So, this week I took the opportunity to try out a Mamiya m645 1000s medium format film camera. I got a 70mm f/2.8 "standard" lens, as well as a 150mm "portrait" lens. I ran one roll of fresh Kodak Ektar 100 film through it.
I wanted to do a head to head comparison of 6x4.5mm film vs my Canon 6D full frame 20Mp digital to see if there is truly any sort of magical quality to the film pictures that I could not replicate with digital. For the pictures where I used the 70mm Mamiya lens on the m645, I used my EF 50/1.8 "nifty fifty" on my 6D. For the pictures taken with the 150mm Mamiya lens, I used a Tamron 70-200/2.8 Di VC USD with the zoom set to 90mm on the 6D.
I was honestly rooting for film as I wanted to be able to point to it's wider dynamic range and smooth bokeh as advantages..... BUT.... sadly it did not. I'm pretty sure it's more a matter of the quality of the 35 year old Mamiya glass and not so much the film's fault, but in every way my digital pictures were better by any objective measurement.
Just for fun though I thought I'd share the comparison shots here for your amusement!
I was under the impression that you could see more in the shadows without blowing out the highlights on film, but as you can see here, the digital actually did a better job of showing both the darks and the brights.
I was also under the impression that medium format film would produce significantly more bokeh than 35mm, but alas as long as you shoot the equivalent focal length and aperture, the bokeh looks the same.
I had the film negatives professionally developed and scanned at the highest possible resolution which yielded a 48Mp file, which I thought would mean more detail and sharpness, but as you can see, the digital picture has more of both
The Ektar film does indeed have vibrant colors, but with a minimum of post production work, I could make the digital file look the same if I so desired.
the ramblings, musings, and tinkerings of Minsan Sauers.