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Thread: Full frame vs. cropped sensors

  1. #21
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    Actually, full frame or cropped sensors probably doesn't really matter to most if they could still take the shots that they wanted without needing to spend excessively on more equipment.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkw
    It must stick in Nikon's execs throats......
    Does it stick in BMW that I hear more about the japanese cars like Subaru and Toyota in WRC? The brands have different strength.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ST1100
    i dont' really care about 'Canon vs Nikon', but personally i do stand by 'FF is better than APS'.

    No one's going to argue that a larger negative beats a smaller one, all things equal.
    Agree. Similarly, I would say a BMW is better than a Yugo. But at what price? That is the issue here. Does the difference in result worth the difference?

  4. #24
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    How did you come up with this statistic ?.
    Nobody is against FF if it is at a reasonable price bracket.
    I am more surprise that more are lusting after a FF body when they should be getting good lens instead. Maybe can try a FF body, put a body cap with a hole in it and try to get good pictures from there.


    Quote Originally Posted by ipaquser
    Most of the people who are against full frame are nikon users. Is there some correlation? Correct me if i'm wrong. I'm not sure who uses which system anyway.

    But if it's true.. something is really wrong.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbcs
    I am amazed at the some of the knowledge that is shared in this thread and the detail you guys look at your gear.

    I am wondering for those in the cropped sensor camp, if you are offered FF body for the same price, would you still opt for a cropped sensor?
    See Jed's comments. Unless you offer to pay the difference between a 300 and 600mm lens for me and provide a way to carry the heavier lens with the same amount of strength and effort, then money is not the only advantage here.

    Quote Originally Posted by dbcs
    On a similar track - why would people pay top dollar for a 6MP MF digital back instead for shooting on a D60/10D or D70/D100? Surely it's a whole lot cheaper to buy 35mm glass (which need not be good towards the corners somemore!).

    And how is it possible that these 6MP digital backs used in medium and large format capable of producing images at A0/A1 in size which a 10D or D100 can't really match visually at that size.
    Firstly, the MF Digital Back has greater color depth (usually 16-bits). It is not only the MP count, pitch size and dynamic range that matters. The color depth has nothing to do with the size of the pitch nor sensor size. So there.

    Quote Originally Posted by dbcs
    It has also been pointed somewhere that the 1D sensor is 12 times that of the G2 while both are 4MP, we all know the difference.

    My take is that FF is better than APS and the proof is in the print IMO.
    But what if you don't need to print out to that size? I mean, SI has been printing their covers using 4-6 MP cameras for the past few years, almost none is on the 1Ds (mostly 1D, D1X). Has there been an issue on quality? What about NG having their cover story on the 100th anniversary of flight shot on D1X? Any problem there?
    Last edited by Watcher; 22nd September 2004 at 03:08 PM.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpenza
    Actually, full frame or cropped sensors probably doesn't really matter to most if they could still take the shots that they wanted without needing to spend excessively on more equipment.
    Precisely! But there is the assumption by some that FF => better images

  7. #27
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    btw, color depth is a measure of dynamic range right?

  8. #28
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    Actually there is no real advantage of FF over crop sensors. The only problem previously is you can't get proper good wide angles for the camera but it is different now and things are changing.

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by mpenza
    btw, color depth is a measure of dynamic range right?
    It's called bit-depth. 8-bit images = 2^8 = 256 levels. 1 pixel can have 3 colours, so it's 3 * 8 = 24 which gives you 24-bit colour depth on your CRT/LCDs.

    A 16-bit depth image can do 64k discrete levels. This means 3 colours * 16-bit = 48-bit color depth composite.

    Confusing, isn't it? Just remember the difference between bit-depth and color depth, different. Do you need this?

    Ok, to keep it short, the more bit-depth you have originally, the more data you have (obviously). So when you play with say Levels and compress things to make it nicer (put simply lar), you will have less of a combing error effect. Sometimes you play levels and see the histogram again, maciam like comb right? This leads to posterisation. 8-bit is extremely susceptible to this.

    In real life, i show you 1 eg which you have seen and commented. Sungei Buloh. This series actually has been neatimaged before PP and then neatimaged after. Else it suffered from extreme posterisation (something like color dithering). http://www.pbase.com/sil83/image/34039246
    It's shot in ISO 200 but massively underexposed. 8-bit is pretty inaccurate esp if you are underexposing.

    So it's not exactly dynamic range but more of tonality, but the different discrete levels for each R,G,B channel. How discrete/subtle that is, and that is important for critical scences. But i guess it is also indirectly tied to DR, but on prints and monitors this is pretty moot.
    Last edited by 2100; 22nd September 2004 at 03:46 PM.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Watcher
    Does it stick in BMW that I hear more about the japanese cars like Subaru and Toyota in WRC? The brands have different strength.
    Well,
    how do you think BMW and Merc felt when Lexus became America's best selling luxury car? You bet it sticks.....

  11. #31
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    Actually can anyone tell if a picture is taken with a Nikon or Canon or any other DSLR cameras with any sensor if the lens and condition is the same ??.

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis
    Actually can anyone tell if a picture is taken with a Nikon or Canon or any other DSLR cameras with any sensor if the lens and condition is the same ??.
    At this point in time with 99.99% of the photogs here, no.

    Unless it's 1Ds vs D1 printed to A0.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Watcher
    See Jed's comments. Unless you offer to pay the difference between a 300 and 600mm lens for me and provide a way to carry the heavier lens with the same amount of strength and effort, then money is not the only advantage here.

    Firstly, the MF Digital Back has greater color depth (usually 16-bits). It is not only the MP count, pitch size and dynamic range that matters. The color depth has nothing to do with the size of the pitch nor sensor size. So there.

    But what if you don't need to print out to that size? I mean, SI has been printing their covers using 4-6 MP cameras for the past few years, almost none is on the 1Ds (mostly 1D, D1X). Has there been an issue on quality? What about NG having their cover story on the 100th anniversary of flight shot on D1X? Any problem there?
    Mostly agreed on the points you brought up except for the first (you can always crop a full frame to get the 600mm on a 300mm) - Nikon seems to be going that direction anyhow on the D2X in an interesting manner with the faster fps.

    What about shooting at less than 18mm on a 1.5x, but then again, there is always photo stitching right (which allows us to increase detail at the same time)? Well, this argument can go on and on...so let's not go there.

    Rightly so as you have pointed out, the quality/capability of the sensor itself is important - and it seems to me that the larger ones available in the market performs better on print. Perhaps there is some co-relation towards being able to control the parameters better on a larger physical "pixel" versus the smaller "crammed" up ones. Being able to interpolate well is also important IMO - whether be it for cropping or making larger prints when the need arises.

    No doubt the D1X/1D is a choice camera for NG and SI. These magazines use these cams due to the high fps they offer for wildlife/sports. Obviously the 1Ds may not be the most suitable in this respect. I am quite certain that when a FF camera is launched with high fps, we will be witnessing more shots taken by it by these mags.

    Obviously there is no point having a FF lau pok sensor - but I have not come across a FF or digital-back sensor which is nothing less than fantastic. When comparing equal sensors - I would think most of us would prefer FF. The difficulty of this discussion is that there is simply too many parameters. I sense some emotions coming from brand loyalty

    Agreed that ultimately there is no difference except for the option of shooting wider. My earlier opinion about FF better than APS on print (i.e. larger sensors, similar everything else) is more towards comparing current camera models - apologies if I caused some confusion. I am inclined to think that larger sensors seem to perform better (I guess for a variety of reasons that you are probably more familiar).

    It would be nice to have the best of both worlds - choice of crop factor/variable max fps offered by D2X and FF of 1Ds. Then we can use our primes more and choose multiple focal lengths by selecting the crop factor
    Last edited by dbcs; 22nd September 2004 at 04:36 PM.

  14. #34
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    Maybe some day in the future when sensors are made with bio-technology, pixels can be freely re-allocated. Then you have a MF size sensor with adjustable FLM from 0.5x to 20x without losing effective pixel density. Happy?

    I believe Nikons users won't be so defensive on FF should Kodak not fail their 14n...

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Watcher
    Agree. Similarly, I would say a BMW is better than a Yugo. But at what price? That is the issue here. Does the difference in result worth the difference?

    Price should not be the issue here.

    Before we go on, i think we should make it clear that we can approach this FF-APS thing from two fronts: the physics/engineering aspect, and the practical/ecomonic aspect.


    From the engineering perspective, we need to strip out the following factors:

    - Brand. It's just five letters on the camera body right? Nikon can FF too; they chose not to, up to now.

    - Pixel size. See my previous post.

    - Price. At least from a technical aspect, this is not relevant. FF are more expensive, but they are not in the $120,000 range (eg 1200/5.6L). Put in perspective, a car in Singapore can lose $12k in about 3 years or so. Just 5 years back, before the D30 came along, dSLRs were all way above S$12k. The price of FF will come down. If you want to say that it costs more than APS cameras, i concede the point. But it is not ridiculously out of reach. Price/performance ratio is a subjective and personal thing, so let's not go there.

    - Bit depth, dynamic range. These all improve with time, and are engineering decisions. i would say that these factors are INDEPENDENT of the sensor size; rather, they relate to pixel pitch, a design parameter independent of sensor size.

    - Camera ergonomics. It so happens that the only 35mm FF dSLRs now either weigh a ton or look like a camera in a bathtub, but really, it can be an APS sensor in a pro body, or a FF in a rangefinder body. The camera build should not affect the discussion as to whether FF beats APS.

    - Photographer skill. Obviously this thread is technical. i don't see the point of bringing up "it's the photgrapher that takes the picture" line.

    - Personal vendettas.


    Approaching from the economic-sense perspective, things get muddier. A FF (of either brand, or any brand) is nice to have, as many would attest, but not everyone is willing to dole out the dough. i don't we'd ever reach a concensus on this and i have no further comments on this part.

    Personally i feel that buying a 300/2.8 so that i can get an effective 450/2.8 or a 600/2.8 doesn't make sense, from a FF vs APS viewpoint. Why not get a fullframe and crop it to the desired picture? i paid good money for the 36x24 image. Especially the outer edges. It makes sense when your APS sensor has DENSER pixels than the fullframe one, but when the density is eventually the same, you'd just be throwing a huge part of a good image away.


    ******************

    i'd be back...
    (Don't you guys have to work? )

    ******************


    Streetshooter, i'm sure someone thought of the 'joining sensors' idea. i believe in the interview with the 1Ds design team, they mentioned that the spacing between pixels was subjected to some incredibly small tolerance, beyond which they had to reject the sensor. Maybe someone *WILL* find a way to stitch sensors; when that day comes, we'd all have cheap FF sensors and be laughing our socks off at silly 'FF vs APS' discussion threads.

  16. #36

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    In 1982 Intel introduced the 80286 (or 286) processor. It had a top speed of 12.5 Mhz. Everybody was amazed at what it could do. Because LSI, much less VLSI was unheard of back then, it was very expensive to own a computer because it was very expensive to produce one. Fast forward to 2004, we now have the Pentium 4 (also the 64-bit Itanium which is of a different class of CPU). The P4 now has a top speed of 3+ Ghz and going faster. Owing to technologial advancement in computer chip manufacturing, production costs can now be minmized. Owning a computer now is relatively much, much much cheaper than 20 years ago even while its processing power is increasing.

    Here's my question though: In 2 or 3 years time when it becomes relatively cheaper and technologically more efficient to produce more advanced CCD's and CMOS sensors (they may not be called that anymore by then), would it be viable, feasible, practical for companies like Nikon to backtrack and produce cameras using FF sensors? Medium format sensors even large format ones on smaller and smaller (and lighter) camera bodies perhaps? Seems too science fiction to you? Think again! Remember how big the PC's were 20 years ago? Well the smallest fully functional PC now from Sony is approximately 4 x 5 inches in size. If you don't belive me, here's a link: -

    http://www.msmobiles.com/news.php/2550.html

    Even if it seems that companies like Nikon seem to be commiting themselves to the DX format lenses (optimally for cropped sensors), most of their pro lenses still remain optimized for full frame (only 4 DX lenses in a total of 47 AF lens in the 2004 lineup). Aside from the rationale that they retain compatibility with film cameras, and thus more marketable, would it be right to assume that they are still unsure of their position on DX format DSLRs? Meaning that *maybe* the next wave of DLSRs from them could make use of FF sensors?

    The following seem to be the the main arguments why a cropped sensor is "better" than a FF sensor: -

    1. Cost - it is more cost-efficient to produce a smaller sensor that a FF one.

    But it seems that's just for now. What if a cost-efficient way is found to produce a technologically superior bigger sensor. Would it be then be better then to produce DSLR's with a FF sensor?

    2. Smaller and lighter lenses

    I put forward that smaller and lighter lenses have never been an issue to photographers before, much more than picture quality has always been. A lot of us would rather lug a heavy AF 80-200 2.8 ED to a AF 70-300 4-5.6 D. If weight was an issue, surely we'd be happy with the latter.

    3. A narrower picture angle which makes for example a 300mm (35mm equivalent) effectively have an angle of view of 450mm (1.5x crop sensor).

    To me though, magnification is more material. Not so much as the angle of view. A lense with a focal-length of 200mm is still 200mm on both cropped and FF sensor DSLRs.

    Just musing...

    cheers,
    bcoolboy
    Last edited by bcoolboy; 23rd September 2004 at 03:53 PM.

  17. #37
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    Comment withdrawn.
    Last edited by Amfibius; 22nd September 2004 at 06:36 PM.

  18. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfibius
    You were given a perfectly adequate definition of dynamic range by another poster yet chose to ignore it and ask me the same question. Since this is a rather basic concept, I suggest this book might be more appropriate for people of your level.
    Resorting to this and refusing to reply simply shows that you were simply regurgitating hearsay and false claims without any understanding to the subject matter and being unable to explain the logic behind your claims.

    Rather juvenile response don't you think?

  19. #39
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    With a cropped sensor you don't get the magnification of a longer lens right? I mean, with a 1.6x crop factor on a 300mm lens don't mean its a 480mm lens because it doesn't have the magnification of a 480mm lens. You still get a magnification of 300mm I think...

    Is that true?
    The equipment can only bring you so far - the rest of the photographic journey is done by you.

  20. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by nickmak
    With a cropped sensor you don't get the magnification of a longer lens right? I mean, with a 1.6x crop factor on a 300mm lens don't mean its a 480mm lens because it doesn't have the magnification of a 480mm lens. You still get a magnification of 300mm I think...

    Is that true?
    Then that's no different than manually croping it in photoshop right?

    man... still eyeing ur 1.3x 1D MkII...

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