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

Started Mar 5, 2014 | Discussions thread
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TrapperJohn Forum Pro • Posts: 14,596
Long tele and close macro

Those are two areas where a larger sensor can be at a disadvantage.

With long tele, not only is the magnification less for a given focal length, the DOF can be too shallow at even moderate stops. That huge 300 F2.8 is actually being shot at F8 to get enough DOF back to get the subject fully in focus. True that one can crop a large sensor tele shot, but there's still no substitute for being able to visualize the actual image in the VF.

Close macro - I struggled with 35mm film and close macro, where the shallow DOF was a real problem, too shallow. Add light, and subtract aperture. The smaller sensor is definitely at a distinct advantage there, you have much greater latitude with lighting. I can't recall close macro where I wanted less DOF, but I can think of quite a few close macro shots where I wanted more.

Balance those off with the portrait, street, etc... where the shallower DOF of the larger sensor is very desirable.

What's the ideal? I would guess, both systems are, depending upon what is being captured. The Sony A7 points to one possible direction: a multiaspect sensor that can adjust the EVF to show the full cropped view when the sensor is 'cropped down'.

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