MFT Users: Do you miss the shallower depth-of-field of bigger sensor cameras?

Started Feb 8, 2014 | Discussions thread
Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 41,312
Re: MFT Users: Do you miss the shallower depth-of-field of bigger sensor cameras?

Godfrey wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

That's the whole point: to create the appearance of a softer background. Who gives a darn whether the DoF is any different?

Well, how smoothly the subject fades from being in focus to out-of-focus is sometimes part of the appeal. For example, take a photo, lasso the subject, and blur everything else in the scene. It can look kind of contrived, sometimes, the same way as if you used a long focal length with a relatively deep DOF and a background far away (e.g. 300mm f/8). Not saying it will look bad -- just saying that there is a reason people care about DOF and not merely background blur.

Sure. Just change the focal length and subject distance until you get the result you want. What's the problem?

The problem is that you can't always get what you want (I believe the Stones wrote a song about that ).  So, you change the focal length, subject distance,  f-ratio, and shutter speed until you arrive at the best compromise with the system you are using.  Kinda common sense, really.

You need a certain amount of DoF to make the subject sharp, wouldn't want to go shallower than that.

Well, it's a balancing act, and where that balance lies depends on your aesthetics and the particular scene.

Certainly is. That's why I expand my options by having a FourThirds format camera, a 35mm format camera, and a 6x6 (film) camera, and a selection of different lenses to work with. For example:

Sony A7 + Elmarit-R 24mm f/2.8

Olympus E-M1 + ZD 11-22/2.8-3.5

Olympus E-M1 + M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8

Hasselblad 500CM + Sonnar 150mm f/4

Each format and lens combination has its special magic. None do everything the same or best.

I'm not a fan of "magic" except as a form of entertainment.  Differences between systems can be understood and quantified.  Often, however, the measurements are not available (e.g. sensor efficiency, bokeh, etc.) so you can't know what the difference might be until use and compare.

For example, let's say we know Lens A on Sensor A is sharper than Lens B on Sensor B, 'cause we've seen the MTF-50 tests.  So we buy Lens A, assuming it is better, then find that it has inconsistent AF, resulting in photos that are slightly OOF, making it softer unless we manually focus it.

So, no "magic" -- just something important that wasn't measured, resulting in the opposite of what we thought was going to be the case due to insufficient information.

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