Large Format, further thinking
All the recent kerfuffle has had the positive effect of getting me to do some thinking about where the strengths and weaknesses of large format lie relative to the Canon EOS-5d I’ve been using. Remember, now, I’m trying to decide whether to sell or keep my current large format kit, which consists of a 4″x5″ Linhof Technikardan 45s and a complement of lenses ranging from 90mm to 450mm.
Here’s the way I see it – below a certain print size, the 5d wins over the 4×5. Above this breakover print size, the 4×5 resolution wins out, and the 4×5 wins over the 5d. (Folks interested in my deeper thinking on this are invited to read How Big Can You Print). As the resolution of the full frame Canon digital SLR’s improves (note that the 1DSmkII is 16.7 megapixel, the rumor is that the next version will be 22megapixel), the breakover print size gets larger. I don’t think it will be long before I can buy a full frame Canon digital SLR which will outperform the 4×5 for prints up to 16×24.
At that point, it gets hard to see why I’d keep the 4×5; it just doesn’t offer enough of a compelling image quality leap over the digital gear. On the other hand, an 8×10 would be a pretty significant step up – more delivered resolution than 4×5, with lower noise.
So maybe the answer looks more like this: keep the lenses that will cover 8×10. Sell off all the stuff that is strictly 4×5 only. And then, keep an eye out for a good deal on an 8×10 camera that I’d be happy using – like a Toyo 810 M II.