The real advantage of Full Frame.

Started May 17, 2008 | Discussions thread
D Knisely Senior Member • Posts: 2,053
Re: The real advantage of Full Frame.

Aside from the physics of noise which will always dictate that larger photosites are better, there are numerous technical and creative advantages of FF, including:

  • Wide is wide again. It doesn't take a 10mm lense with its natural IQ and perspective issues to get wide angle views.

  • You can shoot at f/22 again since diffraction limitations of small pixels are reduced. This is very advantageous for hyperfocal techniques as well as for macro work.

  • DoF is shallower at a given aperture. This means that you don't need f/1.2, f/1.4, etc. lenses as much; you can get good separation with f/2.8, perhaps.

  • Image viewfinder is brighter and larger.

  • For the same lens and resultion, the results will be better in some senses with larger pixels of FF because the resolving power of the lens doesn't have to be as good. E.g., CA effects will be more "pixels wide" on DX vs. FX. This is offset because FF requires coverage of a larger image circle, so avoiding vignetting and getting sharpness in corners may be worse in FX.

Those are the reasons that I'm waiting for a D400, moreso than the high ISO benefits.

Photographers who are returning to FX with the D3 are realizing all that they have been missing from film days! FX is clearly here to stay.

Unfortunately, this is going to bifurcate the DSLR camera lines more and more since the consumer-ish models will continue to use incompatible small sensor formats and serious amateurs will be forced into all-pro lens lineups. I would not be surprised to see the FX series evolve into a lineup with a new lens mount that permits much smaller form factors and cost reductions and possibly with even smaller sensor sizes. D40-D60 image quality is overkill for 95% of users and most people complain about the size of the cameras while also yearning for P&S capabilities such as live view and video capture. They want to look cool and have the flexibility of changeable lenses, add-on flashes, etc., however. If you look at high-end P&S cameras like the Canon G9, they capabilities are quite impressive. The ONLY limitation is noise at ISO greater than 200. A slightly larger sensor size would fix that.

I would not be surprised to see consumer DSLRs merge with HD-quality video platforms for a big portion of the market.

We live in VERY interesting times.

Doug

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