All stills are made with vintage s35 lenses in combination with a high quality expander projected unto the full 36X24mm Kinefinity MAVO Edge 8K sensor.
Large format as a look doesn’t exist, a sensor is a 2d plane. But throughout history we saw the seek for larger formats in order to increase analogue resolution by creating finer grained images by means of enlarging the image acquisition format. With the digital this is still kind of true, but in a more complex way. As an example, one can have 2.5k resolution with an ARRI Alexa classic ( a bit more but lets keep it simple), and 4k with an Alexa lf, while the pixels stay the same (same um). But since we blow up the image to the same size in the cinema the Alexa LF pixels end up to be smaller on the screen than the classic, and thus the image is finer grained.
We can talk hours about pixels but this is not the point right now
We could also simply design a sensor which remains s35 but has more pixels installed to get to the same result, however smaller pixels gather less light, and thus more noise etc, but soon in a few years these circumstances belong to the past.
So we end up with the discussion about large format (135 photo format mostly 36X24mm), vs s35 or s16.
One point that’s being made is that you can get shallower depth of view on large format lenses, because depth of view is a combined enterprise of focal length / f stop (and ofc relativity in terms of foreground and background and angle of view)and on large format one can use a longer focal length but get a wider angle of view than on a a smaller format. In terms of shallow of depth, we know that most well known cinematographers mostly shoot at f2.8-5.6.
Ironically Roger Deakins (who got most probably paid by some large format company), said that he loved the large format look and separation, while he also said he was shooting at f2.8-f4.0 and compared to s35 you can simply match this by finding a equivalent focal length with same angle of view and shoot f2.0-f2.8
For some directors who favor very wide angle of view and tiny depth of view, a lens like vista vision 18mm t1.5 might be interesting (or the newly released 15mm t1.8 by zeiss supreme), in order tp squeeze a bit more shallow depth out of these lenses in comparison with s35. But ironically from a lens designers perspective, large format and thus bigger sensor format means that you have to scale up the whole lens design in order to have such a big image circle. And if there was more momentum for the s35 format (which is already crowded with so many vintage offerings, and ofc cookes, ultra primes master primes) we would easily see these same lenses in the same size as large format but made for s35. if you can make a 18mm large format lens t1.5 you can also make a 12mm for s35 with a T1.0 rating or something and you would end up with the same angle of view and depth of view, as an example the Master prime 12 mm T1.3 gives you almost same depth of view and angle of view on s35 as the vista vision, but with much better image quality and 600 gram less weight.
So this is the most interesting part, lens design, and of course momentum, right now it makes the most sense to design large format lenses, because that’s what everyone talks about. But if you look at sweet spots for lens designers then s35 remains the golden standard, and I am 100% sure one can release every large format lens for s35 and get exact the same image quality if not better, with the same depth of view and angle of view, one could of course use a focal reducer which is a bit of a compromise optically, but even then we already see the result, same angle of view on a smaller format and same depth of view and one stop faster. You can keep on theorizing and apply the same theorem to s35 vs s16, but it seems both from a sensor size point of view and lens design point of view that things are bottlenecking if you go too big or too small, and s35 sits nicely in between.
Now the other way around: what if I want to use my s35 glass on the edge 8k 36×24mm sensor and benefit from more pixels, thus smaller pixels when projecting or viewing on a monitor? its not as easy, but after a big investment and having tested every expander in the whole wide world I found one expander that can adapt to about any s35 lens in the world (except a few weird retro focus s16 zooms) , and is optically way better than all the other expensive offerings and has a shim less backfocus control. I would say the holy grail. I used a lomo superspeed 28mm (10-28-1) mostly wide open, that’s T1.5 (f1.2) , and when expanding it becomes a 40mm and will cover large format and has a t stop of around t2.0 and a f stop of around f1.7 (f stop determines dof not t stop,). So still blazing fast and tiny dof compared to other 40mm large format lenses. the expander is superb, and I see no diminishing results, maybe there are but because I gain so much more resolution to spread this s35 image circle over a large format sensor with 8k, i get a lot more smoothness out of this lens, so I gained more than I lost. So one could rehouse this lens and include a expander and sell it as a t2.0 40mm lens, with unique characteristics, and sharper than most low budget offerings like dzo or meike etc.
eventually I want to use this lens as a 28mm t1.5 on its intended image format, but right now i get more out of it projecting it on this 8k large format sensor, but it shows that large format is only a temporary hype because s35 sensor tech is not yet there to life up to large format in terms of sensitivity and mega pixels, but in a few years this might be different and we will hopefully all migrate back to smaller sensors.
Smaller sensors also means smaller camera, and lower power consumption.
Conclusion, one can get exact the same depth and angle of view on super 35 format as on large format or 645 medium format. It’s even more extreme : it would be easier to achieve this on s35 compared to large format.
Many photo lenses made for 135 and used on large format have the disclaimer: corners only sharpen up around f5.6-f8.0 and also Corner illumination is drastically reduced when shooting wide open, which basically means that they are s35 lenses with a generous image circle. 🙂