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Thread: How sharp can I expect from 4X5

  1. #1

    How sharp can I expect from 4X5

    Hello,

    I'm fairly new to large format and I recently did an informal lens test so see what kind of sharpness I can get. I know that sharpness isn't everything, but from my initial test it looks like the 4x5 sharpness is about on par with my digital crop sensor camera. With proper technique, should I be expecting 4x5 to be better than an APS-C digital?

    Film camera setup: Calumet C100, Fujinon-W 210 (older version), Tmax100 film exposed at 100, developed in replenished D-76.
    -No movements used
    -f/22 at 2 seconds (with calculated DOF almost +/-6" so focus shouldn't be that difficult)
    -heavy duty tripod and cable release

    Scanning: DSLR with a 4 image stitch and 55 2.8ais Nikkor Macro. I believe that I can make out the grain so I don't think I'm loosing much detail in scanning.

    Digital Camera: Nikon D5500, ISO100. Nikon 18-55 kit lens set to match 4x5 framing. Shot at f/8. This is a cheap lens but Ken Rockwell says it's darn sharp and I believe him at f8 anyways.

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    San Joaquin Valley, California
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    Re: How sharp can I expect from 4X5

    You shoot the Air Force target?
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  3. #3

    Join Date
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    Re: How sharp can I expect from 4X5

    Were you shooting at infinity or close up or in between?

  4. #4
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: How sharp can I expect from 4X5

    Yes, distinctly better IF you have your other pertinent variables dialed in, including focal plane flatness, focus itself, etc. Remember, comparing LPMM or even MTF is not the rule, but the degree of magnification of that, with 4X5 having far more surface area to begin with.
    4X5 is about 25 times larger!, and TMax is capable of holding tremendous detail. So it's really Godzilla versus in this case. But how detail is perceived in print is a more involved topic, involving edge acutance, contrast, etc, etc. But at this point, I really wouldn't worry about it. You seem to have a suitable arsenal and merely need to practice with it. Rely on precise groundglass focus with a loupe rather than hypothetical DOF calculations or you might be in for a rude surprise. Can't help you with scanning degredation. That's a whole can of worms on its own.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    1,564

    Re: How sharp can I expect from 4X5

    Film image evaluated with a "DSLR"...

    ~Why would this NOT be the limitation to evaluate "sharpness" of 4x5 sheet film image?~


    Bernice



    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_Arizona_01 View Post
    Hello,

    I'm fairly new to large format and I recently did an informal lens test so see what kind of sharpness I can get. I know that sharpness isn't everything, but from my initial test it looks like the 4x5 sharpness is about on par with my digital crop sensor camera. With proper technique, should I be expecting 4x5 to be better than an APS-C digital?

    Scanning: DSLR with a 4 image stitch and 55 2.8ais Nikkor Macro. I believe that I can make out the grain so I don't think I'm loosing much detail in scanning.

    Digital Camera: Nikon D5500, ISO100.

  6. #6

    Join Date
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    Re: How sharp can I expect from 4X5

    Be very careful judging sharpness of your 4x5 negs in comparison to the digital crop sensor bodies. Looking at the crop sensor images close up is not really a problem but if you look at the negatives from your 4x5 you might cut your eyes because they are so much sharper... Look only at proper viewing distances - for safety!
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  7. #7
    Les
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Seattle, WA
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    Re: How sharp can I expect from 4X5

    Somehow I noticed an omission of the loupe. Did you use it on gg ?

    Les

  8. #8

    Re: How sharp can I expect from 4X5

    Thanks for the replies everyone! I did use a loupe on the ground glass, but I'm thinking that's one area I need more practice with. I didn't spend much time focusing because the camera was perpendicular to the subject and I though I had plenty of DOF. I was shooting at about 6 feet, so kind of in between close-close-up and infinity.

    As for the limitation of the DSLR scan for sharpness, I think that I can make out some image blur ON the film grains, which I think indicates something wrong with my setup.

    I took a picture of a map up on the wall. The first is the overall negative, the next is a crop of the negative, and last is a crop of the dslr digital photo (up-ressed to match the film crop).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9

    Join Date
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    Re: How sharp can I expect from 4X5

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_Arizona_01 View Post
    Thanks for the replies everyone! I did use a loupe on the ground glass, but I'm thinking that's one area I need more practice with. I didn't spend much time focusing because the camera was perpendicular to the subject and I though I had plenty of DOF. I was shooting at about 6 feet, so kind of in between close-close-up and infinity.

    As for the limitation of the DSLR scan for sharpness, I think that I can make out some image blur ON the film grains, which I think indicates something wrong with my setup.

    I took a picture of a map up on the wall. The first is the overall negative, the next is a crop of the negative, and last is a crop of the dslr digital photo (up-ressed to match the film crop).

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSLR Scan.jpg 
Views:	44 
Size:	92.3 KB 
ID:	199651
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSLR Scan Zoom.JPG 
Views:	54 
Size:	103.4 KB 
ID:	199652
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSLR Zoom.JPG 
Views:	51 
Size:	57.9 KB 
ID:	199653
    You would be amazed at the difference if you had used a large format lens designed for flat field copy work or a large format macro lens or just a modern multi coated large format lens.

  10. #10

    Re: How sharp can I expect from 4X5

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    You would be amazed at the difference if you had used a large format lens designed for flat field copy work or a large format macro lens or just a modern multi coated large format lens.
    Good Point! The map is mostly ocean in the middle, so most of my comparisons have been towards the corners. Looking more in the center, the LF neg looks a lot better, and subjectively better than the digital camera.

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