The one thing I had a hard time finding in all of my research before upgrading to Medium Format was real world head to head comparisons with 35mm. Yeah you get a lot of studio shots with color checkers and other objects and you can compare focus yada yada yada. But what about a blue sky with green grass and sunlight and shadows. Thats what really matters to me. So here is the first of hopefully a few posts (god knows it took me way to long to get to this one), showing the real world comparisons of 35mm v Medium Format.
My first test was at the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, home of the National World War I Museum and an iconic structure of the Kansas City Landscape.
The Gear: the Arca Swiss RM3di with a PhaseOne 60 Mega Pixel Back and a 35mm Schneider lens vs a Canon 5D Mark III with the 24 TSE II.
One of the first things you will notice in the two images above is the different aspect ratios. The Phase One shoots a 4:3 whereas the Canon shoots a 3:2. While I accidentally may have had the Canon framed a little more to the left than the Arca Swiss you will notice that both images cover the same distance on the horizon.. however there is more room vertically with the Arca Swiss image.
This is a post about focus so lets get down to the nitty gritty and take a look at some pixels. Below we have two images in a slider format. If you click and drag the blue bar in the middle you can drag it right and left to see the images stacked. The Canon is at 100% and the Arca Swiss image is zoomed in 64%. Pay close attention to the text at the base of the monument, the Logo Stinson on the high-rise off in the distance, and the detail of the grain of the stone is also something to note.
Both the images were processed in Capture One. Almost all adjustments were identical minus the vignette, the Canon has a -1 stop vignette whereas the Arca Swiss naturally had some light falloff that I didn’t correct for so the sky which makes it a bit darker, there is also more sky so it appears even darker.
The tonality is also something to mention as to me the Phase One capture looks better to me. I matched color off of the stone of the memorial and the greens so the sky in the Canon went a little green for me. The 16 bit capture from the Phase back produced better color out of the box than the Canon (14 bit).
Heres a fun fact.. 14 bit capture is capable of producing 4 Trillion Tones. 16 bit capture is capable of 280 Trillion tones. http://tinyurl.com/ksomksq