Are Full Frame SLRs Obsolete?

Started Jan 4, 2014 | Discussions
Erik Magnuson Forum Pro • Posts: 12,247
Telephotos are the same size regardless
2

Flying Fish wrote:

Why can't Canon make a smaller, lighter, less-expensive 500 f/4 or even a 600 f/4 for my 7D?

Because telephotos don't scale that much with sensor size. At most the metal tube might be slihtly slimmer at the mount end.  500mm and f/4 are physical constraints - unless you use diffractive optics or folded optics, it's gonna be about the same length and f/4 means the front element is going to be about the same size. Now if you mean you want a smaller, lighter lens with the same FOV as 500mm on FF and f/4, then Canon already makes it -- it's called the 300mm f/4.

Olympus made a 300mm f/2.8 for 4/3 - and guess what? It's the essentially same size as the Canon 300mm f/2.8 even though it's for a sensor 1/4 the size.

100-400 f/4.5-5.6L; all the super-teles, all the macros; and so on and on.

See above - the lenses you want are constrained by physics. There is one macro Canon makes smaller for APS-C - the 60mm EF-S macro is equiv to the 100mm macro but nothing else would be smaller.

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Erik

mermaidkiller Contributing Member • Posts: 760
Re: Telephotos are the same size regardless

Why can't Canon make a smaller, lighter, less-expensi

See above - the lenses you want are constrained by physics. There is one macro Canon makes smaller for APS-C - the 60mm EF-S macro is equiv to the 100mm macro but nothing else would be smaller.

The Canon 50mm f/2.5 'compact macro' is also a small and compact lens.  I have this lens and works fine on my 6d.

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NancyP Veteran Member • Posts: 5,941
Re: Crop sensors are certainly obsolete
1

Focal length limited applications still benefit from the greater pixel density of APS-C. Example: bird photography. Large-field sports photography. I can get some pretty decent photos with an APS-C DSLR (60D) and 400mm f/5.6L. Would I like more focal length? Does the sun rise in the East? Realistically, those who don't have the ginormous 10,000.00+ lenses are likely better off with 400mm f/5.6L (or 100-400) on an APS-C camera, not a FF camera.

Also, my compacts are  Sigma DP2M and DP3M APS-C Foveon sensor cameras. Great landscape cameras, fabulous detail and color subtlety.

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The Davinator
The Davinator Forum Pro • Posts: 21,250
Re: Crop sensors are certainly obsolete
1

You FF is a crop sensor.  Guess you missed that.

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Erik Magnuson Forum Pro • Posts: 12,247
Re: Telephotos are the same size regardless

mermaidkiller wrote:

The Canon 50mm f/2.5 'compact macro' is also a small and compact lens. I have this lens and works fine on my 6d.

I have this lens too (bought in 1992!)  But when you add the Life-Size-Converter to get 1-1, it's no longer compact.

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Erik

TheMeister Regular Member • Posts: 247
Re: Crop sensors are certainly obsolete

Dave Luttmann wrote:

You FF is a crop sensor. Guess you missed that.

My Full Frame Sensor is a crop sensor? Can you explain?

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TheMeister Regular Member • Posts: 247
Re: Crop sensors are certainly obsolete

NancyP wrote:

Focal length limited applications still benefit from the greater pixel density of APS-C. Example: bird photography. Large-field sports photography. I can get some pretty decent photos with an APS-C DSLR (60D) and 400mm f/5.6L. Would I like more focal length? Does the sun rise in the East? Realistically, those who don't have the ginormous 10,000.00+ lenses are likely better off with 400mm f/5.6L (or 100-400) on an APS-C camera, not a FF camera.

Also, my compacts are Sigma DP2M and DP3M APS-C Foveon sensor cameras. Great landscape cameras, fabulous detail and color subtlety.

I own a Canon Power shot as a second little camera. I love it and it takes nice quick pics.

You are right with the price of crop lenses. Like i wrote: budget is an argument. For now it is!

but sooner or later full frame will get cheaper. Megpix will get more. Look at the Nikon D800 for example.

use it with a dx lens and you still get awesome pixeldensity.

now thats the future and thats why crop sensor cameras will certainly become obsolete.

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Just another Canon shooter
Just another Canon shooter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,691
Re: Crop sensors are certainly obsolete

NancyP wrote:

Focal length limited applications still benefit from the greater pixel density of APS-C. Example: bird photography. Large-field sports photography. I can get some pretty decent photos with an APS-C DSLR (60D) and 400mm f/5.6L.

The 400/5.6 is not a particularly sharp lens. On a crop camera, even less so. The increased pixel density does not help you so much then. At 640mm equivalent, you will have some camera shake, even on a tripod, and loss of resolution due to haze. All those factors would dominate the resolution, not the pixel density.

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saralecaire Regular Member • Posts: 383
Re: Are Full Frame SLRs Obsolete?

What's the point to posts like these?

socode Regular Member • Posts: 356
Re: Crop sensors are certainly obsolete

No, 35mm is not a cropped format in this context.

Maybe you mean that 35mm film was itself a small format based off movie film, but this happened before either of us were buying cameras.

Canon and Nikon released non-full frame DSLRs onto their existing 35mm systems, and that is what we speak of APS-C being "cropped" relative to. They did this because of non-linearly higher cost of producing larger digital sensors, and it left those cameras inadequate relative to the lenses, viewfinder accessories, and other bodies that had been carefully designed and produced to provide a full-frame system.

TheMeister Regular Member • Posts: 247
Re: Crop sensors are certainly obsolete
1

socode wrote:

No, 35mm is not a cropped format in this context.

Maybe you mean that 35mm film was itself a small format based off movie film, but this happened before either of us were buying cameras.

Canon and Nikon released non-full frame DSLRs onto their existing 35mm systems, and that is what we speak of APS-C being "cropped" relative to. They did this because of non-linearly higher cost of producing larger digital sensors, and it left those cameras inadequate relative to the lenses, viewfinder accessories, and other bodies that had been carefully designed and produced to provide a full-frame system.

Thank you for the nice explanation.
In fact there were even cropped film formats (relativ to the 35mm)100 hundred years ago, very similar to todays APS-C.
They came back to 35mm because it feels right and all proper lenses are designed to work with them.
The OP is claiming that this budget compromisse: aps-c is making the 35mm obsolete and thats just nonsense.

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Scott Larson Veteran Member • Posts: 6,169
Re: Crop sensors are certainly obsolete

TheMeister wrote:

Dave Luttmann wrote:

You FF is a crop sensor. Guess you missed that.

My Full Frame Sensor is a crop sensor? Can you explain?

The lens projects a circular image. Your "full frame" sensor crops an arbitrarily shaped rectangle out of that circular image. Therefore if your photos aren't circular you're not using your lenses to their full potential.

"Crop" sensors simply crop a slightly smaller rectangle out of the circular image in exactly the same way.

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TheMeister Regular Member • Posts: 247
Re: Crop sensors are certainly obsolete

Scott Larson wrote:

TheMeister wrote:

Dave Luttmann wrote:

You FF is a crop sensor. Guess you missed that.

My Full Frame Sensor is a crop sensor? Can you explain?

The lens projects a circular image. Your "full frame" sensor crops an arbitrarily shaped rectangle out of that circular image. Therefore if your photos aren't circular you're not using your lenses to their full potential.

"Crop" sensors simply crop a slightly smaller rectangle out of the circular image in exactly the same way.

The lens also crops because it doesnt portrait everything in front or around you. Your life is a cropped version of the eternity of the universe....if you wanna go there.

In the world of photography we refere to a sensor that is smaller than the standard 36x26mm as a crop sensor. Using the circular image directly from the lense is and never has been a standard. Lensmakers dont think of people using the circular image when they design a lens.

Apc-s is not "slightly" smaller then a FF sensor. Its significantly smaller.
Tiny sensors weirdly turn wider angled lenses into portrait lenses.
The smaller the sensor - the more the image distortion and loss of light.

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socode Regular Member • Posts: 356
Re: Crop sensors are certainly obsolete

Scott Larson wrote:

TheMeister wrote:

Dave Luttmann wrote:

You FF is a crop sensor. Guess you missed that.

My Full Frame Sensor is a crop sensor? Can you explain?

The lens projects a circular image. Your "full frame" sensor crops an arbitrarily shaped rectangle out of that circular image. Therefore if your photos aren't circular you're not using your lenses to their full potential.

"Crop" sensors simply crop a slightly smaller rectangle out of the circular image in exactly the same way.

That's simply vacuous.

a) some lenses have baffling to restrict the projected image

b) the manufacturer would have designed for performance within the 35mm area only

c) notable absence of "non-cropped" cameras with circular sensors

Keith Z Leonard Veteran Member • Posts: 6,114
Re: Crop sensors are certainly obsolete

TheMeister wrote:

In the world of photography we refere to a sensor that is smaller than the standard 36x26mm as a crop sensor. Using the circular image directly from the lense is and never has been a standard. Lensmakers dont think of people using the circular image when they design a lens.

In the world of 35mm digital photography you are correct, but those are smaller sensors than the phase 1 cameras, for example, it's all relative.

Apc-s is not "slightly" smaller then a FF sensor. Its significantly smaller.
Tiny sensors weirdly turn wider angled lenses into portrait lenses.
The smaller the sensor - the more the image distortion and loss of light.

It is significantly smaller, but it is far from the "tiny" sensors of point and shoot cameras.  There's nothing "weird" about the change in field of view, it's just a crop, but it doesn't change perspective, so wider angle lenses will still not be ideal for portraits.

In terms of distortion, it doesn't increase it, it decreases lens distortion from the same lens if shooting equivalent images, because you are getting only the center portion of the projected image and distortion tends to be worse towards the image.  You are gathering less total photons though.

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TheMeister Regular Member • Posts: 247
Re: Crop sensors are certainly obsolete

Keith Z Leonard wrote:

TheMeister wrote:

In the world of photography we refere to a sensor that is smaller than the standard 36x26mm as a crop sensor. Using the circular image directly from the lense is and never has been a standard. Lensmakers dont think of people using the circular image when they design a lens.

In the world of 35mm digital photography you are correct, but those are smaller sensors than the phase 1 cameras, for example, it's all relative.

Apc-s is not "slightly" smaller then a FF sensor. Its significantly smaller.
Tiny sensors weirdly turn wider angled lenses into portrait lenses.
The smaller the sensor - the more the image distortion and loss of light.

It is significantly smaller, but it is far from the "tiny" sensors of point and shoot cameras. There's nothing "weird" about the change in field of view, it's just a crop, but it doesn't change perspective, so wider angle lenses will still not be ideal for portraits.

In terms of distortion, it doesn't increase it, it decreases lens distortion from the same lens if shooting equivalent images, because you are getting only the center portion of the projected image and distortion tends to be worse towards the image. You are gathering less total photons though.

Obviously sensors on compacts are really really tiny but theys till make decent pix. My compact from 2006 stills blows away any cellphone camera for some odd reason.

I didnt get across by what i meant in regards to distortion caused by crop sensors, so let me try again:

The distortion on the edges of the frame that you mean is part of the lens-character. Especially with protraits this is very important to compress the background and make the subject look more flattering. Wide angles do the opposite and they are supposed to.
Like you wrote: the little sensors only display the center of the lense. This alters perspective and thats what i meant.

Sure people try to compensate for example by using a 35mm as a 50mm and so on. Nevertheless this is just an attempt to duplicate the character of the real FF.
So again: there is just no reason whatsoever to prefer a crop other then budget. And we all understand that and thats why they tried so hard to make excellent aps-c cameras.

But with FF becoming available they will become obsolete quite fast.

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TheMeister Regular Member • Posts: 247
Re: Crop sensors are certainly obsolete
2

socode wrote:

Scott Larson wrote:

TheMeister wrote:

Dave Luttmann wrote:

You FF is a crop sensor. Guess you missed that.

My Full Frame Sensor is a crop sensor? Can you explain?

The lens projects a circular image. Your "full frame" sensor crops an arbitrarily shaped rectangle out of that circular image. Therefore if your photos aren't circular you're not using your lenses to their full potential.

"Crop" sensors simply crop a slightly smaller rectangle out of the circular image in exactly the same way.

That's simply vacuous.

a) some lenses have baffling to restrict the projected image

b) the manufacturer would have designed for performance within the 35mm area only

c) notable absence of "non-cropped" cameras with circular sensors

I think Dave made a bizare remark about FF actually being crop and the whole talk about circular images is just plain weird...

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Scott Larson Veteran Member • Posts: 6,169
Re: Crop sensors are certainly obsolete

socode wrote:

That's simply vacuous.

And completely true.

a) some lenses have baffling to restrict the projected image

Yes SOME lenses have been crippled to assist cropping the traditional 35mm area. Note that this only assists the image cropping and is a completely arbitrary size and shape, just like the traditional 35mm area. Do I need to say "crop" a few more times to make my point clear?

b) the manufacturer would have designed for performance within the 35mm area only

There are many "full frame" lenses that have significantly inferior performance in the corners of the 35mm area. By this logic, if these lenses were truly designed for "full frame" they would have good performance throughout the 35mm area. Since they don't, they must have been designed for cameras which crop a smaller area of the image.

c) notable absence of "non-cropped" cameras with circular sensors

That's because using the entire circular image projected by the lens (which was very popular during the Kodak Brownie era) has fallen out of favor over square and rectangular images. Since film comes on rolls, circular images wasted film area. This resulted in the image cropping system that all cameras use today.

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Scott Larson Veteran Member • Posts: 6,169
Re: Crop sensors are certainly obsolete

TheMeister wrote:

I think Dave made a bizare remark about FF actually being crop and the whole talk about circular images is just plain weird...

Dave made a completely correct comment about the cropping nature of "full frame" cameras and, yes, lenses do project a circular image whether or not you find it "just plain weird".

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Messier Object Veteran Member • Posts: 7,637
Re: Are Full Frame SLRs Obsolete?

Colin Smith1 wrote:

I know I still value the low light, high ISO of my Canon full frames and the high quality of the lenses, not to mention the obvious advantages of an optical viewfinder in low light or fast movement.. As a wildlife photographer nothing offered to date can match the tracking AF of my 5D III, certainly not the OM E1 or the Sony.

As a long-time Olympus shooter and owner of their final DSLR (the E-5) and IMO their best lens (Zuiko 300mm f/2.8)  I have to say that the big advantage of the 2X crop 4/3 format is the reach. And the E-5 was about as rugged and weather sealed as a DSLR could get, and just the right size to match the 3.2Kg lens, but its low light performance was so-so, and continuous-AF poor.
Like many I was anxiously waiting for the next Oly DSLR - one with the 16Mp sensor - but alas they have gone 100% mirrorless now with the E-M1 now the Olympus flagship. Yes, Its new 16Mp Sony sensor is a marvel and its noise and High ISO performance rivals my 5D3,  but the tiny size, electronic view-finder and 'almost good enough' AF with the 4/3 lenses would be a backward step for me. Had Olympus put that new sensor and 5-axis in-body stabilisation system into a new DSLR it would have been (IMO) the best wildlife platform out there.  I guess that increasing business losses and DSLR market dominance by Canon and Nikon forced their direction
I still shoot my E-5 and Zuiko 300mm/2.8, especially in good light and where I need the 600mm reach,  but I  won't be buying the new Mirrorless marvel.  Instead I got an EF300/2.8II with 2X for my 5D and my next purchase will probably be the 7D replacement (if/when) it comes.
As you say, the 5D3 AI Servo AF is hard to match, especially for BIF.

Peter

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