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Thread: Quantitative difference in LF?

  1. #1

    Quantitative difference in LF?

    I'm not even sure how to ask this question, but I'll try.
    Is there a quantitative difference between LF and stitched MF?

    I have a Mamiya 7, and a Crown Graphic.
    Theoretically, if I take two pictures with the Mamiya and stitch them together, it's roughly the same as taking a picture with the 4x5 (slightly cropped).
    As a scientist, talking about resolution and grain and color, I don't think there is.
    But looking at pictures taken with both, it seems there is a difference. This is not about movements, which are of course important, but I don't use them in most portraits or landscapes (I only have a Crown).

    Opinions?

  2. #2
    hacker extraordinaire
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    Re: Quantitative difference in LF?

    Talking about resolution and grain and color, you might as well stitch with a DSLR.

  3. #3
    Joanna Carter's Avatar
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    Re: Quantitative difference in LF?

    In fact, one sheet of 4x5 is more than double the area, it's closer to 3 times.

    At that kind of increase in area, you should definitely notice a difference in quality, especially above a 20x16 print size.
    Joanna Carter
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  4. #4

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    Re: Quantitative difference in LF?

    I don't know how to explain it exactly, but I find that as the format gets larger, the "look" gets nicer. It might be possible to find a DSLR lens which looks similar to LF, and it might be easier to find a MF lens which looks similar to LF (110/2?), but once you get to LF, as long as you don't shoot for maximum sharpness throughout the frame, there is a certain look to it, with many different kinds of lenses.

    It might have to do with the fact that DSLR lenses make many more optical compromises in favour of maximum sharpness, but LF lenses to me have a kind of relaxed look in comparison, and the same to a lesser extent with MF.

  5. #5

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    Re: Quantitative difference in LF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Gibbons View Post
    I'm not even sure how to ask this question, but I'll try.
    Is there a quantitative difference between LF and stitched MF?

    I have a Mamiya 7, and a Crown Graphic.
    Theoretically, if I take two pictures with the Mamiya and stitch them together, it's roughly the same as taking a picture with the 4x5 (slightly cropped).
    As a scientist, talking about resolution and grain and color, I don't think there is.
    But looking at pictures taken with both, it seems there is a difference. This is not about movements, which are of course important, but I don't use them in most portraits or landscapes (I only have a Crown).

    Opinions?
    Practically, you have to allow for about 30% overlap between the frames for a successful stitch. That's assuming that you are going to stitch digitally, of course.

    This means that you need to take 2.5 rows with 2.5 frames each, statistically speaking, to equal the 4x5 negative area. So in practice it means 3x3 or 9 times.

    A stitch like that would equal the area and by extension tonality and DOF. On the up side, it would likely have better resolution due to better resolving lenses and on the flip side you'd lose perspective control due to the lack of movements.

    So if you don't care about movements, you could actually be better off resolution-wide with all the other factors being roughly equal. It would take a bit higher LOE and more time.

  6. #6

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    Re: Quantitative difference in LF?

    4x5 is almost exactly 3 times the area. As noted you need overlap for stitching. So you need 4 images at a minimum. At $5 a roll for B&W 120 that would be $2.00 a shot for film for the stitched image. Twice the film cost of 4x5. Then there is additional time for making the exposure, shifting the camera and then stitching it together when you are through. Of course LF has time spent loading film holders...

    So yes, it can be done, but the most economical way is to use sheet film if you need 4x5. Likewise with 8x10. In the same vein, you could stitch together 6 4x5 shots to make an 8x10, but you are probably better off just starting with the 8x10.

    Large format lenses do have a slightly different look than MF lenses. So that is probably a big part of the difference you see - oh, and different LF lenses have different looks as well! Because film is film, and light is light, the biggest factor in a different look - with no movements - is going to be the lens.

  7. #7

    Re: Quantitative difference in LF?

    It would likely be easier to photography hand-held with a Mamiya 7 than it would be with some large format cameras. One of the biggest advantages with large format view cameras is the movements possible at the lens plain and/or film plane. There is more to the comparison than the relative sizes of the film areas.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat Photography

  8. #8
    joseph
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    Re: Quantitative difference in LF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Moat View Post
    There is more to the comparison than the relative sizes of the film areas.
    Depending on the actual lenses and pictures you have in mind,
    it's possible that you could get more resolution from a single frame of the Mamiya 7,
    according to comparisons discussed on this forum last year...

  9. #9

    Re: Quantitative difference in LF?

    Quote Originally Posted by jb7 View Post
    Depending on the actual lenses and pictures you have in mind,
    it's possible that you could get more resolution from a single frame of the Mamiya 7,
    according to comparisons discussed on this forum last year...
    Absolutely. Check those lens test results from C. Perez (et al) and the Mamiya 7 is very impressive in that regard. There would still be a difference to large format film, in that one could use tilt to enhance apparent DoF, while with the Mamiya 7 a smaller aperture would be needed for a similar effect. Even with that, there are some movements possible with a view camera that could not be simulated with a Mamiya 7.

  10. #10
    Meat Robot Jay Decker's Avatar
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    Re: Quantitative difference in LF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Gibbons View Post
    I'm not even sure how to ask this question, but I'll try.
    Is there a quantitative difference between LF and stitched MF?

    I have a Mamiya 7, and a Crown Graphic.
    Theoretically, if I take two pictures with the Mamiya and stitch them together, it's roughly the same as taking a picture with the 4x5 (slightly cropped).
    As a scientist, talking about resolution and grain and color, I don't think there is.
    But looking at pictures taken with both, it seems there is a difference. This is not about movements, which are of course important, but I don't use them in most portraits or landscapes (I only have a Crown).

    Opinions?

    Greg - I think I understand where you are coming from here, because I once asked the same questions. Here's is what I learned and where I ended up...

    You can take some wonderful photographs with the Mamiya 7. With tripod, cable release, and the fine grain films available today you can make stunning B&W or color images that rival the technical quality of 4x5 and 5x7 from the gold years of large format's past. You can stitch those wonderful photographs together to make a bigger scene. It works and the results can be stunning. But, I would encourage you NOT to spend the time to go down the path of stitching film images together. It is simply not worth the time and effort. To become a better photographer, you need to produce more work, and stitching film images together decreases the amount work you can produce significantly.

    If wide is your thing, get a panoramic camera. Or, you can do what many of us do, which is much cheaper than purchasing a panoramic camera... shoot LF and crop. I've more than one negative that was shot on 8x10 film and is cropped to a 2 to 3 inch wide strip.

    Jay

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