Do ´full frame´ images have a certain look about them?

Started Jul 22, 2012 | Discussions
Jamtheman80
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Do ´full frame´ images have a certain look about them?
Jul 22, 2012

Basically I am an amateur who owned and had enormous joy out of using Canon 5D Mark II (before that the 5D Mark I). For personal reasons (first baby etc) and time outside of work consumed by moving house I could no longer use it that much to justify owning an item so costly, so reluctantly sold it and a few lenses for good prices.

Several months later and with things settling down I fed my DSLR cravings with a Nikon D5100 which I bought second hand at £350 for some moderate landscape work and a few family portraits. Im pleased with the results and am astounded at how much dynamic range there is in its raw files (even compared to the 5D Mk2).

But even the best exposed and focussed images just seem to lack something compared to my 5D files. My techniques and knowledge have improved but the results dont show it. I cant help but think I should consider ye olde 5D Mark I which can be had for as little as £450 which even with its considerable limitations compared to the d5100 (i would miss live view) and its dust prone sensor (which I could clean) seems to me to be quite a bargain. It unlike the D5100 can work with cheaper older lenses.

Or maybe I am mad? Anyone else gone to a cropped body and regretted it?

PerL
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Re: Do ´full frame´ images have a certain look about them?
In reply to Jamtheman80, Jul 22, 2012

Jamtheman80 wrote:

Basically I am an amateur who owned and had enormous joy out of using Canon 5D Mark II (before that the 5D Mark I). For personal reasons (first baby etc) and time outside of work consumed by moving house I could no longer use it that much to justify owning an item so costly, so reluctantly sold it and a few lenses for good prices.

Several months later and with things settling down I fed my DSLR cravings with a Nikon D5100 which I bought second hand at £350 for some moderate landscape work and a few family portraits. Im pleased with the results and am astounded at how much dynamic range there is in its raw files (even compared to the 5D Mk2).

But even the best exposed and focussed images just seem to lack something compared to my 5D files. My techniques and knowledge have improved but the results dont show it. I cant help but think I should consider ye olde 5D Mark I which can be had for as little as £450 which even with its considerable limitations compared to the d5100 (i would miss live view) and its dust prone sensor (which I could clean) seems to me to be quite a bargain. It unlike the D5100 can work with cheaper older lenses.

Or maybe I am mad? Anyone else gone to a cropped body and regretted it?

Ithink there is a special look - there is no way around it. It is not so much about noise or resolution but differences in the smooth DOF control which is visible also in small sizes.

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ewhip
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Re: Do ´full frame´ images have a certain look about them?
In reply to Jamtheman80, Jul 22, 2012

I think (and I'm sure that I'll get flamed for this and will be deluged with technical arguments to the contrary...) that full frame images DO have a certain "life" to them that I find more appealing. Smaller sensor cameras these days are truly incredible - when you get down to it I'm just not sure it's possible to buy a "bad" dslr right now. But, to me, after looking at thousands of images before buying my 5Diii, and just based on the small number of images I've taken with it so far, full frame sensors have qualities that I prefer. I don't have a technical explanation for it, or even a great way to describe it, but I feel that they have more.... sigh... more depth and three dimensionality than any of the smaller sensor cameras that I've owned.

Just an opinion of course and I'm sure someone will chime in telling me that it's simply impossible due to the way that the pixels are arranged or due to diffraction or some other thing that I really don't care to understand. Ha!

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salamander1
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Re: Do ´full frame´ images have a certain look about them?
In reply to Jamtheman80, Jul 22, 2012

Anyone else gone to a cropped body and regretted it?

you can never go back, don't kid yourself.
full frame is special and doesn't look like anything else.

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Ogjetaknight
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Re: Do ´full frame´ images have a certain look about them?
In reply to ewhip, Jul 22, 2012

ewhip wrote:

I think (and I'm sure that I'll get flamed for this and will be deluged with technical arguments to the contrary...) that full frame images DO have a certain "life" to them that I find more appealing. Smaller sensor cameras these days are truly incredible - when you get down to it I'm just not sure it's possible to buy a "bad" dslr right now. But, to me, after looking at thousands of images before buying my 5Diii, and just based on the small number of images I've taken with it so far, full frame sensors have qualities that I prefer. I don't have a technical explanation for it, or even a great way to describe it, but I feel that they have more.... sigh... more depth and three dimensionality than any of the smaller sensor cameras that I've owned.

Just an opinion of course and I'm sure someone will chime in telling me that it's simply impossible due to the way that the pixels are arranged or due to diffraction or some other thing that I really don't care to understand. Ha!

Oh boy, you are really asking for trouble. LOL There are many camera scientists here who will filet you alive for expressing such an opinion. I hope you can make it out of here alive.

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Jamtheman80
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Re: Do ´full frame´ images have a certain look about them?
In reply to salamander1, Jul 22, 2012

I think you're right. I became accustomed to the film like look of full frame sesnors and just cant get satisfaction from the lack of depth or oomph in my D5100 images, even with a 50mm 1.4! Thats why im seriously considering at least in the short term, going back in time seven years to a 5D Mark I which appears to be a bargain at £450-500, even with no live view, internal sensor cleaning, poorer metering (auto focus is about the same IMO) and ISO limited to 3200. Video I can take or leave.

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ewhip
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Re: Do ´full frame´ images have a certain look about them?
In reply to Ogjetaknight, Jul 22, 2012

Ogjetaknight wrote:

Oh boy, you are really asking for trouble. LOL There are many camera scientists here who will filet you alive for expressing such an opinion. I hope you can make it out of here alive.

Oh I know!! I'm bracing myself now for it!! Haha!

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Jamtheman80
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Re: Do ´full frame´ images have a certain look about them?
In reply to Jamtheman80, Jul 22, 2012

I also think the two Japanese monopolists have grossly underestimated the market for genuinely affordable full frame bodies. Maybe Nikon will be first to realise it?

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Cal Dawson
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Re: Do ´full frame´ images have a certain look about them?
In reply to Jamtheman80, Jul 22, 2012

well I never found a "Magic" to the FF camera. But then I had one for only a short time and picked up a 1Dmk2N as a replacement (which I still use) I guess I will have to replace my 1Dmk2N at some point and it will most likely be a FF since the APSH sensor looks to be discontinued....
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Phil Hill
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Re: Do ´full frame´ images have a certain look about them?
In reply to Jamtheman80, Jul 22, 2012

If you use the same lens on both cameras, the FF image will usually look better due to reduced optical magnification. But if you use a lens with resolution enhanced for the smaller sensor, photos at all but high ISO speeds will be comparable, especially if you adjust the aperture to compensate for DOF differences. That’s been my experience, at least.

The problem, of course, is that there are relatively few lenses optimized for APS-C, and people often make comparisons using the same lens on both cameras. I believe that even DPR does this.

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DFPanno
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I certainly hope so............
In reply to Jamtheman80, Jul 23, 2012

I can't stand the notion of paying all that money and carrying all this bulk if they don't......

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William DIllard
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Re: Do ´full frame´ images have a certain look about them?
In reply to Jamtheman80, Jul 23, 2012

Well for one thing fast lenses work much better with full frame and in general the picture is better or more fat with the full frme. Notice I said, "in general" it does seem to me that the bokeh can in certain circumstances be nicer with the crop camera.

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Knipser63
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Re: Do ´full frame´ images have a certain look about them?
In reply to Jamtheman80, Jul 23, 2012

You are definetly not mad. There is a special look. I am sure, too. Go get the 5DI!
--
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JacquesC
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I'm not convinced ...
In reply to Jamtheman80, Jul 23, 2012

I've heard this "special look" on FF theory before but I'm not convinced whether that is really the case. I shot crop-frame cameras (3 of them) before moving to FF, and although the FF pictures look good in general I am not convinced that it has any special look to it. The fact that FF is 2 to 3 times the price of crop frame cameras certainly makes me WANT to see something special in there, so I really hope that I'm wrong.

It would be interesting to take a pair of CF and FF bodies of similar technological maturity and compare the results of shots taken with everything being equal except the form factor.

I suspect that if you do not know which shot was taken with which body you might have a hard time telling them apart.
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pso
pso
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My opinion is yes
In reply to Jamtheman80, Jul 23, 2012

I am not a pixel scientist or anything but I always enjoyed the shallow DOF shots from my full frame cameras over similar images from my 1d Mk IV.

And on the other end, I feel that group photos (with say two or three rows of people) taken with a crop sensor have an "easier" time for all the people to be sharp (i.e. for the same aperture, more is sharp in the image).

If I am wrong, fellow pixel scientists, please be gentle with me ; )

Or maybe I am mad? Anyone else gone to a cropped body and regretted it?

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sponnan
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Dont miss out special moments my friend.
In reply to Jamtheman80, Jul 23, 2012

I have learnt few things from others here. So just thought of sharing my humble opinion here. First of all, I don't own a canon full frame camera. I do have a leica M9 though. I had my 30D since about 7 years now. I got the leica for being light weight for travel and picture quality. I use leica for landscape work and I really like it. I still use my 30D for its fastness. I have a new born baby girl and I use 30D to grab those "special moments". My suggestion is get used to one equipment and that way you can capture great moments in life. The content and the moment of the photograph are priceless in my opinion. So keep an eye on those special moments my friend and don't miss them. Because, you can not re-create those moments. Don't get caught in technical issues. What ever camera you use, get to know it thoroughly so that you can change the settings quickly. You need to spend more time with a camera to get to know it thoroughly. Just enjoy the photography.
All images are in full frame.
30D+24-105mm

Trying to roll with her grand parents. 30D + 24-105mm

One for the bokeh. My dad enjoying a beer. This was taken last weekend on a hot and humid mid day light. 30D + 50mm1.4

Regards,
Santosh.

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Rocker44
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Re: Do ´full frame´ images have a certain look about them?
In reply to Jamtheman80, Jul 23, 2012

I think there is definitely a difference when it comes to sensor size and the perceived rendering of depth in an image.

I have a Bronica with a f2.8 75mm lens and I find that the size of the 'sensor' (3 times a ff) creates a very unique look of smooth blur and sharp subject isolation.

Of course the effect is diminished with smaller apertures as the depth of field increases.

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morrisng
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Re: Do ´full frame´ images have a certain look about them?
In reply to ewhip, Jul 23, 2012

I upgraded from 60D to 5D3 and I also notice a difference, especially during PP on the RAW images. The FF images seem to be more pleasing and the color rendition requires much less adjustment. Often time I pretty much taking the RAW "as-is" before exporting, compared to the 60D which I had to constantly adjusting.

And it is not just me, my wife also "sees" the same, even though she was complaining about the cost original ;p ) Only took me to show her the first few pictures and she now stope whining, hehe.

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cvye
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Re: Do ´full frame´ images have a certain look about them?
In reply to Jamtheman80, Jul 23, 2012

I believe FF has more "pop", and crop sensor images are "flat", to my eyes at least. For a technical perspective, I'd suggest the following article:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/resolution.shtml

Go to Table 3 for how much resolution is robbed by the crop sensor compared to FF.

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Great Bustard
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No more so than anything has a 'special look'
In reply to Jamtheman80, Jul 23, 2012

Jamtheman80 wrote:

Basically I am an amateur who owned and had enormous joy out of using Canon 5D Mark II (before that the 5D Mark I). For personal reasons (first baby etc) and time outside of work consumed by moving house I could no longer use it that much to justify owning an item so costly, so reluctantly sold it and a few lenses for good prices.

Several months later and with things settling down I fed my DSLR cravings with a Nikon D5100 which I bought second hand at £350 for some moderate landscape work and a few family portraits. Im pleased with the results and am astounded at how much dynamic range there is in its raw files (even compared to the 5D Mk2).

But even the best exposed and focussed images just seem to lack something compared to my 5D files. My techniques and knowledge have improved but the results dont show it. I cant help but think I should consider ye olde 5D Mark I which can be had for as little as £450 which even with its considerable limitations compared to the d5100 (i would miss live view) and its dust prone sensor (which I could clean) seems to me to be quite a bargain. It unlike the D5100 can work with cheaper older lenses.

Or maybe I am mad? Anyone else gone to a cropped body and regretted it?

Typically, a FF DSLR allows a more shallow DOF for a given perspective and framing, and less noise for a given exposure. Lenses tend to resolve more detail on FF sensors, too (in the center, and even the edges, for a given DOF -- as a general rule).

So, in terms of DOF options, and noise, and resolved detail, FF will definitely give you advantages over smaller formats (at least, for cameras of the same generation, although the extended DOF options extends across generations).

Whether or not those advantages are significant or not depends mainly on the types of photos you take, your personal tastes and the tastes of the people viewing your photos, as well as how large you display the photo.

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