The Dirty "E" Word - a Missing Link and Onions

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nnowak Veteran Member • Posts: 3,569
The Dirty "E" Word - a Missing Link and Onions
9

Please don't flame me for starting another m4/3 equivalence thread.  Trust me when i say I was very apprehensive about doing so.  However, in the recent G9 vs D750 debate, something stuck out that no one seemed to notice.

Full frame has lower noise, shallower DoF, better dynamic range.... blah, blah blah.

Here are two equivalent setups...

full frame 24mm f5.6, 1/100, ISO 800

m4/3 12mm f2.8, 1/100, ISO 200

Standing in the same place, both of these will produce an image with nearly identical angle of view, depth of field, noise, motion blur, and dynamic range.  Yes, dynamic range also scales with equivalence too.

E-M1 II vs D850 dynamic range

Yes, there are situations where full frame has an advantage.  Assuming equivalent lenses are available, that advantage diminishes towards zero as you move off of base ISO.

I am not writing any of this in an effort to proclaim full frame is better than m4/3, or that that m4/3 is better than full frame, or any other format for that matter.  Each system has merits.  The point is what is necessary to realize the benefits of a larger sensor.  To create a technically "better" image with full frame, you need to be shooting near base ISO and/or using a sufficiently bright lens that has no equivalent in the smaller format.  The further you step away from the fringes, the more various systems overlap in image quality.

Picture an onion.  Cell phones are at the center of the onion.  As you move up in sensor size, you add another layer to the onion and enable more extreme shooting options.  Get to layer 11 and you can shoot black cats at night in a cave.  Everyone needs to figure out how many layers their personal onion needs.

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