Rethinking 4/3 Depth Of Field

Started Apr 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
Daniel Lauring
Daniel Lauring Veteran Member • Posts: 9,342
Re: I'm not convinced...

Anders W wrote:

As I know you are well aware, any current FF camera would lose out to the E-M5 for DR/shadow noise in this comparison (except the D4 which would break even). In terms of SNR at higher light levels, it would be a tie. So are you thinking about how the PL 25/1.4 at 1.4 compares to a 50 mm FF lens at 2.8 or what?

I'm not convinced there is enough difference between the EM5 2 stops lower, than the D800, to claim the D800 would "lose" out.  You might be technically correct, but in practicality they are pretty equivalent.

The argument I've heard, and it seems soundly based in Physics, is that all things being equal with regard to sensor technology, the FF camera will perform the same, at similar DOF's.

Based on that, and the fact that you run into lens availability issues, the FF's argument about shallower DOF is correct.

But the real question is how important the DOF is to you as a photographer.

IMHO, it boils down to DOF vs. weight and size.  If you are willing or able to live with more DOF, you can carry around 1/3rd less weight in comparison to FF kits.

For example, today I'm going on a shoot with an EM-5 and 12-35 F2.8, 35-100 F2.8, 100-300 F3.5-5.6 and 25mm F1.4 all in a small shoulder bag.  The kit weighs less than half of what I'd be hauling with me if I took the D800...a third if I threw in the D800's F2.8 lenses.  What am I giving up?  DOF and resolution.  But, I don't own any FF lens close to 600mm and I'm going to be taking a lot of longer range shots (rowing competition) so will actually have more resolution with the Oly for the competition shots because of the m43 lens "reach."  I'll be doing a lot of walking and the lower weight will be very welcome.

On the other hand on Sunday I'll be shooting in the studio with gobs of light and where the weight factor isn't important and for that, the D800 is the better choice.

P.S.  Also threw a Sigma DPm3 into the bag.  I'll use it for a few shots where there is enough light and I want a little more resolution.

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