Focal length 35mm equivalent, but not F-stop?

Started Jul 24, 2014 | Discussions thread
JBurnett Contributing Member • Posts: 835
A Camera Club Perspective

Two years ago I moved across country and joined a new camera club with about 50 members. Here are some observations:

  • In a club of 50, about 40 members use APS-C sensored DSLRs
  • I would estimate that 35 of them purchased their APS-C cameras with the kit lens, and had no concept of equivalencies at the time. 
  • Even after some educational sessions within the club, probably only 10 could tell you what their APS-C lens is "equivalent to" in terms of FF focal length. The Nikon users are more likely to know than the Canon users, simply because it's easier to multiply by 1.5 instead of 1.6. 
  • Maybe 10 understand that there is a difference in depth of field between their camera and cameras with larger or smaller sensors. Only 3 would know where to go to calculate that equivalence (or would ever care to do so).
  • Maybe 25 understand (through personal experience or education within the club) about "noise" and that it is related to ISO and sensor size.
  • Perhaps 2 or 3 would understand any discussion about "light gathering" with regards to sensor size.
  • Most members understand that if a light meter says f/4 at 1/60 at ISO 200 on one camera, they could use the same settings on a different camera. Perhaps 5 still have no idea about the relationships between aperture, shutter speed and ISO. We're working on it, but some may never care and are happier using scene modes. 
  • Only one person in the club really cares about equivalencies, because he shoots both full-frame and APS-C bodies at the same time.
  • The majority of time I've been drawn into a discussion about equivalencies, it has been a newer member who wants to move from a P&S to a DSLR or mirrorless. Equivalent focal lengths to what they see with their existing camera makes sense to them. Most of the time, the remainder of "equivalency" talk would cause them to glaze over and shut down. After all, they just want to know what "kit" to buy.
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