Luminous Landscape Forum

Site & Board Matters => About This Site => Topic started by: Bill VN on August 23, 2009, 03:42:28 pm

Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on August 23, 2009, 03:42:28 pm
Mike,

You make some valid points in your essay, but miss some of the economic realities. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the best medium format system around with the highest quality was arguably Hasselblad. A basic 500 series body cost around $2,000 to $2,500 USD new, and lenses were around the same. The best Nikon was roughly half the cost.

Today, a modern Hasselblad H-39 is around $25,000, roughly fives times the cost of a Nikon D3 and equivalent to a decent new car. Now I realize that pro photographers saved on film and processing costs, which justified the switch to digital. But, a huge number of artists and advanced amateurs were left out of the MF digital changeover due to the obscene prices. Some of this is due to the cost of CCD and CMOS chips, but a lot is also due to a monopoly of the market by Danish MF back suppliers.

Even in the world of music, a top-of-the-line Martin D-45 still lists for $9,999 USD (roughly $6,000 street).

Landscape photographers and others have been using 8x10, 4x5 and 120 film formats for very sound technical reasons. Very few of them can afford MF digital equipment today.

Again, you make some valid points, but let's not forget who this equipment is made for. The anger over the cost of previously attainable MF systems has a real basis amongst those who care the most about high quality photography.

Regards,

Bill V.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: michael on August 23, 2009, 04:09:30 pm
What you say is quite correct.

But, I would argue that on any absolute image quality scale you'll find that one can now produce image quality equal to that from a 1980s Hasselblad with a camera such as a Canon 5D MKII or Sony A900, which are priced well under $3,000, even without figuring in an inflation factor.

Today's medium format is on another plane alltogether, and because it pushes current technology to its commercial limits, is high priced.

Michael
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 23, 2009, 08:17:48 pm
Quote from: Bill VN
Landscape photographers and others have been using 8x10, 4x5 and 120 film formats for very sound technical reasons. Very few of them can afford MF digital equipment today.

Again, you make some valid points, but let's not forget who this equipment is made for. The anger over the cost of previously attainable MF systems has a real basis amongst those who care the most about high quality photography.

I would argue that the new 8x10 is not the P65+, it is stitching based imaging, be it from a high end DSLR of from a MFDB. Stitching is the great equalizer since pixel quality becomes the only meaningful measurement...

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3533/3850386522_94baf0deab_o.jpg)

Not a solution for all needs, but clearly the best absolute image quality by far for landscape, together with an un-beatable price/performance ratio.

Fine art photographers looking for the best possible image quality should IMHO consider it seriously.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Josh-H on August 23, 2009, 08:35:19 pm
Quote from: BernardLanguillier
I would argue that the new 8x10 is not the P65+, it is stitching based imaging, be it from a high end DSLR of from a MFDB. Stitching is the great equalizer since pixel quality becomes the only meaningful measurement...

 )

P.S - Lovely Shot.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on August 23, 2009, 09:42:50 pm
Quote from: BernardLanguillier
I would argue that the new 8x10 is not the P65+, it is stitching based imaging, be it from a high end DSLR of from a MFDB. Stitching is the great equalizer since pixel quality becomes the only meaningful measurement...

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3533/3850386522_94baf0deab_o.jpg)

Not a solution for all needs, but clearly the best absolute image quality by far for landscape, together with an un-beatable price/performance ratio.

Fine art photographers looking for the best possible image quality should IMHO consider it seriously.

Cheers,
Bernard

Stitching is one technique, which I use, by the way, with my Nikon D200:

[attachment=16192:20060208...ountains.jpg]

However, we have been talking from a perspective of someone who moved up to MF from 35mm in order to get better results and differentiate themselves. Many of us moved down to MF as a lighter alternative to field cameras and film holders--just like St. Ansel (Adams). We have large investments in optics and equipment, which are not economically updatable to digital. I have a Phase One H20 back I purchased for $3,500, but it has to be tethered. A P20 is just simply beyond my means, and as a long time Hasselblad owner, I am obviously not poor. Even the least expensive, "student level" Better Light back is on the order of five grand. Vendors have to come up with more economical digital alternatives. Perhaps, a scanning back for the Hasselblad could be done for a couple of thousand. Who knows?

Regarding quality, an 8x10 contact print is way beyond the ability of any current digital capture system; you only have to view one at an Edward Weston exhibition to understand. In the end, digital capture only provides an ethereal abstraction of reality recorded by ones and zeroes based on several million tiny light meters. But in the end, it will never be "writing with light," i.e. photography.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Pete Ferling on August 23, 2009, 11:43:18 pm
Stitching doesn't solve issues when things are moving in a scene, or dealing with precise movements when a wave hits the pier, or the sun is setting and you have a brief moment to get it right, etc.  Also, there are times that I simply don't want to 3 stop bracket and pan a scene.  Then process nine images in five steps and round trip to PS twice.  It gets ugly fast.

Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 23, 2009, 11:55:02 pm
Quote from: Bill VN
However, we have been talking from a perspective of someone who moved up to MF from 35mm in order to get better results and differentiate themselves. Many of us moved down to MF as a lighter alternative to field cameras and film holders--just like St. Ansel (Adams). We have large investments in optics and equipment, which are not economically updatable to digital. I have a Phase One H20 back I purchased for $3,500, but it has to be tethered. A P20 is just simply beyond my means, and as a long time Hasselblad owner, I am obviously not poor. Even the least expensive, "student level" Better Light back is on the order of five grand. Vendors have to come up with more economical digital alternatives. Perhaps, a scanning back for the Hasselblad could be done for a couple of thousand. Who knows?

Agreed, the entry point is now around 7000 US$, which is much higher than it used to be and this is specially painful for those invested in MF gear. Now you should be aware that older MF lenses will not be fully able to tap into the resolution potential of the latest backs... which is why Mamiya has been redesigning its all lens line up.

So yes, did MFDB's elite pricing hurt very badely photography? My opinion has always been that they did. Michael is right though that a 5dII will get you close though.

Quote from: Bill VN
Regarding quality, an 8x10 contact print is way beyond the ability of any current digital capture system; you only have to view one at an Edward Weston exhibition to understand. In the end, digital capture only provides an ethereal abstraction of reality recorded by ones and zeroes based on several million tiny light meters. But in the end, it will never be "writing with light," i.e. photography.

IMHO the limitation you are talking about here is that of printing technology, not capture. So contact print is a scenario that is very kind to 8x10. Talk about a normal size enlargement, say B0, and I believe that a properlly executed 300 megapixel pano will fare better than drum scanned 8x10.

Light in itself is a discrete quantity and the way light is materialized by film is also made of grains that are spatially well defined and therefore discrete in nature. There is no philosophical gap between the bits and zeros of digital and film. Only the native processes designed to handle film and digital differ which gives us an illusion of continuity for film.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 24, 2009, 12:02:56 am
Quote from: Pete Ferling
Stitching doesn't solve issues when things are moving in a scene, or dealing with precise movements when a wave hits the pier, or the sun is setting and you have a brief moment to get it right, etc.  Also, there are times that I simply don't want to 3 stop bracket and pan a scene.  Then process nine images in five steps and round trip to PS twice.  It gets ugly fast.

This thread is originally not about stitching and I should probably not have brought up the topic as it is deviating a bit, but for what it is worth, it is true that stitching doesn't handle everything perfectly, but it can a handle a lot more than you first think when starting to use the technique.

- movement is OK as long as the size of the moving object is smaller than each frame in the scene (birds,...), or continuous in nature (clouds are a total non issue nowadays),
- movement of water is OK as long as the critical scale of the waves is small enough relative to the size of the scene, or with long shutter speeds. The example you give is indeed challenging,
- Sunsets are not a problem at all,
- since I started to use the d3x, I have basically mostly stopped doing bracketing,but if you have bracketed AutoPano Pro and PTgui will deal with it perfectly thanks to their built-in HDR capability. Just feed in the images optinally adjust a few parameters and wait for the output.

The attached set gives many examples of the above:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlangui...57600916381270/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/sets/72157600916381270/)

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 24, 2009, 12:07:32 am
Quote from: Josh-H
Hi Bernard,

I agree stitching is a partial solution only - there are many instances where stitching is either impossible or virtually so.

Stitching can of course bring a lower MP camera up to or greater than the same number of pixels from a MFDB - but pixel count is not the whole story. There are a lot of other factors owners of High end MFDB's attest to as significantly superior to even high end DSLR's like my 1DSMK3 or your D3X.

I think stitching remains a good viable option - but it isnt a substitute for a high end MFDB in my opinion.

For general landscape work, I very much think that stitching with a high end DSLR is a better option that a single frame from a high end MFDB (and mostly than stitched MFDB as well). There are obviously certain images that I will not be able to capture, but the result will be much better for the 95% I will be able to handle.

As far as these high end backs being vastly superior to a D3x in terms of pixel quality, I believe this to be an urban legend non backed up by facts or real world usage.

This sample, already posted a few days ago, might help you understand why I think so. http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlangui...720762/sizes/o/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/3833720762/sizes/o/)

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Christopher on August 24, 2009, 02:15:59 am
Quote from: BernardLanguillier
For general landscape work, I very much think that stitching with a high end DSLR is a better option that a single frame from a high end MFDB (and mostly than stitched MFDB as well). There are obviously certain images that I will not be able to capture, but the result will be much better for the 95% I will be able to handle.

As far as these high end backs being vastly superior to a D3x in terms of pixel quality, I believe this to be an urban legend non backed up by facts or real world usage.

This sample, already posted a few days ago, might help you understand why I think so. http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlangui...720762/sizes/o/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/3833720762/sizes/o/)

Cheers,
Bernard

It is all true, but I think it also depends how you want to work. I stitched a lot and still do it from time to time. However I really don't like the feeling. There is nothing nicer than to set up a large format camera and make one image with a MFDB.

Another factor is what you NEED in terms of pixels. Do I really need 100 or 200MP to print ? I know the biggest I will print is something like 40in by XXXin. Is it nice to have 100Mp to print that big ? Yes, but mostly something around 40, will be enough to do the job. The fact I hate about doing many stitches and large one is files are getting bigger and bigger. HDs are cheap, but still I prefer a 500MB tiff to a 4GB tiff ^^
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Josh-H on August 24, 2009, 06:58:39 am
Quote
For general landscape work, I very much think that stitching with a high end DSLR is a better option that a single frame from a high end MFDB (and mostly than stitched MFDB as well).

Why?

Quote
As far as these high end backs being vastly superior to a D3x in terms of pixel quality, I believe this to be an urban legend non backed up by facts or real world usage.

I dont agree with this statement (and I dont think anyone who has viewed high end MFDB images would either) - I have personally seen and viewed D3X files, (my own 1DSMK3 files) and files from high end MFDB's from Phase and Leaf. There is nothing urban legend about it - the MFDB files possess a depth of clarity, accutance and color that DSLR files simply dont have (and that includes both the D3X and 1DSMK3). Does it translate in an 8x10 print? No.. not really, or not at all to be more accurate (just witness the canon G10 v. P45+ back debate) - does it come across in a much larger print or at 100% on screen? - most definitely.

As good as the D3X and 1DSMk3 are (and they are both very very good - I use and love the 1DSMK3 daily) - they cannot compete with the high end MFDB's on the market today - especially the new P65+. Do you think Jeff S. and Michael R and may other pro's. would be shelling out tens of thousands for these backs if there wasn't something to it?

Michael said it in a nutshell above -
Quote
Today's medium format is on another plane alltogether

Thus bringing us back to the whole value discussion - if person 'A' see's value in the MFDB, then its worth the price of admission for their line of work provided their hip pocket can take the hit, and/or provided they can get their investment back. And that is the real key to the lock when it comes to value. As a professional photographer its all about return on investment - if product 'A' costs me 'X' dollars, but makes me 'X+1' then its worth the price of admission. If it just makes me 'X' back - then it isn't worth it. Its a business decision based on the individuals business.

Edit - BTW: Bernard, you made a highly valid point above that is worth re-iterating. Price v. Performance - its hard to go passed a stitched image from a high end DSLR.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: michael on August 24, 2009, 07:30:19 am
Quote from: Bill VN
In the end, digital capture only provides an ethereal abstraction of reality recorded by ones and zeroes based on several million tiny light meters. But in the end, it will never be "writing with light," i.e. photography.

Bill,

If you believe this then you should be shooting with a sensor not film, because film is a digital format and a sensor based system is at its heart analog in nature.

How so? Well, each grain of silver is either exposed or unexposed. There's no such thing as a silver grain that's partially exposed. It's on or it's off. ie: it's a one or a zero. It's therefore totally digital in nature. The reason that film looks continuous tone is because particles of silver halide are not consistent. Some turn black sooner or later than others when exposed to the same amount of light. It's millions of these little digital receptors that record the image. This is what gives film a shoulder and a toe curve, rathar than a linear response to light.

On the other hand a camera's sensor is an analog device. It has a continuous response to light and a variable voltage is generated in response to the number of photons hitting the photo site. We then have to turn that voltage into a digital signal so we can store it, transfer it and control it.

The bottom line – film is the original digital medium. If you don't want ones and zeros recording your image you'd better switch to digital.  

Michael
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: dreed on August 24, 2009, 07:55:08 am
(let me join two topics in one reply - Want-need-Afford & 17mm T-S/E...)
Related to the topic, but not the MFDB discussion, the ne Canon 17mm T-SE fits firmly into this for me. Whilst my photography is almost entirely based around travel and trying to capture something that my eye likes, what I find is that when it comes to certain circumstances (nearly all of which involve buildings), the pictures suffer.  Putting down $2.5k on a lens that will be used "occasionally" is a challenging decision!

As a lens, this one is twice the price, according to B&H, of the 24mm, but yet is sold out whilst the 24mm is not. How do I justify the 17mm over the 24mm? I can get useful wideangle on FF, APS-H and APS-C from 17mm but not 24mm.

For those that have and use T-S lenses, how are they to use with filters such as polarizers and natural graident? In this regard, the 17mm is something of a conundrum: its design would seem to preclude the use of screw in filters - do the filter holder systems make a difference? (Can they be used?)

When I see what one of these lenses does, I feel like I need one (and perhps more to the point, that every camera/lens should provide this) but do I really need to spend that much cash on something that will probably see as many days of use per year as it has mm?
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 24, 2009, 08:39:35 am
Quote from: Josh-H
Why?

I dont agree with this statement (and I dont think anyone who has viewed high end MFDB images would either) - I have personally seen and viewed D3X files, (my own 1DSMK3 files) and files from high end MFDB's from Phase and Leaf. There is nothing urban legend about it - the MFDB files possess a depth of clarity, accutance and color that DSLR files simply dont have (and that includes both the D3X and 1DSMK3). Does it translate in an 8x10 print? No.. not really, or not at all to be more accurate (just witness the canon G10 v. P45+ back debate) - does it come across in a much larger print or at 100% on screen? - most definitely.

As good as the D3X and 1DSMk3 are (and they are both very very good - I use and love the 1DSMK3 daily) - they cannot compete with the high end MFDB's on the market today - especially the new P65+. Do you think Jeff S. and Michael R and may other pro's. would be shelling out tens of thousands for these backs if there wasn't something to it?

Michael said it in a nutshell above -

Thus bringing us back to the whole value discussion - if person 'A' see's value in the MFDB, then its worth the price of admission for their line of work provided their hip pocket can take the hit, and/or provided they can get their investment back. And that is the real key to the lock when it comes to value. As a professional photographer its all about return on investment - if product 'A' costs me 'X' dollars, but makes me 'X+1' then its worth the price of admission. If it just makes me 'X' back - then it isn't worth it. Its a business decision based on the individuals business.

Edit - BTW: Bernard, you made a highly valid point above that is worth re-iterating. Price v. Performance - its hard to go passed a stitched image from a high end DSLR.

I don't want to go to far into this as it has been discussed quite a bit already, but let's just say that after normal sharpening, I have never seen a MFDB file that looked significantly better than a d3x file. Resolutionwise also, although this stops to be relevant once stitching is part of the equation.

It could very well be that the MFDB files I saw (my Mamiya ZD files or others) had not be optimally captured, so I would be interested in looking at one of your sample files (a crop would do). I would have no problem changing my mind on this.

I believe that many high end shooters buy a P65+ mostly because they don't want to bother with stitching.

Finally, productivity is a strong advocate against stitching in some domains, but clearly not fine art. So I am personally 100% sure that for the fine art landscape work I am trying to do (whether I am succeeding or not is a different matter), a 40.000 US$ back would have zero of negative value compared to my current kit.

As to why landscape stitching is better done with a D3x than a back, there are many objective reasons like:

- lighter than most MF systems, especially when dealing with the kind of focal lenghts I consider best for stitching (100mm on FX), pancake cameras are the exception but are practically very hard to focus accurately in the field (think low light levels,...),
- access to a very wide array of top quality lenses from 14 to 300 mm (to only mention those that I actually use), the image below was shot with a 300 f2.8 as an example:

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2524/3852469256_899a81e366_o.jpg)

- live view enables perfect focusing of the main subject with 100% accuracy 100% of the time,
- much better high ISO image quality enlarges dramatically the range of scenes that can be captures with stitching (windy situations in low light,...), the image below was shot at 800 ISO because of low light level and the need to maintain enough shutter speed to avoid clouds migration:

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2518/3852103573_096982eaf6_o.jpg)

- more DoF thanks to the smaller format reduces the need to do DoF stacking and reduces the lenght of the exposures significantly at equal DoF, which is critical at sunset and sunrise where skies change every 15 sec of so,
- much better long exposure image quality and lack of dark frame substraction until 8 sec results in much easier low light panorama shooting,
- much longer battery life lends itself well to the large amount of capture induced by stitching,
- no need for color calibration when shooting wide,
- much better handling of cold weather,
- support of panoramic robotic heads,
- SDK enables automation of HDR/DoF when needed,
- total lack of moire reduces the need to check images at 100% pixel magnification in post and does therefore saves time,
- typically better availability of accessories from third party (L brackets,...),
- much lower price makes it actually possible to carry a credible back up body when doing long over seas missions,
- better support from third party raw conversion software from some of the backs give more options,
- the 3:2 vs 4:3 aspect ratio increases the pixel count on the long side of the frame and reduces the need to do multi-row stitching at equal resolution (a 24 MP d3x is about equivalent to a 28MP back from this standpoint)
- ...

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on August 24, 2009, 01:34:12 pm
Quote from: michael
Bill,

If you believe this then you should be shooting with a sensor not film, because film is a digital format and a sensor based system is at its heart analog in nature.

How so? Well, each grain of silver is either exposed or unexposed. There's no such thing as a silver grain that's partially exposed. It's on or it's off. ie: it's a one or a zero. It's therefore totally digital in nature. The reason that film looks continuous tone is because particles of silver halide are not consistent. Some turn black sooner or later than others when exposed to the same amount of light. It's millions of these little digital receptors that record the image. This is what gives film a shoulder and a toe curve, rathar than a linear response to light.

On the other hand a camera's sensor is an analog device. It has a continuous response to light and a variable voltage is generated in response to the number of photons hitting the photo site. We then have to turn that voltage into a digital signal so we can store it, transfer it and control it.

The bottom line – film is the original digital medium. If you don't want ones and zeros recording your image you'd better switch to digital.  

Michael

Mike, thanks for adding back the part of my comment I originally edited out. I am perfectly aware of the analog v. digital irony of digital imaging, but in the end, a traditional photograph is a physical medium, not electrical charges in the ether. Remember that when you back up your files yet again ten years from now on some yet to be invented storage device.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Jeremy Payne on August 24, 2009, 02:29:52 pm
Quote from: Bill VN
Remember that when you back up your files yet again ten years from now on some yet to be invented storage device.

Yes ... every time I make yet another perfect, pixel-for-pixel copy of my captures and 'prints' with absolutely no information loss I will remember how I longed to do that with my film and slides ...
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: dreed on August 24, 2009, 03:03:26 pm
Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Yes ... every time I make yet another perfect, pixel-for-pixel copy of my captures and 'prints' with absolutely no information loss I will remember how I longed to do that with my film and slides ...

It is not enough to copy files - hardware can corrupt them without you being aware - you need to verify every copy, just like when burning DVDs, if you want to be sure that no bits were lost. That includes the initial one from the camera/camera storage.

All computer storage mediums have non-zero MTBF (mean time between failure) and error rates. Thus "xcopy /v/e" is my tool to copy files from camera storage to pc storage on Windows.

I would be interested to know if those small picture storage units (meant for use in the field where you don't have a laptop) do this verification or just initial copy.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: jasonrandolph on August 24, 2009, 05:19:24 pm
I thought the "Film vs. Digital" war was over...  
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Schewe on August 24, 2009, 05:33:11 pm
Quote from: Bill VN
Mike, thanks for adding back the part of my comment I originally edited out. I am perfectly aware of the analog v. digital irony of digital imaging, but in the end, a traditional photograph is a physical medium, not electrical charges in the ether. Remember that when you back up your files yet again ten years from now on some yet to be invented storage device.


Uh, maybe you don't understand forum posting since you're a bit new in these parts...but when you say something either stupid or outrageous, other posters will take your post at face value (in the time frame you wrote it) and respond. Going back after the fact and editing (whether you note the edit or not) doesn't erase what you wrote nor invalidate somebody else quoting you.

Fact is, I would have responded to the rather ill-informed view you have of what constitutes digital capture but Mike beat me to it. In the end, digital isn't really any more or less fragile than film...you ever have film get wet in a basement flood and dry before you got the chance to take it out of sleeves? Between fixer stains, scratches or wet damage, I've lost more film photography to the elements over the years than I have lost digital.

Your view of what constitutes a photograph is horribly pedestrian and backwards...really doode, wake up and smell the silicon. Photography is, whatever the f$%#&k somebody says it is...but if you can't afford the new toys that doesn't give you free range to claim it ain't "writing with light", ya know? Whatever the heck you think THAT actually means, really, "writing" with light? That's how you translate "photo" & "graph", really?

I would call it a "pictorial device" made with "light". But hey, that's just me...

:~)
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: darrylbaird on August 24, 2009, 08:14:48 pm
Quote from: Schewe
...SNIPAGE...

I would call it a "pictorial device" made with "light". But hey, that's just me...

:~)

yeah, I like that, but really, if I was going to have a show in Chicago at Edelman or a "Big-Name" Gallery in NYC, I might be tempted to use his "ethereal abstraction of reality" as a truly obtuse line of verbiage to describe the life and death of light itself... as a metaphor for all photography. [we entomb light as a daily practice]

Hey, I'm still pissed Bill Mitchell (the Chicago art historian) basically called anyone using digital as a potential liar (removal of the witness aspect of a silver-gelatin exposure) compared the the "fact" once revered as "photography." The first photo was more like "hardened" by light, like today's printmaker's asphaltum... but I digress. History will make this argument another triviality in the ongoing (and changing) role of visual capture/imagemaking.

Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: stewarthemley on August 25, 2009, 12:16:16 am
Totally OT but just have to say, Schewe, love your direct, say-it-like-you-feel-it style (no sarcasm; really like it). Sometimes I like it a bit less, but if it dried up, I know I'd really miss it. Who cares if you're right or wrong. Thank Christ for individuals in this increasingly bland/frightened time, and good on yer.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Schewe on August 25, 2009, 12:26:02 am
Quote from: stewarthemley
Who cares if you're right or wrong.

Well, _I_ care...golly, imagine my chagrin if proved wrong (it's been known to happen but I try really hard to be the first to confess when I screw up).

I don't know if you can tell, but I'm kinda filled with piss&vinegar at the moment cause my 3rd book is done (and shipping in a couple of weeks) so I have some "free time" to spend playing on the forums. Hum, I guess that's kinda fair warning for idiots and a$$holes huh?

:~)
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Pete JF on August 25, 2009, 12:43:30 am
.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on August 25, 2009, 12:50:59 am
Quote from: Schewe
Uh, maybe you don't understand forum posting since you're a bit new in these parts...but when you say something either stupid or outrageous, other posters will take your post at face value (in the time frame you wrote it) and respond. Going back after the fact and editing (whether you note the edit or not) doesn't erase what you wrote nor invalidate somebody else quoting you.

Fact is, I would have responded to the rather ill-informed view you have of what constitutes digital capture but Mike beat me to it. In the end, digital isn't really any more or less fragile than film...you ever have film get wet in a basement flood and dry before you got the chance to take it out of sleeves? Between fixer stains, scratches or wet damage, I've lost more film photography to the elements over the years than I have lost digital.

Your view of what constitutes a photograph is horribly pedestrian and backwards...really doode, wake up and smell the silicon. Photography is, whatever the f$%#&k somebody says it is...but if you can't afford the new toys that doesn't give you free range to claim it ain't "writing with light", ya know? Whatever the heck you think THAT actually means, really, "writing" with light? That's how you translate "photo" & "graph", really?

I would call it a "pictorial device" made with "light". But hey, that's just me...

:~)

Sorry you had so many mishaps with your darkroom work. Regarding your comments, you obviously don't get it.

As Wikipedia explains, 'The word "photography" comes from the Greek φώς (phos) "light" + γραφίς (graphis) "stylus", "paintbrush" or γραφή (graphκ) "representation by means of lines" or "drawing", together meaning "drawing with light."' Implied in the word's definition is a permanent or semi-permanent image formed by light on a light-sensitive medium.

If done properly, an image may last for centuries. Indeed, in theory a well developed platinum print should last over a thousand years. To maintain that image in a digital format for a thousand years would require a heck of a lot of repeated back ups on electronic storage media.

Some food for thought: there is a very good reason why Hollywood studios require a final master copy on film for all movies made, even digitally produced ones.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: stewarthemley on August 25, 2009, 12:59:43 am
deleted
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Pete JF on August 25, 2009, 01:05:38 am
.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Schewe on August 25, 2009, 01:10:17 am
Quote from: Bill VN
Implied in the word's definition is a permanent or semi-permanent image formed by light on a light-sensitive medium.

Uh no...there is no implied permanence what so ever...some people bent over backward to TRY to make things more permanent but alas any art where paper is involved takes vastly more effort to conserve it properly than it does to create it. In reality, the current estimate time for carbon black ink jet prints at +300 years (depending on the paper again) that exceeds traditional silver gelatin unless you want to deep freeze it in total darkness.

Heck, we have no friggin' idea how hard it will or won't be to store digital media a 1,000 years but there is very little "paper" left from 1000 years ago.

But seriously, if you hate digital so much why spend time here? Aren't there any place left for analog lovers to hang out together any more?
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: stewarthemley on August 25, 2009, 01:17:32 am
deleted
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on August 25, 2009, 01:30:52 am
Quote from: Schewe
Uh no...there is no implied permanence what so ever...some people bent over backward to TRY to make things more permanent but alas any art where paper is involved takes vastly more effort to conserve it properly than it does to create it. In reality, the current estimate time for carbon black ink jet prints at +300 years (depending on the paper again) that exceeds traditional silver gelatin unless you want to deep freeze it in total darkness.

Heck, we have no friggin' idea how hard it will or won't be to store digital media 1,000 but there is very little "paper" left from that time.

But seriously, if you hate digital so much why spend time here? Aren't there any place left for analog lovers to hang out together any more?

Actually, my original post was about the obscenely high cost of switching to digital for photographers who have worked with large and medium format cameras in the past. One of the reasons for this, in my view, is the practical monopolization of the market by a few Danish companies, such as Phase One, which now owns Leaf and partially Mamiya, and Hasselblad, which is owned by a Chinese trading company and really operated by ex-Imacon management.

Franke & Heidecke has fallen by the wayside, so Jenoptik is leaving the market, divesting Sinar along the way. There is MegaVision in California, but I am not sure how much of a factor they are in the market.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Pete JF on August 25, 2009, 01:44:21 am
.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: barryfitzgerald on August 25, 2009, 05:54:05 am
I gave up on this thread when I read "film is the original digital medium"

Frankly astounding that anyone could post that. Film is an organic substance, it is not binary in nature. It is not "on or off"
We have exposure, and emulsion reacts to that, there are not two simple steps..the graduations of exposure are very many, as the film reacts to the light.

Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: cmi on August 25, 2009, 07:20:03 am
Quote from: barryfitzgerald
I gave up on this thread when I read "film is the original digital medium"

Frankly astounding that anyone could post that. Film is an organic substance, it is not binary in nature. It is not "on or off"
We have exposure, and emulsion reacts to that, there are not two simple steps..the graduations of exposure are very many, as the film reacts to the light.

The idea is that through the microscopic size of each particle, and the statistical variation introduced by exposure, you end up with with something that appears as gradation on a macroscopic scale while being on/off at the particle level. Not saying anything about the rest of the kitchen table discussion wich seems like a insulting challenge of some sort, but this idea essentially describing a loose analogy between analog / digital personally appeals to me.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: michael on August 25, 2009, 08:49:58 am
Quote from: Bill VN
Mike, thanks for adding back the part of my comment I originally edited out. I am perfectly aware of the analog v. digital irony of digital imaging, but in the end, a traditional photograph is a physical medium, not electrical charges in the ether. Remember that when you back up your files yet again ten years from now on some yet to be invented storage device.

Will do.

But remember to digitize your colour negs and transparencies before they fade away.  

Michael
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: michael on August 25, 2009, 09:04:26 am
Quote from: barryfitzgerald
I gave up on this thread when I read "film is the original digital medium"

Frankly astounding that anyone could post that. Film is an organic substance, it is not binary in nature. It is not "on or off"
We have exposure, and emulsion reacts to that, there are not two simple steps..the graduations of exposure are very many, as the film reacts to the light.

The fact that at its fundamental level grains of silver halide are binary in nature has already been explained, so I'll just ask what being "organic" has to do with anything? There are numerous examples of binary behavior in nature, from the atomic level to the macro. Why should being "organic" somehow be considered superior when it comes to photography?

Light itself is both a particle (binary – there's a particle or there isn't a particle) AND a wave. Which one do YOU want it to be?

In the end it all comes down to the displayed image, whatever its manifestation, whatever its origin.

Michael
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: squarehead on August 25, 2009, 11:46:04 am
Quote from: stewarthemley
Hi Pete

Well, I sort of know him. He's given me free, totally helpful advice a few times, and quite a few other people, so that's a little credit he's built up. And it's the opinion of quite a few others that he knows a bit about PS, printing, etc.  As for kissing... that's something I emphatically don't/won't do, ever, to anyone. I WILL say when I find someone refreshing, amusing, sometimes bloody irritating, but overall worth having around.

As for you taking my comment for "zip", that's fine by me as I don't know you... But, Pete, I don't want to get into a fight with you. Nobody wins those silly contests. Just wanted to say I think Schewe is good to have around and I thought the tone and language of your post was not the sort of thing that belongs in a professional community like this usually is. That's me done on this.

Looks like he doesn't know Stuffit Expander and hence has a hard time comprehending the full meaning of your comment.  

This being my first post (hello everyone!) I can't help but wonder why there's always so much bickering going on in forums, all forums for that matter? (Have people no wives to listen to?)
Anyhow, I enjoy and appreciate the wealth of knowledge the members on this forum share with each other.
Thank you.

Regarding the "painting with light" comment ... Greek words phos ("light"), and graphis ("stylus", "paintbrush") or graphν, together meaning "drawing with light" ... indeed, it is the meaning of the word photography which became the name of a new technology. Yet, it is per se not the definition in which way/style/kind/form this "drawing with light" has to be achieved.

Let's step away from cameras, film or digital, for a moment.
I presume everyone here is familiar with the works of the old Dutch Master Rembrandt van Ryn.
He was the first to develop to perfection a new technique that entailed the concentration of light and the diffusion of luminosity from the deepest shade/darkness. Rembrandt's method became an entirely new direction in art expression and is regarded today as the key feature of the Dutch school (of painting) that followed in his footsteps.
I apologize for the history lesson. The reason why I'm bringing this up is simple. Rembrandt's technique can be summed up nicely as 'painting with light."
So in the widest sense of its meaning, instead of a camera loaded with film or containing a digital sensor, he used oil and canvas for his "photography."

Considering this, digital photography is just a sign of the times. As film was to plates, silver-plated copper, and photosensitive paper. And once a 'new kid on the block' is advanced enough to surpass its predecessors, differences can only be measured in units of taste or personal preference.


PS: By the way, the first Dutch artist of stature to break with the traditions of the Dutch school was Vincent van Gogh 200+ years later. Today he is considered a Dutch Post-Impressionist artist and the predecessor of Expressionism.
Guess, his revolutionary paintings must have caused a similar stir in emotions as digital photography does today. Funny how history tends to repeat itself.  
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on August 25, 2009, 01:12:18 pm
Quote from: michael
Will do.

But remember to digitize your colour negs and transparencies before they fade away.  

Michael

Real men don't shoot color negs. You know that.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Pete Ferling on August 25, 2009, 01:41:53 pm
Quote from: jasonrandolph
I thought the "Film vs. Digital" war was over...  

Dude, I get into that battle within my mind almost every day, and digital wins out about 90% of the time... "time" being the key factor here.   For the other 10%, the ones that hit 40" or more on my 9800...  right tool for the job.  Love them both.

Here's one (and btw, I know earlier I wrote that stitching doesn't solve all issues, but I use it when appropriate, and it's not just for crop sensor cameras either):

[attachment=16226:The_Valve_House.jpg]

Love that Mamiya glass and that 3D look.  When the film goes, I'm going to adapt the lenses.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: ckimmerle on August 25, 2009, 03:57:16 pm
Quote from: barryfitzgerald
I gave up on this thread when I read "film is the original digital medium"

Frankly astounding that anyone could post that. Film is an organic substance, it is not binary in nature. It is not "on or off"
We have exposure, and emulsion reacts to that, there are not two simple steps..the graduations of exposure are very many, as the film reacts to the light.

Sorry, dude, but it's true. Your mistake in logic is in thinking of the emulsion as a whole as opposed to the individual silver halide molecules which are the actual light sensitive materials in the emulsion. When a photon, or photons, of light strikes one of these molecules, an electron is kicked from the valence band into the conduction band, thereby rendering it "on", meaning it will react with a developer (become solid silver) at a much, much faster rate than non-exposed molecules. There is no half "on" or half "off". It's one or the other. Gradation comes in due to the fact that the emulsion is much thicker than the silver halide molecules, thus the molecules are essentially and randomly stacked atop one another. So, while the film/paper may appear analog, they are in fact the result of a digital process.

Four years of near obsolete photo science, sensitometry, and chemistry finally put to good use!
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: BJL on August 25, 2009, 04:07:31 pm
Quote from: michael
... each grain of silver is either exposed or unexposed. ...
Thanks Michael. Or as I like to put it: film has billions of horribly low grade 1-bit photosites, with pathetically low S/N ratio and DR from having only two tonal levels. All the fine total gradations, dynamic range, and "low noise" performance of a good print come from "dithering". Larger film formats give better image quality on the same size of print even when using the same quality of individual photosites (same emulsion type), and they do it through using a lower degree of enlargement and thus dithering or smoothing out the imperfections more. In the modern jargon, having more "photosites per mm" and more "photosites per image" improves IQ attributes like dynamic range.

P. S. And as other posts remind us, light is also "digital", as in quantized.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: barryfitzgerald on August 25, 2009, 05:58:38 pm
I take it all back, I was wrong. I can now see film is in fact digital. In the same way my kettle is digital as well, or course it's either on or off, and the water temperature has nothing to do with it, just two simple states on or off, hot or cold..
Also I note that a car is digital too, yes it's either on or off, if we take it back to basics it's pure binary.
We could apply this interesting "digital slant" to just about everything, I am deeply humbled ;-)

Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 25, 2009, 06:31:08 pm
Quote from: barryfitzgerald
I take it all back, I was wrong. I can now see film is in fact digital. In the same way my kettle is digital as well, or course it's either on or off, and the water temperature has nothing to do with it, just two simple states on or off, hot or cold..
Also I note that a car is digital too, yes it's either on or off, if we take it back to basics it's pure binary.
We could apply this interesting "digital slant" to just about everything, I am deeply humbled ;-)

The point being that discrete quantities at a small scale are perceived as continuous quantities at a large scale.

The modelization of physical phenomenon is often done through such a micro-marco approach where small scales phenomenon are modeled simply and statistics used to average their influence when looking at a system at our human scale.

The reason why you are not relating to all this is that the word digital means something else for you though. You are referring to a process, not to the underlying physics. The way I see it, digital means cold to you, you hate the clean alignement of photosite as opposed to the random mess of the silver grains on a film plane, you like the smell that pops out when opening a can of film and the process of snapping in a roll of 220 in its holder... and that's totally fine by me.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on August 25, 2009, 08:51:37 pm
Quote from: michael
The fact that at its fundamental level grains of silver halide are binary in nature has already been explained, so I'll just ask what being "organic" has to do with anything? There are numerous examples of binary behavior in nature, from the atomic level to the macro. Why should being "organic" somehow be considered superior when it comes to photography?

Light itself is both a particle (binary – there's a particle or there isn't a particle) AND a wave. Which one do YOU want it to be?

In the end it all comes down to the displayed image, whatever its manifestation, whatever its origin.

Michael

I mostly agree with Mike on this, but some clarifications should be added. While silver salts, the basis of modern films, are essentially black or clear after development and fixing, they are crystals and exhibit growth dependent on the light level they are exposed to. Larger crystals on negatives represent lighter areas and smaller crystals represent darker grays. So, they are not directly equivalent to pixels, or photosites, on a modern DSLR sensor.

Also, like human sight, the representation of grays by silver halide films is logarithmic by nature, not linear as with sensors. For the record, all color films, negative or transparent, incorporate multiple color-filtered silver halide layers that are dyed and washed away during processing. In the Kodachrome process, the dyes are added during processing; in the E-6 Ektachrome and C-3 Ektacolor processes, they are part of the emulsion, hence the higher level of detail in Kodachrome.

Regarding "organic," films were once made from cellulose, a highly flammable material, but modern "safety" (i.e., post 1930) are polymer based and inflammable.

Relying on the quality of the "displayed image" is where, in my opinion, the argument gets confused. Are we comparing the absolute quality of silver halide films to DSLR sensors, OR are we REALLY comparing the quality of half-screened lithographic printing in a fine (Ansel Adams quality) book with the half-screened output of the latest Epson or HP printer? 8x10 contact prints on photo paper show more detail than any digital image (there is no screen), dye-sub prints by hand are just as good, and photogravure (a costly alternative) may also be better than an inkjet.

These are, in my  mind, important points to discuss, in part to better motivate equipment manufacturers to give us the tools we really need.

Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 25, 2009, 10:05:24 pm
Quote from: BernardLanguillier
I don't want to go to far into this as it has been discussed quite a bit already, but let's just say that after normal sharpening, I have never seen a MFDB file that looked significantly better than a d3x file. Resolutionwise also, although this stops to be relevant once stitching is part of the equation.

It could very well be that the MFDB files I saw (my Mamiya ZD files or others) had not be optimally captured, so I would be interested in looking at one of your sample files (a crop would do). I would have no problem changing my mind on this.

I believe that many high end shooters buy a P65+ mostly because they don't want to bother with stitching.

Finally, productivity is a strong advocate against stitching in some domains, but clearly not fine art. So I am personally 100% sure that for the fine art landscape work I am trying to do (whether I am succeeding or not is a different matter), a 40.000 US$ back would have zero of negative value compared to my current kit.

As to why landscape stitching is better done with a D3x than a back, there are many objective reasons like:

- lighter than most MF systems, especially when dealing with the kind of focal lenghts I consider best for stitching (100mm on FX), pancake cameras are the exception but are practically very hard to focus accurately in the field (think low light levels,...),
- access to a very wide array of top quality lenses from 14 to 300 mm (to only mention those that I actually use), the image below was shot with a 300 f2.8 as an example:

- live view enables perfect focusing of the main subject with 100% accuracy 100% of the time,
- much better high ISO image quality enlarges dramatically the range of scenes that can be captures with stitching (windy situations in low light,...), the image below was shot at 800 ISO because of low light level and the need to maintain enough shutter speed to avoid clouds migration:


- more DoF thanks to the smaller format reduces the need to do DoF stacking and reduces the lenght of the exposures significantly at equal DoF, which is critical at sunset and sunrise where skies change every 15 sec of so,
- much better long exposure image quality and lack of dark frame substraction until 8 sec results in much easier low light panorama shooting,
- much longer battery life lends itself well to the large amount of capture induced by stitching,
- no need for color calibration when shooting wide,
- much better handling of cold weather,
- support of panoramic robotic heads,
- SDK enables automation of HDR/DoF when needed,
- total lack of moire reduces the need to check images at 100% pixel magnification in post and does therefore saves time,
- typically better availability of accessories from third party (L brackets,...),
- much lower price makes it actually possible to carry a credible back up body when doing long over seas missions,
- better support from third party raw conversion software from some of the backs give more options,
- the 3:2 vs 4:3 aspect ratio increases the pixel count on the long side of the frame and reduces the need to do multi-row stitching at equal resolution (a 24 MP d3x is about equivalent to a 28MP back from this standpoint)
- ...

Cheers,
Bernard

Bernard,

As usual - outstanding photographs - excellent work, and many thanks for sharing. One of these days I need to get into panos more seriously - you've inspired me.

I think one other factor that may be worth mentioning in support of the pano approach - by careful selection of the overlapping strategy one can arrange to retain only the highest quality portions of the image the lens can produce in each contributing frame - usually away from the edges. That's what one would want to compare I suppose with the outcome of a single shot from a MFDB with a wide-enough angle lens to provide comparable field of view.

Cheers,

Mark

Edit: I deleted the images in quote to reduce post size.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 25, 2009, 10:17:35 pm
Quote from: Bill VN
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,but in the end, a traditional photograph is a physical medium, not electrical charges in the ether.

My Epson prints are also a physical medium, and what I can do with today's technology far surpasses anything I was able to achieve with film be it colour or B&W, be it in my own darkroom or sent to a service. That's just my two-cents' worth based on my own operational experience. It isn't a general statement about the art of the possible in either medium because I don't know what that is - it's an abstract concept undefined and unbounded by any particular sample of work, with all due respect to the best work out there, film or digital. It is, however, a matter of measurable fact that today's inkjet printers and finest papers can produce B&W images with higher DMax than achievable with pre-digital technologies. And we will be able to save the image files indefinitely and intact with appropriate attention to timing of media conversion, which I appreciate having examined the condition of my Kodachrome slides shot over 50 years ago.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 25, 2009, 10:49:20 pm
Quote from: Bill VN
........... and photogravure (a costly alternative) may also be better than an inkjet.

I don't know what you mean by "better", and much of this is a matter of taste. This kind of contention needs to be either acknowledged as the latter, or formally documented in terms of measurable, objective criteria defining "better".
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 25, 2009, 11:27:38 pm
On further consideration, to bring this discussion back "on-topic" - it is about needs, wants, affordability. How did it get into a tangent on film versus digital? I suppose it's because needs and wants can be conditioned by outcomes. But that said, is there some kind of relevant relationship between the potential image quality of film based images versus digital-based images and the relative costs of the equipment and stuff needed to maximize quality in each domain? If that's where it comes from, then it's off-base, because there is none and there's no reason to expect any. And anyone evaluating such relationships, would need to also include the value of time, waste, health effects and environmental impacts. Lots of Luck doing that. No. Each technology developed in its own time and place and its prices are based on the supply and demand conditions prevalent for those materials in real time. Even if for example photogravure prints remained the greatest medium that man ever invented (which I doubt - as nice as they are), it bears no relevance whatsoever to the value the market places on a MFDB, and as long as there is a market for these MFDBs, it means that an economically viable quantum of photographers prefer them to making - for example - photogravure prints for whatever the reasons. That's really where the rubber hits the road, because if too many people thought they'd get better images more easily doing photogravure, for eample, they would do photogravure and the MFDB market would collapse (that may be happening anyhow due to current economic conditions - I don't know - but certainly not because of competition from pre-digital processes of any kind). I think it's time to set aside the theological debating about historical processes and much like Bernard has been suggesting here, focus the discussion on the real trade-offs affecting how people would evaluate the key factors today - such as, does the technical output of a stitched threesome from a 1DsMk3 compare favourably with the same image from a P65? That's the kind of issue which could reasonably determine needs and wants in today's context, and it's also the kind of issue amenable to objective evaluation.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Wayne Fox on August 25, 2009, 11:30:54 pm
Quote from: Bill VN
I mostly agree with Mike on this, but some clarifications should be added. While silver salts, the basis of modern films, are essentially black or clear after development and fixing, they are crystals and exhibit growth dependent on the light level they are exposed to. Larger crystals on negatives represent lighter areas and smaller crystals represent darker grays. So, they are not directly equivalent to pixels, or photosites, on a modern DSLR sensor.

You sure about this?  Are they "larger" and "smaller" or is there just more individual crystals affected or less.  I can't see how the crystals would "grow" once they are suspended in the emulsion.  I think they are larger because more individual crystals in a larger crystal are affected.

I'm not sure anyone was really comparing them to modern sensors.  But at the very basic level of the chemical process, silver halide photography is built on the premise that hundreds of millions of crystals each are either exposed and developed into silver or unexposed and undeveloped and the result will then blend into a visual (analog) image.  I don't think anyone is saying this is a digital process, but in fact it is more similar to a digital process  than a modern sensor, which is truly an analog device, and must be converted to a digital representation of the data it receives.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 25, 2009, 11:41:45 pm
Quote from: MarkDS
Bernard,

As usual - outstanding photographs - excellent work, and many thanks for sharing. One of these days I need to get into panos more seriously - you've inspired me.

I think one other factor that may be worth mentioning in support of the pano approach - by careful selection of the overlapping strategy one can arrange to retain only the highest quality portions of the image the lens can produce in each contributing frame - usually away from the edges. That's what one would want to compare I suppose with the outcome of a single shot from a MFDB with a wide-enough angle lens to provide comparable field of view.

Thank you Mark, much appreciated.

You raise a very good point indeed, I tend to forget that because the Zeiss 100mm f2.0 I have been using mostly is basically as good in the corners as it is in the center around f6.7/f8 - the aperture I use it at most of the time, but it is obviously not the case for all lenses.

Pano is fun once you get used to it. It can be frustrating at the beginning, but things are very smooth once you get a well defined routine, it is now very rare that I mess things up (don't even remember when that happened last):-)

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on August 26, 2009, 01:22:48 am
Quote from: Wayne Fox
You sure about this?  Are they "larger" and "smaller" or is there just more individual crystals affected or less.  I can't see how the crystals would "grow" once they are suspended in the emulsion.  I think they are larger because more individual crystals in a larger crystal are affected.

I'm not sure anyone was really comparing them to modern sensors.  But at the very basic level of the chemical process, silver halide photography is built on the premise that hundreds of millions of crystals each are either exposed and developed into silver or unexposed and undeveloped and the result will then blend into a visual (analog) image.  I don't think anyone is saying this is a digital process, but in fact it is more similar to a digital process  than a modern sensor, which is truly an analog device, and must be converted to a digital representation of the data it receives.

Now finding myself as an old-timer, when light is exposed to a photographic film, it converts silver salts to a pure silver crystal that grows dependent on the lumens hitting it. After fixing, the salts are removed and the silver remains inversely dense to the original light exposure. This is simply the basics of traditional photography using silver halide chemistry.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on August 26, 2009, 01:30:28 am
Quote from: MarkDS
I don't know what you mean by "better", and much of this is a matter of taste. This kind of contention needs to be either acknowledged as the latter, or formally documented in terms of measurable, objective criteria defining "better".

Photogravure, which is how our paper money is printed, is a very expensive medium, but was utilized by fine print photographers during the early part of the 20th century along with off-the-shelf platinum and palladium printing papers. Almost all modern printing up to ink-jet output has been done by lithographic printing, which relies on various screen levels for depth of detail. Present ink-jet printers produce extremely high screen levels, but cannot match an equivalent contact print.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: ErikKaffehr on August 26, 2009, 02:22:25 am
Hi,

It is perfectly possible to stitch MFDB images. If you need more pixels stitching is always an option. In a sense I think Bernard is absolutely right, with stitching you can do with less, both regarding money and weight.

On the other hand, there are plenty of subjects where stitching is not practical.

As Michael used to say: "Horses for the races". But, if you cannot afford or carry that MF equipment, the ability to stitch lesser images is a good option.  

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: Josh-H
Hi Bernard,

I agree stitching is a partial solution only - there are many instances where stitching is either impossible or virtually so.

Stitching can of course bring a lower MP camera up to or greater than the same number of pixels from a MFDB - but pixel count is not the whole story. There are a lot of other factors owners of High end MFDB's attest to as significantly superior to even high end DSLR's like my 1DSMK3 or your D3X.

I think stitching remains a good viable option - but it isnt a substitute for a high end MFDB in my opinion.

As to the value question - well.. i think that like 'beauty', 'value' is also in the eye of the beholder (or holder in this case  )

P.S - Lovely Shot.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Schewe on August 26, 2009, 03:23:45 am
Quote from: Bill VN
Now finding myself as an old-timer, when light is exposed to a photographic film, it converts silver salts to a pure silver crystal that grows dependent on the lumens hitting it. After fixing, the salts are removed and the silver remains inversely dense to the original light exposure. This is simply the basics of traditional photography using silver halide chemistry.

And this is magical for some reason why?

First off, define "old-timer"...are you somebody over 50 years or so old that has extensive B&W and color darkroom work experience? (since you don't seem to care much for color neg, I presume mainly B&W?) Come on, fess up...

It's kinda funny as I was dealing with this thread (and the a$$hole that first lambasted me and then felt compelled to erase everything he wrote) I was dealing with a retrospective show of 31 prints the majority of which were 24" x 30" but 1/3 were 36" x 46", framed...all nicely matted and framed and crated to be able to ship at a moment's notice anywhere in the world. The only problem was that all the framed and matted prints were done with an Epson 78/9800 printer and my current "state of the art" printer is a 9900 printer...so, I have this show made up of nicely matted and framed 24x30" and 36x46" prints–the cost of the print show (which was handed by Epson) was thousands of bucks. What did I do?

Some of the prints went into the basement cause, well the framed prints look really nice. But a bunch of the 36"x46" went into the dumpster cause, well, the prints made with the 9800 look less god than what I  can produce with the 9900. and the prints were matted, framed and sealed into the frames.

And this is a sad (ironic) reality of digital at this stage...the originals (the raw captures) keep getting vastly better because of the improved raw processing–and the digital printing keeps getting better because of the improved color gamut and dynamic range of the prints...the stuff you shoot today (or shot yesterday) is actually better than in most technical respects that what you could have shot or processed a year or so ago...

If you don't like the "shock of the new" you really should get into oil painting and get out of photography...
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: ErikKaffehr on August 26, 2009, 04:32:26 am
Hi,

I'd suggest that the high prices much depends on the cost of making large sensor chips in small series. Competition obviously matters, but as long as the chips are expensive so will the backs be expensive.

That said, it's quite obvious that analog film is still an option. I published recently two comparisons between 67 film and my Alpha 900, and had quite a few comments. After considering all the comments I'd suggest that medium format film is still an option, but not a very convenient one. Some of the photographers who commented my "test" work with both film-based MF and large format and "top level" digital, like the Aptus 75. On the other hand very demanding photographers like Joseph Holmes and Charlie Cramer find MF digital to match or surpass 4x5" film.

Taste may matter. Some like Velvia and some don't. Much research went into Velvia to achieve the Velvia look, it may not be easy to reproduce it digitally. Should be possible, IMHO, but not easily.

On the other hand, my Alpha 900 probably beats a "blad" using a conventional darkroom process any time, and it just more practical and convenient. If you need the ultimate quality from MF film the best option may be to find a good lab offering drum scans, but that's probably expensive. A used Imacon scanner may be an option. Normal CCD-based scanners may be less optimal.

A full frame DSLR is probably a good alternative to film based MF, just more convenient and probably also better.

Regarding my findings, the article is here:
http://83.177.178.241/ekr/index.php/photoa...-sony-alpha-900 (http://83.177.178.241/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/16-pentax67velvia-vs-sony-alpha-900)

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: Bill VN
Actually, my original post was about the obscenely high cost of switching to digital for photographers who have worked with large and medium format cameras in the past. One of the reasons for this, in my view, is the practical monopolization of the market by a few Danish companies, such as Phase One, which now owns Leaf and partially Mamiya, and Hasselblad, which is owned by a Chinese trading company and really operated by ex-Imacon management.

Franke & Heidecke has fallen by the wayside, so Jenoptik is leaving the market, divesting Sinar along the way. There is MegaVision in California, but I am not sure how much of a factor they are in the market.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 26, 2009, 09:02:05 am
Quote from: Bill VN
Photogravure, which is how our paper money is printed, is a very expensive medium, but was utilized by fine print photographers during the early part of the 20th century along with off-the-shelf platinum and palladium printing papers. Almost all modern printing up to ink-jet output has been done by lithographic printing, which relies on various screen levels for depth of detail. Present ink-jet printers produce extremely high screen levels, but cannot match an equivalent contact print.

Bill, I think there is some mix-up here. There's photogravure and there's photogravure. The one-off historical process beautifully described here Photogravure (http://www.photogravure.com/) on the one hand, and rotogravure or sheet-fed gravure used for printing money and the many excellent gravure-printed photographic books of the 1950s-1970s on the other hand - produced by firms such as Draeger Bros in Paris, Braun in Mulhouse, the Meriden Gravure Co. of Connecticut, C.J. Bucher of Luzern and Conzett & Huber in Zurich, to name some of the foremost, aren't really the same product, and it simply isn't serious to argue that the print quality of the latter compares with the DMax, clarity and tonality of contemporary inkjet prints produced by people who know how to use the medium.

In a thread like this where we are supposed to be discussing "want, need and afford", it's legitimate of course to situate wants and needs within a context referencing the outcomes which generate those wants and needs, but it doesn't make any sense to juxtapose apples and oranges from different eras. 99% of market participants will be making choices based on practical contemporary options ranging from the acceptable to the extraordinarily high quality which today's processes and equipment can deliver.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 26, 2009, 09:24:24 am
Quote from: Schewe
And this is magical for some reason why?

...............(since you don't seem to care much for color neg, I presume mainly B&W?)

 Good you resuccitated this point, because I intended to say something about that too. I'd like to know what was wrong with colour negatives? In the right hands this was an excellent medium. They have tremendous tonality, great shadow detail, very forgiving of exposure issues, and scanned by people who know what they are doing, they can produce clean, well-controlled, high-quality results. But it's a time-consuming process. If Bill were to do some more research, he'd find that prominent professionals in the digital imaging field have said very positive things about colour negative materials. Not putting myself in that league, but as an aside, I've done a lot of work digitizing colour negatives Near Digital Quality (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/ndq.shtml) Scanning with Silverfast (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/silverfast-scanning.shtml)and I agree with them.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 26, 2009, 09:35:26 am
Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Hi,

..........I'd suggest that the high prices much depends on the cost of making large sensor chips in small series. Competition obviously matters, but as long as the chips are expensive so will the backs be expensive.

That said, it's quite obvious that analog film is still an option. ...............

Best regards
Erik

Erik, yes, I enjoyed your research, and I would add the high prices of MFDBs is not only the cost of making the chips, but that factor combined with what the high cost of entry does to the size of the market. There simply isn't the scale to bring the costs down a whole lot, and underlying that one needs to consider the amount of custom, manual intervention required to maximize quality of each production unit at the high-end of the technology. The people doing this have high overheads in R&D, facilities and equipment and they aren't working for nothing.

And yes, film is still an option, but as your own work shows, for most purposes it is no longer a cost-effective or market-relevant option. There will continue to be users of film, there are certain applications of film-based technology which have a sustainable niche, but outside of that, the real comparisons between wants, needs and outcomes are within the digital realm.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on August 26, 2009, 06:25:45 pm
Quote from: Schewe
And this is magical for some reason why?

First off, define "old-timer"...are you somebody over 50 years or so old that has extensive B&W and color darkroom work experience? (since you don't seem to care much for color neg, I presume mainly B&W?) Come on, fess up...

It's kinda funny as I was dealing with this thread (and the a$$hole that first lambasted me and then felt compelled to erase everything he wrote) I was dealing with a retrospective show of 31 prints the majority of which were 24" x 30" but 1/3 were 36" x 46", framed...all nicely matted and framed and crated to be able to ship at a moment's notice anywhere in the world. The only problem was that all the framed and matted prints were done with an Epson 78/9800 printer and my current "state of the art" printer is a 9900 printer...so, I have this show made up of nicely matted and framed 24x30" and 36x46" prints–the cost of the print show (which was handed by Epson) was thousands of bucks. What did I do?

Some of the prints went into the basement cause, well the framed prints look really nice. But a bunch of the 36"x46" went into the dumpster cause, well, the prints made with the 9800 look less god than what I  can produce with the 9900. and the prints were matted, framed and sealed into the frames.

And this is a sad (ironic) reality of digital at this stage...the originals (the raw captures) keep getting vastly better because of the improved raw processing–and the digital printing keeps getting better because of the improved color gamut and dynamic range of the prints...the stuff you shoot today (or shot yesterday) is actually better than in most technical respects that what you could have shot or processed a year or so ago...

If you don't like the "shock of the new" you really should get into oil painting and get out of photography...

Sir, you crack me up! Yes, I am slightly over 50, and I have done extensive darkroom work with 4x5, 120 and 35 mm films including color negatives & prints, color transparencies and B&W prints. As a technical sales specialist, I once represented the leading supplier of pump assemblies to the photographic/graphic arts processor manufacturers of the time, such as Agfa-Gevaert and Linotype. And when I represented the largest provider of graphic arts masking films for lithographic printing, I also functioned as my company's technical liaison with Eastman Kodak.

In addition, I have constructed view cameras and enlargers for my personal use, so maybe I can claim a modest knowledge of this subject. It has been interesting to see folks "bounce off the walls" with opinions every time I post simple facts. Oh by the way, I am currently a business development manager for a leading provider of engineering services to--you guessed it--the semiconductor industry. An industry that still uses photolithography to make chips.

To reiterate, I started this subject simply to state that there is a large population of photographers who demand the highest level of quality of imaging, and they have been staggered by the huge rise in cost for digital equipment that comes anywhere close to meeting their standards.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray R on August 26, 2009, 07:42:29 pm
We discuss the archival quality of film over digital - but does anyone care? Apart from the photographers.

Did Rembrandt or Monet know how long his images would last? or care?

Do we aim for more than our customers want?

Do most of them want a nice image to display on the wall? or are they looking for an investment that will be worth more when they and the photographer(film or digital) are deceased?
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 26, 2009, 08:00:46 pm
Quote from: Ray R
Do most of them want a nice image to display on the wall? or are they looking for an investment that will be worth more when they and the photographer(film or digital) are deceased?

There is a clear hope that signed limited editions of prints that are supposed to last long are a way to increase the price of a fine art print, as opposed to... high quality posters?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 26, 2009, 08:16:04 pm
Quote from: Bill VN
Sir, you crack me up! .........................
To reiterate, I started this subject simply to state that there is a large population of photographers who demand the highest level of quality of imaging, and they have been staggered by the huge rise in cost for digital equipment that comes anywhere close to meeting their standards.

Ya, Jeff cracks me up to - but in the right way, because 9.9 times out of 10 he makes a lot of sense to me (sorry about the 0.1% Jeff - that's just the parsimonious philosophy in me that nothing or nobody - even me - can be 100%)  

Now turning to the real meat of your post, let's analyze whether what you say here makes any objective sense. How do you define "the highest quality of imaging" in an operationally significant manner? Because without that in the foreground, the rest of the premises is untestable and pointless. And in a similar vein, what are "their standards"? And can you quantify this "large population of photographers" who are so affected, and of that population, how many of them really understand the technical revolution of the past decade? You see, the fact is, that the most successful professional photographers who really ARE at the forefront of 21st century photography - and here I'm thinking of people like Vincent Versace, Greg Gorman, John Paul Caponigro, Michael Reichmannm, Joe McNally, Jay Maisel, Charles Cramer, Moose Peterson, Jim deVitale, Joe Glyda, Martin Evening, and the list can go on and on.........have not only embraced the digital revolution, but are also teaching the world how to maximize its potential. Companies like Canon and Nikon are churning out MILLIONS of cameras from point and shoots up through DSLRs and they aren't piling-up in garbage dumps - people at ALL levels are buying them. There has to be something to this which defies the situation you are trying to establish.

But let's dig a bit further into this question of "huge rise in cost for digital equipment". What "huge rise in cost" are you talking about relative to what and over what time period, because the quality keeps getting better and the real prices keep coming down. And more importantly, how are you doing your accounting? As a professional economist this is something in which I take an interest, and as a sales professional you should know about it too. There is front-end investment cost and then there is a long string of recurrent operational costs, and labour costs and the time value of money. When you look at ALL the LIFE-CYCLE, comprehensive cost implications of a film versus a digital workflow can you seriously say the latter is higher cost? Have you done this research to know the answer (and based on what time period, what equipment, what costs and what other assumptions about the relevant comparator variables)? I haven't, but I have a very strong sense of the texture of this issue-set that digital would come out winning the cost war hands-down, except perhaps for irrational situations in which someone spent 30K on an MFDB and used it once a year - unless of course that one usage netted them a 50K image sale. You see, it ain't so simple after all, is it?
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 26, 2009, 08:30:10 pm
Quote from: BernardLanguillier
There is a clear hope that signed limited editions of prints that are supposed to last long are a way to increase the price of a fine art print, as opposed to... high quality posters?

Cheers,
Bernard

Bernard, "high quality posters" may not be the best opponent in this argument. If you scoured the web for original lithographic posters by Chagall, Miro and Picasso ( before the financial melt-down) you'd have seen what I mean. But you're basically correct. Print photography IS all about longevity and that battle was won by Digital from the time Epson produced the 2000P about 10 years ago, and perhaps even earlier.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 27, 2009, 12:15:26 am
There are a couple of aspects of this debate which haven't been emphasised as much as they should be. First, the stitching potential of DSLRs compared with single shot MFDB. The usual retort is, well you can also stitch with MFDB to get an even better result, if the subject lends itself to such a process.

The obvious response to that retort is, "do you need that better result?' Is your printer wide enough? It's no surprise that Bernard now has an Epson 9900. I get the impression that Bernard has lots of stitched images that ideally could use a printer even wider than the 9900.

With the impressive automatic stitching results that can now be achieved with programs like Autopano Pro, one might wonder which is easier. To take a single shot with a cumbersome and heavy camera such as the average MFDB, or shoot off a rapid series of 3 or 4 panned images with a D3X, which, after stitching, cropping and adjusting in photoshop to the same file size as the single P65 shot, will likely be actually a sharper and more detailed final result than the single P65 shot.

In fact, it simply wouldn't be possible with a single P45 shot to get as wide an angle as a D3X could produce with just a couple of panned shots with a 14-24 zoom, therefore to emulate the D3X stitching results, a single MFDB is simply not adequate.

The other issue is lens quality. There's a general principle that 2 lenses are better than one. Or to put it another way, 4 stitched shots from a D3X with, say, the best quality 200mm prime lens, should be sharper than a single shot from an MFDB with the best quality MF 200mm lens, assuming same file size and FOV after cropping. The pixel densities of the D3X and P65+ are pretty similar, but effectivley 2 1/2 best quality 35mm primes are better than one MF prime.

But maybe not. Let's see some comparisons. Without hard evidence the discussion can go on forever. My bet is, that 4 stiched images from the D3X after cropping (2 rows of 2, with camera horizontal) will produce a better result, if stitched properly, than a single shot from the P65+ with same focal length lens of comparable quality.

Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on August 27, 2009, 01:18:31 am
Quote from: MarkDS
Ya, Jeff cracks me up to - but in the right way, because 9.9 times out of 10 he makes a lot of sense to me (sorry about the 0.1% Jeff - that's just the parsimonious philosophy in me that nothing or nobody - even me - can be 100%)  

Now turning to the real meat of your post, let's analyze whether what you say here makes any objective sense. How do you define "the highest quality of imaging" in an operationally significant manner? Because without that in the foreground, the rest of the premises is untestable and pointless. And in a similar vein, what are "their standards"? And can you quantify this "large population of photographers" who are so affected, and of that population, how many of them really understand the technical revolution of the past decade? You see, the fact is, that the most successful professional photographers who really ARE at the forefront of 21st century photography - and here I'm thinking of people like Vincent Versace, Greg Gorman, John Paul Caponigro, Michael Reichmannm, Joe McNally, Jay Maisel, Charles Cramer, Moose Peterson, Jim deVitale, Joe Glyda, Martin Evening, and the list can go on and on.........have not only embraced the digital revolution, but are also teaching the world how to maximize its potential. Companies like Canon and Nikon are churning out MILLIONS of cameras from point and shoots up through DSLRs and they aren't piling-up in garbage dumps - people at ALL levels are buying them. There has to be something to this which defies the situation you are trying to establish.

But let's dig a bit further into this question of "huge rise in cost for digital equipment". What "huge rise in cost" are you talking about relative to what and over what time period, because the quality keeps getting better and the real prices keep coming down. And more importantly, how are you doing your accounting? As a professional economist this is something in which I take an interest, and as a sales professional you should know about it too. There is front-end investment cost and then there is a long string of recurrent operational costs, and labour costs and the time value of money. When you look at ALL the LIFE-CYCLE, comprehensive cost implications of a film versus a digital workflow can you seriously say the latter is higher cost? Have you done this research to know the answer (and based on what time period, what equipment, what costs and what other assumptions about the relevant comparator variables)? I haven't, but I have a very strong sense of the texture of this issue-set that digital would come out winning the cost war hands-down, except perhaps for irrational situations in which someone spent 30K on an MFDB and used it once a year - unless of course that one usage netted them a 50K image sale. You see, it ain't so simple after all, is it?

Oooh! Another "bouncing off the walls" OPINION disputing scientifically proven FACTS! LEARN YOUR CRAFT! And once again, I shoot digital, have used large and medium format film in the past, and simply want to economically produce the same level of quality.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on August 27, 2009, 01:29:50 am
Quote from: Ray
There are a couple of aspects of this debate which haven't been emphasised as much as they should be. First, the stitching potential of DSLRs compared with single shot MFDB. The usual retort is, well you can also stitch with MFDB to get an even better result, if the subject lends itself to such a process.

The obvious response to that retort is, "do you need that better result?' Is your printer wide enough? It's no surprise that Bernard now has an Epson 9900. I get the impression that Bernard has lots of stitched images that ideally could use a printer even wider than the 9900.

With the impressive automatic stitching results that can now be achieved with programs like Autopano Pro, one might wonder which is easier. To take a single shot with a cumbersome and heavy camera such as the average MFDB, or shoot off a rapid series of 3 or 4 panned images with a D3X, which, after stitching, cropping and adjusting in photoshop to the same file size as the single P65 shot, will likely be actually a sharper and more detailed final result than the single P65 shot.

In fact, it simply wouldn't be possible with a single P45 shot to get as wide an angle as a D3X could produce with just a couple of panned shots with a 14-24 zoom, therefore to emulate the D3X stitching results, a single MFDB is simply not adequate.

The other issue is lens quality. There's a general principle that 2 lenses are better than one. Or to put it another way, 4 stitched shots from a D3X with, say, the best quality 200mm prime lens, should be sharper than a single shot from an MFDB with the best quality MF 200mm lens, assuming same file size and FOV after cropping. The pixel densities of the D3X and P65+ are pretty similar, but effectivley 2 1/2 best quality 35mm primes are better than one MF prime.

But maybe not. Let's see some comparisons. Without hard evidence the discussion can go on forever. My bet is, that 4 stiched images from the D3X after cropping (2 rows of 2, with camera horizontal) will produce a better result, if stitched properly, than a single shot from the P65+ with same focal length lens of comparable quality.

By the way, I use stitching many times. The thing is that MFDBs record images in 16-bit color, which exceeds DSLRs typical 12- or 14-bit recording. Using multiple images, the latest thing is 32-bit or HDR imaging. This is independent from megapixels.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 27, 2009, 02:35:09 am
Quote from: Bill VN
By the way, I use stitching many times. The thing is that MFDBs record images in 16-bit color, which exceeds DSLRs typical 12- or 14-bit recording. Using multiple images, the latest thing is 32-bit or HDR imaging. This is independent from megapixels.

You can do HDR with a back also.

Besides, as far as 14 vs 16 goes, I am still to see a factual proof that it changes something.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: grabshot on August 27, 2009, 04:16:34 am
http://photo-utopia.blogspot.com/2007/10/c...and-clumps.html (http://photo-utopia.blogspot.com/2007/10/chumps-and-clumps.html)
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: cmi on August 27, 2009, 07:45:14 am
Quote from: grabshot
http://photo-utopia.blogspot.com/2007/10/c...and-clumps.html (http://photo-utopia.blogspot.com/2007/10/chumps-and-clumps.html)

Thanks for that.

Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: JohnBrew on August 27, 2009, 08:21:32 am
Quote from: grabshot
http://photo-utopia.blogspot.com/2007/10/c...and-clumps.html (http://photo-utopia.blogspot.com/2007/10/chumps-and-clumps.html)

I know Mark from the Leica forum. He knows what he discusses and makes a lot of sense.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 27, 2009, 10:38:39 am
Quote from: Bill VN
By the way, I use stitching many times. The thing is that MFDBs record images in 16-bit color, which exceeds DSLRs typical 12- or 14-bit recording. Using multiple images...

But doesn't exceed the D3X specifically. When comparing a stitched result from a D3x with a single P45+ shot of the same FOV (neither interpolated nor downsampled), one is making a comparison at the pixel level, approximately.

DXOMark test results show that the D3X is superior to the P65+ in all parameters tested, ie. S/N, DR, Tonal Range and Color Sensitivity, at the pixel level.

DXOMark do not test resolution. If they were to, there's no doubt that a single P65+ shot would have higher resolution than a single D3X shot.

However, I would predict that a stitched D3X image (of same FOV) would also have higher resolution than a single P65+ shot. In other words, simply better in all departments.

Here's the link
http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image.../(brand2)/Nikon (http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image-Quality-Database/Compare-cameras/(appareil1)/318%7C0/(appareil2)/287%7C0/(onglet)/0/(brand)/Phase%20One/(brand2)/Nikon)
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 27, 2009, 10:45:28 am
Re the "Photo-Utopia" reference, my experience of the Luminous-Landscape, and why I like it so much here, is that it has standards. Insubstantial stuff does not get published, and real names of authors accompany everything that is published. Not to say that mistakes won't happen - we're all human and we all err. So what would have been interesting to see is someone with a real name, and acknowledged credentials in the chemistry of film come forward onto this website with their view of whether "clumps and chumps" got it right or not or partly. My search of the archives (unless I missed something) did not turn-up a rigorous scientific refutation of the article's fundamentals. In any case, the relationship between that discussion and "Want-Need-Afford" is rather indirect, insofar as so many other more likely determinative factors would intervene on any comparison of cost-effectiveness between prints produced from a digital versus a film workflow.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 27, 2009, 11:01:43 am
Quote from: Ray
But doesn't exceed the D3X specifically. When comparing a stitched result from a D3x with a single P45+ shot of the same FOV (neither interpolated nor downsampled), one is making a comparison at the pixel level, approximately.

DXOMark test results show that the D3X is superior to the P65+ in all parameters tested, ie. S/N, DR, Tonal Range and Color Sensitivity, at the pixel level.

DXOMark do not test resolution. If they were to, there's no doubt that a single P65+ shot would have higher resolution than a single D3X shot.

However, I would predict that a stitched D3X image (of same FOV) would also have higher resolution than a single P65+ shot. In other words, simply better in all departments.

Here's the link
http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image.../(brand2)/Nikon (http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image-Quality-Database/Compare-cameras/(appareil1)/318%7C0/(appareil2)/287%7C0/(onglet)/0/(brand)/Phase%20One/(brand2)/Nikon)

Ray, I'm there, and from what I see in the Overview, the Phase P65 ranks within a quibble the same as a Nikon D3x except for "Low Light ISO" where the Nikon comes out on top hands-down. Their overall DxO mark is also extremely close. Interestingly, however, once one looks at the individual tabs underlying the overview, the Phase seems to perform less well than the Nikon. So without further explanation of how the whole is derived from the parts for this particular comparison, it all seems a bit contradictory to me.

This I think is a worthwhile question in the context of this discussion because the price disconnect between the two formats is huge and what we "need" or "want" should be informed by some notion of value-added in respect of results.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 27, 2009, 11:08:55 am
Quote from: Bill VN
Oooh! Another "bouncing off the walls" OPINION disputing scientifically proven FACTS! LEARN YOUR CRAFT! And once again, I shoot digital, have used large and medium format film in the past, and simply want to economically produce the same level of quality.

I have no idea what you are talking about when you say "the same level of quality". I've suggested that this discussion could be more substantive with some operationally significant definitions of the parameters and the comparators, and that is what my unanswered questions were directed at. Sorry if that is "off the wall" for you, but that's not my problem.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Tyler Mallory on August 27, 2009, 11:52:51 am
Quote from: Bill VN
Again, you make some valid points, but let's not forget who this equipment is made for. The anger over the cost of previously attainable MF systems has a real basis amongst those who care the most about high quality photography.

Regards,

Bill V.


Going back to the original poster's topic, it might be worth noting that the MF camera companies have realigned the target market for this equipment. With the manufacturing requirements driving down the number of units, the price would have to go up, which tightens the market even more. Add in the quality gains of the DSLR market and they have very little reason to try to compete on the same ground. So they went after the fashion and advertising photographers whose budgets could absorb a $30K+ system without too much fuss.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on August 27, 2009, 12:53:51 pm
Quote from: MarkDS
I have no idea what you are talking about when you say "the same level of quality". I've suggested that this discussion could be more substantive with some operationally significant definitions of the parameters and the comparators, and that is what my unanswered questions were directed at. Sorry if that is "off the wall" for you, but that's not my problem.

Earlier, I gave the example of an 8x10 contact print, as Edward Weston used to do.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Schewe on August 27, 2009, 02:12:26 pm
Quote from: Bill VN
Earlier, I gave the example of an 8x10 contact print, as Edward Weston used to do.


See, what we have here is a failure to communicate. There is nothing to keep you (or any other large format shooter) from working exactly the way they have in the past. You can still buy 8x10 B&W film (for the time being), chemistry and even B&W paper. Course, the variety is limited these days, but anybody interested can still work in the old fashioned way. Heck you can still even buy film cameras new...

So, the big question is one of "want bumps"...you seem to want the quality of high resolution digital but don't want to pay the price that it costs. You seem to have your own jaded view of why medium format backs and cameras cost so much. I suspect if you did some research, you would find that you are over estimating camera companies' ability to manipulate the market to increase prices and are vastly under estimating the cost of those companies doing business. You just want something so bad that you can't have (because of cost) that you are breaking out in "want bumps"...

Forget for the moment how much cheaper all the digital stuff is now than it was 10-15 years ago (back when you were still prolly doing analog). The Canon 5D MII at 22MP selling for under $3K would have been a Kodak 460 at about 4MP and just under $30K 10-12 years ago.

Heck, a couple of years ago, the P45+ was selling for $39K...now the P65+ is at that price point and you can get very new'ish P45+s for under $14K.

And while EPson has bucked a trend by releasing the 79/9900 series printers for more money that the printers they release, Epson is still selling the 788/9880 printers for less that what there were when released.

So, I guess all the hand wringing really comes down to sour grapes? I mean, that's what it sounds like from my point of view. YOU can STILL cling to the old fashioned analog method–at least for a while now...or you can go digital and spend what you think you can afford (remember the title of the original article) based on what you either need, or want. But if you want the quality of medium format digital backs, you'll have to pony up the cash...life's a bitch, and then ya die. What else is new?
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 27, 2009, 02:38:27 pm
Quote from: Schewe
See, what we have here is a failure to communicate.  

.....................But if you want the quality of medium format digital backs, you'll have to pony up the cash...life's a bitch, and then ya die. What else is new?

Yes, there is a huge communication gap or gaps. For example, my concept of operationally significant parameters and Bill's are on different planets, so I don't think that discussion is going to go anywhere, which is unfortunate because it defines the "effectiveness" counterpart of the "cost" equation.

If I can try nonetheless to parse Bill's point, I think he's trying to tell us that a MFDB for 30K+ isn't cost-effective because you can't get the quality of an 8*10 Edward Weston contact print from it; but you can get that EW quality if you were to spend a whole lot less, say on a Sinar 8*10 box, with a good Zeiss lens on it and fine grain sheet films etc. etc. Long before he's developed sour grapes, I think Bill's saying the grapes aren't worth getting sour about - and that's where there's likely to be huge differences of perspective between Bill on the one hand and folks such as you and me on the other, because all the premises of these discussions are vague and therefore the outcome is necessarily inconclusive outside the shells of what each camp thinks it "knows to be the case".

Now you've raised an interesting issue about ponying up the cash and then dying. The latter is what we would call in Economics the "backstop scenario". But before you get to the "backstop scenario" there is a dynamic going on called *depreciation* which you have identified clearly in your post. One of the needs/wants issues that really gives me pause to reflect is just how quickly and dramatically this stuff depreciates. My brother is all equipped with Hasselblads and Sinars and he checks the usual haunts for selling this kind of gear; he tells me interestingly enough that it either maintains its value or increases a bit depending. Whereas the high-end digital gear experiences what you've shown it to experience. Of course the explanation is that one is mature technology going no-where new and has a steady niche market, whereas the new technology is still evolving with newer more powerful stuff rapidly displacing older less powerful stuff in the eyes of the market. So anyone buying these high-end cameras needs to think hard about what they need, how long they are likely to be satisfied with it technically, how much stomach they have for rapidly depreciating asset value when they decide they should trade up, etc., because unless they do that kind of thinking and make their decisions with their eyes open, sour grapes could indeed set-in.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 27, 2009, 02:47:27 pm
And further on the issue of vague premises - what I have in mind are items such as the quantifiable technical characteristics of the best 8*10 contact prints, compared with the same for the best X*Y dimension digital image from say an Epson 7900, workflow implications of each, creative flexibility of each relative to time and effort, comparative success and failure rates between the technologies, comparable investment and operating cost profiles between the technologies, time value of money, life-cycle comprehensive cost implications of a technology choice, etc. All this informs how people (be it explicitly or implicitly) develop wants and make rational choices. Unless one starts drilling down to some real operational specifics, there's not much to discuss along these lines.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Wayne Fox on August 27, 2009, 04:16:29 pm
Quote from: Bill VN
Now finding myself as an old-timer, when light is exposed to a photographic film, it converts silver salts to a pure silver crystal that grows dependent on the lumens hitting it. After fixing, the salts are removed and the silver remains inversely dense to the original light exposure. This is simply the basics of traditional photography using silver halide chemistry.

First, I'm probably an old timer by many standards as well ... I started with B&W (which I never was very good at) in 1974. I started printing my own color enlargements in 1976 developed by using a tube floated and rolled in a temperature controlled water bath ... I would guess most can't even picture what I'm talking about except for "old timers".

Meaningless info.  However, your description of the macro process of silver halide imaging doesn't preclude the fact that at it's very base level, Michael is right, it divides and oversamples the incoming information into literally millions of either off or on reactions, which is the premise behind binary digital processes.  No one is saying it is digital ... but then again "digital" photography is digital because we take analog information received by a light sensitive electronic device and turn it into a digital representation.  This is just an ironical twist, not really relevant to the nature and quality of either process.  I'm not sure why someone preferring film has such a hard time with it (I assume thats why you keep trying to find a way to make it not true).

I've never felt there was anything magic or special about film. It was and is great.  But nothing special nor superior.  Just two different ways of using science to create an image.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Wayne Fox on August 27, 2009, 04:57:57 pm
Quote from: Bill VN
To reiterate, I started this subject simply to state that there is a large population of photographers who demand the highest level of quality of imaging, and they have been staggered by the huge rise in cost for digital equipment that comes anywhere close to meeting their standards.

Huh??

I paid thousands of dollars for film equipment.  And agreed at the beginning of the mainstream move to digital this "Huge rise in cost" for equipment to come close to meeting standards was a reality and perhaps staggering.  We paid $14,000 each for Kodak 520 cameras (around 2mp) when opening our 1st digital studios in 1999, and paid $25k for a our first two Kodak 560 (6mp) cameras in 2000 - and neither delivered the quality of the $5k Photocontrol long roll film cameras we were using at the time.

But now we have Canon 20/30/40 cameras running in our studios for a cost of only around $1400 each, which easily meets that quality level.  To get quality that exceeds my RZ67 now can be had for under $3,000, and with the new sony a850 we're down to a couple of thousand dollars ... indeed the cost of entry into professional quality capture is dramatically less than film capture ever was.  One of the reasons there are hundreds of thousands of new "professional" photographers.  

True the very high end stuff is expensive ... that's one of the points discussed in the article .  But that's a whole different level of quality and standards which just are not very mainstream ... certainly not a a large population, and many (or perhaps even most)  in that category are certainly not "staggered" at the cost.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 27, 2009, 05:53:33 pm
Quote from: Tyler Mallory
Going back to the original poster's topic, it might be worth noting that the MF camera companies have realigned the target market for this equipment. With the manufacturing requirements driving down the number of units, the price would have to go up, which tightens the market even more. Add in the quality gains of the DSLR market and they have very little reason to try to compete on the same ground. So they went after the fashion and advertising photographers whose budgets could absorb a $30K+ system without too much fuss.

As you mention, this is directly related to constraints at the current MFBD manufacturers, themselves a consequence of them being small operations lacking the ability to grow.

Now, we shoudl face the fact that many people actually like these prices as it makes the entry barrier significantly higher and does therefore make it easier for the existing players to keep a lead (too bad stitching is around really...).

So, I know some people will not like it, but my opinion remains that we unfortunately don't have the right MDFB providers in the sense that they are not serving the market well IMHO. I am sure that with a series of 50.000 units it would be totally possible to produce nowadays a 60MP back with the quality of a Canon/Nikon, sell these at 10.000 US$ and make a healthy margin, especially if lenses come into play as part of a system.

The MF market used to be several times bigger than 50.000 units a year. It seems obvious that Canon and Nikon together have been selling more than 50.000 units a year of their top range cameras (Nikon alone was rumoured to be producing about that amount of d3x a year) so people have been used to spending more and 10.000 US$ for a back that works looks like an amazing bargain.

Could Nikon/Canon do it?

- Sensorwise, Kodak/Dalsa are simply not playing in the same category as Sony/Canon and their ability to invest into technology is tremendously limited by the small volumes generated by the current MFBD. This is what is actually going to kill them, however talented the guys at Kodak/Dalsa are they just cannot beat teams made up of 10 times more people able to investigate 5 different technology track at the same time,

- Complexitywise, I know well what I am talking about, these backs are an order of magnitude simpler devices than modern DSLRs, and it would take litteraly a few weeks to complete a design to experienced Nikon/Canon designers working with 3D CAD.

- The lenses being hardly more of a challenge considering the price referential defined by Leica. Again, a Nikkor MF 35mm f2.8 selling for 3000 US$ would look like a bargain and leave the Nikon designers more freedom than they have ever had in the part to come up with something as close to perfection as it gets.

Now such a niche would hardly change the balance sheet of Canon/Nikon, and they are busy enough with the rest to bother investing... and the only way this could happen would be if they got together and defined a standard MF lens mount for which they would both produce interchangeable lenses. A 4/3 system for MF... wouldn't that be cool?

I know that I will keep telling Nikon to do it, who knows, they might listen?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 27, 2009, 06:03:42 pm
If you can convince Nikon that they can profitably market a HIGH VOLUME 65 MP MFDB solution for $10K all included: camera, back and lens (recall Mamiya has that in 21 MP), and they actually turn around and do it, you'll have done the community a huge service.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 27, 2009, 08:39:01 pm
Quote from: MarkDS
If you can convince Nikon that they can profitably market a HIGH VOLUME 65 MP MFDB solution for $10K all included: camera, back and lens (recall Mamiya has that in 21 MP), and they actually turn around and do it, you'll have done the community a huge service.

I would really love to achieve this, but I am afraid that my meager abilities are not up to the task.   Don't get me wrong though, I have nothing against our current MFDB providers in themselves, just about their current practises, I'll become a big supporter of them the day they turn around and move on to a strategy that enables them to bring to the market more affordable products. They do bring creativity and innovation.

As far as the package you mention, I don't think though that we could reasonnably expect the lens to be part of the deal at that price point, except for a basic standard lens, but in terms of production costs, the pixel count has little influence so Canon and Nikon being arguably a lot better than mamiya at cost control and process optimization there is zero doubt that they can do it.

The key here, as always, is the size of the market and the amount of units you can spread the R&D cost on.

Now are they going to do it is the only question. It wouldn't surprise me if the head of Canon and Nikon camera divisions - who must play golf together more often than we think - challenged each other on such a topic... for the sheer fun of it.  

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 27, 2009, 08:48:40 pm
Bernard, my recollection of the Mamiya a couple of years ago is that the normal prime lens was included in that $9900 package, at least in NYC.

Yes, I think you're right - they probably do play golf, scope the planet and the stars together and probe eachother on where they think the next big push is going to come from.

It is all a chicken-egg business and hard to say where they would break into the viscious circle of high costs-small market-high costs. Probably bringing the costs down in whatever ways their inventive minds can conjure-up, because in this economic environment they aren't going to take big risks on market. There are those who think very high cost MFDB is inevitable, and I can see why, but I too wonder about that from time to time.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 27, 2009, 08:51:54 pm
Quote from: MarkDS
Ray, I'm there, and from what I see in the Overview, the Phase P65 ranks within a quibble the same as a Nikon D3x except for "Low Light ISO" where the Nikon comes out on top hands-down. Their overall DxO mark is also extremely close. Interestingly, however, once one looks at the individual tabs underlying the overview, the Phase seems to perform less well than the Nikon. So without further explanation of how the whole is derived from the parts for this particular comparison, it all seems a bit contradictory to me.

This I think is a worthwhile question in the context of this discussion because the price disconnect between the two formats is huge and what we "need" or "want" should be informed by some notion of value-added in respect of results.


Mark,

I think the explanation for this apparent contradiction has to do with image/print size. It makes little sense to compare image quality at different sizes. Whether one makes a comparison on screen or on print, one should view equal size images from the same distance, which means either the D3X image will be upsampled more, or the P65+ image will be downsampled more.

In this context, the P65+ is marginally better, except for low light sensitivity, as you mentioned. Interestingly however, even at equal print sizes of 8"x12", the D3X still retains a 2/3rd EV advantage in dynamic range, although the P65+ takes the lead in the other parameters of SNR, Tonal Range and Color Sensitivity.

In the different context of comparing stitched D3X images of approximately the same pixel count as the P65+, one is in effect comparing image quality at the pixel level, in which case when both images are viewed at equal size there is an equal degree of upsampling or downsampling.

The individual tabs in the DXOMark comparison provide the option of comparing results at the pixel level and at a downsampled 8"x12" size. Unless the stitching process were to degrade the images with regard to tonal range, color sensitivity, sharpness etc, it would be reasonable to deduce that the final stitched result from the D3X images, of equal pixel count to the single P65+ image, might actually be better than the P65+ image in all departments. However, it's quite likely that such differences might be insignificant for most practical purposes, except for dynamic range. The 1.33 EV DR advantage of the D3X (at the pixel level) is surely significant.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Christopher on August 27, 2009, 09:18:23 pm
DXOMark mark is for people who have to much time and want to waste it on strange numbers compared to real world images.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 27, 2009, 09:59:41 pm
Quote from: Christopher
DXOMark mark is for people who have to much time and want to waste it on strange numbers compared to real world images.

Wrong! DXOMark is for people who wish to make equipment comparisons when real world images are not available, or when the real world images that are available are not suitable for comparison purposes for a variety of reasons, such as the subject and lighting being different, the nature of the subject not being suitable to differentiate the differences of camera/lens performance, the technique of the cameraman not being adequate etc etc.

For example, if you want to compare the DR of two differents systems using real-world images, then the scene being photographed should have an SBR (subject brightness range) which is significantly greater than the DR capability of the weakest system. In addition, both images should be equally exposed to the right, otherwise the results could be misleading.

You will notice that the subject of ETTR keeps cropping up again and again on this site. That's because it really is difficult to get an exact ETTR without going to some trouble. It is a safe bet that the people at DXO know what they are doing and use a consistent approach to get their test results. You can whinge all you like about DXOMark results, but I've yet to see a P65+ shot that displays a greater DR than a D3X shot of the same high SBR scene, at base ISO.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 27, 2009, 11:46:51 pm
Quote from: Ray
Mark,

I think the explanation for this apparent contradiction has to do with image/print size. It makes little sense to compare image quality at different sizes. Whether one makes a comparison on screen or on print, one should view equal size images from the same distance, which means either the D3X image will be upsampled more, or the P65+ image will be downsampled more.

In this context, the P65+ is marginally better, except for low light sensitivity, as you mentioned. Interestingly however, even at equal print sizes of 8"x12", the D3X still retains a 2/3rd EV advantage in dynamic range, although the P65+ takes the lead in the other parameters of SNR, Tonal Range and Color Sensitivity.

In the different context of comparing stitched D3X images of approximately the same pixel count as the P65+, one is in effect comparing image quality at the pixel level, in which case when both images are viewed at equal size there is an equal degree of upsampling or downsampling.

The individual tabs in the DXOMark comparison provide the option of comparing results at the pixel level and at a downsampled 8"x12" size. Unless the stitching process were to degrade the images with regard to tonal range, color sensitivity, sharpness etc, it would be reasonable to deduce that the final stitched result from the D3X images, of equal pixel count to the single P65+ image, might actually be better than the P65+ image in all departments. However, it's quite likely that such differences might be insignificant for most practical purposes, except for dynamic range. The 1.33 EV DR advantage of the D3X (at the pixel level) is surely significant.

Ray, I understand this problem - image size issue - but when you start resampling you are introducing another variable that can bias outcomes - exactly how and how much being the questions.

But I'd have to go back and look at the DxO stuff in the context of what you are saying here. If indeed the results are on the whole proximate, even save for one variable, it does raise a question about what one is paying for. While Christopher is wrong about the usefulness of DxO for the reasons you state, I would not rule out some kind of flaky issue that may have influenced their results in the case of the Phase camera. Perhaps there needs to be some discussion with them about this comparison, if they care to talk about it.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Schewe on August 28, 2009, 12:32:12 am
Quote from: MarkDS
Ray, I understand this problem - image size issue - but when you start resampling you are introducing another variable that can bias outcomes - exactly how and how much being the questions.

So, unless you have shot something with a 1Ds MIII (sorry, I don't do Nikons) and a Phase One P65+ and compared the results side be side, you just can't really appreciate the differences between 21+ MP and 60+ MP. With the 1Ds MIII at 240 PPI (the "minimum I would print with) I can get a print that is 23.4" x 15.6" uncropped and not resampled. With the P65+ uncropped an unresampled the print at 240 PPI would be 37.4" x 28". Now, I gotta tell ya, the difference between 23" whatever by 15" whatever and 37" x 28" is friggin huge...

I just shot a cello for an Epson video where I shot with a Sinar 4x5 with the P65+ back with a 300mm APO lens and had to upsample (a bit) to get to 38" wide...the print which ended up being 38" x 58" at about 240PPI looked better than ANYTHING I HAVE EVER SHOT ON 8X10....

Screw contact prints bud...who cares about stuff sitting on your lap. What does the image look like when it's 3'x4' and you have to back off to see the whole thing?

Bernard's stuff is really nice looking...I love it. I've got some 5-10 image panos I've assembled from 1DsMIII's in Antarctica that are real nice...but I just shot some 3 & 5 shot panos with the P65+ and I'll be shooting with Martin Evening in Sept in southern Utah where I'll be shooting panos with the P65+ and the Phase One and the 28MM lens (you can buy a real nice used car for the price of that lens). Guess what...multiply the same sort of size relationship between a single 1DSMIII and a single Phase One P65+ when contemplating stitching medium format...3-5 or 7 stich from a P65+? Huge...

So, here's the funny payoff for all this...in the most recent Real World Image Sharpening book I compared a shot done with an iPhone to a shot done with a P65+. Ya know what? For a reproduction of about 3"x4", there's no real difference in halftone repro. An iPhone that costs about $199 can do about as good a job as a P65+ at $40K. If all you need is a 3"x4" halftone image...

Does that mean I would tell commercial (or fine art) photographers to go out and buy an iPhone fore their serious stuff?

Sure, if all they are gonna print is 3"x4" stuff...

Size is extremely relative and contrary to what your girlfriend (or wife) may say, size does matter...a lot.

Sorry, deal with it...
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: stewarthemley on August 28, 2009, 01:56:35 am
The last time I supported Jeff some "person" jumped in with an attack on both him and me. But then he withdrew his remarks. So, assuming the coast is clear (!) I agree Jeff. (Dives for cover.)

Of course size matters. The only reason I had to go from the Mk3 (Canon) to a 39mb back was because my biggest client, who knows lots of other prospective clients, wanted something big to look good close up. I hired a MFDB/camera and after staring at the glaringly obvious quality difference we both decided there was no going back. I bought the camera, he now has lots of stuff done big, is happy to pay a fair percentage more, and we're both happy. So are my new clients that he recommended me to.

Seriously, if your clients can't see the difference between a Canon/Nikon and a MFDB then keep using the DSLR. Just take care if a competitor approaches them with a decent MF print.

(punctuation edit)
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 28, 2009, 02:02:22 am
Quote from: Schewe
So, unless you have shot something with a 1Ds MIII (sorry, I don't do Nikons) and a Phase One P65+ and compared the results side be side, you just can't really appreciate the differences between 21+ MP and 60+ MP. With the 1Ds MIII at 240 PPI (the "minimum I would print with) I can get a print that is 23.4" x 15.6" uncropped and not resampled. With the P65+ uncropped an unresampled the print at 240 PPI would be 37.4" x 28". Now, I gotta tell ya, the difference between 23" whatever by 15" whatever and 37" x 28" is friggin huge...

I just shot a cello for an Epson video where I shot with a Sinar 4x5 with the P65+ back with a 300mm APO lens and had to upsample (a bit) to get to 38" wide...the print which ended up being 38" x 58" at about 240PPI looked better than ANYTHING I HAVE EVER SHOT ON 8X10....

Screw contact prints bud...who cares about stuff sitting on your lap. What does the image look like when it's 3'x4' and you have to back off to see the whole thing?

Bernard's stuff is really nice looking...I love it. I've got some 5-10 image panos I've assembled from 1DsMIII's in Antarctica that are real nice...but I just shot some 3 & 5 shot panos with the P65+ and I'll be shooting with Martin Evening in Sept in southern Utah where I'll be shooting panos with the P65+ and the Phase One and the 28MM lens (you can buy a real nice used car for the price of that lens). Guess what...multiply the same sort of size relationship between a single 1DSMIII and a single Phase One P65+ when contemplating stitching medium format...3-5 or 7 stich from a P65+? Huge...

So, here's the funny payoff for all this...in the most recent Real World Image Sharpening book I compared a shot done with an iPhone to a shot done with a P65+. Ya know what? For a reproduction of about 3"x4", there's no real difference in halftone repro. An iPhone that costs about $199 can do about as good a job as a P65+ at $40K. If all you need is a 3"x4" halftone image...

Does that mean I would tell commercial (or fine art) photographers to go out and buy an iPhone fore their serious stuff?

Sure, if all they are gonna print is 3"x4" stuff...

Size is extremely relative and contrary to what your girlfriend (or wife) may say, size does matter...a lot.

Sorry, deal with it...


Jeez, Jeff! How can you miss the point so much? Do you drink? (If you do, you're excused)

There can be no doubt whatsoever that a single P65+ shot will have superior resolution to a single D3X shot of the same scene, same FOV etc.

For those working in a studio producing poster size images of models flinging their hair, or any scene where significant movement takes place, the P65+ will reign supreme for very large prints.

However, the thread is about 'want-need-afford'. Landscape in particular tends to be a static subject. Therefore, if one needs a large panoramic poster, perhaps more often than not, the subject lends itself to a stitching process. If it does, then it seems superfluous to spend so much money on such an expensive, heavy and cumbersome piece of equipment as the P65+ with body and lenses.

I always like to illustrate my point with a practical example. If you and I, Jeff, were hiking up Poon Hill in Nepal, to get the following dawn shot of the Himalayas, who would likely get there first, you with a P65+ (and paraphernalia) or me with a 5D2?

[attachment=16266:For_LL.jpg]
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: John Camp on August 28, 2009, 02:13:44 am
There are obviously uses for which a 39 or 50 mp MFDB will provide a higher-resolution image than a D3x, such as fashion shots with a moving model, or any close-up, moving subject...if you want to print really big. If you're printing magazine pages, I doubt that anyone could see a difference. However, we're seeing more and more gargantuan images -- the model shots you see on billboards and bus-stop boards, etc., where people can get really close to a large image. For those, I don't think a MFDB could be beaten.

For basically static landscapes, I think Bernard has a strong point, and I essentially agree with him. If you can stitch, and you're good at it, a D3x can match a MFDB. In some circumstances, a stitched D3 (not x) image could blow the doors off a MFDB, because of its high ISO capabilities. It can do things that no MFDB can do.

As for the 8x10 argument, the way I see it, 8x10 was a limitation that Edward Weston had to deal with; it wasn't a feature, it was a bug. Though it's traditional, it's too small. I've seen 8x10 contact prints by famous photographers at the Minneapolis Museum of Art and to appreciate that good-ol' contact-print resolution, you have to have your nose a quarter inch from the print. Guess what -- in any museum, that print is going to be behind glass, and usually behind filtered glass, and you won't be able to appreciate the detail because you can't see it. By the way, one reason almost all oil paintings you see in museum are larger than 8x10, when they could, in fact, be almost any size, is that most of them are "human sized" --- made to be easily seen and appreciated in human living and working spaces. So they are typically larger than about 20x12, and a very larger number are about 30x40. Photographs were 8x10 because of limitations in the medium, not because it was a magic size for photographs. Digital is breaking through that barrier.

I have a gorgeous copy of "Moonrise" hanging in the next room, and it really is gorgeous; but I've seen digital prints that are technically as good. And I say that as a collector of B&W silver prints.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Christopher on August 28, 2009, 03:12:25 am
Well Ray if you want to compare systems, than you go out and rent them. I still don't see the sense of DXOMark. If I'm interested in a system i try it. End of discussion. DXOMark is for people who don't really care about real world images and more about numbers and scores.

Another thing, I bet that my Phase System is not heavier than any D3X system....
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 28, 2009, 06:32:52 am
Quote from: Christopher
Well Ray if you want to compare systems, than you go out and rent them.

Not if you are a busy person with a sense of economy and efficiency and are smart enough to understand the figures, tests and reviews which you seem to so despise.

I've never, ever selected a camera by first hiring two or more cameras and then spending a lot of time comparing them with thorough tests, which I am capable of doing, by the way, but which I know is very time consuming.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 28, 2009, 08:29:45 am
Quote from: Ray
Jeez, Jeff! How can you miss the point so much? Do you drink? (If you do, you're excused)

There can be no doubt whatsoever that a single P65+ shot will have superior resolution to a single D3X shot of the same scene, same FOV etc.

For those working in a studio producing poster size images of models flinging their hair, or any scene where significant movement takes place, the P65+ will reign supreme for very large prints.

However, the thread is about 'want-need-afford'. Landscape in particular tends to be a static subject. Therefore, if one needs a large panoramic poster, perhaps more often than not, the subject lends itself to a stitching process. If it does, then it seems superfluous to spend so much money on such an expensive, heavy and cumbersome piece of equipment as the P65+ with body and lenses.

I always like to illustrate my point with a practical example. If you and I, Jeff, were hiking up Poon Hill in Nepal, to get the following dawn shot of the Himalayas, who would likely get there first, you with a P65+ (and paraphernalia) or me with a 5D2?

Well, a couple of prizes for the guy who gets there first   , but quite seriously, from what I've seen, there isn't that much difference in heft and weight between a MFDB and a Canon 1DsMk3. When it comes to adding lenses to the bag, then it becomes a different story. So you add some sessions with a PT to the price of the MFDB and get into better shape at the same time. A win-win for the MFDB and PT industries!

Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: ErikKaffehr on August 28, 2009, 09:30:31 am
Hi,

It depends a bit. Are relevant tests available? If you spend a lot of money it may be a good option to lend stuff and test it. I guess that DSLRs are essentially in the same league so it may not matter a lot. Lenses are a different thing.

Christian's view makes a lot of sense to me...

Best regards
Erik
Quote from: Ray
Not if you are a busy person with a sense of economy and efficiency and are smart enough to understand the figures, tests and reviews which you seem to so despise.

I've never, ever selected a camera by first hiring two or more cameras and then spending a lot of time comparing them with thorough tests, which I am capable of doing, by the way, but which I know is very time consuming.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 28, 2009, 10:35:42 am
Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Hi,

It depends a bit. Are relevant tests available? If you spend a lot of money it may be a good option to lend stuff and test it. I guess that DSLRs are essentially in the same league so it may not matter a lot. Lenses are a different thing.

Christian's view makes a lot of sense to me...

Best regards
Erik

DSLRs are not in the same league; they handle differently, they have different feature sets and they produce different results -sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle. How different brands handle exposure is a key case in point. Please see my article Some Noise About Noise (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/noise.shtml) on this website. Hence I agree with your view that renting equipment or finding some way of getting a "trial-run" before buying can be a very good precaution. The more you know before you buy the better.

As far as Christian's view is concerned - rubbish - this is an insult to the serious scientific effort of a justifiably prestigious organization and what they are doing is complemetary to the hands-on testing and image viewing one would like to do before buying. Again, the more one knows before making expensive commitments the better, and the data provided by DxO is another kind of information which, provided they got it right, is no less valid than "your-own-hands-on" information. It makes a lot of sense to me to be able to test my own field observations against their laboratory observations. If the two cohere, it is reinforcing. If they don't cohere, then one needs to re-examine either their stuff or my stuff to understand why. It's part of improving knowledge.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 28, 2009, 10:45:24 am
Quote from: MarkDS
......but quite seriously, from what I've seen, there isn't that much difference in heft and weight between a MFDB and a Canon 1DsMk3.
 

Mark,
There also isn't that much difference in performance specs between a 5D2 and a P65+ at the pixel level. The P65+ has about 1/3rd of a stop greater DR, but only at base ISO.

At ISO 100 and above the 5D2 is better in all departments except single shot resolution. With an actual base ISO of only 44, I think one would have to add the weight of a tripod to that trip up Poon Hill.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Schewe on August 28, 2009, 10:56:49 am
Quote from: Ray
I always like to illustrate my point with a practical example. If you and I, Jeff, were hiking up Poon Hill in Nepal, to get the following dawn shot of the Himalayas, who would likely get there first, you with a P65+ (and paraphernalia) or me with a 5D2?


I don't know...would the naked ladies be there too? What would they be carrying?

Actually, the Phase One 645 and a couple of lenses isn't really so much worse than a 1Ds MIII and a couple of lenses...yes, the 5D MII would be much lighter (a reason I often shoot candids with a Canon Rebel).

The point I was making (since it seems to have zoomed by your head) is that you use the tool that you need to use to get what you want out of an image. If you need a 3" x 4" image, you would be foolish to buy a P65+. If you need a 3' x 4' image, your 5D MII is gonna come up short compared to a P65+. And, if you don't get what you need because you can't afford it, I don't know what to tell somebody other than lower your expectations (and make smaller prints).
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 28, 2009, 11:19:01 am
Quote from: Schewe
I don't know...would the naked ladies be there too? What would they be carrying?

Actually, the Phase One 645 and a couple of lenses isn't really so much worse than a 1Ds MIII and a couple of lenses...yes, the 5D MII would be much lighter (a reason I often shoot candids with a Canon Rebel).

The point I was making (since it seems to have zoomed by your head) is that you use the tool that you need to use to get what you want out of an image. If you need a 3" x 4" image, you would be foolish to buy a P65+. If you need a 3' x 4' image, your 5D MII is gonna come up short compared to a P65+. And, if you don't get what you need because you can't afford it, I don't know what to tell somebody other than lower your expectations (and make smaller prints).

The way I interpret that scene is that the naked ladies should be there already awaiting your arrival and shouldn't be burdened beforehand carrying stuff. It wouldn't be "chivalrous", and they may not be as fresh and happy as they appear in Ray's image.  

Back to serious, are you saying Jeff, that if one's print size were going to be limited say to Super A3 (13*19), apart from the luxury of a huge amount of cropping flex you'd get from a 65MP image, there wouldn't be much IQ difference between a 1DsMk3 and a P65, say in the range of ISO 100-400, using pro-grade lenses on each?
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Schewe on August 28, 2009, 12:16:13 pm
Quote from: MarkDS
...are you saying Jeff, that if one's print size were going to be limited say to Super A3 (13*19), apart from the luxury of a huge amount of cropping flex you'd get from a 65MP image, there wouldn't be much IQ difference between a 1DsMk3 and a P65, say in the range of ISO 100-400, using pro-grade lenses on each?

You would prolly have to look REAL HARD to see any substantial difference if the print size for each camera was considerably smaller than "native" resolution at say 360PPI. So, if all you make are "smallish" prints, the reason for getting a P65+ VS a 1DsMIII (or 5DMII) would have to be something other than just IQ. There are reasons...cropability is one, plane of focus on a view camera another. But then on the flipside, for the P65+ you need more light, and higher ISO would go to the 5DMII (you end up with a 15MP capture if you use the P65+ to do pixel binning at ISO 1600).

It really all comes down to rero size...
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Wayne Fox on August 28, 2009, 02:26:23 pm
Quote from: Ray
I always like to illustrate my point with a practical example. If you and I, Jeff, were hiking up Poon Hill in Nepal, to get the following dawn shot of the Himalayas, who would likely get there first, you with a P65+ (and paraphernalia) or me with a 5D2?

[attachment=16266:For_LL.jpg]

You sure?  You ever shoot with any of these systems?  My PhaseOne system  is only a few pounds heavier than the Canon system I take when shooting high end work.  Sure my Canon street setup is much lighter, but when doing landscapes there isn't much difference.  Most of the paraphernalia has to do with shooting not the system, and goes along with either system.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 28, 2009, 08:22:18 pm
Quote from: Schewe
I don't know...would the naked ladies be there too? What would they be carrying?

Actually, the Phase One 645 and a couple of lenses isn't really so much worse than a 1Ds MIII and a couple of lenses...yes, the 5D MII would be much lighter (a reason I often shoot candids with a Canon Rebel).

The point I was making (since it seems to have zoomed by your head) is that you use the tool that you need to use to get what you want out of an image. If you need a 3" x 4" image, you would be foolish to buy a P65+. If you need a 3' x 4' image, your 5D MII is gonna come up short compared to a P65+. And, if you don't get what you need because you can't afford it, I don't know what to tell somebody other than lower your expectations (and make smaller prints).


Jeff,
I would never argue that one should not try to use the best tool for the job, but I get the impression that many photographers would have an eye on a P65+ because they want one rather than need one.

There also seem to be some serious disadvantages to the MFDB system, such as a slow continuous frame rate, (less than one frame per sec with the P65+), reduced performance at higher ISOs (or reduced pixel count as an alternative) and shallower DOF at any given F stop (for same FOV), which is not always ideal for landscapes. (Not to mention poor autofocussing).

For example, in the above panorama of the Himalayas, how would you get both the ladies and the mountains sharp, using a P65+?  F22 at ISO 44 in the early hours of the morning?
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 28, 2009, 08:44:05 pm
Quote from: Wayne Fox
You sure?  You ever shoot with any of these systems?  My PhaseOne system  is only a few pounds heavier than the Canon system I take when shooting high end work.  Sure my Canon street setup is much lighter, but when doing landscapes there isn't much difference.  Most of the paraphernalia has to do with shooting not the system, and goes along with either system.

Wayne,
Doesn't lower base ISO for best quality, in conjunction with higher F stop numbers to get good DoF, make use of a tripod almost mandatory in most situations, with a P65+?
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Christopher on August 28, 2009, 09:38:42 pm
Quote from: Ray
Wayne,
Doesn't lower base ISO for best quality, in conjunction with higher F stop numbers to get good DoF, make use of a tripod almost mandatory in most situations, with a P65+?

Well yes and no. On a real larger format camera yes, but than again you would tilt a little and everything would be in focus at an app. around f8

If you use the phase camera than you can always go to ISO 400 which is still really good.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 28, 2009, 11:17:49 pm
Quote from: Christopher
Well yes and no. On a real larger format camera yes, but than again you would tilt a little and everything would be in focus at an app. around f8

If you use the phase camera than you can always go to ISO 400 which is still really good.

At the true ISO 400 (actually ISO 360 which is described as ISO 800 on the P65+) the DR of the P65+ (at the pixel level) is 2.33 stops worse than that of the 5D2 at ISO 400, and 2.67 stops worse than the D3X at ISO 400 (actually ISO 337).

Allowing a one stop difference for equal DOF between 35mm and 645 format (in fact it's greater than one stop considering the expanded full frame format of the P65+), the difference in DR between the D3X at ISO 200 and the P65+ at ISO 400 (actually 360 and nominally 800) is an astounding 3 1/2 stops.
 
How does the P65+ fare with autobracketing of exposure? At 0.75 frames per second, I wouldn't feel too happy trying to increase that relatively poor DR at ISO 400 by merging to HDR. Too much movement to auto-align the images.

The Achilles' Heel of the P65+ (and all MFDBs) is the poor high ISO performance. It's not surprising that Phase One exaggerates their ISO ratings.

I mean, ISO 800 actually being ISO 360. That's ridiculous!

But I don't want to give the impression I am biased in any way about this issue. I recognise that there are a few situations where the P65+ will facilitate a better job than can be achieved using the best of the current DSLRs. Nevertheless, it's a high price to pay for those relatively few situations for many of us.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 28, 2009, 11:40:23 pm
Ray, where do you get these "true" ISO numbers from? Is that DxO data or from some other tests you've seen?
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Wayne Fox on August 28, 2009, 11:41:47 pm
Quote from: Ray
Wayne,
Doesn't lower base ISO for best quality, in conjunction with higher F stop numbers to get good DoF, make use of a tripod almost mandatory in most situations, with a P65+?


mmm ... when shooting for the absolute highest quality and sharpest images, does it matter what camera?  I think a tripod is in order with either system - that's how I roll anyway.  I would have had plenty of depth of field for the image you posted since I would have left the women out.

Wonder why everyone judges what everyone else should "need" or "want" based solely on their own perspective?

Sort of reminds me of that famous Mythbusters saying

"I reject your reality and substitute my own"

The article is well written and spells it out ... we each have our own reality of Want, need and afford.  No reason to try and force everyone into the same reality we exist in.

I freely admit I have a p65 system because I can easily afford one and want one.  In my mind I need one because my objective whenever I'm shooting landscapes is very large prints ... 40" is a decent starting point.  No,  this "need" isn't related to financial well being at all, just a personal quest for quality - perhaps by some this means it really isn't a need.  If so ... I reject that reality and substitute my own
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 29, 2009, 12:46:14 am
Quote from: Wayne Fox
I would have had plenty of depth of field for the image you posted since I would have left the women out.


But you would you have also left the whole foreground out? The grass on each side of the photoshopped ladies is tack sharp in my panorama, taken with the now obsolete 5D Mk1.

Quote
I freely admit I have a p65 system because I can easily afford one and want one.  In my mind I need one because my objective whenever I'm shooting landscapes is very large prints ... 40" is a decent starting point.  No,  this "need" isn't related to financial well being at all, just a personal quest for quality - perhaps by some this means it really isn't a need.  If so ... I reject that reality and substitute my own


In that case, I would ask, what percentage of your landscapes do not lend themsleves to a stitching process? Having bought a P65+ system, I would expect that you would simply use it whenever possible and disregard the option that you might have had to get a similar, or even better result using a 5D2 and stitch for the print size required. Stitching is more work, and a single shot of equal quality to the stitched image may be preferred in terms of time saved in front of the computer. But at what expense!

There are many things that I could afford but simply don't buy because I can't justify the price in relation to my actual needs, and the estimated frequency of use of the equipment. I don't need a Ferrari to get around the place and do my shopping etc., and I'm not into car racing. But if I were into car racing, that's another matter.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Christopher on August 29, 2009, 01:21:38 am
Quote from: Ray
But you would you have also left the whole foreground out? The grass on each side of the photoshopped ladies is tack sharp in my panorama, taken with the now obsolete 5D Mk1.




In that case, I would ask, what percentage of your landscapes do not lend themsleves to a stitching process? Having bought a P65+ system, I would expect that you would simply use it whenever possible and disregard the option that you might have had to get a similar, or even better result using a 5D2 and stitch for the print size required. Stitching is more work, and a single shot of equal quality to the stitched image may be preferred in terms of time saved in front of the computer. But at what expense!

There are many things that I could afford but simply don't buy because I can't justify the price in relation to my actual needs, and the estimated frequency of use of the equipment. I don't need a Ferrari to get around the place and do my shopping etc., and I'm not into car racing. But if I were into car racing, that's another matter.

Whatever you want ray. I have a P65 and 5dMk2 and I know that I will always use the P65 if possible. I Only use the 5DMkII if it is very rainy or the light levels are so low that I would need a tripod but can't use one. (Out of what ever reasons.) If I had to use a 5DMkII for everything I would need to stitch 90% of every image, well you can do that and enjoy it I won't. I bought is because I enjoy working with it. I don't like to work with a small SLR and stitch up multiple images. I prefer working with a large format camera to a SLR System, I will probably sell my Canon System if there is a Leica M9.

I mean I am not saying these review sites are all wrong, but I mean take dpreview for example if you would judge the Sony a900 there you would think it sucks compared to a 1DsMk3 or d3x. I mean how can such a site publish crops which clearly show motion blur in the a900 crop samples ? I don't know how Dx0 tests all their data and I don't care. However I think you don't get the ISO results. Look at the H3D-50, Dx0 would say all ISO values from 50 to 400 are all only 50. That is true, that does not say how they act in real world. If what you think would be the case you couldn't even use a H3D in normal overcast situations.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Wayne Fox on August 29, 2009, 02:11:46 am
Quote from: Ray
But you would you have also left the whole foreground out? The grass on each side of the photoshopped ladies is tack sharp in my panorama, taken with the now obsolete 5D Mk1.

But if I shoot a scene like yours using stitching I have to use a longer lens to capture smaller segments to match the same FoV and pixel resolution in the final file.  I think the final "depth of field" between the two methods would be very similar - I vaguely recollect an article I read once which actually demonstrated they would be the same(although my 50+year old brain doesn't recollect things as well so it may have been some other point they were making). In fact, stitching is often touted as a way to decrease depth of field.   I found focus stacking is really pretty simple and effective.

Quote
In that case, I would ask, what percentage of your landscapes do not lend themsleves to a stitching process? Having bought a P65+ system, I would expect that you would simply use it whenever possible and disregard the option that you might have had to get a similar, or even better result using a 5D2 and stitch for the print size required. Stitching is more work, and a single shot of equal quality to the stitched image may be preferred in terms of time saved in front of the computer. But at what expense!

Don't know.  Heck, I stitch p45 files, and I"m sure I will take occasion to stitch p65 files.  But plenty of what I shoot would be challenging to stitch, and taking the time to use that workflow (extra time shooting, so maybe I miss another shot from a different angle), and as you mentioned all the extra time sitting at the computer doing the stitching when I could be doing something more interesting like playing golf or shooting ...

Hey ... I've been stitching since the 1Ds ... been there, done that, and it's a lot funner to not deal with it.

Nothing wrong with stitching 5dmk2 files.  Go ahead, knock yourself out.  You have your level of want, need and afford, I have mine.  They aren't the same, never will be and neither are right or wrong.  They just are. Don't make me live in your box ... I like mine.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 29, 2009, 05:38:55 am
Quote from: Wayne Fox
But if I shoot a scene like yours using stitching I have to use a longer lens to capture smaller segments to match the same FoV and pixel resolution in the final file.  I think the final "depth of field" between the two methods would be very similar - I vaguely recollect an article I read once which actually demonstrated they would be the same(although my 50+year old brain doesn't recollect things as well so it may have been some other point they were making).

Quite right. I wondered if someone would pick that up. I see you're alert today   .


Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Dick Roadnight on August 29, 2009, 08:58:09 am
Quote from: Ray
Jeez, Jeff! How can you miss the point so much? Do you drink? (If you do, you're excused)

There can be no doubt whatsoever that a single P65+ shot will have superior resolution to a single D3X shot of the same scene, same FOV etc.

For those working in a studio producing poster size images of models flinging their hair, or any scene where significant movement takes place, the P65+ will reign supreme for very large prints.

However, the thread is about 'want-need-afford'. Landscape in particular tends to be a static subject. Therefore, if one needs a large panoramic poster, perhaps more often than not, the subject lends itself to a stitching process. If it does, then it seems superfluous to spend so much money on such an expensive, heavy and cumbersome piece of equipment as the P65+ with body and lenses.

I always like to illustrate my point with a practical example. If you and I, Jeff, were hiking up Poon Hill in Nepal, to get the following dawn shot of the Himalayas, who would likely get there first, you with a P65+ (and paraphernalia) or me with a 5D2?

[attachment=16266:For_LL.jpg]
... so if you  want or need three bear-breasted young ladies on a mountain top at dawn, and you can only get/find/afford one (or you only have one wife) stitching is clearly superior, even if you lug an H3D11-60 up the mountain!

If you thought hard, you could think of circumstances in which a steam traction engine would be preferable to a Ferrari.

I appreciate the benefits of pano, and I am thinking of re-taking a picture of a cornish harbour using cylinder pano stitching to get more of the "ampitheather" scene in.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 29, 2009, 10:54:46 am
Quote from: MarkDS
Ray, where do you get these "true" ISO numbers from? Is that DxO data or from some other tests you've seen?

Mark,
From DXO data. Just place the cursor over any of the colored blobs and you get a read-out of the measured ISO plus the manufacturer's claimed ISO, as follows:

[attachment=16279:DXOMark.jpg]

It seems that most manufacturers exaggerate their ISO ratings, but not to this degree, surely.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 29, 2009, 11:33:23 am
Quote from: Dick Roadnight
I appreciate the benefits of pano, and I am thinking of re-taking a picture of a cornish harbour using cylinder pano stitching to get more of the "ampitheather" scene in.


I take most of my photos during trips to exotic locations. One of my main regrets is not anticipating that stitching programs like the latest version of Autopano Pro would eventually be developed and make the whole stitching process not only easier but often faultless even with hand-held shots.

I struggled with those shots of the Himalayan Dawn. I carried a lightweight, travelling tripod with ball-head which is not ideal for taking shots for stitching purposes because a ball-head can move in all directions as one tries to swivel it around. I also attempted to bracket all exposures with MLU and remote cord. That would now be a breeze with the 5D2 and LiveView, but with the 5D1 the mirror has to be flipped, then pause, before each shot. Too much movement in the scene has taken place for a good merge to HDR.

Poon Hill is one of those places I'd like to revisit.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 29, 2009, 12:52:33 pm
Quote from: Ray
I take most of my photos during trips to exotic locations. One of my main regrets is not anticipating that stitching programs like the latest version of Autopano Pro would eventually be developed and make the whole stitching process not only easier but often faultless even with hand-held shots.

I struggled with those shots of the Himalayan Dawn. I carried a lightweight, travelling tripod with ball-head which is not ideal for taking shots for stitching purposes because a ball-head can move in all directions as one tries to swivel it around. I also attempted to bracket all exposures with MLU and remote cord. That would now be a breeze with the 5D2 and LiveView, but with the 5D1 the mirror has to be flipped, then pause, before each shot. Too much movement in the scene has taken place for a good merge to HDR.

Poon Hill is one of those places I'd like to revisit.

Ray, yes thanks for the reminder of how DxO did this. I haven't been on their site for quite a while.

As for the panning technique, if you get a Really Right Stuff ballhead, you can swivel horizontally without any other movement. They also have other materials and instructions on their website for assuring the best possible fit when preparing a series of pan images.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Christopher on August 29, 2009, 02:51:12 pm
Quote from: Ray
Mark,
From DXO data. Just place the cursor over any of the colored blobs and you get a read-out of the measured ISO plus the manufacturer's claimed ISO, as follows:

[attachment=16279:DXOMark.jpg]

It seems that most manufacturers exaggerate their ISO ratings, but not to this degree, surely.

Ray once again, they don't test what ISO they are they test what the real ISO is. I can only urge you to look at the H3D-50 again. You would see that all ISO are ISO 50 even 400. That still does noc change that ISO 400 on a H3D acts like ISO 400, even though it is not real. Same goes for phase.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Wayne Fox on August 29, 2009, 06:09:51 pm
Quote from: Ray
Quite right. I wondered if someone would pick that up. I see you're alert today   .

so you make an incorrect statement in defense of your personal viewpoint on stitching, and then you try and pass it off as though you knew it was incorrect when you made it, but you did it as some type of test?

gimme a break ...
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on August 29, 2009, 06:22:12 pm
Wow, I didn't realize I would start a discussion that will not die. Maybe, it's time to fit a Canon scanner to the back of my 8x10.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Schewe on August 29, 2009, 06:36:08 pm
Quote from: Bill VN
Wow, I didn't realize I would start a discussion that will not die. Maybe, it's time to fit a Canon scanner to the back of my 8x10.

Get a BetterLight (http://www.betterlight.com/) scanning back. Less hassle (not as cheap though).
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: bjanes on August 29, 2009, 08:10:38 pm
Quote from: MarkDS
Ray, yes thanks for the reminder of how DxO did this. I haven't been on their site for quite a while.

As for the panning technique, if you get a Really Right Stuff ballhead, you can swivel horizontally without any other movement. They also have other materials and instructions on their website for assuring the best possible fit when preparing a series of pan images.

Mark,

A lot of ball heads have a panning axis, but for them to work properly one has first to adjust the legs so as to make the base of the ball head parallel to the ground. This can be a hassle. RSS does make the PCL-1 which one attachs to the ball head and then uses the ball head to level the PCL-1. The panning is done with the PCL-1. Does the RSS ball head to which you are referring have a feature that obviates the PCL-1?
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 29, 2009, 08:42:55 pm
Quote from: Wayne Fox
so you make an incorrect statement in defense of your personal viewpoint on stitching, and then you try and pass it off as though you knew it was incorrect when you made it, but you did it as some type of test?

gimme a break ...

I'm afraid you are not as alert today, Wayne. The issue is not specifically related to stitching but to pixel density. It so happens that the pixel density of the D3X and 5D2 is very similar to the pixel density of the P65+, so any attempt to get the same pixel count in the same FOV of scene from the same position will involve the use of the same focal length of lens and the same DOF at the same F stop, approximately.

If I were to attempt to get such a stitched image using the D3 or 5D, I would have to use a slightly longer focal length than I would use with the P65+ for a single shot of the same FOV, and consequently the DOF of the final stitched image would be slightly less at the same f stop.

On the other hand, if I were to use a 12mp Olympus 4/3rds system for stitching, which might be a better choice than a D3X when hiking up a steep hill, the DOF of the final stitched image, of same pixel count as the P65 single shot, would have greater DOF at the same f stop.

If I were to make the stitch from a Canon G10, then the DOF would be very much greater at the same f stop, but no doubt at the sacrifice of DR, SNR etc.

All these factors are related.

The obvious advantage of the 5D2 and D3X in this situation is their better performance above base ISO, in all departments. For example, If I need to use ISO 200 with the P65 to get a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the slight motion of the foliage, then in the same circumstances I could stop down more than one stop with the 5D2 for greater DOF, yet still use the same shutter speed, assuming the DXO data are reliable.

How come? The P65 ISO 200 is actually ISO 89 and the DR 10.55 EV. The 5D2 ISO 400 is actually ISO 285 and the DR slightly geater at 10.92 EV. All the other parameters addressed in the DXO tests, tonal range, color sensitivity, SNR, are also either as good or slightly better for the 5D2 at ISO 285, compared with the P65 at ISO 89.

However, when all is said and done, the final result will also depend on lens performance at the apertures chosen for each system. As a general rule, lenses with a smaller image circle designed for the smaller format camera tend to be sharper, but not necessarily at small apertures where diffraction takes its toll.

Diffraction seems to be the great equalizer.

Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 29, 2009, 09:02:07 pm
Quote from: Christopher
Ray once again, they don't test what ISO they are they test what the real ISO is. I can only urge you to look at the H3D-50 again. You would see that all ISO are ISO 50 even 400. That still does noc change that ISO 400 on a H3D acts like ISO 400, even though it is not real. Same goes for phase.


All digital cameras have only one ISO, described as the base ISO. What differs is the way the camera handles the underexposure. I get the impression it makes little difference with DBs whether one underexposes 3 stops at, say, ISO 50 or uses the same shutter speed at ISO 400.

This is not the case with Canon and Nikon DSLRs where a correct exposure at ISO 800 will be significantly better than a 3 stop underexposure at ISO 100.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 29, 2009, 09:08:39 pm
Quote from: bjanes
Mark,

A lot of ball heads have a panning axis, but for them to work properly one has first to adjust the legs so as to make the base of the ball head parallel to the ground. This can be a hassle. RSS does make the PCL-1 which one attachs to the ball head and then uses the ball head to level the PCL-1. The panning is done with the PCL-1. Does the RSS ball head to which you are referring have a feature that obviates the PCL-1?

No - that's why I referred to "other materials". By the time you buy the head and the pano package you're into about USD 700+, so depending on how much of this stuff one does, either put up with the hassle of leveling the tripod, or get a PCL-1. The package also includes a plate for aligning the camera according to the optical center of the lens to minimize parallax problems.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 29, 2009, 09:41:49 pm
Quote from: MarkDS
As for the panning technique, if you get a Really Right Stuff ballhead, you can swivel horizontally without any other movement. They also have other materials and instructions on their website for assuring the best possible fit when preparing a series of pan images.

Mark,
After that experience, I got myself a new travelling tripod, the carbon fibre, 4-section-leg, Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 with built-in level and pan & tilt Manfrotto 460MG head. It's a bit on the heavy side at 1.8Kg but at least I don't have to crouch down when peering through the viewfinder, as I had to with my other ball-head aluminium tripod which was only 5 ft high.

One series of tests I've yet to do is compare stitches of hand-held shots with properly levelled shots on a tripod, of the same scene using Autopano Pro.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 29, 2009, 09:46:13 pm
Quote from: Ray
All digital cameras have only one ISO, described as the base ISO. What differs is the way the camera handles the underexposure. I get the impression it makes little difference with DBs whether one underexposes 3 stops at, say, ISO 50 or uses the same shutter speed at ISO 400.

This is not the case with Canon and Nikon DSLRs where a correct exposure at ISO 800 will be significantly better than a 3 stop underexposure at ISO 100.

Ray, re the part where "you get the impression" - not clear to me why the sensor physics should differ that much between a high-end DSLR and an MFDB. Could you explain?
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on August 29, 2009, 10:33:24 pm
Quote from: MarkDS
Ray, re the part where "you get the impression" - not clear to me why the sensor physics should differ that much between a high-end DSLR and an MFDB. Could you explain?

And, are we talking ISO measurements per Japanese standards or per North American standards? They are different, which is why many photographers would would meter Kodak films at half their ASA/ISO and develop for more time than recommended ΰ la Ansel Adams. Fujifilm and Ilford films always worked right at their stated ASA/ISO ratings.

The big divide between digital sensors is that some are CCDs and others CMOS. Individual photosite size makes a difference, as does color bit depth.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 29, 2009, 10:55:54 pm
Quote from: Bill VN
And, are we talking ISO measurements per Japanese standards or per North American standards? They are different, which is why many photographers would would meter Kodak films at half their ASA/ISO and develop for more time than recommended ΰ la Ansel Adams. Fujifilm and Ilford films always worked right at their stated ASA/ISO ratings.

The big divide between digital sensors is that some are CCDs and others CMOS. Individual photosite size makes a difference, as does color bit depth.

........and the differences are more and more complex than all of that. You can read more about the P65 sensor design on this website and in the Phase literature. One reaches a certain limit to discussions whereby actual results which test the limits of each kind of system, complemented by DxO type laboratory measurements, contribute more understanding of the value-added side of the equation than possible from cursory knowledge of sensor differences.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Wayne Fox on August 30, 2009, 01:33:55 am
Quote from: Ray
I'm afraid you are not as alert today, Wayne. The issue is not specifically related to stitching but to pixel density. It so happens that the pixel density of the D3X and 5D2 is very similar to the pixel density of the P65+, so any attempt to get the same pixel count in the same FOV of scene from the same position will involve the use of the same focal length of lens and the same DOF at the same F stop, approximately.

If I were to attempt to get such a stitched image using the D3 or 5D, I would have to use a slightly longer focal length than I would use with the P65+ for a single shot of the same FOV, and consequently the DOF of the final stitched image would be slightly less at the same f stop.


I'm not even sure what your point is anymore.  This was a discussion about using stitching instead of buying a higher resolution camera.  Your first paragraph doesn't make any sense to me.  The only way I can take a scene with a dSLR that contains the same FoV and results in a file with the same pixel count as my p65 is to stitch.  How is the pixel density of the sensor even relevant?.  It's only affect is how many captures it will take to stitch the final file so I can match the pixel resolution of the p65 file.

To accomplish this I will have to use a longer lens in relation to the sensor size to capture the same information at the same resolution, then stitch the resulting files together.  The end result is my depth of field will be quite similar from either approach, and in fact it could be the stitched fie would have less DoF, which you leveled as a criticism of the p65 (less depth of field).   If you try to do this from the same location I'm not sure you can get the exact same scene including foreground and background, but then again I've never tried it, and not sure why I ever would.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Dick Roadnight on August 30, 2009, 04:04:43 am
Quote from: Schewe
Get a BetterLight (http://www.betterlight.com/) scanning back. Less hassle (not as cheap though).
$15,000 for a slow scan back with less res than a H3D11-60 (or P+65)... are you kidding?

9,000 * 12,000 pixels would give a nice 24 * 35 " print @ 360 ppi, an be useful for some landscapes, and save stitching 2 shots.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 30, 2009, 06:18:22 am
Quote from: Dick Roadnight
$15,000 for a slow scan back with less res than a H3D11-60 (or P+65)... are you kidding?

9,000 * 12,000 pixels would give a nice 24 * 35 " print @ 360 ppi, an be useful for some landscapes, and save stitching 2 shots.

Except that those are true RGB pixel and not the result of some funky Bayer interpolation.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Dick Roadnight on August 30, 2009, 07:13:31 am
Quote from: BernardLanguillier
Except that those are true RGB pixel and not the result of some funky Bayer interpolation.

Cheers,
Bernard
... so, using real pixels, if there is no movement (waves, trees, people, clouds) in the shot, would you get as good a result @240 original camera pixels per print inch as you would using a flash-compatible camera (bayer interpolated) at 360 ppi?

I have been thinking about getting the 160 Mpx Seitz 617 rapid scan back for the Sinar (when they ship it) or the Red 617.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 30, 2009, 09:46:20 am
Quote from: Wayne Fox
I'm not even sure what your point is anymore.  This was a discussion about using stitching instead of buying a higher resolution camera.  Your first paragraph doesn't make any sense to me.  The only way I can take a scene with a dSLR that contains the same FoV and results in a file with the same pixel count as my p65 is to stitch.  How is the pixel density of the sensor even relevant?.  It's only affect is how many captures it will take to stitch the final file so I can match the pixel resolution of the p65 file.


When stitching using a smaller sensor to emulate the result from a larger sensor, the pixel density of the smaller senor will determine the focal length of lens needed. The greater the pixel density, the shorter the lens needed and the greater the DoF of the stitched result, at a given F stop.

For example, if we ever get a 5D3 or 5D4 with a 60mp sensor, then you wouldn't have to stitch to get the same FOV image and same pixel count as the P65+ would provide from the same position. However, if you were to use a 50mm lens with the 5D4, you would need a 75mm lens with the P65+.

If you were to use F5.6 with the 50mm lens on the 5DMkIV, you would need to use F8 or F9 with the 75mm lens on the P65+ to get the same DoF (allowing for minor discrepancies due to the different aspect ratios of the cameras being compared, and allowing for any DoF peculiarities due to lens design and/or exceptionally close distance to subject).

If you imagine dividing the 60mp 35mm sensor into 4 parts, you would get something close to a 15mp Olympus 4/3rds sensor. To get your P65 equivalent by stitching images with a 15mp Oly, you would use the same focal length of 50mm because the pixel density is the same as the 5D4, and the DoF of the stitched result would be greater than that of the P65+ at the same F stop. Clear?
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 30, 2009, 10:16:09 am
Quote from: MarkDS
Ray, re the part where "you get the impression" - not clear to me why the sensor physics should differ that much between a high-end DSLR and an MFDB. Could you explain?

Mark,
I think we need someone like Emil Martinec to explain that, but I imagine it has something to do with the differences between CCD and CMOS design. I understand in Canon cameras, at ISOs higher than base, the analogue signal from the sensor is amplified at an early stage to reduce the effects of noise later in the processing chain.

If we refer to the DXOMark comparison of the P65+ and Canon 5D2, we can see that for each doubling of ISO for the P65+, there's approximately one stop loss of DR. At base ISO of 100 (or 44), DR is 11.51 EV. At ISO 800 (or 360), DR is 8.56 EV, a loss of 3 stops.

If we look at the same progession for the 5D2, we have a DR of 11.16 EV at base ISO (73) and a DR of 10.66 EV at ISO 800 (or 564), a loss of just half a stop.

Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 30, 2009, 11:59:41 am
Quote from: Wayne Fox
I'm not even sure what your point is anymore.  This was a discussion about using stitching instead of buying a higher resolution camera.  Your first paragraph doesn't make any sense to me.  The only way I can take a scene with a dSLR that contains the same FoV and results in a file with the same pixel count as my p65 is to stitch.  How is the pixel density of the sensor even relevant?.  It's only affect is how many captures it will take to stitch the final file so I can match the pixel resolution of the p65 file.

To accomplish this I will have to use a longer lens in relation to the sensor size to capture the same information at the same resolution, then stitch the resulting files together.  The end result is my depth of field will be quite similar from either approach, and in fact it could be the stitched fie would have less DoF, which you leveled as a criticism of the p65 (less depth of field).   If you try to do this from the same location I'm not sure you can get the exact same scene including foreground and background, but then again I've never tried it, and not sure why I ever would.

Ray, I must say I too was befuddled with this paragraph and also couldn't see (and still don't) the relevance of pixel count to FOV and DOF. You can have a sensor of any pixel count you want and the FOV and DOFwill still be determined by the focal length of the lens, the F-Stop and the lens to subject distance, whatever the resolving power of the sensor. Stitching DSLR images comes into play where you want higher resolution to cover the same FOV and you're not using a P65. And you'd need a longer lens to capture roughly the same FOV on a MFDB than on a DSLR with the same aspect ratio - if I recall from the film era when you needed an 80mm lens on a Rolleiflex to get roughly the FOV of a 50mm lens on a Leica (aspect ratio excepted). No?
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 30, 2009, 12:04:20 pm
Quote from: BernardLanguillier
Except that those are true RGB pixel and not the result of some funky Bayer interpolation.

Cheers,
Bernard

Bernard, "funky" Bayer matrices have been serving us well, just to judge from the superb quality of your own results with your cameras embodying that technology, and not to start another battle - so far Foveon hasn't demonstrated any superiority - so I'm not sure I understand what this "funky-business" is. But how does one of these scanning backs deal with RGB interpretation? Is it Foveon-type technology? What do they do to capture different wavelengths of light and encode it as data to be interpreted as colour?
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 30, 2009, 07:20:33 pm
Quote from: MarkDS
Bernard, "funky" Bayer matrices have been serving us well, just to judge from the superb quality of your own results with your cameras embodying that technology, and not to start another battle - so far Foveon hasn't demonstrated any superiority - so I'm not sure I understand what this "funky-business" is. But how does one of these scanning backs deal with RGB interpretation? Is it Foveon-type technology? What do they do to capture different wavelengths of light and encode it as data to be interpreted as colour?

Granted, Bayer works very well. Now it has to be the case that the colors delivered by a true RGB device are significantly better but it is true that we do nothave a good metrics for this, nor evidence that our brain is able to actually perceive this difference at the conscious level.

It would be interesting to blind test this and see if people feel a difference between equal resolution images shot with a Betterlight and a back. My bet is that they would feel a difference, but be totally unable to tell us what the difference is.

The backs simply work by moving an array with 3 lines of sensors, filtered for RGB each in succession so that R, G and B pass in front of the same pixel scene on after the other. Obviously artifacts are introduced if there is the slighted movement of either the back of the objects in the scene. I am not saying that this is a practical solution for outdoor work...  

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 30, 2009, 07:29:51 pm
Quote from: BernardLanguillier
The backs simply work by moving an array with 3 lines of sensors, filtered for RGB each in succession so that R, G and B pass in front of the same pixel scene on after the other. Obviously artifacts are introduced if there is the slighted movement of either the back of the objects in the scene. I am not saying that this is a practical solution for outdoor work...  

Cheers,
Bernard

Yeah, well if you had a Thermos of cappuchino and an iPod full of Mahler symphonies you could sip coffee and listen to a symphony in the great outdoors while each shot processes...............  

Anyhow, thanks for the insight on how they work. I can imagine it being ideal for indoor repro work of inanimate objects where the photog is paid by the hour.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 30, 2009, 07:44:45 pm
Quote from: MarkDS
Ray, I must say I too was befuddled with this paragraph and also couldn't see (and still don't) the relevance of pixel count to FOV and DOF. You can have a sensor of any pixel count you want and the FOV and DOFwill still be determined by the focal length of the lens, the F-Stop and the lens to subject distance, whatever the resolving power of the sensor. Stitching DSLR images comes into play where you want higher resolution to cover the same FOV and you're not using a P65. And you'd need a longer lens to capture roughly the same FOV on a MFDB than on a DSLR with the same aspect ratio - if I recall from the film era when you needed an 80mm lens on a Rolleiflex to get roughly the FOV of a 50mm lens on a Leica (aspect ratio excepted). No?


Mark,
You seem to be confusing the role of pixel count with pixel density in this context. When emulating the result from a single P65+ shot, by stitching images from a smaller sensor, it's the pixel density of the smaller sensor that will determine the choice of appropriate focal length for both equal FOV and equal pixel count of the final stitch.

It is the pixel count of the smaller sensor that will determine the number of images required to be taken for stitching. Different size sensors of equal pixel density will of course have a different pixel count.

For example, the Canon 1Ds3 has the same pixel density as the cropped format 20D and almost the same pixel density as the P65+, therefore, whether I stitch with the 1Ds3 or 20D, I will use the same focal length of lens, which will also be approximately the same focal length as that used for the single P65 shot.

I will of course need to stitch a greater number of images using the 20D instead of the 1Ds3.

However, if I were to substitute the 15mp Canon 50D for the 8mp 20D, and use the same lens, I could certainly get the same FoV in the final stitch from the same number of images stitched in exacly the same way, but the final stitch would have almost twice the pixel count of the single P65 shot.

In order to achieve the goal of equal pixel count, which is the purpose of the stitching exercise, I would need to use a shorter focal length of lens with the 50D.

Of course, if I don't care what the pixel count of the final stitch will be because I intend to either upsample or downsample the stitched image according to print size, then I could use any focal length I liked. The longer the focal length, the more images I would need for stitching purposes and the greater the pixel count of the final stitch.

However, in this exercise we do care about pixel count, don't we?  
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 30, 2009, 09:12:02 pm
Ray, not clear to me what I'm confusing..otherwise there would be clarity, eh?   Do we understand the same things by these terms?

Pixel density and pixel count: Density is about how many pixels you cram into a given space. Count is the number of pixels.  For a sensor of fixed dimensions, pixel density will be higher the higher the pixel count. A very large sensor with a large number of pixels could have higher or lower density than a DSLR with a smaller number of pixels. It all depends on pixel count relative to sensor size. BUT none of this pixel density and count as defined here has anything to do directly with FOV and DOF. Those are determined by sensor size, focal length and lens to subject distance.
Mark
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 30, 2009, 09:58:20 pm
Quote from: MarkDS
Ray, not clear to me what I'm confusing..otherwise there would be clarity, eh?   Do we understand the same things by these terms?

Pixel density and pixel count: Density is about how many pixels you cram into a given space. Count is the number of pixels.  For a sensor of fixed dimensions, pixel density will be higher the higher the pixel count. A very large sensor with a large number of pixels could have higher or lower density than a DSLR with a smaller number of pixels. It all depends on pixel count relative to sensor size. BUT none of this pixel density and count as defined here has anything to do directly with FOV and DOF. Those are determined by sensor size, focal length and lens to subject distance.
Mark


I can't see the difficulty here, Mark. As Jeff Schewe has admitted, the reason one might need a P65 is to make big prints of high quality. If you want a 60mp stitch using a small sensor, say a Canon 20D, you will need to stitch a certain number of images, perhaps 12 allowing for overlap. You'll need a lens of around the same focal length as you would use with the P65 because the pixel density of the 20D is about the same as that of the P65+ (in fact it's slightly less).

If you use a 50D instead of a 20D, you'll need a shorter lens, even though the sensor is the same size, and consequently you need to stitch fewer images to get your 60mp final stitch with the same FoV. If you don't use a shorter lens, the final stitch will have a significantly higher pixel count. What's so difficult to understand?

However, it's true that in paractice, if I were to carry a 50D up Poon Hill instead of a P65+ with a view to stitching a few images to get a file size suitable for the same size print I'd be able to make from a single P65 shot using, say, a 24mm lens, I wouldn't be too worried about getting an even higher resolution image from the stitching process.

So lets say I use the same focal length of 24mm with the 50D that I would have used with the P65+ (or 20D) for the purpose of capturing the same scene from the same position. If I use the same F stop as I would have used with the P65+, I can expect to get a sharper result since system resolution is always a product of lens resolution and sensor resolution and the 50D, with its higher pixel density, should deliver higher resolution than the P65+ from the same quality of lens (excluding the issue of the AA filter. One would need to see real-world results to make a judgement on this).

If we assume that the 50D would be capable of higher resolution at the same f stop, then one can trade such higher resolution for greater DoF by stopping down, say, one stop.

However, I would be prepared to accept that the P65's advantage of a lack of AA filter may affect such theoretical predictions, if someone were to show me some real-world stitches demonstrating such a comparison.

My own tests comparing the 50D with the 40D have demonstrated that a 50D image at F11 has about equal resolution to the 40D at F8 (and I expect greater resolution than the 20D at F8 although I haven't done the comparison).

This is a factor which is often overlooked by those who complain that lenses are not good enough for cameras with ever increasing pixel count. When the 50D was announced, there was much discussion about the usefulness of such a high-pixel-density sensor. Perhaps no purpose would be served by stopping down beyond F8. Well, the purpose is increased DoF with no loss of resolution at the plane of focus, compared with a 40D or 20D.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Dick Roadnight on August 31, 2009, 05:44:30 am
Quote from: MarkDS
Yeah, well if you had a Thermos of cappuchino and an iPod full of Mahler symphonies you could sip coffee and listen to a symphony in the great outdoors while each shot processes...............  

Anyhow, thanks for the insight on how they work. I can imagine it being ideal for indoor repro work of inanimate objects where the photog is paid by the hour.
The Betterlight backs take 35 to 110 seconds for full res, and the Seitz about a couple of seconds - fast enough to only slightly blur water spray... not fast enough to catch a vaulter in flight.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 31, 2009, 05:55:09 am
Quote from: Dick Roadnight
The Betterlight backs take 35 to 110 seconds for full res, and the Seitz about a couple of seconds - fast enough to only slightly blur water spray... not fast enough to catch a vaulter in flight.

True, the Seitz is fast, but the image quality I have seen from it was disapointing, like in "far worse" than what the best DSLRs deliver because high ISO is needed to achieve these fast scan times.

There are obviously very few reports about the Seitz, and anybody with different experiences, please post samples.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Dick Roadnight on August 31, 2009, 06:27:10 am
Quote from: BernardLanguillier
True, the Seitz is fast, but the image quality I have seen from it was disapointing, like in "far worse" than what the best DSLRs deliver because high ISO is needed to achieve these fast scan times.

There are obviously very few reports about the Seitz, and anybody with different experiences, please post samples.

Cheers,
Bernard
The solution would seem to be to have not three sensors for each row of pixels, not four, (with two green, 1 red and one blue) but 32, or 64, so you can add up the photons for each sensor/pixel for real high ISO.

I have only seen Seitz pictures on their stand at Phocus/NEC/UK, but they looked OK.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: elf on August 31, 2009, 12:57:40 pm
Quote from: MarkDS
Ray, I must say I too was befuddled with this paragraph and also couldn't see (and still don't) the relevance of pixel count to FOV and DOF. You can have a sensor of any pixel count you want and the FOV and DOFwill still be determined by the focal length of the lens, the F-Stop and the lens to subject distance, whatever the resolving power of the sensor. Stitching DSLR images comes into play where you want higher resolution to cover the same FOV and you're not using a P65. And you'd need a longer lens to capture roughly the same FOV on a MFDB than on a DSLR with the same aspect ratio - if I recall from the film era when you needed an 80mm lens on a Rolleiflex to get roughly the FOV of a 50mm lens on a Leica (aspect ratio excepted). No?

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Circle of Confusion (COC). Everyone seems to be leaving it out of their definitions of DOF.

FOV is controlled by the sensor dimensions. This means a smaller sensor camera using the same focal length will have a smaller FOV. By stitching, the smaller sensor camera can attain the same FOV as the larger sensor camera.

If the pixel density of both cameras is the same, therefore using the same COC, the image will be nearly identical. Usually the smaller sensor camera will have a higher pixel density, which means a smaller COC can be used and both DOF and resolution will be larger. Other factors that determine IQ may be more important than resolution.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Wayne Fox on August 31, 2009, 01:48:16 pm
Quote from: MarkDS
Ray, I must say I too was befuddled with this paragraph and also couldn't see (and still don't) the relevance of pixel count to FOV and DOF. You can have a sensor of any pixel count you want and the FOV and DOFwill still be determined by the focal length of the lens, the F-Stop and the lens to subject distance, whatever the resolving power of the sensor. Stitching DSLR images comes into play where you want higher resolution to cover the same FOV and you're not using a P65. And you'd need a longer lens to capture roughly the same FOV on a MFDB than on a DSLR with the same aspect ratio - if I recall from the film era when you needed an 80mm lens on a Rolleiflex to get roughly the FOV of a 50mm lens on a Leica (aspect ratio excepted). No?

This is something I have never considered before, since in practicality you do not purchase a camera based on it's stitching characteristics.  After consideration technically Ray is correct on this one.  Again the relevance still escapes me, and that doesn't excuse the fact that he made an incorrect statement trying to claim a depth of field advantage of stitching 5d Mark2 files over using a p65+ back, and then tried to pass that off as some kind of test, instead of  simply admitting he didn't think it through (which we have all done) when he was called on it, because the depth of field advantage of the 5d mark 2 is insignificant.

If two cameras have exactly the same pixel density, and yet different size sensors, to create an exact match in pixel size and field of view will require the exact same focal length lens.  Granted, when stitching one nearly always uses a telephoto lens because the goal is putting the detail of the scene on more pixels when stitching.  I'm not sure who would ever worry about this, because when you decide to stitch you are doing so because the camera you have ... the one you purchased based on your want/need/afford ... doesn't have the resolution to deliver the quality you want when you are printing the file later on.

For me it was easier to understand thinking of it from a little different perspective.  Imagine you have a 4x5 view camera, and for that camera you have two backs, one a 4x5 back that is 8000x10000 pixels in resolution, and the other is a 2x2.5 inch back that is 4000x5000 pixels in resolution.  Both backs have exactly the same pixel density, one is just physically smaller.  If you were to take an image with the larger back, and try and duplicate it with the smaller back, you would simply place the smaller back in each corner and then stitch the four captures into one single capture.  The two captures would be identical in pixel dimensions and FoV, as well as depth of field.  No change in focal length.

If the smaller back had a pixel density greater than the larger back, to match the exact FoV and pixel density of the file would require a slightly wider focal length lens, because the back is capturing more data per projected area than the original back.  This would result in a DoF improvements, although for this to be significant the pixel density would have to be significantly different.

As I said the relevance escapes me ... it's sort of like something I'd expect in a trivial pursuit game.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Dick Roadnight on August 31, 2009, 04:01:00 pm
Quote from: elf
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Circle of Confusion (COC). Everyone seems to be leaving it out of their definitions of DOF.

FOV is controlled by the sensor dimensions. This means a smaller sensor camera using the same focal length will have a smaller FOV. By stitching, the smaller sensor camera can attain the same FOV as the larger sensor camera.

If the pixel density of both cameras is the same, therefore using the same COC, the image will be nearly identical. Usually the smaller sensor camera will have a higher pixel density, which means a smaller COC can be used and both DOF and resolution will be larger. Other factors that determine IQ may be more important than resolution.
When you pan and stitch, you loose a lot of pixels through having to crop back to a rectangle.

To make good use of a higher density sensor (smaller pixels), you need to use a smaller COC, but with smaller pixels and higher density sensors the magnification (reproduction ratio) is lower (smaller image size), and the DOF is higher. (I think DOF depends on COC magnification and aperture), as explained on page 33 of Harold Merklinger's "the ins and outs of Focus" (which was downloadable foc).

A smaller COC gives you a smaller DOF, but (for the same number of pixels) a smaller pixel size gives you a smaller image, a smaller magnification and a bigger DOF.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 31, 2009, 07:49:24 pm
Quote from: Wayne Fox
This is something I have never considered before, since in practicality you do not purchase a camera based on it's stitching characteristics.  After consideration technically Ray is correct on this one.  Again the relevance still escapes me, and that doesn't excuse the fact that he made an incorrect statement trying to claim a depth of field advantage of stitching 5d Mark2 files over using a p65+ back, and then tried to pass that off as some kind of test, instead of  simply admitting he didn't think it through (which we have all done) when he was called on it, because the depth of field advantage of the 5d mark 2 is insignificant.

If two cameras have exactly the same pixel density, and yet different size sensors, to create an exact match in pixel size and field of view will require the exact same focal length lens.  Granted, when stitching one nearly always uses a telephoto lens because the goal is putting the detail of the scene on more pixels when stitching.  I'm not sure who would ever worry about this, because when you decide to stitch you are doing so because the camera you have ... the one you purchased based on your want/need/afford ... doesn't have the resolution to deliver the quality you want when you are printing the file later on.

For me it was easier to understand thinking of it from a little different perspective.  Imagine you have a 4x5 view camera, and for that camera you have two backs, one a 4x5 back that is 8000x10000 pixels in resolution, and the other is a 2x2.5 inch back that is 4000x5000 pixels in resolution.  Both backs have exactly the same pixel density, one is just physically smaller.  If you were to take an image with the larger back, and try and duplicate it with the smaller back, you would simply place the smaller back in each corner and then stitch the four captures into one single capture.  The two captures would be identical in pixel dimensions and FoV, as well as depth of field.  No change in focal length.

If the smaller back had a pixel density greater than the larger back, to match the exact FoV and pixel density of the file would require a slightly wider focal length lens, because the back is capturing more data per projected area than the original back.  This would result in a DoF improvements, although for this to be significant the pixel density would have to be significantly different.

As I said the relevance escapes me ... it's sort of like something I'd expect in a trivial pursuit game.

Wayne and Ray, OK, the way Wayne has related these things it now makes technical sense, but so what? If Ray's basic argument is that you don't need to spend 40K to get a high density capture of a large scene because you can stitch - that's true as far as it goes. But it may not go all the way, so to speak, because there are other unaccounted factors which differentiate IQ between these technologies. I've seen a large panorama from a suite of P65 images and it's mind-blowing. I believe there are more factors distinguishing these trechnologies than what we are discussing in this thread; not sure exactly what, but I'll be learning more about that. On the issue of Dof and CoC, I wonder whether diffraction (as a function of f/stop) affects these sensors differently.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 31, 2009, 08:56:12 pm
Quote from: Wayne Fox
After consideration technically Ray is correct on this one.  Again the relevance still escapes me, and that doesn't excuse the fact that he made an incorrect statement trying to claim a depth of field advantage of stitching 5d Mark2 files over using a p65+ back, and then tried to pass that off as some kind of test, instead of  simply admitting he didn't think it through (which we have all done) when he was called on it, because the depth of field advantage of the 5d mark 2 is insignificant.

Okay! I see Im gonna have to save face   .

You do seem to be rather sensitive about this issue, Wayne. I did make the following general statement about DoF, in post #102 repeated below, without specifically mentioning the 5D2 or stitching. However, because the previous discussion had referred to full frame DSLRs such as the D3X and 5D2 being used for stitching, it would be reasonable for anyone reading that statement to assume that my general statement included the 5D2. In that sense the statement was at least partly incorrect and certainly misleading.


"There also seem to be some serious disadvantages to the MFDB system, such as a slow continuous frame rate, (less than one frame per sec with the P65+), reduced performance at higher ISOs (or reduced pixel count as an alternative) and shallower DOF at any given F stop (for same FOV), which is not always ideal for landscapes. (Not to mention poor autofocussing).

For example, in the above panorama of the Himalayas, how would you get both the ladies and the mountains sharp, using a P65+? F22 at ISO 44 in the early hours of the morning?"


So apologies to anyone who rushed out immediately and bought an inappropriate camera for the job, as a result of my misleading statement.


The truth of the matter is, I realised immediately after I'd posted that general statement that it was misleading and that perhaps I should go back and modify the statement. I didn't because I was a bit slack, and also I really did genuinely wonder (God's honest truth!) if anyone would pick that up. You did, but for the wrong reasons.

The last sentence in my statement  in post #102, "For example, in the above panorama of the Himalayas, how would you get both the ladies and the mountains sharp, using a P65+? F22 at ISO 44 in the early hours of the morning?"  could also be misleading, again implying that the 5D2 at F22 would produce greater DoF. But notice I didn't specifically mention DoF here. I used the word 'sharp'.

Having direct personal experience of those conditions up the mountain, I can confirm that at F22 and ISO 44 the heaving bodies of those ladies in the foreground and the swaying grass in the early morning breeze would not have been sharp due to the very slow shutter speed of the P65+ at base ISO. Here again is where the 5D2 would have an image quality advantage. If the depth of field desired required the use of F22 but the shutter speed desired in order to freeze the foreground required the use of ISO 400 or even 800, then the 5D2 stitch would likely produce the better quality image, in terms of DR, tonal range etc.

Now, you may think this is all irrelevant and merely a trivial pursuit, Wayne, but I consider it all necessary information in order to select the best tool for the job.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: elf on August 31, 2009, 09:04:28 pm
Quote from: Dick Roadnight
When you pan and stitch, you loose a lot of pixels through having to crop back to a rectangle.

No pixels are lost during stitching  Depending on the equipment used, there may be overlapping pixels of which you get to choose which to use in the final image. Stitching software only needs to know the pitch and yaw of a frame to know where to place it.  If you're using a system with very accurate rotations, you can specify where to place the frame with little or no overlap.  Stitching software like AutoPano Pro and Microsoft ICE don't have user settable pitch and yaw, so require more overlap.

Quote from: Dick Roadnight
To make good use of a higher density sensor (smaller pixels), you need to use a smaller COC, but with smaller pixels and higher density sensors the magnification (reproduction ratio) is lower (smaller image size), and the DOF is higher. (I think DOF depends on COC magnification and aperture), as explained on page 33 of Harold Merklinger's "the ins and outs of Focus" (which was downloadable foc).

A smaller COC gives you a smaller DOF, but (for the same number of pixels) a smaller pixel size gives you a smaller image, a smaller magnification and a bigger DOF.

COC is something you use to predetermine (or describe) what the DOF and/or diffraction will be for an image at a particular f stop.  It is not settable. Higher pixel density sensors will give you more resolution for the same lens (Big Assumption: the lens can out resolve the sensor).  In practice, the same lens isn't used on both cameras and generally speaking the lens for the smaller sensor camera will be better corner to corner than a comparable lens on a larger format camera (Yes, there are exceptions to every rule).  

I think it's safe to say a stitched image can easily match or exceed the resolution of a larger format camera. For example, an image from my Olympus e330 will have nearly 110 megapixels when stitched to the same size as P65+.  What isn't clear is, will the IQ of the image be better? If not what is the criteria used to judge the IQ?



Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 31, 2009, 09:08:19 pm
Ray,

At f/22 you would surely have diffraction issues with the 5DMK2 no? One of the more recent fads making the PS tutorial circuits these days - and quite a neat play actually - is to do "DoF blending" where you use less diffracting f/stops, and - in one variant of the technique - make two images - one focused for the foreground, another for the background, then blend them with a gradient or two in PS. This kind of technique would be just a bit trickier to implement in a stitching context - more images to deal with, but in principle may be something to think about when you go up the hillside again with your next batch of pretty ladies.  

Mark
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 31, 2009, 09:41:11 pm
Quote from: MarkDS
Ray,

At f/22 you would surely have diffraction issues with the 5DMK2 no? One of the more recent fads making the PS tutorial circuits these days - and quite a neat play actually - is to do "DoF blending" where you use less diffracting f/stops, and - in one variant of the technique - make two images - one focused for the foreground, another for the background, then blend them with a gradient or two in PS. This kind of technique would be just a bit trickier to implement in a stitching context - more images to deal with, but in principle may be something to think about when you go up the hillside again with your next batch of pretty ladies.  

Mark

Mark,
Yes indeed. Even with the 5DMK1, F22 is noticeably soft. It seems that P&S cameras like the Ricoh CX1 and CX2 are leading the way in this respect. Surely there's no insurmountable technical obstacle in producing a DSLR that does automatic focus bracketing. The high frame rates of DSLRs should allow for greater success with such a process than the current very slow frame rates of MFDBs.

However, another consideration is that increased pixel count can compensate for losses due to diffraction. I would expect a 5D2 to be as sharp at F22 as a 5D1 at F16, although I might be wrong.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 31, 2009, 10:47:28 pm
Automatic focus bracketing - now THERE's a cool idea for the DSLR makers to pick-up on!

The diffraction issue and its relation to pixel size is very well explained here: Cambridgeincolour-Diffraction (http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography.htm)
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on August 31, 2009, 11:28:25 pm
Quote from: MarkDS
Automatic focus bracketing - now THERE's a cool idea for the DSLR makers to pick-up on!

The diffraction issue and its relation to pixel size is very well explained here: Cambridgeincolour-Diffraction (http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography.htm)

Mark,
Theory is one thing. Practical results sometimes differ. The 50D has a significantly smaller pixel pitch than that of the 5D2, yet a 50D image at F16 has about the same resolution as a 40D image at F11, according to my own meticulous tests with the Canon 50/1.4.

However, a 50D image at F22 does not quite have the same resolution as a 40D image at F16. No doubt because at F22 most lenses are totally diffraction limited, whereas at F8, F11 and F16, lenses may be only partially diffraction limited.

Considering that the 5D2 pixel is larger than the 50D pixel, I think there's a possibility that a 5D2 image at F22 will be as sharp and detailed as a 5D1 image at F16, comparing equal size images of course. But I'm not certain. I'd like to see some tests. If (when) I buy a 5D2, I'll make some comparisons.

If one refers to the Photozone lens tests where sometimes one can find lenses that have been tested with both the 8mp 350D (same pixel pitch as the 5D2) and the 50D more recently, one finds that in circumstances where Photozone has tested lenses up to F11, that the 50D at F11 is sharper than the 350D at F8.

A good example would be the Canon 70-200 F4 IS. If one looks at the results at 135mm, where the lens is sharpest, one finds that the 350D at F8 has a LW/PH of 2104.5, whereas the 50D at F11 has a tested reolution of 2223 LW/PH. It's actually slightly sharper at F11 than the 350D at F8.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on August 31, 2009, 11:42:39 pm
Yes I agree, what one sees and what theory says one should see can vary. Sounds like you've done lots of poking about with these various models and lenses.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: elf on September 01, 2009, 01:17:24 am
Quote from: MarkDS
- is to do "DoF blending" where you use less diffracting f/stops, and - in one variant of the technique - make two images - one focused for the foreground, another for the background, then blend them

Not PS, but focus blended macro panoramas:

2x2 focus stacked pano with 600 total images
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v649/etfrench/P7309376Fas.jpg)

3x5 focus stacked pano with 750 total images. Print size 34"x48" @254dpi.
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v649/etfrench/P8080001s.jpg)
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Dick Roadnight on September 01, 2009, 06:50:22 am
Quote from: elf
No pixels are lost during stitching  Depending on the equipment used, there may be overlapping pixels of which you get to choose which to use in the final image.
With cylinder panos, no pixels are lost, but with flat (e.g. architectural) panos, you do loose (and distort) pixels.
Quote
COC is something you use to predetermine (or describe) what the DOF and/or diffraction will be for an image at a particular f stop.  It is not settable.
You do not set COC, but you decide what is acceptable and us in in calculations, e.g. to work out how many shots you need to combine for acceptably sharp DOF merge in Macro.
Quote
I think it's safe to say a stitched image can easily match or exceed the resolution of a larger format camera. For example, an image from my Olympus e330 will have nearly 110 megapixels when stitched to the same size as P65+.  What isn't clear is, will the IQ of the image be better? If not what is the criteria used to judge the IQ?
Yes, but the question is, how long does it take? With an H3D11-60 (or P65+) you get about 110 Mpx stitching two images, and, it you are using shift-and-stitch for architecture, you do not loose or distort pixels. (apart from a little overlap).

To judge the IQ, put it on a gallery wall and see if it sells.

If you only need 100 Mpx occasionally, pan and stitch is fine, if you want to photograph an amphitheater shaped harbour-village, pan-and-stitch can be better, even if you do have a H3D11-60 and a Sinar P3.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Dick Roadnight on September 01, 2009, 07:07:31 am
Quote from: elf
Not PS, but focus blended macro panoramas:

3x5 focus stacked pano with 750 total images. Print size 34"x48" @254dpi.
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v649/etfrench/P8080001s.jpg)
I love the flower, and know that flowers can be difficult as they tend to move during the day (week). With an H3D11-60 this would take less time and fewer images, and I am thinking about using a computer-programable linear actuator for focus, and I think it would be a justifiable expense if I am going to do much macro. I have a Schneider apo-digitar macro 120 and a full set of Zeiss Luminar Macro lenses, and the ability to extent my P3 with my P and P2. ...What do you use?
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Ray on September 01, 2009, 09:09:40 am
Quote from: elf
Not PS, but focus blended macro panoramas:

2x2 focus stacked pano with 600 total images

3x5 focus stacked pano with 750 total images. Print size 34"x48" @254dpi.


I can't quite get my mind around that. The flower is beautiful, but you took 750 shots of it?? Can you show us a 100% crop? Did you removed it from its natural setting and shoot it in the studio?

At full print size, is it clear that this is a macro image? As shown in your post, it's not clear. It could be a single shot of an unidentified flower at F16 with an APS-C camera.

The first shot of what appears to be a dead insect is not nearly as inspiring.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: JohnKoerner on September 01, 2009, 09:16:09 am
Quote from: elf
Not PS, but focus blended macro panoramas:
3x5 focus stacked pano with 750 total images. Print size 34"x48" @254dpi.
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v649/etfrench/P8080001s.jpg)



Are you saying the above image was a composite of 750 total images, just to get the 1 final image above? That sure seems like a lot of work. Don't you have just 1 image that could have sufficed and been as clear as the above composite?

I am trying my hand at photographing flowers myself (wildflowers, naturally, not set-up studio shots), and I do agree with Dick that they can be very difficult, especially since it is always windy ... however I pretty much just throw away the bad shots and keep the good ones. I try to take pride in getting one stellar shot, as opposed to Photoshopping 20 bad ones together to get 1 good one. For example, I took the photo below of a Trumpet Vine with just one shutter actuation, one 'sharpen', and a '10% saturation' on Photoshop, and that's it.


(http://www.johnkoerner.org/Photography/trumpetvine.jpg)


So I am not sure what advantage taking ten dozen shots, and then stitching them all together, would confer upon me. Or is the advantage in stitching files together, basically, the fact that if I took this same photo in (say) 4 distinct quadrants, and then stitched-up each quadrant together to become a (now) 4x-bigger file, that I would then be able to make a 4x bigger final print? Pardon my ignorance, as I am still learning, but if this is so it is a great lesson learned today.

Thank you,

Jack


.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on September 01, 2009, 09:39:09 am
Elf, those shots are really impressive. I'd be very interested to understand why so many shots are needed to make the composite. Is the subject-to-camera distance so close and the aperture so wide that you lose focus with a few millimeters?
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Mark D Segal on September 01, 2009, 09:41:09 am
Quote from: Dick Roadnight
The Betterlight backs take 35 to 110 seconds for full res, and the Seitz about a couple of seconds - fast enough to only slightly blur water spray... not fast enough to catch a vaulter in flight.

OK, don't know why, but I was thinking of the performance of my film scanner when I wrote that. This is a different technology and different league.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: elf on September 01, 2009, 01:28:46 pm
Quote from: JohnKoerner
Are you saying the above image was a composite of 750 total images, just to get the 1 final image above? That sure seems like a lot of work. Don't you have just 1 image that could have sufficed and been as clear as the above composite?

I am trying my hand at photographing flowers myself (wildflowers, naturally, not set-up studio shots), and I do agree with Dick that they can be very difficult, especially since it is always windy ... however I pretty much just throw away the bad shots and keep the good ones. I try to take pride in getting one stellar shot, as opposed to Photoshopping 20 bad ones together to get 1 good one. For example, I took the photo below of a Trumpet Vine with just one shutter actuation, one 'sharpen', and a '10% saturation' on Photoshop, and that's it.

So I am not sure what advantage taking ten dozen shots, and then stitching them all together, would confer upon me. Or is the advantage in stitching files together, basically, the fact that if I took this same photo in (say) 4 distinct quadrants, and then stitched-up each quadrant together to become a (now) 4x-bigger file, that I would then be able to make a 4x bigger final print? Pardon my ignorance, as I am still learning, but if this is so it is a great lesson learned today.
Yes to the last question and this is true for any stitched image. The single image will also lack the detail of the stitched image.  The difference between just printing large and printing large at high resolution is the viewing distance can be the same as for an 8x10.  Flowers are only marginally easier to shoot in a studio, they still move quite a bit over time.

The FOV of the flower shot at this magnification (2.5X) is larger than even the P65+ can manage in a single image. It would require fewer frames, but the focus stacking would require the same amount of images for the DOF. Each individual image has a DOF that is a fraction of millimeter.
A single image shot at a smaller aperture could not begin to have the same DOF and diffraction would eliminate a lot of the fine detail.

This was shot with an Olympus e330, using a reversed El-Nikkor 50mm f/2.8 at f/5.6 on a custom bellows setup: http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=34499 (http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=34499). It took around four hours to take all of the images.

Quote from: Ray
I can't quite get my mind around that. The flower is beautiful, but you took 750 shots of it?? Can you show us a 100% crop? Did you removed it from its natural setting and shoot it in the studio?

At full print size, is it clear that this is a macro image? As shown in your post, it's not clear. It could be a single shot of an unidentified flower at F16 with an APS-C camera.

The first shot of what appears to be a dead insect is not nearly as inspiring.

Yes, it was shot in the studio and macro panoramas are hard to show on the web because they look like a normal image.  The dead fly was shot more for seeing what the resolution of my setup was compared to others shooting with the same lens.  I don't think it will ever hang on the wall
Here's a 100% crop of the flower:
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v649/etfrench/P8080001c.jpg)

And here is a Deep Zoom (Requires Silverlight 2 to be installed).  The max zoom level is around 150%, so you can see all of the imperfections.  
http://www.efrench.members.winisp.net/fuchsiaDZ/fuchsia.htm (http://www.efrench.members.winisp.net/fuchsiaDZ/fuchsia.htm)

Both of the bug and flower images were focus stacked with Zerene Stacker and stitched with Microsoft ICE.  Both of these programs are very automatic, so most of the time involved to create the images was simply and repetitively clicking the shutter.

Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on September 01, 2009, 03:21:13 pm
Quote from: Dick Roadnight
$15,000 for a slow scan back with less res than a H3D11-60 (or P+65)... are you kidding?

9,000 * 12,000 pixels would give a nice 24 * 35 " print @ 360 ppi, an be useful for some landscapes, and save stitching 2 shots.

By the way, the pixel count of the BetterLight back you mention is 9,000 x 12,000 x 3 = 324 megapixels, which is way beyond any MF digital back. And BetterLight provides a panoramic stitching accessory as well!
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Dick Roadnight on September 01, 2009, 03:55:55 pm
Quote from: Bill VN
By the way, the pixel count of the BetterLight back you mention is 9,000 x 12,000 x 3 = 324 megapixels, which is way beyond any MF digital back. And BetterLight provides a panoramic stitching accessory as well!
I think the native maximum resolution is the real figure, and the "megapixel rating" is the result of "funky" arithmetic... look at the print sizes they quote.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Christopher on September 01, 2009, 03:56:28 pm
Quote from: Bill VN
By the way, the pixel count of the BetterLight back you mention is 9,000 x 12,000 x 3 = 324 megapixels, which is way beyond any MF digital back. And BetterLight provides a panoramic stitching accessory as well!

wellor not. I don't think it is such a difference.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: BlasR on September 01, 2009, 03:57:29 pm
wow 750 shots, !!!

4 hours.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

did you have coffee next to you or wine ?

here is one, only one shot, ranning, cold, wind blowin, handheld, coffee in my other hand, plus 4 kids pulling my pants

and my wife screaming "let's go"

BlasR
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Tyler Mallory on September 01, 2009, 04:07:25 pm
I know it's not a BetterLight, and it's focus range is pretty limited, but the price tag is pretty reasonable. My flatbed scanner is my poor man's scanning back. Big juicy files for about $120.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: JohnKoerner on September 01, 2009, 09:00:36 pm
Quote from: elf
Yes to the last question and this is true for any stitched image. The single image will also lack the detail of the stitched image.  The difference between just printing large and printing large at high resolution is the viewing distance can be the same as for an 8x10.  Flowers are only marginally easier to shoot in a studio, they still move quite a bit over time.

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer in so detailed a manner; it has helped me appreciate the value of stitching. I realize many try to take so many photos, and stitch, to try to get a uniform level of clarity across the whole image (or to work on different exposure levels on different parts of the image), I never really thought about the advantage from a sheer "size/quality" standpoint, until reading some of Ray's remarks.

That being said, and with all due respect, there is no way a studio-placed flower moves with anywhere near the frequency, or the drama, as a wildflower. I would say not even remotely close, otherwise what would be the point of studio conditions? Sure, over time (taking 700 photos), a studio flower would doubtless have some subtle movement ... but please ... it would still be not approach anywhere near the movement of a wildflower, outside in the wind, being subjected to those same 4 hours and 700 photos.




Quote from: elf
The FOV of the flower shot at this magnification (2.5X) is larger than even the P65+ can manage in a single image. It would require fewer frames, but the focus stacking would require the same amount of images for the DOF. Each individual image has a DOF that is a fraction of millimeter.

I absolutely can see the value in stacking and stitching to create a larger file, so that one can print a much larger final overall image, but for average-sized prints I don't see any real qualitiative advantage in your posted 100%-crop image over this 100%-crop of mine:


(http://www.johnkoerner.org/crop.jpg)


I am sure that at 44" yours would have an advantage, but I would say mine would remain excellent up to 24" x 36", so I suppose stitching would have value to me only if I forsaw an image being good enough to warrant a 44"+ blowup.


Quote from: elf
A single image shot at a smaller aperture could not begin to have the same DOF and diffraction would eliminate a lot of the fine detail.

Well, again, my image was taken with a single shot and I feel (even at a 100% crop) that the detail stands up quite well to yours. Perhaps it is not perfecto, or at the level of a P-65, but it is still very clear, and I can't imagine doing much better than that, even after 4 hours and 700+ shots. I have attached a 1/4-size reduction of the full image below, but believe me it is just as clear at 100% as relayed above. That being said, I do wish I had taken the same photo in 4 quadrants, and stitched them together, if for nothing else that I could make an even larger print than I can now.


Quote from: elf
This was shot with an Olympus e330, using a reversed El-Nikkor 50mm f/2.8 at f/5.6 on a custom bellows setup: http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=34499 (http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=34499). It took around four hours to take all of the images.

My shot was taken with a Canon 50D using a Canon 100mm USM Macro lens, f/18, ISO 100, with a MT-24 MacroRinglight Flash, and it took me less than 5 minutes to get the composition and actuate the shutter. If I feel I have a really nice photographic opportunity, I will probably make a habit of incorporating many different shots of the same subject in preparation for a much larger composite file, specifically for printing purposes, but again it would have to be a really stellar shot that I planned to make a very large print of, in order to make all of that effort worthwhile IMO.

I really do appreciate your time and detail of explanation, so thank you.

Jack

.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: elf on September 01, 2009, 11:47:53 pm
Quote from: MarkDS
Elf, those shots are really impressive. I'd be very interested to understand why so many shots are needed to make the composite. Is the subject-to-camera distance so close and the aperture so wide that you lose focus with a few millimeters?

The DOF at 2.5X and f/5.6 is 0.0518mm (edit: COC set at 1.5x pixel size).  This single image shows the relative size of each frame and the amount of DOF:

Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Dick Roadnight on September 02, 2009, 06:12:58 am
Quote from: JohnKoerner
That being said, and with all due respect, there is no way a studio-placed flower moves with anywhere near the frequency, or the drama, as a wildflower. I would say not even remotely close, otherwise what would be the point of studio conditions? Sure, over time (taking 700 photos), a studio flower would doubtless have some subtle movement ... but please ... it would still be not approach anywhere near the movement of a wildflower, outside in the wind, being subjected to those same 4 hours and 700 photos.
This depends on the wildflower you are talking about: my friend (and my first wife's mentor) the late Leslie Greenwood was a flower painter, who illustrated Francis Perry's "Flowers of the World", and he said that some wild flowers (which had not been bred or selected to be cut and put in a vase) collapsed very quickly after being cut, so scaffold had to be erected so that he could paint the flower uncut... (usually in a green house, like Kew Gardens, UK.) I photographed his paintings for his lectures.
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: Bill VN on September 02, 2009, 03:39:16 pm
Quote from: Dick Roadnight
I think the native maximum resolution is the real figure, and the "megapixel rating" is the result of "funky" arithmetic... look at the print sizes they quote.

I don't know where 9,000 x 12,000 pixels came from, but BetterLight's online FAQs cite:

6,000 x 3 “effective pixels” on the sensor
8,000 sampling positions
144,000,000 “total number of effective pixels”
144 megapixels
Title: Want – Need – Afford
Post by: JeffKohn on September 02, 2009, 03:47:52 pm
Quote from: Bill VN
I don't know where 9,000 x 12,000 pixels came from, but BetterLight's online FAQs cite:

6,000 x 3 “effective pixels” on the sensor
8,000 sampling positions
144,000,000 “total number of effective pixels”
144 megapixels
So it produces 48mp files, but they're playing the same numbers game as Sigma with its Foveon sensors, and tripling the megapixel count since they're RGB pixels and not Bayer. I don't doubt it would produce more resolution than a 48mp Bayer sensor, but not 3 times as much. That's just marketing BS.