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What are the advantages of full frame?
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:19 pm    Post subject: What are the advantages of full frame? Reply with quote

Now that I've been visiting this forum quite a bit, I notice that most of the users have full frame cameras.

I bought the canon 1100d because it was the cheapest canon SLR and I figured I wouldn't use any of the features advertised on other models. Indeed, even the selling points of the canon 1100d are pretty irrelevant to me: number of focus points, burst rate, megapixel count, lcd resolution,etc.
I've been taking a ridiculous amount of pictures and to be honest, while I fancy a lot of lenses I don't have, I don't really feel like I could take any advantage of a more expensive camera. In fact, cameras with even smaller sensors (NEX, m43) are start to growing on me.

That said, I see most of the people talking about their full frame cameras in here. What are the real advantages? I guess it differs from person to person, but I am curious about other people's motivations.

I'm guessing the most obvious advantage is the ability to take wider shots. But that can be a disadvantage too if you're after longer shots.


PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wider shots are a big advantage. Keep a crop body for your telephoto lenses Smile

You can get narrower DOF if that's your thing.

FF bodies often have better noise control at high ISO because of the lower pixel density.

Or so I understand, I did well to scrape together enough cash for the 1000D Razz

edit - the FF cameras are big bucks and have nice features. Faster burst mode, can shoot continuously for longer before filling the buffer, nice controls, rugged bodies etc. These aren't intrinsic to FF, but might easily be a reason to go with the 5D over the Rebel.


PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

with new advances in mirrorless cams, IQ: resolution, sharpness, noise control etc, is becoming more and mre similar between FF and 'crop' cams, so unless youre a wedding photographer, or fashion professional etc, FF might not be necessary to achieve really good quality work in varied situations.

to me, the real advantage of FF is that it allows one to use their corp of manual focus legacy lenses at the FL at which they were intended. frankly, nothing annoys me more than taking a great 24mm lens, which i bought to achieve its unique FL perspective, and instead having my crop cam turn it into a very ordinary 35 or 48mm lens. thats not why i bought that particular lens and thats not how i want to use it. its even worse with my favorite FL of 40mm, which i consider 'perfect'. on a crop cam it becomes a 60mm lens which to me is useless because i dont like 50ish lenses. a FF cam allows me to get the angle of view i wanted when i bought a particular lens. the more one is invested in many of these type lenses, the more one wants a FF!


PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see only one point which is more less important wide angle, nothing else.


PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://forum.mflenses.com/faq-for-crop-t31975.html


PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't say that a majority of the users have a full frame camera but certainly a sizeable chunk. There are many reasons to own one and if I hadn't just bought my K-5 a few months ago and enjoy it so much I'd be in the market for one now. For using manual focus lenses there are several advantages. As you've mentioned the lenses become wider as they have the field of view that they do on their intended format. This means that you are able to have a useful set of lenses at a far lower cost and higher quality. A 28/50/135 setup of classic primes would make a good walkaround set, provide high quality and be cheap whereas to get the wide end on crop cameras you will have to pay a lot more and get a slow 20mm. Even then it will probably not be hugely better than your kit lens. There's little point going wider than that because it will cost you a small fortune, often more than a modern primes would cost, and the results really won't be great.

Higher end bodies also tend to have far better control layouts than the cheaper ones and build quality and resilience to tough conditions. Viewfinders are a lot better too, especially so with full frame cameras as they are larger and this helps when manually focusing. In terms of image quality you'll get better dynamic range and low light performance, useful if you do night time handheld shooting and even useful with interior lighting. I used to use the 1000D and in good light with a sharp 50mm the results were very good, the main difference between that and my current camera being the resolution of the image. In low light it's quite a different story as it would be a total noise fest at ISO 800 and 1600 whereas with the K5 I can get clean images at 3200 with a little noise reduction. Modern full frame cameras will have similar if not slightly better performance than that.

Also, the NEX cameras actually have a sensor marginally larger than your Canon 1100d.


PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Attila wrote:
I see only one point which is more less important wide angle, nothing else.

+1


PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kram wrote:
Attila wrote:
I see only one point which is more less important wide angle, nothing else.

+1


How about larger circle of confusion and hence shallower depth of field on a FF vs say m4/3 or Nikon 1, Pentax Q?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of_field

Also, larger sensor (but not too much pixel density) means it is less demanding on the optics itself for sharpness, just like in medium format photography vs 35mm.


PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never miss shallower depth of field what my digital cameras offer and I also didn't see better ones on full frame (film in my case)


PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could not stand any shallower DOF than I get on my Canon 60D. Especialy with the Cyclops and Rollei HFT 50/1.4 Planar.


Rollei HFT 50/1.4 Planar @ 1.4.


Cyclops.


PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The key advantages, as several people have already pointed out are:

* Bigger viewfinder (although EVFs are catching up now)
* Better high ISO performance (crop cameras such as the K-5 are improving though)
* Lenses give the intended field of view (useful for wider shots)
* High ISO work is easier as slower shutter speeds can be used (a 50mm lens can be used at 1/50th rather than 1/80th on a crop camera, negated somewhat by stabilisation)
* Dynamic range is often higher (although again, crop cameras are catching up and even overtaking some ff cams)

For me though, there is a difference in the final output which I only see on my full frame 5D. It is a resolution thing I believe and something to do with putting less of a demand on the lens and the larger sensor producing better contrast...check out lens reviews on DXOMark and you'll see the same lens always getting a higher score for resolution on a full frame camera, even if the sensor has less megapixels than the crop camera equivalents.

When all is said and done though, if final images are to be published at 1024x768 on the web, then the camera doesn't matter much anyway Laughing


PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
For me though, there is a difference in the final output which I only see on my full frame 5D. It is a resolution thing I believe and something to do with putting less of a demand on the lens and the larger sensor producing better contrast...check out lens reviews on DXOMark and you'll see the same lens always getting a higher score for resolution on a full frame camera, even if the sensor has less megapixels than the crop camera equivalents.

If we put a lens that is designed for a 35mm expose pane on a crop body, then we're only using a fraction usable glass surfaces. So we're not taking advantage of all the precision put into the lens manufacture process. In other words, full frame cameras can squeeze more resolution from the same glass. That should explain the resolution thing, but the number of lenses designed for crop bodies is increasing at a good rate.
I'm still curious about ISO performance and dynamic range. How are these affected by sensor size?


PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

poilu wrote:
http://forum.mflenses.com/faq-for-crop-t31975.html


+100


PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ManualFocus-G wrote:
...check out lens reviews on DXOMark and you'll see the same lens always getting a higher score for resolution on a full frame camera, even if the sensor has less megapixels than the crop camera equivalents.


There are very many lens-camera combinations on DXOMark. Not all of them show this relationship. For example...

Nikon 50mm AFS 1.4G

Resolution=50 lp/mm on D7000 (Crop sensor, ~16 MPixels)
Resolution=49 lp/mm on D3 (FF sensor, ~12 MPixels)


Nikon 85mm AF 1.4D

Resolution=56 lp/mm on D7000 (Crop sensor, ~16 MPixels)
Resolution=53 lp/mm on D3 (FF sensor, ~12 MPixels)


Nikon 35mm AFS 1.4G

Resolution=46 lp/mm on D7000 (Crop sensor, ~16 MPixels)
Resolution=45 lp/mm on D3 (FF sensor, ~12 MPixels)


PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jito, ive had and loved a 5d, and it used to be, and i dont know the science behind it, that FF produced noticeably less noise and less clipped highlights/shadows than crop sensor. i believe this is no longer the case, at least to the degree it used to be. for example, my x100 literally blows the doors off my old 5d at 16-3200. its DR is at least as good, and that is with the best zeiss lenses on the 5d.

ive also seen, but not directly experienced, the ricoh gxr m mount, nex 5n&7, samsung nx200, and i'd bet the new fuji x pro1, perform similarly to my x100. now, if you put these up against the 5dmkii or nikon d4, they'd probably lose on both counts, but not by as much as the best crop cams wouldve lost to the old 5dmki 3 or 4 years ago. just my personal observation. the gap is closing! and if you go by price/performance ratio, the gap is gone.

so, imo, the reason to get FF at this point is either because you need that extra 'umph' because youre a pro who works in very demanding situations, or youre motivated to use your heavily invested in legacy glass at their proper FLs. again, only my opinion.


PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, let's summazire:

- better chance for shallow DoF even without superfast lenses!
- better chance for low noise in high ISO shots
- better chance to find a superwide angle lens
- you can use the lens with the FoV you are used to, if you are used to it. Wink

I write "better chance" because it's not always the case and APS has caught up recently.


Last edited by LucisPictor on Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:50 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LucisPictor wrote:
OK, let's summazire:

- better chance for shallow DoF even with not superfast lenses!
- better chance for low noise in high ISO shots
- better chance to find a superwide angle lens
- you can use the lens with the FoV you are used to, if you are used to it. Wink

I write "better chance" because it's not always the case and APS has caught up recently.


All very true, except that FF will always be ahead (e.g., D4 and EOS-1D X) until material physics, science and engineering comes up something totally new.


PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sichko, didn't notice that, but you are correct. The relationship *appears* to be truer for Canon cameras. Interestingly, even with Nikon, the ff results still seem to get overall higher scores Shocked


PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I heard from this gentleman, http://www.leepetersonphotography.com/main.html# in an old fxguide.com interview about the moon landings, http://www.fxguide.com/therc/the-rc-82-you-cant-change-film-on-the-moon/ that if you have a crop sensor camera such as the 7D / 550D / 1100D one should 'really' only use lenses designed for a crop sensor and not full frame lenses especially old ones designed for 35mm as they don't lay the image down correctly onto the crop sensor.

The reason was something to do with the lens front element shape and parallel rear element in lenses designed for crop sensors which is not the design of lenses for full frame sensors.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i certainly noted this to be true, both good and bad. some lenses, like the zeiss planars, performed much better on my 5d than on crop cam, whilst others, like my retina schneiders performed much better on crop cam than on my 5d.


PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:50 am    Post subject: Re: What are the advantages of full frame? Reply with quote

jito wrote:
.... I notice that most of the users have full frame cameras.


There are many members here shooting on film/slide thus using full frame camera. On the other hand, I don't think majority of the members here are on full frame digital cameras, at least not yet.


PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing not explicitly mentioned is that because smaller-than-FF sensors do not use the full intended image projection, it corrects for many corner performance "issues" stemming from design. This includes such things as vignetting, resolution drop-off, and astigmatism. All will be less severe on the crop cam.

I say "issues" because sometimes people really seek out lenses exhibiting these traits. The biotar scheme and it's many derivatives are now famous (or maybe infamous, if you don't like the effect) for a bokeh "swirl." The swirl is nothing more than poorly corrected astigmatism. It becomes more pronounced at the corners. With a crop cam one will still see the effect but it will not be as obvious.

To me it wasn't so much the change in focal length but rather this change in character.


PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing I see as a clear advantage for FF is better high ISO performance - as good as APS-C sensors have got, they are still not able to challenge FF camera models like the D700.

As for the other arguments:
- Shallow DOF - I am fine with the compromise reached in the APS-C format
- Wide angle lenses - I'm fine with the choices I have. And the XPro1 system promises options that have never been seen on FF
- Use of old lenses with intended perspective - I am not looking for that - not sure if I would like the results, plus I made my choices based on APS-C use. This is a personal reason at best, not an objective attribute of the format.

stingOM wrote:

How about larger circle of confusion and hence shallower depth of field on a FF vs say m4/3 or Nikon 1, Pentax Q?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of_field

There is no advantage/disadvantage there. It all depends on what you want to achieve. Shallow DOF can be great for some shots and a PITA for others.

stingOM wrote:

Also, larger sensor (but not too much pixel density) means it is less demanding on the optics itself for sharpness, just like in medium format photography vs 35mm.

Everyone knows how to make sharp optics today, so this is hardly an issue. And if you're on a budget, it sounds weird to go for an expensive FF camera just so you can see some mediocre lenses at their best.

diffid wrote:
I heard from this gentleman, http://www.leepetersonphotography.com/main.html# in an old fxguide.com interview about the moon landings, http://www.fxguide.com/therc/the-rc-82-you-cant-change-film-on-the-moon/ that if you have a crop sensor camera such as the 7D / 550D / 1100D one should 'really' only use lenses designed for a crop sensor and not full frame lenses especially old ones designed for 35mm as they don't lay the image down correctly onto the crop sensor.

The reason was something to do with the lens front element shape and parallel rear element in lenses designed for crop sensors which is not the design of lenses for full frame sensors.

He got it wrong. The format does not matter - FF is as bad as APS-C in this respect. How could it be otherwise - a crop sensor is really just that - a smaller sensor. If the size would matter, then the center part of the FF images would also be affected the same way. What he probably heard or read and then misunderstood is that you want to use lenses designed for digital rather than film - see this article posted recently in another thread: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/an_open_letter_to_the_major_camera_manufacturers.shtml. But this applies to all digital cameras, regardless of format.


PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laurentiu Cristofor wrote:
The format does not matter - FF is as bad as APS-C in this respect.


Actually, a small correction - format does matter, but not in a way that is favorable to FF. You just need to look at Leica - their initial digital offerings used cropped sensors because of the issues in making FF sensors work with their existing lens lineup. The M9 sensor does some special tricks with the microlens arrangement to capture light effectively at the edges of the frame.