Is Full frame still the most versatile?

Started Mar 31, 2013 | Discussions
peevee1
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to olliess, Apr 2, 2013

olliess wrote:

Mjankor wrote:

Yes.

So then what are people talking about when they say the current-generation contrast detect AF systems cannot track as fast as phase detect systems? Is it just an urban myth?

Tracking and focusing are two different things. You can shoot E-M5 at 4 fps even with AF-S, let alone AF-C, but you'll have to keep your subject in the focus point (rather focus square as it looks different from DSLRs' PDAF focus points). If the subject moves between different focus points, i.e. laterally, and at the same time back and forth (so you cannot just lock focus), you will need AF-C+Tracking (different focusing mode), and this one might lose subject if it moves in lateral direction too fast, focusing on something else instead.

Of course there is the question of light and lens giving reasonably good input to the sensor. Indoors at 45 mm (90mm FF eq), there is a big difference between 45/1.8 at 1.8 and 12-50 at f/6. And make light low enough and all bets are off.

Regarding focusing speed itself, newish m43 lenses go from far to close focus faster than most DSLR lenses, I guess simply because much better ratio between focusing motor power and focusing group mass. Even vs PDAF; CDAF on DSLRs is simply unusable and don't even assume it is anything like that  on m43.

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tko
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hyperbole
In reply to jonrobertp, Apr 2, 2013

The sad truth is a FF kit may only weight a little more. There's a lot of hype of weight, like the below exaggeration.

18 cuft fridge with electric cord compared to an ice chest?

An exact comparison is whether a 170 lb male would want to carry 2 lbs (172 lbs total) or 4 lbs (174 lbs total)

That's a 10% weight difference. One that a healthy person shouldn't even notice. But you get a lot more than 10% improvement in performance.

What ???   lol...they most certainly do...have a LOT to do with the tool. Do you carry a floor jack in the trunk of your car ?   Do you take an 18 cu.ft. fridge with you on an afternoon picnic ?

Small is nearly always better...in many items, including most photographic equipment. (except reflectors)    etc....

Small = lower performance by definition unless you're backpacking. Small = slower lens, less flash power, less battery life, fewer controls, slower operation.

What size car do you drive? What size house do you live in? What size fridge do you have?

Clearly, there is not agreement here on this thread as to how the OP defined his term "versatile".

Definition of VERSATILE : having many uses or applications <versatile building material>
I don't see convenience in the definition. Neither is cost. Just the lens selection alone for FF makes it more versatile.
Versatile doesn't mean lowest weight, or most convenient, or more bang for the buck. A knife isn't more versatile just because you can smuggle it into a concert easier.
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peevee1
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Re: mFT has eveything FF has except .... Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to plevyadophy, Apr 2, 2013

plevyadophy wrote:

mFT with the coming to market of the OM-D and GH3 is on par with the likes of the 5D Mark III, what ever difference there is exists only on paper as far as I am concerned. In practical use, you cannot tell the difference except, as I said earlier, for one difference and that is tracking focus across the frame where a ff DSLR will win hands down.

Not even every FF DSLR, I doubt very much that the pathetic 9-point AF system in Canon 6D can keep up, and the AF system in D600, although good for APS-C, simply covers too little of a frame for FF, so as soon as your subject wanders outside of it (which is too easy), it is lost. And these are the latest FF DSLRs, what would you say about 5D II or Sony A900? Not every FF DSLR is 1D X.

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Martin.au
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to peevee1, Apr 2, 2013

WTF!!!

I've never seen anything like that before.

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Ulric
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Re: hyperbole
In reply to tko, Apr 2, 2013

tko wrote:

An exact comparison is whether a 170 lb male would want to carry 2 lbs (172 lbs total) or 4 lbs (174 lbs total)

That's a 10% weight difference.

No, no. An exact comparison is whether a 170 lb male would want to carry 2 lbs or 4 lbs in his 4000 lbs car. That's a .05% difference.

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plevyadophy
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Re: mFT has eveything FF has except .... Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to peevee1, Apr 2, 2013

peevee1 wrote:

plevyadophy wrote:

mFT with the coming to market of the OM-D and GH3 is on par with the likes of the 5D Mark III, what ever difference there is exists only on paper as far as I am concerned. In practical use, you cannot tell the difference except, as I said earlier, for one difference and that is tracking focus across the frame where a ff DSLR will win hands down.

Not even every FF DSLR, I doubt very much that the pathetic 9-point AF system in Canon 6D can keep up, and the AF system in D600, although good for APS-C, simply covers too little of a frame for FF, so as soon as your subject wanders outside of it (which is too easy), it is lost. And these are the latest FF DSLRs, what would you say about 5D II or Sony A900? Not every FF DSLR is 1D X.

Your points are taken .............kinda.

Yeah, some of the low budget ff cams have their AF points squeezed into the central area of the field of view. However, lets say we are talking about one of the cheaper 9-point AF arrays, I bet ya if it has focus tracking, it will focus track from the far left of its AF to the far right faster than any mFT cam will. The difference in performance between ff and mFT in this regard is similar to the old difference between single point AF on any contrast-detect system and that of a ff DSLR, in that it is glaringly obvious that one doesn't need to rely test equipment of a reviewer to point out the difference as one can see it one's self.

It's the one area of AF that mFT systems, or any other maker of contrast-detect AF cams has to work on in a big way.

Personally, it hasn't bothered me yet as I havent't ever had to rely on the feature but those who shoot sports or perhaps wildlife may miss this ability if they go to mFT from a DSLR.

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Glen Barrington
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It is only more versatile if you don't want to learn how to use your tools.
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 2, 2013

Most anything you want to do with a FF camera you can do with any other camera.  It's just a matter of learning a new technique to achieve the same results.  All tools have a set of usage parameters that both enhance and limit their use.

For those who lust after a full frame camera, I say, lust away!  But I think you are selling yourself short if you believe that not having FF is somehow preventing you from creating certain photos or in doing good work.

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Martin.au
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Re: mFT has eveything FF has except .... Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to plevyadophy, Apr 2, 2013

plevyadophy wrote:

peevee1 wrote:

plevyadophy wrote:

mFT with the coming to market of the OM-D and GH3 is on par with the likes of the 5D Mark III, what ever difference there is exists only on paper as far as I am concerned. In practical use, you cannot tell the difference except, as I said earlier, for one difference and that is tracking focus across the frame where a ff DSLR will win hands down.

Not even every FF DSLR, I doubt very much that the pathetic 9-point AF system in Canon 6D can keep up, and the AF system in D600, although good for APS-C, simply covers too little of a frame for FF, so as soon as your subject wanders outside of it (which is too easy), it is lost. And these are the latest FF DSLRs, what would you say about 5D II or Sony A900? Not every FF DSLR is 1D X.

Your points are taken .............kinda.

Yeah, some of the low budget ff cams have their AF points squeezed into the central area of the field of view. However, lets say we are talking about one of the cheaper 9-point AF arrays, I bet ya if it has focus tracking, it will focus track from the far left of its AF to the far right faster than any mFT cam will. The difference in performance between ff and mFT in this regard is similar to the old difference between single point AF on any contrast-detect system and that of a ff DSLR, in that it is glaringly obvious that one doesn't need to rely test equipment of a reviewer to point out the difference as one can see it one's self.

It's the one area of AF that mFT systems, or any other maker of contrast-detect AF cams has to work on in a big way.

Personally, it hasn't bothered me yet as I havent't ever had to rely on the feature but those who shoot sports or perhaps wildlife may miss this ability if they go to mFT from a DSLR.

Which DSLRs have focus tracking?

I was just reading up on AI focus, AI servo and single on the Canon 7D and it doesn't appear to have it.

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plevyadophy
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Re: Pretentious Latin twaddle and lens distortion Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to Draek, Apr 2, 2013

Draek wrote:

plevyadophy wrote:

Well, the distortion graphs I see show the same distortion whether or not the sensor size changes.

Then the distortion graphs you're seeing are wrong, or you're reading them wrong. Care to cite a few?

A simple test would be to use a compass and draw circles from large to small, with the smaller circles sitting inside the bigger ones. Then draw a series of squares over, in the same manner, smaller squares centred inside the larger ones, with the squares sitting on top of the circles. you will see that the curve angle of those circles is pretty much the same within the large squares as it is for the smaller ones. For squares read sensors and for circles read angle of distortion.

"Curved angle"? angle of distortion? and what exactly would that prove?

You seem to be through far too many misunderstandings; I suspect you're confusing perspective distortion with optical (ie, barrel or pincushion) distortion, falling into the old mistake of thinking perspective is determined by focal length rather than position, and at least a couple other problems as well.

A 12mm lens requires more effort on the part of the lens maker to make a good lens than it does to make a 50mm, whether or not that lens is sitting in front of a small sensor or a large one. Or to put it another, make a 12mm lens with no attempt to correct distortion and do likewise with a 24mm lens; stick the 12mm on a Four Thirds sensor and the 24mm on a 35mm cam, and I think you will find that the 24mm does better.

And I know you'll find differently.

Simplified, the difficulty of designing a lens is roughly dependant on its FOV; a fast-ish normal lens is simple enough to design, whether that lens is a 80mm for a medium format camera, a 35mm for an APS-C digital, or a 18.5mm for an 1" sensor body. That's why 10mm lenses for 1/2.3" sensors are a toy, and why 120mm lenses for large format cameras aren't.

I don't get ya?

SLRs? mirror? retrofocus? ring any bells?

Yeah, I had a feeling that was what you referring to but I wasn't sure so that's why I asked.

Anyway, let me get something straight.

Are you saying that, if I have a telephoto lens that has clear signs of pincushion distortion on my 35mm, that it will worsen if I stick the lens in front of a smaller sensor and disappear (or at least be reduced) if I stick the same lens in front of a larger sensor (notwithstanding the issues of lens rear to sensor distance on the larger fromat camera)?

And likewise, am I to take it that my wide angle lens on 35mm that shows heaps of barrel distortion will produce an image displaying minimal barrel distortion if I put in front of a smaller sensor, and I guess even more distortion wil be displayed if I put that lens on a larger format?

Am I to take it that is how things work??

Thanks.

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plevyadophy
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AF Tracking Re: mFT has eveything FF has except .... Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile?
In reply to Martin.au, Apr 2, 2013

Mjankor wrote:

plevyadophy wrote:

peevee1 wrote:

plevyadophy wrote:

mFT with the coming to market of the OM-D and GH3 is on par with the likes of the 5D Mark III, what ever difference there is exists only on paper as far as I am concerned. In practical use, you cannot tell the difference except, as I said earlier, for one difference and that is tracking focus across the frame where a ff DSLR will win hands down.

Not even every FF DSLR, I doubt very much that the pathetic 9-point AF system in Canon 6D can keep up, and the AF system in D600, although good for APS-C, simply covers too little of a frame for FF, so as soon as your subject wanders outside of it (which is too easy), it is lost. And these are the latest FF DSLRs, what would you say about 5D II or Sony A900? Not every FF DSLR is 1D X.

Your points are taken .............kinda.

Yeah, some of the low budget ff cams have their AF points squeezed into the central area of the field of view. However, lets say we are talking about one of the cheaper 9-point AF arrays, I bet ya if it has focus tracking, it will focus track from the far left of its AF to the far right faster than any mFT cam will. The difference in performance between ff and mFT in this regard is similar to the old difference between single point AF on any contrast-detect system and that of a ff DSLR, in that it is glaringly obvious that one doesn't need to rely test equipment of a reviewer to point out the difference as one can see it one's self.

It's the one area of AF that mFT systems, or any other maker of contrast-detect AF cams has to work on in a big way.

Personally, it hasn't bothered me yet as I havent't ever had to rely on the feature but those who shoot sports or perhaps wildlife may miss this ability if they go to mFT from a DSLR.

Which DSLRs have focus tracking?

I was just reading up on AI focus, AI servo and single on the Canon 7D and it doesn't appear to have it.

The 1D series bodies certainly do. And if my memory serves me correctly, they don't even call it focus tracking, they just describe what it does without giving it a name; it's I who uses that term so as to distinguish that ability and the normally understood continuous AF feature whereby the af is continuously adjusting as your subject moves towards and/or away from you.

If you go to the Canon Digital Learning Centre site and read up on any of the articles on AF or download a White Paper you will see mention of this ability.

In fact, one of DPReview's recent DSLR reviews they tested the focus tracking ability of a DSLR-type cam. I can't remember which body it was, I think it may well have been the Sony Alpha 99, but it wasn't a 1D or Nikon D4 type body. And I recall them pointing out that the small AF array meant that tracking wasn't all that effective.

I know that Panasonic, since the days of the G1 have given this type of focus abiity a fancy name, I can't remember what it is as I don't use it because it isn't all that great. On a Canon 1DX, you will see lots of talk about his feature on the forums, especially now that Canon have introduced a system whereby each AF point lights up individually so that you can see which af point is on your subject as the system tracks a subject across the frame.

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Richard
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A DSLR is not the size of a fridge or a floor jack.
In reply to jonrobertp, Apr 2, 2013

jonrobertp wrote:

Size,  weight  and cost has nothing to do with the versatility of the tool itself. ...

What ???   lol...they most certainly do...have a LOT to do with the tool. Do you carry a floor jack in the trunk of your car ?   Do you take an 18 cu.ft. fridge with you on an afternoon picnic ?   Small is nearly always better...in many items, including most photographic equipment. (except reflectors)    etc....

Clearly, there is not agreement here on this thread as to how the OP defined his term "versatile".

A dslr is smaller than any floor jack or fridge.

If you are using a comparison it would be the difference of bringing a 18 cu fridge and a 21. The size difference is bridgeable. Only a pocket camera would be a major difference because it will fit in your pocket.

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Richard
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How many people go to concerts to take pictures?
In reply to Martin.au, Apr 2, 2013

Mjankor wrote:

And you'd be wrong.

???????????????????????????????

Well, a really obvious example these days is concerts - where people with M4/3s can get in, even with telephoto lenses, but the "Pro" FF cameras are stopped at the door.

Other than that, there's heaps of examples. I used to use a small DSLR and often it would be left behind during fieldwork and suchlike simply because it was too big.

So M4/3 is better at one thing, being illegally brought into concert? Can I laugh at your response? First if you add up how many people are honest and do the right thing, then subtract that from the number of people that actually go to concerts to take pictures and don't get a press pass, the number of people would be very small.

Probably smaller than the number of people that are so lazy, they fail to bring a camera during fieldwork because it weights a few onces more or a few inches bigger even though they know the FF  camera produces a superior image.

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Lee Jay
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Re: It is only more versatile if you don't want to learn how to use your tools.
In reply to Glen Barrington, Apr 2, 2013

Glen Barrington wrote:

Most anything you want to do with a FF camera you can do with any other camera.

Not true at all.

Look, a camera basically comes down to a sensor and a hole (aperture).  You can control the diameter (aperture) and location (focal length) of the hole.  That's about it.

This is a little out of date, but the message is simple - anywhere inside each "envelope" is where you can choose to shoot.  This is "hole" (aperture) size and location (field of view).  One envelope is much, much larger than the other, and that's why full-frame is so much more versatile than smaller formats.

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Ulric
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Re: It is only more versatile if you don't want to learn how to use your tools.
In reply to Lee Jay, Apr 2, 2013

And the Canon FF primes or zooms will easily fit into the fridge you brought to the picnic.

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Martin.au
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Re: How many people go to concerts to take pictures?
In reply to Richard, Apr 2, 2013

Richard wrote:

Mjankor wrote:

And you'd be wrong.

???????????????????????????????

Well, a really obvious example these days is concerts - where people with M4/3s can get in, even with telephoto lenses, but the "Pro" FF cameras are stopped at the door.

Other than that, there's heaps of examples. I used to use a small DSLR and often it would be left behind during fieldwork and suchlike simply because it was too big.

So M4/3 is better at one thing, being illegally brought into concert? Can I laugh at your response? First if you add up how many people are honest and do the right thing, then subtract that from the number of people that actually go to concerts to take pictures and don't get a press pass, the number of people would be very small.

Probably smaller than the number of people that are so lazy, they fail to bring a camera during fieldwork because it weights a few onces more or a few inches bigger even though they know the FF  camera produces a superior image.

Who said anything about it being illegal? It's a pretty common story. Non "Pro" cameras are allowed, so compacts, phones and CSCs are ok, but DSLRs get stopped at the door.

Similar example is museums, libraries, and any other building that doesn't want people bringing in largish bags. A full m4/3s kit can go in a tiny bag. A DSLR kit won't.

As for fieldwork, you don't know the situation, so your opinion is irrelevant. I own both a small DSLR and m4/3s so I actually do know what I'm talking about.

I've no idea why you've got such a bug up your backside over m4/3s. You dislike choice and options perhaps? DSLR good, m4/3s baaaaad? FF gets the IQ from having 4x larger sensor and M4/3s gets to be much smaller than FF. That's how it is and that gives people options. Options are good.

In short, you'd have to be really stupid to try and argue that FF can beat M4/3s on size and sometimes size is important.

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EinsteinsGhost
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APS-C offers Most Versatility
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 2, 2013

zenpmd wrote:

Yes, they are big cameras, but with the constant apeture pro zoom lens they are (probably) the only lenses you will ever need. The DOF equivalent on, say, the new Tamron 2.8 24-70 will never happen on m4/3, since it would require an aperture of 1.4 throughout the zoom range, thats never going to happen!

I suppose its just a shame there is no a 2.8 constant zoom lens that extends to around 85mm on FF that allows for good portraits. 70 is too short.

APS-C sensor allows for greater versatility, in terms of cost, performance and size. Versatility considers compromises. For example, full frame offers greater control over Depth of Field and wider Field of View. Smaller sensors offer less of both. APS-C offers an in-between solution. Likewise, as Sony NEX and Fuji mirror-less cameras demonstrate, APS-C can also be packaged light and small competing with small sensor cameras.

A full frame (body only) can tip the scale at 2 lb. For that weight, you can carry a Sony NEX-6 with 10-18mm f/4 OSS, 20mm f/2.8, 35mm f/1.8 OSS and 50mm f/1.8 OSS.

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Sdaniella
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Re: Is Full frame still the most versatile? especially at WA and shallower DoF
In reply to zenpmd, Apr 2, 2013

zenpmd wrote:

I suppose its just a shame there is no a 2.8 constant zoom lens that extends to around 85mm on FF that allows for good portraits. 70 is too short.

FF 85mm too long for good portrait; 70 isn't wide enough; it's more suited for long-nosed Caucasians, who look too 'bozo-clown-nosed' if closer than FF 50mm.

i prefer FF 24mm in close, not so far off (everyone 'Asian (Chinese/Japanese?)' would look too 'flat faced'); and you wonder why 'westerners' perpetuate 'flat-faced' asian stereotypes? it's called focal-length incompetence. deliberate or oblivious unflattery, insult to one's subject.

choose the FL suited to your subjects without making them look bad; adjust as needed.

photo booths that are close-quarter spaced [3-4 ft?] flattering in one scenario (why east asians like to use them for flattering self-portraits)

photo booths that are close-quarter spaced [3-4 ft?] unflattering in another scenario (why westerners don't like to use them except for 'goofy/joke' self-portraits)

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Lee Jay
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Re: It is only more versatile if you don't want to learn how to use your tools.
In reply to Ulric, Apr 2, 2013

Ulric wrote:

And the Canon FF primes or zooms will easily fit into the fridge you brought to the picnic.

People that claim there is a meaningful difference in physical size are kidding themselves, in my opinion.  I use a small waist pack and carry a full-frame camera with four lenses two teleconverters and a full-sized flash plus accessories like batteries, filters, cards, micro tripods, and even a water bottle, site map and snacks.

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EinsteinsGhost
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Re: It is only more versatile if you don't want to learn how to use your tools.
In reply to Lee Jay, Apr 2, 2013

ljfinger wrote:

Ulric wrote:

And the Canon FF primes or zooms will easily fit into the fridge you brought to the picnic.

People that claim there is a meaningful difference in physical size are kidding themselves, in my opinion.  I use a small waist pack and carry a full-frame camera with four lenses two teleconverters and a full-sized flash plus accessories like batteries, filters, cards, micro tripods, and even a water bottle, site map and snacks.

The person you responded to is definitely exaggerating, but so are you. How much space and weight do you think a FF camera, with an ultra wide zoom, a wide angle prime (20-30mm), a normal fast prime (50mm) and a short fast telephoto (85mm) cost?

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olliess
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Re: It is only more versatile if you don't want to learn how to use your tools.
In reply to Lee Jay, Apr 2, 2013

ljfinger wrote:

People that claim there is a meaningful difference in physical size are kidding themselves, in my opinion.

You can have an m4/3 sized camera (or a small 35 mm film SLR) dangling around your neck with a small prime lens and it hardly gets in the way, and you can shove it in your (non-photo) backpack along with some other stuff pretty easily.

A modern full-frame DSLR is definitely more noticeable, either hanging around your neck or over your shoulder, because it's a lot deeper and heavier. That also makes it harder to shove in your pack. It starts to become a "dedicated bag" situation.

I'm not saying it's an insurmountable problem, but there is definitely a difference.

I use a small waist pack and carry a full-frame camera with four lenses two teleconverters and a full-sized flash plus accessories like batteries, filters, cards, micro tripods, and even a water bottle, site map and snacks.

Different definitions of "small" waist pack I guess.  

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