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02-25-2011, 01:39 PM   #1
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Nikon D700 vs. Pentax 67II with pictures

I thought I'd share a little test I did a couple of days ago. I wanted to see how 6x7 medium format with B/W, reasonably fast film, would compare to digital "FF".
The test is in many ways far from scientific, but more practical. This is what I got from using different gear to get the same image, using what I got at hand.

The film was Ilford HP5+ exposed at ISO 320 and developed in Fomadon R09, diluted to 1:60, for ~10 minutes. The Pentax 67II was shot at f/16 with the 75/4.5. The Nikon D700 was shot at f/8 (for equal DOF) with the Zeiss 35/2 ZF, which is one of the best lenses there is for the format.

The negative was scanned with Epson V700 in full 48 bit color mode, scrapping all channels but blue, and then manually PP:d to desired tonality and contrast. I then tried to mimic the results by tweaking the D700 file in ACR.

First the film shot...




Then the digital shot...




Surprisingly equal, right? But have a look at the bridge of the bass guitar. Even at this relatively small size, you can see how the film gives higher acutance. A crop of each reveals the truth.

Pentax...




Nikon...




Now we're talking! To my eyes, the MF one is much nicer. Even though the grain is severe, resolution is still higher than with the digital file. But the most important difference is higher acutance and more "organic" look. The digital D700 file just looks dead in comparsion.

Remember that this is a grainy film. With a fine grained film rated at ISO 100 or lower, the MF camera would blow the D700 out of the water. But I think we all knew that, so that's why I wanted to know how they compare at more reasonable (handholdable) film speeds (even though this is done on a tripod at 1 and 4 seconds exposure time).

Conclusion? The 75/4.5 is one hell of a lens! I already knew that, but I didn't expect it to be that competitive to the Zeiss, even considering the huge difference in format.

02-25-2011, 01:52 PM   #2
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Vey interesting, thanks for posting. I find the full image by the 67 to have a more "3D'" look as well. I'm not surprised at your results. I've compared 645D files to Nikon 9000 scans of Provia/Astia taken with a 67 (same lens on both cameras); I find them roughly equal.
02-25-2011, 02:21 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Thomas Quote
Vey interesting, thanks for posting. I find the full image by the 67 to have a more "3D'" look as well. I'm not surprised at your results. I've compared 645D files to Nikon 9000 scans of Provia/Astia taken with a 67 (same lens on both cameras); I find them roughly equal.
I find your comparison interesting. We too have compared scanned Fuji 68 to Nikon D3 with the film scanned on Nikon 8000/9000 finding film much better as one enlarges. Yours takes the lens right out of the equation.

To OP thanks for posting and considering the film you used and not using a dedicated scanner I think you stacked the comparison against film and it still won

Myself am only one lottery win away from MF digital.
02-25-2011, 02:43 PM   #4
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it's great to see that ! I was hoping something like that : film are still better than sensor. I love this greany aspect of films, i usually think that it lacks on digital pict.



02-25-2011, 03:18 PM   #5
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If you really want to see how much better film is than digital, then get into a darkroom and print the stuff instead of scanning it.
02-25-2011, 03:20 PM   #6
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Digging up the old film/digital debate are we
02-25-2011, 03:56 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Digging up the old film/digital debate are we
I looked it at more a 35mm/cropped sensor compared to medium format debate
02-25-2011, 04:28 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Digging up the old film/digital debate are we
Maybe, but that was not my intention. I love film and I love digital, but for different reasons.

02-26-2011, 12:23 AM   #9
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you should try Kodak T-max 100 - the grain is fine and it produces outstanding results In rodinal - though the developer you used Fomadon R09 is essentially the same. Rodinal and it's clones tend to produce high accutance results however they also exacerbate the appearance of granularity of fast emulsions because they don not contain sulphites which tend to smooth over the grain structure at the cost of total resolution. You could try using higher dilution to maximise image resolution, you also can add some sodium sulfite to reduce the grain effect with faster films but the resolution will be affected.
02-26-2011, 05:35 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
you should try Kodak T-max 100 - the grain is fine and it produces outstanding results In rodinal - though the developer you used Fomadon R09 is essentially the same. Rodinal and it's clones tend to produce high accutance results however they also exacerbate the appearance of granularity of fast emulsions because they don not contain sulphites which tend to smooth over the grain structure at the cost of total resolution. You could try using higher dilution to maximise image resolution, you also can add some sodium sulfite to reduce the grain effect with faster films but the resolution will be affected.
Yes, I've had excellent results with Tmax 100 on 135 format. Of course the 6x7 format will win at lower speeds and/or with a better scanner, but I did the test just out of curiosity, since 400 film is what I normally use. It's also very interesteing because of the lower cost of the 67II, lens and scanner, compared to the D700 and ZF 35/2.

My freezer is full of film that I got with my previous MF camera, so I won't buy any Tmax for a while. But I do have some Neopan 100 Acros, with which I might do another comparsion some day.

Right now the camera is loaded with Fomapan 400. Some people say it sucks and some say it's awesome, so I'm a bit excited to try it out!
02-26-2011, 06:51 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Makten Quote
My freezer is full of film that I got with my previous MF camera, so I won't buy any Tmax for a while. But I do have some Neopan 100 Acros, with which I might do another comparsion some day. Right now the camera is loaded with Fomapan 400. Some people say it sucks and some say it's awesome, so I'm a bit excited to try it out!
My film freezer is filled partly with dry ice with older films in 120,4X5 and 8X10 size - films such as Tech pan 25, Agfapan - if it had high resolution I have it.
02-26-2011, 07:19 AM   #12
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67II Vs digital

Makten, what were the settings on the scanner for the film? The 9000 goes way up in resolution.
02-26-2011, 07:46 AM   #13
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What kind of wood is on the guitar's top panel? Is it one large rift cut or laminated, I wonder.

I've been looking to upgrade my K-7. I haven't been too satisfied with it. It seems when I do shoot digital it is always in low light. I looked into that D700 but I really want to see what the new D900 will be like first. I just wish Nikon would give some kind of time frame when to expect it.

Last edited by tuco; 02-26-2011 at 07:54 AM.
02-26-2011, 09:46 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Herb Quote
Makten, what were the settings on the scanner for the film? The 9000 goes way up in resolution.
2400 DPI, downsampled to the same resolution as the D700 file. There's no detail worth capturing with higher scanner resolution for this particular film. The V700 goes to 6400 DPI or something like that, which is ridiculous since diffraction is probably the limiting factor at half of that.

QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
What kind of wood is on the guitar's top panel? Is it one large rift cut or laminated, I wonder.
I don't think you can get that large parts of spruce (which I believe it is). It's also laminated in two layers; the thicker one on top and a thinner one underneith, probably maple for strength. The bass strings have a lot more tension than regular guitar strings.

QuoteQuote:
I've been looking to upgrade my K-7. I haven't been too satisfied with it. It seems when I do shoot digital it is always in low light. I looked into that D700 but I really want to see what the new D900 will be like first. I just wish Nikon would give some kind of time frame when to expect it.
The D700 simply amazing, if you're not after highest possible resolution. I don't think I'll part with it until it breaks. The only reason to switch is if "someone" releases an FF camera that is substantially smaller, like a cheaper M9 with an EVF.
There is still only one camera that handles low light better, and that is the D3S. But at the cost of lesser color accuracy due to a weaker bayer pattern filter.
02-26-2011, 05:58 PM   #15
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Thanks for the interesting comparison. Hurrah for the mighty P67II!
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