The Recent F/stop Controversy

Started 1 month ago | Discussions thread
riveredger Veteran Member • Posts: 3,298
Re: The Recent F/stop Controversy

Great Bustard wrote:

riveredger wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

riveredger wrote:

Michael Fryd wrote:

bolt2014 wrote:

The post about getting rid of the "F/stop" definition turned into such a technical subject that most photographers become lost in the jargon. I think that too many photographers become so embroiled in the technical aspects that they forget that photography is more about being creative .

I don't think the issue was about being technical.

With photography, as with many other subjects, there are multiple frames of reference that one can use. A big part of the "f/stop" discussion was which frame of reference to use.

Traditionally, Photographers use the light per unit area ("exposure") as their frame of reference. The primary reason we use relative apertures (f/stops) is that it makes it easier to relate the aperture to the light per unit area. Light per unit area is key when shooting film.

The question is that when one is shooting digital, is it still a good idea to place such importance on light per unit area. In terms of the resulting image, the correlation is much stronger with total light captured.

That's a reasonable question to ask, and a reasonable discussion to have. There are certainly pros-and-cons to either frame of reference.

it's not so much a technical question as a philosophical one. Is the frame of reference designed for the limitations of film the best frame of reference to use for digital?

Well, sir, I think light per unit area is easier to maximize than is total light gathered.

One in the same, for a given camera and scene. That is, if I maximize the exposure of a photo, I've also maximized the total light gathered.

One does not need a larger sensor for the former (which, incidentally will also maximize the total light captured for a given sensor), but will need a larger sensor to significantly impact the latter.

Of course, maximizing the exposure on a smaller format will result in less total light gathered than if one maximized the exposure on a larger format. However, neither is easier than the other.

Your first comment was exactly what I stated (parenthetically) in my next sentence

As to your second comment, I would say that it depends entirely on the equipment you have on hand at a given moment. The fact that I could gather more light with a FF camera when I only happen to have my 1" sensor compact with me is not going to change the outcome of ny photo. It will, though, encourage me to bring my DSLR out next time

Indeed. However, an important lesson that Equivalence explains is that, for a given DOF and exposure time, the same total amount of light is projected on the sensor for *all* systems. So, for a larger format to have a light gathering advantage over a smaller format, the larger format *must* use a more narrow DOF or a longer exposure time. That's worth knowing, methinks, even if one is otherwise uninterested in other Equivalence related topics.

While correct, I do not think it adds clarity to the discussion.  The short version is that a larger sensor will always capture more total light than a smaller sensor, given the same exposure.  The other consequences of exposure decisions remain the same, irrespective of format.

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