Sharpest photos

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by m Ransley, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. m Ransley

    m Ransley Guest

    I have seen extremely sharp-fine detail film 8x 11 photo prints that im
    sure were taken with large format film, much sharper than my A1 with
    Kodachrome ever did. What digital camera can match print detail of large
    format film printed at 8.5x11. Since pixels relate to photo size isn`t
    this possible with a Canon dslr and top lens.
    m Ransley, Feb 21, 2006
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  2. m Ransley

    rafe b Guest

    "Large format" generally refers to film sizes of 4x5" or larger.

    At present there is no DSLR that can match that. Not even
    the newest full-frame Canons.

    If you're made of money, there's that 39 Mpixel medium-
    format back (for Hasselblad, IIRC) that comes close.

    rafe b
    rafe b, Feb 21, 2006
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  3. m Ransley

    Pete Guest

    Which presumably means it'll be some time before we see a digital Ansel
    Adams. On the other hand, DSLR doesn't require a mule to carry one's

    Pete, Feb 21, 2006
  4. True indeed!

    And, on the gripping hand, we could well see a digital Galen Rowell
    any minute now. (There are certainly some issues with digital for
    some of the extreme adventure situations he photographed in, though.
    Power supply, data backup, total weight all come to mind.)
    David Dyer-Bennet, Feb 21, 2006
  5. m Ransley

    ASAAR Guest

    With enough money, a good machinist and a pack mule or two it
    could be done with today's DSLRs through the use of stitching
    software. With a single camera there would probably be an excessive
    delay between the first and last shots; too long to satisfy an Ansel
    Adams. But with enough cameras the delay between the first and last
    shots could be greatly reduced, or eliminated completely by using a
    camera-per-shot array.

    "I pity the mule." -- Mr. T. (maybe)
    ASAAR, Feb 21, 2006
  6. m Ransley

    Dave Guest

    Ever seen a Speed or Crown Graphic??? Ever looked at newspaper photos
    from the 1950s or earlier??? They did pretty well with "large format"
    and candids IMHO.


    Disclaimer - Not intended as SA response, just information.
    Dave, Feb 22, 2006
  7. m Ransley

    Jeremy Guest

    Use of a tripod--even a cheapie--has resulted in marked increase in
    sharpness for me. Landscapes, architectural photos and other static subject
    require a tripod for maximum sharpness. If I hadn't seen the improvements
    with my own eyes, I would not have believed it.

    I use either the time release or my camera's remote control to trip the
    shutter, rather than touching the shutter release button.

    There seems little reason to invest in a fine camera and optics, whether
    film or digital, and then compromise the results by introducing body shake.
    If anyone hasn't tried using a tripod in awhile, they really ought to. One
    becomes accustomed to using a tripod fairly quickly, and the feeling of
    awkwardness soon passes.
    Jeremy, Feb 22, 2006
  8. m Ransley

    ASAAR Guest

    It would be more than enough time for me (if I could manage to
    reposition and shoot that quickly). Since Ansel Adams had been a
    perfectionist, I tried to examine what would be possible, affordable
    even, by at least a few here in rpd, to minimize the time between
    first and last shots. Wouldn't want a rambunctious ram or fleet
    falcon appearing more than once, or a quickly moving cloud to change
    the light intensity. The first thing I thought of was having a
    super frame(tripod) that could hold a 4x5 array of DSLRs, using a
    laptop to fire them simultaneously. This would be far too expensive
    for most mere mortals, so next I considered a much smaller vertical
    frame, holding 3 or 4 DSLRs. Each attached to a calibrated mount so
    that the individual cameras could easily be pivoted up or down to
    accommodate lenses of different focal lengths. Again, these would
    have their shutters triggered by a laptop. The if the entire frame
    was rotated (about the camera's common nodal points) for the next
    shot(s), this could be repeated quickly. I assumed 2.5 seconds
    between shots, so a column of 4 cameras fired 5 times could take all
    20 shots in just 10 seconds. At the rate you manage to shoot, it
    would take only 4 seconds.

    I didn't consider that anyone would often want to create
    panoramics using as many as 120 shots (blame it on my puny,
    underpowered computer). But a setup such as this, with a few more
    cameras, might make it practical (if not inexpensive) to use longer
    lenses and take 120 or more shots per stitched panoramic. Don't
    expect me to try it though. Except for a couple of old film based
    35mm's, all of my other cameras are P&S, each quite dissimilar.
    Something like this would still entail considerable equipment, which
    is why I suggested using a pack mule or two. :)
    ASAAR, Feb 22, 2006
  9. Didn't always, but _Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs_ is very
    much worth reading.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Feb 22, 2006
  10. Cadillac *van*? To my knowledge there's never been such a thing. And
    the photos I've seen show a conventional old Cadillac sedan, with an
    extra rack on the top.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Feb 22, 2006
  11. David wrote on 22 Feb 2006 13:07:50 -0600:

    ??>> Ansel Adams used a Cadillac van to get around. I would bet
    ??>> he would be experimenting with digital if he was alive
    ??>> now. Always an innovator.

    DDB> Cadillac *van*? To my knowledge there's never been such a
    DDB> thing. And the photos I've seen show a conventional old
    DDB> Cadillac sedan, with an extra rack on the top.

    Ansel Adams used both International and Cadillac station wagons
    on occasion and I think he had roof racks on both.

    James Silverton.
    James Silverton, Feb 22, 2006
  12. m Ransley

    m Ransley Guest

    I am confused, I thought for a 8.5x11 print more than 5 mp would not
    make a difference in detail, if I am wrong then there is a reason to buy
    and use the largest mp camera you can afford for special shots. Is this
    m Ransley, Feb 22, 2006
  13. m Ransley

    rafe b Guest

    If you never need to crop your images, you probably
    don't need more than 5 Mpix for an 8.5 x 11" print.

    Be aware that there are some old farts lurking who may
    comment on the glories of contact-printed large-format film.

    Said old farts will laugh and sneer at the 5 megapixel number,
    and they have every right to.

    rafe b
    rafe b, Feb 22, 2006
  14. All wrote on Wed, 22 Feb 2006 13:54:59 -0600:

    ??>> David wrote on 22 Feb 2006 13:07:50 -0600:
    ??>>>> Ansel Adams used a Cadillac van to get around. I
    ??>> would bet ??>> he would be experimenting with digital if
    ??>> he was alive ??>> now. Always an innovator.
    DDB>>> Cadillac *van*? To my knowledge there's never been
    ??>> such a DDB> thing. And the photos I've seen show a
    ??>> conventional old DDB> Cadillac sedan, with an extra rack
    ??>> on the top.
    ??>> Ansel Adams used both International and Cadillac station
    ??>> wagons on occasion and I think he had roof racks on both.

    ATM> Cadillac never made a wagon, James. The ones you've seen,
    ATM> as well as ambulances and hearses, were all custom body
    ATM> cars. International also didn't make "station wagons" per
    ATM> se but did have "carryall" truck-style windowed and solid
    ATM> body "vans", under a variety of style and model names.
    ATM> Maybe somebody built a Caddy "van" where the body was
    ATM> custom and the front of the car and windshield were
    ATM> production, but I've never seen one nor do I have any
    ATM> pictures of one in my collection.

    It's entirely possible that you are correct about the Cadillac
    *factory* never making a station wagon but I think that is only
    a semantic objection :) The International Travelall windowed
    van might not qualify as a station wagon under your definition
    either but, in my defense, both he and the Wisconsin Historical
    Society refer to it as a "station wagon".

    James Silverton.
    James Silverton, Feb 22, 2006
  15. And Adams, in particular, played a major role in systematizing and
    popularizing the idea of giving individual exposures special treatment
    in film development (and then going back and choosing your exposure
    with the special development you planned in mind).

    Medium-format SLRs often have the film in interchangeable backs
    (though not the Mamiya 645), which makes swapping in mid-roll easy.
    I'm sure some photographers used zone system concepts on entire rolls
    that way.

    I, also, have swapped 35mm rolls in the middle. I've still got a
    leader retriever around here somewhere. Still cost me a couple of
    exposures on each roll.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Feb 22, 2006
  16. The Travelall is something I know about, anyway. It's not *exactly* a
    station wagon as I understand the term, but back then there wasn't a
    standard term that really fit it (today it's an SUV, I'd say), and
    it's reasonable enough to think of it as sort of a super station wagon
    and to refer to it that way.

    The pictures of Adams' Cadillacs, any of them, don't seem to be tagged
    in Google image search (not really surprising), so I can't see if I
    can find the one I'm remembering online and point it out. I do
    definitely remember a *regular* car, large sedan, probably Cadillac
    but I'm not so sure of that part, with the roof rack in one picture.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Feb 22, 2006
  17. He used diffent transport at different times of his life. There's a
    letter from one of his first summers in Yosemite suggesting buying a
    mule at the start of the season and selling at the end, for a net cost
    of $10 over the summer. I believe he was often going places where a
    wheeled vehicle couldn't really go, at that stage.

    I don't remember any reference to a custom darkroom wagon for him; I
    think such things were used by traveling photographers much earlier,
    and perhaps by Mathew Brady for his Civil War work?

    Much later, when he was much older, he photographed a lot more things
    close to roads, and used modified cars (and perhaps other vehicles) to
    do it.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Feb 22, 2006
  18. m Ransley

    JC Dill Guest

    As were The Camera, The Negative, and The Print. Ansel shared a lot
    more about how he did what he did than is/was the case with most other
    innovative photographers.

    JC Dill, Feb 22, 2006
  19. m Ransley

    ASAAR Guest

    Your mama wears combat boots! So much for the flames. Just
    thought I'd point out that the P&S crowd has a larger selection of
    cameras than you imply, and their sensors and *glass* lenses can be
    quite good. Canon's G6 (not a spring chicken) is 7mp and had decent
    glass. The sample photos on some of the review websites were quite
    good. Though not quite measuring up to DSLRs, a number of the
    discontinued 8mp P&S's from Sony, Canon, Nikon and Olympus had well
    regarded lenses. Fuji is up to 9mp in several of their cameras, and
    isn't Sony's R1 up to 10mp? No plastic lenses in the bunch, and
    the ones I've seen offer a choice of high *and* low compression jpgs
    as well as RAW. If you qualified your response by saying that many
    megapixels might not be sufficient because even 6mp (or greater)
    sensors can be found in cheap, low quality cameras, then I'd agree.
    But even one of the cheaper 6mp plastic lensed cameras might provide
    all of the quality you need (with sufficient light), since IIRC you
    recently said that your prints are done at 4" x 6".
    Or not. Your choice. :)
    ASAAR, Feb 22, 2006
  20. m Ransley

    JC Dill Guest

    Michael Adams say the car they were driving when Ansel shot _Moonrise
    over Hernandez_ was Pontiac station wagon:


    The web finds numerous references to "wood-sided station wagon"
    "woody" and "dusty station wagons" being the vehicle that Ansel used
    on various photo taking trips.

    Then I found this:

    Beaumont Newhall narrated Larry Dawson's 1957 film, Ansel Adams,
    Photographer, and described Adams's photographic gear:

    "...A fine craftsman employs different tools for different
    purposes. Item: one 8 x 10 view camera, 20 holders, 4 lenses -- 1
    Cooke Convertible, 1 ten-inch Wide Field Ektar, 1 9-inch Dagor, one
    6-3/4-inch Wollensak wide angle. Item: one 7 x 17 special panorama
    camera with a Protar 13-1/2-inch lens and five holders. Item: one 4 x
    5 view camera, 6 lenses -- 12-inch Collinear, 8-1/2 Apo[chromatic]
    Lentar, 9-1/4 Apo[chromatic] Tessar, 4-inch Wide Field Ektar,
    Dallmeyer [...] telephoto.

    "Item: One Hasselblad camera outfit with 38, 60, 80, 135, & 200
    millimeter lenses. Item: One Koniflex 35 millimeter camera. Item: 2
    Polaroid cameras. Item: 3 exposure meters. One SEI, and two Westons --
    in case he drops one.

    "Item: Filters for each camera. K1, K2, minus blue, G, X1, A, C5
    &B, F, 85B, 85C, light balancing, series 81 and 82. Two tripods: one
    light, one heavy. Lens brush, stopwatch, level, thermometer, focusing
    magnifier, focusing cloth, hyperlight strobe portrait outfit, 200 feet
    of cable, special storage box for film.

    [Ansel's car (a Cadillac) with platform pulls away from camera.]

    "Item: One ancient, eight-passenger limousine with 5 x 9-foot
    camera platform on top."


    So I guess he had both station wagons and Cadillac limousines, at
    different times over the years.

    JC Dill, Feb 22, 2006
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