DIY Extremely-Excessive-Res Digital Images with a Giant Format Digital camera

In 2014, I began my undertaking Applied Metaphysics – Ground Truth on exemplary nonetheless life. The aim was to supply very giant prints (2 to 9 sq. meters and extra) at a excessive decision so that folks might have a look at them very intently.

The concept was that the sheer quantity of element in every picture and the immersive means of taking a look at them was elementary for conveying the interior essence of issues at a hyper-realistic stage that transcended regular imaginative and prescient.

The picture measurement you want for such giant print sizes is well computed. A 300dpi (dot per inch) print decision is a 118dpc (dot per centimeter) decision. So, ideally, for a 2×2 meter print, you want (200cm * 118dpc) 2 pixels = 558MP. You’ll be able to nonetheless get print at 200dpi: on this case, you solely want 248MP.

The issue was that no digital digital camera present then (or now) supplied such a excessive decision. To unravel this drawback, I wanted to tinker and I went on an unusual highway. By the way in which, tinkering with contraptions is one thing most painters, together with Dürer, Vermeer, and many others., did by perfecting the digital camera obscura idea and different drawing units. So, I felt I used to be in good firm.

A 2×2 meter print
A element with my ugly mug for measurement reference.
The complete picture scaled for video: it’s a 278 MP picture, 1.1 GB TIFF file.
A 26x26cm portion of the identical picture at 300 dpi.

The Resolution at a Look

These conversant in panoramic pictures know that one can receive very giant pictures, even gigapixel pictures, by utilizing a panoramic head that lets you shoot a lot of small pictures which might be later recombined by software program right into a single giant picture. Every of the small pictures behaves like a mosaic tile.

Whereas pano heads are nice for a lot topics like landscapes, they don’t work fairly nicely for closeups, just like the nonetheless life I needed to {photograph}. The primary motive is the parallax error, brought on by the movement and rotation of the digital camera.

Discarding the comfort of a robotic pano head I had used relatively extensively for different tasks, the answer I devised was to make use of a digital digital camera (particularly a 16MP APS-C Sony NEX-6 digital camera) mounted on the again of a Sinar 4×5 monorail.

The coupling of a digital digital camera to a big format digital camera has been recently discussed in other articles. The strategies proposed mainly use the big format digital camera as a lens system positioned in entrance of the digital digital camera to shoot a single picture. Whereas this technique can yield attention-grabbing outcomes, it actually falls wanting the potentialities and it’s not an answer for the issue at hand.

As an alternative of taking a single image, I used the actions supplied by the again of the monorail, particularly rise and shift (extra on this later), to supply a mosaic panorama that may encompass greater than 60 pictures. As soon as I captured the mosaic pictures, I produced the ultimate picture by composing them via panorama software program, such because the one offered by Photoshop, or PtGui or GIMP. The composition of those pictures can yield remaining pictures bigger than 400MP with relatively cheap tools.

A 500+MP picture (3.5+ GB TIFF file).
A 1:1 portion of the above picture. 27x16cm 300 dpi.

A Primer on Giant Format Monorails

For these not conversant in view cameras, and monorails particularly, some clarification is likely to be so as. It is a Sinar P1 monorail:

A Sinar P1 monorail

It’s a quite simple digital camera composed of:

1. Two Requirements. The entrance commonplace holds a lens, and the again or rear one normally holds the movie and/or the bottom glass for focusing and composing the picture. On this case, a digital digital camera is related to the again as a substitute.

2. Bellows. This hyperlinks the 2 requirements, that may be prolonged or compressed, in response to the gap between the 2 requirements that varies to permit focusing.

3. The Rail (on this case a single rail, i.e. a monorail). This enables the motion to and from in each requirements for focusing.

What makes this apparently primitive digital camera attention-grabbing is the truth that these requirements can transfer alongside three axes they usually can tilt and swing.

Digital camera actions

The above photograph exhibits the rear commonplace actions: horizontally (that is known as a shift), vertically (that is known as an increase or a fall), and at last inclined with respect to the vertical axis (tilt) and inclined with respect to the horizontal axis (swing).

I’ll defer the dialogue on tilt and swing, and focus on the opposite actions supplied by the rear commonplace. By shifting the again (on which the digital camera is mounted) left to proper and high to backside, we’re in a position to shoot parts (mosaic pictures) of the big picture produced by the digital camera lens. To wit, it’s simply as if we photographed parts of the picture proven on the bottom glass (however with out the bottom glass). We aren’t shifting the lens and consequently there is no such thing as a parallax error. That’s it.

Execs and Cons

Why do you have to waste your time with this method, when there are high-resolution cameras on the market? Admittedly, this methodology requires you to shoot tens of pictures and transfer the rear commonplace accordingly: a tedious, error-prone activity, an train in endurance even.

As well as, you should utilize this methodology for stationary topics solely with, ideally, managed lighting. So, nonetheless life, product pictures, inside pictures. No portraits. As for landscapes, I believe {that a} computerized pano head is likely to be extra handy.

Nevertheless, no present digital cameras attain the decision we want, and the upper decision cameras available in the market (100+MP) will set you again $10,000 or extra. I began with the next tools:

1. A Sinar F1 monorail. 300 euro on eBay together with transport.
2. A 150mm Eskofot reprographic lens. 17 euro on eBay, together with transport.
3. A 3D-printed adapter for my Sony digital camera. 20 euro.

All this for the princely sum of 337 euro (lower than $400, on the present alternate charge). That is lower than an entry-level digital camera.

There’s one other benefit over high-resolution digital cameras and it’s the management of the main focus aircraft. With a digital camera with a standard lens, the main focus aircraft is parallel to the sensor. If you wish to enhance the depth of subject of your picture (one thing you normally must do within the current context as a result of not often you want high-resolution out-of-focus pictures), you’ll be able to solely shut your diaphragm. However you are able to do that solely to some extent, after which diffraction kicks in and makes your picture as blurred as a pinhole picture.

An excellent Austrian Military Captain, Theodor Scheimpflug, patented a technique in 1904 to maneuver the main focus aircraft in order that it doesn’t must be parallel to the sensor. This implies you can select the aircraft of focus in such a means that objects, distant amongst themselves, will be in focus even with an open diaphragm. The Scheimpflug precept is relatively concerned (simply because the identify implies) however you will discover glorious tutorials on-line. It mainly works with tilts and swings, and it was used to shoot the picture under, wherein the whole lot is in focus.

Scheimpflug precept utilized: the whole lot is in focus

If you’re focused on capturing with giant format movie, you’ll discover it relatively intimidating: the educational curve is steep, movie is dear and, if you don’t develop it your self, you’ll see your blunders a number of days after. Not one of the best ways to study. My methodology makes studying a lot easier and quicker. I do know, as a result of that’s how I discovered to shoot giant format movie.

A phrase of warning. In 2011, I purchased my Sony NEX-5 as a result of mirrorless appeared the plain option to go, but in addition to save lots of on lenses and use my previous Canon FD lenses. I ended up having an arsenal of lenses from Leica to Zeiss, and many others. I perceive I’m not the one one and in reality, there may be even an acronym for this: GAS, or gear acquisition syndrome.

The lenses you’ll be able to mount on a big format digital camera return to the nineteenth century, with an infinite selection and totally different drawing kinds. Beware!

The photograph exhibits a high-resolution picture captured with the legendary Cooke triplet (1896), the primary fashionable lens, right here in its second model.

Capturing with a nineteenth century lens – Cooke triplet.

Ideas and Tips

Earlier than you rush and purchase the tools, let me provide you with just a few phrases of recommendation.

The big format digital camera. There’s quite a few variations on the theme. You want a digital camera with ample rear actions. This guidelines out subject cameras (gentle cameras you’ll be able to take round). I exploit Sinar monorails, as proven within the photograph above. They’re sturdy, extremely modular and they’re simple to search out used at an affordable worth, as they have been the usual in giant format.

I’d advise utilizing the P sequence relatively than the F sequence as a result of the P (P1 or P2, P3 is for digital backs) sequence options geared motion that may be very exact. The bellows you see in my digital camera is the usual bellows and it tends to be relatively inflexible. You would possibly need to take into account a bag bellow that permits simpler actions. Lastly, giant format cameras are available in numerous movie sizes, from 4×5” to eight×10” and bigger. I counsel utilizing a 4×5” digital camera: lighter, inexpensive, and greater than enough for the duty.

The lens. I usually use lenses from 150mm to 360mm. To have an concept of the sphere of view as in comparison with full body, simply divide the focal size by 3: a 150mm lens has roughly the identical subject of view as a 50mm lens in full body, i.e. a standard lens. I discovered that reprographic lenses are glorious (they have been used for demanding copy duties just like the manufacturing of maps) and cheap as a result of they don’t have a shutter (and you do not want one, since you are utilizing the one in your digital digital camera).

The digital digital camera. Not all digital cameras are appropriate. The sensor in your digital camera is just not mounted, because it ideally needs to be, on the floor, however roughly deep within the digital camera. In entrance of the sensor, you could have the bayonet that’s used to mount interchangeable lenses.

Why is that this related? If you’re within the very heart of the general picture, gentle rays targeted by the taking lens are perpendicular to the sensor, and you don’t have any issues. However, as quickly as you progress from the middle and extra markedly on the sides of the general picture, gentle rays grow to be indirect and there’s a giant likelihood that mosaic pictures vignette (i.e. have a black portion) as a result of the digital camera physique or the bayonet intercept the rays. Clearly, the extra recessed the sensor is, the earlier and extra dramatic vignetting happens. So, reflex cameras aren’t really helpful.

The mix of bayonet measurement and adapter size can even produce vignetting. With the Sony tools I’m utilizing, the small Sony bayonet makes utilizing full body cameras relatively troublesome. Conversely, Sony APS-C cameras don’t vignette. The Nikon Z, with its 55mm bayonet diameter and a flange distance of 18mm, could have an edge over Sony (44.5mm and 20mm), however I’ve not examined it. Additionally, it is likely to be a good suggestion to make use of Sony full body cameras in APS-C mode, eliminating vignetting however retaining the superior rendering of the sensor.

The adapter. One of many benefits of the Sinar monorail is that you should utilize a lens board (a metallic sq. with a gap within the center the place lenses are mounted) within the again. Mounting a digital digital camera means constructing an adapter and glue it or (higher) screw it to the board, as proven within the Sinar P1 monorail photograph above. Adapters will be simply constructed by 3D printing. You’ll find an adapter for Sony cameras, that you must modify barely, at Thingiverse.

The tripod. Giant format monorails are for use with a sturdy tripod with a succesful head. I exploit a Manfrotto 058B/Bogen 3251. Fairly costly new, however you will discover nice offers on used ones.

Easy methods to shoot. It goes with out saying that you have to shoot in guide. Keep in mind that, though you’re capturing quite a few mosaic pictures, you’re actually capturing a single, total picture. So, for greatest outcomes, don’t use daylight if it could abruptly change. You do not want costly lights, nonetheless: the pictures you see have been produced utilizing a single 100w incandescent gentle bulb, mounted on a reasonable IKEA pantograph.

First, set your white steadiness by utilizing a white card. Then, set publicity by metering an 18% grey card positioned in entrance of your topic (these playing cards and white playing cards for white steadiness can be found on-line). Use your digital camera mounted to the monorail to meter, as a result of it’s easier than utilizing an exterior gentle meter. In the event you do use an exterior meter, you’ll have to compensate for bellows draw. Let me skip over this,


Lastly, let me let you know how I progressed. After having produced greater than 100 passable (at the very least for me) hyperrealistic pictures, I’ve not too long ago been an increasing number of drawn to Pictorialism, a motion lively in the course of the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. whose aim was to supply images which might be “true artwork” (no matter meaning) relatively than a mere recording of actuality. In excessive synthesis and never fairly precisely, pictorialist pictures are inclined to appear to be work relatively than like images. I acquired just a few pictorial lenses, like Verito, Perscheid, Heliar, and the most affordable ones, a budget dioptric lenses you’ll be able to put in entrance of your lens to shoot macro. These are in actual fact menisci or achromats just like the very first lenses utilized in pictures. Now, excessive decision does not likely matter anymore, however my approach is ready to produce a fantastic tonal vary, which I imagine is likely one of the foremost options of pictorialism.

A high-resolution pictorial picture. The taking lens is an achromat (Leitz Elpro closeup lens) mixed with a meniscus (no identify closeup diopter lens).
A element with my ugly mug for measurement reference.

And in the long run? I’m now capturing black-and-white 8×10” movie.

A 8×10” movie picture – Sinar Norma with Boyer Apo-Saphir 450mm on Foma Retropan.

And shortly I shall be capturing 40x40cm moist plate. Full circle.

In regards to the creator: Giovanni Maria Sacco (GM Sacco) is a retired affiliate professor in pc science on the College of Torino in Italy. He has been a passionate photographer for the reason that age of 8. The opinions expressed on this article are solely these of the creator. Sacco’s main themes are metaphysics and the impermanence of all issues: hyperrealistic pictures, deserted locations (principally giant factories), nonetheless life, and nudes. He has gained 50 awards in main worldwide photograph contests I exploit Sony digital tools and movie cameras from 6x6cm to eight×10″. You’ll find extra of Sacco’s work on his website and Instagram.

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