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Author Topic: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.  (Read 11858 times)

Alex Waugh

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The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« on: September 27, 2014, 08:13:07 am »

Evening all,
Quite a while ago I started a thread on here about what constitutes the medium format look, with the general consensus being that its a combination of color fidelity and aberration free optics. My understanding is that these optics are more prevalent in the MF world because slower lenses (providing equivalent DOF on larger sensors) are easier to design and have lower tolerance requirements.

With the advent of the Otus, and to a lesser extent the Sigma Art series, I got to wondering if this look would be possible on 35mm format. My understanding is that the primary differentiator between DSLR + MF color is the implementation of the color filter array on top of various sensors and not a fundamental CCD/CMOS characteristic. My very basic understanding is that color separation is sacrificed for greater light sensitivity / ISO performance. So my question is this - Disregarding resolution gains, if Nikon produced a D800s (studio) with a disregard for ISO performance beyond ISO50-200 and I stuck an Otus 85mm on it, would I find the look I'm after?


A few notes
My interest stems from a love of the look and an inability to afford it.
I am aware that DOF transition is different across formats however I believe the Otus lenses handle it well.
Please forgive my lack of technical accuracy.

Alex
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2014, 08:51:08 am »

Such a camera would probably be called D4x and cost with an Otus as much as many good second hand MF backs+camera+lens.

Why not buy a second hand MF camera if the "MF look", whatever that means, is what matters to you?

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: September 27, 2014, 09:05:15 pm by BernardLanguillier »
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Doug Peterson

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2014, 09:08:41 am »

Alex, you'll find no answer here for a question as subjective as this.

Fortunately it takes only a few hours of your time to determine how you feel about this. Contact a MF dealer, arrange a comparison/test/evaluation, take some actual pictures, and look at them.

This is what I do every day with our clients.

ErikKaffehr

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2014, 09:41:29 am »

Hi,

Just for fun, make this test: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/80-my-mfd-journey-summing-up?start=2

Answers here: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Articles/MFDJourney/RawImages/RealWorld/Answers.html

Views on "medium format look" differ and may mean a lot of things.

Some more images here: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Articles/MFDJourney/RawImages/MFDB_VS_DSLR2

Those are only some shoots of mine… your mileage may vary.

Best regards
Erik



Evening all,
Quite a while ago I started a thread on here about what constitutes the medium format look, with the general consensus being that its a combination of color fidelity and aberration free optics. My understanding is that these optics are more prevalent in the MF world because slower lenses (providing equivalent DOF on larger sensors) are easier to design and have lower tolerance requirements.

With the advent of the Otus, and to a lesser extent the Sigma Art series, I got to wondering if this look would be possible on 35mm format. My understanding is that the primary differentiator between DSLR + MF color is the implementation of the color filter array on top of various sensors and not a fundamental CCD/CMOS characteristic. My very basic understanding is that color separation is sacrificed for greater light sensitivity / ISO performance. So my question is this - Disregarding resolution gains, if Nikon produced a D800s (studio) with a disregard for ISO performance beyond ISO50-200 and I stuck an Otus 85mm on it, would I find the look I'm after?


A few notes
My interest stems from a love of the look and an inability to afford it.
I am aware that DOF transition is different across formats however I believe the Otus lenses handle it well.
Please forgive my lack of technical accuracy.

Alex
« Last Edit: September 27, 2014, 09:49:13 am by ErikKaffehr »
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Erik Kaffehr
 

Alex Waugh

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2014, 10:01:45 am »

Thanks for the replies everyone I really do appreciate any discussion.

Bernard - Assuming that the CFA is a cheap part (R&D aside), couldn't Nikon do this to any camera at any price point really if it deduced the market would be willing to sacrifice ISO performance? Also - while a 2nd hand back / lens / camera is not as economically daunting as most assume, the older (read: affordable) ones are painfully slow and outdated from back LCD to autofocus to general handling compared to even an entry level DSLR

Doug - If i ever entered into the MF market (i got very close last year) i would not be able to afford to go through a dealer - especially in Australia.

Erik - You are of course correct I have a lot of trouble picking between the images here. I would argue that this series of photos does not lend itself to easily showing what I mean (very subdued colours and subtle contrast shifts) but I have nothing to back myself up here with.

The obvious course of action here would be to purchase a digital back i know - one day.

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ErikKaffehr

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2014, 11:06:10 am »

Hi,

It may be a myth that CFA-s for MFD are less ortogonal than DSLRs and DSLRs do differ. Or it may be for real. The Nikon D4s are oriented at sports/news and they have probably more emphasis on ISO than D810.

DxO measures something called SMI and that is 80, same as for the Phase One IQ 80, but as they say it is not very discriminating.

I guess that a major factor is that MFDs are mostly used with the vendors own software and they make very good colour profiles for their own cameras.

On the other issue, I have posted some other images here: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Articles/MFDJourney/RawImages/MFDB_VS_DSLR2/

These are pairs of images shot under same conditions at the same time. They all come with raw images (unfortunately some in DNG), so you can process them self and draw conclusions.

Here are some more MFD shots:  http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Articles/MFDJourney/RawImages/Samples3

Doug at DT and Steve at CI will be glad to share sample images if you ask.

Best regards
Erik



Thanks for the replies everyone I really do appreciate any discussion.

Bernard - Assuming that the CFA is a cheap part (R&D aside), couldn't Nikon do this to any camera at any price point really if it deduced the market would be willing to sacrifice ISO performance? Also - while a 2nd hand back / lens / camera is not as economically daunting as most assume, the older (read: affordable) ones are painfully slow and outdated from back LCD to autofocus to general handling compared to even an entry level DSLR


Erik - You are of course correct I have a lot of trouble picking between the images here. I would argue that this series of photos does not lend itself to easily showing what I mean (very subdued colours and subtle contrast shifts) but I have nothing to back myself up here with.

The obvious course of action here would be to purchase a digital back i know - one day.


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Erik Kaffehr
 

Manoli

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2014, 11:06:51 am »

With the advent of the Otus, ... I got to wondering if this look would be possible on 35mm format... with a disregard for ISO performance beyond ISO50-200 and I stuck an Otus 85mm on it, would I find the look I'm after?

Alex,
Nothing beats your own testing and criteria - as so many here will quickly tell you. But before you go out and rent a couple of Otus's ( or should it be Otii ?) - here are a few links from someone who has also written an article on LuLa - Eleanor Brown.  Link 1, 2, 3.

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ErikKaffehr

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2014, 11:14:34 am »

Hi,

Yes Elaenor posts good stuff.

My samples were shot with old Zeiss lenses, modern lenses probably perform better.

Best regards
Erik


Alex,
Nothing beats your own testing and criteria - as so many here will quickly tell you. But before you go out and rent a couple of Otus's ( or should it be Otii ?) - here are a few links from someone who has also written an article on LuLa - Eleanor Brown.  Link 1, 2, 3.


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Erik Kaffehr
 

Manoli

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2014, 12:15:15 pm »

My samples were shot with old Zeiss lenses, modern lenses probably perform better.

Erik,

Don't knock older glass !! About a week ago Torger made an interesting post , which got me thinking about the 'organic' quality of some shots v the 'shot on digital look'. I think this is a subject you've referred to on the odd occasion ... :-)

Best,
M
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2014, 12:26:39 pm »

Hi,

I don't want to knock on old glass, but I have been told that modern glass from Schneider and Rodenstock is significantly better. But I guess that I paid less for my five Hasselblad lenses than I would pay for a new Rodenstock.

Getting back to the MFD look, I guess there are some factors:

- Good to very good lenses
- Relative large pixels (older backs with fat pixels are said to have a special look)
- No OLP filtering (Nikon D810 has no OLP filter either and same goes for Sony A7r)
- Better and possible favored processing in proprietary raw converters

So, would I try to reproduce the MFDB look, I would possibly try a Nikon D810 with an Otus or a Sigma 50/1.4 ART, and use Capture One with no noise reduction and using the profiles for the Phase One IQ-250.

I would possibly also sharpen in FocusMagic.

Best regards, in a hurry
Erik

Erik,

Don't knock older glass !! About a week ago Torger made an interesting post , which got me thinking about the 'organic' quality of some shots v the 'shot on digital look'. I think this is a subject you've referred to on the odd occasion ... :-)

Best,
M

« Last Edit: September 27, 2014, 02:57:14 pm by ErikKaffehr »
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Erik Kaffehr
 

Manoli

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2014, 12:43:28 pm »

Alex,

You don't say what field you're interested in - fashion, landscape, portraiture ? But whichever it may be, you can be sure that you'll never get a definitive answer, just as you didn't in the previous thread you started nor will you in this one ! Simply put there are too many factors to consider and ultimately personal criteria and taste will rule.

A few weeks ago LuLa posted a portrait of MR in the 'Join Michael in Antartica' announcement. Jerome asked about the lens used - the thread and answer speak volumes!

-



« Last Edit: September 27, 2014, 02:11:32 pm by Manoli »
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2014, 03:02:31 pm »

Hi,

That example sort of illustrates that you need to define MF look before trying to emulate it.

There are now quite a few lenses from China having that kind of look, decent sharpness within a very small area and very little depth of field.

For me, it is not a typical medium format look, but our expectation may vary.

Apart MF look, Leica look or what else, it is a nice portrait of Michael Reichmann.

Best regards
Erik

Alex,

You don't say what field you're interested in - fashion, landscape, portraiture ? But whichever it may be, you can be sure that you'll never get a definitive answer, just as you didn't in the previous thread you started nor will you in this one ! Simply put there are too many factors to consider and ultimately personal criteria and taste will rule.

A few weeks ago LuLa posted a portrait of MR in the 'Join Michael in Antartica' announcement. Jerome asked about the lens used - the thread and answer speak volumes!

-




« Last Edit: September 27, 2014, 03:04:06 pm by ErikKaffehr »
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Erik Kaffehr
 

ErikKaffehr

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Just to mention…
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2014, 03:28:46 pm »

Hi,

Jeff Schewe, who is probably not exactly unknown on these forums is on travel right now with his new Nikon gear and also MFD, hopefully he will report back his findings when he is back.

Best regards
Erik
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Erik Kaffehr
 

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2014, 04:05:18 pm »

When I was using 35mm and 645 film gear at the same time, the main difference between the two for me was the aspect ratio. "Better" lenses or more real estate per frame…I didn't much care about that stuff. I just wanted a less rectangular frame to compose images with.

-Dave-
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2014, 04:17:50 pm »

Hi,

A good point. On the other hand I guess that we are moving to 16x9…

Personally, I fit crop to subject and either crop or stitch.

Best regards
Erik

When I was using 35mm and 645 film gear at the same time, the main difference between the two for me was the aspect ratio. "Better" lenses or more real estate per frame…I didn't much care about that stuff. I just wanted a less rectangular frame to compose images with.

-Dave-
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Erik Kaffehr
 

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2014, 05:07:11 pm »

I searched for this so called "MF look" far and wide on a D800 for a while. I ended up buying an MF kit for it. Couldn't be happier.

It has a lot more to it than clinically shooting both formats and trying to equalize everything.

Ask yourself. Do you strive to achieve the "Full frame look" on micro 4/3rds? Can an M43 kit be considered as a replacement for a full frame kit?
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2014, 06:08:46 pm »

For what it is worth, I have some images shot wth the Otus 55mm f1.4 and the D800 and D810 here.

I let you decide if you see something in these images that matches what you call the MF look.

Some of these images are panoramic stitches with a virtual sensor size typically larger than those of the MF physical sensors. This may give you some hint as to whether the size of the sensor is a contributor to that MF look.

My guess is that you will reach the conclusion that only images shot with MF have the MF look. ;)

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: September 27, 2014, 06:11:50 pm by BernardLanguillier »
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MrSmith

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2014, 06:23:33 pm »

Having shot on 10x8/5x4/6x6 film in the past I don't crave the 'look' of those cameras anymore apart from perhaps plus-x in very dilute hc-110 or pyro printed on record rapid through a cold cathode enlarger.
 I just don't see that much difference between formats now we have the sony sensor available in various cameras, I see the differences between lenses and the extra dynamic range available but having retouched and shot on 39, 40mp and 50mp backs I struggle to see an advantage for what I shoot and certainly don't see a different 'look' between the formats which are now closer together in size (dig out those 6x7 transparencies and compare that to a sony MF sensor) if I shot people and printed large prints instead of handing over files to clients to go to repro then yes maybe there is a tangible difference but at the end of the day who is going to see that? Other photographers might but images are about so much more than what they are shot on.

Good lenses* on a good sensor but don't get hung up on the format.
*there are obviously lenses that suit different subjects, the range of 50mm's from 1.2's to macros all have attributes that suit certain subjects.
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Hulyss

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2014, 06:25:21 pm »

Personally, MF look is matter of spacial distortion, pixel transition and colors. The "less orthogonal" argument sound very valid.

Harry Swimmer was shot with what ?

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BernardLanguillier

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Re: The feasibility of getting the MF look with smaller formats.
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2014, 06:31:35 pm »

Harry Swimmer was shot with what ?



An iPhone 5s?

Cheers,
Bernard
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