Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)

Started Apr 6, 2012 | Discussions
txabi
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Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)
Apr 6, 2012

I propose this topic because many times I think about getting a D700 or 5dMarkII to have a full frame in my equipment. I in no way want to start some FF vs APS-C flame war. FF is obviously much better than APSC when it comes to depth of field and night-photography (low noise) capabilities. However, I keep thinking, at this point, not being a pro but just an amateur who does photography for fun as a hobby, is it even worth it to get a FF camera if you don't need the DOF or noise benefits?

I know that FF has further benefits than those I stated, but consider this: I own a 5N, the results I get are quite spectacular - much better even than what I expected to get:

IQ wise, I have no complaints (well, it can always be better, think ISO100 in a Sigma SD1). When you forget about all the other benefits a FF can bring you, for photographers like me who are just into photography just for fun, as a hobby, can really a FF bring any benefits IQ wise to somebody shooting with something like a 5N, and if it does, is it enough of an improvement to justify the price?

I think not. Look at comparisons like this:

http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2011/09/10/crazy-comparison-sony-nex-5n-and-leica-m9-image-quality/

There is certainly a difference, but considering the IQ I'm getting from my 5N, I reiterate my initial question: is FF worth it at this point of tech development, if one is not necessarily looking for the DOF and noise benefits?

I'd like to hear all sorts of perspectives, specially helpful if you do own a modern APSC and a FF! I keep thinking about getting a FF cos "it must be better" but the more I look at the images, the less I find the evidence to be compelling. I keep thinking that my money would be better spent on better lenses and flashes to complement my 5N and classes to learn and improve my skills - I feel this will bring many more benefits than a shift to FF would.

Discuss!

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edwardaneal
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Re: Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)
In reply to txabi, Apr 6, 2012

If I were a pro things might be different, but personally I cant even imaging needing more that what I can get out of my NEX-7. At lower ISO it even out resolves many of the full frame options, and I am very happy with the results at high ISO

in their rankings of camera sensors dxomark ranks the NEX-7 10th on the list and the D3 and D700 are 11th and 12th on the list also 5 of the cameras rated higher are medium format

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Camera-Sensor-Ratings

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wll
wll
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Re: Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)
In reply to txabi, Apr 6, 2012

Hold on, Hold on, I agree, but ............... is that a cupcake with bacon on top, OMG, what has the world come to ... please explain ;- )

wll

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urasob2
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Re: Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)
In reply to txabi, Apr 6, 2012

Shallow depth of field shots, there are some things a FF does better.

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txabi
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Re: Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)
In reply to wll, Apr 6, 2012

wll wrote:

Hold on, Hold on, I agree, but ............... is that a cupcake with bacon on top, OMG, what has the world come to ... please explain ;- )

HAHAHA! Why yes, it's a salted caramel cupcake with bacon! These are "high level" cupcakes, they're supposed to be nouvelle cuisine stile. It sounds crazy but it was absolutely delicious. If you're curious, I get them at Phoebe's Cupcakes in Chicago

urasob2 wrote:

Shallow depth of field shots, there are some things a FF does better.

I guess you didn't really bother reading my post? I asked if other than the DOF and noise benefits - which are obvious to any knowledgeable photographer - there are any IQ benefits to going FF over a modern APSC like 5N, since I keep looking at comparisons and the difference seems minimal. DOF and noise are certainly enough incentives to go FF if that's what you're looking for, but if it isn't, is it really worth it to spend the extra money in FF?

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cxsparc
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Re: Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)
In reply to urasob2, Apr 6, 2012

urasob2 wrote:

Shallow depth of field shots, there are some things a FF does better.

THough you could get a Nokton 0.95 and then discuss whether you need less DOF than what it allows on APSC...

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Kriekira
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Re: it's not the wand, it's the magician
In reply to txabi, Apr 6, 2012

We use tools to perform tasks. The worth of a tool is it's ability to perform a task.

The newest cameras with APS-C-size sensors can perform many (and likely most) of the tasks that a two or three year old camera with a full-frame-size sensor can perform. So there is a good bit of overlap there, and significantly more than there was in 2008.

But the tasks we perform change with the tools we have. I am very much looking forward to Sony's next FF camera.

The point is that it is silly to compare sensor size without specifying tools and tasks. Is the a900 worth it compared to the a77? to the Nex-7? For what? What task are you attempting?

And of course if one of the APS-C sensor cameras is better for the tasks you plan to use it for, does not mean that cameras with FF (or larger) sensors are suddenly obselete.

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aman74
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Re: Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)
In reply to txabi, Apr 6, 2012

Sounds like you're just answering your own doubts. What's the point of this thread? Obviously, if people decide to go full frame they've put they're own thoughts into it and decided to do it. What's the point of your qualifiers? The if if if, obviously someone has those if's when they make their own decision, as you did yours. For me, I'm looking to go FF and noise won't be a big part of that decision. DOF would be a minor consideration, yet I'd still like FF...maybe there's some other reason's you're forgetting?

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urasob2
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Re: Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)
In reply to cxsparc, Apr 6, 2012

cxsparc wrote:

urasob2 wrote:

Shallow depth of field shots, there are some things a FF does better.

THough you could get a Nokton 0.95 and then discuss whether you need less DOF than what it allows on APSC...

It still isn't the same. Shooting superspeed lenses wide open is a compromise compared to a good lens stopped down a bit on a FF. I think a decent quality 50 stopped down to F2 would be sharper than my 35mm/F1.2 shot wide open despite the similar DOF and the perceived focal length being equivalent. The difference is shooting one lens wide open and the other stopped down.

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txabi
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Re: Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)
In reply to aman74, Apr 6, 2012

aman74 wrote:

For me, I'm looking to go FF and noise won't be a big part of that decision. DOF would be a minor consideration, yet I'd still like FF...maybe there's some other reason's you're forgetting?

This is what I'm trying to understand. If DOF and noise aren't a big part of your decision, then what is the benefit IQ wise for you to go FF? Maybe the benefit is elsewhere? (body, manual controls, speed... what?)

I ask because I'm very happy with my 5N, but I always have this feeling of FF will be better. Then I go look at comparison shots and I really don't see that much difference, the setup, lighting and personal technique seem to be far more important than a FF tool. It seems to me that equally good results can be had between APSC and FF - maybe it's because the newest APSC sensors are so good that at this point FF are just really "needed" for specific purposes that APSC can't match?

Which, yes, answers my own question in that I probably wouldn't see any benefit from going FF, but I still want to understand, IQ wise, are there any other benefits to FF apart from DOF and noise?

Look for example at the following shot:

Certainly not the best picture ever, but considering it was taken indoors with bounce flash, the result was very sharp for my taste. If you open the original you can see a lot of detail. Look at the following:

Once again, horrible framing etc, this was just a quick shot to print for my niece, but look at the sharpness in my dog's snout. Could using a FF really bring me any more detail or better IQ in the same situation?

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Taylor Sherman
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Re: Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)
In reply to txabi, Apr 6, 2012

For me, it's about lenses. If you want a WA on the APS-C, you need a really wide lens, which means one specifically designed for APS-C or else an a lens designed for FF that is probably significantly more expensive.

The higher pixel density of APS-C means the lenses have to have great resolution, so if you use FF-design lenses the must be extremely good.

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headofdestiny
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Re: Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)
In reply to txabi, Apr 6, 2012

I made the decision to get rid of my A900 and lenses a year and a half ago, because the size of NEX was just too appealing. Loosing about a stop of noise and shallow DOF isn't that big of a deal, to me.

Another thing to consider is the drop in MTF of aps-c compared to full frame. To quote denoir in another forum,"Then there's also the question of micro contrast. When you increase the pixel density you're demanding a higher spatial resolution and the result is a drop in the MTF. The lenses are designed to have a certain contrast at certain spatial frequencies - when you shift that, you get completely different results (poorer MTF)."

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wll
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Re: Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)
In reply to txabi, Apr 6, 2012

Were on the same page.

back in the day the problem with APS-C was there were no really wide wides ... now that is not the case.

I don't want ot carry 50 million pounds of equipment around, have prime lenses that are larger than my arm and weigh more than my car.

My Pentax gear, of with I own LOTS, even though it is small for DSLR standarts is large and much heravier than my 5n and it's lenses.

I'm waiting for a 16mm or 18mm to 50mm or 60mm f2.8 to come down the pike with OSS and I'll be set. A 18-135mm f4 with OSS would be the cat's a## too.

wll

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viking79
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Re: Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)
In reply to txabi, Apr 6, 2012

txabi wrote:

I in no way want to start some FF vs APS-C flame war. FF is obviously much better than APSC when it comes to depth of field and night-photography (low noise) capabilities.

Full frame gets you 1 and 1/3 f/stops. Thats all, and you do have to make tradeoffs to see benefit. You have to trade depth of field for faster shutter speed, longer shutter speed for better image quality (given same depth of field and composition), etc.

However, that 1 1/3 f/stops is for all your lenses, so generally equivalent lenses on FF are smaller and lighter in the normal focal length range. Again, given equivalent imaging abilities. You would use a 50mm f/2 or f/2.3 lens instead of a 35mm f/1.4 lens and get similar results. Size wise the 50mm would probably be smaller. Since you don't usually get equivalent lenses on full frame, you buy a 50mm f/1.4 or 1.8 lens and can, if you choose to, get less depth of field than on the APS-C camera.

However, I keep thinking, at this point, not being a pro but just an amateur who does photography for fun as a hobby, is it even worth it to get a FF camera if you don't need the DOF or noise benefits?

No, unless you want better image quality by using longer shutter speeds (ISO 100 on a full frame camera will be better than ISO 100 on an APS-C camera given similar depth of field and composition), but you are going to have to keep you shutter open longer since you have to stop down the lens more to get the same depth of field.

I know that FF has further benefits than those I stated, but consider this: I own a 5N, the results I get are quite spectacular - much better even than what I expected to get:

Then you probably don't need a full frame. The question is the same as do I buy the 50mm f/1.4 lens or the 50mm f/1.8 lens, etc. Do you want faster speed or not? I find APS-C shallow enough depth of field in most cases.

IQ wise, I have no complaints (well, it can always be better, think ISO100 in a Sigma SD1). When you forget about all the other benefits a FF can bring you, for photographers like me who are just into photography just for fun, as a hobby, can really a FF bring any benefits IQ wise to somebody shooting with something like a 5N, and if it does, is it enough of an improvement to justify the price?

Again, price for equivalent gear is not necessarily that different. Pretend you buy a Nikon D800 for $3000 with a 35mm f/2 ($389), 50mm f/1.8G ($220), and 85mm f/1.8G ($500).

In APS C terms this is like a 24mm f/1.2, 35mm f/1.1, and 55mm f/1.1. What do you think those lenses would cost in APS-C? A lot, and they don't make them. But they would probably be over $1000 each.

I agree though, if you don't need that, full frame probably isn't necessary. APS-C is very good and I think software techniques could be used in the future to reduce depth of field.

Eric
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Rich Gibson
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For my needs not really
In reply to txabi, Apr 6, 2012

I have a D700 and until last August, a D3 as well. I'm a hobbiest so I suppose my vote isn't as significant as a pro who uses one for a living. I've been at this a relatively short time compared to a lot of shooters here but after giving up the D3 and with my D700 sitting on the shelf I don't see any significant difference in my images, except that with the NEX-5N and now the 7 I go out and shoot a lot more. Technically speaking, I do have more keepers than with the FF Nikons I used.

Rich

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txabi
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Re: Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)
In reply to viking79, Apr 6, 2012

viking79 wrote:

I agree though, if you don't need that, full frame probably isn't necessary. APS-C is very good and I think software techniques could be used in the future to reduce depth of field.

Thanks for your post! That was very informative. I now understand the FF/APSC differences in relation to lenses, aperture and speed. I guess it can be enough of a difference to many people, I was just having a hard time seeing that considering I wouldn't see much benefit myself. I usually stick to the sweet spot of f/5.6 or 8 in a lens to get the best sharpness possible, FF would allow me more speed / light at similar settings, which is great, but wouldn't bring enough of an IQ improvement for me to justify the price.

Interestingly, the new Photoshop CS6 will have a feature to "create" DOF - there's already videos in Youtube I think, I know I've seen it somewhere recently. It seems that software and APSC tech advances are increasingly driving FF towards very specific markets/users.

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wll
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Re: For my needs not really
In reply to Rich Gibson, Apr 6, 2012

Rich,

I'm shooting a buddies concert tonight, and although I'll be using my Pentax K-5, I'll be taking my 5n as I have some low POV shots I want to do, and instead of taking another super wide and having to get on the ground because Pentax does not have an articulating screen ... ARGGGG, I'm taking the 5n with the 16mm and the wide angle adapter, case closed.

I'm so over the FF vs APS-C thing I can't begin to tell you. When was the last time I made a print that was 30 x ? ... can you say never !

The most I see myself ever is a 13 x 19 !

wll

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chaking
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Re: Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)
In reply to txabi, Apr 6, 2012

You don't get a thinner DOF on a FF sensor per se. If you use the same lens on both a FF and a Sub Frame camera and took the shot from the exact same distance to the subject and then cropped the FF shot to only show what the sub frame shot got, it would have IDENTICAL DOF. If you didn't crop the shot, then the Sub Frame shot would have LESS DOF than the FF... but this is because it's a different image at that point. If you had identical field of view (meaning the FF lens would have to be 1.5x the focal length (on Sonys/Nikons) of the sub frame lens) then the Sub Frame would have MORE DOF.

So as you can see, it's not quite as simple as FF = LESS DOF. And I'm not sure why everyone wants less DOF so much...

Also noise and sensor size have no direct correlation. That's why the d7000 performs about the same as the d800 as far as noise.

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txabi
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Re: For my needs not really
In reply to wll, Apr 6, 2012

wll wrote:

I'm so over the FF vs APS-C thing I can't begin to tell you. When was the last time I made a print that was 30 x ? ... can you say never !

Heh, let me tell you, I just did two 40x30 and 60x20 prints, all of them taken with NEX3 and while up close the detail is not exceptional, a couple of feet away (the normal distance at which people will look at them) they look amazing! I get compliments on these prints all the time! The pics themselves are these:

And this is how they turned out (sorry for the awful quality, these were just to share in FB with friends and so I pulled then down from there):

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viking79
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Re: Is FF even worth at this point? (read details)
In reply to txabi, Apr 6, 2012

txabi wrote:

viking79 wrote:

I agree though, if you don't need that, full frame probably isn't necessary. APS-C is very good and I think software techniques could be used in the future to reduce depth of field.

I usually stick to the sweet spot of f/5.6 or 8 in a lens to get the best sharpness possible, FF would allow me more speed / light at similar settings, which is great, but wouldn't bring enough of an IQ improvement for me to justify the price.

Agreed, if you wanted to take a picture using APS-C at 35mm f/5.6 ISO 100, 1/100 for example, you would set a full frame at 50mm f/9 ISO 240 1/100 to get exactly the same picture (assuming similar lens quality and sensor technology).

So, on the full frame you could set the 50mm f/9 ISO 100 but you would have to increase your shutter duration to 1/40 or so to get the better IQ (100 instead of 240). And since the 5n is already exceptional at ISO100, that extra IQ probably isn't necessary, and the extra shutter duration on the full frame might require a tripod anyway.

Interestingly, the new Photoshop CS6 will have a feature to "create" DOF - there's already videos in Youtube I think, I know I've seen it somewhere recently. It seems that software and APSC tech advances are increasingly driving FF towards very specific markets/users.

I agree, as the algorithms to blur the image improve you will see more companies implementing similar in the camera. Sony already has plenty of software processing and very fast processors. The Panorama modes, twilight modes, HDR, etc.

Eric

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