Potential dead horse: how bad is FF's deep DoF disadvantage?

Started Mar 5, 2014 | Discussions thread
Dave Lively Senior Member • Posts: 1,879

About the only advantage I see for small sensor cameras is dust on the sensor will be less noticeable since they can achieve deep DOF without having to stop down so much. From what I have seen dust on the sensor starts to become visible around f16 regardless of sensor size. This obviously depends on how big the dust speck is too. A micro four thirds camera at f11 will be less likely to have visible dust spots than a FF camera at f22.

If dust is causing a problem you can always clean your sensor but every time I check at f22 I see a few spots. Since I use a m43 camera I never bother cleaning the sensor unless I can see it at f11. If I had a FF camera I might have to clean it more often. I have to admit this does not sound like a big deal to me.

Deep DOF is limited by diffraction at the extremes. Since larger sensors can stop down more before diffraction becomes a problem once again the smaller sensors have no advantage. If you need deep DOF the smaller sensors have no advantage over the larger ones. For shallow DOF the larger sensors have a clear advantage.

I disagree with you about sensor size not mattering much anymore. If price, weight and size do not matter to you then FF cameras are clearly better. Price, size and weight do matter to me so I went with m43. I have been happy with the results and do not spend a lot of time searching for those rare scenarios where I would get better image quality as the result of the smaller sensor.

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