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Thread: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

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    Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    As a follow up to what I feel was a questionable test between a P25 and a couple of Canon high resolution DSLRs ... I pitted my lowly 16 meg CFV-II against the current high meg DSLR champion ... the FF, 25 meg Sony A900 (mostly to see how good the A900 is, since I know what the CFV-II can do.) What I do know is that the Sony A900 produces better files than my now sold Canon 1DsMKIII ... can't speak for the new 5DMKII, as I've never used one.

    The subject was a fried hard drive that I had just replaced in my old Mac G5. Lots of detail for pixel peeping. Also a relatively flat surface to keep focus and DOF issues to a minimum when using MF lenses verses 35mm lenses.

    Now mind you, the CFV-II goes in with a disadvantage because I framed to width of the rectangular subject matter, thus losing the remaining resolution of the square. So it's probably more like 11 or 12 meg CFV verses 25 meg Sony. If this had been a Phase One P25, the full 22 meg resolution would have been there to use ... or roughly twice the res of the CFV ... In other words, in this specific test, the P25 with the same pixel pitch as the CFV but more used area of the sensor, would most likely blow away the CFV.

    Each camera was set to it's native ISO ... 50 for the CFV and 100 for the Sony. That point may be argued, but I believe native ISOs should be used for tests like this.

    The CFV was mounted on a 203FE using a Zeiss 180/4CFi ... (a much better lens than the Zeiss 150mm used in the other test.) But the Sony wasn't sucking hind tit either ... I mounted the fabulous Zeiss 135/1.8 on it Both lenses were used in mid range f stops ( f/8ish give or take. )

    Lighting was done relatively flat, 3/4 top down with a Profoto D4 and Pocket Wizards ... thus providing very consistent, even lighting pop-to-pop. Both cameras were on tripod and releases used.

    Dual image shows the results with the Sony on top and the CFV on the bottom ... NOT an indication of ranking At this size they are visually almost identical.

    Then there are two severe crops of the same area.

    #1 is the CFV, #2 is the Sony A900. Note the background green areas where the paint bumps are more visible on the CFV shot .... and especially the texture in the area just below the black box. While this truly IS pixel peeping at an extreme considering the enlargement ratio, this is the stuff that adds up to an over-all impression of detail in full sized renderings.

    However, what DID delight me is how well the A900 with the Zeiss optic did do. In actual practice this camera is quite able to produce stunning product work AND, I'm sure I'll get more out of the files once I live with the camera a bit longer. Plus, @ 1/3rd the price of the CFV outfit it's worth every penny as a versatile 35mm DSLR.

    What the A900 can't do is be mounted on my Mamiya RZ or Rollei Xact2 like the CFV or any other MF back can.

    Let ripping me a new one begin ...

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Certainly a better lens Marc and exactly the results i would expect. The A900 is no slouch though and held up fairly well but the bottom line is the micro detail that MF backs just have and not sure any 35mm sensor could touch it. Hell one of the main reason for me to jump up to MF was this fact i can go large and hold detail for clients. Besides all that stuff , no offense to any one but I just trust Marc at this stuff like i trust myself to get the correct results. Just to add watch next week when you see the P25 22mpx back hold up to the big boy's in the 39 and 60 mpx backs from Phase. It will be close, I will get my clock knocked out but it will hold up fairly well against some of the biggest backs made. No question I would love a P45 Plus make no secret about it but I am above the curve and that is what counts
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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Certainly a better lens Marc and exactly the results i would expect. The A900 is no slouch though and held up fairly well but the bottom line is the micro detail that MF backs just have and not sure any 35mm sensor could touch it. Hell one of the main reason for me to jump up to MF was this fact i can go large and hold detail for clients. Besides all that stuff , no offense to any one but I just trust Marc at this stuff like i trust myself to get the correct results. Just to add watch next week when you see the P25 22mpx back hold up to the big boy's in the 39 and 60 mpx backs from Phase. It will be close, I will get my clock knocked out but it will hold up fairly well against some of the biggest backs made. No question I would love a P45 Plus make no secret about it but I am above the curve and that is what counts
    That's been my experience to date Guy. The 22 meg backs hold their own, and going with higher meg backs provide incremental gain at a relatively hefty price tag. There is gain in detail, but you gotta be using some pretty stellar optics to pull it out. For example, some of the Zeiss optics like the 120/4 Makro work great with the CFV or a 22 meg back, but IMO start showing their age when used with a 39 meg back.

    BTW, "Being ahead of the curve" is a perfect way to describe it.

    If Irakly comes by today, I'll try to get him to bring his Contax 645/P25 and shoot the same subject with the Zeiss 120/4 Macro. I guarantee with that back and that lens, it'll put "this verses that" subject to bed immediately

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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Yes next week when we do those test against the backs i think the lens to use which is really stellar is the Mamiya 150 2.5 D lens which really has it going on and the new 80 D lens as well. I agree great glass will pull the correct detail out from these backs any one of them for sure. That Zeiss 120mm macro i used on the old V bodies in my film days and it was one of there best around.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    You want to really put this to bed once and for all, and quickly, I will pull out my old M11 with a Digitar 120mm on the front of it, do one 16 shot exposure, and blow ANY one shot back out of the water on a test like this. The M11 is only 11 megapixels, and a 35mm size sensor to boot.

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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    That's been my experience to date Guy. The 22 meg backs hold their own, and going with higher meg backs provide incremental gain at a relatively hefty price tag.
    Agreed!

    Marc, FWIW The other things I note pretty clearly in the CFV crop are:

    1) added DR -- note how much less the solder is blown with the CFV, while clearly more blown from the A900. Looking at the lower solder joints is even more revealing about highlight performance.

    2) what looks like CA or possibly sensor bloom along the gold pin holes in the board. I see a consistent green tint on the 1-2 o'clock edges of the A900 crop that isn't in the CFV crop; then a very slight red tint at the opposite 7-8 o'clock edge -- again, not there in the CFV crop.

    And (unfortunately) for us critical imagists, the devil is in the details. And that devil is pricey to avoid!
    Jack
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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Jones View Post
    You want to really put this to bed once and for all, and quickly, I will pull out my old M11 with a Digitar 120mm on the front of it, do one 16 shot exposure, and blow ANY one shot back out of the water on a test like this. The M11 is only 11 megapixels, and a 35mm size sensor to boot.
    Abso-freakin-lutey Chuck.

    Precisely why I keep thinking' about a Multi-shot back ... just need more of that type work to justify the cost.

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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Well, there really isn't a whole lot of cost to justify these days, from what I am seeing for prices in the used market today. Multi-shot backs are not as generally useful as their single shot counterparts, so command much less of an investment on the used market....

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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    What sort of resizing did you do on these? Neither seems particularly sharp.

    Just as an example I took a quick shot with the Canon 450d handheld at ISO 200 with the 60mm macro at f/4 of a similar disk drive and am seeing much more detail than either of your shots.

    Do you have raw files for your originals? Would be interesting to see.




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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Greg:

    Looking at your images and Marc's, it appears Marc's actual pixel views are about twice the magnification of yours. It would be interesting to see what you got if you focused closer.
    Jack
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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Different subject, different lighting Greg ... and much more magnification on the detail crop.

    The hard-drive I used is different than yours, the lettering is dark grey on black not white ... and it was lit flatly on purpose, not cross lit .... with the objective not being lighting, but instead maintaining consistancy from camera to camera.

    The drive is 6" wide and I cropped the ends off in the original composite ... and the area of enlargement is about 6/16" wide ... with the circle around the #248 being about 1/32" wide ... so small it's hard to see in real life without a magnifier.

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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Marc,

    Can you post the full sized jpgs or better yet the raw files. Easier to see the overall picture that way.

    Thanks,

    Greg

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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Greg:

    Looking at your images and Marc's, it appears Marc's actual pixel views are about twice the magnification of yours. It would be interesting to see what you got if you focused closer.
    Jack,

    I tend to agree except that it looks like his crops are more than actual pixel level (obviously the Hassy would need to be enlarged relative to the Sony, but neither looks like it's a 100% view, they both look to be greater than 100% crops). That's why it would be useful to see the actual files.

    Greg

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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Absolutely nothing to do today, cold and foggy here in Seattle and my M8 is still at Leica, NJ getting fixed. So I thought I would like to add an image, not of a 35 equivalent DSLR to CFV but a exercise in how big and what kind of detail that could be expected. The first image is at 240 dpi with an image size of 17"x17" the second is a crop, upsizing of the image to 100"x100" which is eight and a half feet by eight and a half feet or wall sized! The third image is a quick 2x zoom of the second image to show the guy standing in the window. That would probably be equivalent of a 400"x400" print. The one thing that a larger format sensor allows is the amount of detail per pixel along with the expanded dynamic range.

    You can make out individuals who stood still for the exposure in the center of the second row of windows is a person reading an information board. You can also see the wires that protect the tourists from climbing up and over the edge railing.

    Horses for courses, this MF setup is not for shooting pro football! But if you are going to make large displays and the clients demand detail, this is a must.

    The image was shot using a Hasselblad 500CM and 100 CF lens @ f11 - 1 second exposure CFV back at 100 ISO.
    Last edited by atanabe; 28th January 2011 at 18:46.
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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    The CFV was mounted on a 203FE using a Zeiss 180/4CFi ... (a much better lens than the Zeiss 150mm used in the other test.)
    I've heard so much about the superiority of the Zeiss 180/4CFi over the 150/4CFi (which I own)....this finally put me over the edge.

    Ordered a 180/4CFi today. I think Marc deserves a commission from Hasselblad. First it was the 503CWD-II with the 40/CFE IF, then the Zeiss 100/3.5CFi, now the 180....what's next? A 350 SA? Not likely.

    Gary Benson
    Eagle River, Alaska

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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    I've heard so much about the superiority of the Zeiss 180/4CFi over the 150/4CFi (which I own)....this finally put me over the edge.
    Gary

    The CZ CFI 4/180 is a really outstanding lens . You will not regret that you bought it . Congrats .
    I have the CFE version and find the sharpness and contrast superb . Too superb for some kind of portraits .

    Jurgen

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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Jones View Post
    You want to really put this to bed once and for all, and quickly, I will pull out my old M11 with a Digitar 120mm on the front of it, do one 16 shot exposure, and blow ANY one shot back out of the water on a test like this. The M11 is only 11 megapixels, and a 35mm size sensor to boot.
    As an interesting tidbit, the Digitar 120 (assuming not the Macro) illuminates approx. a 190 mm image circle, far larger than Schneider's published specs. I use it for 6x17 (actually 56x160) panoramics on MF film. What a lens
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Addendum:

    Here's an interesting side-by-side; Irakly did bring over the Contax 645 and Zeiss 120/4 Macro.

    So I compared equal areas from it, and the Sony A900.

    But I didn't equalize them this time. I enlarged each the same % and cropped the same area then layered them side-by-side ... so the A900 file is actually larger than the Phase One P25 (22meg verses 25meg Sony.) Larger, but not better, because the P25 file is from a near 645 sensor verses the 35mm Sony frame.

    While definitely not as apparent in a sub 1 meg web upload, the P25 file is clearly superior full screen and in a print. The Sony does a respectable job, but is no match for the P25 for real world applications.

    Now I do have to add the caveat that the Zeiss/Sony lens is a 135/1.8 tele which is not exactly optimized for close up work (I don't have a Sony Macro, nor am I getting one) ... where the Zeiss 120/4 Macro is an APO optic optimized for close focus, and perhaps the best MF Macro lens ever produced (i.e., not counting APO digital view lenses or bellows optics .

    Done with the fun. Gotta get back to real work.

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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Seitz View Post
    Jack,

    I tend to agree except that it looks like his crops are more than actual pixel level (obviously the Hassy would need to be enlarged relative to the Sony, but neither looks like it's a 100% view, they both look to be greater than 100% crops). That's why it would be useful to see the actual files.

    Greg
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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    I've heard so much about the superiority of the Zeiss 180/4CFi over the 150/4CFi (which I own)....this finally put me over the edge.

    Ordered a 180/4CFi today. I think Marc deserves a commission from Hasselblad. First it was the 503CWD-II with the 40/CFE IF, then the Zeiss 100/3.5CFi, now the 180....what's next? A 350 SA? Not likely.

    Gary Benson
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Don't sell the 150/4 CFi Gary ... I kept mine because the 180/4CFi/CFE is brutally "honest" and not a friend to any female over the age of 12.

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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Arent tonality and dynamic range one of the two advantages of MF-backs? I wonder if those electronic units are the subject to judge these factors?

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    Re: Obsesive fun with MF: A900 verses CFV ... LOL!

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    Arent tonality and dynamic range one of the two advantages of MF-backs? I wonder if those electronic units are the subject to judge these factors?
    Probably not, but that wasn't the point of this exercise. Detail was.

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