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The 22mp Kodak "fat pixel" magic....

Whenever I meet an MFDB user and ask him on the sensor he'll never forget for its Image quality... It's always the same answer... "the 22mp 49x37mm Kodak had some magic in its image, I don't see in modern sensors".

When I then ask "why did you change it ...was resolution low?" ...I always get the same answer too, "no, no problem with resolution, you can easily have 200% screen enlargement with no pixilation... it was the occasional ...moire!"

I also use such a sensor and I have to say i see the same magic... So, I thought if some of us can have a conversation here and give this "magic" a certain identity out of our experience...

My opinion is, that what I see as "more film like" magic than modern sensors is a less linear mid part in the output curve, with more compressed HLs and LLs ...like film was! Asher, are you coming in this conversation? (I have a feeling that he is...)
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Whenever I meet an MFDB user and ask him on the sensor he'll never forget for its Image quality... It's always the same answer... "the 22mp 49x37mm Kodak had some magic in its image, I don't see in modern sensors".

When I then ask "why did you change it ...was resolution low?" ...I always get the same answer too, "no, no problem with resolution, you can easily have 200% screen enlargement with no pixilation... it was the occasional ...moire!"

I also use such a sensor and I have to say i see the same magic... So, I thought if some of us can have a conversation here and give this "magic" a certain identity out of our experience...

My opinion is, that what I see as "more film like" magic than modern sensors is a less linear mid part in the output curve, with more compressed HLs and LLs ...like film was! Asher, are you coming in this conversation? (I have a feeling that he is...)

Theodoros,

Well you are way ahead of me. I can appreciate that Kodak engineers got it right and could be that Phase One, Leaf, Delsa and others are so obsessed with getting the extra detail that they lost something on the way. Unfortunately, I am no expert on these sensors. I have only used Phase One backs for brief shoots and yes, they seem fantastic. However, we need to hear from you more about the magic that's missing.

Can you give examples of any kind?

Asher
 
Theodorus,

Well you are way ahead of me. I can appreciate that Kodak engineers got it right and could be that Phase One, Leaf, Delsa and others are so obsessed with getting the extra detail that they lost something on the way. Unfortunately, I am no expert on these sensors. I have only used Phase One backs for brief shoots and yes, they seem fantastic. However, we need to hear from you more about the magic that's missing.

Can you give examples of any kind?

Asher
Have you used P25+ Asher? (I believe you have), ...I have too... and have compared it directly with P45+ on the same camera under the the same circumstances, ...noticed the different "punchier" look that the lower res. back has in mid tones with slightly more compression in HL and LL details without less total DR that reminds of film? Surely none argues on the greatness of modern backs or the better color accuracy of the Dalsa sensors, but they do look more "digital - thinner" in mid tones than the old Kodak 22mp sensor ..no? ...and I don't refer to P25+ only, all the Imacons (132,528), Hass (CF22, H1/2/3D-22), Sinar 54s/h/m that use the same sensor have the same "filmish" magic look which some think that modern backs are missing by little (but it's there IMO)...
 
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Alain Briot

pro member
These differences are probably due to the higher dynamic range of newer backs.

In any case, the look you are after can be achieved by a simple curve adjustment so it really doesn't matter what the Raw file looks like straight out of the back.

Also keep in mind that importing a raw file in a raw converter immediately applies a specific 'look' to the file. That 'look' is the set of pre-defined parameters favored by the software engineers. It can be considered their personal style in a way. if you use ACR or Lightroom, you are getting Thomas Knoll's style. If you are using other Raw converters you are getting the style of whoever engineered the software and decided on the default parameters.

Comparing a raw file look to a film look is sketchy at best because film is in its final state after development while raw files are single files 'algorhythms' (for lack of a better word) rather than photographs. The tri color file photograph is generated by the raw converter. The final state of a raw file consists not of a single image but rather of a multitude of possible images, because all settings can be tweaked to infinity thereby offering the possibility to create an endless number of 'final' versions.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
These differences are probably due to the higher dynamic range of newer backs.

In any case, the look you are after can be achieved by a simple curve adjustment so it really doesn't matter what the Raw file looks like straight out of the back.

Also keep in mind that importing a raw file in a raw converter immediately applies a specific 'look' to the file. That 'look' is the set of pre-defined parameters favored by the software engineers. It can be considered their personal style in a way. if you use ACR or Lightroom, you are getting Thomas Knoll's style. If you are using other Raw converters you are getting the style of whoever engineered the software and decided on the default parameters.

Comparing a raw file look to a film look is sketchy at best because film is in its final state after development while raw files are single files 'algorhythms' (for lack of a better word) rather than photographs. The tri color file photograph is generated by the raw converter. The final state of a raw file consists not of a single image but rather of a multitude of possible images, because all settings can be tweaked to infinity thereby offering the possibility to create an endless number of 'final' versions.

You make it sounds so simple, Alain! If I were to send you an 80 MP Phase One back tonight, could you give Theodorus the magic of a Kodak sensor? :)

Asher
 

Michael Nagel

Active member
Comparing a raw file look to a film look is sketchy at best because film is in its final state after development while raw files are single files 'algorhythms' (for lack of a better word) rather than photographs. The tri color file photograph is generated by the raw converter. The final state of a raw file consists not of a single image but rather of a multitude of possible images, because all settings can be tweaked to infinity thereby offering the possibility to create an endless number of 'final' versions.
From my point of view, the best comparison between a raw file prior to import in the raw-converter is to the latent image present in the film before development. Application of any kind of profile and PP covers the steps of negative development and printing of the positive. Digital has somehow removed the clear distinction between these former clearly separated steps.

Best regards,
Michael
 

Alain Briot

pro member
You make it sounds so simple, Alain! If I were to send you an 80 MP Phase One back tonight, could you give Theodorus the magic of a Kodak sensor? :)

Asher
Yes. Matching looks is something I do regularly during consulting. Some students do achieve a unique artistic look, but when I study their files they turn out to be less than optimal from a technical perspective. So I work on their files with the goal of achieving the same look but with a sound technical foundation.
 

Alain Briot

pro member
From my point of view, the best comparison between a raw file prior to import in the raw-converter is to the latent image present in the film before development. Application of any kind of profile and PP covers the steps of negative development and printing of the positive. Digital has somehow removed the clear distinction between these former clearly separated steps.

Best regards,
Michael
That's correct. And since I don't know of any way to inspect an undevelopped film or an unconverted raw file, I don't see a way to compare the two objectively.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Yes. Just keep in mind I don't work for free. I tell photographers to do that in my book on marketing, and I do it myself! Integrity is key!
Alain,

I thought you'd say, "Thanks Asher!" and then send your older back to Theodorus to complete the transaction. Now I'm stuck with an 80 MP Phase One that is going to gather dust, LOL!

Asher
 

Alain Briot

pro member
Alain,

I thought you'd say, "Thanks Asher!" and then send your older back to Theodorus to complete the transaction. Now I'm stuck with an 80 MP Phase One that is going to gather dust, LOL!

Asher
No sure I undersand. Actually I'm sure I don't understand! If the question is do I want to upgrade I foudn that 40 mp is all I need. Plus I don't like to change equipment. It's hard to achieve virtuosity when you change your instrument all the time. I want to wear mine out and make it look like one of those old guitars that are past their prime but have become a specific musician's favorite.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
No sure I undersand. Actually I'm sure I don't understand! If the question is do I want to upgrade I foudn that 40 mp is all I need. Plus I don't like to change equipment. It's hard to achieve virtuosity when you change your instrument all the time. I want to wear mine out and make it look like one of those old guitars that are past their prime but have become a specific musician's favorite.

Alain,

I'm happy to hear your attitude! Too many folk go for the latest and "greatest", when the best is the one that is joined to ones reflexes, brain and sensory appreciation.

Asher
 

Alain Briot

pro member
Alain,

I'm happy to hear your attitude! Too many folk go for the latest and "greatest", when the best is the one that is joined to ones reflexes, brain and sensory appreciation.

Asher
I used to do that, after all one has to get the proper gear. If we compare photography to other arts, cameras are musical instruments or brushes and lenses are amplifiers or tubes of paints. One has to get the ones best appropriate for the job. A trumpet cannot do what an electric guitar does, but one can express himself creatively with both, in different ways of course.

Eventually there comes a time when one has what one needs. Deciding between trumpet and guitar, small or large brushes and so on has been done. The type of sound or the color palette one likes has been discoveredd. At that point purchasing more equipment becomes redundant. From that point onward progress will come from using the equipment, not from acquiring more equipment.

Certainly technology progresses, but not all technological changes have to be followed step by step. One can skip a few steps, or many, and be just fine. Vision isn't expressed by purchasing the latest photographic gear anymore than it is expressed by purchasing the latest musical equipment, paintbrushes or easel.

Eventually I had to make a choice: focus on gear and continue to buy gear ad infinitum, or focus on vision and use the gear that I have. I guess one could do both but that didn't work for me.

I realized that the improvements I was looking for were not going to come from buying new cameras. They were going to come from focusing on what I wanted to say, not on the tools used to say it.
 

Michael Nagel

Active member
From my experience, newer gear means that the quality of my photos goes down for a while.
This goes for the technical quality and the conceptual approach as there is a learning curve with the new gear I have to go through.

My last major purchase was more than a year ago and since, when tempted, I always ask myself: Will this improve what I do?

Currently the answer is 'No.' except for helpful accessories.

Best regards,
Michael
 

Alain Briot

pro member
Michael,

My answer is no without exception. The minute I make exceptions I lose my focus. I find it impossible to focus on creativity while keeping an eye out for something else, such as useful accessories I may have missed. So I just focus on being creative. My brain can only focus on one thing at a time, and from what I have read so do 98% of people.
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
Yes. Matching looks is something I do regularly during consulting. Some students do achieve a unique artistic look, but when I study their files they turn out to be less than optimal from a technical perspective. So I work on their files with the goal of achieving the same look but with a sound technical foundation.
How do you match looks? What is your method?
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
This does not appear to be the answer to my question. Maybe there was a misunderstanding. I thought that you were capable to recreate the color palette of a given picture. For example, I understand that a student could present you a portrait with skin tones he was proud about and you had a process by which you could teach all the other student how to recreate similar skin tones with their own, different, cameras when needed.
 
Yes. Matching looks is something I do regularly during consulting. Some students do achieve a unique artistic look, but when I study their files they turn out to be less than optimal from a technical perspective. So I work on their files with the goal of achieving the same look but with a sound technical foundation.
Alain, I don't object your processing abilities nor your technical knowledge, ....however, I believe that having a "similar" result is not the same as having an "identical" result and that "identical" is impossible. Myself, no matter how hard have I tried, I never was able to match the colors of my first back (the sinarback emotion22) with my current Imacon 528c used in single-shot, nor the processing curve's characteristics where retained the more I was trying to "match" the colors, ...which of course affected DR negatively too...
OTOH, I don't believe that a photographer that has a certain look in mind will ever buy a different "original raw look" back and will start processing each file to death to achieve a different look...
The third point, I want to share my POV, is your previous (correct IMO) comment that "it must be due to the extended DR of modern backs"... You see IMO, there are 2 different ways of defining DR...
1. There is what a sensor can achieve to record as extreme LL and HL information and then,
2. There is (what I call) the usable DR which is the DR that a sensor can deliver after the intended look of the print has been achieved... (of course this DR is a ..."personal DR").

Myself, I only care on the "second" DR above and I think that the sensor under question (the 22mp Kodak) DR is exactly where it excels and part of the reason some photographers call its image "magic"... In other words, I don't believe that if one tries to achieve the same look from an (say) Aptus 75/7 will be able to retain the same DR extention in the print.
 
Alain,

I'm happy to hear your attitude! Too many folk go for the latest and "greatest", when the best is the one that is joined to ones reflexes, brain and sensory appreciation.

Asher
I don't think that there is a sensible objection that can be valid to what Asher states above.. which brings us to the next source for discussion.... If one needs that "magic look" for some of his work and on another assignment he needs the accurate colors, the moire absence or the WA lens compatibility that some modern sensors provide, he has no other choice but to invest on two different MFDBs ...no? That's not fare is it?

Personally I never missed ultra high resolution for other than a still subject (mainly to reproduce a painting) and this I have covered with the 16x MS ability of my back, but there are cases in single shot that I miss the abscence of moire, the color accuracy that a Dalsa 33mp sensor provides or the image width that a P65+ sensor has... I did get two D800s (one "E", one "plain") to use instead of investing on a second back[/I] ...but the color and usable DR is no where near any MFDB.

(This is personal...) Why is it and Dalsa doesn't do a "full frame" version of their traditional 33mp sensor? It would be a huge success ...no? ...A 41.5mp "full frame" sensor with no moire problems, great color accuracy and DR that would be "easy on lenses" and would need no extra development cost (since it only needs resizing of the existing one), should find much appeal... Alain (I feel) and many many more would be very interested...
Asher, do you find the pixel size of your "big" (I believe you also use a "smaller" one) back as necessity, or was it other reasons you aimed for that back?
 

Alain Briot

pro member
This does not appear to be the answer to my question. Maybe there was a misunderstanding. I thought that you were capable to recreate the color palette of a given picture. For example, I understand that a student could present you a portrait with skin tones he was proud about and you had a process by which you could teach all the other student how to recreate similar skin tones with their own, different, cameras when needed.
Yes, I can do that.
 

Alain Briot

pro member
Alain, I don't object your processing abilities nor your technical knowledge, ....however, I believe that having a "similar" result is not the same as having an "identical" result and that "identical" is impossible. Myself, no matter how hard have I tried, I never was able to match the colors of my first back (the sinarback emotion22) with my current Imacon 528c used in single-shot, nor the processing curve's characteristics where retained the more I was trying to "match" the colors, ...which of course affected DR negatively too...
OTOH, I don't believe that a photographer that has a certain look in mind will ever buy a different "original raw look" back and will start processing each file to death to achieve a different look...
The third point, I want to share my POV, is your previous (correct IMO) comment that "it must be due to the extended DR of modern backs"... You see IMO, there are 2 different ways of defining DR...
1. There is what a sensor can achieve to record as extreme LL and HL information and then,
2. There is (what I call) the usable DR which is the DR that a sensor can deliver after the intended look of the print has been achieved... (of course this DR is a ..."personal DR").

Myself, I only care on the "second" DR above and I think that the sensor under question (the 22mp Kodak) DR is exactly where it excels and part of the reason some photographers call its image "magic"... In other words, I don't believe that if one tries to achieve the same look from an (say) Aptus 75/7 will be able to retain the same DR extention in the print.
You have to find what works for you. We all have different needs, requirements, taste, opinions, etc. I have found what works for me so I am done for the foreseable future. Sounds like your needs are different so you'll have to do some work to find out what works for you.
 
You have to find what works for you. We all have different needs, requirements, taste, opinions, etc. I have found what works for me so I am done for the foreseable future. Sounds like your needs are different so you'll have to do some work to find out what works for you.
Alain..., I know what "works for me"..., the subject is for the "Magic" that the sensor under question provides and the ones that agree or the ones that disagree... Also, the requirement is to give that sensor's special behavior a certain identity so that people that are not experienced with it, can have an idea of what can they expect... especially now that this (very expensive in the past) sensor, is widely available as S/H at very affordable prices and can attract more people into joining MF...
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Alain..., I know what "works for me"..., the subject is for the "Magic" that the sensor under question provides and the ones that agree or the ones that disagree... Also, the requirement is to give that sensor's special behavior a certain identity so that people that are not experienced with it, can have an idea of what can they expect... especially now that this (very expensive in the past) sensor, is widely available as S/H at very affordable prices and can attract more people into joining MF...

Theodoros,

Could you share some paired examples with a picture take with two backs where one has that magic. Then perhaps we can approach describing it!

Asher
 
Theodoros,

Could you share some paired examples with a picture take with two backs where one has that magic. Then perhaps we can approach describing it!

Asher
: It will be sometime before I can do that... whenever I do comparisons is only "test" shots that I then erase... what I can do, is to post a single shot image done with my 528c and a direct comparison done with D800E in the next couple of days... (remember that I am still be looking for an e-motion adapter for Contax in the "Gear FS or WTB" section), Theo Pantazis (I am surprised he is not involved) can do that easily..., he is amazed with his recent P25+ purchase and since he is doing a lot of fashion, he had lots of other fashion shooters in his studio with many different backs to compare the results... What I'll try myself, is to have a direct image comparison done with P65+ on Mamiya and 528c on Contax in my studio (I'll ask my friend who is importing P1 & Leaf in my country for this) and then we can discuss on that! ...mind you that I'm quite familiar with P65+ on Mamyia because of my business relations... (the comparison between P25+ and P45+ I mentioned above was done 4 years ago on the same camera due to those relations). Meanwhile we can have other people sharing their experiences with the sensor under question...
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
Maybe you could just post a few images showing the "magic" effect, even if you do not have direct comparison pictures.
 
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