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Medium Format 6x6 vs MM

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The Hasselblad v system has both film and digital backs.

 

So does the H system.

 

Hasselblad went astray with the H3DII,and the H4D and H5D locking out the film backs but the H4X and H5X which is current do accept other makers digital backs and Hasselblad film backs.

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You are also going to have to take a lot of care in your darkroom printing, align everything perfectly and have a great enlarger lens. Any flaw in this chain is going to see the final print from the negative take a dive from its ideal potential. The Monochrom, however, punches out perfect files with ridiculous ease, because you have great ISO performance and lenses that can deliver at wide apertures...

Personally, I do not like linear digital files and end up producing files that look more like film. This is not because I am mimicking film, but producing what I like, which film often happens to do right off the bat.

 

No, messing with digital files is not a lot more trouble than just shooting a neg if you know your PP. I have produced both for years and overall, IMHO, the digital workflow is not only quicker, but dramatically quicker if you need to produce subsequent prints. For film you have to include the time for loading spirals, development, washing, drying, then the print, the wash, the drying, flattening, spotting. It aint quick especially if you do not treat it like a production line and work in bulk.

 

I still LOVE film, but am under no illusions as to how far digital has come and the post processing options now possible.

 

I’m glad you were clear that so much of this is personal - personal preferences and choices.

 

Because I don’t do any of my own developing, the whole darkroom ‘hassle’ you describe doesn’t really apply to me. And what I like most about film - aside from the color characteristics that I love so much - are the very imperfections that are lacking in digital files: I love the accidents, the grain, the softness of transitions, the unpredictable way that chemicals react to light. Most photographers these days (especially the sharpness fanatics) would see all of these characteristics as drawbacks, but I really adore them.

 

And another personal hang-up I have is exactly about putting these characteristics back into my digital files: every time I use Silver Efex (or any other ‘filmic’ filter), I can’t get over the feeling that the altered image is now a fraud. I still do it, but the end result leaves me subtly unsatisfied.

 

At this point I usually get a hundred lectures about how it’s “the final image” and… well, I really can’t be bothered to list all the arguments that have been gone over tens of thousands of times. For me, as a photographic hobbyist, I really like making an image on a piece of film: that feeling of uniqueness, of a real frozen moment embedded in layers of silver and colored dyes. Looking at those images - even scanned - feels more ‘honest’ to me than distressing the binary algorithm of a digital file. But that really is just my personal feeling - each to his own.

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And what I like most about film - aside from the color characteristics that I love so much - are the very imperfections that are lacking in digital files: I love the accidents, the grain, the softness of transitions, the unpredictable way that chemicals react to light. Most photographers these days (especially the sharpness fanatics) would see all of these characteristics as drawbacks, but I really adore them.

 

Can I agree here?

That was what I found literally distressing in the re-issue of "The Decisive Moment". The flaws in the original prints, as seen in the original edition, have been digitally edited out. Spotting has been "cloned" out or whatever they call it, and spots missed have been smoothed. Some larger corrections are doubtful if they are to correct printing flaws and may be on the negatives. The pursuit of a flawless product becomes that: a product, no longer an individual and flawed image.

Yes I have, and continue to, shoot some digital it has some compelling advantages but I'm in this for pleasure and personal satisfaction which, for me, is film. I do not wish in any way to impose my world view on others and in response to the OP I have no idea how they compare I switch from 6x6 to P20 digital on my Hasselblad all the time by switching backs not cameras

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I realize this is an old thread, but I want to pick it up.
I am going back and forth between getting a Monochrom M9M ("Mark 1") or go back to MF film. Rendering, depth-of-field and all aside - where do you feel the original Monochrom stands compared to MF film when cropped to 6:7 ratio - terms of detail and perceived resolution on prints? The assumption here is standard ISO 100 film, Delta 100 or FP4+, scanned with something decent like a Flextight X1, and good lenses on the M9M.

I really liked 6x6 and 6x7 for certain situations and would not mind doing future work around those ratios, as I think in 3:2 I have enough satisfying work (for myself). Looking through the archives, I realized the beauty of some older 6x6/6x7 images, and feel like there is room for a lot more. Plus, I am having an easier time processing film images than digital, the M included (I could test the 246 for quite a period). The problem is, I travel a lot, and developing film where I am 60% of my time is not feasible and connected to environmental concerns (about disposal of chemicals). So I would end of with a lot of film that I would need to process after.

My other concern is that the process of envisioning the image is probably hard using a 3:2 ratio camera.

Not looking for a definite answers, more looking for some experiences from people who went through the same process.

 

Edited by Peter_S

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There is a quality of darkroom prints that I call 'luminous', given the right paper. I print on glossy and dry matte. It is impossible to demonstrate the phenomena on the 'net. No scan can suffice. For arguments that try to assert superiority we must present the outcomes in the place where they will be viewed. Good night monitor mavens.

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I think it is a mistake to try and pitch anolog prints agains Baryta MM1 prints. They are both excellent in their own right, but can never be the same.

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1) Seems like Peter_S is talking about digital prints in any case (whether from scanned MF film, or MM files). So analog prints are not relevant.

 

2) There is no such thing as a "perfect" lens (100% MTF at any resolution), therefore each additional "re-imaging" of an image, whether by a scanner lens or an enlarging lens, implies some "loss" from the original image quality. That applies not just to resolution, but also tonal qualities and color reproduction - always best to use the fewest number of "generations" or steps, between the subject and the final print. Everything else being equal. Which is why I abandoned 35mm film in favor of "35mm" digital

 

3) Of course, using 6x7 film in place of 2.4 x 3.6 digital means everything else is not equal. 6x7 film will have "headroom" to lose quality in scanning and still be ahead.

 

4) My experience is that, in prints as large as I can do myself (45cm x 45cm, from 6x6 film), there is no overall difference between good 6x6 film scans and a square crop of an MM. MM leads in "tightness" of the image (fine detail clarity, lack of grain/noise), but film still has tonal depth advantages. I also find that a single digital generation maintains better color accuracy than multiple "interpretations" of the color via film, developing and scanning - but that is also irrelevant if we are talking about an MM vs. B&W film.

 

With better scans and in bigger prints, film may pull ahead. In any event, I shoot film in order to shoot with film 6x6 cameras, so I don't really worry too much about which is "better." My prints sell, either way.

 

5) As to envisioning the picture area to shoot a Leica 2:3 for 6x7 cropping, remember that the Leica framelines are usually "incomplete," with missing corners. Especially with 28, 35, 50 and 75mm lenses, the "length" of the top and bottom lines comes very close to the "length" of an ideal-format picture (645, 6x7, 4x5, 8x10). Possibly intentional, although the main reason for the missing corners is that they are blocked by the mechanisms that change the lines for focal length, and also for parallax correction.

 

http://blog.ricecracker.net/2011/04/23/leica-m-body-viewfinder-framelines/

 

Just use your imagination to connect the top and bottom framelines at their tips, while ignoring the 2:3 "end lines", and then just learn to imagine a correction factor if needed "Slightly more with a 28," etc.

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Note: A factor of 2.3x will give very close estimations of which 6x7 (or for that matter, 6x6) lens will be matched by a focal length on the cropped MM: E.G. 21mm lens on the MM x 2.3 = "48.3/50mm" on 6x7, 35mm x 2.3 = "80mm", 50mm = "115mm," 28mm = "65," 18mm = "40mm"

Edited by adan

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Thank you all for the input.

Yes, indeed, it is about digital prints. As nice as the idea of analog prints is, I do not have the space or setup for this, and my end product are digital images in print media. This should answer the question itself, but I have so many beautiful results from scanned images that are usually the ones that stand out in the end.
Andrew, thank you for the interesting input regarding frame lines in the M - that has actually never come to my mind before. I will give this a try.

I feel the Monochrom has so much potential and a learning curve, which I yet need to fully go through. One benefit I see is the availability of fast wide-angle lenses on a sensor with no quality loss into higher ISOs. On MF systems wide-angle means usually slower lenses, with all that comes with it. Usually not a problem, sometimes it is (since starting to live in a country where its mostly dark half the year and mostly bright the other, ISO became a bit more relevant).

It may be very well worth it to use the Monochrom more, and explore + exploit its full potential.

Anyways, I am in no rush to decide.



 

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