How much better IS full-frame than crop?

Started Sep 22, 2012 | Discussions thread
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ADW101
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How much better IS full-frame than crop?
Sep 22, 2012

In a previous post, I asked members if a 6D/7D combo was better than owning just one FF camera, in my case the 5DIII. As we all know, the 7D is great for its reach, which I would like for some Nature shots, and it might mean better image quality for collages, which I might have to crop for in a FF camera.

Several interesting replies advised me to sell off all of my crop camera equipment and apply the money toward the 5DIII, for the simple fact that FF images were so much better than the best crop images that eventually I just wouldn't be able to stand the quality differential between the two formats. I can't judge here, because I've never owned a FF body, and internet samples aren't the best example. Eventually, I may be able to make comparisons at a dedicated camera store, but the samples they provide may be limited in number. So to begin to get first opinions, I'll ask the following questions (and the answers, I think, will be important to a lot of people, since the 6D will pull a lot of crop owners into this forum).

1. It seems to me that there wouldn't be any noticable difference in quality in prints smaller than 16x20 at ISO levels where the 7D could compare favorably with FF. However, at that size and larger, just how noticable is the detail and DR difference?

2. For me, anyway, images from the 7D begin to become a problem after ISO 1600, and at 6400 they're a big problem. NR programs such as Define 2.0 can help somewhat, but they can only be applied to a limited extent before loss of detail becomes evident. What has been the experience of 5DIII owners with noise level acceptance? And how much will a program such as Define 2.0 make a further difference?

3. Beyond low-light performance, and detail and dynamic range at large print sizes, what other advantages are there with full-frame over crop?

4. Would you (or do you) own both a crop and FF system? Why or why not?

In closing, I hate to sound like a political pollster with these questions, but such technical issues are what this forum is all about, so hopefully you will all forgive me. And thanks in advance for all opinions and advice anyone may care to offer.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS 7D
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