I went into an exploration of the MF environment very agnostic about whether the difference in IQ would be worth investing in, and in the final analysis I decided if I wanted the ultimate in image quality that a camera system could deliver, this is it - even for 13*19 inch prints. I took special care to evaluate my decision in that context, because I seldom print larger than that.
Mark, Mark, Mark,
You seldom print larger than 13"x19" yet you've invested in an MFDB system??? What are we to think?
Are you the ultimate pixel-peeper?
Here's what Mark Dubovoy wrote about pixel peepers, to quote:
Beware Pixel Peepers! A typical P65+ file in TIFF format is 386 Megabytes. Hasselblad H3D II files are slightly over 300 Megabytes each. It is totally impractical to present multiple images of this size on line. Furthermore, to even begin to evaluate the color in one of these images requires a perfectly profiled and calibrated professional graphics grade display (no, your mighty 30-inch Apple or NEC or other “standard” computer displays are not even remotely up to the task). The images vastly exceed the color gamut of most monitors. Also, remember that a computer monitor is inherently a low resolution device. Even the best HD monitor has a resolution that pales in comparison to an inkjet printer. Add to that the fact that the images presented in the article are either screen shots or JPEGs in a much reduced color space (sRGB) and the conclusion is that if you try to “pixel peep” you are wasting your time and you are likely to reach meaningless conclusions.
Now to contrast this statement, I would like to describe my own experiences as regards pixel-peeping.
As one gets older, one tends to become more long-sighted. That is, reading requires spectacles, but the full moon on a clear night might still appear detailed.
So it was with me. About 16 years ago, reading became a bit of a strain, and the optician prescribed spectacles with a +1x magnification.
16 years later, those same spectacles required for ease of reading are now perfect for long distances, such as trees on the horizon or the moon on a clear night.
I don't need
the spectacles to get around, drive a car etc. If I wasn't into Photography and wasn't concerned about resolution, I just wouldn't bother. But I know through experimentation, if I want to appreciate the maximum detail of a distant scene, I need spectacles with a +1x magnification.
If I want to pixel-peep two images on my monitor at 100%, or 200% or even 400%, I need spectacles with a +2.5 to +3x magnification.
If I want to see the maximum detail in a high quality HD source on my 65" plasma TV, I need spectacles of +1.25x magnification, and I need to sit no further than 2.4 metres (or 7ft 10in) from the screen.
I mention this just to demonstrate that I have no reason to believe that my eyesight is deficient when using the appropriate specatcles.
If one examines Mark Dubovoy's statement about pixel peeping more carefully, he seems to be implying that the print from the MFDB file is so significantly better than any crop at any enlargement viewed on the monitor, that pixel peeping is not relevant, partly because an inkjet printer has higher resolution than a monitor, and also because some printers have a slightly wider color gamut than even a good monitor.
I don't find these reasons at all credible in light of my own experiences. If the print is better than the view on the monitor (in terms of resolution at the appropriate magnification on the monitor), or in terms of color gamut which the monitor cannot display, then such differences are of a pixel-peeping magnitude.
Furthermore, Mark Segal, any 'additional' qualities you see in your 13"x19" print from an MFDB file (as opposed to a 35mm file), viewed from the distance you would read a book, will disappear from even a slightly greater distance, like 600mm, never mind 2.4 metres.