Can I apply PL4 lens corrections when I use a "known" lens on a film camera


At any time, I prefer the controlled (and stainfree !) digital darkroom to different emulsions, variing
developing processes and hoping for the result. → Organizing PL4 on my computer to deal with both analog and digital images - #7 by Wolfgang

But however you decide – have fun with it.

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While I don’t have anything like a Mamiya M645, I do have the option of buying a “wait level finder” that will go on my F4. I’ve never used one - I still have one I bought long ago for my Nikon F2 (I think) but I never mounted it on the camera. Ebay has lotos of them, all around $100.

I think I understand and appreciate what you’re saying - with all my current cameras, I see “what’s in front of me”, and I adjust the framing and composition to make the “shapes” look better. With the waist level viewpoint, it’s more like looking at a “photograph” that I can control before I capture it.

On a 35, I think the image will be right side up, but maybe the other things you mention will still apply.

To be honest, I’m mostly trying to capture what I see, in the best way I can. By moving closer and further away, and right/left, maybe I can start creating an image, before I place my make-believe tripod (my feet) in place. I usually do this, when I’m “hunting” for an image. I don’t always do it when I’m trying to capture what I see.

When I’m using digital, I often take many photos of the same thing, hoping one of them will capture what I want. With film, I tend to take just ONE shot, more carefully composed to be exactly what I want. (…and the above goes out the window, when I’m trying to photograph people or animals - it always seems to take lots of shots until the person/animal looks the way I like. Expressions and body movement are so quick to change, I’m more likely to get a photo I’ll be happy with if I shoot more images. But I prefer taking “landscape” photos, where I have lots of time to get organized. I hope I learn to “see” things more like the way Joanna does, considering not only what’s in front of me, but how I can optimize it (like with the rock!!).

In my opinion, digital is superior to analog when it comes to image quality. If I shoot positive or negative film and then scan it, it is then digital. The original capture, on positive or negative film doesn’t capture any more detail, as far as I have been able to see, than even my old Canon 10d could years ago. As far as the “character” of film, well…digital files can have all of the character added in post and if done skillfully enough, I doubt anyone would be able to pick which image was film and which was a digital capture.

Now…if your main focus is “fun”, then film does offer a fun aspect that digital doesn’t. The excitement of loading the BW film into the developing tank, developing the film, letting it dry then either scanning it or if you are lucky going into the darkroom and printing your own prints…dodging and burning to your hearts content and then watching the image appear on the print in the developer. That is something that digital can’t provide…unless someone invents a small usb powered scent atomizer that can spray the scent of Dektol or stop bath into your face at the correct time intervals…hmmmm…this might be a good idea.


I just read through this discussion, and my head is spinning:

I’'m starting to accept that for an ordinary person, it no longer matters. Diffraction seems to be one of the main culprits. I’ll do the best I can with what I’ve got, but I seriously think the only drawback for shooting film is “instant gratification”. I’ll find out soon enough from my own images.

Thanks for sharing the article. Interesting indeed. I wasn’t even thinking about “scanning” using a digital camera setup. I was only thinking of using a dedicated film scanner or flatbed scanner with film capability.

In the end, if you like shooting film then do it. I like using my old Canon FDn mount 28mm f2.8 prime on my Canon eos R. Is it as sharp as my Tamron 24-70? Not by a long shot. But the experience of using this old manual focus prime is special. It has a feel about it that is special to me. Image quality is ok and has a special way of rendering the colors. I can use PL4 and replicate the colors using any of my other lenses, but that doesn’t do anything for the experience.

I know this will sound a bit crazy, but…shoot yourself happy.

Hi Mike. I’m going to share my opinion on this film vs digital topic - feel free to take it, leave it, or ignore it :sunglasses:

As you know, I have a 5" x 4" film camera, but I also have a Mamiya RZ67 “brick” for studio shots and a Mamiya 7 II rangefinder for walkabout.

When I started with digital photography, I swapped in my Pentax ME Super for a Nikon D100 (6Mpx). The resolution and image quality were acceptable and I found I could get better colour images, easier, than with a film camera. OK for displaying on a monitor but, for larger prints, not that good. Nonetheless, I did make a stunning panoramic by stitching 5 shots and printing it at just over 6ft long using Genuine Fractals to multiply the pixel count. here’s a very small export…

As time passed and the resolution of digital cameras grew, I acquired my present camera - a Nikon D810 (36Mpx)

This was a revelation! All of a sudden, I could make digital images with a resolution that wasn’t far off what I could achieve with my 6cm x 7cm cameras. If I crop the 2:3 framing to 6:7, I get a 28Mpx image, which will easily match anything I can get (in colour) from the Mamiyas, when printed to 24" x 20". Finer grain B & W film would possibly yield more detail than the equivalent digital capture but, so far, even with pixel doubling to print, we send files to Ilford in the UK for them to laser print on silver halide paper to 40" x 32" and the results are nothing short of breathtaking.

In summary, I no longer bother with my 6x7 cameras unless I want to wallow in nostalgia - processing and scanning them is just too much “faff”.

As for “look and feel”, I always shoot Fuji Neopan Acros 100 film and I find that the PhotoLab emulation gives the same tonality and grain structure, well enough to convince me I don’t need to go back to shooting film, scanning it and applying the preset anyway.

I take it you have a lot of 35mm film you would like digitise and archive. I’m not sure why you would bother archiving digital scans; that is so much more difficult than real film, what with having to make backups of backups and facing the possibility of disk failures, file corruption and possible technology change making disks unreadable. I would digitise only the film you want to put online or share and, then, only at 2,400 ppi. More than that really isn’t worthwhile unless you are planning on printing really big for an exhibition.

In summary, my opinion, if you really want to do anything serious with film, don’t bother with 35mm, you’ll be hard pressed to get better results than a digital camera with the same resolution as a medium format film camera. Get a view camera! :crazy_face: Otherwise, get a high-res digital and save the cost and hassle of developing, scanning and de-spotting images to end up with a result that nobody else could tell the difference.


That’s what I’m doing - I have a negative album, and I’ve been going through it looking for images I’d like to show on my Smugmug gallery. I’ve made scanned 50 images at most so far. As for size, SmugMug allows me to post almost any image, and people can view it small, larger, very large, or “full” size, 100%. I was scanning at 7200 dpi, but the files are too large, so I dropped back to 3600. I think I remember you suggesting 2400 some time ago.

I’m not currently doing anything “serious” with anything. I’m doing what I enjoy doing, and I’ve been enjoying shooting film lately. My D750 with 24 megapixels is enough to do anything I’m likely to do, and it’s lighter and easier for me than a D800 or D850 or whatever Nikon is up to.

There’s also the minor issue of I can’t afford to buy a LF view camera, along with the lenses, and everything else I need.

I figure I have more than enough photographic gear, and what needs to improve is me, not the gear.

In a way, what you just wrote sounds like my current fascination with shooting my film cameras. Nostalgia… There is no logical reason I can think of for shooting my F4 when I have a D750.

The reason I drive a Mazda MX-5 Miata is because it’s the closest I can get to driving my old 1960 MGA (but without the constant “issues”). :slight_smile:

In a few months, maybe I’ll be over and done with this, but yes, I enjoy doing it. I can have just as much fun with a $300 (today, $2000 20 years ago) F4, as with a $7,000 new camera. And all that changes from last year’s $7,000 model is the electronics.

…and if I’m going to shoot film, unless film cameras take off like vinyl, what used to be top-of-the-line cameras are very affordable, if others catch on.

(My digital cameras aren’t going anywhere - I’m sure there will be lots of times when I select them over film. Instant gratification, instant email, instant posting… and with help from so many people here, I can now get quite reasonable results!)

(I don’t have clients, I don’t have deadlines, I have all the time in the world, and with Covid keeping me home so much, I am thoroughly involved in photography. And I can’t wait to get back to India!!!)

That is a lovely, spectacular, beautiful photo!!!

I love everything about this photo, the QE2, the boats alongside it, the sky, the background - STUNNING!!!

I guess it’s too large an image to even post online…

Just to give you some idea, here’s a screenshot of a portion of the image at 100%

I never forgot what I had read long ago about “Genuine Fractals”. Do you know if the original software is still available? I suggested the hospital I volunteer at buy the software many years ago, and I think they were overwhelmingly impressed. Back then, as I recall, I couldn’t afford it. Maybe I still can’t afford it, I dunno.

Even without that technical ability, I love the photo, with the city at the left, the ship at the right, and that awesome cloud. How did you stitch the five shots together?

It is still available ON1 Resize 2021 – ON1

Well, the current version is €73,07

Back then (2004) I used Photoshop CS3.

If I need stitching nowadays, I use Affinity Photo. Here’s a 22 shot stitch taken with a Nikon D200 on a Manfrotto panoramic head

That’s a 97Mpx image without resizing. Here’s a screenshot of a detail at 100%

I could ask lots of questions, but the detail speaks for itself regarding stitching. This also looks much sharper than the 100% shot of the QE2.

There are lots of programs that claim to do a re-size. Genuine Fractals did a superb job. Is ON1 Resize 2021 the same as Genuine Fractals long ago? I don’t see how they could have improved it much, compared to the original - just as the “free” version of Nik Collection is just as good as the version DxO is now selling for lots of $$. Maybe I’m wrong.

(I don’t need to resize photos now, but when I get back to India they want to do it to my photos quite often. If they haven’t lost track of it, I think they still use the original Genuine Fractals I suggested they buy.)

I’m no longer sure of anything regarding image quality, but both my Leica M10 and my Nikon D750 have 24 megapixel sensors. I suspect that for a 24x36mm sensor, diffraction might limit me more than the number of pixels. I love your images, but for me, my limit is a full-size image posted on Smugmug. I assume this also requires a rock-steady tripod, a cable release, and a very good (=expensive) lens. I think my Leica lenses are the sharpest lenses I own - every time I’ve done a comparison, my 1960’s Leica lens image was better than the same image from one of my much newer Nikon Lenses. The detail in your 100% shot looks better than anything I have yet been able to do.

(I don’t recall a D200 as being that good in today’s world. Which lens were you using? I think the wonderful quality is much more due to YOU, than to the D200. I haven’t done a “100% crop” in a long time. Maybe I should do it again. What I do know is that when I view my images at 100% on my computer, my old Leica lenses are better than my current crop of regualar Nikon lenses, everything else being equal, but my Nikon Lenses sell for hundreds of dollars now, while Leica lenses are thousands of dollars. I’ll have to try this comparison again.)

That’s because the canal boat image hasn’t been resized. The QE2 image was taken on a 6Mpx camera with a ⅓ overlap so it was roughly a 22Mpx image that has been resized to a 243Mpx image. But, don’t forget that is for viewing at a distance greater than sitting in front of a computer screen.

Well, I have it as part of On1 PhotoRaw 2018, because that used to be the only way to get it then. It certainly does just a good a job as it used to when it was Genuine Fractals.

Diffraction is easily controlled but using the simple rule of always shooting at f/10 if possible, which is the optimum for that sensor or film size.

In which case, you have everything you need in the cameras you have.

For the QE2 shot, it was handheld. I no longer have the EXIF as I have lost the original RAW files in a disk failure.

For the Fettler’s Wharf shot, the tripod, yes - I have a Gitzo 3 series CF. The cable release is just the standard Nikon electronic one. But the lens was only Nikon’s 28-200mm f/3,5-5,6 zoom, which is mediocre at best, but at 50mm, it’s not too bad, especially when you realise that I was losing most of the edge stuff in overlaps. I brought all of the D200 RAW files into PL and used the lens module adjustments to get the best geometry and sharpness, which greatly helped compensate for the fairly naff lens, then I passed the DNG exports to Affinity Photo for stitching and saved the result to a TIFF.

Don’t forget, this image is made from 22 RAW files and is meant to be viewed at a distance, so sharpness isn’t anyway near as critical but ensuring you shoot at f/10 and use PL’s lens modules really helps.

I certainly wouldn’t stand chance of that kind of sharpness if I were scanning 35mm film - 6cm x 7cm is that smallest I would scan. But then, Mamiya lenses are so sharp, they cut your eyeballs :flushed:

It all depends on the choice of lens for Nikon. We have some of their prime lenses: 20mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm and 105mm macro. They are all pretty good for the money and I absolutely love the results from the 85mm, especially for portraiture.

Leica might be good (and expensive) but they needed to be, to get the best out 35mm film. With modern high resolution, full frame, digital cameras, the playing field is a bit more level.

Of course the trend is now moving towards larger 6cm x 4.5cm sensors - something that changes the game completely. If I had the money, I would buy a full Fuji GFX 100 kit and lenses. Oh, and a more powerful computer to cope with processing the images.

For detailled quality information, check out sites like this one:

Fuji and Hasselblad “medium format” camera sensors are 33x44 mm. The “standard” focal lenght for such a sensor is around 55 mm as opposed to the 42 mm of a 24x36 mm sensor.

Ah! I should have checked.

In that case, how dare they call them medium format. They should be called “slightly larger than 35mm and a different shape” format :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

How big do you want your (published) pics to be printed?

checking smugmug’s minimum requirements
for a pic of 43x96 → 2365 x 5280 px

This is truly awful!

They are claiming that they can produce a 43" x 96" print with only 55ppi? Most monitors now run at around 110ppi and most “real world” print shops ask for anything between 240ppi and 300ppi.

I suppose it’ll be OK if you don’t mind walking back about 15 ft to view it.

You’ll not get me sending anything to them for printing.

Well, they promise to do some magic, but that size you don’t look at from 1 1/2 ft anyway. :slight_smile:

That’s easy to answer - in the US, I don’t expect them to be printed at all.
In India, they have taken two of my images and printed them on a special material for mounting on glass, and each was about fifteen feet or so, I would guess - at least ten. Someplace I’ve got a snapshot I made of the finished result completely covering two huge windows.

But to answer your question, I use PL4 to export to disk at full size, no compression.

(And I don’t know how many people are as serious as I am, wanting to see the full size image, like I love doing with images posted here.)

If I were editing an image to be printed, as I did years ago, I would save it in the largest size possible, and let the photo lab work on it as needed for printing.

(I ought to add that I enjoy doing this, even though it’s usually not needed. To me, the most important thing about any photo isn’t about the technical issues - it’s the “image” as it’s seen by someone’s eye. It’s about things that all of you do without consciously thinking about it, which most people with cameras are oblivious to. IMHO.)