go climb mountain together, anoint stones with oil and chant this over and over to ward off the evils of Dante.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Well I did say I don't want a physically larger sensor or *need* more pixels, but I said nothing about adopting new technologies, better noise characteristics, etc... So I fear our chants and pilgrimage would not work to appease Dante.


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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Jack, I seem to recall that you're a bit of an expert in this stuff, how come the Epson V750 scan of the 8X10 is so close to the drum scan but with the 4X5 scans the difference between the Epson and drum scans are so dramatic? Is it a flatness in the holder thing?
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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Well I did say I don't want a physically larger sensor or *need* more pixels, but I said nothing about adopting new technologies, better noise characteristics, etc... So I fear our chants and pilgrimage would not work to appease Dante.


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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post




    I think that a 60MP 6x7 sensor on an RZ would have been a far more interesting step up than going from 60MP to 80MP on a sub 645 sensor.

    Hell even a 40MP on an RZ 6x7.
    This look is something I've yet to see from any digital capture... I'm shooting 28mp on an RZ and can say that (as fred and I bantered about in another thread) the 645 look is pretty much there in the current sensors... but the 6x7 and larger rendering is IMO absent. From that side of things... i think the entire film/digital debate has hit a wall.

    Artistically, it's getting hard to explore these "looks" on the current equipment, especially for those of us who have always been digital shooters.

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Agreed. In the field, 4x5 is subject to vibrations by just a light breeze, and 8x10 even more so. The reality is that getting an "optimal" 4x5 or 8x10 capture *in the field* is EXTREMELY difficult. This is where digital MF sits heads and shoulders above traditional LF film capture. For me, I find I get superior net results in the field from direct MF digital -- and have been ever since single-capture MF digital hit 39MP -- than I ever did from LF and film. I am not saying I never got excellent LF captures, I did, just they were more the exception than the norm, and direct digital renders a much higher percentage of technologically superior files.
    Agreed, although if you do have a good technique you can get consistent LF images. Most of my shots taken at f/22 1/3 or less are predominantly 4000dpi sharp. Things like spikes on a chunky tripod, protecting from wind, not moving next to the camera, not passing movement up the cable release etc make a difference at that level of resolution. I imaging getting consistent results with digital will be easier definitely


    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    I respect others opinions and experiences may vary. (Or if you only work inside a controlled studio environment, and have unlimited time to set each frame up, then I'd agree LF film has the edge.) Regardless one thing is for certain, and that is from capture to final print, the direct digital workflow is far more efficient than the traditional wet film to wet print workflow -- I don't think anybody can argue that point
    Nope!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Re print resolution: I am going to respectfully disagree with Stefan, and say that on a very large print, like 40x50, I think one can do with 180/200 PPI output, but for most images under that 240 PPI is going to be superior, and 300/360 PPI remains the ideal for "put your nose int eh print" detail. Canvas is a different story -- there you can drop to even 90 PPI and it can look pretty decent.
    I agree as I tried printing these at 180dpi and they did look soft in comparison. 240 wasn't too bad though but the 360's stood up to bright light examination (the ultimate test - you can see a lot more resolution in very bright light).

    Tim

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Jack, I seem to recall that you're a bit of an expert in this stuff, how come the Epson V750 scan of the 8X10 is so close to the drum scan but with the 4X5 scans the difference between the Epson and drum scans are so dramatic? Is it a flatness in the holder thing?
    I'll let Jack follow this up but in my experience the Epson has a limit of approx 2400dpi and this is only about two thirds of the capability of 4x5 film. However, this will get nearly everything out of 8x10 film. Hence the degradation of the 4x5 image is a lot more than the degradation of the 8x10 image.

    Tim

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by wentbackward View Post

    Tim, how's your budget to start doing lens comparisons on film and digital
    I'd be happy to but I've only got one life and I want to spend more time creating photographs :-)

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    It is all about the complete imaging chain.
    I used to use a large format enlarger and a vacuum frame for contacts.
    In commercial graphics although we used an 8x10 view camera we often used larger internegatives and masks. What we found was interesting in tests of various parts of the process. One example was that when we used typical printing paper and projection enlargement techniques, internal reflections within the photographic paper would cause edge blurring simply due to the thickness of the emulsion and the back-scatter from the coated paper substrate. This was roughly equivalent from a rule of thumb point of view that roughly half of the resolution was lost in the final print. Back then circa 1968, emulsions such as plus-x were considered to have a resolution limit of roughly 80 line pairs per mm and the best lenses then could just deliver that. Once an 8x10 was printed in a vacuum frame in contact with photo paper, that resolution was reduced to somewhere in the 20-40 line pairs per mm (about 500 line pairs per inch) in the finished print. Those silver contact prints were very beautiful to behold, with detail visible even with a loupe and smooth rich graduations. Once you look at one of these as a photographer does from roughly nose distance, you realize that digital printing as we do today is done so that it barely gets by at 360 dpi on a glossy paper. Today when I print at anything less, it looks just weak.
    -bob

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    Those silver contact prints were very beautiful to behold, with detail visible even with a loupe and smooth rich graduations. Once you look at one of these as a photographer does from roughly nose distance, you realize that digital printing as we do today is done so that it barely gets by at 360 dpi on a glossy paper. Today when I print at anything less, it looks just weak.
    To follow up on Bob's point - I've spent a fair amount of time, ink and paper trying to see how closely I can mimic the subtlety of a contact print through an inkjet printer. I routinely print large files small, at 720 ppi, and have dabbled with 1440 as well; based on my results so far I think that 720 approaches but doesn't quite reach the point at which there's no further visible difference.

    150 ppi looks like mush to me, at the close distances from which I normally view prints. Doesn't mean it's wrong; it just depends what you're trying to accomplish. One size doesn't fit all.

    Anyway, very nice piece of work by Tim and friends - thanks very much for all your efforts!

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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Here's some results from 8x10 that illustrates some of the challenges involved.

    Warning, 34 MB jpeg file. This is a quick and dirty drum scan at 2000 dpi (cropped to panoramic 6K x 20K pixels) of an 8x10 E100G shot in Death Valley in 2006. I used the Cooke XVa in the front+rear configuration, so 311 mm focal length. I stopped it down way too much to get maximum resolution, f/45 I think, so it's a bit soft.

    http://www.chrome.se/files/2006-L008.jpg

    The scan was one of the first I made with my drum scanner, lots of dust and bubbles. Pixel by pixel this scan (and the original) doesnt stand a chance in a comparison with a good MFDB exposure. It's simply a technically mediocre image.

    However, from an artistic standpoint this image is in my view outstanding. I made two exposures that morning. The other one is tack sharp so I won't post it here in high res. So I have mixed feelings about this particular one.

    I do think it's important to raise the issue of equipment cost in this debate. My 8x10 setup in the field (Toyo 810M, Gitzo CF 5-series, 150XL, Cooke XVa, Fujinon-W 210) cost me about $8K. This brings me the equivalent of 100-300 Mpx depending on a bunch of factors. If I wanted to shoot high resolution MFDB the investment would arguably be 10x more. From that perspective comparing 8x10 to MFDB doesnt even make sense. I do however applaud Tim Parkin's quality effort with the test, as does show just how much detail is possible with large format film.
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    Re: IQ180/P45/8x10/4x5 camera test

    Lars, are you including the film, processing and drum scanning in that price and the value of your time (which far too many people discount!)? The costing of shooting 8X10 in the field unless you are very economical with your film usage, can soon become rather expensive can it not?
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