OK ALL YOU full frame camera fanatics

Started Nov 14, 2012 | Discussions thread
Timskis6 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,562
Re: Agogo, GB...

The gap(s) between 4/3 and 35mmFF are widening specifically in a technical respect to sensor technology - yes, I said it - not with respect to noise, but with respect to dynamic range and the number of available pixels.

Many current 4/3 sensors approach the dynamic range of 35mmFF sensors, but most of that dynamic range is buried in the shadows.  Case in point, the "old" E-3, had pretty good dynamic range, but most was shifted toward the shadows.  Where I could lift 2 stops in the shadows and get a nice print, I could only lift 1/3 stop in the highlights.  With current 4/3 sensors, the highlight dynamic range has improved significantly, but is only approaching the highlight dynamic range of the last generation of 35mmFF sensors.  It doesn't make any sense to me why the tone curves are applied as they are - who wants to take a hundred photos, push the shadows by a stop, and then recover the highlights by a stop?  This is what I was doing with the E-3, and yes it works, but no it's not an efficient work flow.  Current m4/3 sensors are very similar - while greatly improved in dynamic range, the inefficient (by my work flow patterns) tone curves makes processing lots of images very difficult.

35mmFF sensors are increasing in their pixel count, while 4/3 sensors are not.  Sensor technology with respect to noise is greatly improving, but unfortunately many, many clients hear "24" and "16" and will always pick "24."  I'm dealing with this currently with "only 12MP."  While I believe 12MP is greatly sufficient for most work I do, many clients do not.  It's an unfortunate catch-22.

The gap is lessening with sensor technology with respect to noise performance, as indicated above.  For most people, framing using their own choice of focal length puts an adequate number of pixels onto their subject - and good pixels at that.  The end result are two images or prints that look similar enough that I'd disregard noise as an issue, but that's only if you have the flexibility to shoot at a wide aperture and at a focal length of your choice (more on that).

Side notes for widening gaps:  flash performance, in-camera firmware, and focus technology are widening.  Partly because the 4/3 consortium is small, but also because Olympus is a small company.  Panasonic has not introduced flash technology that rivals CaNikon, probably because they are just too new at it.

Depth of field is an issue for many, and this is based on physics, and doesn't change.  For some, it's possible to use fast f/2 zooms and recover some of that ISO speed with light.  For others, like myself, who use flash ​a lot​, shoot at f/5.6 and f/8, ​a lot.​  There are plenty of tried and true tricks to limit DOF on 4/3, such as using a longer lense, or making the subject larger within the frame, etc., and they work fine, but are very difficult to use in a vast amount of scenarios.  I mastered most of these techniques, and they work excellently, as expected (due to physics).  But when shooting at f/5.6, for example, you need a much longer FL with 4/3 to achieve similar DOF.  Trying to shoot two people using a 4/3 150mm f/2 is very different than using a 35mmFF 70-200/2.8 (at f/5.6) - simply trying to achieve good subject-background separation requires shouting to the couple (when using 4/3) but a normal voice using 35mmFF, because you're so much closer.  Now don't get me wrong, if I was going for absolute IQ, I'd choose the 150/2 over any lense, any day.  It's simply outstanding.  But it's outstanding at the cost of ease and efficiency - for me.

Well, dinner time, I'd gladly add more experience if either of you care, or if there's any other questions.


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'I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list.'

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