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

Started Mar 5, 2014 | Discussions thread
Ontario Gone
Ontario Gone Senior Member • Posts: 4,183
Re: Potential dead horse: how bad is FF's deep DoF disadvantage?

Erik Magnuson wrote:

Now, the pendulum seems to have swung too far the other way with isolation of the subject being of paramount importance for a much wider range of subjects.

That's because shallow DOF is affordable and yet still somewhat difficult to do right. Any camera you buy (including phone cams) can easily do sharp, deep DOF landscapes easily handheld in good light so there is little to write about.

Lets be honest, 2 stops of DOF is not world changing, not once you are past a certain point, which MFT/apsc is. It is of course the difference between a lens at F1.4 and F2.8. How i compose makes as much difference as two stops, all i have to do is keep in mind the ratio of me vs subject/subject vs background. With a "tiny" MFT sensor and a fast lens, i can still WOW the masses who use phones and a P&S. I can still compose full head shots and isolate only the eyes. I can still compose upper torso shots and isolate only the face.

I've always regarded DOF as just another tool to be used when needed. I suppose the great DOF on small sensor cameras has lead to a kind of frustration on the part of those who value subject isolation, so they keep harping on it.

Well, yes. It's something they can do that will still wow someone who's mainly used compacts and phone-cams.

these days being able to limit DOF is a signature of a more capable enthusiast camera. Some like bigger, bolder signatures and some don't.

I think it's important to remember that subject isolation is a function of lens aperture as well, not just sensors. Below is one of my favorite shots, taken with a MFT. Do i really need more blur to isolate her hands? Isolation with a fast lens and a moderate size sensor (MFT/apsc) is enough for all but the most DOF crazed wildmen. At this point now that we have F1.4 and even faster lenses for these formats, chasing the bigger bone just looks like a game of egos.

My camera set me back $750 for the body, that's less than half of the cheapest FF right now. I know people claim FF prices will keep dropping, but they are not making them out of some wonder cardboard that other formats arent, they are all dropping in price. If i am to save $500-$1000 each purchase cycle by buying MFT instead of FF, that's a lot going towards new glass that i wouldn't have otherwise. You really do pay a premium for those large bodies, every time you buy one. When i buy a fast lens, i buy it once and it's mine for life.

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