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A question of judgement

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by Brian, Aug 22, 2001.

  1. phil

    phil Well-Known Member

    Re: Further inconsistency

    I bet it is!!!!!

    <font color=purple> P<font color=blue>h<font color=green>i<font color=red>l FRIPN
  2. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Re: Further inconsistency

    Not quite sure how you compare the output of a slide film and a digital camera without another stage of interference - but I've not read the article, and I don't intend to, because it doesn't matter to me. The end result is all that matters, as you have said, David.

    Nick CRIPN

    P.S. Wasn't it that the "potential" of 35mm is much higher, which is true - if there were, say, 100,000 dpi scanners and printers capable of printing the detail, you could get better results out of a 35mm slide than from a digital file created by a 3 Mp camera. But potential isn't the same thing as actual quality!
  3. Reading

    Reading Well-Known Member

    Re: Further inconsistency

    From previous discussions with Damien (which I wont go into), his 'changeable standards' are due to the review being geared to the level of user the product is marketed at.

    In his defence 'excellent' and 'film quality' could be two separate things as one if not both descriptions are subjective.

    I would say 3MP cameras can do excellent A4 prints even, but they are not film quality. This really becomes evident when you crop and print A4 or print larger sizes.
  4. Reading

    Reading Well-Known Member

    Re: Further inconsistency

    "On the one hand they admit that digital is good and can produce quality large prints (I know because I do it all the time) but on the other they say that 35mm is far superior. They can't have it both ways!"

    I dont see any contradiction in saying Digital is good and film is better.

    I have read the luminous landscape article, and it was quite convincing, except that the differences in detail could be attributed to sharpness rather than level of detail which could so easily be due to focussing errors, non flat film plane or many other things. I am still not totally convinced, and my comparison of Fuji 4MP cameras to 200ISO film scans backs up my non-belief.
  5. mgroep

    mgroep Member

    Just a few of my comments on what is getting to be a very long thread:

    1) I'll believe the resolution of the latest digital cameras to be sufficient when the reviews of the latest digital cameras focus very dominantly on the differences in lens quality rather than image sensor guality/resolution.

    2) Image sensors are still far too small if the best I can get wideangle-wise is 38mm or so in 35mm film format equivalent. I use down to 16mm wideangles regularly on my 35mm format SLR.

    3) In the article Damien produces four test images to compare 35mm quality versus digital (the ones of the Millennium Bridge). If the larger picture shown on the left of those four images is the whole 35mm film frame, then the 2 detail images shown (film, not digital) would makes me wonder whether there was something seriously wrong with the camera, lens, focussing etc. My camera and lenses are 24 year old Minolta manual stuff and put on a decent tripod produce FAR BETTER results than what Damien has managed.

    4) The total number of image building elements (to avoid the here rather irrelevant dpi, ppi, blobs or what have you argument) is only part of the answer. Even if the ratio of the element size to the the image sensor size was the same as the ratio of halide christal size to film frame size, they would be regularly placed on a digital image sensor leading to al sorts of aliasing problems. In reality they would need to be smaller still, or "randomised" BEFORE taking the picture. The natural random placement of the halide christals gives a natural anti-alias effect. You can of course fix this on a computer, but at a slight loss of resolution.

    5) With the current technology, where would I store the 1000GByte!!! of digital images I have currently residing in the form of slides in four small lever-arch files)? By the way, next year I could (theoretically) rescan the lot of them to 10,000GByte with new technology film scanners. I could not however "doctor" up the resolution of my digital images 10 fold. What you shoot in low resolution digital format now will be a low resolution image for ever.

    6) Digital cameras are the future of photography, but it is still too low resolution, too expensive, and depreciates in relative quality/value even faster then computers do. I'll wait a while longer until a industry standard image sensor-size/resolution develops...

    7) Why can't someone make a full 35mm frame size digital SLR with interchangeable lens mounts such that photographers can use their old 35mm lenses?

    What are your thoughts on these points?

  6. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    Re: Further inconsistency

    Dare I suggest that you refrain from judging a whole technology on the basis of the one camera you happen to possess.

    For my argument, I am comparing the best digital SLR with the best film SLR so long as the film SLR can use the same lenses thus ruling out any differences caused by optics. This is what Michael has done and I, and many others, agree with him on the basis of my own tests.

    Even though Michael goes to great trouble and explains the trouble he has gone to in order to make a valid comparison (and backed up by independent reports) you still attempt to write off the results by proposing other scenarios why film was outperformed by digital technology. Why?

    Why is it that photographers seem particularly unreceptive to new technology? I remember when autofocus SLRs first appeared, the line was "I'd rather have manual focus any day" even amongst professionals. Now they wouldn't be without it.

  7. Glenn Harper

    Glenn Harper Well-Known Member

    Re: Further inconsistency

    The important part to read from my given quotes is 'potential', meaning that for most uses 35mm film has no real advantage whatsoever.

    Michael Reichmann does go on to say virtually the same thing himself when referring to larger sized prints.

    I only posted these quotes because, not having used digital, I'm not qualified to make personal comment. Just thought it would add fuel to the debate.

    The same article goes on to extol some of the virtues of a digital camera over a film SLR, which at least seems to lend credence to it being an unbiased article.

    The reason I use film is because the cost of matching the quality in digital is prohibitive, and simply because the places I supply my pictures to still predominantly require transparency work. Simple as that - but not based on any luddite prejudice. I also enjoy viewing and projecting transparencies.

    Glenn H.
  8. Reading

    Reading Well-Known Member

    Re: Further inconsistency

    You say:

    "Dare I suggest that you refrain from judging a whole technology on the basis of the one camera you happen to possess."

    Then you go on to do just that!

    You also claim that you and michael used the BEST blah blah blah - well thats best in your OPINION.

    I dont 'write off' the reports - I said I am sceptical of them as there are other factors involved. It is impossible to do a 'perfect' comparison of two different media, and the fact that such lengths are used to try to do so indicates just how close they 'can' be. I am sorry, I dared to disagree that other factors could be relevant, but if all experts agreed on everything we wouldnt need so many of them. I am sure he could get just as many to dissaprove of his methods if he tried - but he wouldnt cite them, would he. Its easy to get a certain opinion if you want one.

    I am sorry, but I disagree on the basis of my own tests. An £80 film camera can outperform an £800 digicam easily. Just because you may use your pixels better than the digicam I tested, it doesnt mean you have any more of them!

    By the way, many professionals still use manual focus - particularly in larger formats or where critical focussing is important (portrait, macro, landscape etc).
  9. Reading

    Reading Well-Known Member

    Total agreement actually!

    PS: can the full frame DigiSLR be in Pentax mount and be affordable please?
  10. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    Re: Further inconsistency

    I support your views Glenn. I have film bodies and shoot film where it is advantageous to do so. Digital isn't the "be all and end all" though it will have increasing dominance over the years. Film will become more specialist and we are likely to see some films disappear altogether.

    I am lucky enough to be able to afford a D30 but I don't push its virtues just because I happen to have one. However, I do get dismayed by those who write off digital technology based on some theoreretical resolution comparison with film. It's as if they are trying to justify to themselves why they should stick with film. Or even justifying their use of film because they can't afford digital. It's nothing to be ashamed of. Good digital cameras are expensive and prices should fall to be more accessible to a greater number of people but that's no reason to say that the technology isn't up to it.

    If I thought digital was no good I would say so. I'm not a gadget phreak and have to have the latest. The latest isn't necessarily the best anyway as we all know. We have age-old designs in both 35mm and upwards that can turn in fantatsic results. I just wish that the 'non-believers' would treat digital fairly by judging it on the results it produces and not making sweeping generalisations that we need 12 Mp cameras before we approach film quality.

    Incidentally, in the final paaragraph of Damien's review of the 3.3 Mp Nikon Coolpix 995 in July he says "...the 5x7in (at 300ppi) prints are a testament to the photographic quality of the camera." A bit at odds with his recent review don't you think?

  11. Reading

    Reading Well-Known Member

    Re: Further inconsistency

    "Incidentally, in the final paaragraph of Damien's review of the 3.3 Mp Nikon Coolpix 995 in July he says "...the 5x7in (at 300ppi) prints are a testament to the photographic quality of the camera." A bit at odds with his recent review don't you think?"

    No, its not. His recent review was looking for 600dpi. The coolpix review says nothing of 'film quality'. which is what he speaks of in the new review.

    His ratings of quality are always geared towards the individual procut's aimed market and similar competition at that pricepoint.

    I believe I and many others have judged it fairly and it came up wanting.

    Time to agree to disagree and put it to rest meethinks.
  12. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    Re: Further inconsistency

    Should I judge 35mm on the basis of a middle-range compact? No. That would be judging a product built to a specific price point by the marketing guys. To judge what really can be achieved with 35mm I would choose an example of the 'best of breed' whether that be by Leica, Nikon, Canon, Minolta, Pentax or others.

    Same for digital. I used the D30 as an example. I could have just as easily picked the Nikon D1x as being the 'best', or whatever gets announced next month. I just picked the D30 because I have first-hand experience. It doesn't matter a hoot really. As you say, what is the best is a matter of opinion - I prefer to deal with the results they produce. I'm afraid I wouldn't consider a Fuji compact digital as being the 'best of breed' though. It may be good but it isn't the best (and neither will the D30/D1x be for long). I would concede that an £80 film camera may give better results than the Fuji.

    However, it doesn't remove the fact that the best digital technology IS capable of producing better results than film. You MAY be biased by your finding with your camera (even though it is a far less valid comparison than Michael Reichmann's). However, you cannot write off a technology simply because you don't have the best example of it or don't want to believe what others have said.

    And as far as professionals are concerned, we are talking about digital vs 35mm. I never broadened the discussion out to MF or LF. Maybe the reason why professionals don't use autofocus in large format is because there aren't any autofocus large format cameras on the market (yet!).

  13. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    Re: Further inconsistency

    &gt; Time to agree to disagree and put it to rest meethinks.

    Almost! :)

    So, Damien is saying that the Coolpix delivers pictures of photographic quality. You then say that the review says nothing of 'film quality' which is what he speaks of in the latest review.

    By implication then, you are saying that the two are different.

    Can anybody tell me what the difference is between photographic quality and film quality?

  14. Reading

    Reading Well-Known Member

    Re: Further inconsistency

    photographic quality it the quality of the photographs produced by a camera.

    Photographic is not how he rates it - excellent is.

    All cameras have photgraphic quality, be it good or bad.

    Film quality is a similar quality to film and is a rating of sorts - although film quality can vary and the description tends to be used to mean good low ISO film quality.
  15. Reading

    Reading Well-Known Member

    Re: Further inconsistency

    "However, you cannot write off a technology simply because you don't have the best example of it or don't want to believe what others have said."

    Again - I AM NOT WRITING IT OFF. I believe my test is still valid in comparison to the D30 as it was not the quality of the picture I was disappointed by - I was not judging that, but the size of the pixels on enlargement. You have a similar number of pixels on the D30 so the same limitations in image enlargement as the midrange camera.

    By the way, as I said - the use of Manual focus is not limited to MF and LF, but is also used for hyperfocal landscapes, and critical focussing like macro for instance. I didnt broaden the discussion, this was in refence to autofocus only, which you brought up.
  16. Brian

    Brian Venerable Elder

    Re: Further inconsistency

    I think this thread must hold the record of the most postings without deviation. At least with this thread we seem to have people with knowledge actually discussing the subject, that why I'm not contributing.

    However as the originator might I ask David a question? You say re professionals and Auto Focus," Now they would not be without it". A recent poll amongst Magnum members revealed that 80% of them use a rangefinder camera as their first choice, no, it wasn't a Contax. Do they not qualify as professional? In addition my knowledge of cameras is very restricted but are there any Auto Focus Medium Format?, or do all professionals use 35mm exclusively

    Surpising as it may seem I and many others prefer manual focus, I'm not saying you'r wrong and I am right I'm just facing the fact that I like it that way. Yes, when driving I do still double declutch.

    Brian. The Antideluvian Snail.

    P.S. I also close my eyes when loading film in the darkroom, anybody else?/img/wwwthreads/smile.gif
  17. Reading

    Reading Well-Known Member

    Re: Further inconsistency

    There are in fact AF MF cameras, although I dont think there are any AF LF cameras - probably because most of these are used for landscapes and hyperfocual focussing.

    I was late into AF too, because I didnt trust early cameras to do it right, and I wasnt so interested in photography as I was in going to the pub in the early nineties. Now I have AF though, my level of keepers has increased dramatically. I think this had more to do with my focussing ability and dark lenses than a problem with the old way of doing things though. I still use manual for landscapes though.

    I would probably stick my fingers in the shutter if I loaded film with my eyes closed!
  18. mgroep

    mgroep Member

    I think you misunderstood, with interchangeable lens mount I mean:

    1) You buy the 35mm full frame digital SLR
    2) You buy the lens mount that fits your lenses
    3) You fit the lens mount to the otherwise lens-mount-less camera
    4) You fit any of your lenses to the camera

    i.e. you buy the camera without any lens mount whatsoever. The lens mount you want is something you buy separately to fit the camera. I could then have one digital camera, one minolta MD lens mount to fit my minolta lenses to the camera, one Nikon lens mount to fit my Nikon lenses (if I had those), etc.

    It is a kind of reverse T2 mount philososphy: The lenses have the mark-specific mount whereas the digital full frame SLR would have a universal adapteable mount.

    My idea behind this is that maybe 90% of the value of the average 35mm film SLR outfit consists of lenses. That is not what you would want to replace then ideally when going digital, just the camera. Unfortunately the current practice is that when you buy a new digital SLR you need to replace all your lenses as well if they are the wrong make. I would ideally like one body that could fit different lens makes. For example the Minolta 24mm f/2.8 MC is better than the Nikon equivalent, whereas the Nikon 28mm is better than the Minolta (personal opinion which may be wrong, and not worth discussing within this thread, I am just trying to make the point that different focal lenghts have different "best" manufacturers). So I would like a digital camera on which I could use a 24mm minolta and a 28mm Nikon.

    I don't think this will ever happen though, not enough economic benefit for the manufacturers I am afraid.

  19. Brian

    Brian Venerable Elder

    Re: Further inconsistency

    Well I should like to know about these Medium format Auto Focus cameras. I am more then willing to learn.Re your remarks regarding large format there are always exceptions to the rule but I have never seen a large format lens engraved with a focussing scale, let alone a hyperfocal distance indicator. Some have coincidence type rangefinders, but normally of course the photographer uses a ground glass screen.

    Oh and by the way when I mentioned film loading I meant onto the reel of a developing tank.

  20. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    Re: Further inconsistency


    Maybe I should been a bit more concise in my answer rather than merely mention '35mm' and 'professionals' in the same breath. I have been debating the merits of a digital SLR versus a 35mm film SLR and naturally meant that professionals no longer question the attributes of the autofocus system in their SLR. Then again, you could equally argue that they have little choice when it comes to manual focus SLRs anyway. I'm sure you remember the concerns at the time as well as I do. I distinctly remember pros stating, maybe even in AP, that they would always manually focus their SLRs - autofocus will never be good enough for them. Sure enough they starting using autofocus and relying on it but it all happened in a low key fashion. Same is happening for digital - there are those shouting that digital isn't good enough and that it can't beat film unless it is 1 Gigapixel or whatever but I bet in a couple of years time they will be using it without really conceding that they might have been a bit hasty in their judgement.

    I'm sure that many pros choose Leica SLRs because of their renowned optical quality and general quality of the camera as a whole. Some might use Voigtlander but I guess this is still a minority. Leica haven't really embraced autofocus so I guess there aren't many professionals using non-SLR 35mm autofocus cameras (apart from the odd Ricoh GR1 and the like).

    Yes there are autofocus medium format cameras - I believe Mamiya and Fuji have models, maybe even Pentax too. I know of no autofocus systems for large format because, obviously, the whole process is so manual anyway.


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