I don’t care to argue over the flaws of a test like this but I would like to point out that the style of test used is not only stale and outdated, it’s limited. Taking a photograph of “test” items that engineers and pixel-peepers love to use to “get their gun off” is not impressive. A better test would be to head outdoors, have all four photographers setup and shoot the same composition under natural lighting conditions, using four different cameras and tripods and THEN compare the results. Why? Simple: 4x5 film (and the camera movements) have specific purposes, like Tilt / Shift / Swing / Rise / and Fall. All things that cannot be done with a standard camera. Sure, you can buy a $2000 TSE Lens from Canon or Nikon, but now you’ve probably just spent $5000 on a rig that still won’t BEAT 4x5 film in the hands someone that knows how to shoot.
The Nikon D800E seems to be the closest competitor in the FF world to catching, not beating, but catching 4x5 film capability (notice I didn’t say quality). Lens factor is certainly important and I’m sorry but the lenses they used are simply NOT the best lens choices for those cameras. The Hasselblad 50-110 zoom is a soft lens (I’ve owned it) and for shooting 4x5 you’d be better off trying a Schneider 90mm MC Copal 0 or a Super-Symmar 110mm lens.
Meet me at the top of the cliffs overlooking Pennybacker Bridge in Austin, TX. Bring your best Canon, your best Nikon, I’ll bring a Wista 45SP with a Schneider MC 90mm F5.6 Copal lens and some filters (depending on the lighting conditions chosen) and we’ll examine afterward. Sadly, I already know what to expect:
The P45 Back will do quite nicely with noise and detail.
The P30 Back (which I’ve owned and wouldn’t recommend) will be less sharp and have less contrast.
The Canon (any Canon) will be soft (the internal filters Canon uses destroy image integrity IMO)
The Nikon (800E) with a good TS Lens (very important) would render the scene quite nicely.
The Wista 45 with Schneider 90mm lens (if adjusted and focused properly, using good quality Velvia or Portra film, will produce the best shadow detail and best depth of field.
Which Camera is best for this situation... personally I would take either the 800E or the Wista. What camera would work best for shooting rag dolls, dollar bills and pointless trinkets... a $200 point and shoot down at BestBuy! Moral of the story: find a worthy composition for TRUE comparison and then you’ll have something to argue over. Just my two cents...