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Old 5th April 2019
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Is 43 really better than Medium Format?

I was intrigued by Paul's comment in another thread and wondered what others thought.

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Originally Posted by pdk42 View Post
Ian made an interesting comment on FF at The Photography Show - he basically said that FF is the new medium format - in terms of output quality in comparison to cropped sensor systems. I can see what he means, but OTOH we know that m43 today is better than MF in film days so the whole bar has been raised up significantly by digital.
I use both 43 and medium format (Mamiya 645 and RZ67). Whilst the digital images may be 'sharper' I wouldn't say they were 'better'.

Indeed I find that medium format has an almost three dimensional feel about it, possibly owing to the large sensor size, that I do not experience from any digital camera, including full frame Nikon.

What is the consensus please? I am expecting a wide range of opinions.
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Old 5th April 2019
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Re: Is 43 really better than Medium Format?

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Originally Posted by Naughty Nigel View Post
I was intrigued by Paul's comment in another thread and wondered what others thought.



I use both 43 and medium format (Mamiya 645 and RZ67). Whilst the digital images may be 'sharper' I wouldn't say they were 'better'.

Indeed I find that medium format has an almost three dimensional feel about it, possibly owing to the large sensor size, that I do not experience from any digital camera, including full frame Nikon.

What is the consensus please? I am expecting a wide range of opinions.
Don't forget the dynamic range and response characteristics (the S curve) when making the comparison.
Claims about a sensor occupying a mere 1/4 of the area of a 35mm neg is somehow equivalent or exceeds that of the MF needs some serious justification.
Watching Sir Don McCullin last night, I didn't see him ditching the Mamyia in favour of u4/3, but of course haptics matter too. And that Mamyia comes with bucket loads of the stuff!!
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Old 5th April 2019
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Re: Is 43 really better than Medium Format?

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Originally Posted by Naughty Nigel View Post
Indeed I find that medium format has an almost three dimensional feel about it
I'm not sure what the above statement really means. It is indisputably a two dimensional medium.

I wonder if an M43 image was compared with a scanned MF image of the same scene, if the MF image had an "an almost three dimensional feel about it", compared to the M43 version?

Jim
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Old 5th April 2019
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Re: Is 43 really better than Medium Format?

I think it is hard to compare as each media has different characteristics. Both offer jaw dropping quality. My personal view is that in terms of resolution Four Thirds eclipsed 135 film at 10mp but MF, especially 6x7, is an entirely different kettle of fish.
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Old 6th April 2019
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Re: Is 43 really better than Medium Format?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Naughty Nigel View Post
I was intrigued by Paul's comment in another thread and wondered what others thought.



I use both 43 and medium format (Mamiya 645 and RZ67). Whilst the digital images may be 'sharper' I wouldn't say they were 'better'.

Indeed I find that medium format has an almost three dimensional feel about it, possibly owing to the large sensor size, that I do not experience from any digital camera, including full frame Nikon.

What is the consensus please? I am expecting a wide range of opinions.
I think the flat look to a lot of photos taken with Four Thirds is down to too many users taking photos at f8... Really, if a photo works at f8, when taken with full frame, then f4 will work nicely with Four Thirds.
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Re: Is 43 really better than Medium Format?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Ford View Post
I'm not sure what the above statement really means. It is indisputably a two dimensional medium.

I wonder if an M43 image was compared with a scanned MF image of the same scene, if the MF image had an "an almost three dimensional feel about it", compared to the M43 version?

Jim
I have to agree that a normal mono camera is a two dimensional medium; but there is something about images from large format and bigger medium format cameras that has an almost 3D quality about it. I thought it was just me but I have seen several references to this effect recently.

Perhaps it is the sheer size of the negative that creates an almost stereoscopic image?

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Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
I think it is hard to compare as each media has different characteristics. Both offer jaw dropping quality. My personal view is that in terms of resolution Four Thirds eclipsed 135 film at 10mp but MF, especially 6x7, is an entirely different kettle of fish.
A 6x7 negative is five times the size of 135, but there is still something more to it than simple resolution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Internaut View Post
I think the flat look to a lot of photos taken with Four Thirds is down to too many users taking photos at f8... Really, if a photo works at f8, when taken with full frame, then f4 will work nicely with Four Thirds.
Limited depth of field is certainly a factor, and is very noticeable when using medium and large format cameras. Unfortunately setting any lens to 4.0 is probably not going to provide best results. I have always understood the 'sweet spot' to be from 5.6 to 8.0 and above.

(Does diffraction affect film cameras?)
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Re: Is 43 really better than Medium Format?

Diffraction happens when light passes through a small hole.

Red light softens more than blue light, due to the different wavelengths.

Having taken photos with a 10x8 plate camera and tiny pictures from a Minox,
I have really only ever considered image quality, in the context of the finished product, be that a print or the image projected on a screen.

For me it will only ever be the end product that matters. How we achieve the end result is of interest, but mostly irrelevant.

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Re: Is 43 really better than Medium Format?

Creating a "3D" look on a two dimensional photograph requires tricks on behalf of the photographer. The easiest way is to have a narrow depth of focus. As the sensor/film size increases, the depth of focus decreases for a given subject distance and framing. If a very narrow depth of focus (e.g. blurred backgrounds) is the the look you want then you need a large format camera (or fancy software post processing). No matter how technically good m43 IQ becomes it'll never give you a "3D" look as good as a bigger sensor.

However, if deep depth of focus is what you want (e.g. most landscape shots), then I think m43 today is better than MF film.
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Old 7th April 2019
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Re: Is 43 really better than Medium Format?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdk42 View Post
However, if deep depth of focus is what you want (e.g. most landscape shots), then I think m43 today is better than MF film.

Yes, I wouldn't fancy focus stacking a bunch of MF negatives! Because I mostly do landscapes I found the depth of field limitations of MF something of a nuisance. Unless you're printing bigger than around 16x12" I don't think MF offers any great advantages. However, a projected MF transparency is something else entirely .
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