Pixel-Peeping a 709-Megapixel Photo Scanned from 8×10 Slide Film

How much sharpness and detail can you extract out of 8×10 large format slide film? Photographer Ben Horne was able to explore this question recently after he had one of his landscape photos digitized using a drum scanner. In the 10-minute video above, Horne pixel-peeps the massive 709-megapixel photo at 100% to analyze the sharpness.

Horne’s photo was scanned by his friend Michael Strickland, a large format landscape photographer who owns a drum scanner. The workflow has image size limitations, but Strickland had the idea of scanning the photo in two parts (top and bottom) to create a single ultra-high-res scan.

The resulting ~4-gigabyte .TIFF file is 709.6 megapixels and 23790×29828 pixels, which translates to a print measuring 6.6×8.3 feet.

Horne has made the same journey to Zion National Park in Utah every year since 2009, and last year he documented his experience in a beautiful 7-part video series on the 7-day adventure. Here’s the story of when Horne captured the photo he had Strickland scan:

And here’s the photo that resulted (a low-res version of the 709-megapixel image):

“The photo was taken with an Arca-Swiss F Metric 8×10 using a Nikkor 150mm SW wide angle lens on Fuji Velvia 50 film,” Horne tells PetaPixel.

Here are a few 100% crops of the 709-megapixel file (can you spot where they are in the photo above?):

After carefully examining the photo at 100%, Horne was pleased with the results.

“This is pretty impressive,” he says in the video. “We’re not being limited by the resolving power of the grain. We see a little bit of grain there, but it’s actually not a lot of grain going on. We’re just seeing the details of the grasses and the leaves and everything else.”

He suggests that making high-resolution drum scans of larger format film photos can be a helpful experience for film photographers, as it can reveal things about technique that aren’t as easily noticeable at lower resolutions.

“I think it’s kind of a cool learning experience to see one of the photos at really high resolution, just to see the result of those decisions that are made in the field,” Horne says. “Either it confirms that the technique I used was good for the scene, or maybe it’s something I can learn from the next time around.

“I’d say in this case I did pretty well because I was able to get the most important areas in focus.”

You can find more of Horne’s videos on his popular YouTube channel, where his videos are ad-free (he’s supported through viewer donations).

(via Ben Horne via Imaging Resource)