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Author Topic: The Full Frame Myth  (Read 26082 times)

John Camp

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #60 on: December 22, 2013, 11:17:23 PM »

I have no problem with high resolution cameras. I have one myself (a D800.) And I have very good lenses to go with it. But some people here -- I'm looking at you Ray -- have interpreted what I said to what they think I said, and then rebut it without realizing I didn't say that. I simply said that no famous photo (that I can think of, and I can think of a lot) depends on high resolution.

As an example, possibly the most famous photo ever taken: Moonrise, Hernandez NM by Ansel Adams. Taken with a camera, lens and film combination that would be universally denigrated by the contemporary high-res crowd because his equipment (and especially the film) could probably be out-resolved by a GX7. Yet, he made big beautiful prints, and nobody (I know) who looks at a good print of MHNM really thinks it lacks resolution. It's just fine. Many of the most famous photos were made by equipment that would probably be out resolved by today's point-and-shoots.

But I don't think high resolution is bad...I just don't think it's ever been as necessary as some think it is, at least since film got really good, and even the really good film wasn't as good in resolution as what we have now in digital...

(I would agree that some people need as much resolution as they can get, like wildlifephoto with his bird shots, which I much admire. But that's a pretty extreme exception.)   
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David Sutton

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #61 on: December 23, 2013, 02:21:33 AM »

John, I have been working on trying to nail down the source of this quote, so far without success. So I can't swear to its veracity.
The ongoing development or the Daguerrotype in the early 1840s led to a huge improvement in image quality compared to the work of Talbot and others. A regret expressed at the time went:
"Our young men should spend more time considering the composition and merit of their images, and less time with magnifying glasses counting how many bricks and shingles they can resolve"
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Petrus

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #62 on: December 23, 2013, 02:25:15 AM »

As an example, possibly the most famous photo ever taken: Moonrise, Hernandez NM by Ansel Adams. Taken with a camera, lens and film combination that would be universally denigrated by the contemporary high-res crowd because his equipment (and especially the film) could probably be out-resolved by a GX7.

Maybe not in this case, as he used a 8x10 view camera for this shot. Generally large part of the whole Ansel Adams fame is based on technical perfection and I do not remember him ever using smaller format than 6x6 with Hasselblad (with 5 backs loaded with same film to be push or pull processed, maybe even pre-exposed) to get the exposures perfect for each subject.

One criticism levied against AA was precisely the amount of technological honing he did glorifying sometimes slightly mundane subject matter. If he was living now he would possibly the biggest pixel peeper of all… And using D800e comparing different RAW converters and sharpening strategies ad infinitum…
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Maarten

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #63 on: December 23, 2013, 03:17:13 AM »

About six weeks ago I was ready to buy the OMD-1 after an oly-day of shooting with it. Lucky for me it was still on "pre-order" so I was able to reflect on my premature decision and, as a philosopher, that's always the right thing to do. Ask yourself "what is the truth". Some thirty years ago I travelled, with my backpack, through Canada, US and Central America carrying an additional 10 kilo Hasselblad set: IQ is more important than weight.

When I read Michael's essay, I couldn't help thinking of an old man (like me  :) ) complaining about the load he has to carry (not me  ;D), justifying the smaller and lighter MFT camera's with the "resolution and image quality" argument.

I bought my D800 two weeks ago, it's a nice ergonomic body that fits very well in my (not so big) hands. The truth is that FF IQ is better than MFT IQ and I will carry the weight  :D. Why 36mp's? Why not!

Maarten (European)
« Last Edit: December 23, 2013, 04:56:09 AM by Maarten »
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Ray

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #64 on: December 23, 2013, 03:53:45 AM »

I simply said that no famous photo (that I can think of, and I can think of a lot) depends on high resolution.


And I simply refuted that statement as appearing false. I find it odd that you should refer to the work of Ansel Adams as an example to support your argument. We should all know what a stickler for detail was Ansel Adams, as Petrus has stated quite well in reply #65.

My understanding is that most of the great photographers of the past used large or medium format plate or film. That was not because small plates were not available, but presumably because those great photographers of the day, such as Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, Frank Sutcliffe and so on, appreciated the greater resolution and the smoother tonality that the larger format provided.

My father was taking photos in the 1920s as a school kid, using very small format plates which are about 2 &1/2" x 1 3/4". I was surprised to discover them after he passed away. I didn't know such small-format plates existed but they obviously did, and the cameras would have been very affordable and portable. But probably not the sort of cameras used by great photographers of the day to create 'great' photos.  ;)
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bcooter

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #65 on: December 23, 2013, 06:28:26 AM »

If you guys want to blast to the past, then blast then the look of modern photography was set by Art Kane.

http://Artkane.com/

Some of this holds up today, some doesn't but Kane didn't do the "let technique rule the concept", which we see as much if not more today than he did when he started.

He went to 35mm when in the professional world  that was heresy.  Then again he shot fashion with a 20mm, martini glasses in the sahara when nobody dared shoot a product shot outside in the sun, Louis Armstrong on a railroad track, when even today, that shot would have been on a white background at the standard boring NY studio on a white cove.

They knew Kodachrome wasn't 8x10, but then again, they knew that dropping an 8x10 down low, adding a wide, checking the corners for cutoff, focus, compose, focus compose would cut into the spontaneity.

I've shot people with 8x10 but only because I wanted to but only one client ever  demand it (and this is right before we went to digital capture), so I dunno it depends on what you shoot., how you shoot, what style you shoot in.

But digital has changed the format definition.   Large format is 645, medium format is 35mm, small 35mm format is micro four thirds and the micro four thirds cameras like the om1 reflect that.

I own all three formats, actually with the RED cinema cameras 4 formats and see a use for all, but don't believe that there are any rules when it comes to formats.

This is a still from the RED1, why . . . cause I like it.


This was a video with a p21+ a Contax and flash , because . . . I wanted that cut frame look.

http://www.russellrutherford.com/cut_frank_lola.mov

This image I shot with a 5d2 because I left the 1ds3's and contax in LA, was in Paris shooting motion and had an editorial come in.


This made a 5'x9" print sold in auction for 5 figures and I'm not a fine art guy.

I have one of these prints in my Hallway.  Last night I looked at it and I can promise you, the technical quality (whatever that means) isn't any better if as good as the omd em1.

I'm positive of that, but the photo worked, the editorial ran and the cherry on top was the fine art sale.

Now if Sony made the A7 series (which is a shameless rip off of the omd em-1 design) as good a camera as the em1(it's not) or shot as pretty (it' doesn't other than megapixel detail with a sandbag on top), then I'll buy it, but if anyone makes a a larger format small camera I hope it's olympus cause those cats can make a camera and they don't seem to give a rats a__ about who has the largest in the room.

IMO

BC.


« Last Edit: December 23, 2013, 06:42:13 AM by bcooter »
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fredjeang2

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #66 on: December 23, 2013, 06:53:28 AM »

I agree with Olympus.
This is a brand I respect very much.
I had an Om2 (analog) and a wide range of glasses,
It was a gas

I think, even more than bodies themselves, that the
Oly real strengh were their lenses.
In fine arts we used to call Oly, the "japanese Leica".
For the quality of the lenses.

Before they did the micro 4/3 and it was just 4/3
They created a range of digital glasses that were
Absolutly outstanding, on the Leitz level.

And the only camera I regret to have sold was the
E1. I'd buy one again today.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2013, 08:17:23 AM by fredjeang2 »
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Manoli

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #67 on: December 23, 2013, 07:44:01 AM »

If you guys want to blast to the past, then blast then the look of modern photography was set by Art Kane…  He went to 35mm when in the professional world  that was heresy.  Then again he shot fashion with a 20mm, martini glasses in the sahara when nobody dared shoot a product shot outside in the sun,…

http://Artkane.com/

Good link, BC - thanks. But wasn't Bert Stern the one who did the martini glasses in the sahara ?
(That's not rhetorical, it's a 'I thought, don't know, not sure, do you know' question)
« Last Edit: December 23, 2013, 07:51:06 AM by Manoli »
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OldRoy

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #68 on: December 23, 2013, 07:59:12 AM »

For anyone who needs only 10 mp, a 54 mp DSLR can be tremendous value and a great tool. A 50mm prime lens on such a camera becomes effectively a high quality 50-150mm zoom, from the perspective of someone who doesn't need more than 10 mp.
Apart from the fact that "10 mp" is a somewhat arbitrary baseline, the statement above seems to me one of the most significant advantages of increased resolution - but one that seldom seems to, ahem, crop up in this kind of discussion.
Having adopted M4/3 and a Panasonic 100-300 lens for snapping birds (usually stationary, admittedly) I wince when I  see people lugging 5-600 mm lenses around.
Roy
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telyt

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #69 on: December 23, 2013, 10:12:21 AM »

While I would rather make photos with more than enough detail and smooth tonal gradation it appears from several recent sales that some of my clients don't give a rat's a$$ about such nonsense.

I can't make a blanket statement about the market as a whole, nor can I accurately guess whether my sales would be any different if my technically weak images were sharper or less noisy.  What I do know is that at least in some segments of the market, technical quality is either not on the radar screen or the clients have no idea how much more detail, tonality and color richness is possible.  I'd like to satisfy this market segment and also the segments that want the technical quality along with the content.  There isn't a right or wrong in this, it's more a question of what sells and what doesn't.

My conclusion: poor technical quality doesn't always prevent sales; weak content almost always does prevent sales.  Does better technical quality, all else being equal, help sales?  I can guess that it does but I don't have enough data points to reach a conclusion.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2013, 10:36:37 AM by wildlightphoto »
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Rob C

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #70 on: December 23, 2013, 10:31:24 AM »

Good link, BC - thanks. But wasn't Bert Stern the one who did the martini glasses in the sahara ?
(That's not rhetorical, it's a 'I thought, don't know, not sure, do you know' question)




Yes, and in fact I think it was a Heublein ad. with a mirror part-buried in the sand providing the reflected images. I think it was for Smirnoff Vodka, part of the Heublein stable in the day.

In my eye, Art Kane and Pete Turner could have been colour twins.

Rob C
« Last Edit: December 23, 2013, 10:33:40 AM by Rob C »
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Telecaster

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #71 on: December 23, 2013, 03:34:53 PM »

Galen Rowell used 35mm film, Kodachrome & later Velvia, and made it look like medium format due to his compositional & technical skills. If you've ever been to his gallery in Bishop, CA, and seen large prints of his best work you'll know it still holds up.

Every interchangeable-lens camera system from m43 on up currently in production can outperform, in terms of spatial resolution and dynamic range, every color transparency film ever made. Technically we've never had it so good.

So how come so many people are so grumpy about it all? It's almost as though some of y'all resent having the technical bounty spread around. I prefer the James Russell approach myself.

-Dave-
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Alan Smallbone

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #72 on: December 23, 2013, 03:45:51 PM »



So how come so many people are so grumpy about it all? It's almost as though some of y'all resent having the technical bounty spread around. I prefer the James Russell approach myself.

-Dave-

This forum would never be the same without the grumpiness and the endless discussions...  ;D

Happy Holidays and best wishes for the New Year,

Alan
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Alan Smallbone
Orange County, CA

telyt

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #73 on: December 23, 2013, 05:15:51 PM »

Galen Rowell used 35mm film, Kodachrome & later Velvia, and made it look like medium format due to his compositional & technical skills. If you've ever been to his gallery in Bishop, CA, and seen large prints of his best work you'll know it still holds up.

I've been to his gallery in Bishop, and at Rowell's former Emeryville gallery I've seen his prints side-by-side with Bill Atkinson's (http://www.billatkinson.com/) who at the time was using Hasselblad film cameras.  Rowell's photos do not look like they were made with medium format equipment and film, the difference is obvious.
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Telecaster

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #74 on: December 23, 2013, 09:34:45 PM »

I've been to his gallery in Bishop, and at Rowell's former Emeryville gallery I've seen his prints side-by-side with Bill Atkinson's (http://www.billatkinson.com/) who at the time was using Hasselblad film cameras. Rowell's photos do not look like they were made with medium format equipment and film, the difference is obvious.

I'll take your word for it in this particular context as Atkinson is himself a highly skilled photographer.

-Dave-
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John Camp

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #75 on: December 23, 2013, 10:43:24 PM »

Ray, I picked the Adams shot precisely because most people find it beautiful and technically excellent, although Adams did not have access to equipment that could do what ours does. So do we really need to do more than what he did? Is there much sense in this continual pixel-peeping?

As far as the technical quality of the 8x10 goes, I suspect, but can't prove (because I'm not a tech head) that a GX1 could match the technical quality of a good 8x10 negative on 1941 film stock. I would be less certain about this if you were to compare 8x10 equipment from the 90s versus digital. Anybody with any information about this, other than simple opinion?

David Sutton: I think I've heard a version of that quote...pretty interesting.

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Joe S

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #76 on: December 24, 2013, 01:13:28 AM »

I recently viewed an exhibit of  Ansel Adams work along with some other landscape master works.     I was most struck by the same thing I have been for some while when viewing silver gelatin prints....how generally soft the prints appear!   I realize this is heresy.    I don't believe that there is any doubt that current moderate quality equipment exceeds that which made the vintage masterworks we all enjoy.  
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Petrus

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #77 on: December 24, 2013, 01:13:47 AM »

As far as the technical quality of the 8x10 goes, I suspect, but can't prove (because I'm not a tech head) that a GX1 could match the technical quality of a good 8x10 negative on 1941 film stock. I would be less certain about this if you were to compare 8x10 equipment from the 90s versus digital. Anybody with any information about this, other than simple opinion?

I am usually the first one to stand up to defend digital IQ against ancient film technology, but good old 8x10" is just too much to be matched by a tiny digital sensor.

Quick and dirty approximation: When 135 full frame cameras started to get better than any 135 film, there were outrageous claims about 135 film sharpness, over 20 MPix and so. Practice has shown that it was not the case, 135 film frame holds about the same amount of detail as 6-12 MPix digital file. Using this as a base and thinking that the camera/lens/film combination AA used was really bad and misaligned, I used a figure of only 2 MPix per 24x36mm film area. Even then the 8x10" plate would have 120 MPix, versus 16 THEORETICAL MPix GX1 has. So the real difference is at least tenfold.

So it is no contest. There still is no replacement for square inches, especially when one has enough of them.
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Petrus

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #78 on: December 24, 2013, 01:20:06 AM »

I recently viewed an exhibit of  Ansel Adams work along with some other landscape master works.     I was most struck by the same thing I have been for some while when viewing silver gelatin prints....how generally soft the prints appear!   I realize this is heresy.    I don't believe that there is any doubt that current moderate quality equipment exceeds that which made the vintage masterworks we all enjoy.  

There are now ways to make prints appear sharper than they really are, something that was not possible with film. Still I would draw a line somewhere, if "moderate quality" equipment means 16+ MPix APS-C and larger sensor cameras, then yes, they equal and beat old 120 systems, but 4x5 and bigger sheet films are a tougher nut to crack.

AA 8x10" prints could be bettered with some stitching with something like 5D3 or D800, easily. But with one frame from M4/3 camera, no way.
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Ray

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Re: The Full Frame Myth
« Reply #79 on: December 24, 2013, 03:04:24 AM »

Ray, I picked the Adams shot precisely because most people find it beautiful and technically excellent, although Adams did not have access to equipment that could do what ours does. So do we really need to do more than what he did? Is there much sense in this continual pixel-peeping?

John,
Of course we do. That's progress. The attitude that what was good enough for our grandfathers should be good enough for us would have left us all still in the Stone Age.

I always resisted buying MFDB equipment, not because I didn't appreciate the benefits of its higher resolution and better tonality, but because (1) it didn't seem to me to be good value and therefore I couldn't justify the expense, and (2) there seemed to be serious disadvantages in terms of overall weight and functionality which would not have suited my shooting style, which is taking photos mostly during walks and treks. The relatively poor high-ISO performance of most DBs was also discouraging.

Each person has his own standards regarding technical quality, or just follows the standards of others. What I always try to do is balance the benefits of high resolution and low noise against the disadvantages of bulk, weight and cost.

My ideal camera would be something like a Panasonic FZ200 with the resolution and low noise of a D800E. Perhaps some day, after significant development in nanotechnology, such a camera might become a reality.
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