Re. DPReview TV Medium Format Mythbusting

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philm5d Senior Member • Posts: 1,107
Re. DPReview TV Medium Format Mythbusting
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There just MIGHT be something magical about medium format if it was actually medium format. Not depth of field but tonality. I shot film for a local newspaper starting in 1970 using both 35mm and 120 film (Nikon and Rolleiflex T). As others said it was immediately obvious what fil format had been used looking at a print. Nothing to do with depth of field. We had never heard of "bokeh" and usually tried to use modest F stops if light permitted.

The difference was the TONALITY, the lovely smooth transition of tones together with the finer grain pattern of 120 film prints which needed much less enlargement for the same size print. Imagine a postage stamp. On one side there is solid black and the other, solid white with a gradual transition between one and the other through every shade of grey, then imagine a piece of A4 paper with the same transition from black on one side to white on the other. With the latter there is far more space to undergo the transition so the transition can be far smoother/slower equalling superior increased tonality. This is an exaggerated scenario of course but that real difference is what I'd like to see from MF digital and what I don't tend to see from the current not-quite-medium format sensor or should it be "jumbo sized full-frame". Take a look at some pro images from the beginning of the last century shot on glass plates often measuring up to 11x14 inches. They scream quality. Often they are not critically sharp with the lenses of the day but just look at the tones.

I once shot a Fuji GF-X against my Nikon D850 with lenses/F stops "equivalenced" in every way as best I could. At one stage I convinced myself that the GF-X files were superior on screen. I printed two portrait images to A3 but really couldn't see a difference. Months later I looked at the prints. I'd forgotten which was from which camera. I guessed and got it wrong. No, I'll wait for a true medium format digital sensor, at least 6x4.5 or very close and if it never comes I'll stick with full frame 35mm digital.

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"If people knew how hard I worked to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful after all" - Michelangelo.

Nikon D850
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