MF is not only about bokeh, but it is also about the image quality beyond FF

Started 1 week ago | Discussions thread
roby17269 Senior Member • Posts: 1,663
Re: MF is not only about bokeh, but it is also about the image quality beyond FF

RhonaldJR wrote:

FF as it stands, is fine-tuned and reached the peak of sensor innovation (hence, camera manufacturers are looking at adding different applications and things around sensor) and there can be very little added to FF in next 5-10 years (sure, back-lit sensors, etc... all of which will land on CMF/LMF as well).

Innovation in digital MF has just begun and at this point, a fine tuned FF beats MF in most of the areas.

For FF, 50mp will be the sweat spot. Anything more will be a overkill (compare upcoming Canon 100mp with the current GFX 100mp and you will definitely see the difference).

If you want to do a technical comparison between a fine-tuned FF and MF, do a comparison between Nikon D850 vs GFX-100S against expectations of the MF shooters.

In that case, both MF and FF wins and the choice between the two formats lies with the shooter and his application (or wallet).

Current FF vs MF

Dynamic range: Difference between the most innovated FF and current crop MF is 3 stops (FF: 12 stops, CMF: 15stops, human eye: 22stops)

Image quality: No difference when CMF is down sampled. AS-IS, there are minor differences between FF output and CMF when zoomed at 150% (pixel peepers). If you are viewing photos on a 65-inches 4K/8K TV or large prints, then CMF wins (hence, CMF is not for all, it's for a specific application or brag rights)

Color reproduction: CMF provides some wiggle room to work on RAW, but FF can match CMF at the moment

Pixel count: Barring 100mp CMF or LMF, FF can match in some situations (upcoming Canon 75/100mp camea!!?)

Autofoucs: Barring 100mp GFX, none of the current MF can beat FF (however, when you think of a traditional MF shooter and it's application, the current autofocus already exceeds the expectation from a MF)

Continuous shoot (FPS): Barring 100mp GFX against a standard FF, the FF leads by miles (again, when you think of a traditional MF shooter and it's application, the current fps already exceeds the expectation from a MF)

Depth of field: with many available lenses, this can be easily matched with a FF

GFX-100S is just the beginning of MF innovation and I am sure, in next 3 years MF will be way ahead of FF (Similar to FF being way ahead of a well fine-tuned APS-C).

Future MF

Now that innovation in MF has started, things will look very different in next 3 years.

Dynamic range: MF will push the current DR from 15 to 17 or 18 (that's 5-6 stops difference)

Image quality: noise reduction and light capturing will improve greatly and exceed FF in the areas where MF or pro FF is used

Color reproduction: Will be able to produce true color reproduction and increased wiggle room for post processing

Autofoucs: current FF goodies such as Animal AF, subject tracking, etc... will be part of MF too. With innovations on processors and memory, the CMF AF will match FF in speed. LMF might reach where the current CMF is

Continuous shoot (FPS): will hit somewhere between 7 and 10 on CMF and 3-5 for LMF. FF will continue to rule in this space, especially for sports.

Depth of field: Lens availability will push DOF, among other things, easily achievable on a CMF/LMF than FF

Remember, all FF innovations will be done on MF as well (especially with Fuji. Hassleblad is somehow bullish in their MF philosophy and lives in its own bubble). There might be even larger mirror-less medium format in next 3 years from Fuji (Hassy and Phase 1 already has, but they will release a successor to their current line ups)

I am not sure I 100% agree (although I wish I did!)

In the current market, R&D dollars are going to smaller sensors first (phones) and then the improvements may trickle up to bigger sensors. The "may" part is due to, IMHO:

  1. part of R&D dollars is currently going towards computational aspects (machine learning and the such) and those do not necessarily trickle up since cameras do not have the computational capabilities nor network connectivity that phones enjoy, and
  2. the improvements that do trickle up will do so at different paces depending on a number of factors, which include market penetration. MF crop (44x33mm) market penetration is "niche" I would guess and MF full frame (54x40mm) is even smaller

Therefore I am not sure that all sensor innovations will trickle up, even if we limit the scope to technologies that make it into 35mm FF. And even if they will, I'd assume that MF tech will always play catch up mostly due to market size (i.e. when MF catches up to current 35mm, 35mm will have moved on).

Having said that, I am a MF (full frame) user therefore I am thrilled with the push that Fuji (and to a lesser extent Hasselblad) is doing in the MF market.

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