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When Will Micro Four Thirds Equal Medium-Format Film?

Discussion in 'Four Thirds Forum' started by Biro, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
  2. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    Well, having never shot medium format or m43, and not that much film either, I still question the statement, at least as far as resolution is concerned.

    If I'm not mistaken, m43 cameras in 2010 were all 12mp.

    The highest resolution 35mm film (low-ISO Fujifilm Velvia) is often considered to have somewhere around 10mp's worth of resolution in normal conditions, and up to 25mp in ideal (high contrast) conditions. (this is just from what I've read online; I've never personally shot the stuff, let alone analyzed it for resolution).
    With 6x7cm film having a surface area 4.86 times as large as 35mm film, that would give around 48mp if you used low-ISO Velvia in normal conditions. For the two to be equal, you'd need a film type and speed that only delivers 2.46mp on 35mm film - and I do believe that most good quality low-ISO film types exceed that. Or is my impression of film just too optimistic?

    In terms of dynamic range and color depth, he may well be right. I do believe that digital has exceeded film in most relevant (measurable) areas some time ago.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
  3. Micro 4/3rd's were the ones that began the compact DSLR trend, but have been mostly surpassed by APS-C.
     
  4. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    A good m43 12 MP sensor (with a good lens, of course) easily out-performs 35mm film in terms of what it can resolve. The surface area of film, being a different medium, has not exact correlation to the surface of a piece of film. I scan my 35mm negatives very big files, and my Hasselblad files into bigger ones. The Hassy files are close in terms of resolution, but with 35mm film it is not contest. That war was won ages ago.

    Tonal range, the subtlety of tonal transitions; that's another matter. I printed film professionally for almost 30 years. And I'm not talking out of my hat.

    I'm very fond of film, and still shoot B&W film on occasion, but size for size the resolution war is over and digital won.
     
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  5. Tilman Paulin

    Tilman Paulin SC Top Veteran

    681
    Nov 15, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    Why do they even have to match each other?
    We could just look at them as the different tools that they are. Each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Each also with their own look or feel.
    Sometimes one is more appropriate for a task, sometimes the other (and sometimes one simply doesn't have the choice :) )

    Some of that isn't necessarily inherent in the format. What I learned over time is that the current image processing defaults for m43 are leaning on the side of oversharpening and oversaturation - thus making tonal transitions crunchier than they need to be.

    The oldest four thirds DSLR (E1) is actually pretty good at that - rendering nicely smooth transitions between colour tones. I'm now trying to mimic that look on my newer m43 cameras... Do my results look like film? Not really. But that's also not necessarily what I personally set as my "ultimate" goal. :)
     
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  6. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I never trust anyone that goes by one name.
     
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  7. snkenai

    snkenai SC All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    I shot 35mm film, photo and slide, for many years. When I transitioned to digital, I was not satisfied with the digital noise. It took several years for me to get over it. Actually, I didn't, until I got the 16MP cameras. Even the ASPC sensors, were just too grainy/noisy, for my taste. Now, with the 16MP m4/3 cameras, from Olympus or Panasonic, I shoot JPEG, with the noise canceling, turned off, and with the EM5 I shoot in auto iso, 1600 limit, and am very satisfied. Progress!
     
  8. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    I have a b&w portrait shot on an instructor's Rolleiflex in late 1969, 620 size I think, and I've never seen a b&w shot on a digital camera, including the Leica Monochrom, that looks any better.

    Although I can't verify the technical accuracy of Ken Rockwell's claim that it would take 175 mp to reproduce everything that's in a top-quality 35 mm color transparency, I tend to think that anything less than that would miss something. Maybe a foveon(?) sensor at 75-100 mp would do it.
     
  9. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    Dale, the experts in Hollywood say 8K video will capture all of the resolution, nuances and even grain of 70mm film. That's why it's being used in the restoration of movies shot on 70mm film. And that's without considering the other advantages of digital - such as ease of duplication and no erosion of quality with each presentation.

    So, what is a frame of 8K the equivalent of - 35mp? More and more new cameras allow users to capture 8mp still images out of 4K video. So I'm not sure we really need the ultra-high resolution you're talking about. We'll need more to equal a 620-size film image, of course. But maybe not as much as we think.

    On the other hand, maybe my math is all off. Who can do the numbers on a frame of 620 film? :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
  10. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    I've seen the best of 8k video, or 16 mp frames - even 24 mp images from the Leica Q. But you look at a landscape from the Q, under best circumstances, and you see loads of digital artifacts. Sure, buildings and skies and oceans may look really good, but foliage looks awful. Shoot across some water that's really choppy and wind-blown and you start to see problems there. People who know their photography work around these things very well, but think about it - even a 48 mp image has only about 8500 pixels across the frame, and if you compare those in some landscapes to what the scanning backs can do, it looks primitive.
     
  11. john m flores

    john m flores SC All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    More importantly, when will I equal Henri Cartier-Bresson? How many megapickles do I need?
     
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  12. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    I was talking raw, which is how I usually shoot, but I agree about oversharpening and pumped up contrast.
     
  13. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    How did Capa, Chim, Rodger and Cartier-Bresson manage without 4K? Think about it - they could have founded Jereboam, not just Magnum...

    My take on this is simple, and applicable to many walks of life: A good big 'un will always beat a good little 'un. Beyond that, film vs digital, and format wars in general leave me cold.
     
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  14. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Well, John, as near as I can tell, you need a French accent, a surrealist attitude, and a Leica. (grin)

    Cheers, Jock
     
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  15. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Lots and Lots.:biggrin:

    This is one of those discussions that has no practical consequence but people get caught up in the very act of trying to find an answer or even what an answer would look like. Since I work at a university I thought everyone did this all the time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
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  16. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Dang. I have a surrealist accent , a French attitude, and an Olympus.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
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  17. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    Actually, when you do have hundreds of megapixels, you'll be able to crop without losing essential details. So you will get the picture regardless. The difference then won't be the camera or the composition - the difference will be whether you can "see" what HCB saw and pull it out of the raw capture.
     
  18. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    Random thought - while the look of an image is influenced by many things - even film grain, my main concern is the lens perspective. So if I am able to crop at will, and I have a 35 mm lens and I'm trying to duplicate the perspective of a 50 mm lens just by cropping, it wouldn't be the same, unless .... (unknown)
     
  19. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    Why wouldn't it be the same? Apart from resolution that is. So long as both focal lengths are free from barrel or pincushion distortion, there shouldn't be a difference in perspective, assuming the subject distance is the same.

    If you change the subject distance in order to have the same subject size in the frame, then yes, perspective changes. But with the same subject distance, the perspective is given, and the only thing that a wide or tele lens does is show you more or less of that given perspective.

    Having said that, at wider than 50mm (equivalent or absolute? Im not sure on this one, but my gut says equivalent), lenses start to render the edges slightly stretched. But even then, cropping to only keep the center should give the same composition, including perspective, as using a lens with a longer focal length.

    And in terms of Ken Rockwells 175mp figure: his logic is flawed in several ways, but i'm not sure if it's worth describing why. If anyone wants to know, I think I already typed it out somewhere on this site, years ago.
     
  20. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I guess in theory you could do street photography using a bunch of video cameras working on automatic and then sift through the results, given arbitrarily large computational resources. Of course, that eliminates the part of photography I enjoy most. For most of us, the goal is not simply to get a great image. It's participating in the process, waiting and looking for that decisive moment.
     
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