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07-02-2014, 02:19 AM   #1
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35mm Digital vs 6x7 film

I have a question for all you pros or knowlegable people on this forum. I have been out of photography for long time and i used to love to shoot 6x7 format and its what im going to do again. My question is as far as making really nice prints, does todays 35mm digatal compare in quality to a 6x7 film print in say 16x20 and up. I have done some reading and get alot mixed things as usaual, so would appriciate some input.




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07-02-2014, 04:48 AM   #2
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I still have my Pentax 6x7 system but have not used it in many years since my full frame 24mp and 36mp sensor cameras have image quality much better in large 24x36" prints. Here is an old comparison of the Pentax 67 II and 11mp Canon 1Ds full frame over 11 years ago :


QuoteQuote:
So, let's look at the evidence. The pros and cons. The 1Ds produces files that have higher resolution and much finer grain than those from the Pentax 67, and by extension all other medium format cameras. (I shot from 1970-1985 with a Hasselblad 6X6 and Zeiss lenses, and from 1994-2001 with a Rollei 6008 and Schneider lenses. I also have been using a Hasselblad Arcbody with Rodenstock lenses for the past 4 years. The Pentax's lenses are every bit as good as those others, so don't imagine that Zeiss or someone elses lenses are going to make any real difference when it comes to resolution compared to the Pentax lenses).

The 1Ds also shows greater shadow detail, and on a personal level I find working with digital files much more efficient and pleasurable than scanning film, and certainly preferable to working in the darkroom. So what advantages does 6X7 film have? Really only absolute image size, and for me at least this isn't a compelling reason.
Shootout


Canon 1Ds


Pentax 67II
07-02-2014, 05:59 AM   #3
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It depends on your criteria. My main digital is a Leica M9 (FF), but I also have 6x7 (and Hasselblad). Overall IQ I'd say goes to the Leica, but there is also a difference in rendering with the larger "sensor" that is separate from sharpness and microcontrast. I can't really describe it, but a good print from a 6x7 just has something.
If you just look at images on monitors, go with any digital.
07-02-2014, 06:16 AM   #4
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I read that report your posted, i also reports saying that the first report is a poor test and is only done on a 13x19 picture. I saw other test done between film and digital and the film look much much better, so very confliclting reports.

07-02-2014, 06:49 AM   #5
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That's a tough question. Film photography is very dependent on the specific film and I think its more sensitive to the processing done by the developer from beginning to end. Going from Kodak to Ilford is like going from one camera brand/model to another in my eyes.

What subject matter do you like to shoot the most? Any preference for film? That will help the discussion.
07-02-2014, 06:52 AM   #6
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A 6x7 negative scanned at a true 4000dpi can yield a file that can print up to 33 inches @ 300 dpi in the longest dimension.

Film is not the same medium as digital so direct comparisons at the pixel level is ambiguous since one has grain. And it takes an expensive scanner to get the best from film. Commodity flatbeds don't compare well to drum scans for example. So for a figital work flow a lot depends on your scanner and experience using it. However, I will say my 4000dpi scanned 16x20 prints from my 6x7 look just as good as my 36MP digital camera. And the dynamic range I can get from BW film on a single exposure leaves my digital in the dust.

Edit: There is so much more to pictures than pixel peeping sharpness gear heads like jogiba will never understand. So I'd take his film advise with s grain of salt.

Last edited by tuco; 07-02-2014 at 10:51 AM. Reason: Add info
07-02-2014, 08:57 AM   #7
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I want to shoot landscape, some portraits, i used to love Tri x, fuji velvia, Tmax 100, etc, i see alot of them are still available. I plan 20 x 24 maybe as big as i would go probally. Im a stickler for quality, i want real sharp images and beautiful prints. Im wondering if its Worth even having a film camera, maybe a 35mm digital camera 24mp or so can do what i want, and not have to hasstle devoloping film.


I love to do bw and color, so im kinda lost with all this scanning stuff, i used to just print my bw stuff in the darkroom and have my velvia done in cibachromes, but thats stuff is long gone.
07-02-2014, 09:22 AM   #8
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I don't think one will be "better" than the other but it will be different. Digital could have noise but you may find the color rendering and dynamic range not to your taste. Some people will say you can get a film effects package so your 36 MP digital camera but if you want the "film effect" then just shoot film!

It seems like you know your films and you know what rendering you're looking for. I have taken a hybrid approach by camera scanning my 135 films with my K-30. The process is a mixed blessing. It gives you the advantages and disadvantages of both systems. The rendering is a unique blend - not for everyone. It's something to think about.

Another thing to think about is the image processing process. You sound like someone who understands film. If digital is somewhat new to you then the question is are you ready to learn a new workflow?

07-02-2014, 09:34 AM   #9
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Today you don't shoot film for practicality and convenience. You shoot it either for the love of it or perhaps some uniqueness. Also, remember 90mm is a normal lens on that format. Look at the DOF scale of an old film lens around that focal length. Getting sharp, crisp, deep DOF from really near to far can be more of a challenge compared to small format depending on focal length of course. And focus stacking is not as convenient as the guys shooting digital medium format.
07-02-2014, 11:49 AM   #10
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Ok im trying to understand the whole scanning thing, why , or do i need my négatives scanned, and my transparency scanned, cant they just print right off my négatives like the old days and off the slide film to, what is the benifit of having them scanned. Scanned négatives , slides film, vs non scanned and just printed, im kinda confused on this issue, what are the pros and cons.
07-02-2014, 11:54 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Califmike2003 Quote
Ok im trying to understand the whole scanning thing, why , or do i need my négatives scanned, and my transparency scanned, cant they just print right off my négatives like the old days and off the slide film to, what is the benifit of having them scanned. Scanned négatives , slides film, vs non scanned and just printed, im kinda confused on this issue, what are the pros and cons.
Yes, you can print the old-school way. Nothing wrong with that. In my case I just assumed you'd also want to share them online.
07-02-2014, 12:10 PM   #12
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Yes i would like to share them online. Is scanning the négatives and then printing a better image, or just printing off the negs and slides, which will produce the best quality print, thanks for all the replies.
07-02-2014, 12:12 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Califmike2003 Quote
Ok im trying to understand the whole scanning thing, why , or do i need my négatives scanned, and my transparency scanned, cant they just print right off my négatives like the old days and off the slide film to, what is the benifit of having them scanned. Scanned négatives , slides film, vs non scanned and just printed, im kinda confused on this issue, what are the pros and cons.
Scanning is not a requirement. Digitizing them allows you to enter "the digital darkroom" and avoid the chemical/mechanical process of making prints. Your approach of dodging/burning, contrast enhancement, etc are all the say. Only the mechanics change. Instead of waving a wand over the paper you swipe your mouse. Once it looks acceptable on your monitor, export the file to a TIFF (not JPG) and go make prints at Costco or where ever you prefer. If you ask your photo lab to make prints for you from the negatives then they will do the scanning for you, make some adjustments that they think is right, save the files to a CD/DVD, and print from the digital file.

Echoing tuco's comment, you can also post your images online for sharing with your family and friends.

---------- Post added 07-02-14 at 12:20 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Califmike2003 Quote
Yes i would like to share them online. Is scanning the négatives and then printing a better image, or just printing off the negs and slides, which will produce the best quality print, thanks for all the replies.
You can get poor quality from either process if you don't know what you're doing. You can also get excellent quality from either process if you do know what you're doing.

Digital processing is the modern working standard. Effects, tools, and processes are constantly being developed that in some ways surpass the traditional mechanical/optical/chemical tools of the past. Digitizing the negatives and slides yourself may make for a good mix of past and current methods. You embrace the analog input of image capturing along with its rendering and texture and you fine tune with modern digital tools. Today's printing is digital. Costco can make you a mural but it will require digital input.

Assuming that you never, ever, ever lose your data and that you can always read it in then you can make 1000's of prints from the digital file with no reduction in quality. I think something like TIFF will always be readable unless the earth cracks in half. At that point I'll have bigger problems to worry about. That's super long term thinking though, but I digress.
07-02-2014, 12:30 PM   #14
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Thanks for your reply, so if i enter the digital world and get a 35mm digital camera , i think a full frame is kina a must for good quality prints, the sensor is full frame and therefor you get better quality. I think its sounds like in the long run money Wise a digital camera is a better buy, but more money up front.
07-02-2014, 12:55 PM   #15
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The sensor is only one component in the system. Don't forget about the glass in front of the sensor. That will have more impact than the size of the sensor. Smaller sensors like u4/3 and APS provide plenty of resolution and the performance gaps between them are nearly non-existent at lower ISO settings. Yes, you can measure the difference but it probably won't be something you can immediately perceive by looking at a print. The differences come in to play at higher ISO settings like 6400 and beyond.

There are many professionally produced high resolution image samples from Pentax, Sony, Olympus, etc. Download them and try having them printed at your target size. You may be surprised.
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