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Thread: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

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    It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    The incessant "small-format-camera-X is as good as medium format and more practical" - trend starts to get annoying!...

    Why can’t people stop being obsessed with sensor quality (all modern sensors, at base iso, have good enough DR and resolution since years!), small camera weight differences and other non essential points.
    Photographic quality / high-fidelity is about optics! and here: Size does matter!
    For the rest, you could use your phone camera ... or a 35 mm DSLR for action photography.

    Larger images (transmitted by a lens) will have better micro-contrast and maximum sharpness – before even being “sampled” by a sensor / film – than “equivalent” (dof and fov – wise) images on a smaller system!

    On a larger format system the image produced by the lens is better to begin with : Larger size = shift to lower spatial frequencies = using the lens in a better zone of its Modulation Transfer Function = better overall micro-contrast = higher fidelity (to use an audio term) / lifelikeness.

    You could say that between equivalent “images” produced by a lens on different format systems there are more “analogical details” / better analogical information in the larger image: "It's the MTF advantage, stupid"

    No need to use extremely sharp lenses to get 25Mpx max of useful details like with a D800!

    Why is there such low MF "defense" even here in an MF forum!?
    Maybe it deserve to die? when even Phase-One CEO can only come up with "differentiation" as the main advantage for MF! (c.f. his ~recent video interview) ;-)
    or maybe it just doesn't need to be defended?

    I am not a professional, I'm just taking pictures for myself (and the people important to me); for the joy of stopping time into a lifelike image, and for that there is no volupty outside MF (or bigger)

    p.s. small format trolls: visit small format forums ;-)
    Last edited by edouard; 4th July 2013 at 05:17.

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    ... To have real equivalence between a larger and smaller system you would need the smaller system lens to have a proportionally better MTF / quality… which is difficult (and expensive) as you quickly reach the diffraction limit… We can’t fight against the law of physics! e.g. the difficulty / impossibility of finding lenses able to use the Nikon D800 full resolution versus using 30 year old ~cheap Zeiss, Schneider etc lenses on a MFD camera.

    Too bad digital medium-format is now only 1.8-2.2x larger than ff 35mm but hugely more expensive…
    Last edited by edouard; 4th July 2013 at 05:15.

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by edouard View Post
    Why is there such low MF "defense" even here in an MF forum!?
    Maybe it deserve to die? when even Phase-One CEO can only come up with "differentiation" as the main advantage for MF! (c.f. his ~recent video interview) ;-)
    or maybe it just doesn't need to be defended?
    If you stick around the forum long enough you'll notice this conversation happens like a broken record - almost entirely amongst those without MFD experience. Most of the MFD guys (even myself) get a bit worn down explaining the same things over and over again.

    The CEO is a great guy and incredibly smart but he is the CEO. He knows photography, and spends a lot of time with customers to know the market, but his main expertise and focus is in the business operations side. If you want a really thorough technological explanation of the benefits and drawbacks to medium format digital backs it's better to ask the CTO, one of the dealers, one of the guys in R+D, or a user.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by edouard View Post

    You could say that between equivalent “images” produced by a lens on different format systems there are more “analogical details” in the larger image: "It's the MTF advantage, stupid"

    Some parts of your post, I understand. That part is completely lost.

    No clue at all on what "analogical details" mean.

    I am all for large format. 8x10 would be great. IIRC, some medium format digital folks had claimed that a small format sensor "beats" 8x10 film. It is all in that "analogical" details, I suppose. :sleep006:
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    I am convinced about the MF-advantages each time when I look at images from my Leica S and at images from other cams with smaller sensors. (By the way besides IQ I also take advantage of the huge viewfinder in a MF camera).

    I believe analysis are looking way to much only at resolution and DR. There is much more about IQ, color being one of the points.
    In Germany we have this "Geiz ist geil"-mentality (maybe someone can translate). So I think some people feel smart if they explain how they get the same IQ while paying only a fraction of the price. But who cares. I am happy each time when I look at images from my MF gear.
    Defense? I dont feel I have to defend anything. If I look at images I trust what I see, no matter what other people write.
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Few say it is better, but some find it to be good enough and therefore use it. It is the same that happened to large format film, people started changing format not when mfd was better, but when it was good enough for commercial use. Not all will change from mfd to dslr now but some do. They are not trolls, they are merely professionals making a business decision.
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    It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by edouard View Post
    ... To have real equivalence between a larger and smaller system you would need the smaller system lens to have a proportionally better MTF / quality… which is difficult (and expensive) as you quickly reach the diffraction limit… We can’t fight against the law of physics! e.g. the difficulty / impossibility of finding lenses able to use the Nikon D800 full resolution versus using 50 year old ~cheap Zeiss, Schneider etc lenses on a MFD camera.

    Too bad digital medium-format is now only 1.8-2.2x larger than ff 35mm but hugely more expensive…

    For many years I've been a Nikon DSLR shooter (p.t. D800E) and I can easily agree with you, Edouard.
    And what you are saying about lens implications coincides basically with what Thom Hogan says about the pixel density difference between APS-C (DX) and 35mm (FX) format on his mostly Nikon-centric blog bythom dot com if you scroll down to his Apr 23, 2013 (commentary) "DX versus FX (again)"

    I'd love to be able to shoot with Medium Format sensors with their larger photosites, only they are still too expensive for my taste.
    But I'm sure that someday MF sensors will come down to a more affordable price level, it can only be a matter of time and patience.
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    In Germany we have this "Geiz ist geil"-mentality (maybe someone can translate). So I think some people feel smart if they explain how they get the same IQ while paying only a fraction of the price.

    That is very difficult to translate as there are no concise sayings like that (AFAIK) in English.

    (take a look here: Geiz ist geil auf englisch? - Seite 2. Talk about OT, eh?)

    This might explain it: Meet the Germans ? Typically German - The Germans and ... - bargain hunting*-*Goethe-Institut*

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    If you stick around the forum long enough you'll notice this conversation happens like a broken record - almost entirely amongst those without MFD experience. Most of the MFD guys (even myself) get a bit worn down explaining the same things over and over again.

    The CEO is a great guy and incredibly smart but he is the CEO. He knows photography, and spends a lot of time with customers to know the market, but his main expertise and focus is in the business operations side. If you want a really thorough technological explanation of the benefits and drawbacks to medium format digital backs it's better to ask the CTO, one of the dealers, one of the guys in R+D, or a user.
    It is the CEO's responsibility to both learn and educate his staff on he true benefits of a companies product. In this area P1 could do a lot better. Their products are fantastic but the whole industry is out flanking them in pr, networking and product promotion.
    Ed Cooley Fine Art Photography
     
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    I met with Stephan Schulz of Leica at the LA Leica Store opening. As proud as Leica is of the new M and the M lenses, the best camera system including the lenses is the S system.

    Scott

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Well he maybe just a wee bit bias since he runs the S division. LOL
    But hey that's his role too so nothing wrong with that.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    I don't understand your post... Why do you feel harassed? - And you are right! The sensors of the newer DSLR from data are sometimes better than an MF; equal if older or newer one. But... Do you remember the step from DX to FX...? The next is to MF.

    I have a Nikon FX-system for everything where I need to be mobil or where I have to use flash (the Nikon flash-system is for me one of the best).
    And by a random I bought a Mamiya ZD. I love it! It's not the best at low light - at least it's over 5 years old - but it's a great camera.

    I thought about buying a D800e (could see images at a friend who has this and a Leica S) - but I prefered the Mamiya. One of the reasons is that the pictures of the Mamiya are sharper than from the Nikon. Mostly. From my sight there was no glas for the Nikon which was really 100% convincing...

    But... For me the Mamiya is the camera I put on a tripod - in this kind I shoot 95% of my pictures. So the low Iso is no problem for me. If I need to be flexible I mostly use my D700/D3. But sold some of my manual lenses the last time, because I didn't use them so much.
    But I didn't want to loose the feeling of my Nikon with the 85/1.4 - that's a thing, the Mamiya couldn't deliver.

    For me every system has it's right.
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by Steen View Post
    I'd love to be able to shoot with Medium Format sensors with their larger photosites, only they are still too expensive for my taste.
    But I'm sure that someday MF sensors will come down to a more affordable price level, it can only be a matter of time and patience.
    Yes, but let's hope enough people are / will be using and loving MFD so that it doesn't disappear before prices could come down ;-)

    p.s. but let's put things in perspective, people spend a lot of money to regularly change their car for example (ok, I'm Swiss, maybe it's not like that everywhere)... they could keep their old car longer, and get a MFD back. instead ;-)
    Last edited by edouard; 4th July 2013 at 02:34.

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Some parts of your post, I understand. That part is completely lost.

    No clue at all on what "analogical details" mean.

    I am all for large format. 8x10 would be great. IIRC, some medium format digital folks had claimed that a small format sensor "beats" 8x10 film. It is all in that "analogical" details, I suppose. :sleep006:
    Yes it's difficult to explain / visualize... Maybe a better term would be analogical information.
    Details only exists because they contrast to other details. As they get smaller (on the projected image) this contrast starts to fade away (reduced contrast transmission at high spatial frequencies c.f. MTF ...) until everything turns to gray. It's not an all or nothing process until a maximum resolution is reached, it's progressive.
    So if the projected image is bigger, for the same scene, all details will be bigger and have better contrast (and smaller scene elements could be resolved). So for the same scene their is more/better transmitted analogical information.
    (I'm a scientist, but not in optics so sorry for my clumsy explanations).

    The problem is that in order to have a larger image circle, lenses need to be bigger (larger + with a longer focal to keep the same fov) and are more difficult to build. So what you gain by the shift to lower spatial frequency advantage you might loose by the lense being less sharp (per millimeters on the projected image). If the lense is not too bad, you gain more from the former than loose with the latter!

    Yes 8x10 is amazing! ('seen giant prints from LF images at Paris photo, impressive)
    To bad there are no digital backs bigger than 54x40mm (outside of aerial and astronomical photography)!...
    Last edited by edouard; 4th July 2013 at 05:10.

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    ...
    I believe analysis are looking way to much only at resolution and DR. There is much more about IQ, color being one of the points.
    In Germany we have this "Geiz ist geil"-mentality (maybe someone can translate). So I think some people feel smart if they explain how they get the same IQ while paying only a fraction of the price. But who cares. I am happy each time when I look at images from my MF gear.
    ...
    yes exactly!


    (although here again, colors are probably better because of the larger format = better quality of the projected image, not only because of the sensors... that, for MF, are now not having the best color depth)

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    Few say it is better, but some find it to be good enough and therefore use it. It is the same that happened to large format film, people started changing format not when mfd was better, but when it was good enough for commercial use. Not all will change from mfd to dslr now but some do. They are not trolls, they are merely professionals making a business decision.
    yes!

    thanks god, I'm not a professional photographer:
    I can enjoy the image quality, "non commerciability" and impracticality of my HB-500cm + CFV-50 ;-)

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by edouard View Post
    yes!

    thanks god, I'm not a professional photographer:
    I can enjoy the image quality, "non commerciability" and impracticality of my HB-500cm + CFV-50 ;-)
    Same here, I'm an amateur shooting landscapes with a Linhof Techno and loving it. I've bought most gear second hand which was a necessity for me to afford this hobby. I do like the quality advantage of the tech cam lenses, and also the workflow and the charm of the all-mechanical camera.

    If I was a professional and the quality of the DSLR output would be adequate for my clients it would be more complicated though. I don't think one can create true differentiation based on camera today, the smaller formats are now so good so it's all about the images, and that's a good thing. Ie if you do better images than the next MFD guy it does not matter if you use a DSLR.

    I don't really know what choices I would make. One part of me like to use this type of gear (the photographer), and one part of me really dislike to pay for overkill tools (the businessman). Assuming all-around photographic work an MFD camera is not flexible enough to replace a DSLR, so you don't choose between DSLR or MFD but you choose DSLR or DSLR+MFD. If you then discover that the DSLR has reached a good enough quality level to also do the MFD work, well... I know what the businessman thinks about that.

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    The I want gets in the way as well. Sometimes the business side just has to take a back seat to I want to have this regardless if it makes little sense. I have that argument with myself often. It's like having a devil on one shoulder and a angel on the other side and the debate rages on. Lol

    Sometimes that little **** wins the battle.

    You need to realize your in Dante's inferno here. Lol
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    My little 15Mpx Panasonic with the f1.4 lens lets me take pictures of jumping gymnasts in normal "gym" light... and it works if I get the lighting right and do not need to adjust contrast in post... if I forget to put a white rug on the floor to give a bit of low-fill, the image falls apart as soon as I try to adjust.

    The Hasselblad has to be at about f11 to get the same depth of field... so I need a load of lights.

    Where you have little control of the light (landscape) the ability to adjust the contrast in post is indispensable - and that, to me, is the difference.

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    Same here, I'm an amateur shooting landscapes with a Linhof Techno and loving it. I've bought most gear second hand which was a necessity for me to afford this hobby. I do like the quality advantage of the tech cam lenses, and also the workflow and the charm of the all-mechanical camera.

    If I was a professional and the quality of the DSLR output would be adequate for my clients it would be more complicated though. I don't think one can create true differentiation based on camera today, the smaller formats are now so good so it's all about the images, and that's a good thing. Ie if you do better images than the next MFD guy it does not matter if you use a DSLR.

    I don't really know what choices I would make. One part of me like to use this type of gear (the photographer), and one part of me really dislike to pay for overkill tools (the businessman). Assuming all-around photographic work an MFD camera is not flexible enough to replace a DSLR, so you don't choose between DSLR or MFD but you choose DSLR or DSLR+MFD. If you then discover that the DSLR has reached a good enough quality level to also do the MFD work, well... I know what the businessman thinks about that.

    Yes, but maybe some clients might see and enjoy a better look and feel. Moreover a modern auto-focus MF camera (Leica S, PO 645DF, HB H4/5D) is not that more impracticable than a big 35mm DSLR for most shoots!? Furthermore, in a photographer professional life, the initial gear investment should represent such a small fraction of the money he/she'll earn (or he/she should find another job!), that the higher price tag of MF is maybe not that important... (other spending such as employes, models, travels etc... would be more considerable) so it also doesn't justify a higher price tag on the client ... just my 2 cents...

    For me non professional, it's an easy choice: pleasure! MF and larger images sometimes have that special / magic look and feel, that small format images never have.
    Since that day when I bought a dirt cheap used 6x6 Kiev 60 camera and developed the first roll of film, I just can't enjoy small format images look and feel anymore: call me a fanatic! ;-)

    Obviously you could do pretty (or trite or ugly) images with any camera, but for me there is just no voluptuousness in taking pictures with a small format camera: call me a fanatic bis ;-)
    It's not that I can't enjoy other people's pictures independently of how they were produced, it's just that for myself I don't appreciate working with small format cameras.

    So yes, I feel MF deserves better/more PR!
    Last edited by edouard; 4th July 2013 at 10:28.

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Clients don't care about MTF. They care about the image. It is funny, about 100 years ago only 4x5 was the acceptable format for journalism "because of its quality" and the smaller formats were just rejected out of hand. If an art is simply based on technical criteria, then it is no longer art. Edward Weston was rejected for an exhibition by the Royal Photographic Society because his work did not have enough "shadow detail."

    But you MTF argument is false. A smaller format at a given aperture will actually have better MTF over the image simply because of greater DoF. Unless you are simply photographing flat planes, then MTF is not a reason for buying anything. Also, MTF is dependent on pixel pitch, so an RX1R will have exactly the same MTF as many 40MP MFD sensors like those from Phase One, Pentax, and Leica.

    I buy cameras I enjoy using. That is about as complicated as it gets.
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Problem is clients are getting more iPhone mentality. Which just upsets me more than anything.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    But you MTF argument is false. A smaller format at a given aperture will actually have better MTF over the image simply because of greater DoF. Unless you are simply photographing flat planes, then MTF is not a reason for buying anything. Also, MTF is dependent on pixel pitch, so an RX1R will have exactly the same MTF as many 40MP MFD sensors like those from Phase One, Pentax, and Leica.

    I buy cameras I enjoy using. That is about as complicated as it gets.
    Me too, but LOL ... maybe if you don't like technicalities (and the laws of optics) you shouldn't talk about technicalities you don't understand ;-)

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by edouard View Post
    Me too, but LOL ... maybe if you don't like technicalities (and the laws of optics) you shouldn't talk about technicalities you don't understand ;-)
    Well, perhaps you should not talk about professions you have never worked in. As far as understanding the technical aspects of photography, perhaps amateurs are not the best people to ask. ;-)

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Problem is clients are getting more iPhone mentality. Which just upsets me more than anything.
    The hard part is when their niece or nephew with the iPone screws up, they then call you to "fix" it.

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    p.s. a good read about lens resolution, MTF, diffraction, Nyquist limit etc...

    Do sensors “outresolve” lenses’ capabilities?

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    eduardo, I am with you on a lot of points about MF-cameras and backs.
    And I do my choices more and more based on feeling rather than logic.
    I had customers running circles around me with their 35mm dslr,
    but still coming back and ask me to teach them to take artistic photos of their models.
    So I just become more and more obnoxious with my choice of camera and format.

    But please, do not become patronizing, it do this discussion no service.
    And I been hanging around this forum for some time now, and a small tip is to select those you try to patronize cartefully.
    Sashin is a bad candidate for that type of treatment.

    But anyway, bring it on, the audience is impatience for some action
    Ray
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Well, perhaps you should not talk about professions you have never worked in. As far as understanding the technical aspects of photography, perhaps amateurs are not the best people to ask. ;-)
    The authority argument!? LOL

    Professional photographers are people earning money with their photography... it doesn't mean they know all the technicalities. They generally don't even care about those un-artistic technicalities!

    Great painters don't know (and care) about the chemistry in their colors! Whereas a chemist amateur painter might know a lot about that! ;-)
    Last edited by edouard; 4th July 2013 at 14:07.

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by edouard View Post
    The authority argument!? LOL

    Professional photographers are people earning money with their photography... it doesn't mean they know all the technicalities. They generally don't even care about those un-artistic technicalities!

    Great painters don't know (and care) about the chemistry in their colors! Whereas a chemist amateur painter could know a lot about that! ;-)
    Man, you are going nowhere with this.

    So, the great painter that is ignorant of the chemistry of paint has been successful in his field. But you are saying the amateur, that has details of a process that the painter is ignorant of, can show the success of the painter is really a product of chemistry. Interesting hypothesis. It is chemistry that makes van Gogh great then?

    Perhaps it really shows that the amateur does not understand the significance of the underlying process.

    BTW, you brought up professional photography as your "appeal to authority."

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Edouard, I found your title for this thread not offensive but comical because it is flawed.

    Shashin was correct to point out the obvious directly. MTF of smaller format lenses (the good ones) are much higher than the ones used for the medium format lenses where the requirements are a lot lower.

    Give it a rest.

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    It's the thread, stupid.
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Edouard, I found your title for this thread not offensive but comical because it is flawed.

    Shashin was correct to point out the obvious directly. MTF of smaller format lenses (the good ones) are much higher than the ones used for the medium format lenses where the requirements are a lot lower.

    Give it a rest.
    that's what I said in

    The problem is that in order to have a larger image circle, lenses need to be bigger (larger + with a longer focal to keep the same fov) and are more difficult to build. So what you gain by the shift to lower spatial frequency advantage you might loose by the lense being less sharp (per millimeters on the projected image). If the lense is not too bad, you gain more from the former than loose with the latter!
    yes smaller lens generally have better MTF but this can't compensate the shift to lower spatial frequencies you get with using a larger format!
    You just get more total cycles/details/points as the projected image is larger.

    But your right the title is kind of misleading, it should be the shift to lower spatial frequency advantage or the MTF shift advantage

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    by "MTF advantage" I meant (like stated in the first post)
    using the lens in a better zone of its Modulation Transfer Function
    not having a better MTF curve

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    p.s. here I was talking about raw MTF curves: cycles vs % transmission, not the MTF curves - transmission at 2 or 3 fixed cycles vs distance from center - provided by constructors. If all your image details are larger = there is a shift to lower spatial frequencies, where transmission is higher ...

    I can see that I'm not a good explainer, nor a good MF PR guy ;-) But all this is nonetheless true and represents an interesting subject

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Having just returned from a fishing trip where I had my RZ Pro IID, Linhof Techno, IQ160 and an olympus TG-1, I can say I got at least 1 lovely image with each camera. They all served different purposes at different times.

    I don't feel any need to justify MF. Too tired now, I may post some examples from the trip tomorrow.
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by wentbackward View Post
    ... I don't feel any need to justify MF. ...
    +1

    I love MF film. I know I'd love MF digital too, if I could afford to play with it. At the moment, it's simply too expensive to play with, and I don't want to get serious enough to try to figure a way for it to pay for itself.

    But justifying any particular format or camera type or photographic endeavor is always just foolishness. I was lambasted for showing some pinhole/zone plate photos recently, but ultimately I couldn't give a damn. I like them, and a sizable community of other folks seem to as well. If others do not, well, that's fine too. But I'm not going to try to defend them.

    Life's too short.

    G

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    The I want gets in the way as well. Sometimes the business side just has to take a back seat to I want to have this regardless if it makes little sense. I have that argument with myself often. It's like having a devil on one shoulder and a angel on the other side and the debate rages on. Lol

    Sometimes that little **** wins the battle.

    You need to realize your in Dante's inferno here. Lol
    There's the business side indeed, but even as professionals we should take our enjoyment into account too.

    I'm in a situation where the D800 is more than enough to answer my clients needs. Buying a tech cam + DB was totally irrational from a business point of view.
    On the other hand I'm also the one behind the camera and feel I deserve working with tools that give me pleasure and satisfaction. This is really the only justification I had to come up with
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Thanks for the post.

    As Doug P mentioned ... the redundant "this is as good as that" gets old. The "low defense" is due to it being a waste of time continually trying. It never ends well, and no one alters their opinion.

    Personally, I'm less concerned with the IQ differences between formats, even though I subscribe to the notion that there are visible differences ... and more concerned about the "good enough" syndrome so prevalent today. As such, I am speaking not as a fellow photographer but as a client. In my career in advertising I have been responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in photography and cinematography, worked with photographers from all walks of life and levels of experience, in down economies and up economies.

    The constant "good enough" references to professional photographers is a red herring ... the spread of talent, applications, experience, tech knowledge and resultant gear needs is just as great as with enthusiasts ... there is no one standard of professional photography, and a wide range of levels and standards with-in each category of professional photography.

    The whole "it's good enough" for clients today is also misleading. Most photographers do not have a clue about their clients, or how to sell them ... some do as they are told, and bitch about it later. A majority of photographers are crappy salespeople, where some are extremely good at it, or have a rep. Far too many photographers know their business, but not that of their clients ... so they can't relate what they want to do to reasons for the client to buy better work, and it all devolves to pricing as the criteria. From what I can tell, that is epidemic today.

    "Good enough" may work for some for awhile, but that doesn't mean "all". IMO, "Good Enough" is a creative disease ... it can start with the quality of the images, but like a cancer spread to the qualities of the imagery. In my career in advertising, I've seen that happen over and over and over in all sorts of creative efforts. The first signs of failure is often a decrease in craftsmanship, as opposed to a relentless push for even a little bit better.

    Just a few thoughts on the subject ...

    - Marc
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Nice one Marc, I think that applies to life, not just photography. I for one can't rest at good enough.
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    I don't know ... I'm feeling quite not very comfortable as I have the feeling I was the one forcing edouard into this...

    However, I just posted two pictures in the "Artful Pictures..." section. Both of them are not exactly safe for work - nothing too extreme of course - but you may want to take a look and guess which one is done with either a Hasselblad or a Nikon System.

    Please guys: I don't want to start any discussion about the need of MFD nor the replacement of a H with a N. I just wanted to share MY decision and why I did so.

    I fully understand, that there are a million reasons why a MFD is still better in some cases than a DSLR (and vice versa) as like for Fashion <-> Sports.

    S.
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Edouard, I found your title for this thread not offensive but comical because it is flawed.

    Shashin was correct to point out the obvious directly. MTF of smaller format lenses (the good ones) are much higher than the ones used for the medium format lenses where the requirements are a lot lower.

    Give it a rest.
    I do get what Edouard is trying to discuss. But you're right, his thread title is misleading.

    A better thread title might have been "It's the lp/ph advantage, stupid". What larger format systems can, and should, deliver is greater total resolved detail, which is often encapsulated in a single figure as line pairs per picture height; lp/ph.

    Ray
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by ondebanks View Post
    I do get what Edouard is trying to discuss. But you're right, his thread title is misleading.

    A better thread title might have been "It's the lp/ph advantage, stupid". What larger format systems can, and should, deliver is greater total resolved detail, which is often encapsulated in a single figure as line pairs per picture height; lp/ph.

    Ray
    yes, or maybe just:
    "Size does matter!"

    ;-)

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan ROX View Post
    I don't know ... I'm feeling quite not very comfortable as I have the feeling I was the one forcing edouard into this...

    However, I just posted two pictures in the "Artful Pictures..." section. Both of them are not exactly safe for work - nothing too extreme of course - but you may want to take a look and guess which one is done with either a Hasselblad or a Nikon System.

    Please guys: I don't want to start any discussion about the need of MFD nor the replacement of a H with a N. I just wanted to share MY decision and why I did so.

    I fully understand, that there are a million reasons why a MFD is still better in some cases than a DSLR (and vice versa) as like for Fashion <-> Sports.

    S.

    Yes, interesting subject: I think the higher micro-contrast & optical resolution of larger format is mostly impressive on pictures with a lot of details the brain is used to process, so more visible in group photography and "wide scenes" than on macro for example.
    For boudoir photography, let's say that the brain got focused on the few parts that are detailed enough even with less micro-contrast ;-) ;-) + with post-processing it becomes difficult to tell (although it won't be high fidelity anymore if too processed). I'm sure I can't tell the difference (+ on small sized images)!

    This made me also think: One could argue that a 2x surface increase like 35mm vs current MFD backs is not large enough... unlike 35mm vs 6x6 (3.8x increase = ~50% reduction in spatial frequencies). To me, film full 6x6 still looks more impressive than 645 MFD, but I hate going to the dev shop, waiting and scanning.

    You shouldn't switch to small format but to 8x10 instead ;-) ;-)

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    You shouldn't switch to small format but to 8x10 instead ;-) ;-)
    or even better: life-size direct-positive prints ;-)
    Uncomfortably Close: Richard Learoyd’s, Presences - LightBox

    ('have seen few of his giant photos at Paris Photo 2011, 'never seen something that impressive / disturbing!)

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan ROX View Post
    I don't know ... I'm feeling quite not very comfortable as I have the feeling I was the one forcing edouard into this...

    However, I just posted two pictures in the "Artful Pictures..." section. Both of them are not exactly safe for work - nothing too extreme of course - but you may want to take a look and guess which one is done with either a Hasselblad or a Nikon System.

    Please guys: I don't want to start any discussion about the need of MFD nor the replacement of a H with a N. I just wanted to share MY decision and why I did so.

    I fully understand, that there are a million reasons why a MFD is still better in some cases than a DSLR (and vice versa) as like for Fashion <-> Sports.

    S.
    If you are only posting sub 1 meg, 8 bit jpegs in sRGB color space on the internet, then you do not need a FF 35mm DSLR either Stan. A $800 camera and decent lens, coupled with advanced lighting know-how (ambient or strobe) can fool many eyes ... (although I suspect Guy nailed which is which, and why, on your comparison thread). Next time also shoot it with a Canon Rebel and a 85/1.8 ... it could save you a lot of money

    Again, I am forwarding the notion that it is impossible to sort out each individual need or desire regarding IQ because the components are a huge jumble of different requirements ... thus making ANY definitive proclamation "for or against" anything merely a personal preference based on your own criteria.

    IMO, that is different from settling for "good enough".

    Where I live, the commercial studios that once thrived are all but extinct ... yet in the midst of this a few have made an amazing success of it, and continue to grow. Since I used one of them for advertising stuff in past I asked the photographer how the hell he pulled it off. He said that while others reacted to the market by diminishing their product (what I call profit by attrition), he ramped it up, took the risk, and formulated a business strategy of flawless craftsmanship coupled with understanding the client's business, trained his shooters how to achieve it quickly, and sold all that to clients who otherwise may have been strictly price buyers.

    Result: he has built an amazing new studio, has 9 photo stations running 24/7 ... shoots 95% of the work with Hasselblad H cameras two of which are Multi-Shots. When he tests gear it is to the criteria that's winning over his clients, and more importantly keeping them. He has one 35mm DSLR for reference shots.

    Personally, I stepped back from a much loved 60 meg set-up to my dual shutter capable S system as I further retire from the fray. While the sensor is smaller, there are zero concerns regarding the optics which are all new digital specific ASPH or APO designs, consistent from focal length to focal length, and each is spectacular. It fits my current needs to a T, while providing the versatility, shooting pleasure, and IQ I've grown accustomed to.

    - Marc

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post

    But you MTF argument is false. A smaller format at a given aperture will actually have better MTF over the image simply because of greater DoF.
    Well, MTF is a property of the lens; not of the input scene, and not of the output image. The lens' MTF is not a single function either. Although normally plotted for a system in perfect focus, it changes (worsens) as the PSF changes on either side of focus. So, bringing DOF into things isn't really fair; because the scenario you gave ("a smaller format at a given aperture") gives an advantage to the smaller format system thanks to its greater proportion of scene convolved with a (nearly) in-focus PSF - but it doesn't deliver the same picture due to the DOF differences which would be clear to the viewer.

    To equalize the pictures, requires equalizing the DOFs, which means stopping down the larger format lens more. Then one gets into this familiar argument:
    "equalizing the DOF -> stopping down more -> more diffraction -> blurrier PSF -> detail lost in direct proportion to the format size -> conclusion: all sufficiently well sampled formats deliver the same detail for a given picture; there is actually no point in using larger formats".

    Where that conclusion falls down is that it assumes that all lenses are diffraction limited at all f-stops; that for smaller and smaller formats, there will exist faster and faster lenses which are still diffraction limited wide open.

    In practice, we are much more likely to find that our larger format lenses - even cheaper old ones - are happily diffraction limited at their modest and small f-stops than the smaller format lenses are at their wider f-stops; thus delivering the same picture DOF but with higher levels of in-focus detail.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Unless you are simply photographing flat planes, then MTF is not a reason for buying anything.
    Flat planes...or the inside "surface" of an infinite sphere (astrophotography! )...or if it's a non-flat-plane nearby subject but you are not looking for deep DOF, and just want lots of resolved detail where it is in focus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Also, MTF is dependent on pixel pitch,
    Well, sort of...if you choose to use a certain pixel pitch to normalize everything. But the standard units are lp/mm spatial cycles, which has the advantage of being independent of pixel size, or indeed of any kind of sampling. MTFs existed prior to digital imaging!

    Ray
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan ROX View Post
    I don't know ... I'm feeling quite not very comfortable as I have the feeling I was the one forcing edouard into this...
    ...
    S.
    Stan, you've clearly balanced all factors and made your choice, that's why I don't think there's a MF/SF debate. With your talent, you could easily take those photo's with a D600 and they would still be stunning and probably not much in it between the D600 and D800, and the same argument could start D600 vs D800. It's a never ending argument and pointless.

    One of the nicest images from my recent trips can only be printed at about 18" wide because it was taken with a waterproof P&S. So be it, I was in a river in waders. IQ was not even a consideration, walking away with something I could print, from the middle of a fast flowing River in Norway was the requirement.
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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by edouard View Post
    or even better: life-size direct-positive prints ;-)
    Uncomfortably Close: Richard Learoyd’s, Presences - LightBox

    ('have seen few of his giant photos at Paris Photo 2011, 'never seen something that impressive / disturbing!)
    Wow, I really like these. Amazing stuff.
    Keeping film photography and printing alive!

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Regarding Marc comment and reaction to my post I agree there's no one standard in professional photography. However in such highly competitive markets my feeling is photographers are fully aware of their clients needs. Those who don't cease to exist pretty quickly.

    Knowing which tools are good enough to produce one's vision and meet tech criteria really says nothing about a photographer high standards and general attitude toward work. Good enough equipment for a given task doesn't have to translate into good enough work. It's a business decision first and foremost, and maybe more of a German/northern EU one indeed.
    Whether we like it or not on a metaphysical level is a different matter and a distinct debate.

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    Re: It's the MTF advantage, stupid

    Quote Originally Posted by ondebanks View Post
    Well, MTF is a property of the lens; not of the input scene, and not of the output image. The lens' MTF is not a single function either. Although normally plotted for a system in perfect focus, it changes (worsens) as the PSF changes on either side of focus. So, bringing DOF into things isn't really fair; because the scenario you gave ("a smaller format at a given aperture") gives an advantage to the smaller format system thanks to its greater proportion of scene convolved with a (nearly) in-focus PSF - but it doesn't deliver the same picture due to the DOF differences which would be clear to the viewer.

    To equalize the pictures, requires equalizing the DOFs, which means stopping down the larger format lens more. Then one gets into this familiar argument:
    "equalizing the DOF -> stopping down more -> more diffraction -> blurrier PSF -> detail lost in direct proportion to the format size -> conclusion: all sufficiently well sampled formats deliver the same detail for a given picture; there is actually no point in using larger formats".

    Where that conclusion falls down is that it assumes that all lenses are diffraction limited at all f-stops; that for smaller and smaller formats, there will exist faster and faster lenses which are still diffraction limited wide open.

    In practice, we are much more likely to find that our larger format lenses - even cheaper old ones - are happily diffraction limited at their modest and small f-stops than the smaller format lenses are at their wider f-stops; thus delivering the same picture DOF but with higher levels of in-focus detail.



    Flat planes...or the inside "surface" of an infinite sphere (astrophotography! )...or if it's a non-flat-plane nearby subject but you are not looking for deep DOF, and just want lots of resolved detail where it is in focus.



    Well, sort of...if you choose to use a certain pixel pitch to normalize everything. But the standard units are lp/mm spatial cycles, which has the advantage of being independent of pixel size, or indeed of any kind of sampling. MTFs existed prior to digital imaging!

    Ray
    Ray, so systemic MTF is not real? I have a book that tells you how to calculate it. I find it really hard to benefit from the lens output without putting a sensor in the way. And you are going to tell me that in a 100% crop of my 6um RX-1 image at f/11 is going to be different from my 6um 645D with a 35mm at f/11? I would argue the MTF is identical.

    The point I was trying to make to make is that there are too many factors in which to make absolute statements.

    Actually, that wasn't the point I was trying to make. I think the OP is confusing GetDPI with DPreview. Opening a thread by calling people stupid is sad. Why can't photographers get along. Why are they so condescending toward each other--and I plead guilty as charged, but as a reformed sinner...(Hypocracy is my favorite form of government.)

    And there is several problems with equivalency models. First, you need to bias the model. You can get a bunch of factor to equalize, but there will be at least one that is not. Most simply bias the system in favor of their point of view. The second problem with an equivalency model is that it assumes their one is the "correct" way of making a photograph. The old larger-format-are-for-shallow-DOF argument really never stopped large-format shooter stopping down for a large DOF--never seen shallow DOF in any of Adams work. I would argue DOF is not what gives large- and medium-format their "look," but their focal length, or rather their limited choice of FoV. Likewise, if you want the "look" of a particular format, shoot that format--never known a photographer thinking, "lets see, I am working in APS-C and I want this to look like it was taken in 35mm and so I need to convert this focal and aperture..."

    Photography is subjective. It is an art form, at least once you stop shooting brick walls and test charts. The resulting image is the final word and the viewer perception of that. I think you are going to find it hard to find a direct relationship between that and MTF. And no system is going to get passed the limits of the human visual system--at what point does MTF become irrelevant?

    The camera is a subjective choice of the photographer. It is not superficial. Photographers understand all the factors that camera choice gives. For the photographer, the relationship to the tools is important. The problem is each photographer comes up with a different solution. Just as there are different types of photographs. Now, I have a Phase One back and a 645D (and my D800 is sleeps in its box except for quick and dirty work). I am certainly not going to say forget MFD, on the contrary, it is a great format, but the MTF argument is too simple. In a dark bar, what MFD is going to do what I can do with an OMD with a 12mm f/2 lens? "But," I hear you say, "MFD is not a street camera!" But you would be wrong. I have done street with MFD. I am happy with the limitations. But I understand the benefits of other systems. I am thinking the OMD is going to have better MTF in the bar. Or maybe not, if I am lucky. (And I am talking about systemic MTF.)

    And naturally, no one would use MFD for astrophotography.

    I guess I am tired of the my-camera-is-bigger-than-yours arguments. In a way, this is no different than the D800-killed-MFD arguments that keep coming around. Personally, I would not worry whether my images are optimized for MTF, but are worth showing. And I think one of the reasons, and one of many, that images of MFD and other shooters of high-end equipment is "better" is because of the skill of the photographers to make compelling images, skills that were learned over time and a great deal of effort. There is nothing wrong with being technically competent, I would actually recommend it, but then what?

    :rant off:

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