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Author Topic: I would like to understand the MF look.  (Read 61607 times)

Justinr

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2013, 11:59:30 am »

Hi,

I shot same subject with my Hasselblad 555 ELD an Sonnar 150/4 and my Sony Alpha 99 and SAL 70-400/4-5.6G lens. Show the images to a friend with long experience at a Swedish pro lab. So my friend looks at the images 64x86 cm prints at 25 cm distance and says: the left image is warmer, a bit more yellow. Looks again. After a couple of minutes he says, look here this trunk of the tree is sharper on the left image.

So it takes my friend something like 15 minutes to find a difference, not side by side but one image on top of the other. He has worked with Lennart Nilsson, one of the leading photographers in the world http://www.lennartnilsson.com .

Best regards
Erik


But was he looking at the trees rather than the wood (forest) as a whole?

Edit, actually I posted that before following the second link, so the pun wasn't intended but it works.  :) If asked I'd say all those on the left have the 'quality' of MF, especially the bottm one where the clouds look like physical objects that can be held whereas the image on the right just hasn't got that sort of depth.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 12:09:32 pm by Justinr »
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jerome_m

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2013, 12:00:43 pm »

What was fascinating (yet something that knowledgable medium format owners have taken for granted for many years – myself included) is that the Hasselblad images were "more appealing" on screen and in prints (I'm using an Epson 3880 with Baryta paper). Does "more appealing" mean sharper? Yes, sometimes, but not always. Is it due to the shallower DOF? Yes, sometimes, but not always. Is it colour rendition, acuity, tonal smoothness?

The answer is it's all of the above, and not necessarily any of the above.

We find ourselves in the same situation as audiophiles with high-end sound systems. Some electronics and speakers just sound sweeter. Spec sheets and test reports have little to do with it. It's just how it sounds. The same applies here. It's the overall look of the image.

Contrary to the beliefs that run in some of the audiophiles communities, there are some known and perfectly measurable physical reasons why some systems sound better than others. Conversely, when these reasons are absent, the best "audiophile" cannot hear the difference in a blind test. Let google search for "monster cable coat hanger" for an amusing example.

The same is true for MF cameras. There are simple reasons why they do not give the same results than cameras with a smaller sensor. It is not magic. The discussion is only obscured by people who devise comparative tests in a way that make the advantages of MF camera disappear. If one tests two cameras and equalises per pixel resolution, uses an aperture that will equalise lens differences, makes sure that light and exposure is within the usable values of the two cameras, uses subjects with simple, pure colours and only shoots resolution targets, one will find that the two cameras are equivalent for any couple of cameras. But that is not a limitation of the cameras, it is a limitation of the test design.
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jerome_m

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2013, 12:09:00 pm »

I shot same subject with my Hasselblad 555 ELD an Sonnar 150/4 and my Sony Alpha 99 and SAL 70-400/4-5.6G lens. Show the images to a friend with long experience at a Swedish pro lab. So my friend looks at the images 64x86 cm prints at 25 cm distance

That is a good example of a test designed to equalise things. For this kind of subject, everything will be equal but resolution: we have no out of focus areas, lenses are at their sweet spot, colours and dynamic range are within reason and you equalise resolution by printing within what the Sony can do with its 24 mpix.
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2013, 12:11:55 pm »

Hi,

I don't know. He is just a friend, I sometimes ask to compare images. He does not know what he compares. 

But, I think that forest to forest comparisons are more truthful than others. He does not have any clues to look for!

Best regards
Erik


But was he looking at the trees rather than the wood (forest) as a whole?
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Justinr

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2013, 12:22:59 pm »

That is a good example of a test designed to equalise things. For this kind of subject, everything will be equal but resolution: we have no out of focus areas, lenses are at their sweet spot, colours and dynamic range are within reason and you equalise resolution by printing within what the Sony can do with its 24 mpix.

Indeed, from a practical point of view in the sort of work I do it is of far more value to take the camera out of its comfort zone to see how it copes and here the D3 would appear to have disappointed today, but that's for another thread.
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alan_b

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2013, 01:01:11 pm »

I think this gets way over thought.  The MF look was there when we were only shooting film, so that tells me that it's not CCD vs CMOS, CFAs, MLs or any other acronym.  It's driven by sensor size, and to a lesser amount, lens rendering style. 

Sensor size defines secondary magnification (sensor size ––> viewing/print size).  With a larger sensor, the final image is magnified less, resulting in smoother tonality.  This was completely obvious when comparing 35mm to 6x7, more subtle now that we're talking about MFD which is < 645.
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jerome_m

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2013, 01:17:22 pm »

With a larger sensor, the final image is magnified less, resulting in smoother tonality.

While this was true with film using an optical enlarger, this is less true with a digital system where:
-people tend to use MF for vastly larger prints
-printer drivers used in digital printing simply throw away excess resolution for small prints.
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JoeKitchen

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #27 on: December 01, 2013, 01:53:19 pm »

While this was true with film using an optical enlarger, this is less true with a digital system where:
-people tend to use MF for vastly larger prints
-printer drivers used in digital printing simply throw away excess resolution for small prints.

I am not sure if I agree with you here.  Everyone that I know personally (like those who I meet and have a drink with) who shoots MF do not print big (or at all) with their MF systems.  They use them even for web sized images. 

Even at this res, MF just tends to look better; I see the differences on my own website where 40% of the images are from my Canons.  What Alan said could just be another part of the sum that Michael mentioned earlier.   
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jerome_m

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2013, 03:04:21 pm »

The people I have seen use MF print wall-size, so my mileage may vary. But I am not saying that some difference will not show on smaller images, quite on the contrary.
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bcooter

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #29 on: December 01, 2013, 03:31:44 pm »

The people I have seen use MF print wall-size, so my mileage may vary. But I am not saying that some difference will not show on smaller images, quite on the contrary.

Most photographers really like cameras.  I love this shot of William Eggleston's camera case.



He's said to own over 300 cameras and I also love the fact this photo was done with a fuji x1 pro.

My point, buy what you like, don't worry about it.

IMO

BC
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Alan Klein

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #30 on: December 01, 2013, 04:29:45 pm »

What about MF film vs. MF digital?

michael

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #31 on: December 01, 2013, 04:49:11 pm »

What about MF film vs. MF digital?

This was put to bed about 7 years ago...

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/back-testing.shtml

Michael
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Christoph C. Feldhaim

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #32 on: December 01, 2013, 04:53:02 pm »

This was put to bed about 7 years ago...
...


... for most professionals ... ;)

Telecaster

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #33 on: December 01, 2013, 05:20:15 pm »

I use the same printer as Michael is using in Mexico to make my prints. 15x20" or 14x21" is as large as I go other than the occasional stitched pano on roll paper. All my recent sensor-based cameras (various m43, Fuji X-E1, Pentax 645D) can produce files that look very nice indeed when printed at these sizes. That said, I can readily pick out prints made from 645D files. So can other people. My friend Bruce, who draws, paints & sculpts and is well attuned to the visual world, IMO puts it best: "These (645D prints) look smoother tonally when you view 'em from a distance and crisper spatially when you get close." Now granted, I don't own a recent 35mm format camera...no doubt something like a D800(e) and lenses of similar character to the Pentaxes would narrow the gap, at least in terms of spatial detail.

I'm sure Jerome is right that all this can be quantified. IMO mysteries are just explainable phenomena that haven't yet been sufficiently explained.   ;)  But I'll leave that for other people. I just like that thing that the 645D does.

-Dave-
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Christoph C. Feldhaim

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #34 on: December 01, 2013, 05:26:52 pm »

... I just like that thing that the 645D does.
...

Yeah - and I think thats the important final argument.
People talk too much about numbers and too little about the rendering style of the systems in use.
E.g. like this interersting project where they want to recreate the Petzval lens, usable for modern DSLRs.

BernardLanguillier

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #35 on: December 01, 2013, 06:15:27 pm »

In my view the more square aspect ratio of most MF sensor is a key contributor to the look that has not been mentioned so far, it works especially well for portait/fashion.

Besides, other elements are:
- the association of a longer focal length with a wider angular coverage subtly results in less DoF and therefore more separation even with wider lenses. The way sharpness recedes behing the plane of sharpness is also impacting (this was the main focus of the designers of the nikkor 58mm f1.4 for example),
- systematic under-exposure by backs at most ISOs takes highlights away from the danger zone and results in smooth looking tones,
- the look of lenses that are typically less optimized for sharpness and also are much less ambitious designs with a much more modest full aperture that gave designers more room to correct chromatic aberations for example,
- light fall off in corners.

It is easy to simulate most of that and to go far beyond with stitching for those subjects where it is applicable.

Cheers,
Bernard

Justinr

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #36 on: December 01, 2013, 06:26:00 pm »

I just like that thing that the 645D does.

Seconded!

Or should that be 'thirded' Whatever, totally agree.  :)
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #37 on: December 01, 2013, 06:39:21 pm »

Hi,

It was not at test. The tree in question is one of my favorite subjects. I shot it with both cameras, quite simply.

Best regards
Erik



That is a good example of a test designed to equalise things. For this kind of subject, everything will be equal but resolution: we have no out of focus areas, lenses are at their sweet spot, colours and dynamic range are within reason and you equalise resolution by printing within what the Sony can do with its 24 mpix.
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #38 on: December 01, 2013, 07:03:52 pm »

Hi,

I don't really agree with Bernard on some aspects.

- I crop for composition. Aspect ratio affects composition but sometimes one or the other is better.
- I don't think MF lenses are better corrected for chromatic aberration. Lightroom (or C1) removes lateral chroma automagically. My zooms have less axial chroma than my Sonnar 150/4,
- I expose for highlights and check my images with RawDigger.
- I would say that default processing with LR tends to be darker on the P45+.

The best MF lens I have is the Sonnar 150/4, just 5 elements in three groups. A simple design indeed.

Best regards
Erik

In my view the more square aspect ratio of most MF sensor is a key contributor to the look that has not been mentioned so far, it works especially well for portait/fashion.

Besides, other elements are:
- the association of a longer focal length with a wider angular coverage subtly results in less DoF and therefore more separation even with wider lenses. The way sharpness recedes behing the plane of sharpness is also impacting (this was the main focus of the designers of the nikkor 58mm f1.4 for example),
- systematic under-exposure by backs at most ISOs takes highlights away from the danger zone and results in smooth looking tones,
- the look of lenses that are typically less optimized for sharpness and also are much less ambitious designs with a much more modest full aperture that gave designers more room to correct chromatic aberations for example,
- light fall off in corners.

It is easy to simulate most of that and to go far beyond with stitching for those subjects where it is applicable.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 07:41:20 pm by ErikKaffehr »
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Paul Ozzello

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Re: I would like to understand the MF look.
« Reply #39 on: December 01, 2013, 08:10:30 pm »

In my view the more square aspect ratio of most MF sensor is a key contributor to the look that has not been mentioned so far, it works especially well for portait/fashion.

Actually I think Bernard nailed it.

When you shoot 35mm you automatically start with a 33% crop of the original image projected by the lens.
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