Re: [OM] E-3 versus E-1 - pictures better with E-1

Subject: Re: [OM] E-3 versus E-1 - pictures better with E-1
From: Ken Norton <ken@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2009 09:50:37 -0600
> I think we are taking fourthirds system to the limit ;) Some days ago I
> was scanning some Ektachrome E100 slides with Kodak T-grain, supposed to
> be a very fine grain reversal film. Even using the sharpest (50mm f2) OM
> macro with this film and then scanning it with my Nikon LS-4000ED
> quality of image is lower than E-1 5Mp camera. Please don´t tell me
> things like film curvature as I divided the film in 64 cells, then
> scanned every cell and finally I stitched all of them. Image was
> perfectly focused (corner to corner) but effective resolution isn´t 4000
> dpi at all. There are lot of space between silver halide particles and
> resolution is very poor. Digital sensors give much higher resolving
> power with less megapixels.

I believe what you have run into is the halation characteristics of the
film. Some films are much more prone to this issue than others. For example,
Fujichrome Provia is horrid when it comes to halation and firmly stamps a
resolution limit on the imaging process.

I know exactly what you are saying, though, and it is disconcerting to think
that FIVE lowly megapixels from the E-1 of all cameras meets and exceeds
what you "normally" get from 35mm film in raw resolution. But that isn't the
full story.

I've been converting over from slide films to print films (completely
transitioned now), and I find that the latest Fuji Pro 160S emulsion to
maintain about the best detail of all the fine-grain print films. The grain
of the new Portra films is finer and 400NC is as good as the best ISO 100
films of just a couple years ago and all the Portra films as well as 160S
are right at the limit of resolving ability.

I did controlled testing of various films and digital cameras.  Fuji Pro
160S and Kodak Portra 160NC easily matched the 10+ MP cameras for resolution
and detail, but blew them away in the subtleties right at the limits of what
the sensors were able to capture. Even with ALL noise-reduction turned off
(that can be turned off), it is obvious that in the random nature of natural
subjects, there was a marked advantage to film.  However, for man-made
objects, digital rules the day with greater edge-detail which leads the
eye/brain to "see" greater detail which may or may not actually be there.

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