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05-19-2010, 07:58 PM   #31
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After some searching I came across a set of images taken of the same subject with similar lenses and similar from the K10D, and one from scanned 35mm film. (Sorry, could not find any direct comps for 120.)

Cable Anchors, St. Johns Bridge, K10D, Tamron 28/2.5

Cable Anchors, St. Johns Bridge, Rollei Retro 100, Vivitar 28/2.8

The photos were taken within minutes of each other on tripod at f/8. Focus for both shots was on the near edge of the buttress. The K10D version was shot in RAW and had the advantage of MLU on 2 second delay. Default USM was applied on import into Lightroom and the monochrome conversion applied there. The film version was shot using Rollei Retro 100 (Agfa APX 100), scanned at 4000 dpi (20 megapixel) with no USM on the Nikon 5000 ED. Contrast was bumped and exposure tweaks were added at scan time for artistic affect. The lenses used are pretty comparable based on a head-to-head testing done earlier this year using the K10D.

Here are detail crops from both images:

K10D, full resolution detail

Brightness and contrast were modified to match the film image below.

Rollei Retro 100, down-sampled 50%

To its disadvantage, the film image still has somewhat larger magnification, but I think that the results are pretty comparable. As I noted in my previous comment, despite this type of comparison, I still feel that my 35mm film stuff is not quite to the same standard as the dSLR. That being said, resolution is not the whole story. For B&W work, the K10D falls flat for many subjects. In addition, I have taken some shots with Ektar 100 that I am not sure that the K10D could have handled.

I was disappointed to find that I don't have any similar comparison sets for the K10D vs. 6x7 scanned on the Epson V700. I guess that can be my assignment for the week. After all, the bridge is still standing and I have plenty of film...


Last edited by stevebrot; 05-19-2010 at 08:18 PM.
05-20-2010, 05:23 AM   #32

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Thanks for these examples - I'm pretty amazed at the way they compare.

In passing, I once read this test of a Mamiya 7 vs a Nikon digital beast. It's dated perhaps, but it is level-headed and includes an interesting comment on the quality of Imacon scans vs an ICG drum scanner: Mamiya 7 compared to Nikon D2X DSLR

The location is Amsterdam, of course. That also explains some of the English — the original is Dutch.
05-20-2010, 07:13 AM   #33
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Tuco, no offense taken. But you've compared apples to giraffes. Don't compare my D300 to a Hasselblad, I was comparing 135 slow-speed film to a very capable APS-C sensor that ranges to ISO 1600 comfortably. I'm shooting a lot of wildlife, and if Pentax had the lenses and features I needed (5 years ago) I would have preferred not to make the leap. As it is, my Nikkor 200-400 VR has macro-rivalling resolution (and focuses closer than 1:4.) and still there is no equivalent lens from anyone. (This would be like having a 600-1200mm lens in MF film. An f/4 version to boot.) It's this entire system that is so mind-blowingly good compared to what I was shooting (Pentax film gear in 135 for a quarter of a century). I could get equivalent results before only when all the stars aligned, off a tripod, shooting at ISO 100, etc.

It is in this context that 12MP beats 38MP, scanned from film. Shooting primes off a tripod, no, I don't believe my Nikon AF-S 17-35mm and D300 (or an F5 on Ektar, Astia, Velvia scanned) knocks the socks off 645 shot with my P645N and 35mm SMC-A on Ektar, Astia, or Velvia. I'm surprised by 135 and tiny dSLR sensors being as competitive as they are, however. Regardless, if I was not looking for other options like conventional darkroom printing from the same images and never needed to consider printing larger than 20x30", I could confidently abandon further seeking and jettison my 645 and 4x5. (But I am, and I do, and I won't).

And I do realize after all the magic bullet chasing that the best of dSLRs and 135 format film scanned exquisitely can rival or better larger film formats scanned sloppily-- which was the impetus to my jumping into this thread, to answer the OP's original question and spare him the potential grief.

Last edited by Ivan J. Eberle; 05-20-2010 at 10:32 AM.

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