I think the notion of FF = heavier lens may not be true

Started Nov 8, 2013 | Discussions
EinsteinsGhost
EinsteinsGhost Forum Pro • Posts: 11,977
Re: Not exactly.

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

I know I might get some flak for this, but I was just curious about this debate so decided to check out the olympus site.

I know it's not FF, but if the logic is that bigger sensors mean bigger lenses, then it should also be concluded that aps-c lenses will be bigger/heavier than m43.

But after checking the olympus site, their equivalent lenses are heavier. They don't have exact same focal lengths but relatively close.

zuiko 14-54 2.8-3.5 = 440g

fuji 18-55 2.8-4 = 310

zuiko 50-200 2.8-3.5 = 995g

fuji 55-200 2.8-4 = 580g

for comparison, panasonic's closest was the 45-150, but with a slow aperture of 4-5.6 weight = 200g. It's much lighter than both the zuiko and fuji, but has a slower max aperture.

zuiko 35 f3.5 = 165g

fuji 35 1.4 = 187g

panasonic 45 2.8 = 225g

panasonic 25 1.4 = 200g

I know some may not be a direct comparison, but some of them just don't make the same focal length and aperture. What I find interesting is that Fuji is actually the lightest of the bunch, but has a bigger sensor.

It seems to really all boil down to lens design and materials. I think the assumption is also that all else being equal, yes, it glass elements will be bigger to accommodate a larger sensor, but the lens as a whole can still be light by using lighter metals like aluminum and perhaps less glass elements.

Lenses can also get heavier depending in build quality. Use more plastic, and weight with same optics can go down. Lens for smaller format can take advantage of smaller parts, however.

Then there is the reach aspect. I use 200mm/2.8 on APS-c whereas the same reach on FF would require 300/2.8.

The same "reach" (diagonal angle of view) would require 320mm.  But the same DOF and same light projected on the sensor for a given shutter speed would require f/4.5.  So, the better comparison to a 200 / 2.8 on APS-C is a 300 / 4 on FF.  APS-C still comes out ahead in terms of size and weight, however.

Whole both are FF lens, the 200/2.8 is considerably smaller with same metal build and weighs only a third (about 750g).

Again, compare to a 300 / 4, and that advantage narrows considerably, although the advantage still lies with APS-C.

You dont need same total light to be projected on a smaller sensor. Exposure is independent of sensor size. Put 200/2.8 on a FF camera, take note of your exposure variables. Turn crop mode on (I understand Canon can't do it, but Sony and Nikon allow it). Do you expect exposure values to be off by a stop?

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CharlesB58 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,940
Re: I think the notion of FF = heavier lens may not be true

This puts it in perspective:

http://camerasize.com/compact/#482.366,487.392,ha,t

While the Sony FE 70-200 f4 is smaller than a comparable DSLR 70-200f4 lens, it's still much bigger than the 35-100 Panasonic for m4/3. The size difference decreases as the focal length changes. There is not that much of a difference between the Panny 12-35 and the Ziess FE 24-70, though the Zeiss is much heavier, which is the case with nearly all Zeiss lenses.

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Jack Hogan Veteran Member • Posts: 6,679
Re: I think the notion of FF = heavier lens may not be true
1

Promit wrote:

The older 4/3 lenses you picked were widely panned for their size, and rightfully so. Olympus picked a smaller format and reaped little or no benefit from it.

The current m4/3 lenses are very small though, and it's a combination of three things:

  1. Smaller format
  2. Small flange distance
  3. Software correction

It's all of those, together, plus a bit of modern design technique, that gives m4/3 lenses their size and weight advantage. Leaving distortion and CA in the capture and fixing them in software means less glass elements and lighter glass elements. The small flange distance reduces the need for retrofocal designs.

This is a good point, and every format can do that.  Things are in flux, but the mFT guys are pushing the envelope of progress faster than APS-C and FF apparently because they have to in order to be competitive in the market they play in.

Things will tilt back to the mean (where the notion that equivalent FF lenses are heavier may be less true)  once we start seeing simpler/lighter/smaller/cheaper FF and APS-C lens designs that also offload some of the optics onto the camera's DSP.

We live in interesting times.

RedFox88 Forum Pro • Posts: 28,601
Re: I think the notion of FF = heavier lens may not be true

EinsteinsGhost wrote:


Then there is the reach aspect. I use 200mm/2.8 on APS-c whereas the same reach on FF would require 300/2.8. Whole both are FF lens, the 200/2.8 is considerably smaller with same metal build and weighs only a third (about 750g).

No, you would need 300mm f/1.8 on 35mm to compare to 200 f/2.8 on aps-c.  That 300mm lens doesn't exist and would be very big, very heavy, and very, very expensive!

Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 42,016
Re: Not exactly.

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

I know I might get some flak for this, but I was just curious about this debate so decided to check out the olympus site.

I know it's not FF, but if the logic is that bigger sensors mean bigger lenses, then it should also be concluded that aps-c lenses will be bigger/heavier than m43.

But after checking the olympus site, their equivalent lenses are heavier. They don't have exact same focal lengths but relatively close.

zuiko 14-54 2.8-3.5 = 440g

fuji 18-55 2.8-4 = 310

zuiko 50-200 2.8-3.5 = 995g

fuji 55-200 2.8-4 = 580g

for comparison, panasonic's closest was the 45-150, but with a slow aperture of 4-5.6 weight = 200g. It's much lighter than both the zuiko and fuji, but has a slower max aperture.

zuiko 35 f3.5 = 165g

fuji 35 1.4 = 187g

panasonic 45 2.8 = 225g

panasonic 25 1.4 = 200g

I know some may not be a direct comparison, but some of them just don't make the same focal length and aperture. What I find interesting is that Fuji is actually the lightest of the bunch, but has a bigger sensor.

It seems to really all boil down to lens design and materials. I think the assumption is also that all else being equal, yes, it glass elements will be bigger to accommodate a larger sensor, but the lens as a whole can still be light by using lighter metals like aluminum and perhaps less glass elements.

Lenses can also get heavier depending in build quality. Use more plastic, and weight with same optics can go down. Lens for smaller format can take advantage of smaller parts, however.

Then there is the reach aspect. I use 200mm/2.8 on APS-c whereas the same reach on FF would require 300/2.8.

The same "reach" (diagonal angle of view) would require 320mm. But the same DOF and same light projected on the sensor for a given shutter speed would require f/4.5. So, the better comparison to a 200 / 2.8 on APS-C is a 300 / 4 on FF. APS-C still comes out ahead in terms of size and weight, however.

Whole both are FF lens, the 200/2.8 is considerably smaller with same metal build and weighs only a third (about 750g).

Again, compare to a 300 / 4, and that advantage narrows considerably, although the advantage still lies with APS-C.

You dont need same total light to be projected on a smaller sensor.

You do if you want the same noise performance (for equally efficient sensors) and/or DOF.  And if you don't care about that, then you can compare 200mm on APS-C to 300mm on FF, and leave out the f-ratio all together.

Exposure is independent of sensor size.

It is. So is the total amount of light projected on the sensor (depends on the aperture diameter, as opposed to the f-ratio).

Put 200/2.8 on a FF camera, take note of your exposure variables. Turn crop mode on (I understand Canon can't do it, but Sony and Nikon allow it). Do you expect exposure values to be off by a stop?

Here we are:

http://www.josephjamesphotography.com/equivalence/index.htm#exposure

This section will answer the following four questions:

  • For a given scene, what is the difference in exposure, if any, between f/2.8 1/200 ISO 400 and f/5.6 1/200 ISO 1600?
  • What role does the ISO setting play?
  • What role does the sensor size play?
  • What does any of this have to do with the visual properties of the photo?

As mentioned in the introduction of this essay, the concept of Equivalence is controversial because it replaces the paradigm of exposure, and its agent, f-ratio, with a new paradigm of total light, and its agent, aperture. The first step in explaining this paradigm shift is to define exposure, brightness, and total light.

NexOffender Regular Member • Posts: 328
Re: I think the notion of FF = heavier lens may not be true

Different formats have size advantages at different focal lengths. An APS-C 24mm lens is usually bigger than the equivalent 35mm lens for FF, but an APS-C 35mm lens is usually smaller than the equivalent 50mm FF lens. With longer focal lengths the smaller formats usually have smaller equivalent lenses.

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EinsteinsGhost
EinsteinsGhost Forum Pro • Posts: 11,977
Re: Not exactly.

Great Bustard wrote:

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

I know I might get some flak for this, but I was just curious about this debate so decided to check out the olympus site.

I know it's not FF, but if the logic is that bigger sensors mean bigger lenses, then it should also be concluded that aps-c lenses will be bigger/heavier than m43.

But after checking the olympus site, their equivalent lenses are heavier. They don't have exact same focal lengths but relatively close.

zuiko 14-54 2.8-3.5 = 440g

fuji 18-55 2.8-4 = 310

zuiko 50-200 2.8-3.5 = 995g

fuji 55-200 2.8-4 = 580g

for comparison, panasonic's closest was the 45-150, but with a slow aperture of 4-5.6 weight = 200g. It's much lighter than both the zuiko and fuji, but has a slower max aperture.

zuiko 35 f3.5 = 165g

fuji 35 1.4 = 187g

panasonic 45 2.8 = 225g

panasonic 25 1.4 = 200g

I know some may not be a direct comparison, but some of them just don't make the same focal length and aperture. What I find interesting is that Fuji is actually the lightest of the bunch, but has a bigger sensor.

It seems to really all boil down to lens design and materials. I think the assumption is also that all else being equal, yes, it glass elements will be bigger to accommodate a larger sensor, but the lens as a whole can still be light by using lighter metals like aluminum and perhaps less glass elements.

Lenses can also get heavier depending in build quality. Use more plastic, and weight with same optics can go down. Lens for smaller format can take advantage of smaller parts, however.

Then there is the reach aspect. I use 200mm/2.8 on APS-c whereas the same reach on FF would require 300/2.8.

The same "reach" (diagonal angle of view) would require 320mm. But the same DOF and same light projected on the sensor for a given shutter speed would require f/4.5. So, the better comparison to a 200 / 2.8 on APS-C is a 300 / 4 on FF. APS-C still comes out ahead in terms of size and weight, however.

Whole both are FF lens, the 200/2.8 is considerably smaller with same metal build and weighs only a third (about 750g).

Again, compare to a 300 / 4, and that advantage narrows considerably, although the advantage still lies with APS-C.

You dont need same total light to be projected on a smaller sensor.

You do if you want the same noise performance (for equally efficient sensors) and/or DOF. And if you don't care about that, then you can compare 200mm on APS-C to 300mm on FF, and leave out the f-ratio all together.

Exposure is independent of sensor size.

It is. So is the total amount of light projected on the sensor (depends on the aperture diameter, as opposed to the f-ratio).

Perhaps that realization is leading you to your usual run about.  This was the question you didn't answer:

Put 200/2.8 on a FF camera, take note of your exposure variables. Turn crop mode on (I understand Canon can't do it, but Sony and Nikon allow it). Do you expect exposure values to be off by a stop?

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EinsteinsGhost
EinsteinsGhost Forum Pro • Posts: 11,977
Re: I think the notion of FF = heavier lens may not be true

RedFox88 wrote:

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

Then there is the reach aspect. I use 200mm/2.8 on APS-c whereas the same reach on FF would require 300/2.8. Whole both are FF lens, the 200/2.8 is considerably smaller with same metal build and weighs only a third (about 750g).

No, you would need 300mm f/1.8 on 35mm to compare to 200 f/2.8 on aps-c. That 300mm lens doesn't exist and would be very big, very heavy, and very, very expensive!

Nope. Try again.

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Leonard Migliore
Leonard Migliore Forum Pro • Posts: 16,323
Get off of it

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

Perhaps that realization is leading you to your usual run about. This was the question you didn't answer:

Put 200/2.8 on a FF camera, take note of your exposure variables. Turn crop mode on (I understand Canon can't do it, but Sony and Nikon allow it). Do you expect exposure values to be off by a stop?

"Usual run about"?

I am quite sure that the Great Bustard is aware that exposure, as categorized by f/stop, exposure time and ISO, is totally independent of sensor dimensions. So there's no need to respond to a tautology.

You can foam at the mouth about equivalance but that doesn't affect its validity.

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EinsteinsGhost
EinsteinsGhost Forum Pro • Posts: 11,977
Re: Get off of it

Leonard Migliore wrote:

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

Perhaps that realization is leading you to your usual run about. This was the question you didn't answer:

Put 200/2.8 on a FF camera, take note of your exposure variables. Turn crop mode on (I understand Canon can't do it, but Sony and Nikon allow it). Do you expect exposure values to be off by a stop?

"Usual run about"?

I am quite sure that the Great Bustard is aware that exposure, as categorized by f/stop, exposure time and ISO, is totally independent of sensor dimensions. So there's no need to respond to a tautology.

You can foam at the mouth about equivalance but that doesn't affect its validity.

You think he is, that tells me you are just as clueless. Prove me wrong by answering the question I posed that your buddy is going to be running around, rest of the way. Whining and crying about my response for the non-sense is not going to cut it.

Hint: Question has to do with exposure values.

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Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 42,016
Speaking of running about...

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

Perhaps that realization is leading you to your usual run about. This was the question you didn't answer:

Put 200/2.8 on a FF camera, take note of your exposure variables. Turn crop mode on (I understand Canon can't do it, but Sony and Nikon allow it). Do you expect exposure values to be off by a stop?

The answer I gave before was:

http://www.josephjamesphotography.com/equivalence/index.htm#exposure

This section will answer the following four questions:

  • For a given scene, what is the difference in exposure, if any, between f/2.8 1/200 ISO 400 and f/5.6 1/200 ISO 1600?
  • What role does the ISO setting play?
  • What role does the sensor size play?
  • What does any of this have to do with the visual properties of the photo?

As mentioned in the introduction of this essay, the concept of Equivalence is controversial because it replaces the paradigm of exposure, and its agent, f-ratio, with a new paradigm of total light, and its agent, aperture. The first step in explaining this paradigm shift is to define exposure, brightness, and total light.

Now let me flesh it out by quoting more from the link:

Mathematically, we can express these four quantities rather simply:

  • Exposure (photons / mm²) = Sensor Illuminance (photons / mm² / s) · Time (s)
  • Brightness (photons / mm²) = Exposure (photons / mm²) · Amplification (unitless)
  • Total Light (photons) = Exposure (photons / mm²) · Effective Sensor Area (mm²)
  • Total Light Collected (electrons) = Total Light (photons) · QE (electrons / photon)

So, we can now answer the questions posed at the beginning of the section:

The exposure (light per area on the sensor) at f/2.8 1/100 ISO 100 is 4x as great as f/5.6 1/100 ISO 400 for a given scene luminance, regardless of the focal length or the sensor size. However, the brightness for the two photos will be the same since the 4x lower exposure is brightened 4x as much by the higher ISO setting. If the sensor that the f/5.6 photo was recorded on has 4x the area as the sensor as the f/2.8 photo (e.g. FF vs mFT), then the same total amount of light will fall on both sensors, which will result in the same noise for equally efficient sensors (discussed in the next section).

If you are still confused, please let us know.

EinsteinsGhost
EinsteinsGhost Forum Pro • Posts: 11,977
Re: Speaking of running about...

Great Bustard wrote:

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

Perhaps that realization is leading you to your usual run about. This was the question you didn't answer:

Put 200/2.8 on a FF camera, take note of your exposure variables. Turn crop mode on (I understand Canon can't do it, but Sony and Nikon allow it). Do you expect exposure values to be off by a stop?

The answer I gave before was...

Useless, and nothing to do with the question. Have you see these kind of numbers before?

ISO 125, f/4, 1/800s (and yes, I picked these from one of the images in your gallery).

So, what are these numbers? Looking for your awareness.

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GodSpeaks
GodSpeaks Forum Pro • Posts: 13,596
Re: I think the notion of FF = heavier lens may not be true

nicholo89 wrote:

I know I might get some flak for this, but I was just curious about this debate so decided to check out the olympus site.

I know it's not FF, but if the logic is that bigger sensors mean bigger lenses, then it should also be concluded that aps-c lenses will be bigger/heavier than m43.

But after checking the olympus site, their equivalent lenses are heavier. They don't have exact same focal lengths but relatively close.

zuiko 14-54 2.8-3.5 = 440g

fuji 18-55 2.8-4 = 310

zuiko 50-200 2.8-3.5 = 995g

fuji 55-200 2.8-4 = 580g

These 2 Zuiko lenses are Four Thirds, NOT micro four thirds.  They are a telecentric design which IS larger.

Micro four thirds lenses do not use the same telecentric design, so you should use MFT lenses in your comparison.  The closest of which would be the Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 at 305g, and the 35-100mm f2.8 at 360g.

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rhlpetrus Forum Pro • Posts: 25,823
Flnge distance and FF

Jack Hogan wrote:

Promit wrote:

The older 4/3 lenses you picked were widely panned for their size, and rightfully so. Olympus picked a smaller format and reaped little or no benefit from it.

The current m4/3 lenses are very small though, and it's a combination of three things:

  1. Smaller format
  2. Small flange distance
  3. Software correction

It's all of those, together, plus a bit of modern design technique, that gives m4/3 lenses their size and weight advantage. Leaving distortion and CA in the capture and fixing them in software means less glass elements and lighter glass elements. The small flange distance reduces the need for retrofocal designs.

This is a good point, and every format can do that. Things are in flux, but the mFT guys are pushing the envelope of progress faster than APS-C and FF apparently because they have to in order to be competitive in the market they play in.

Things will tilt back to the mean (where the notion that equivalent FF lenses are heavier may be less true) once we start seeing simpler/lighter/smaller/cheaper FF and APS-C lens designs that also offload some of the optics onto the camera's DSP.

We live in interesting times.

Smaller flange distance for FF would also mean smaller designs for FF, but the cost is there and it may require soft corrections. I'm not sure Nikon and Canon will reduce the flange distance for FF as they move into ML. The mirror box may be gone, but will venerable lens designers adopt that? I think APS-C will ove to a different mount for both companies as Canon has already done, but FF is bit more complicated, as backward compatibility may be seen, especially by Nikon, as essential. They kept its mount even when it looked like a changevwas needed.

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TrapperJohn Forum Pro • Posts: 16,488
Understand why the earlier 4/3 lenses were so large, and the current ones aren't

The ZD 4/3 lenses have a telecentric light path, which is to say the light coming out of the back of the sensor is perpendicular to the sensor, at a 90 degree angle. That was done specifically to address the vignetting and soft edges caused by the early deep light well sensors. Light at extreme angles wasn't a problem for film, which has no real depth, but it was a problem for the digital sensors of the day, that had fairly deep light wells, which meant light at angles was lost on the way down the well to the actual sensor.

It's why the first DSLR's were APS and not 24x36 - the film lenses available at that time were not telecentric (didn't need to be) but when used on early digital sensors, the image lost definition and intensity the further from the center of the sensor. Easy solution was to make a smaller sensor to crop out the troublesome edges. Hence, the 'crop sensor', that cropped a 35mm image circle to get an acceptable photograph.

Some companies, particularly Canon and Leica, addressed this with microlenses on the sensor to straighten the light out, Oly addressed it by making a lens that straightened out the light. Oly got what they wanted, excellent rendering and razor sharp wide open, but the lenses were larger and heavier, from the thicker barrel and larger internal elements that were required to straighten out the light path.

This isn't needed any more. The latest sensors have shallow light wells that can take light at more extreme angles, which makes the short focal length mirrorless systems possible at all.

For a more accurate size comparison, use the µ43 size optimized lenses like the 45 1.8, 75 1.8, 12-40 constant F2.8, 12-35 constant F2.8, 20 1.7, 17 1.8, etc... they are very small for what they can do.

GossCTP Veteran Member • Posts: 4,755
Re: I think the notion of FF = heavier lens may not be true

nicholo89 wrote:

I know I might get some flak for this, but I was just curious about this debate so decided to check out the olympus site.

I know it's not FF, but if the logic is that bigger sensors mean bigger lenses, then it should also be concluded that aps-c lenses will be bigger/heavier than m43.

For a given f stop, the 4/3 lenses are smaller. The issue as I see it, is that people bought into a smaller format, and then wanted to get the same shallow DOF and lower noise that the larger formats did. So then Olympus created beasts like the 35-100 f/2. Over 3.5 lbs and $2500. Certainly a masterpiece of a lens, but in terms of DOF and noise, a 70-200 f/4 on FF would be equivalent and weigh in at just over a lb. Price for a Canon L 70-200 f/4 is running around a grand right now.

I think that f/4 is a sweet spot for lenses right now, regardless of format. Few lenses don't improve in some fashion until being stopped down at least that far. That's my main gripe with micro 4/3. They have super compact slow zooms and top dollar f/2.8 zooms. Higher quality, moderately sized and priced f/4 zooms just aren't there. And if you need a faster lens than f/4 most of the time, you are probably better off with a larger format - up to FF anyway.

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EinsteinsGhost
EinsteinsGhost Forum Pro • Posts: 11,977
Re: Understand why the earlier 4/3 lenses were so large, and the current ones aren't

TrapperJohn wrote:

For a more accurate size comparison, use the µ43 size optimized lenses like the 45 1.8, 75 1.8, 12-40 constant F2.8, 12-35 constant F2.8, 20 1.7, 17 1.8, etc... they are very small for what they can do.

The m43 size benefits comes from its crop factor, just as a camera with 1/2.3" sensor can deliver a 35-600mm (equiv) f/2.8 zoom range, again due to crop factor. But, we could also compare lens sizes and weight by focal length (not equiv.).

Minolta 35-105 f/3.5-4.5 N, a full frame lens for example, was 60mm long, with 55mm filter size and weighed 290g.  Whereas, Panasonic 35-105 f/2.8, a m43 lens, is 100mm long with 58mm filter size and weighs 360g. The Panasonic, of course, offers constant f/2.8 zoom which would account for the size gains but the point is ultimately with focal length itself, rather than equivalent FL.

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Just another Canon shooter
Just another Canon shooter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,691
Re: I think the notion of FF = heavier lens may not be true

NexOffender wrote:

[...]  but an APS-C 35mm lens is usually smaller than the equivalent 50mm FF lens.

The Sigma 30/1.4 (for APS-C) is 430 g. The (faster) Canon 50/1.8 for FF is 130g.

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Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 42,016
Oh dear.

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

Perhaps that realization is leading you to your usual run about. This was the question you didn't answer:

Put 200/2.8 on a FF camera, take note of your exposure variables. Turn crop mode on (I understand Canon can't do it, but Sony and Nikon allow it). Do you expect exposure values to be off by a stop?

The answer I gave before was...

Useless...

...to people who lack the ability and/or are unwilling, to understand.

...and nothing to do with the question.

If that were so, then we'd be left with one of two situations:

  • The question is meaningless in terms of the visual properties of the photo.
  • The question ignores the context of what role the exposure plays in the visual properties of the photo.

Have you see these kind of numbers before?

ISO 125, f/4, 1/800s (and yes, I picked these from one of the images in your gallery).

I must have been using Auto ISO or used ISO 125 by mistake, as I never intentionally shoot intermediate ISO settings.

So, what are these numbers? Looking for your awareness.

Well, ISO 125 means that the brightness of the captured photo is amplified by 1/3 of a stop.  f/4 means that the diameter of the lens aperture was 1/4 the focal length of the lens.  1/800 means the sensor was exposed to the light for 1/800 of a second.

What do you think the numbers mean?

(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 2,216
Re: I think the notion of FF = heavier lens may not be true

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

RedFox88 wrote:

EinsteinsGhost wrote:

Then there is the reach aspect. I use 200mm/2.8 on APS-c whereas the same reach on FF would require 300/2.8. Whole both are FF lens, the 200/2.8 is considerably smaller with same metal build and weighs only a third (about 750g).

No, you would need 300mm f/1.8 on 35mm to compare to 200 f/2.8 on aps-c. That 300mm lens doesn't exist and would be very big, very heavy, and very, very expensive!

Nope. Try again.

Well, they do say that Albert Einstein wasn't very good at arithmetic; but both of you seem to be struggling with basic multiplication and division here. A 200mm f/2.8 lens on an APS-C camera will have very similar performance to a 300mm f/4 lens on a FF camera...

Joe

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