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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

 

“Our autobiography is written in our contact sheets,  and our opinion of the world in our selects”  

"Never ever confuse sharp with good, or you will end up shaving with an ice cream cone and licking a razor blade."  

 

Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 

 

Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."

 

I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!

 


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Splitting hairs???
Old 06-27-2018   #1
Bill Pierce
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Splitting hairs???

Is there a connection between horsepower and megapixels? I live in an area without much usable public transportation. Driveways and family garages, by necessity, have multiple parked cars. Some of those cars are expensive, sporty and packed with horsepower, not unlike some expensive and sporty digital cameras that are packed with pixels. But the roads here are without sidewalks and have many blind turns. Anyone going full tilt on them in their high horsepower car is in danger of injuring his neighbor. (Truth is, even when you make it to the big highway, there is enough congestion to keep that high power super engine from fulfilling its potential or even clearing the tar out of its system.)

One of the races in today’s competitive camera market is the megapixel race. And like horsepower, there are situations in which you really can’t take advantage of a lot of megapixels. There are a lot of cameras that come in at 20 to 24 megapixels, giants by yesteryear’s standards, that are sneered at by the owners of 40 to 50 megapixel cameras. OK, what can these modest megapixels do? From 24 megapixel flles I can print a 16.67 inch by 11.111 inch image at 360 ppi without resizing. That’s a relatively large prints at a dpi that lets me press my snout against it to inspect for sharpness. A more conventional 300 ppi yields a print of 20 inches by 13.333 inches. And at any conventional viewing distance you could produce a sharp 240 ppi image that was 25 inches long.

To oversimplify, all things being equal, more megapixels let you make bigger prints. But fewer, larger pixels, give you less noise and greater dynamic range. Sony makes a full frame camera with a 12 megapixel sensor that does an outstanding job in low light. It’s not the number one choice for mural sized prints of architecture, but it does an incredible job with low light movies. When you move into the many megapixel range, the medium format cameras have a slight edge on the full frame cameras. Why? Similar pixel count, but bigger pixels. So, when someone looks at your camera, sneers and says, “I have more pixels than you do.” simply reply, “Yes, but mine are bigger!!!”

And is this splitting hairs? You bet it is. Any thoughts?
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Old 06-27-2018   #2
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It has been said before, we are now at the point that the only reason to "upgrade" is to get more features, not more pixels.

Hell, I was happy at 12MP, in heaven at 16 and 18MP and now at 24MP I'm still happy but really don't see much improvement...at least for the stuff I shoot.
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Old 06-27-2018   #3
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Crystal clear huge prints seems to be the de facto illusion of modern photography; MP numbers are the easiest to associate with "improvement". As you mention, there is a lot more to it than that. It's not splitting hairs provided you know what you want your pictures to look like.

I've seen different exhibits with large, beautiful colour MF film prints, big grainy prints from 35mm, small prints from 35mm, pixelated cell phone pics, huge LF prints, contact LF prints... They all looked great. Happily, I've never encountered a camera nerd while viewing these exhibits, and I've never heard a comment about cameras. People just look at the pictures.
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Old 06-27-2018   #4
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I guess it's all what you're planning on using the camera for. For covering events, where you take lots of pictures, a high megapixel camera just gums up the works as the huge files, in large quantities, really stresses out the post processing, especially portable post processing.

If you're in a studio or taking only a few images, with the expectation of making huge prints, then I can see the advantage of many megapixels, but I don't shoot like that.

My megapixel range is from 12MP to 20MP, and don't have plans for adding anything larger.

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Old 06-27-2018   #5
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My current DSLRs are 24 MP and I'm not really feeling any need for more for the work that I do. I fill up hard drives and M discs fast enough already, and I rarely need to make enormous prints. I have made very sharp 20x24 prints from 16 MP raw files in the past, and I have never needed anything bigger.
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Old 06-27-2018   #6
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You can't split hairs if you cant resolve them.
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Old 06-27-2018   #7
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90 percent of my pictures never leave screensize. If I need a large print the upscaling functions in GIMP is perfect for any size I want.

I am not a member in a pixelpeeping-club. So my old 6MP Fuji is still in use like my 14MP Sony is.
I don´t care about pixels and every one of my cameras is blacked out where the manufacturers have left their marks on

No Pixelrace. No cry.
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Old 06-27-2018   #8
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I am perfectly happy with two 16 megapixel cameras. I can make 10x15 beautiful, sharp prints from my Nikon Df with a number of AI'd Nikkors dating back to the 60's and 70's. I do on occasion yearn for 24 megapixel D3X or 36 megapixel D810, but then I'd would also need to buy a bigger printer, too.
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Old 06-27-2018   #9
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Depends on what the final use is. In the past I've asked a number of my art director/graphic designer colleagues what the largest file is that they'd need for a magazine cover, and the general consensus is that it's about a 30-35mb RGB TIFF file. Even a 6mp Nikon D70 can almost give you that, so the 72mb RGB TIFF files from my 16.2mp D4 are already overkill for them.

Not sure how many of us are making 'big' prints (certainly not me!). 11"x16" is generally my max. Besides, I don't have the room to store a bunch of 40"x60" prints.

Mind you, I did have a couple of billboards done for Hampton Inn a number of years ago, and as I recall the file sizes were 23mb. They looked really good too! Of course that was from 300 feet away
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Old 06-27-2018   #10
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Just replaced one of my 12 MP Nikon D3. 800 and 800E have more MP but not the joy to use. Leica digital RF are fine as is.

Need more MP? Stitch a pano or up rez with new Photoshop algorithm in CC only and high siera.

I hit a wall on new cameras.
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Old 06-27-2018   #11
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So all the guys with the 50 megapixel cameras are are obviously out there searching for the photographic equivalent of the autobahn.
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Old 06-27-2018   #12
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Bill,

I think the print sizes you mentioned (13.33x20 at 300 and 16.66x25 at 240), for better or for worse, fall in the small to medium category today. I don't know which came first, high megapixels or large prints, but if you want to print large (I am speaking of prints commonly seen in galleries today not billboards), or have room to crop, then you are well served by the 40-50 megapixel and medium format digital cameras. Fortunately, I tend to print small (10x15) and crop little, so 24MP work s fine for me.
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Old 06-27-2018   #13
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I see a ongoing failure in the description what megapixels mean in the photography in general.

Only the pictures for close viewing and showing lots of details benefit from the high resolution of xx megapixel sensors.
There is no relation between big prints and the amount of megapixels the original camera has had.
It is not necessary to use a manymegapixelcamera if someone wants to print
a big picture for showing it as a whole one.
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Old 06-27-2018   #14
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I have lost any hair to split.

When I get a haircut, they charge me $15.00 just to find it!

Seriously, I really don’t think about such things as size or number or whatever on my camera. I had a wonderful associate photographer who, when asked, had to look to see what camera she was using. We used more than one camera at each gig. We were more concerned about what is in front of the camera.

The nameplate on a car or other qualities like horsepower, I’m not interested. However a well made and a car with a long trouble free life, that’s for me. I once owned a 1986 Toyota Corolla that was driven for 16 years and never had to go to the dealer or garage for repair. The last to use it was my son who drove it home one day and said, “Dad, the car still runs great but when I drive and there are puddles of water on the roads I travel, I get my pants wet!”
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Old 06-27-2018   #15
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More megapixels the better for me!

My current camera has 42 MP, my previous one was 36 MP. Both are too small and can barely print A1 size (about 33 in. wide) - larger, and print quality drops. Most of my exhibition prints are A2 to A1 size.

My ideal resolution would be about 80 MP, but I can’t afford a medium-format camera.

Viewing distance is a myth. Anyone who sees a large print will step back to take it in, then walk right up to a few inches. So, a print needs to pin sharp both near and far, regardless of its size.

Here’s a few of my prints in an exhibition printed A1 size.
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Old 06-27-2018   #16
Bill Pierce
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
Bill,

I think the print sizes you mentioned (13.33x20 at 300 and 16.66x25 at 240), for better or for worse, fall in the small to medium category today. I don't know which came first, high megapixels or large prints, but if you want to print large (I am speaking of prints commonly seen in galleries today not billboards), or have room to crop, then you are well served by the 40-50 megapixel and medium format digital cameras. Fortunately, I tend to print small (10x15) and crop little, so 24MP work s fine for me.
I think you are right when it comes to many gallery exhibitions of contemporary photographers. Earlier works, not so much. Often, when I look at giant prints I wonder if that picture would be as impressive if reduced in size to one of Edward Weston's contact prints. Recently I made a very big print of a picture of my dog. It really impressed everybody but my wife, who treasures her wall space, and my dog who doesn't really respond to two dimensional works. I lean towards agreeing with my wife and dog.
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Old 06-27-2018   #17
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I recently had a 1/2 frame crop of an image taken with my lowly 18mp MM printed 20x30 inch, that's effectively from a 9mp resolution file. Someone with more experience than me was scrutinizing the print up close searching for artifacts in the print and he couldn't find any.

If someone feels better about himself with more horsepower, more cylinders, wider tires and lower suspension ...or more mp's, knock yourself out. Be my guest.

The simple figure of mp's doesn't equal image quality, only the potential for it.
And yes, a boring image doesn't get better with higher resolution either.
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Old 06-27-2018   #18
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One of the most memorable exhibitions I've seen was photography by Man Ray. Some of the prints were contact size--2x3 inches matted in 16x20 frames. And Edward Weston's 8x10 contact prints floored me. But Herman Leonard's photo of Dexter Gordon printed huge was very impressive although it was also impressive when printed on the LP cover.

My opinion obviously doesn't matter to gallery owners but the dominating size of huge prints become visually fatiguing after a short time.
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Old 06-27-2018   #19
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My daily ride for now is 15 years old, 100CAD back then Triumph, made in Canada bicycle. But some parts were replaced due to wear and damages. We have bike lanes and walking trails throughout of all town. We have Velodrome and people riding on bicycles on rural roads all year around. I think, it is luxury of living. And I'm glad to pay property taxes for it. I'm looking forward to keep going on it in winter as long as they not dumping salt like crazy (it is above 0 C and bellow -15 C )
For now, I ride it across ex-farmed fields turned into developing sides to take pictures of centuries old oaks before they are killed. I do it on one dudepower bicycle and it doesn't matter how many horsepower someone else has. They are not allowed to drive where.

Back then, one of our family vehicles in Moscow was Lada Niva. No horse power at all but constant 4WD.
Because of this it has no wheels spinning off the red light and it was going faster than special Merc editions which are more common in Moscow than Lada Niva.

If I'll get a chance, our next family vehicle is going to be 100% electrical, but not 120K$ Tezla.


In terms of photography, most organic low and to 1600 ISO I ever seen came from Canon 5D 12MP camera.
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Old 06-27-2018   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichC View Post
More megapixels the better for me!

Viewing distance is a myth. Anyone who sees a large print will step back to take it in, then walk right up to a few inches. So, a print needs to pin sharp both near and far, regardless of its size.
People do that with paintings too--step back and then inspect it closely. They look closely to see the brush strokes. Seems like these people might appreciate the pixel density of the photographic print from up close. Maybe not.
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Old 06-28-2018   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogman View Post
People do that with paintings too--step back and then inspect it closely. They look closely to see the brush strokes. Seems like these people might appreciate the pixel density of the photographic print from up close. Maybe not.
I step forward to view after a wide viewing. It’s not to inspect quality but to take a more deliberate look at certain parts of the image.

I think prints in the 8x10 range are viewed at a natural distance , but once they go bigger we tend to go in for a more intimate look. I think all prints end up being viewed at the 2ft range regardless of print size, it’s just a natural “close up” distance.
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Old 06-28-2018   #22
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I did a print test last week to help me, hopefully, get away from the megapixel race. Using 17x22 paper, I made prints from uncropped files from the Sigma SD Quattro H APS-H sensor (some say its files are equivalent to a 45Mp bayer-based file), Nikon Df 16Mp full frame sensor, Panasonic GX85 16Mp m4/3 sensor, and a Canon Powershot S90 10Mp 1/1.7" sensor.

All but the Canon looked the same to my eye... equally detailed and accurate. The Canon looked soft. BUT... the Canon image, an indoor still life, is the most beautiful to my eye. And its the one my wife wants to put up on the wall.

So I'm done chasing big Mp numbers. 16 Mp is plenty. Even if I wanted to have a huge 30-inch wide print made, I wouldn't hesitate. The image might be a bit soft at close inspection, but if the subject matter, light, and color are beautiful, the number and size of pixels don't matter. And that's what photography has always been about. If you're looking at a photograph in a gallery with friends and all you're talking about is the sharpness and size of the image, its probably not a very interesting photograph. :-)
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Old 06-28-2018   #23
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A lot depends on the subject, and besides, camera shake is far more important than most people think. Without a tripod and first-class lens, probably even 16 Mp is overkill. The "one over focal length" rule for hand-holding is often more demanding than you need for extreme wide-angles (21mm and wider) and nothing like rigorous enough for long lenses (135mm and longer). And of course, even this rule of thumb applies only to 24x36mm: smaller formats demand shorter exposures and bigger formats allow longer ones.

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Old 06-28-2018   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
...So, when someone looks at your camera, sneers and says, “I have more pixels than you do.” simply reply, “Yes, but mine are bigger!!!”

And is this splitting hairs? You bet it is. Any thoughts?
Internet discussions are suitable to promote such phrases until it is splitting hairs.
People see cameras and reviews only virtual and the discussion stays virtual.
"In hand" and while photographing there is a lot to discover that has nothing to do with chip- and pixelsize.
But the amount of people who never reach this stage is enormous in the web.
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Old 06-28-2018   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
A lot depends on the subject, and besides, camera shake is far more important than most people think. Without a tripod and first-class lens, probably even 16 Mp is overkill. The "one over focal length" rule for hand-holding is ... nothing like rigorous enough for long lenses ...
Quite. I've just finished photographing the lost River Fleet, walking about 500 miles through north London to the Thames - and used a tripod for every shot (as well as carrying kitchen steps to get elevated views!). I don't know what other photographer do - I saw many others with "serious" cameras over those miles but very, very few tripods. I couldn't guarantee sharpness without a tripod at my shooting ISO of 100-200 and aperture of f11-16 ... granted I only took photos on overcast days, never when sunny. In fact, the shutter speed was often so low as to be impossible to hand hold without shake.

Also, another situation where 1 over focal length invariably fails miserably is for prints larger than about A4 (~10 in.) - as do depth of scale markings.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned so far is that, yes, often 16 MP say - or fewer - is plenty but when you do need a lot of pixels, there's no substitute for size! When someone loves a photo of yours and wants a big but sharp picture for their magazine or lounge wall, when your lens is too short to reach your subject so you need to crop...

And, unlike driving a car with loads of horsepower, no one will jail you (yet) for using all your megapixels on occasion! It's good to have something in reserve.

Fleet Place:



River Fleet outflow, Blackfriars:

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Old 06-28-2018   #26
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I print in two sizes: one is 13x19 1/2 image size on 18x24 sheet for a hand holdable print; and the other is 20x30 image size on 24x30 that is meant to be framed as an exhibition print.

I will say that so far 16 MP from my Monochrom is more than enough resolution, and that 24 MP from a SL also serves me well.

The thing I want to add here is the two print sizes I do represent two very different experiences. The hand held print on rag is not only a tactile exprience, but also an intimate experience. The interaction of the viewer is very different than viewing an exhibition print hanging on the wall.

On my large prints is a billboard like effect that draws a person in from afar. The viewing distance in this manner is very dynamic, and the print changes depending on angle and distance that invites the viewer to approach. Understand that closer inspection reveals more and more detail, and because of scale there are more details to see. Don't ever underestimate that viewers will take a "macro" look and nose-up into a print.

A dramatic display of this effect can be seen by visiting the Prado in Madrid and moving around viewing Valezquez's "Las Maninas." At about twice the diagonal something rather profound happens which is the optimum viewing distance, but you will observe viewers "nosing-up" to experience the fine detail, even in this mural sized work.

I will also say that the size and scale of a print effectively changes. In a larger print (B&W in my case) the smaller print has a voice that is more related to contrast, but in a larger print this very same contrast will become diluted and the midrange will be the dominant voice of the image. Also in the larger print a lot more tiny detail and texture will become evident that is not displayed in the smaller print. I also think my larger prints display more depth.

So for those that dismiss a large print understand that scale and size do matter a lot to the experience of the viewer, and for me the larger prints open up to display a much broader tonality and reveals a lot more fine detail that cannot be seen in a smaller print.

That said, the quality of small format cameras is such that it can transcend format, at least in B&W. Salgado did this with the decade long body of work called "Genesis," but he had the best lab in Paris at his disposal. Today the technology is here for a guy like me to get similar results without having Salgado's lab in Paris.

Big prints don't lie, and big prints is where I'm able to transcend format to get medium and I dare say even large format like results.

As far as splitting hairs, like a large format shooter I maximize everything at time of image capture. I use filters to record my contrast, instead of adding it in post. I basically minimize post processing to minimize noise and digital artifact. I also use "Heliopan" filters marked "Digital" that has additional IR and UV filters built in to minimize unwanted signal that is not visual information that is otherwise "noise."

I think the point of a ultra-high MP camera is to record more information, so unless it is needed/required it would get wasted. Also a level of perfection is required in the work flow as to not compromise the added resolution. Pretty much not for most photographers, but mighty useful to some. I for one might find useful a 50 MP small format camera, but I will still keep my Monochrom and SL.

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Old 06-28-2018   #27
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In the end, what is in the frame is more important than anything else. Camera producers will add something 'new' every six months because their shareholders demand increased market share and rising stock value. Today, it's pixels, back lit sensors, in-camera stabilization, and tomorrow it'll be something else 'new'. For anyone interested in the birth of the consumer society, I recommend ''The Fifties'' by David Halberstam.
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Old 06-28-2018   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichC View Post
M...

Viewing distance is a myth. Anyone who sees a large print will step back to take it in, then walk right up to a few inches. So, a print needs to pin sharp both near and far, regardless of its size...
yup. No matter what I display at my gallery - paintings, sculptures, photography - the customers look at them from any distance they please.
"Viewing distance" is used by those who feel the image would be better with more resolution.

If the artist does not care if pixels are seen up close, then they do not matter.
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MTF 50, Perceived Sharpness and Pixel Pitch
Old 06-28-2018   #29
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MTF 50, Perceived Sharpness and Pixel Pitch

This link references a blog post that relates pixel pitch to perceived sharpness.

It's no surprise that "It turns out the spatial frequencies that are most closely related to our perception of sharpness vary with the size and viewing distance of the displayed image".

A system MTF of ~ 90 yields optimum perceived sharpness. Here MTF does not refer to the lens optics alone, but the entire system characteristics.

While the link specifically addresses screen viewing, the principles apply to prints as well.

A post exists on another forum [1] that extends this approach to estimate the effect of pixel pitch on print perceived sharpness at a viewing distance of 2 meters. The calculations indicate 24 X 36 mm, APS-C and M4/3 formats all could have have sufficient pixel pitch (at least 6 um) to support A1 and 24 X 35" print sizes. Increased sensor area is an advantage because pixel pitch can be higher when MP count is held constant. But more MP on a larger sensor could give the same perceived sharpness (based on the system MFT) as a smaller sensor with less MP. In other words, the pixel pitch for both sensors would be equal.

1. In the past links to this forum have resulted in censored posts, so the reader will have to trust that I did not make this up.
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Old 06-28-2018   #30
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There is no relation between big prints and the amount of megapixels the original camera has had.
This is simply wrong. You do not understand the relationships between print size, pixel dimensions and pixels per inch.
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Old 06-28-2018   #31
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In business, when a client, with the size usually determined during a pre-event meeting, the set up was very different than making pj photographs. Most of these were made at the event location. I found I needed to treat such a photograph as if it was going to be made in my studio. This, the set up, I found was as important, if not more important, than the camera used. The largest print I sold was a 40 x 30. And they all, even though rare, came out beautifully.
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Old 06-28-2018   #32
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This link references a blog post that relates pixel pitch to perceived sharpness.
I am wary of formulas for sharpness that rely on viewing distance for determining sharpness. They generally address adequacy. For my work, I aspire to more than adequacy. I want my prints to be sharp, not just appear sharp at a certain distance. When I go to a gallery, I notice that people look at images from a variety of distances. I always look at prints from a normal viewing distance as well as up close. Details can be important.
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Old 06-28-2018   #33
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. . . Often, when I look at giant prints I wonder if that picture would be as impressive if reduced in size to one of Edward Weston's contact prints. . . .
Dear Bill,

You are no doubt aware of the saying: "If you can't make it good, make it big."

Cheers,

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Old 06-28-2018   #34
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This is simply wrong. You do not understand the relationships between print size, pixel dimensions and pixels per inch.
So - how do you think big prints from small photos or paintings are made?
Be sure I understand the relations but they simply doesn´t matter here.
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Old 06-28-2018   #35
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Dear Bill,

You are no doubt aware of the saying: "If you can't make it good, make it big."

Cheers,

R.
Yes, but I always thought it applied to steak vs meat loaf. You have opened a whole new train of photographic thought for me.
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Old 06-29-2018   #36
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I am wary of formulas for sharpness that rely on viewing distance for determining sharpness.
...
However, people have no choice but to view them from some distance.

Distance is a significant variable. But it is only one variable.

So I agree that considering distance alone or thinking distance is the most important factor is incomplete.

A magazine cover has a limited system MFT compared to a very large high-quality fine art landscape print. For the former the typical viewing distance will be closer than the later.

Sally Mann's wet-plate, collodion process prints are very large but the system MFT is very low. Decreasing the viewing distance has little advantage because the inherent visual resolution [1] is low.

Then there's billboards.

1. Visual resolution is defined in the ISO 12233:2000 standard.
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Old 06-29-2018   #37
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If the artist does not care if pixels are seen up close, then they do not matter.
It may also be that the artist accepts that the image will have different qualities to be seen at different distances. There can be a beauty... uh, an aesthetic quality in grain structure as rendered in a print. AND an aesthetic quality in the representational image. A print may allow for both. The transition between these extremes can also be part of the experience of the work.

This is very common and accepted in paintings. Not sure why so many photographers freak out at it in photos.
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Old 06-29-2018   #38
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It may also be that the artist accepts that the image will have different qualities to be seen at different distances. There can be a beauty... uh, an aesthetic quality in grain structure as rendered in a print. AND an aesthetic quality in the representational image. A print may allow for both. The transition between these extremes can also be part of the experience of the work.

This is very common and accepted in paintings. Not sure why so many photographers freak out at it in photos.
Not happy with this.

As John Szarkowski, former director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, pointed out, photography is not painting. What makes photography special are 5 qualities that are unique in combination:

• The Thing Itself (i.e. its connection to reality)
• The Detail
• The Frame
• Time
• The Vantage Point.

If you're not foregrounding all of these as a photographer, you're doing it wrong. If you're trying to make paintings, just be a painter!

The first two are especially important and peculiar to photography – and make it entirely different from, say, painting. If you're deliberately breaking photography's connection with reality and to depicting detail such by blurring or being into grain ...take up painting!

Lee Friedlander wrote:
“I only wanted Uncle Vern standing by his new car (a Hudson) on a clear day. I got him and the car. I also got a bit of Aunt Mary’s laundry, and Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on a fence, and a row of potted tuberous begonias on the porch and 78 trees and a million pebbles in the driveway and more. It's a generous medium, photography."

And this why a photograph needs to be pin sharp at both 5 feet and 5 inches.
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Old 06-29-2018   #39
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Categorizing is often splitting hairs.

What is when photographs look like paintings and paintings have so much details that they look like photographs?
Both are not good?
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Old 06-29-2018   #40
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Not happy with this.

As John Szarkowski, former director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, pointed out, photography is not painting. What makes photography special are 5 qualities that are unique in combination:

• The Thing Itself (i.e. it's connection to reality)
• The Detail
• The Frame
• Time
• The Vantage Point.

If you're not foregrounding all of these as a photographer, you're doing it wrong. If you're trying to make paintings, just be a painter!

The first two are especially important and peculiar to photography – and make it entirely different from, say, painting. If you're deliberately breaking photography's connection with reality and to depicting detail such by blurring or being into grain ...take up painting!

Lee Friedlander wrote:
“I only wanted Uncle Vern standing by his new car (a Hudson) on a clear day. I got him and the car. I also got a bit of Aunt Mary’s laundry, and Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on a fence, and a row of potted tuberous begonias on the porch and 78 trees and a million pebbles in the driveway and more. It's a generous medium, photography."

And this why a photograph needs to be pin sharp at both 5 feet and 5 inches.
Does pin sharp mean in focus or out of focus?
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