The article is an interesting photographic conceit. It clearly has an elitist flavour (although that doesn't bother me - a lot of Marks articles do read this way) and is clearly striving to promote medium format as superior (lets leave that discussion for another thread
). The analogies to high end Audio and fine wine are just being used to illustrate the author's points and I don't think in and of itself that is a bad thing either. I think we can allow license for writers to draw analogies where they see fit. I see nothing wrong with that.
What concerns me however; is that the article is claiming picture A comes from a 'smaller format camera
' and picture B comes from the IQ180 on an ALPA. A detailed analysis in Bridge shows all the metadata has been stripped from image A and not image B. In fact Image A is actually labelled as 'i-phone'. I can only assume that this was indeed the capture device used. If this was the case Mark should have come clean in the article that this was the capture device used.
On first reading I thought I read that image A was from a DSLR; however, I must have imagined that since a 2nd reading shows no specific type of camera is actually mentioned other than "smaller format camera
Im not surprised in the slightest that image B looks better than image A (on my calibrated Spectraview monitor). If it didn't and I owned an IQ180 I would be more than a little annoyed
Had image A been shot with say a 1DS MKIII, Sony NEX or D3X the results would have been much closer. All three of these cameras will smoke the iPhone even at the resolution used to illustrate. So what is the author trying to prove?
At the risk of guessing what Mark was driving at: Simply that better (more expensive) cameras produce better images than less expensive cameras even at low resolution. Would this test have been any different had he actually used a DSLR? Yes. The gap between image A and image B would have been much smaller - and possibly not even noticeable at the resolution displayed. Thus I conclude that the example Mark has used is 'extreme' to make his point.
I am not saying I agree or disagree either with Marks conclusions since they fly smack in the face of Michaels own print tests (remember the Canon G9 [I think it was the G9] vs. the Phase camera in 'You have to be kidding me!' article. Clearly Mark missed that one....