To go full frame or not?

Started Apr 8, 2013 | Discussions
Lmendy
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Re: To go full frame or not?
In reply to uhligfd, Apr 9, 2013

uhligfd wrote:

Then answer the following questions:

Which camera will make you learn to become a better photographer? Take better pictures? Print more, gift more, hang more on your walls?

And forget about the 'gear' itself and the money you have on hand.

Go through the best schooling here and you will have made the best choice.

Actually, the question should be "which camera/lens combo are you more likely to take with you?".  If your interest is primarily landscape photography, serious portrait, weddings etc, then you should consider FF.  For everything else, you are more likely to carry the camera that is lighter and comfortable to use.  There is no sense having a large camera and large lenses that are just going to sit around your house when your more likely companion is the small camera.

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saintz
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Re: To go full frame or not?
In reply to Tastybread, Apr 9, 2013

Generally the biggest reasons to favor FF are shallow DOF and being able to use FF lenses at the FOV they were intended. It sounds like neither of those are your goal.

Low light would be the third reason, but really the Sony crop sensors are so good they will rival all but the newest FF sensors. The 14mp Sony sensors were at least as good as my FF Canon 5D. The 16mp Sony sensors blow it out of the water (I sold my 5D).

The detail you see in most FF shots have little to do with the sensor size, and more to do with the skill of the photographer and lens used. Get better glass and use it properly (f8 and magnified focus) and you will have that level of detail with the Sony sensors (at least at any reasonable size of print).

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Nevada Landscapes
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Perspective of someone that has a Nikon D600 and a NEX-7
In reply to Tastybread, Apr 9, 2013

I bought the Nikon D600 and have no regrets at all. In fact, my high expectations were exceeded! The dynamic range of this camera is amazing. BUT, it all comes down to your goals in photography. I primarily shoot landscape & travel so a full-frame sensor (FX) has much to offer for me; higher dynamic range, less noise, higher sensitivity, a brighter optical viewfinder, and higher quality ultra-wide lens. FX also comes with a higher price tag for bodies and lenses as well as addition weight. I'm at that point in my photography that when I travel to exotic lands and our great national parks, I want the best possible image. I don't mind some extra size and weight (although the D600 is lighter and smaller than most other FX cameras). I have shoot for two years now with my NEX-7 and have enjoyed this camera - which I still own. When I want the best possible quality I grab the D600, when I want good quality (I'm sure someone will be offended by me classifying the quality as good, but this is in fact the case when shooing landscapes at dawn or dusk - which is what I do) and portability I take the NEX-7. BTW, when I want great portability and decent quality, I take my Sony RX100. So bottom line, it all depends on what your focus in in photography and where you are at in your journey as a photographer.

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Mike Fewster
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Re: Perspective of someone that has a Nikon D600 and a NEX-7
In reply to Nevada Landscapes, Apr 9, 2013

Nevada Landscapes wrote:

I bought the Nikon D600 and have no regrets at all. In fact, my high expectations were exceeded! The dynamic range of this camera is amazing. BUT, it all comes down to your goals in photography. I primarily shoot landscape & travel so a full-frame sensor (FX) has much to offer for me; higher dynamic range, less noise, higher sensitivity, a brighter optical viewfinder, and higher quality ultra-wide lens. FX also comes with a higher price tag for bodies and lenses as well as addition weight. I'm at that point in my photography that when I travel to exotic lands and our great national parks, I want the best possible image. I don't mind some extra size and weight (although the D600 is lighter and smaller than most other FX cameras). I have shoot for two years now with my NEX-7 and have enjoyed this camera - which I still own. When I want the best possible quality I grab the D600, when I want good quality (I'm sure someone will be offended by me classifying the quality as good, but this is in fact the case when shooing landscapes at dawn or dusk - which is what I do) and portability I take the NEX-7. BTW, when I want great portability and decent quality, I take my Sony RX100. So bottom line, it all depends on what your focus in in photography and where you are at in your journey as a photographer.

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I'd agree with all that. I sell my landscape shots as well and over 80% are taken at dawn/dusk. Alhough I use an A900 for my FF. Most of my landscapes are taken of inland Australia travelling in a 4wd so the weight isn't an issue. If I am on a plane or general photography, its the nex every time but an RX100 is looking very very tempting as the Nex is often too big as well.
Mike Fewster
Adelaide Australia

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DRode
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Re: Perspective of someone that has a Nikon D600 and a NEX-7
In reply to Nevada Landscapes, Apr 9, 2013

I recently chose the NEX-6 over the D600, D7100, NEX-7 and a number of other bodies that have greater specifications related to IQ. For example, all have more pixles. The D600 has significantly lower noise and somewhat better DR at higher ISOs. The D7100 is apparently a little better in high ISO and DR. Every body, including the NEX-6 bested my D300s in every IQ measurement.

However, would these supposed advantages make a tangible difference in my photography? For me, the answer was no. I did not want or need 24MP or more. 12MP was enough, so 16MP was  more than enough. As for noise and/or high dynamic range scenes, I have techniques that work from my D300 and prior. They work better with the NEX-6. Most of all, because it's smaller and lighter, I'll take the NEX-6 with me instead of leaving it behind.

Nevada Landscapes wrote: <snip>When I want the best possible quality I grab the D600, when I want good quality...</snip>

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sean lancaster
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Re: To go full frame or not?
In reply to DRode, Apr 10, 2013

DRode wrote:

Rent one for a few days and get some good glass to go with it. There is no reason to spend $2k on a full frame body and pair it with a mediocre kit lens. So, look at renting something like the 24-70.

I rented a Canon 6D with the 50/1.2 lens this past week (for a whole week). I had bought a Nikon D600 and Sigma 50/1.4, but the camera arrived with about 15 spots on the sensor. I had read too many horror stories about the spots so I sent it back after a few days of use. I didn't want to have to clean my sensor often and potentially send the camera in for a fix some day. Meh. So I tried the Canon 6D. I know the focal length I like is 35 or 50 on FF (I'd probably get those 2 lenses only).

Like the OP, I wanted better low light performance. I want shots like this at ISO 12,800 and using all of the 50/1.2 (at f/1.2):

and certainly I wanted better out of focus areas:

I also tried the RX1 for a spell. I spent considerable time comparing the RX1 to my Sony NEX 5N with the Zeiss 24. If I shoot in good light then the difference is much harder to distinguish between the NEX and FF cameras. But turn down the available light and I think the difference becomes apparent pretty quickly.

I didn't like the size of the Canon 6D, but temps in New Orleans were in the low 80s and the strap got hot. I'd probably go with the Black Rapid RS-7 Camera Strap and I wouldn't mind the size of the Canon 6D with that strap. I used to have a Nikon D70 and I found it to be too big, but that was before I learned photography and I just wanted a big camera to seem more official. My results weren't always good so taking the big camera wasn't appealing. Now I have specific needs for wanting a FF camera and I am sure I can handle taking it everywhere because I am determined to shoot every single day and sometimes many hundreds of shots a day. But the FF camera needs to be on my neck because it's too heavy to hold in my hand like my NEX 5N (with a wrist strap). And the RX1 was small and light, but it didn't have the built in grip like the 5N so that was crummy. I also thought the AF of the RX1 was no better than my 5N and that was really disappointing.

Anyway, I really liked taking 1.5 years to learn on my NEX 5N before considering an upgrade. I learned the focal length that I prefer the most and I learned the type of photography that I like to shoot the most. That makes purchasing FF lenses a much easier transition (I bought many lenses on my NEX that I ended up not using just because I wasn't sure). But I'll keep my 5N for my fisheye lens and a few other focal lengths that I only sometimes use. I have a little Canon backpack that can hold a FF camera and lens and also the NEX and lens along with 3 or 4 other lenses. Small, but portable enough.

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tramptime
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Re: To go full frame or not?
In reply to sean lancaster, Apr 10, 2013

Thanks for bringing this up...I have been doing research into this very question for months now...and also consider the Nex 6 or D600 to be the main options.  As much as i like the size of the nex, when it comes to night photography, i am yet to find any good examples on Flicker (or elsewhere) that give the same amount of detail (at pixel level) and sharpness as the D600 give you.  And yes, i agree, skill is important...but it still doesnt change the fact that when I compare all the hundreds of pictures out there on the internet, that my final overall feeling just is that the d600 night photos just look so much better in general.  In the aps-c sensor pictures, there seem to be a lot more "dark" areas compared to the full frame pictures.  I guess this has to do with the dynamic range of the d600? When it comes to night photography,  i personally love to see that detail. For normal day time photography, the nex 6 will be the better option... but i think, if you are like me, and you like to look at all the small little details...then the nex just wont do,  not completely anyway.   that said,,,, the d600 is twice the price... i cant help but think what other goodies i could buy if i just buy the nex 6. perhaps buy the cheaper camera now, and wait a while till the d600 prices starts to drop?  or perhaps, until another cheaper FF is available.  but if money wasnt an issue... then i would not think twice about the d600.

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lesnapanda
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Re: To go full frame or not?
In reply to Astrophotographer 10, Apr 10, 2013

Astrophotographer 10 wrote:

Same. I have Fuji XE1, Nex 6, Sony RX100 and D800E and use them all.

Greg.

I wish I'd have as much $ to spend on equipment. But then - my wife would throw me out of the house anyway if she knew

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Tastybread
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Re: To go full frame or not?
In reply to lesnapanda, Apr 10, 2013

Astrophotographer 10 wrote:

Same. I have Fuji XE1, Nex 6, Sony RX100 and D800E and use them all.

Greg.

I wish I'd have as much $ to spend on equipment. But then - my wife would throw me out of the house anyway if she knew

Agreed. I only have enough room in my life for one camera. I always planned on selling the nex-6 in order to fund buying a ff camera. You guys with multiple, high end cameras; more power to you. I'm just hobbyist and need versatile camera that takes amazing pictures.

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Keit ll
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Re: To go full frame or not?
In reply to lesnapanda, Apr 10, 2013

Without doubt a modern FF camera will give the OP better quality images but there is a big difference in weight & bulk. If he is prepared to accept that then I would say go for a FF. However this is an issue that cannot be decided by looking at specifications on paper - you have to handle a camera & lens to understand the differences & ideally carry the outfit around all day !

There are many people here who keep saying that if you only print 10 X 8 then a FF is unnecessary but I disagree & wonder how many of them actually have used a FF ?

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Michael Everett
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Re: To go full frame or not?
In reply to npires, Apr 10, 2013

npires wrote:

How about considering a cheap deal on the NEX speedbooster? It's pretty much near full frame and the extra 2 stops you get from your lens will allow you to use faster shutter speeds to compensate from the lack of IS unless you get a canon lens with IS it will probably work with the speed booster. I think this route would be cheaper than proper full frame? Benefit is if you do go full frame in the future you'll be able to share your lenses between the NEX and the proper full frame body

I can't speak about this from experience - yet - but on Friday the  Speedbooster to go with my three Zeiss lenses and a Nex 7 should arrive.  Given the IQ that I have already experienced with the 7 I expect it to rival most FF cameras in IQ.  I have had the Nex 5, 5n, and now the 7, and I see a difference in IQ with the 7.  Some say the 24mp does not matter, but I disagree.  The IQ of the 7 is outstanding.  The Speedbooster is supposed to up the resolution as well as the f-stops of whatever it is put on.  Finally let me say that the 7 has great dynamic range.  DxO confirmed that.

A FF IMO has three advantages over the Nex:  1) better DOF, 2) greater AF speed, and 3) better high ISO noise.   Regarding 1, I expect the lower f-stops the Speedbooster allows to help make up for the DOF issue; regarding 2) I shoot almost exclusively MF myself -- it may or may not be important for you -- and of course any DSLR will be faster, although some have gone the LAE-2 route on the Nex; regarding 3) that might be the most important advantage if you shoot a lot of low light, although I have found the 7 sensor can take a large amount of NR and still retain detail.

The D800E has been mentioned but what I see in reading the D600 and D800E are not the same, and certainly not the same price.  The 800E is probably another notch up the IQ scale.  I don't think the 7 would compare favorably with it, but at this point I believe the 7 will compare favorably with the 600, and once the Speedbooster arrives that will up its performance.

All of this and I haven't even mentioned weight.  Don't forget when considering weight it's not just the camera but the lenses also.

Like any camera purchase it boils down to the old cliche, what is important to you and how do you shoot?

Michael

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captura
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Re: FF in a period of rapid change.
In reply to tn1krr, Apr 10, 2013

tn1krr wrote:

Mike Fewster wrote:

I'd wait a year before committing to a new FF system. Sony is clearly testing the waters for FF and large sensor developments. Nex ff?

This is the road I have taken. I'm a pixel peeper so D800 was talking to me, but there are other considerations than Nex size that has kept me from going there. I like the EVF and Sony live view/magnification/focus peeking are IMO more useful (at least for me) than OVF. Even Nikon's new 7100 supposedly have quite flaved live view. So throwing D800 level $$$ to a big and heavy camera that does not have all the things I love with my Nex is a nono.

I have a Speedbooster for my Nex-6 and since the high pixel count FF is going to need quality lenses to make ful benefit anyway I'll propably pick up a Nikon mount 50 mm Zeiss Macro planar; this is a lens I can use now with the Speedbooster (Lloyd Chambers tested this as about the best lens there is to use with the SB) through the Nikon to EF adapter, quite sure I'm able to adapt it to FF Nex when/if it comes, I can use it if I commit to Nikon FF at some point and I can use it even if Canon comes up with something amazing for EF mount.

Nex-7N is supposedly around the corner; gonna use one to keep me occupied while the FF future is more clear.

Ken Rockwell said, "Ideal Users: Rich guys who insist on the very best mechanics in a new SLR lens, regardless of cost."

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Clayton1985
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Re: To go full frame or not?
In reply to tramptime, Apr 10, 2013

You may be right but I would be hesitant to draw any conclusions looking at NEX 6 images only.   You would be better off looking at images taken with the 16mp APS-C sensor whether D7000, NEX 5, 6, etc.   Without doing the research you've done I would guess that the skill level and the quality of lenses used with the NEX 6 would be significantly different and more varied than the D600 but including the other cameras would give you more images taken by more skilled photographers and with better quality lenses.  If you look at some of the better images taken with the same (or very similar) sensor I think you'll have a more realistic idea of what you could achieve with the NEX 6.  I say this because the NEX 6 hasn't been out that long, not because the NEX 6 is inferior in any way to the other cameras mentioned.  I'm also not suggesting that the D600 won't be better (it will) but I do think your research is probably not giving you a complete picture.

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Ilfotografo
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Re: To go full frame or not?
In reply to Tastybread, Apr 10, 2013

I have the NEX-5N with the external EVF, and I have a D600.

The D600 has two major advantages:  faster and more precise AF; and much greater DoF control for portraiture.  The former is a function of the DSLR design, and the latter, of the sensor size.

The NEX has obvious advantages in terms of size and weight.

I love the low light capability of the Sony compared to that of almost any other camera.  One can take hand held pictures in low light that only a couple of years ago or so  would have been impossible without a Nikon D3.  The D3 was never within the realm of possibility for me.

The -5N has been problematical in terms of autofocusing in low light.  The NEX-6 is supposed to be better.

The optical stabilization on both the kit lens and the 50 1.8 is extremely effective.

As far as choosing--I am not about to get rid of the D600, and a new NEX-6 should arrive today.

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tn1krr
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Re: FF in a period of rapid change.
In reply to captura, Apr 10, 2013

captura wrote:

tn1krr wrote:

Mike Fewster wrote:

I'd wait a year before committing to a new FF system. Sony is clearly testing the waters for FF and large sensor developments. Nex ff?

This is the road I have taken. I'm a pixel peeper so D800 was talking to me, but there are other considerations than Nex size that has kept me from going there. I like the EVF and Sony live view/magnification/focus peeking are IMO more useful (at least for me) than OVF. Even Nikon's new 7100 supposedly have quite flaved live view. So throwing D800 level $$$ to a big and heavy camera that does not have all the things I love with my Nex is a nono.

I have a Speedbooster for my Nex-6 and since the high pixel count FF is going to need quality lenses to make ful benefit anyway I'll propably pick up a Nikon mount 50 mm Zeiss Macro planar; this is a lens I can use now with the Speedbooster (Lloyd Chambers tested this as about the best lens there is to use with the SB) through the Nikon to EF adapter, quite sure I'm able to adapt it to FF Nex when/if it comes, I can use it if I commit to Nikon FF at some point and I can use it even if Canon comes up with something amazing for EF mount.

Nex-7N is supposedly around the corner; gonna use one to keep me occupied while the FF future is more clear.

Ken Rockwell said, "Ideal Users: Rich guys who insist on the very best mechanics in a new SLR lens, regardless of cost."

I find Lloyd Chambers much better at telling reasoning behind his opinions and he found Makro Planar about the best match there is for a Speedbooster (it tooled the Canon 50/1.2L that is over 50% more expensive in Speedbooster test) and one could easily see the difference in the tests images (not charts but real world images). It is also a glass that is tested to be quite futureproof in terms of megapixel war raging over the 50M.

I see Makro Planar ZF.2 a much more sound way to spend around 1000 Eur than for example SEL24 or SEL1018 that are priced nearly the same over here; while these are both superb lenses they are crop lenses not adaptable to anything else and when/if FF Nex appears they become somewhat outdated. Makro Planar or any Zeiss ZF.2 lens can easily be shot with Nex with or without a Speedbooster and it can be used with any current or future Canon or Nikon FF DSLR; talk about good resell value.

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captura
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Re: FF in a period of rapid change.
In reply to tn1krr, Apr 11, 2013

tn1krr wrote:

captura wrote:

tn1krr wrote:

Mike Fewster wrote:

I'd wait a year before committing to a new FF system. Sony is clearly testing the waters for FF and large sensor developments. Nex ff?

This is the road I have taken. I'm a pixel peeper so D800 was talking to me, but there are other considerations than Nex size that has kept me from going there. I like the EVF and Sony live view/magnification/focus peeking are IMO more useful (at least for me) than OVF. Even Nikon's new 7100 supposedly have quite flaved live view. So throwing D800 level $$$ to a big and heavy camera that does not have all the things I love with my Nex is a nono.

I have a Speedbooster for my Nex-6 and since the high pixel count FF is going to need quality lenses to make ful benefit anyway I'll propably pick up a Nikon mount 50 mm Zeiss Macro planar; this is a lens I can use now with the Speedbooster (Lloyd Chambers tested this as about the best lens there is to use with the SB) through the Nikon to EF adapter, quite sure I'm able to adapt it to FF Nex when/if it comes, I can use it if I commit to Nikon FF at some point and I can use it even if Canon comes up with something amazing for EF mount.

Nex-7N is supposedly around the corner; gonna use one to keep me occupied while the FF future is more clear.

Ken Rockwell said, "Ideal Users: Rich guys who insist on the very best mechanics in a new SLR lens, regardless of cost."

I find Lloyd Chambers much better at telling reasoning behind his opinions and he found Makro Planar about the best match there is for a Speedbooster (it tooled the Canon 50/1.2L that is over 50% more expensive in Speedbooster test) and one could easily see the difference in the tests images (not charts but real world images). It is also a glass that is tested to be quite futureproof in terms of megapixel war raging over the 50M.

I see Makro Planar ZF.2 a much more sound way to spend around 1000 Eur than for example SEL24 or SEL1018 that are priced nearly the same over here; while these are both superb lenses they are crop lenses not adaptable to anything else and when/if FF Nex appears they become somewhat outdated. Makro Planar or any Zeiss ZF.2 lens can easily be shot with Nex with or without a Speedbooster and it can be used with any current or future Canon or Nikon FF DSLR; talk about good resell value.

Now that sounds like very good advice, thanks.

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captura
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Re: FF in a period of rapid change.
In reply to tn1krr, Apr 11, 2013
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GodSpeaks
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Re: To go full frame or not?
In reply to Keit ll, Apr 11, 2013

Keit ll wrote:

There are many people here who keep saying that if you only print 10 X 8 then a FF is unnecessary but I disagree & wonder how many of them actually have used a FF ?

I would pretty much agree with that statement, and I own 3 FF DSLR's.

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eilivk
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Re: To go full frame or not?
In reply to GodSpeaks, Apr 11, 2013

Have read again and again (and ag...), you don't need FF if you don't need wall sized prints. No need for that. But with FF you can crop more in PP? Going from compact to G3 and NX with 20 and 30mm, doing small prints was the chance to crop more. So I would guess the same goes for moving up to FF. Without a lot of heavy lenses. RX1 is very tempting.

For years struggled with low light, tripod did not help much for compacts, better with mirrorless. Often finding abandoned houses and factories. In museums you can't use flash and seldom tripod. Maybe you can get the same detail and quality of colour in low light with Nikon A, the best Fujis, OM-D as RX1, but I really doubt it. See what I see of images in Cybershot forum.

A lot COULD be happening with FF, Nex 9 seems to be most likely. Very interesting, but the cost of lenses... RX2 with EVF for the same price would be nice. Or larger with a non interchangeable zoom lens? Know quite a few people not going into "all those lenses". A lot could be happening this year or the next - and a lot of images could be lost before that.

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captura
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Re: To go full frame or not?
In reply to eilivk, Apr 11, 2013

eilivk wrote:

Have read again and again (and ag...), you don't need FF if you don't need wall sized prints. No need for that. But with FF you can crop more in PP? Going from compact to G3 and NX with 20 and 30mm, doing small prints was the chance to crop more. So I would guess the same goes for moving up to FF. Without a lot of heavy lenses. RX1 is very tempting.

For years struggled with low light, tripod did not help much for compacts, better with mirrorless. Often finding abandoned houses and factories. In museums you can't use flash and seldom tripod. Maybe you can get the same detail and quality of colour in low light with Nikon A, the best Fujis, OM-D as RX1, but I really doubt it. See what I see of images in Cybershot forum.

A lot COULD be happening with FF, Nex 9 seems to be most likely. Very interesting, but the cost of lenses... RX2 with EVF for the same price would be nice. Or larger with a non interchangeable zoom lens? Know quite a few people not going into "all those lenses". A lot could be happening this year or the next - and a lot of images could be lost before that.

To FF or to APS-C, that is the question. Common sense should dictate that the best (and efficacious) solution is to employ the best lens you can afford. And that nearly equal results can be gained with an APS-C system. Maybe one of those uber-bodacious Nikon planar-II lenses.

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