"Equivalence" demonstrated: Canon 5D and Panasonic GX1

Started Apr 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
dantastical
Regular MemberPosts: 167
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Re: "Equivalence" demonstrated: Canon 5D and Panasonic GX1
In reply to walkaround, Apr 29, 2013

I'd like to make some points sbout equivalence. I would define it as "Two photographs taken with different format cameras which share the same depth of field, shutter speed, total light on the sensor and exposure, and thus have the same compositional and noise characteristics."

1. Equivalence is only relevant in low light

If a scene is well lit, both cameras will be using ISO 100, and so they will not take equivalent pictures, because the larger format will have more total light, thus lower noise. At base ISO this will manifest itself as better colour depth and dynamic range.

2. Equivalence is only relevant when not using a tripod

For the same reasons as 1. - both will use lower ISO and different shutter speeds. This includes any situation in which the light is so low to necessitate using a tripod.

3. Equivalence is only relevant if you cannot light the scene yourself

If you can use flash or other lighting, and it is able to enable low ISO photography, then you are in the same situation as 1.

4. Equivalence is only relevant if depth of field is non-negotiable

In many real world low light situations, getting a cleaner shot using lower ISO is a higher priority than maintaining a deep depth of field. This could be because other parts of the image are too dark for it to matter whether they are in sharp focus, or because there is movement in the frame which makes a quick shutter speed a priority over depth of field.

So ultimately, comparing cameras based on equivalency means comparing them in this exact situation: medium-low light, no tripod, no flash and mandatory deep depth of field. Do you often take pictures in that exact situation? No, me neither.

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