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Thread: High-End Digital Vs. 4x5 Film

  1. #1

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    High-End Digital Vs. 4x5 Film

    Here is a pretty extensive resolution test comparing a variety of medium and high-end digital platforms with drum-scanned 4x5.

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/es...-testing.shtml

    Enjoy!

  2. #2

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    Re: High-End Digital Vs. 4x5 Film

    Reichmann's Canon bias is legendary. Why no Nikon's in the bunch? Surely the D2x compares favorably against the Canon MKII, and definitely the 5D.

  3. #3
    Doug Dolde
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    Re: High-End Digital Vs. 4x5 Film

    So the Betterlight is best, followed by drum scanned 4x5 film, with the P45 almost equal to the 4x5.

    I think it's funny that people are spending THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS for a back that is a close second to my $105 Fuji Quickload back.

  4. #4
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: High-End Digital Vs. 4x5 Film

    Doug, and add to that tought my fourty year old view camera that I bought twenty years ago for $175 which uses those ready loads flawlessly.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  5. #5
    Is that a Hassleblad? Brian Vuillemenot's Avatar
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    Re: High-End Digital Vs. 4x5 Film

    "I think it's funny that people are spending THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS for a back that is a close second to my $105 Fuji Quickload back."<p>

    Yeah, but think about how much money you'll save on film! (Only playing the devil's advocate here, folks!)
    Brian Vuillemenot

  6. #6

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    Re: High-End Digital Vs. 4x5 Film

    Doug and Kirk,

    With all due respect (which, btw, is very significant in both cases), I don't think it is realistic to compare a digital back to either a Quickload back or the camera. Before you let me have it, please read the message through.

    I happen to know a wedding photographer who was all against digital and who used pretty much the same arguments - prices of digital equipment vs. analog being the most prominent.

    Well, notice that I use past tense here - the moment he started comparing their respective cost and ROI, he switched. Here's the math: he shot 50-70 rolls of film per week on average. He books about 40 weeks a year. One roll of film costs him about $14 processed (not counting the proofs and prints).

    Taking lower numbers into account, it comes down to the following:

    50 rolls x 40 weeks x $14 per roll = $28,000 per year

    I'm farily certain that wedding photography does not rank very high neither in prestige nor in earnings, so these figures will be even more pronounced for many other high rate professional fields.

    Ok, so my questions:

    1. Over how many years do you figure a digital camera or back should amortize?

    2. How much film and at what cost (including processing) do you use annually?

    I am definitely not a professional, but unless I neglected something really big, I think the answers to these two questions should pretty much settle the issue for any individual photographer.

    High volume shooters will definitelly find interest in digital, low volume shooters will not (yet). Speaking of large and medium formats. Small format is already settled, I think.

    Another approach would be to discount the price of processing, since digital files need to be processed too. So, the figure should be roughly half. Everything else remains the same.

  7. #7
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: High-End Digital Vs. 4x5 Film

    Also, I suspect a lot of the people who buy the megabucks digital backs are saving money by saving time in their high volume workflows. The technology is not at a point yet where anyone's even trying to push it on guys who wander around with a camera slung over their shoulder.

  8. #8
    Doug Dolde
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    Re: High-End Digital Vs. 4x5 Film

    Being a wedding photographer...wouldn't that be punishment enough in and of itself?

    I think I'd rather photograph funerals.....but there is a great similarity in the sadness factor as well as the final outcome.
    Last edited by Doug Dolde; 15-May-2006 at 22:44.

  9. #9

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    Re: High-End Digital Vs. 4x5 Film

    The good news is that as each generation of new, higher res backs comes out, it means that I'll be able to buy the last generation back for less. In a year or two the 22mp backs should be under $10K for a decent version, and that is a pretty viable price point for a moderately busy professional or serious amateur.

  10. #10
    grumpy & miserable Joseph O'Neil's Avatar
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    Re: High-End Digital Vs. 4x5 Film

    Quote Originally Posted by Marko
    Doug and Kirk,

    Ok, so my questions:

    1. Over how many years do you figure a digital camera or back should amortize?
    -snip-

    Years ago we abandoned our traditional iron printing press with lead type in favour of desktop publishing. Whiel not photogrpahy, there are some paralells. A few thoughts and observbations, all learned form first hand experience;

    1) It is/was eaiser and faster to repair and get parts for a 100 year old printing press than a 3 year old laser printer;

    2) You can do ten times more, 100 times more with desktop than you can with a real printing press. Conversely however, there are some types of high quality work that can only be done with a traditional press.

    3) Respect for you craft has completely gone to the dogs as compared to what it was 25 years ago as every household has a computer and a printer. Try and convince somebody that your $5,000 printer is just a wee bit better than the $50 inkjet printer sold at Wal-Mart is sometiems a battle lost before you even start.

    4) You Amortization - I find, NOT for hobby use, but for commercial / industrial use, your window of opportunity for desktop publishing gear - be it your software, computer, printers, etc, you ahve realistically a three year period, maybe four at th emost, before what youa re using is obsolete.

    I fyou or anyone else does not belive me, jump over to the thread on this fourm about what is th ebest book deisgn software, and look up the comments that "Pagemaker really can't be considered a professional level publishing tool anymore." - see here
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ad.php?t=17471

    Point is, that statement is absolutely correct.

    I coudl go on and on. We will NOT go back to our iron printing press - it's gone anyhow, but I find my profit margin is lower, the need ot constanty update hardware and software a bit burdensome - mostly because many new software programs do not really make your job easier, they just add more useless features. Factor in the amount of money you are constantly spending on upgrades, consumable supplies - i fyou think photo paper is expensive, you should see the paper bill I got the other day for just a few boxes of of high grade paper for printing cards on - ouch! Onc eyou get past those boxes of 20 pound white copy paper - *any* paper - photo quality for inkjet or laser printing, card stock, arrchival acid free - anything out of the "norm" - prices - holy crap.

    So, looking at it this way, traditional wet darkroom phtography isn't all that expensive. Not if you do a few spreadsheets and take a very hard, critical look at your expenses.

    The real point of digital is getting the job done 5 minutes ago, and being able to Photoshop aunt Matilida out of the old family portrait becasue she and uncle Harry are divorced and we don't want to upset anyone. And while you're at it, can you brush out those crow's feet, and maybe make her boobs a little bigger and ........

    *sigh*

    joe
    eta gosha maaba, aaniish gaa zhiwebiziyin ?

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