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MF Digital, myths or facts? - The Really Right Stuff

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Article Index
MF Digital, myths or facts?
Collecting more photons
Comparing the top of the line MF back with the top of the line DSLR
Is Capture One better on IQ180 files?
A larger format is less demanding of the lens
The Really Right Stuff
OLP (AA) filtering
The 16 bit issue, truth or myth?
Do MFD have better DR?
MFDBs have better color, truth or myth?
Summary and conclusions
Are large pixels better?
Read also
Experts's comments
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The Really Right Stuff

The Really Right Stuff may be a top of the line MFDB, like a Phase One IQ180, on a very well built technical camera like the Alpa (details coming later) and a Rodenstock Apo Digitar HR. You can buy a Mercedes, or two, for the price, but a Merc shoots no pictures.
The images below are taken by Marc McCalmont who kindly allowed me to use the images in this article. Marc has also shot a comparison image with his Nikon D800E and Leitax adopted Leica lens.
The first image shows the Nikon image scaled to the width of the IQ180, both at actual pixels:
The IQ180 image is on the left. It is very obvious that the Nikon image at the right falls apart. The resolution advantage of the IQ180 is real!
The next sample is the IQ180 downsampled to the width of the Nikon image:
In my view, the IQ Image still holds better detail.
A high end back still has a definitive edge on detail compared with the best DSLR when they both are optimally used. No great surprise, I think.
Tim Parkin, the nice photograher behind On Landscape, was friendly enough to allow me to use some of his test images from the Big Camera Comparison article.

The images I got was an IQ180 sample with a 40mm Rodenstock Digaron W at f/5.6 and a Nikon D800E with a Zeiss 25/2 at f/4.0. The images were developed in LR4.2 with sharpening set to zero. Even without sharpening that Zeiss was hideously sharp! The MTF plots are shown below:

In this case the horizontal axis is in LWPH (Line Widths Per picture Height). This mesaure is OK to compare directly. If we look at 4000 LW/PH which is pretty fine detail we see that the IQ 180 has an MTF around 55% while the D800E yields perhaps 45%. The right hand edge of the plot is the Nyquist limit. The Nikon D800E/Zeiss combo has an MTF of 27% at Nyquist, which leads to excessive aliasing and color artifacts. As usual, Tim Parkin has a couple of excellent articles on the issue here and here.

What we see here indicates that a high resolving MF sensor with an exellent lens will outperform even the Nikon D800E with an excellent lens, the same observation we can draw Marc McCalmont's images shown before.

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 December 2012 11:56  


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