4/3 has no focal length advantage-correct him if he is wrong

Started Nov 15, 2008 | Discussions
clevechan Forum Member • Posts: 53
4/3 has no focal length advantage-correct him if he is wrong

A friend using Nikon FF told me recently that the E520 system I am using has no focal length advantage when he saw me happily snapping away with my 50-200swd toy.

According to him, when I say my 50-200 is equivalent to 100-400, it only means the field of view is equivalent to his FF 100-400 but the focal length is still 50-200mm, therefore, all the rhetoric about 4/3 size advantage is bs.

As I am new to photography, and too embarrass to attempt to reply to his remark, could someone here explain to me in more details what he meant and whether he is right?

Regards

Cleve

frieder schnabel Contributing Member • Posts: 889
you are right

there is a 2x ratio for the Olympus because of the size of the sensor. He has full frame with higher resolution, but the 50-200 is the same as his 100-200.

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waterlike

Akemi Contributing Member • Posts: 789
Re: 4/3 has no focal length advantage-correct him if he is wrong

He is right. It is a 50-200mm lens with a field of view of 100-400mm.

Kikl Contributing Member • Posts: 986
Re: 4/3 has no focal length advantage-correct him if he is wrong

clevechan wrote:

A friend using Nikon FF told me recently that the E520 system I am
using has no focal length advantage when he saw me happily snapping
away with my 50-200swd toy.

According to him, when I say my 50-200 is equivalent to 100-400, it
only means the field of view is equivalent to his FF 100-400 but the
focal length is still 50-200mm, therefore, all the rhetoric about 4/3
size advantage is bs.

As I am new to photography, and too embarrass to attempt to reply to
his remark, could someone here explain to me in more details what he
meant and whether he is right?

Regards

Cleve

Well, he is right but he is wrong at the same time. He is right, a 50-200mm lens gives you a field of view equal to 100-400mm on a full frame camera. However, this is the reasonf for the size advantage of 4/3 over APS-C cameras. In order to get the same field of view on a nikon or canon DSLR you need a zoom lens with a focal length ranging from 60 - 250mm, which means that the lens must be must larger for the same field of view.

Regards

Kikl

OP clevechan Forum Member • Posts: 53
Re: 4/3 has no focal length advantage-correct him if he is wrong

Thank you for your reply.

So I guess he is right when he says that the 4/3 has no advantage because for the same focal length of the lens he carrys, it is the same focal length of the 4/3 as well, but he has double our field of view.

ALFREDUYB Contributing Member • Posts: 742
Re: 4/3 has no focal length advantage-correct him if he is wrong

Hi,

The 4/3 50-200 has the same FOV as the 100-400 on 36 x 24- that's the thing that matters.

The 50-200 is also 1/2 to 1 stop faster, optically better, cost less, smaller and lighter by around 20-25% compared to say... Nikon's 80-400 4.5-5.6 or Canon's 100-400 4.5-5.6
Regards,
Alfred

Art_P
Art_P Veteran Member • Posts: 9,875
Field of view is what counts

Yes, a 200mm lens is still a 200mm lens no mater what camera it's mounted to, but when it brings you in twice as close (due to the narrowerr FOV) that's where the advantage comes in. (but at the wide end, it's a dissadvantage, as you need to be that much wider for the same FOV

So while he's right (focal length is focal length) He's totally clueless (saying there's no atvantage)
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TorsteinH
TorsteinH Senior Member • Posts: 1,164
Re: Field of view is what counts

I can see another advantage. With the same field of view, you can have a bigger f stop or a lighter lens! Thats the real advantage!

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fldspringer Senior Member • Posts: 1,427
Re: 4/3 has no focal length advantage-correct him if he is wrong

clevechan wrote:

A friend using Nikon FF told me recently that the E520 system I am
using has no focal length advantage when he saw me happily snapping
away with my 50-200swd toy.

According to him, when I say my 50-200 is equivalent to 100-400, it
only means the field of view is equivalent to his FF 100-400 but the
focal length is still 50-200mm, therefore, all the rhetoric about 4/3
size advantage is bs.

The 50-200 is a 50-200, no matter how you cut it. I peeled the blue and white "100-400 eqiv" sticker off the lens as soon as I realized it was just a sticker.

The sensor size means you don't have to lug around a true 100-400mm lens around with you everywhere you go. That can be an advantage and is no BS.

As I am new to photography, and too embarrass to attempt to reply to
his remark, could someone here explain to me in more details what he
meant and whether he is right?

Ask him why he is so obsessed with your camera when he has one of his own.

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SirSeth
SirSeth Veteran Member • Posts: 9,889
How large is his 100-400mm?

And is it as fast (f2.8-3.5)? If his lens is slower and larger, doesn't mean it's a bad lens, but bottom line is that the field of view is the same. If you are both standing the same distance and focusing on the face of a subject that fills his frame at 100mm; the same subject will fill your frame at 50mm. Same field of view, but you have a smaller faster lens to do it with. Similar effect (as far apparent closeness), but half the focal length. Seems like an advantage to me, but people view it through their own biases (just as I have here).

Cheerio,
Seth

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wherelsetogo New Member • Posts: 22
Re: 4/3 has no focal length advantage-correct him if he is wrong

clevechan wrote:

A friend using Nikon FF told me recently that the E520 system I am
using has no focal length advantage when he saw me happily snapping
away with my 50-200swd toy.

According to him, when I say my 50-200 is equivalent to 100-400, it
only means the field of view is equivalent to his FF 100-400 but the
focal length is still 50-200mm, therefore, all the rhetoric about 4/3
size advantage is bs.

As I am new to photography, and too embarrass to attempt to reply to
his remark, could someone here explain to me in more details what he
meant and whether he is right?

Regards

Cleve

with the same logic, the equivalent FOV crop of APS-C sized sensors (1.6x/1.5x) is also rhetorical bs.

it doesn't matter, 4/3 is 'full frame' as much as 36x24mm is 'full frame'. the 50-200mm is exactly that but has 'equivalent' or 'equal' FOV as 100-400.

he is right, but i don't see the point he is making - it is inconsequential.

PeterLeyssens Senior Member • Posts: 1,519
Re: 4/3 has no focal length advantage-correct him if he is wrong

What it comes down to is basically the same difference as between 6x6cm mid-format and 24x36 negatives "in the good old days" of film. The only difference between a full frame digital and 4/3, is the size of the sensor, which is identical to a different film size.

As an example, let's take a 300mm lens for standard film SLRs or full-frame sensors. On a standard 24x36 negative, you could almost use this lens for bird photography. For 6x6, the same 300mm lens is just a pretty long portrait lens. Nobody would dream of doing bird photography with a 6x6 camera, because they'd need a 500mm lens for the same angle of view, which is a horrendously big lens.

It becomes even more dramatic when you compare 4x5 inch to 24x36. To get the same angle of view as that 300mm, you need a 1000mm lens on a 4x5 camera. That kind of lens is close to a telescope: the Olympus OM 1000/f11 was 4kg and 66cm long. (A 4x5 1000mm lens would be even bigger, because it needs to give a 4x5 inch image, not a 24x36mm image like the Oly lens). Compare that to the Olympus OM 300/f4.5, which is first of all much faster, and weighs only 1kg at a length of 18cm. The same angle of view is clearly much more portable with a smaller film size.

Comparisons of 24x36 to 6x6 and 4x5: http://photo.net/equipment/medium-format/focal-length-conversion

So, back to your Nikon friend. If he has a full frame camera, he might want to use that 300mm. I found a Nikon 300/f2 lens at this site:

http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/telephotos/300mmedif20/index.htm

The lens weighs 7kg and is about 33cm long. For the same angle of view, i.e. the same field of view on your photo, you can buy the 150/f2 from Olympus. It's 14cm long and weighs less than a kilogram. Ask him which he wants to carry around.

The only difference left is the depth of field: Olympus lenses will show a wider range of distances in focus than the equivalent field-of-view lens for larger sensors. But that would be a bit too technical to discuss here. Impress him first with these comparisons, then see if he cares to argue further

Peter.

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Brian Mosley Forum Pro • Posts: 20,707
Thanks Greg,

fldspringer wrote:

Ask him why he is so obsessed with your camera when he has one of his
own.

Classic response

Thanks Greg

Brian
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OP clevechan Forum Member • Posts: 53
Re: 4/3 has no focal length advantage-correct him if he is wrong

Thank you all for your reply.

It makes me stand taller when I bring my gear and shoot together beside that huge monster gear of his on our next trip.

However, I am still a bit confuse although I know all of you guys are trying to explain the concept to me in different ways.

According to his remark, he emphasized the fact that if I shoot at 200mm max (meaning 400mm equivalent which is not true according to him) with my Olympus 50-200mm and he shoots with 200mm on his D3 at exactly the same spot, the image of the bird we are shooting at is exactly the same size, but his field of view is double mine. If he crops his photo to half the size, it will result in the same bird size, at the same magnification.

Therefore, all he needs is bring along his 200mm, therefore, no weight or size advantages as we Olympians keep bs.ing... ( that is to quote him..)

But from some of the replies, it seems what he says is not true....

Wow..too technical for me..

I will keep shooting with my equipment and stand taller the next time when he tries to intimidate me with his equipment...and shut my ears to his remarks, as I don't understand enough to reply anyway...

At least, I can keep my 520 in jeans pocket when I mount my pancake...that much I know..

Cheers Olympians...

JiminDenver Veteran Member • Posts: 5,189
Sounds like

A. He doesn't really understand what he is talking about.
B. He is insecure about his gear if he needs to cuts yours down.

Tell him the avantage is when you are standing on the edge of a lake and you can get a nice shot of a bird on the island while he can only take a landscape. Maybe he will understand that.
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gnarayan
gnarayan Senior Member • Posts: 2,968
Re: 4/3 has no focal length advantage-correct him if he is wrong

clevechan wrote:

According to his remark, he emphasized the fact that if I shoot at
200mm max (meaning 400mm equivalent which is not true according to
him) with my Olympus 50-200mm and he shoots with 200mm on his D3 at
exactly the same spot, the image of the bird we are shooting at is
exactly the same size, but his field of view is double mine. If he
crops his photo to half the size, it will result in the same bird
size, at the same magnification.

He isn't wrong. I'd suggest looking up "perspective and focal length" - I like ones that have pictures in them like this one illustrates the point nicely.

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/forums/thread266.htm

He won't have as much resolution if he crops of course (not with a D3 anyway). No free lunch. And of course he still has to carry the D3 which isn't exactly small and cute is it.

Cheers,
-Gautham

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R2elk
R2elk Senior Member • Posts: 1,188
Re: 4/3 has no focal length advantage-correct him if he is wrong

clevechan wrote:

According to his remark, he emphasized the fact that if I shoot at
200mm max (meaning 400mm equivalent which is not true according to
him) with my Olympus 50-200mm and he shoots with 200mm on his D3 at
exactly the same spot, the image of the bird we are shooting at is
exactly the same size, but his field of view is double mine. If he
crops his photo to half the size, it will result in the same bird
size, at the same magnification.

This is true to a point. If he crops his image by 50% to get the same FOV as you, he will have a 6 MP file while you will still have a 10MP file.

For me the real advantage to the Oly system is that I want the smaller FOV without having to crop to get it. If you are shooting a tiny bird, why would want the disadvantage of having twice the FOV?
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cappalucci Forum Member • Posts: 83
Re: 4/3 has no focal length advantage-correct him if he is wrong
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4/3 sensor is 1/4 the size of 35mm so he would need a 40 mpix camera to get the field of view you get with the same amount of pixels. This is where I get a little mad, we have 10 mpix in the 4/3 sensor why dont we see 35mm with 40 mpix at the same noise levels of e-3. This is where I feel olymous has achieved good noise levels with this pixel density are they a little more noisy than canikon yes but with this pixel density I think its good
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Simon Cowell Senior Member • Posts: 2,541
Re: 4/3 has no focal length advantage-correct him if he is wrong

R2elk wrote:

clevechan wrote:

According to his remark, he emphasized the fact that if I shoot at
200mm max (meaning 400mm equivalent which is not true according to
him) with my Olympus 50-200mm and he shoots with 200mm on his D3 at
exactly the same spot, the image of the bird we are shooting at is
exactly the same size, but his field of view is double mine. If he
crops his photo to half the size, it will result in the same bird
size, at the same magnification.

This is true to a point. If he crops his image by 50% to get the
same FOV as you, he will have a 6 MP file while you will still have a
10MP file.

Exactly! Actually he'll get a 3mp image.

And that's the crucial point. Your image will look much more detailed than his cropped one.

Barry Stewart
Barry Stewart Veteran Member • Posts: 8,719
Cut the theory, try it out for real

If he pushes the situation again, invite him to a friendly challenge. It could be a learning opportunity for both of you.

Take both cameras and use the same ISO and aperture settings at 200mm. If in 'A' mode, the shutter speed may vary between the two of you to make up any difference in metering. That's fine.

Shoot some agreed upon object, such as a rock feature or a distant tree or building. Your friend's camera will appear to be zoomed way wide compared to yours, so you'll have to agree on where to place the object in the frame. I'd suggest that both of you center on the exact same point.

Go home — and let him do his digital zooming-in on his images so they equal your field of view. He may be confounded when he sees that your image is a 4:3 ratio and his is 3:2. He can deal with it, but some fat will have to be trimmed from somebody's photo. If you agree on doing 8x10 prints, he'll be trimming even more fat from his. (Don't agree to 4x6! That's not big enough for comparison anyway.)

Once complete, do a side by side viewing of the photos and see how his theory bears out. If your camera wins, he may next be convinced that your 50-200 is just a better lens.

I'd like to see the results!
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