DSLR Resolution Compared to Film?

Started Aug 21, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Jim Mohundro
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DSLR Resolution Compared to Film?
Aug 21, 2013

I suspect there are few absolute answers to my query since sensors are large and small, many and few, with a broad range of design and quality, let alone discussing anti-aliasing filters, etc.

When I undertook to purchase my first digital camera (a Canon Powershot S40) after 50 years of using film, from box cameras through TLR and Leica and Nikon 35mm rangefinders and SLRs, I asked an experienced camera sales person (who, admittedly, may have had some commercial motive) if digital cameras and lenses had reached the level of resolution (at a 35mm negative size) of the best then existing Leicas and Nikons.  This "expert" seemed to have a bit of time on his hands and probably realized I was not quite yet a potential customer but was asking a photo equipment question and hoping for an objective/subject answer.  His answer was that the Nikon D3 was the closest DSLR which combined with the best Nikon lenses available to it that "approached" the resolution capable of film.

Many pixels have traveled under the bridge since that time (8 or 9 years ago), and sensors and lenses continue their improvement.

I suspect there is no consensus here, but, assuming that DSLRs and perhaps digital Leicas may be the highest current state of the art in 35mm or under image captures (my temporary term for negatives) and excluding the larger formats (Hasselblad, etc), and hoping that posters can stand back from their reasonable prejudices about the cameras they themselves own, who is willing to venture forth with non-flaming opinions about the original subject, i.e., have the resolution of some digital camera and lens applications equaled or exceed the best of film?

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Jim Mohundro

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