What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*

Started 5 months ago | Discussions
Osvaldo Cristo
Senior MemberPosts: 2,080Gear list
Like?
"Mine is bigger" syndrome
In reply to Pasmia, 5 months ago

NT

-- hide signature --

O.Cristo - An Amateur Photographer
Opinions of men are almost as various as their faces - so many men so many minds. B. Franklin

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
69chevy
Senior MemberPosts: 1,369
Like?
Re: "Mine is bigger" syndrome
In reply to Osvaldo Cristo, 5 months ago

Osvaldo Cristo wrote:

NT

-- hide signature --

O.Cristo - An Amateur Photographer
Opinions of men are almost as various as their faces - so many men so many minds. B. Franklin

What about the "mine's smaller but I swear it's adequate to feel better about it" syndrome?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Just another Canon shooter
Senior MemberPosts: 2,421Gear list
Like?
Re: Sigh...
In reply to knickerhawk, 5 months ago

knickerhawk wrote:

1. DOF. This shot was taken with the excellent Canon 135mm f/2 L at f/2.5. "Ahah!" You say. "It's the shallow depth of field that makes all the difference. You can't do that with m4/3..." However, if you assume she's approximately 8 feet from the subjects, then the DOFMaster DOF calculator shows a DOF of about .15 feet. Indeed, that's shallow, but what if we increased the f-stop to f/5.6? Surely, that creates WAY too much DOF, right? Well, in fact the calculator shows a DOF of .34 feet. Hmmm. Not much difference after all and certainly not a difference that would have impacted this image.

You are confusing DOF with background blur. DOF is not really well visible on web sized images anyway. What creates that look and grabs the attention is the background blur. If you stop from f/2.5 to f/5.6, the (distant) background would be blurred much more (more than twice as much). This would create a distinctively different look.

 Just another Canon shooter's gear list:Just another Canon shooter's gear list
Samsung Galaxy S III
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Just another Canon shooter
Senior MemberPosts: 2,421Gear list
Like?
Re: What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*
In reply to Pasmia, 5 months ago

There are several factors.

  1. In good light, the image is taken with much more light. At base ISO, FF sensors are capable of registering many more photons. This means less noise - smoother gradations, etc. Lower noise at base ISO is often downplayed but plays an important role.
  2. Less DOF when needed, of course.
  3. Sharper images at equivalent settings.
  4. Better optimized lenses. Smaller format lenses need to be severely corrected which hurts the OOF parts of the image. For the same light-gathering ability, the lens design must be more extreme. Unfortunately, sharpness over bokeh is becoming a tendency in the FF world but hopefully, not in the MF one.
  5. If you combine (1) to (4), you get a sharper subject in a smoother background, with smoother gradations, which makes the image "pop".

DR only weakly depends on the format, at least in the m43-FF range, depends on the manufacturer, and the extended DR may remain unused for a typical shot. Color filters and separation is somewhat dependent on the format but manufacturer dependent again. Canon's crop cameras are more "color blind" but Nikon's are not, AFAIK.

 Just another Canon shooter's gear list:Just another Canon shooter's gear list
Samsung Galaxy S III
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Dennis
Forum ProPosts: 13,315
Like?
Re: Sigh...
In reply to Just another Canon shooter, 5 months ago

Just another Canon shooter wrote:

knickerhawk wrote:

  1. DOF. This shot was taken with the excellent Canon 135mm f/2 L at f/2.5. "Ahah!" You say. "It's the shallow depth of field that makes all the difference. You can't do that with m4/3..." However, if you assume she's approximately 8 feet from the subjects, then the DOFMaster DOF calculator shows a DOF of about .15 feet. Indeed, that's shallow, but what if we increased the f-stop to f/5.6? Surely, that creates WAY too much DOF, right? Well, in fact the calculator shows a DOF of .34 feet. Hmmm. Not much difference after all and certainly not a difference that would have impacted this image.

You are confusing DOF with background blur. DOF is not really well visible on web sized images anyway. What creates that look and grabs the attention is the background blur. If you stop from f/2.5 to f/5.6, the (distant) background would be blurred much more (more than twice as much). This would create a distinctively different look.

Exactly. dofmaster tells you how much is acceptably in focus based on CoC assumptions. It doesn't tell you how blurred the OOF portions are.

This shot would have required a 70/1.2 to get the same effect. Then throw in the PPing.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Dennis
Forum ProPosts: 13,315
Like?
Re: What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*
In reply to Pasmia, 5 months ago

I didn't read all the replies. I hope you didn't get blasted too harshly, because it was a very thoughtful post on your part.

Personally, I suspect it's a combination of things. The shallower DOF, the easy of capturing detail over a larger area, photographing skills and post processing skills (and I suspect that the vast majority of the most skilled photographer/post-processors are using full frame, which skews the results).

Take a look at these photos taken with Fuji X series cameras. Some feature very shallow DOF (thanks to the 56/1.2). See if the show the look you're looking for. If so, it suggests that FF isn't required.
http://nathanelson.com/fashion-shoot-bts-with-the-fuji-56mm-1-2/

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mark Scott Abeln
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,794Gear list
Like?
Re: What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*
In reply to D Cox, 5 months ago

D Cox wrote:

Pasmia wrote:

ZX11 wrote:

The fact that big sensors are owned by people who can do this to a photograph:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPiYVvCtNUQ

I think the guy spent an half hour on one photo fiddling in ways I don't understand.

I've heard a lot about images from bigger sensors holding up in post much better than smaller sensors. I don't really understand why, but apparently, small sensor files break down faster, and even at base ISO, grain will show through much faster from pushing shadows than with a bigger sensor. I try my best to adjust my exposure for shadows and then pull highlights in post, but more often than I'd like, I end up clipping my highlights and end up with irreparable images. This is kind of why practically all static images/still photography that I do are done with -2/0/+2 bracketing and blended in post.

Exposing for the shadows is definitely not a good idea for digital sensors. Clipping of highlights is much worse than noisy shadows.

Agreed. Many digital cameras have a considerable amount of ‘invisible’ shadow detail which can be brought up in post processing or by camera settings. I do much less HDR these days because I’m using a camera with a deeper dynamic range.

 Mark Scott Abeln's gear list:Mark Scott Abeln's gear list
Nikon D200 Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Rokinon 85mm F1.4
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
knickerhawk
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,194
Like?
Can we return to the main issue here please?
In reply to Dennis, 5 months ago

Dennis wrote:

Just another Canon shooter wrote:

knickerhawk wrote:

  1. DOF. This shot was taken with the excellent Canon 135mm f/2 L at f/2.5. "Ahah!" You say. "It's the shallow depth of field that makes all the difference. You can't do that with m4/3..." However, if you assume she's approximately 8 feet from the subjects, then the DOFMaster DOF calculator shows a DOF of about .15 feet. Indeed, that's shallow, but what if we increased the f-stop to f/5.6? Surely, that creates WAY too much DOF, right? Well, in fact the calculator shows a DOF of .34 feet. Hmmm. Not much difference after all and certainly not a difference that would have impacted this image.

You are confusing DOF with background blur. DOF is not really well visible on web sized images anyway. What creates that look and grabs the attention is the background blur. If you stop from f/2.5 to f/5.6, the (distant) background would be blurred much more (more than twice as much). This would create a distinctively different look.

Exactly. dofmaster tells you how much is acceptably in focus based on CoC assumptions. It doesn't tell you how blurred the OOF portions are.

This shot would have required a 70/1.2 to get the same effect. Then throw in the PPing.

The Oly 75mm at f/1.8 would have rendered the background in a very similar way, and of course adding an extra dollop of blur in PS on top of the additional PS blur she used would be no big deal at all.  You and Just another Canon have scored your technical point about the difference in background OOF between f/2.5 and f/5.6.  Now time to move on and seriously address the real issue of whether the "magic" of this image is uniquely due to it being shot FF.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Just another Canon shooter
Senior MemberPosts: 2,421Gear list
Like?
Re: Can we return to the main issue here please?
In reply to knickerhawk, 5 months ago

knickerhawk wrote:

Now time to move on and seriously address the real issue of whether the "magic" of this image is uniquely due to it being shot FF.

Speaking about returning to the main issue, you just changed the topic. The thread is about the advantages larger formats have, not whether this is the unique factor for an image to look great. I can easily find another factor - taking off the lens cap.

 Just another Canon shooter's gear list:Just another Canon shooter's gear list
Samsung Galaxy S III
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
knickerhawk
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,194
Like?
Re: What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*
In reply to 69chevy, 5 months ago

69chevy wrote:

knickerhawk wrote:

69chevy wrote:

I'm not sure there is a correct answer.

My guess is that it has to do with pixel size.

No, it really doesn't have that much to do with pixel size unless, of course, the original Canon 5D is better than the 5D II and 5D III.

Many people think it was. If the shortcomings of the body weren't so severe, I would still be using it.

Digital nostalgia...

Aside from the inherent irony of it, there's no arguing with empty nostalgia claims.  Now if you'd like to get specific and explain (perhaps with real examples) how your old 5D shots were better, perhaps we can have a meaningful discussion.

If a sensor is a light catcher that can only interact with a finite amount of photons before being full, then it only makes sense that more surface area represents a more accurate sample of light.

This is better because you're now talking about sensor surface area and not pixel size. However, it's not just as simple as increasing sensor area solves all problems. There are some countervailing tradeoffs as you increase sensor size.

I never said it solved all problems. I said it produced better images, which it does.

You need to be more specific about how the bigger sensor size creates better images.  Otherwise, this just devolves into a "yes it does...no it doesn't" argument.

If light was made of M&M's of every color, pixels were buckets, and you were trying to catch a rainfall of M&M's that represented exactly the pattern they were falling in, the bigger you made each bucket, the larger sample you would collect. This gives the advantage to the bigger buckets.

Not if the buckets covered the same area. Pixel size used to be more relevant when there weren't gapless microlenses and there was measurable loss of photons due to the borders between the sensels. That's pretty much a non-issue these days.

If the number of buckets were equal, the bigger buckets are more accurate.

"Accurate" in what sense?  Again, as long as you are non-specific about how you're using terms, this is just going to go in circles.

20MP 4/3 cameras have 20mil buckets covering 225mm^2.

20MP full frame cameras have 20mil larger buckets covering 864mm^2.

Some will argue that a smaller bucket would still accurately reflect the pattern, but as with any gathering, the larger the cross section, the more accurate the results.

I poll 500 people on their beliefs and find that they are split 50/50. Then I poll 2000 (full frame is about 4 times the surface area of 4/3). I find that the split is 45/55.

Bad analogy for supporting your argument if what you're talking about is pixel size and not sensor size. Your analogy actually is indicating that you should increase the number pixels, which is generally what all camera makers are doing (and successfully so). IQ has not suffered as a result. It has improved.

I never knew my statement was an arguement.

Fine analogy too btw. It was to show more interactions provide more accurate results. Full frame sensors have more photon interactions than smaller sensors.

No your analogy illustrates the sloppiness of thinking about pixel size vs. sensor size.  Your reference to more polling samples fails to address the fundamental question of population size.  Have you changed the population you're surveying in order to get more samples or are you increasing the number of samples within the same population?  These are two different things just as increased sampling within a given sensor size is something different from increasing sensor size.  You can't waffle about this when it comes to discussions about pixel size and its ultimate impact on IQ.

Both collected samples are accurate, but one is a better representation of reality.

A full frame sensor interacts with more photons per exposure.

You need to carefully define what you mean by "exposure" and they you will quickly find yourself getting deep into issues of equivalence and what that means.

I see no need to re-define a word that is already defined. Nor do I need to do anything you say.

In photography, exposure is the quantity of light reaching a photographic film, as determined by shutter speed and lens aperture. In digital photography "film" is substituted with "sensor".

This is from Wikipedia but came fron the Oxford dictionary. It was updated to remove a bad definition created by someone like yourself.

Someone like me, eh?  You smoked me and my fellow exposure-truthers out.  Well done...

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
knickerhawk
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,194
Like?
Re: Can we return to the main issue here please?
In reply to Just another Canon shooter, 5 months ago

Just another Canon shooter wrote:

knickerhawk wrote:

Now time to move on and seriously address the real issue of whether the "magic" of this image is uniquely due to it being shot FF.

Speaking about returning to the main issue, you just changed the topic. The thread is about the advantages larger formats have, not whether this is the unique factor for an image to look great. I can easily find another factor - taking off the lens cap.

Taking off your lens cap is a start.  Taking off your blinders is the next step.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Just another Canon shooter
Senior MemberPosts: 2,421Gear list
Like?
Re: Can we return to the main issue here please?
In reply to knickerhawk, 5 months ago

knickerhawk wrote:

Just another Canon shooter wrote:

knickerhawk wrote:

Now time to move on and seriously address the real issue of whether the "magic" of this image is uniquely due to it being shot FF.

Speaking about returning to the main issue, you just changed the topic. The thread is about the advantages larger formats have, not whether this is the unique factor for an image to look great. I can easily find another factor - taking off the lens cap.

Taking off your lens cap is a start. Taking off your blinders is the next step.

Well, do it then.

 Just another Canon shooter's gear list:Just another Canon shooter's gear list
Samsung Galaxy S III
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
69chevy
Senior MemberPosts: 1,369
Like?
Re: What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*
In reply to knickerhawk, 5 months ago

knickerhawk wrote:

Someone like me, eh? You smoked me and my fellow exposure-truthers out. Well done...

Not calling you a truther and not trying to put you in a box.

When I said that it was a bad decision to word it the way I did.

I meant someone who will pick apart an easy to understand explanation just to boast their own intelligence by complicating it.

A person I admire once said something to the tune of.. If you can't explain it to a child, you don't understand it.

Yet you seem eager to shoot holes in the simple explanation just to start an argument.

Can you admit that a larger sensor interacts with more photons regardless of pixel count?

Can you admit photography is accomplished by these interactions?

Now does it make sense?

I didn't spell check this reply. How many spelling errors are about to be pointed out?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Bob657
Regular MemberPosts: 374Gear list
Like?
Re: What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*
In reply to Pasmia, 5 months ago

Well, this brought on lots of comments!  As a former Canon but now long term micro four thirds and now Olympus OMD EM1 shooter, I'd like to "refocus" the discussion a bit (pun intended!)

At this stage, virtually all decent cameras will far outperform most photographers' skill levels, today's cameras produce far better images than those of only a few years ago.  While I agree there are differences in sensor capabilities (ff being better) there are numerous other factors at play -

Technical:

Lens quality, post processing (major issue), in camera processing, camera stabilization (ie - IBIS, IS, etc.), color calibration, printing media and/or viewing method, etc.

Artistic:

Artistic vision, light quality and direction, framing and composition, etc.

Of the two, artistic is by far the most important, most subjective and least discussed!  We've all seen stunning i-phone shots and lousy FF shots, it's the "Vision thing" that makes the difference. Full disclosure, I'm guilty as charged of spending most of my time on the technical.

To the OP, I'd like to suggest one technical thought - when all else fails, go back to the basics.  I suspect you'll find using HDR, bracketing, etc. may not be as important as just getting the correct exposure in the first place, perhaps by ETTR (I find a significant benefit on my EM1 from this.) You might also consider taking time to revisit your PP techniques as this can be critical to being able to fulfill your artistic vision.

All systems have compromises and only you can decide what works best for you, but I suspect these ideas might help increase your enjoyment of your current system.

Best,

Bob G

 Bob657's gear list:Bob657's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm 1:2.8-3.5 SWD Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 OIS Olympus 12-40mm F2.8
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
bobn2
Forum ProPosts: 29,021
Like?
Re: What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*
In reply to D Cox, 5 months ago

D Cox wrote:

The main difference is not the size of the sensor, but the size of each pixel. Bigger pixels have less noise. (Noise also goes down over the years as sensor technology improves.)

This is not the case. By and large, bigger pixels produce more noise.

So a 16 Megapixel sensor of a certain size will have less noise than a 16 Megapixel sensor of half the size.

The number of pixels doesn't so much count - it's the size of the sensor, and thus the amount of light that it collects for a given exposure. If you choose to give a FT sensor four times the exposure, it will produce a result just like an FF sensor. Of course, assuming they both have the same base ISO, you can't give the FT sensor four times the exposure, because its going toblow all the bright bits.

Less noise means better tonal gradation and cleaner colours, or being able to set higher ISOs and still have acceptable quality.

What means being able to set higher ISOs is getting four times the light for the same exposure, or behaving like FT does at four times the ISO.

-- hide signature --

Bob

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
knickerhawk
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,194
Like?
Re: What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*
In reply to 69chevy, 5 months ago

69chevy wrote:

knickerhawk wrote:

Someone like me, eh? You smoked me and my fellow exposure-truthers out. Well done...

Not calling you a truther and not trying to put you in a box.

When I said that it was a bad decision to word it the way I did.

Fair enough.

I meant someone who will pick apart an easy to understand explanation just to boast their own intelligence by complicating it.

I'm not interested in complicating it at all and, lord knows, I have no business trying to lead the charge on technical aspects of sensor design and the like. I'm no engineer or anything remotely close to it and I usually just end up tripping over my own shoelaces and establishing my ignorance on this stuff. However, what I am trying to do is raise awareness about an issue which has been grossly oversimplified to the point of becoming a meme on this site and elsewhere on the internet and that's this notion that bigger pixels are better! There are a number of far better qualified experts over on the Photo Science and Technology forum to work through this issue, if you'd like to learn more and can explain it better than I could hope to. Here's a link that I found helpful but be forewarned - it is complicated stuff involving multiple variables. The author is a physicist at the Fermi Lab and a professor at the University of Chicago. He also sometimes post here at DPReview but not much anymore. Check out the last section, it doesn't require an understanding of the math involved to understand that interaction between pixel size and SNR is a complicated and not as simple as you seem to think it is:

http://theory.uchicago.edu/~ejm/pix/20d/tests/noise/noise-p3.html#pixelsize

A person I admire once said something to the tune of.. If you can't explain it to a child, you don't understand it.

It's not explaining things to children that's hard. It's getting past adults' biases, assumptions, habits, etc. that makes for tough slogging.

Yet you seem eager to shoot holes in the simple explanation just to start an argument.

Perhaps, but it takes two to tango and you've got some pretty good dance moves, yourself!

Can you admit that a larger sensor interacts with more photons regardless of pixel count?

Can you admit photography is accomplished by these interactions?

"Interacts" is a vague term. Why can't we work with better defined terms like signal-to-noise ratio, dynamic range, and sensor efficiency? In the long run, there's less argument when the parties take the time to define their terms.

Now does it make sense?

I didn't spell check this reply. How many spelling errors are about to be pointed out?

I thought we were done with the cheapshots.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
bobn2
Forum ProPosts: 29,021
Like?
Re: What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*
In reply to 69chevy, 5 months ago

69chevy wrote:

I see no need to re-define a word that is already defined. Nor do I need to do anything you say.

In photography, exposure is the quantity of light reaching a photographic film, as determined by shutter speed and lens aperture. In digital photography "film" is substituted with "sensor".

This is from Wikipedia but came fron the Oxford dictionary. It was updated to remove a bad definition created by someone like yourself.

Someone obviously needs to put back the 'bad' definition. You should read the next bit - 'Exposure is measured in lux seconds, and can be computed from exposure value(EV) and scene luminance in a specified region.'. Once you find out what is the unit 'lux' it makes it clear that the 'bad' definition was the right one.

-- hide signature --

Bob

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
PerL
Forum ProPosts: 12,520
Like?
Smoother, more natural, richer, better tonality
In reply to Pasmia, 5 months ago

Pasmia wrote:

I've been using point and shoot cameras for a number of years and I've finally migrated on over to ILCs with M43 cameras about three years ago. My IQ dramatically increased, but I'm still not getting images that other people are capable of with their full frame monster cameras. Before the obvious answers roll in, please read further.

At first, I figured it was depth of field. M43, with is 1/4 size sensor, in comparison to FF, doesn't isolate its subjects with respective focal lengths nearly as much and therefore, it can create a really different feel for equivalent framing (ie: 25mm on M43 @ 1.4 is nothing like 50mm on FF @ 1.4). So, I went out and bought the Panasonic/Leica 25mm/f1.4 and the Olympus 45mm/f1.8. I was able to mimic multiple shallow DoF styled photos and even bought some diopters for some ridiculously "bokehlicious" macro shots. This brought my IQ up even more but it was still not quite there.

My next theory was dynamic range. My Lumix G3 camera was lacking this department, in comparison to the Canon 5D II which has become my reference point for IQ (just due to popularity, not bias against Nikon or anything). My Lumix G3 scored a 10.6Evs vs the 5Dii's 11.9Evs on DXO. At this point, I start shooting HDRs to make up for this inadequacy and immediately noticed an improvement in IQ, yet again. I try not to overdue the post processing of HDRs, and simply use it as a tool to expand the DR of my camera. Well, fast forward to the present and I am now with an Olympus E-P5, which has a score of 12.4Evs, and still, I feel like my camera is lacking in comparison to the 5Dii.

Whenever I find myself trying to shoot with my camera's greatest potential, I only shoot at a fixed base ISO. I set my aperture, almost always at f4.0/f5.6 (M43 sweet spot). I'm still using multiple exposures and blending in post (HDR'ish). But I still find IQ lacking.

What I'm finding is that images from cameras like the 5D ii/iii, 6D, Leica M, Sony A7/r, D800/D600 are BOLD. Images seem to be wet, even on my computer screen. Images from M43 cameras seem to have a white sheen over them. It's like there's a certain "fill" that's lacking. Highlights are blown, shadows are muddy, colors are lacking, and there is no "POP" in the images.

I'm beginning to think that the IQ differences I'm looking at is simply a post processing technique that I'm somehow overlooking. If I'm on 500PX, I can find about one in 50 shots from an Olympus camera that actually looks great and is practically indistinguishable from a D800 or other FF camera. However, when I look at something like 5DII images in 500px, practically every other image exudes jaw dropping IQ.

Of my personal collection, I think I literally have a dozen shots, if that, from the past three years, that are indistinguishable from a full frame camera's IQ. My issue, or my concern, is in my snapshots. The shots that I don't spend time calculating exposure and setting up lighting or a tripod. These shots suck. The only snapshots I have that I like are only good because they were composed well or I caught a great moment, but these shots look good with any camera, even my iPhone. I want these shots to be nice in IQ as well, not just the shots I spend hours calculating and post processing and composing and touching up and going back repeating my touch ups.

I do find it possible that maybe it really is just the photographer. I do find it possible that maybe better photographers just so happen to have these cameras that make images that I'm comparing my images to. Maybe, these cameras just so happen to be just another camera model, but happen to attract the people that are capable of producing these types of pictures. I do find it possible that this is true, I just don't believe that it is.

This is the first casual shot I could find from a 5DII on 500PX. It has a lot of what I find is great IQ. The image itself is ok. But the color, the boldness, the gradient, it's just so... perfect.

http://500px.com/photo/57384990

This is sort of similar shot from and Olympus EM5. It's got a lot of similarities to the above shot but it is lacking. The gradients don't blend as well, IMO. The colors don't pop. There's the sheen I was talking about earlier (granted, fog is a bad example for this, I know). The picture doesn't feel ALIVE like the above shot.

http://500px.com/photo/57384990

This image here is another 5Dii. It's so spectacular, I wish there was another shot of this exact moment with a M43 camera so I can rest at ease that it really is when, where, and who that matter rather than what gear.

http://500px.com/photo/2029587

This picture here shows that Olympus is capable of images that I can't distinguish from a FF camera. It took me 8 pages to find an image that I felt this away about on 500px and I still look at the close rock a bit hesitantly, but the sky and water is remarkable.

http://500px.com/photo/54968996

Any thoughts or general discussion is much appreciated. I'm not looking for a brawl on big vs small sensor, I'm just trying to understand things a bit more. If there's someone that knows exactly what the IQ difference I'm seeing is, I'd love to hear it.

...that is what you hear from Nikon and Canon people upgrading from APS-C to FF. From those who has no upgrade path (m43, Pentax, Fuji, Samsung etc) you will here that there is no difference.

I believe it is a combination of many things that gives a different look.

My experience, besides my own, is that the photos I see from professionals in my job as magazine producer usually are FF and in general looks better than those from the few who uses smaller formats.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Ontario Gone
Senior MemberPosts: 2,570Gear list
Like?
Re: What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*
In reply to Pasmia, 5 months ago

Nothing really, regardless of all the magic and "special" qualities many claim. Here is how it works. A pixel is a pixel. There is nothing special about the pixels on a FF sensor over any other smaller sensor. There happens to be more surface area, sometimes because the pixels are each larger, sometimes because there are more of them. The pixels themselves however are the same thing, a photosite.

Lets take two 16mp sensors, one FF and one MFT. At the same F stop on lenses, the FF actually captures 4x more light, this is a fact. 4x is the same as saying 2 stops. So, why, if you shoot them at the same FOV, ISO and F stop, is the SS the same? Im glad you asked. Manufacturers set the underlying gain higher the smaller the sensor is. Think of ISO as a volume knob, it matters not what the number on the dial says, what matters is how loud it actually is.

FF gain is not as high, built in, as a MFT sensor, because it gets more light per F stop. Gain on MFT is 4 stops higher than FF, so as to keep SS the same at equal settings, makes it easier to calculate things. APSC is somewhere in between. So, the advantage that FF has is, when you shoot MFT at ISO 100, you are really shooting at ISO 400 in FF terms. Color, DR, noise, it's all going to be about two stops worse. It has nothing to do with the "magical" qualities of FF, it has to do with gain.

Now, if you shoot that same FF 16mp sensor at ISO 400, and the MFT 16mp sensor at ISO 100, they are identical. Period (give or take a small margin due to brand specifics). Anybody who looks at an ISO 1600 FF shot and thinks it has anything that an ISO 400 MFT shot, or an ISO 700 apsc shot doesn't have, is fooling themselves. A pixel is a pixel. The size makes no difference, larger just means they get more light per F stop. Ive heard it all too, "there's just something special about to tonality of FF", or, "the color gradients are just special". A pixel on a D800 is IDENTICAL to a pixel on a 16mp apsc camera. It simply has less gain and less DOF for a given scene.

-- hide signature --

"Run to the light, Carol Anne. Run as fast as you can!"

 Ontario Gone's gear list:Ontario Gone's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS Sigma 60mm F2.8 DN
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
PerL
Forum ProPosts: 12,520
Like?
Re: What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*
In reply to Ontario Gone, 5 months ago

Ontario Gone wrote:

Nothing really, regardless of all the magic and "special" qualities many claim. Here is how it works. A pixel is a pixel. There is nothing special about the pixels on a FF sensor over any other smaller sensor. There happens to be more surface area, sometimes because the pixels are each larger, sometimes because there are more of them. The pixels themselves however are the same thing, a photosite.

Lets take two 16mp sensors, one FF and one MFT. At the same F stop on lenses, the FF actually captures 4x more light, this is a fact. 4x is the same as saying 2 stops. So, why, if you shoot them at the same FOV, ISO and F stop, is the SS the same? Im glad you asked. Manufacturers set the underlying gain higher the smaller the sensor is. Think of ISO as a volume knob, it matters not what the number on the dial says, what matters is how loud it actually is.

FF gain is not as high, built in, as a MFT sensor, because it gets more light per F stop. Gain on MFT is 4 stops higher than FF, so as to keep SS the same at equal settings, makes it easier to calculate things. APSC is somewhere in between. So, the advantage that FF has is, when you shoot MFT at ISO 100, you are really shooting at ISO 400 in FF terms. Color, DR, noise, it's all going to be about two stops worse. It has nothing to do with the "magical" qualities of FF, it has to do with gain.

Now, if you shoot that same FF 16mp sensor at ISO 400, and the MFT 16mp sensor at ISO 100, they are identical. Period (give or take a small margin due to brand specifics). Anybody who looks at an ISO 1600 FF shot and thinks it has anything that an ISO 400 MFT shot, or an ISO 700 apsc shot doesn't have, is fooling themselves. A pixel is a pixel. The size makes no difference, larger just means they get more light per F stop. Ive heard it all too, "there's just something special about to tonality of FF", or, "the color gradients are just special". A pixel on a D800 is IDENTICAL to a pixel on a 16mp apsc camera. It simply has less gain and less DOF for a given scene.

-- hide signature --

"Run to the light, Carol Anne. Run as fast as you can!"

Have you owned a FF and being able to compare yourself?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads