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08-23-2012, 12:32 AM   #1
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645/6x6 benefits

With out starting or resurrecting the digital vs film debate can we have some thoughts on this?
setup:
if I take a series of shots with a k5 in raw saved as whatever highest quality,and with a 645 and 6x6 with, same subject and lighting and as near as possible lenses that are equal in focal length and the same ISO, shutter speed aperture as dictated by a hand held light meter incident light on the subject.

Question;
if I have this image printed out to A3+ size will there be a discernible difference in the image quality between the formats if they are cropped to give as near as possible the same image when viewed at say 1-2 meteres away?

the reason I ask is that I was thinking of buying a 645 or 6x6 but have been very surprised by the high second hand prices. Given market forces etc I would have though the demand was low and lower prices for "old technology"

so what more can I expect get by spending this money against say a good piece of glass for the K5?

08-23-2012, 01:21 AM   #2
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Medium format is not a technology driver, but the price for low volume sensor will never be cheap. A 22 MP digital back from Leaf was the best you could get five years ago, the price came down from 30 k$ to well under 10k$ - a significant price drop.

Assuming that you use decent lenses, the quality of the larger image will be better. Lenses for medium format need to resolve less detail as pixel picth is often larger than on smaller format camers. Nethertheless the larger image circle that has to be covered requires top notch designs. Filmday medium format lenses are not really suitable for digital work - especially true for wideangles. The real advantage of medium format is probably easy cropping and different DOF rendering. The 645 should be used for different application than the K5. K5 is smaller, faster, ... 645 can provide better quality, but is heavier, slower and more expensive. The real advantage of digital medium format starts with camera backs. They can be mounted on regular cameras, technical cameras, ... this is where the fun starts.
Btw. a 22 MP back from five years ago still makes great images at base ISO. Much better than SLR 35 reflex cameras assuming that you use decent glass. Real 16 bit color depth is another advantage... Explore the advantages and disadvantages of medium format rather than comparing K5 and 645 specs...
08-23-2012, 01:29 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by zapp Quote
AsExplore the advantages and disadvantages of medium format rather than comparing K5 and 645 specs...
Thank you, so what application is medium either 645 or 6x6 better suited to than digital in your opinion?

or if you like where would there be a noticeable benefit?
08-23-2012, 01:42 AM   #4
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Hi,

Maybe this article is helpful:

Big Camera Comparison - On LandscapeOn Landscape

08-23-2012, 01:46 AM   #5
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I don't know about A3, but from what I've printed before for both, my few cents are :

1. Digital printing is far cheaper (In fact, I do it on my own printer up to A3+)
2. A 8R negative print vs A4 digital print, I prefer the negative prints (but o/p was from a 67 camera); I don't know the technical aspects, nor will I pretend to know, the negative print just looked better.
3. Film in most cases is a matter of sending to a good developer/printer where the prints come out adjusted and fine.
Digital printing can be a painful process of color calibration, color profiles, color tweaking, PP for printing, proof printing


If comparing K5 and film MF, it depends on what you want.
K5 is more convenient, flexible and pixel peeping on the LCD display is always sharper.
MF Film can be 'very good enough' for most normal viewing even if digitized with a digital camera or flatbed film scanner, unless a lot is spent on digitizing (pricey scanner; drum scan)
Prints wise, at 8R/A4, I'd prefer Film, but the printing really burns a hole in my pocket.

Last edited by pinholecam; 08-23-2012 at 01:51 AM.
08-23-2012, 03:46 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by adwb Quote
if I take a series of shots with a k5 in raw saved as whatever highest quality,and with a 645 and 6x6 with, same subject and lighting and as near as possible lenses that are equal in focal length and the same ISO, shutter speed aperture as dictated by a hand held light meter incident light on the subject.

Question;
if I have this image printed out to A3+ size will there be a discernible difference in the image quality between the formats if they are cropped to give as near as possible the same image when viewed at say 1-2 meteres away?
You mean relative focal length - as a 75mm normal for 645 or 6x6 won't be for the K5.

I won't comment on possible image quality in the pixel/grain peeping sense - pinholecam is right, with film the weak link is the digitization of the film.

However, say you have a 35mm on the K5 to get an approximate 'normal' equivalent to the lens on, say, a good TLR's 75 or 80mm. (I know I'll get into trouble here with optical/geometrical experts) The perspective and depth of field / how it is rendered will be different. The larger lens/film will tend to do better with tone gradations as well. You'll get something of a classic look... when everything goes well.

This does not mean the images are 'better' than the K5, as digital does a lot of things better than film, or at least more reliably.

I'll put it this way, 120 film is way better and easier to digitize than 35mm film; there's less latitude for error with 35mm, the lenses have to be better, etc. to approach even mediocre 120 in most respects. But 35mm cameras tend to be smaller, faster to use, and more flexible. Personally, I get more consistently good images from my K100D than from my 35mm film cameras...


QuoteQuote:
the reason I ask is that I was thinking of buying a 645 or 6x6 but have been very surprised by the high second hand prices. Given market forces etc I would have though the demand was low and lower prices for "old technology"

so what more can I expect get by spending this money against say a good piece of glass for the K5?
Demand depends on which camera you look at. There are hot cameras that everyone looks for, and there are perfectly fine ones that go without bids. That said, there is a large 120 subculture these days... which I hope continues so the film remains available!

With 120, you don't have to start with the 'best' - though the Pentaxes are very nice! With the P645, lens prices started going up before the digital version was released.

However, there are lots of 'lesser' TLRs from, say, Ricoh (Diacord), and various other brands. Except for the real cheapos with poor lenses, they will do a good job. But you may not like the camera format.

Another way to go is with a vintage folder. Here you pay up for ones with RF, or don't and go primitive (which is a terrifying thing!) But it isn't too difficult to learn focus estimating... Again, the hot cameras are bid up, while perfectly fine ones languish. Despite the usual advice to go for 4 element lenses, triplets are perfectly fine, often better than the 4's even, as you'll tend to shoot stopped down.

But if these aren't your cup of tea, there are some cheaper alternatives to the P645 - Mamiya for example tends to be cheaper and more plentiful.

But the real crux of the matter: what do you get from going 120 vs new glass for the K5? Here, I have to go for the fun / exploration factor, the enjoyment of the hobby.... I find it enjoyable to work with antique technology (i.e. no automation)... I rarely use my P645 even, preferring cameras from the teens to the 50s. This is photography with the emphasis on the experience itself, with the result being important but not critical to the enjoyment. If the result, i.e. the image, is critical, with 'image quality' being a primary goal, then I'd say 120 will deliver, but the process will be long and expensive. The K5 lens in that case may bring the more immediate joy.
08-23-2012, 09:37 AM   #7
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The first question I would ask are you speaking about black and white or colour? If one does black and white and prints in the darkroom there are advantages and disadvantages to it. One of the reasons that medium format gear is not dirt cheap is people are still using it and others are stepping up to it from both digital and 35mm.

To me the biggest difference btw digital and medium format is how I feel about the gear; I enjoy shooting the medium and large format gear more than digital however for many subjects or events I would not think of anything other than digital.

If you have never shot film, are not going to do your own processing and printing and do not have a good film scanner, there is little reason to go the medium format route when you already have a K5. My wife did a project needing large prints and scanned images from a medium format film way out performed a D3 full frame Nikon with the 14-24 lens. But that was for prints of 60 by 80 inches.

Some say that 645 is not a big enough jump from 35mm to make it worth while and that a person should go with a 67. Myself I love the square format and shot with a Rolleichord for decades prior to getting a Hasselblad. If you want to try medium format and do not mind the square format a Rolleichord or Yashimat are affordable and well made. I am going to lend mine out to a member of our local club who is just getting into film so she can try out medium format. Perhaps you can borrow a MF film camera or buy a cheap one just for the experience of shooting it without worrying about quality.

I could have bought two limited lenses for the price of my Hasselblad system. I get my enjoyment from the Hasselblad then I would from the two lenses. Better images? I do not care. I actually print smaller now with MF than I used to with 35mm most of the time. It all ends up as a personal choice. I like shooting digital but love shooting film. If you don't like shooting film then any quality improvement is immaterial. Good luck with your decision.
08-23-2012, 10:38 AM   #8
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medium format film gear is damn cheap now compared to what it used to be. you can quite easily put together a 3 lens 2 back kit in 645 or 6x6 for $1200 or less depending on brand (i have a 4 lens bronica 645 kit that cost less than $1200 when i put it together.

From a print standpoint there are so many variables. First is on film if you take in a colour or b/w neg in almost all cases it will be scanned before printing. Wet printing is almost non existant at the take in level. the print will be made on the same printer as the K5 print. so then it's really down to the scan. 645 and 6x6 can be printed quite large if scanned on a drum scanner or even an imacon but a scan will cost an arm and a leg too, or the scanner will.
For B/W of course you can also wet print at home in your own darkroom. then the print is down to your skills as a printer the quality of the lens on the enlarger, paper choice, which filters you use..... you get the idea.
Personally i really like B/W wet prints done on a good paper. it's not cheap to do right though. and platinum and palladium prints can't be beat imo but cost is sky high and the technique requires a lot of skill
Thing is I could have had say an FA31 or the medium format system I have. I'd use the FA31 more I am sure, but i do love shooting the medium format too when time and money allows. It presents a whole new range of challenges. Also take into account that any one of the 3 non standard lenses i have for the medium format would have retailed for between $2500 and $4000 new even the backs would have cost about the same as a k5 at the time. So when you say why hasn't medium format goten cheap, you actually are wrong. It has gotten incredibly cheap compared to film days. a 4 lens kit with 2 backs a WL and a Prism and a good meter like my kit would have probably set you back $11-13000 and Bronica was the cheap option back then

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