Shooting a 300-Megapixel Photo: Film vs Digital

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For a recent project, I was tasked with shooting a hot rod. It was exciting from the beginning, because this particular kind of car is pretty rare here where I live. The owner also requested that their dog sit on the car’s fender, and for the photos to be huge — 100 megapixels were too few.

Three times that is the minimum needed for the print the owner wanted. A digital medium format camera can give you 100 megapixels with one shot. These cameras are not that easy to rent where I am, and they are very expensive too.

My solution was to do a stitched panorama digitally with a Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 100mm Macro, and the Nodalninja. Additionally, I shot analog as well with my large format camera, a Linhof Master Technika with Kodak Portra 160 VC.

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A stitched panorama with a dog in the picture — is that a joke? Nope, I just had to use the right frame for the dog. The harder part was shooting the picture with the Linhof Master Technika. I had only 1/18th of a second at f/11. But luckily the dog was very calm and patient enough, so I only had to use 4 sheet films to get the job done.

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Both cameras delivered enough resolution in the end — each photo was about 300 megapixels. The Linhof with only one shot (and a high-end scan from the shop) and Canon with 24 separate shots.

After some hours of work, I finished both versions (I had to do a lot of post processing, because the grass was not even, the grill was full of flies, the inspection plate was disturbing in the windshield, one tire had a funny color and the tire treads were full of grass and stones).

Here’s the finished digital photo:

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Here’s the finished analog photo:

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If you’d like to pixel peep, here’s a comparison of a few 100% crops from the images:

Digital

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Film

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Digital

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Film

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Digital

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Film

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The customer ended up choosing the analog version — the look fits the car so much better. I’m also pretty sure that similar cameras were used when the car was originally released.


About the author: Markus Hofstaetter is a photographer who enjoys life and meeting people around the world. You can connect with him and find more of his work on his website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This article was also published here.

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