Nikon D3x or medium format digital?

support1974

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Hi everyone,
Until recently the best equipment for advertising, fashion and editorial photography were medium format cameras. However since Nikon launched their new D3x I'm just wondering if there are still significant differences between cameras like new Nikon and f.e. Mamiya with digital 23Mp back. I would be grateful for your opinions,
Cheers,
Paul
 

Katier

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Hi everyone,
Until recently the best equipment for advertising, fashion and editorial photography were medium format cameras. However since Nikon launched their new D3x I'm just wondering if there are still significant differences between cameras like new Nikon and f.e. Mamiya with digital 23Mp back. I would be grateful for your opinions,
Cheers,
Paul

In theory the Mamiya ought to be better quality Digital wise as the sensor should be larger ( thus less cramming of pixels thus in theory less noise).

Personally I'd go for the Mamiya option. You get not just the capability of a digital back but also the option to go for film which would give you a LOT better quality than either option.

The only POSSIBLE disadvantage of MF is some camera's can be a bit bulky but that depends on the camera. I use a TLR for instance which is lighter than my DSLR, the Pentax MF range, especially the 645 have a reputation for excellent portability etc.

I'd probably use the Digi back as a polaroid for checking exposure then swap to film back for the final shots.
 

Patrice

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If you're doing fashion/advertising/editorial I think your client likely wants a digital, so why shoot film only to digitize later, especially if you already have a high mp good quality digital capture system?


Are you sure that a scan of an analog capture will result in a better magazine print than a pure digital capture?
 

dxqcanada

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I agree with Katier ... it's more about the image quality than the MegaPixel count.
... now I have not compared images taken with either so I cannot actually state for a fact that a Medium Format Digital Camera will have a better image quality than a high MP full frame DSLR.
 

tsaraleksi

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Unless you're talking large format 4x5/8x10, professionals are not shooting film anymore. The resolution coming off a medium format back is going to rival MF film pretty easily, and the convince factor + the cost savings if you shoot a lot (which studios do) make it an easy choice. If you're talking non-professional use then all bets are off. The local chapter of the ASMP just did a contest that involved shooting images of a roll of 120 film, unsuprisingly most of the shots were depicting the death of film-- frosted over rolls in the backs of freezers, that sort of thing. It's just not in use anymore.

For portrait shooters the choice between digital MF and high-res 35mm dSLRs has never been very easy. That said, the body that made that choice tough was the 1Ds2 that came out years ago. The 35mm cam has speed and ease of use on its side, which is a huge advantage when working on location or shooting people, and the resolution is plenty for most uses, but the MF backs have greater resolution (the latest ones are kind of astounding) and some other less obvious advantages like smoother tonal transition and finer detail.

Of course the astronomical cost of a medium format back has to be considered, but a busy professional is going to amortize that cost fairly quickly, though money is still money.

The current crop of super-high image quality dSLRs (5Dm2, 1DsM3, D3x, A900 ) seem to ever more substantially question the practicality of medium format for day-to-day commerical use.

At the end of the day it's going to be a question of what is needed to get a particular job done, which is why you rent things, and why many folks have both systems. Someone who shoots people for many purposes will certainly prefer a dSLR system on the grounds that it's faster and much more flexible, going to the MF when the resolution is a must, whereas someone who shoots immobile objects for a living will probably prefer a MF (or even LF ) system without a doubt.
 

Katier

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If you're doing fashion/advertising/editorial I think your client likely wants a digital, so why shoot film only to digitize later, especially if you already have a high mp good quality digital capture system?


Are you sure that a scan of an analog capture will result in a better magazine print than a pure digital capture?

yes I am pretty confident a 120 film scanned would trump a ditigal back. For one it doesn't need sharpening.

That said for magazine capture the differences probably are unnoticeable unless you 'pixel peep' as a magazine image would be 6-10mp in size (effectively) so reduced in both cases.

Move up to a poster or bill board and yes I'd say you'd easilly be able to tell which was film and which was digital. Digital is convenient though which is why it's popular but it's still not up to MF ( or LF ) film capabilities.
 

tsaraleksi

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What you're forgetting about is that as you move up in display size, the need for resolution drops fast-- a billboard just looks like big colored dots when you get up close to it.
 

Garbz

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yes I am pretty confident a 120 film scanned would trump a ditigal back.

In sharpness and resolution maybe (though I am beginning to doubt that but ignore it for a second). With film you now end up with a system that is harder to colour balance, a medium which has non-linearities across tones and uneven colour balance. Noise and grain are a non-issue in either case.

Oh and the test has been done before, look for the video on youtube. You can easily tell which one was the film billboard. Didn't stop everyone saying the digital looked much better though.
 

hoyinsiu

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Personally, if I do commercial, I would prefer digital because it's easier to show clients the result right away. but if i do personal art work, I would prefer media format or large format film camera, especially for a very large print.
 

Mike_E

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For a studio I would say the Med Format simply because you can change backs to suit your needs. Plus if the latest and greatest comes along (they always do :)) all you have to do is to put on another back and keep shooting, still keeping the older back for backup or just selling it to recoup some of the cost of the new one.

With a new body there is invariably some learning/comfort curve involved. There is also the issue of any new product being buggy and a complete camera has a lot more to be buggy about than just a back.

For fast moving location shoots or where ever portability and variable lighting is a concern the D3X should outshine the Med Format.

BTW unless you have a drum scanner for your film, hi end digital out performs film using a normal workflow- if for no other reason than post processing is an amazing resource as opposed to a wet darkroom (even with someone else in it).
 

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