View Full Version : Sharpness: 8x10 Tachi, vs 617 Linhof

25-Oct-2011, 08:57
Will a 8x10 Tachihara with 150mm Schneider lense out perform a 617 Linhof with 90mm lense in regards to image sharpness?

25-Oct-2011, 09:11
That is a very wide lens for an 8x10. But other factors will come into play -- mostly how well (flat) the film sits in the cameras and how large one is going with each type of negative.

My two cents' worth -- and you may have change coming!LOL!


25-Oct-2011, 09:30
I would be using Fidelity metal back double sided film holders on the Tachi and print size as large as 2500mm wide.

Dan Fromm
25-Oct-2011, 09:34
What will the viewer-print distance be?

25-Oct-2011, 09:37
As close as they can possibly view the work and still focus!

Dan Fromm
25-Oct-2011, 11:01
As close as they can possibly view the work and still focus!

8x10. To get 2500 mm wide from an 8x10 neg needs 10x enlargement. To get 2500 mm wide from 6x17, and never mind about height, needs around 15x.

15x that will stand close scrutiny is more than you can reasonably hope to do.

Kerry L. Thalmann
25-Oct-2011, 11:17
Too many undefined variables to possibly answer your question. Both lenses will likely be diffraction limited by f22, possibly f16. What is your subject? Is it two dimensional (or approximately two dimensional)? Or, is it something with a leading foreground that will require either camera movements, or stopping down significantly to get the desired depth of field? The Tachihara has the advantage of camera movements to change the plane of focus. The Linhof does not.

The selection of film and developer will also have a potentially significant impact on final print resolution. For large factors of enlargement, the film may very well be the limiting factor in the perceived sharpness of the final print. As already pointed out, the grain will be 1.5x larger in the print from the Linhof than the print from the 8x10. That may, or may not (depending on the other factors) be the limiting factor in perceived sharpness of the final print.

The Linhof will be faster and easier to use and less susceptible to wind induced vibrations, but that won't be a factor if you’re shooting in a studio, or other controlled situation.

Personally, for making huge prints, I believe there is no substitute for big film or a large format scanning back. I find large grain in prints very distracting. Not everyone shares this bias.


25-Oct-2011, 11:21
What's better, apples or oranges?

25-Oct-2011, 13:04
Will a 8x10 Tachihara with 150mm Schneider lense out perform a 617 Linhof with 90mm lense in regards to image sharpness?

I would have said the 617 but having shot some 8x10 for a recent camera comparison test I can confirm that an 8x10 is capable of getting pixel level detail at 4000dpi - however, for what you want, the 617 will get 90% of the way there for 40% of the effort. Unless you are going to use the whole 8x10 in the future, I would recommend the 6x17. But - you will get better results out of the 8x10 if you put in the time to learn how to use it and there is quite a lot to learn if you want 4000dpi scanned files (or darkroom enlargements) out of it.

Just to show - here is a sample from an 8x10 shot scanned at 4000dpi using a Fujinon 240A at f/16 - this makes a 40,000 x 32,000 pixel, 7.4Gb file



Robert Jonathan
25-Oct-2011, 14:37
Tim, just to be clear, is that a 100% crop from a 40,000 x 32,000 pixel image?

Frank Petronio
25-Oct-2011, 16:14
I remember shooting a large group portrait with the Linhof 6x17 versus my 4x5 with modern lenses... the Linhof was dramatically sharper. I suspect it was film flatness as the strongest factor. Outdoors the Linhof will be more stable as well, certainly compared to a Tachihara and a medium tripod.

27-Oct-2011, 12:50
I went through this comparison about 20 years ago and bought a Linhof Technikardan 617 with the 90 Super Angulon and a Center Filter. Took it on a number of trips to Europe and did a few assignments. It was very easy to carry and I was starting to use it like it was a point & shoot - a sweeping panorama of the Champs Elysée handheld in the morning mist was no problem. I even took a picture of the kitchen in a restaurant in Florence, handheld. I carried over the shoulder in a large laptop bag and no tripod. The results were mostly satisfying but there were a number of things that led to an eventual parting of the ways.

All focusing on the 617 was guess work and setting to hyperfocal distances. It was therefore not easy at apertures wider than f/16. At f/5.6, the depth of field was quite shallow due to the diagonal of the film, technically it's equivalent to f/1.2 on a 35mm. Imagine scale focusing a f/1.2 on your DSLR. So the tripod was really necessary. Then I wanted to shift up, A LOT. It couldn't. Nowadays you can get a GG focusing back and a shifting lens so some of these problems are solved - but I checked the price of these gizmos and fell off my chair. Somewhere along the line I found out that my copy of the camera was not focusing sharply at infinity and had to be re-shimmed. On the light table after a shoot. Uggh. After this misalignment episode, I discovered an inexplicable albeit occasional film flatness problem with certain 120 films - VPS120 IIRC. Fresh film from the factory, never frozen. Still a mystery to today.

It was also not wide enough for me even though the 90 approximates a 24mm lens on a 35mm camera. On location, it was hard not to have the option of another lens - different focal length, different rendering, etc. All the possibilities LF offer were limited to just ONE choice. Weighing everything, I sold it. Years later, I bought another one and the very first time I took it out of the case, all the memories - good and bad - came rushing back.

Now if I want something wide but portable, I stitch a digital image. If I want superb quality, I shoot 8x10 on a really sturdy tripod and crop - with any lens that will cover, for any kind of rendition I want. Perhaps when the price of the current one with interchangeable lenses on shift boards and a GG back is within my financial grasp, I'd do it again. But I'd probably wish for a Cooke Knuckler on it then....


Brian K
28-Oct-2011, 08:46
The apples and oranges aspect here relates even more to the two vastly different image ratios, 8x10 versus 6x17. Did you plan on cropping the 8x10 into a skinny panoramic or crop the 6x17 into a less skinny rectangle? It's just strange that these very dissimilar formats can work for the same scene equally effectively.

If the intention is to crop the 8x10 into a more panoramic format, then it loses a great deal of it's size advantage, 6x17 is roughly 6 5/8" and the usable area of 8x10 on it's wide side is about 9 1/2".

While 8x10 still holds an edge there the difference between using sheet film, which can sag in the holder, or the 6x17 linhof which I assume has pretty good film flatness considering the stretch of film being used, could be an equalizing factor. As could the difference between optics. It's more challenging for a wide lens to cover 9 1/2" than it is to cover 6 5/8".

As others have noted there's also outdoor factors like wind that could affect resolution. I also find that thinner film bases, like those on roll film have a bit of a sharpness edge over thick based films like sheet film. I don't have empirical evidence of this but my experiences lead me to believe this.

I think you first need to resolve the image ratio issue before settling on the camera type required.

Jeffrey Sipress
28-Oct-2011, 09:26
Are you comparing the sharpness of two lenses or two cameras? Lens comparisons are valid, but a LF camera is only a box of air that simply holds a lens and a piece of film where you put them. The rest is up to you.

Ivan J. Eberle
30-Oct-2011, 08:21
We're merely talking 8' wide here. I've recently gone half that --48" wide-- from an exceptionally sharp 35mm transparency for a museum exhibit. It withstood close scrutiny for 6 mos.

Astia, 100 lp/mm or better original, 8K dpi scan, and a lot of careful post processing. Really good print spooler uprezzing.

These days, if you can't get a completely acceptable 8' hybrid print from a sharp neg or transparency from either of the cameras you've indicated-- well, brother, it ain't gonna be a question of format choice.