Is Full-Frame simply an expensive phase for many photographers?

Started Mar 24, 2012 | Discussions
DFPanno
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Is Full-Frame simply an expensive phase for many photographers?
Mar 24, 2012

I guess this question would be most appropriately posted in the "Open Talk" forum but since I'm a Canon guy I'd like to ask here if you don't mind.

Clearly everybody loves the images their FF images. What's also clear from visiting other forums (NEX, Fuji, Olympus) is that many people seem to be glad to get rid of their FF kit.

"I've sold my 5D II and all my Ls to get this NEX-7 and I am finally enjoying photography again" is the kind of quote I see quite often.

I have been planning on a 5DIII for some time but before I pull the trigger I was curious as to what trend people have seen. If not related to self then perhaps with photography friends, etc.

This is a somewhat rhetorical question as I know of at least one truistic response: "It is a function of your needs and what your willing to carry".

That said I would love to hear other viewpoints.

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Robert Hoffman
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Re: Is Full-Frame simply an expensive phase for many photographers?
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 24, 2012

Personally, I like cameras that have some heft and meat to them. For me, they are more comfortable to grip and easier to hold steady. Full-frame does the trick and the weight doesn't bother me in the least.
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filmluvr
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Re: Is Full-Frame simply an expensive phase for many photographers?
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 24, 2012

DFPanno wrote:

"It is a function of your needs and what your willing to carry".

That said I would love to hear other viewpoints.

There are times I would really like to have a smaller camera, such as when motorcycling or shooting on the street. I carried a 5D on my last couple trips to Asia, and street shooting was much more difficult due to the larger size of the body and lens. Landscapes and other less interactive shooting was superb, however. I'm now trying to decide whether to add a small crop body like a Rebel with a 60mm to my kit, or just pick up an upper-end P&S for those times when smaller is better.

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Anthony Battles
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Re: Is Full-Frame simply an expensive phase for many photographers?
In reply to Robert Hoffman, Mar 24, 2012

I can understand that opinion somewhat, as my camera bag has grown in weight and value it is much harder to do street shooting which I do enjoy. A full size camera is just too noticeable, people either wave you off or they start posing,

I will mostly like buy a Fuji x10 to do my city walk abouts starting this spring.

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Marx81
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Re: Is Full-Frame simply an expensive phase for many photographers?
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 24, 2012

Canon has several light and sharp primes . With these glasses , 5DII looks like a Rebel and isn' t heavy . Last time , on a small island , I had with me 28 f1,8 and 100 IS .
No problem .

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MASTERPPA
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Re: Is Full-Frame simply an expensive phase for many photographers?
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 24, 2012

For NON PROS the mirror less are awesome.. Small, lots of features, easy to use.. I would not own a Canon if I was a non-working pro. Sony would have my money right now, or MAYBE a G1X

But since I make money, I could not live without a 1.3 or FF camera.. LOVE THEM..

DFPanno wrote:

I guess this question would be most appropriately posted in the "Open Talk" forum but since I'm a Canon guy I'd like to ask here if you don't mind.

Clearly everybody loves the images their FF images. What's also clear from visiting other forums (NEX, Fuji, Olympus) is that many people seem to be glad to get rid of their FF kit.

"I've sold my 5D II and all my Ls to get this NEX-7 and I am finally enjoying photography again" is the kind of quote I see quite often.

I have been planning on a 5DIII for some time but before I pull the trigger I was curious as to what trend people have seen. If not related to self then perhaps with photography friends, etc.

This is a somewhat rhetorical question as I know of at least one truistic response: "It is a function of your needs and what your willing to carry".

That said I would love to hear other viewpoints.

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Peter 13
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Re: Is Full-Frame simply an expensive phase for many photographers?
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 24, 2012

Many people go FF just because is more expensive and fancier just to discover that they did not need it or did not know why. That is OK. I would either carry my 5D2 or a pocketable P&S. No interest in something in between.

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Anthony Battles
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Re: Is Full-Frame simply an expensive phase for many photographers?
In reply to Marx81, Mar 24, 2012

Walking around with a large camera on a small island, in the forest, in the hills never a problem.

Walking around with a large camera in major city or small town you get will attention not matter what the size of the lens especially if you are not in a tourist area.

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shawn in ak
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Re: Is Full-Frame simply an expensive phase for many photographers?
In reply to Peter 13, Mar 24, 2012

I am not a pro by any means but upgraded to the 5D2 after using a 20D for many years. The full frame feels like a return to form after learning on film SLRs a decade ago. Bright, large viewfinder with larger field of view.

The thing is a brick though, I can see how it might get tiresome to haul it around when traveling/hiking, etc--and how a crop body or smaller might seem refreshing.

I do wonder though....the 5D2 is much larger than the 35mm Canon AE-1 or Pentax K1000 that I originally learned on. Obviously, the internals are pretty different so perhaps not real comparable. I wonder if full frame digital SLRs could be slimmed down any.

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Dan_168
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Re: Is Full-Frame simply an expensive phase for many photographers?
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 24, 2012

Even Perhaps that has more to do with your personal preference, what you shoot and how you shoot, in my own case I don't like small camera, the 5D2 is currently my smallest camera, actually the D800E I pre-ordered will be even tiny bit smaller, but I will have to add vertical grip to it just like what I did to my 5D2 to make it little more comfortable to use, my regular camera are D3, 1Ds2 and 1D2. I regularly hike with the those bigger camera, from the 1VHs to the 1DS2, from F3 to D3, hiked across the Grand Canyon, up Mt.Whitney, down the Bad Water (Death Valley National Park)......

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Kolen
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Re: Is Full-Frame simply an expensive phase for many photographers?
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 24, 2012

DFPanno wrote:

I guess this question would be most appropriately posted in the "Open Talk" forum but since I'm a Canon guy I'd like to ask here if you don't mind.

Clearly everybody loves the images their FF images. What's also clear from visiting other forums (NEX, Fuji, Olympus) is that many people seem to be glad to get rid of their FF kit.

"I've sold my 5D II and all my Ls to get this NEX-7 and I am finally enjoying photography again" is the kind of quote I see quite often.

I have been planning on a 5DIII for some time but before I pull the trigger I was curious as to what trend people have seen. If not related to self then perhaps with photography friends, etc.

This is a somewhat rhetorical question as I know of at least one truistic response: "It is a function of your needs and what your willing to carry".

That said I would love to hear other viewpoints.

You have to try it yourself. I have 5D II and GH1. And according to people from m43 forum, 5D II would be the one gathering dust at home. But for me, the fact is that my GH1 is the one left at home (though I won't let it gather dust) most of the time. I am just not pleased with the image from GH1 with the 14-42 kit lens, even for RAW.

And if you want to get a taste on such kind of combo and see which is left at home most of the time, I suggest you buy 5D II or even original 5D, and then a E-PL1 or a NEX 5. Both of them should represent the potential IQ of FF and mirrorless respectively. The cheapest combo (5D original and E-PL1) will cost just over USD 1000 body only. Spend more money on good glass though. L glass or prime is recommended.

By the way, if your budget is tight and you don't shot sports, don't buy 5D III. 5D II should be enough and you saves 1500 for some great glass.

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ScottieC
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I learned on Film, so I actually struggle more with the 1.6 CF...
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 24, 2012

I learned on Film, so I actually struggle more with the 1.6 CF... I seem to have to do math in my head all the time to get the focal perspective that I am looking for when walking about with my 7D. However, a lot of that issue is that I never bought EF-S lenses since I have had my Élan and RT from "back in the day", I have never considered EF-S lenses, they did not exist. I have a nice collection of old glass that I use.

When digital stuff came out, I went with the 1D Mark II, and I did fine that the ASP-H is actually a crop factor that I enjoy about as much as full frame. I had a hard time with the 20D and 30D. The ONLY time I care for the crop factor is when I am out birding or shooting something from a far distance. Again, it was about having to thinking about the perspective I wanted, which when looking at a 50mm lens, I’m expecting a perspective of 50mm, not 80mm. It has taken me a bit of time to get used to the crop factors and I do enjoy the 7D these days, however, the 5D Mark III is now in my hands.

In regards to the P&S cameras and MILC aka M4/3rds bodies, I do not really think the same way when using them. Those are mostly quick grabs, whereas with the DSLR's, I am being much more deliberate with the images I take.

DFPanno wrote:

I guess this question would be most appropriately posted in the "Open Talk" forum but since I'm a Canon guy I'd like to ask here if you don't mind.

Clearly everybody loves the images their FF images. What's also clear from visiting other forums (NEX, Fuji, Olympus) is that many people seem to be glad to get rid of their FF kit.

"I've sold my 5D II and all my Ls to get this NEX-7 and I am finally enjoying photography again" is the kind of quote I see quite often.

I have been planning on a 5DIII for some time but before I pull the trigger I was curious as to what trend people have seen. If not related to self then perhaps with photography friends, etc.

This is a somewhat rhetorical question as I know of at least one truistic response: "It is a function of your needs and what your willing to carry".

That said I would love to hear other viewpoints.

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filmluvr
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Same here
In reply to ScottieC, Mar 24, 2012

ScottieC wrote:

I learned on Film, so I actually struggle more with the 1.6 CF... I seem to have to do math in my head all the time to get the focal perspective that I am looking for when walking about with my 7D. However, a lot of that issue is that I never bought EF-S lenses since I have had my Élan and RT from "back in the day", I have never considered EF-S lenses, they did not exist. I have a nice collection of old glass that I use.

When I switched back to full frame (35mm to crop to FF), it was a breath of fresh air. However, certain things were distinctly better with the 40D. One was the superb sharpness and lifelike rendition of the 60mm macro. I used that lens not only for macro, but also for portraiture and extensively for street (people) photography here and in Asia. It excelled at everything I ever did with it, and it was superior to anything I have now, except perhaps my Nikkor 105/2.5. Another plus was the 10-22mm UWA, which was more resistant to flare and slightly sharper than the 17-40mm I use now. In any event, I can tell you with no reservation that restricting yourself to EF or other 35mm lenses does a great disservice to your 7D. Many of the lenses made by Canon specifically for the crop format are indeed better performing than their FF cousins.

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Dylthedog
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FF is home for those that learnt with film
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 24, 2012

Before my first DSLR I'd played with digital compacts as I didn't think there was a true replacements for film.

Then with the advent of the 350d I decided to take the plunge as my OM manual focus kit was so outdated. However, I never really got on with the conversion factor, DOF and I found the lenses I wanted didn't make sense falling in odd places. I also found that Canon FF lenses were always the ones I wanted because they are generally better than than EFS, of which choice was limited (back then).

Then I started reading about the 5D and looked at the shots it produced and just wanted one. So near the end of its run (about a year before the 5d2) I got one and never looked back.

I hated the plastic body, the paltry VF and the chunky but small form-factor of the 350d. With the 17-40 and a 430ex attached the body would flex and bend and felt really cheap.
The 5D was a world apart and I loved it.

Since then I've upgraded to a 5D2 and have mk3 on order; I've also added to my glass collection over the years.

There is a 'however' though. The size of modern FF gear is mental compared to my old Olympus OM film gear and I must confess I did hanker after that sort of portability. Then the Oly E-p1 came out and I just had to get one.

It made sense much more than APS-C (for me) and I've built a 2nd system around that helped by the fact that my wife got a Panny m43 camera shortly after.

I don't own a compact and probably never will again - my iPhone does that job. But having 2 very capable systems that meet my other needs is great and I'm very lucky that I can have them. Also, m43 lenses are generally setup to work right from wide-open, so with the right prime (which i tend to use on my m43) can still isolate subjects.

For me, in terms of use, I think it's about 50/50 between FF and m43. I can't see that I'd give up either system, but then both work for me. I certainly wouldn't look at APS-C again, though I can understand that the offering is much better catered for than when I started with it (lens-wise, esp. wide) and it's more attractive now if you only want 1 system.

Having said that I often get asked to recommend a camera, and so far I haven't advised a single person to go FF but then I guess anyone wanting FF would know they wanted one anyway

And I always say look at selection, try them in a store to see if they feel comfortable and don't buy one that is so big that you won't be happy carrying it around

DFPanno wrote:

I guess this question would be most appropriately posted in the "Open Talk" forum but since I'm a Canon guy I'd like to ask here if you don't mind.

Clearly everybody loves the images their FF images. What's also clear from visiting other forums (NEX, Fuji, Olympus) is that many people seem to be glad to get rid of their FF kit.

"I've sold my 5D II and all my Ls to get this NEX-7 and I am finally enjoying photography again" is the kind of quote I see quite often.

I have been planning on a 5DIII for some time but before I pull the trigger I was curious as to what trend people have seen. If not related to self then perhaps with photography friends, etc.

This is a somewhat rhetorical question as I know of at least one truistic response: "It is a function of your needs and what your willing to carry".

That said I would love to hear other viewpoints.

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BadBeta
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It's about technical quality for me
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 24, 2012

For me it is about technical image quality. A big sensor will catch more light, will give you better technical quality compared to a smaller sensor, and it is easier to get that DOF isolation with large sensors.

If technical quality was of less concern I would be happy to go with the with a smaller format. (The content side would probably even get a boost as smaller cameras seem less intrusive, and would be easier to bring along).

I am interested in smaller format cameras, and might end up buying one at some point for personal use.

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gipper51
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Re: Is Full-Frame simply an expensive phase for many photographers?
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 24, 2012

I'm really interested in a mirrorless system as an addition to my FF kit. For me the big cameras will be sticking around because 1) I need the IQ and flexibility for my paid work, and 2) I love the image quality and overall experience of these awesome cameras. Truly 645 film quality in a versatile 35mm package. I really do enjoy shooting with them.

The part I don't enjoy about the FF gear is simply that it's not always with me due to size. I cannot count the number of times a great photo has presented itself and I am camera-less. I would love to add a m4/3 kit with a few pancake primes at some point. For this system to do what I want it needs to fit in a large pocket, and m4/3 seems the best solution for that currently.
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drwho9437
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I think it is an important point
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 24, 2012

Honestly if you look at cameras they have gotten bigger and heavier over time.

The smallest m4/3 camera with a pancake lens is about the same size as a Pentax MX with a 50 1.7!

It doesn't get much thinner than film you see...

I personally have just purchased a 5D used after 7 years of waiting for the price to fall enough. There are certainly pros and cons to it.

The big creative pro from my point of view is simply that shallow DOF is attainable at reasonable focal lengths with reasonable price lenses.

Second to that the view finder is actually large, enough.

In terms of enjoyment I was raised on split prism cameras with MF lenses and honestly all auto-focus lenses lack that feeling of a brass thread and the nice feeling of seeing your subject come into focus. While I fully realize that autofocus is invaluable for many forms of photography for non-wildlife nature photography as I do it is totally unneeded. As it is for portraits of those who want their photo taken.

I have tended to backpack historically and so small and light are very important.

The EVFs available now are quite okay for composing, I didn't think I would like them honestly but having had a G2 for some time I can say that short of a split prism they allow for the best MF focus possible while outside.

With the release of f0.95 lens for m4/3 the DOF deficiency is solved. However having to use MF only and paying for that improvement on every lens is a con for m4/3.

As things stand now I probably will either have m4/3 for portable shooting (9-18 is tiny and light and 20 mm 1.7 is similar) and Canon 5D for everything else.

Or I will simply dump Canon completely for m4/3. While a review is needed the EP-5 is pretty much all that I could ask for in a m4/3 body. With a 25 mm f0.95 and/or the 17.5 mm f0.95 and a macro lens most things I shoot would be well covered... The cost being no optical path and some moderate loss of IQ (but just at this point).
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scdown
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Re: Is Full-Frame simply an expensive phase for many photographers?
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 24, 2012

I don't think it's always a phase, I think in a lot of cases people have weighed out pros and cons and decided it's worth it based on how and what they shoot (minus the example of the ignoramus who buys the most expensive camera available for their spouse because they're "worth every penny")

My needs for kit have changed in the last couple of years - I don't want carry a lot of bulky equipment no matter what the frame size - A D7000 with a 300mm, 105mm, 85mm, 50mm, and a 17-35mm is a lot for me even at APS-C, so I'm taking the plunge on mirrorless. We'll see how it goes. Know the AF will be "different", that's OK - my old lenses were from the 90s - not exactly focus speed demons. But I look forward to light small kit that I throw over my shoulder and hop in the car and shoot; shoot more than I've done in the past.

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headofdestiny
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Re: Is Full-Frame simply an expensive phase for many photographers?
In reply to DFPanno, Mar 25, 2012

DFPanno wrote:

I guess this question would be most appropriately posted in the "Open Talk" forum but since I'm a Canon guy I'd like to ask here if you don't mind.

Clearly everybody loves the images their FF images. What's also clear from visiting other forums (NEX, Fuji, Olympus) is that many people seem to be glad to get rid of their FF kit.

"I've sold my 5D II and all my Ls to get this NEX-7 and I am finally enjoying photography again" is the kind of quote I see quite often.

I have been planning on a 5DIII for some time but before I pull the trigger I was curious as to what trend people have seen. If not related to self then perhaps with photography friends, etc.

This is a somewhat rhetorical question as I know of at least one truistic response: "It is a function of your needs and what your willing to carry".

That said I would love to hear other viewpoints.

After I experimented with the NEX-5 for a while a couple of years ago, my A900 sat on the shelf for months. Inevitably, I ended up selling my whole full frame setup, because it just wasn't being used. Now, my NEX-7 is great for my usual 13x19 print size, and I don't miss carrying around the much larger setup.

All of this being said, I've gotten out of studio photography, and I'm not a pro sports shooter or anything, so it depends on your usage. If you're a fine art or landscape type photographer, I think the NEX-7 would be perfectly suitable for pro use. Maybe even pro photojournalists could make it work.

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jubilatu
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Re: Is Full-Frame simply an expensive phase for many photographers?
In reply to Marx81, Mar 30, 2012

Marx81 wrote:

Canon has several light and sharp primes . With these glasses , 5DII looks like a Rebel and isn' t heavy . Last time , on a small island , I had with me 28 f1,8 and 100 IS .
No problem .

That is the way i intend to follow too.

i used to be a canon guy (50d+17-55 IS) and i have to admit that 2 kilos of gear is quite garish and tiring. Moved to NEX-5n and a whole diferent story. even with the kit lens is so pocketable and tap-to-focus on the touch screen or shooting from the hip are a delight to use (especially with manual focus lens).

But even with it's bigger grip (in mirrorless terms) and its almost 2 stops of DR more than a 50d mirrorless has its drawbacks. The most important are the lens. For nex cameras is the lack of them (manual focus and the " RF zen" that accompanies it it's not an panacea solution). For MFT the small sensor and design-flaws is leading to need for alteration in RAW files and small DR (even the new OM-D is 3 stops behind the NEX).

Also, the lack of OVF could be an impediment for some. In the first month of using NEX i love the live view with tap-to-focus and manual focus. After that i begin to miss the peace and certainty of OVF composition.

also, if one intend to build a system, MFT is the only (kind of)way for the moment. MAybe 2 years for now the situation will be different, may be sony will release more lenses, maybe canon will launch a FF mirrorless - but we could not shoot with maybes.

Nevertheless the 5d2 is now a tangible dream. I will give NEX a final try in a short april vacation and after that... 5d2 and 50mm 1.4 might be the way (or the next stage).

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