Equivalency - the full frame perspective

Started Jan 18, 2016 | Discussions thread
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Matsu Senior Member • Posts: 2,381
Equivalency - the full frame perspective
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If you really want to make sense of it then you need to think in terms of:

Subject distance,
Field of view,
Depth of field

In order to find a rough equivalence, then you need to describe lens and body combinations that produce roughly the same field of view and depth of field when focused on a subject from the same working distance.

Doing so will reveal how practical or not it is to attempt to make different systems "equal" in certain instances, or in every (and perhaps theoretical) instance.

If depth and field have to be held exactly the same, what will the sensitivities and shutter speeds of the respective systems need to be to keep the two exposures equally bright? Where different focal lengths and apertures are needed for differently sized imagers to make the same frame with the same depth from the same distance, then either shutter speed or sentivity settings must be set differently due to primarily to the different apertures used in each system.

I use mostly "full frame" 135 format, but the mistake is to somehow hold that as the reference to which other systems need to be made "equivalent". It's no doubt convenient for some shooters with primarily 135 format experience, but it's not universal by any means. Even handy heuristics conceived by/for 135 format shooters - like the reciprocal rule - have undergone some adjustment as people deal with higher resolution sensors in that format or demand greater enlargement ratios. And in a world where almost everyone coming up has no experience of film, how troubled is any new shooter really going to be of figuring out how to make one format look like another? Why should there really be any desire to do that? When you want the look of something different, use that instead, with the cautionary note that it will seldom be the parameter that makes a photo interesting or good. Format choice could help, or hurt, but it won't often be high up on the list of elements that make impact in your photos.

Equivalency is an interesting - but not always fruitful - consideration. Much better to think about what is distinctive about the tools available - as often as a larger format may have an advantage, so may a smaller format, nothing is universally superior - just better for some things versus others - and this Is true whether you're shooting Medium Format or Micro4/3, and anything in between.

 Matsu's gear list:Matsu's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Panasonic 20mm F1.7 II Nikon D800 Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +9 more
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