MFT Users: Do you miss the shallower depth-of-field of bigger sensor cameras?

Started Feb 8, 2014 | Discussions
Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 39,720
Re: Let's squash that confusion!
2

Dave Sanders wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

Well, I was talking about the A7R, which is 36 MP, and I'd call this:

Indeed...I somehow managed to read "A7". That 36mp sensor is a different beast.

"significantly more" detail. That said, how large would you have to print, or how much would you have to crop before it mattered? Well, for some, even 5 MP is enough for 17x22 inch prints, so...

For sure. This, I think, is the real issue in the MP war. And it was certainly so for me. Buying the RX1 and shooting with it extensively really made me think long and hard about buying a D800. I had the dreaded oil issue with my D600 so it went back its maker. I had sold my E-M5 to raise a bit more money to upgrade to the D800 then I had to swallow a cold, hard reality pill and repurchased m4/3 with the E-M1. The truth is that I love using m4/3 and my RX1 does most of what I'd use a D800 for...more in some cases as the D800 is plagued with the terrible white spots issue w/o LENR for long exposures. Not saying that a D800 isn't in my future, though...hahahaha.

Enjoying using your equipment is a very important consideration, if not the most important consideration for many.

I think we're on the same page, here. In fact, I'm very keen on saying that, in my opinion, the vast majority are better suited by smaller formats, and differences between systems in operation matter more, by far, than differences between systems in terms of IQ, for the types of photos most take and the size most display their photos at.

Bingo. I can find new and inventive ways to screw up my photos that a sensor hasn't even dreamed of. Dropping a Lee big stopper in the mud. Shooting in JPEG only by accident. Pressing the cable release so hard that the shutter release pops off entirely.

For family and street/travel photos, I realized that, when I didn't have an m4/3 cam, I took far too few photos. While I intellectually want a D800 and what it brings to the table, most of the time it simply isn't what I need or actually use. Ditto for the type of studio work I do...high resolution is not a priority. When I'm taking landscape photos which I'm far more likely to print large, my RX1 serves me perfectly at the moment. For long exposures, being able to go down to ISO 50 and f/11 or even f/16 really helps to get the shutter speed up. Also, when I want that wide angle/shallow DOF look that I love, the RX1 again does the job. Slowly, in poor light, I might add...

I hear what you're saying. Many take it even further and use a cell phone for those "happy snaps", and, I must say, I like what I see from some of these cell phone photographers:

http://connect.dpreview.com/sample-galleries/1249312809/connect-picture-of-the-day/2667416466

So much so, in fact, that I often wonder how much being concerned with IQ and operation, as opposed to embracing whatever limitations you have, gets in the way of "good" photography.

That said, whether or not the differences matter is an entirely different discussion than simply understanding that it is the aperture diameter, not the f-ratio, and the total amount of light falling on the sensor, not the intensity of light, that are the important elements in the visual properties of the recorded photo.

Yes. There is a bit of 'my chosen format is perfect for everything' in the debate.

I find it curious that so many read that in to my posts, especially considering how often I've posted that I'm quite the fan of smaller formats, including cell phones.  I simply feel, for whatever reason, that telling people the Earth goes around the Sun, as opposed to the other way around, is something worth knowing, even if it makes no practical difference whatsoever in most people's day to day life, and it's all to often very disappointing to see how many feel otherwise.

Keep fighting the good fight!

I have to admit, however, that the pay could be better. 

micronean Regular Member • Posts: 306
Re: MFT Users: Do you miss the shallower depth-of-field of bigger sensor cameras?

Superzoom2 wrote:

I'm thinking of buying my first ever MFT camera, an Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 14-42 EZ lens.

I've had lots of compacts and DSLR's, mostly Canon. Once in a while, you have these beautiful blurry background pics when the lens and aperture combination are right. I am a former pro photog, and understand fully camera optics and depth-of-field physics.

I just want to know if you sometimes miss the easily attainable shallow depth-of-field that you usually get with an APS-C or bigger sensor camera.

I know you can buy fast MFT lenses for more aperture control, but I'm probably going to just stick with a cheap 14-42 for various reasons.

Thanks!

Personally, I think background blur is overused and overrated. Being artistic does not mean turning the dial to 1.4.

MFT can also do good bokeh. It's just not quite as easy as turning a dial. You need to use a long focal length or be creative in your subject distance, or just compose the shot right. In a way, it's very "old-school", and much more fun to explore your creativity--and more pleasing when you get it right.

Take, for example, the following picture: Do you really need "creamy bokeh" to capture the moment, isolate the subject, or highlight the emotion?...

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Dave Sanders Senior Member • Posts: 2,457
Re: Let's squash that confusion!

Great Bustard wrote:

So much so, in fact, that I often wonder how much being concerned with IQ and operation, as opposed to embracing whatever limitations you have, gets in the way of "good" photography.

One of the reasons I like primes. I'm less lazy with my composition.

I find it curious that so many read that in to my posts, especially considering how often I've posted that I'm quite the fan of smaller formats, including cell phones.

I was speaking more of others...I have always found your posts technical and impartial. I don't see smaller formats vs. FF being productive. For me they're complimentary systems and the debate isn't either/or but and. And understanding the key differences (your fight!) is key to understanding what to use when based on strengths of the chosen format.

I have to admit, however, that the pay could be better.

Working for free is over or underrated, depending on who you talk too...

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Dave Sanders

LTZ470
LTZ470 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,926
Re: Like I have always said, reality = paints a different picture...(er photo)

Same tripod, same day, same time...different cameras...EM1 100-300 vs A7r Sigma 70-300...and the FF DOF just killed the m43 DOF...lol...

A7r 70-300

EM1 100-300

A7r 70-300

A7r 70-300

EM1 100-300

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Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 39,720
From past "conversations" with you...
1

LTZ470 wrote:

Same tripod, same day, same time...different cameras...EM1 100-300 vs A7r Sigma 70-300...and the FF DOF just killed the m43 DOF...lol...

A7r 70-300

EM1 100-300

A7r 70-300

A7r 70-300

EM1 100-300

...I know that you aren't really quite clear on simple concepts.

First of all, when people say that FF has a more shallow DOF than mFT, what they mean is that for a given perspective, framing, and display size, FF will have half the DOF for the same relative aperture (f-ratio) and the same DOF for the same virtual aperture (entrance pupil).

For example, if we took a photo of a bird at 300mm f/5.6 on FF (as in your first photo), we would not expect it to have the same DOF as a photo at 300mm f/5.6 on mFT, as either the perspective, framing, or both would be very different using 300mm on both systems.

Of course, your photos above are cropped, and that changes the DOF as well.  For example, if you took a photo of a bird from the same position at 300mm f/5.6 on FF and 300mm f/5.6 on mFT, then cropped the FF photo to the same framing and displayed it at the same size as the mFT photo, they will both have the same DOF.

The tighter we frame, either by getting closer, using a longer focal length, or cropping, the more shallow the DOF will be.

On the other hand, maybe your "point" was merely to show that mFT can get the same DOF as FF by using a different perspective, framing, and/or cropping.  Well, that's no more surprising than saying you can "turn a 300mm lens into a 600mm lens" by getting twice as close or framing wider and cropping.  Shocker.

Lights
Lights Veteran Member • Posts: 3,570
Re: Thanks ..

s_grins wrote:

Sergey_Green wrote:

s_grins wrote:

Just for you... I did not spent more than 30 sec, I did not try to be realistic, the only purpose is to show that extra blur can be done during PP. Final result depends on the skills and taste which I probably do not have.

What you can see is a possibility do do this.

This is a presentation only, do not judge hursh. Thanks for your interest

It looks very much like what you would get with the lens-baby. It does add some interesting look to the images, I agree here, and perhaps this was not even the best example. But that is why the lens-baby does not cost as much as true 35/1.4 for instance. I mean, if you think of it, why do they even make those fast lenses, and why is there a market for it.

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- sergey

Well, I can explain something... To assign blur area, I've used a simple circle, that is why blur looks like from a lensbaby. I had more options in my disposal, and maybe you could do a better job to make blur more natural.

Believe me, all these more than dozen options to assign blur geometry can give you lots of creative opportunities, especially when you can combine them.

S.

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Camera in bag tends to stay in bag...

Yes in Photoshop a person can do selective blurring (I use the lasso tool sometimes if the background is extremely distracting or busy on a shot where I didn't plan to have a blurred background) A person can blur the close background less, the mid background more, the far background more yet...as I think you are alluding to...but with your simple circle it gives a good illustration of what can be done (quickly) When I used a film camera, especially with low ISO films, many times seemed to want more DOF rather than less. Not saying that it's always desirable...just that it was how I felt many times.

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Miron09 Contributing Member • Posts: 826
nope, the balance is perfect for me
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Heyseuss Hoolio
Heyseuss Hoolio Contributing Member • Posts: 584
Re: Necessarily.

Great Bustard wrote:

Heyseuss Hoolio wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

MrScorpio wrote:

Sometimes yes, but sometimes it is good to have the good light gathering with a large Aperture without having to have the very shallow DoF.

This is a profound misunderstanding that many have, which causes a great deal of confusion. First of all, we need to distinguish between the relative aperture (f-ratio) and the virtual aperture (entrance pupil), where the relative aperture is the quotient of the focal length and the diameter of the virtual aperture. For example, a 25mm lens with an 18mm aperture diameter will have a relative aperture of 25mm / 18mm = 1.4. Likewise, a 50mm lens with an 18mm aperture diameter will have a relative aperture of 50mm / 18mm = 2.8. Thus, 25mm f/1.4 and 50mm f/2.8 both have the same aperture diameter.

As it turns out, for a given perspective, framing, and display size of the photo, the same aperture diameter results in the same DOF. If we also include the same scene luminance and shutter speed, it also results in the same total amount of light falling on the sensor, which, in turn, will result in the same noise for equally efficient sensors.

In other words, your statement that "sometimes it is good to have the good light gathering with a large Aperture without having to have the very shallow DoF" is a physical contradiction. Specifically, 25mm f/1.4 does not have a "larger aperture" than 50mm f/2.8 -- in fact, they are the same. Of course, f/1.4 is a lower f-ratio than f/2.8, but that is neither here nor there in terms of cross-format comparisons.

Yes what you're saying is partly true...

In fact, it's entirely true. However, what is not true is that all FF cameras have sensors with the same efficiency as all mFT sensors. Of course, that would be a silly thing to say, which is why I didn't say it.

...and the concept/idea is being looked at the wrong way. Aperture diameter is different than f/stop. I can see you know that. And that the light hitting the sensor formats as a whole is the same. Although, that same concept is what changes the intensity of light that hits the sensor surface itself.

Correct. However, in terms of the visual properties of the recorded photo, the intensity of the light falling on the sensor is rather irrelevant.

The f/stop is the amount of concentrated(focused) light hitting the sensor (m43 or FF). If you crop your FF 50mm f2.8 in the center with a m43 sensor crop, it's still f2.8 on the m43 sensor crop. That's why if you adapt a FF lens to a m43 body the f/stop is still the same, unless you have a speed booster which takes the uncropped light and concentrates it.

Yes. In fact, I make exactly that point right out front:

http://www.josephjamesphotography.com/equivalence/#crop

Unlike uncropping, you wouldn't want to add a m43 lens to a FF body because all that concentrated light at f1.8 that is being focused onto a m43 sensor will need to expand onto a FF sensor size. For a far fetched example, you add an adapter to the m43 lens to project on a larger area, if you can get the light circle to cover a FF sensor, though that same f1.8 light will be spread out larger reducing it's concentrated intensity, less light on the surface, darker f/stop.

That's what a TC does, and I discuss that as well:

http://www.josephjamesphotography.com/equivalence/#tc

That said, the fact that the intensity of the light changes as it gets spread out is entirely irrelevant. What is relevant is that no TC is perfect, and it will introduce additional optical aberrations for no additional gain.

"So, if we took a photo of a scene at 25mm f/1.4 1/100 on mFT and 50mm f/2.8 1/100 on FF from the same position, and displayed the photos at the same size, they would have the same DOF and the same amount of light would fall on the mFT and FF sensors, resulting in the same noise if the sensors were equally efficient."

No, not necessarily.

Necessarily.

I think I see what you're saying but it can't be presented in that manner, it's not as simple as that and there's factors that are at play; there's crop factor, there's distance to focal point, there's ISO(if you wanna go there, but we're just talking about light).

It is as simple as that. The crop factor is entirely accounted for (25mm x 2 = 50mm, f/1.4 x 2 = f/2.8), and f we are taking a photo of the same scene from the same position then we have the same distance to the focal point. The ISO setting is a non-sequitur as all it does is adjust the output brightness of the LCD playback and/or OOC jpg, so you set it to taste.

Yes they have the same "aperture diameter" but the intensity of light is different across the sensor format as a whole.

Again, the intensity of the light is meaningless. It is the total amount of light falling on the sensor that matters.

Put a squarish piece of tape on the wall, take a flashlight and hold it over the tape to cover the corners with the light, it has concentrated brightness, now keep stepping backwards while pointing at the same area. The projection of light gets bigger but that center you were shining on before is getting dimmer, that's f/stop (luminosity) on that square, not solely aperture diameter decisive.

For whatever reason, people are hung up on the intensity of the light, and fail to understand that it is the total amount of light that matters, and this can be demonstrated with perfect clarity with the following simple experiment y'all can do at home:

Take a photo of a scene from the same position at, say, 15mm f/2.8 1/100 ISO 3200 and 30mm f/2.8 1/100 ISO 3200 with the same camera. Crop the 15mm photo to the same framing as the 30mm photo and display both at the same size. Which is more noisy and why? After all, it's the same sensor (thus same efficiency and pixel size), the same intensity of light on the sensor, the same shutter speed, and the same ISO.

SPOILER ALERT (answer follows): the 15mm photo cropped to the framing of the 30mm photo is more noisy because it was made from 25% the light as the 30mm photo.

Now you're talking about up-sizing a cropped photo, of course it'll have degraded image quality compared to a native image.  I'm really trying to understand the example.  How about re-wording it.  Same camera, you take a 15mm f2.8 image and then move back and frame the same image at 30mm f/2.8, both same resolution and same information hitting the sensor.

I think really what we're looking at is pixel density as you said, which I didn't think about before, which is causing less noise overall.  Both sensor sizes a whole are getting f2.8 light intensity but the FF image is still capturing more light information per pixel, thus lower noise.  Even the 36MP FF sensor still has larger pixels than a 16MP m4/3 sensor.

Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 39,720
Re: Necessarily.
1

Heyseuss Hoolio wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

For whatever reason, people are hung up on the intensity of the light, and fail to understand that it is the total amount of light that matters, and this can be demonstrated with perfect clarity with the following simple experiment y'all can do at home:

Take a photo of a scene from the same position at, say, 15mm f/2.8 1/100 ISO 3200 and 30mm f/2.8 1/100 ISO 3200 with the same camera. Crop the 15mm photo to the same framing as the 30mm photo and display both at the same size. Which is more noisy and why? After all, it's the same sensor (thus same efficiency and pixel size), the same intensity of light on the sensor, the same shutter speed, and the same ISO.

SPOILER ALERT (answer follows): the 15mm photo cropped to the framing of the 30mm photo is more noisy because it was made from 25% the light as the 30mm photo.

Now you're talking about up-sizing a cropped photo...

You can downsize the larger 30mm photo, if you choose.

...of course it'll have degraded image quality compared to a native image.

For two reasons: less light made up the crop (making it more noisy) and fewer pixels make up the crop (making it less detailed).

I'm really trying to understand the example. How about re-wording it. Same camera, you take a 15mm f2.8 image and then move back and frame the same image at 30mm f/2.8, both same resolution and same information hitting the sensor.

In this case, the same total amount of light falls on both sensors.  The 15mm photo was twice as close, so four times as much light reaches the aperture (inverse square law).  The aperture diameter of the 30mm photo has four times the area, so four times as much light reaching the aperture passes through the lens onto the sensor.  Thus the same total amount of light falls on the sensor in each case.

Again, it is all about the total amount of light falling on the sensor.

I think really what we're looking at is pixel density as you said, which I didn't think about before, which is causing less noise overall. Both sensor sizes a whole are getting f2.8 light intensity but the FF image is still capturing more light information per pixel, thus lower noise. Even the 36MP FF sensor still has larger pixels than a 16MP m4/3 sensor.

Again, the noise is *entirely* a function of the total amount of light that makes up the photo and the efficiency of the sensor.

windsprite
windsprite Senior Member • Posts: 2,477
Re: MFT Users: Do you miss the shallower depth-of-field of bigger sensor cameras?

Godfrey wrote:

No. I shoot with smaller format camera systems using longer lenses when I want shallower DoF.

Longer lenses can help to isolate the subect, but they don't give you shallower DOF.  For the same subject magnification and aperture on the same format, a wide angle will give you the same approximate DOF as a super telephoto.  It's just that the background becomes magnified with the longer lens, giving the illusion of shallower DOF.  If you look at the sharp area in each photo, you will see that they are about the same.

Julie

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Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 39,720
DOF vs background blur vs bokeh.
2

windsprite wrote:

Godfrey wrote:

No. I shoot with smaller format camera systems using longer lenses when I want shallower DoF.

Longer lenses can help to isolate the subect, but they don't give you shallower DOF. For the same subject magnification and aperture on the same format, a wide angle will give you the same approximate DOF as a super telephoto. It's just that the background becomes magnified with the longer lens, giving the illusion of shallower DOF. If you look at the sharp area in each photo, you will see that they are about the same.

Indeed:

http://www.josephjamesphotography.com/equivalence/#blur

At the opposite end of the DOF spectrum, shallow DOFs serve to isolate the subject from the background. However, while a more shallow DOF does lead to a greater background blur, it is not the only, or, in many instances, even the major player in the quantity of background blur, much in the same way that many confuse the bokeh (the quality of the out-of-focus areas of an image) with the quantity of the blur. For example, if the subject is 10 ft from the camera, 50mm f/2 will have the same framing and DOF on the same format as 100mm f/2 for a subject 20 ft away. That is, the same distance from the focal plane will be considered to be in critical focus. But the nature of the background blur will be very different -- the longer focal length will magnify the background blur.

In fact, we can be more specific. The amount of background blur (assuming the background is well outside the DOF) is proportional to the ratio of the aperture diameters. For example, while the DOF for 50mm f/2 and 100mm f/2 will be the same for the same framing (in most circumstances), the background blur will be double for 100mm f/2 since the aperture diameter is twice as large for 100mm f/2 than for 50mm f/2 (100mm / 2 = 50mm, 50mm / 2 = 25mm). A good tutorial on this can be found here.

Anders W Forum Pro • Posts: 21,466
Re: I don't know if this is just my monitor ..
1

Sergey_Green wrote:

Anders W wrote:

That depends on where you look. Consider this shadow comparison between the E-M1 at 3200 and the Df, the A7, and the A7R at 12800.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/image-comparison?attr18=lowlight&attr13_0=oly_em1&attr13_1=nikon_df&attr13_2=sony_a7&attr13_3=sony_a7r&attr15_0=raw&attr15_1=raw&attr15_2=raw&attr15_3=raw&attr16_0=3200&attr16_1=12800&attr16_2=12800&attr16_3=12800&normalization=full&widget=1&x=-0.1252595610461296&y=-1.1162310866574967

But somehow df just looks crispier,

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/image-comparison?attr18=lowlight&attr13_0=oly_em1&attr13_1=nikon_df&attr13_2=sony_a7&attr13_3=sony_a7r&attr15_0=raw&attr15_1=raw&attr15_2=raw&attr15_3=raw&attr16_0=3200&attr16_1=12800&attr16_2=12800&attr16_3=12800&normalization=full&widget=1&x=-0.01549480877907741&y=-1.1162310866574967

Just look at the label.

Or here,

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/image-comparison?attr18=lowlight&attr13_0=oly_em1&attr13_1=nikon_df&attr13_2=sony_a7&attr13_3=sony_a7r&attr15_0=raw&attr15_1=raw&attr15_2=raw&attr15_3=raw&attr16_0=3200&attr16_1=12800&attr16_2=12800&attr16_3=12800&normalization=full&widget=1&x=-0.7138257326849784&y=-0.8166830706394921

They are both 16mpx, so there should not be any difference.

Apart from that thing called a lens and that thing called an aperture and all the implications that follow from the two. Did you consider those? If so how?

The other cameras are not exactly relevant, since those are of different pixel counts, hence the images are of different sizes.

They are of course just as relevant as you make them. If you think the pixel count of the A7 and A7R explains the entire difference, feel free to downsample and see what you end up with. That was of course already done in the diagrams I displayed. Those are for a pixel count of 8 MP for all cameras alike. MFT is still 1.5 EV ahead.

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Anders W Forum Pro • Posts: 21,466
Re: Light gathering, aperture, and DOF all go hand-in-hand.
1

Great Bustard wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

MrScorpio wrote:

Sometimes yes, but sometimes it is good to have the good light gathering with a large Aperture without having to have the very shallow DoF.

This is a profound misunderstanding that many have, which causes a great deal of confusion. First of all, we need to distinguish between the relative aperture (f-ratio) and the virtual aperture (entrance pupil), where the relative aperture is the quotient of the focal length and the diameter of the virtual aperture. For example, a 25mm lens with an 18mm aperture diameter will have a relative aperture of 25mm / 18mm = 1.4. Likewise, a 50mm lens with an 18mm aperture diameter will have a relative aperture of 50mm / 18mm = 2.8. Thus, 25mm f/1.4 and 50mm f/2.8 both have the same aperture diameter.

As it turns out, for a given perspective, framing, and display size of the photo, the same aperture diameter results in the same DOF. If we also include the same scene luminance and shutter speed, it also results in the same total amount of light falling on the sensor, which, in turn, will result in the same noise for equally efficient sensors.

So, if we took a photo of a scene at 25mm f/1.4 1/100 on mFT and 50mm f/2.8 1/100 on FF from the same position, and displayed the photos at the same size, they would have the same DOF and the same amount of light would fall on the mFT and FF sensors, resulting in the same noise if the sensors were equally efficient.

In other words, your statement that "sometimes it is good to have the good light gathering with a large Aperture without having to have the very shallow DoF" is a physical contradiction. Specifically, 25mm f/1.4 does not have a "larger aperture" than 50mm f/2.8 -- in fact, they are the same. Of course, f/1.4 is a lower f-ratio than f/2.8, but that is neither here nor there in terms of cross-format comparisons.

That would of course be perfectly true as long as MFT and FF sensors were equally efficient.

Yes. Sensor efficiency is the wild card.

Not a wild card. Just something to be taken into account.

It's just that (as you already know) they aren't, as exemplified below. The E-M1 is about 1.5 EV ahead of the A7R for DR (and thus shadow noise) at the same DoF.

But, as you know, DR considers only the read noise and disregards the photon noise,

That depends on the comparison at issue. In the present one, the implication is that the E-M1 will do about 1.5 EV better with regard to read noise (and thus shadow noise) whereas in the midtones and highlights, the difference will be significantly less.

Yes -- if you are comparing to the 36 MP A7R. So, if you do a lot of shadow pushing for a given DOF and shutter speed, this is a point to consider.

Or if you shoot at higher ISO where (as already demonstrated) you don't need to push anything for the poor shadows to show anyway.

At low ISO and without shadow pushing, everything will be fine regardless.

However, I would imagine that for those that do that type of photography, the shutter speed is rarely an issue.

Specifically, a landscape photographer with an A7R who pushes shadows a lot would shoot a scene at, say, 24mm f/5.6 1/100 ISO 100 whereas someone with an EM1 would shoot the scene at 12mm f/4 1/200 ISO 100.

When shutter speed is not an issue and the DR of the scene demanding, someone like me would bracket exposure, merge/align in PP and get better DR than any current camera can produce in a single shot. Some modest examples below.

which is the primary source of noise in most all photos,

While that's true, it has little implications for perceived IQ. What matters is SNR (the signal-to-noise ratio as opposed to noise in absolute terms), in particular the SNR where it is weakest and the shortcomings therefore most visible, i.e., in the shadows. And in that respect, it is the other way around.

Well, that's a whole other thread, which I'd be pleased to discuss as I do have some interest in it. I would argue against that view, unless you are pushing shadows.

See my point about high ISO above.

and the greater read noise per area of FF sensors is a direct consequence of the greater pixel count.

I am afraid it's not that simple.

Of course it isn't that simple, but the greater pixel count has a lot to do with it.

See below.

First, let's have a look at the same graph when substituting the 16 MP Nikon Df and the 24 MP Sony A7 for the 36 MP Sony A7R.

First, although the A7 has significantly fewer pixels than the A7R, it doesn't do better relative to the E-M1 than the A7R does. Second, while the Df, with the same pixel count as the E-M1, does better than the A7/A7R at high ISOs, it a) doesn't bridge the gap fully at these ISOs (i.e. DR remains lower than that of the E-M1 at the same DoF), and b) does worse than the A7/A7R at lower ISOs.

But we do see that fewer pixels results in greater DR, which was my point.

In parts of the range for 16 versus 24/36 MP. In other parts, it is the other way around. In the comparison between 24 and 36 there is no difference.

So, if we instead compare, say, the EM1 at ISO 3200 to the Nikon Df at ISO 12800:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/image-comparison?attr18=daylight&attr13_0=oly_em1&attr13_1=nikon_df&attr13_2=canon_eos5dmkiii&attr13_3=canon_eos5dmkiii&attr15_0=raw&attr15_1=raw&attr15_2=raw&attr15_3=raw&attr16_0=3200&attr16_1=12800&attr16_2=3200&attr16_3=3200&normalization=full&widget=1&x=0&y=0

we see they are rather comparable.

That depends on where you look. Consider this shadow comparison between the E-M1 at 3200 and the Df, the A7, and the A7R at 12800.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/image-comparison?attr18=lowlight&attr13_0=oly_em1&attr13_1=nikon_df&attr13_2=sony_a7&attr13_3=sony_a7r&attr15_0=raw&attr15_1=raw&attr15_2=raw&attr15_3=raw&attr16_0=3200&attr16_1=12800&attr16_2=12800&attr16_3=12800&normalization=full&widget=1&x=-0.1252595610461296&y=-1.1162310866574967

I mean, we can make any comparison we like (someone above compared the 8+ year old 5D to the EM1), and that is perfectly fine if you are considering a 5D vs an EM1.

Yes, we can make such a comparison. But that wasn't the one I was making. I was comparing current sensors.

Well, there is variation in the read noise per area between current sensors, as you know, which also varies as a function of the ISO. However, as a general rule, the greater the number of pixels, the greater the read noise per area for sensors of a given generation.

Got any good statistics to show the validity of this generalization across sensors more generally, and across the entire ISO range, not just parts of it?

Of course, if your photography will generally require you to shoot the larger format at the same DOF and shutter speed you would use with the smaller format, then you will almost invariably be better served with the smaller format, unless the larger format has some particular operational advantage that the smaller format does not offer.

Precisely.

In the end, that's the bottom line, really. I mean, why would someone purchase a FF DSLR simply to shoot photos equivalent to what a smaller format could do?

Exactly. Especially if the smaller format can do those photos better than FF.

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JosephScha Veteran Member • Posts: 4,959
I used to own a FF film SLR. Now m4/3. and No, I don't miss it
1

I had a 50mm f/1.8 (kit lens) on the 35mm film SLR.  I remember depth of field so narrow that on a close up portrait one eye could be tack sharp but the other less  so and the nose and ear distinctly out of focus.

On m4/3 I have the Leica labelled 25mm f/1.4.  It is a wonderful lens.  I am informed that the depth of field I can achieve on m4/3 with that should actually be very slightly less narrow than 50mm f/1.8 on FF.  Honestly, if that is true, it makes me happier.  It's still narrow enough for me.

The performance of the 25mm f/1.4 is stellar, and its price is not high compared to really low f stop glass for FF.  Folks here in m43 land think it should be smaller and even lighter than it is.  I'm old enough to know that it is smaller and lighter than my old 50mm f/1.8 was.

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js

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JosephScha Veteran Member • Posts: 4,959
I had to add a picture

Pet cat picture, 25mm f/1.4 at f/1.4

Pet cat at f/1.4, ISO 400, using G10K

Enlarge it, it gets bigger.  And tell me, how much less DOF or better bokeh could I actually use?

This link is to the full sized image, for people who enjoy pixel peeping:

http://joes.smugmug.com/photos/i-L9vJ8Vp/0/O/i-L9vJ8Vp.jpg

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js

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bofo777 Senior Member • Posts: 1,267
Double Nope
1

The EM-1 in combo with the original SHG 35-100 2.0 (for me at least) has the perfect DOF…John

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Skeeterbytes Forum Pro • Posts: 12,419
Re: Double Nope

The portrait is phenomenal. Well done!

Cheers,

Rick

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Dave Lively Senior Member • Posts: 1,805
Re: FF Users: Do you miss the greater depth-of-field of MFT sensor cameras?

nrwhitman wrote:

Fiisn't part of the gain with MFT the 2x multiplier so for a given FOV you use a lens of half the focal length and have the advantage of the better DOF? So in this sense sensor size would bring an advantage, or at least allow DOF without having to close lens down and risk diffraction?

Cameras with high pixel density sensors are more sensitive to diffraction. If a 16 MP FF camera starts to lose too much resolution due to diffraction at f16 a 16 MP m43 camera will start to lose too much resolution at f8.  A 25mm lens at f8 will have the same DOF as a 50mm lens at f16.

If you look at the formulas or calculators for diffraction you will see that the amount of blur caused by diffraction depends only on the f stop, not the focal length.  At f16 a pinpoint of light will be an Airy disk 21.3 um across regardless of the focal length.  The size of this disk is proportional to the fstop so it will only be 10.7 um at f8.  Since m43 has to pack the same amount of pixels into 1/4 the area they are going to be smaller.  A 21.3 um circle that covers 1 FF pixel will cover 2 pixels of a m43 sensor with the same number of MP.

Kevin Sutton
Kevin Sutton Contributing Member • Posts: 987
No, I'm usually struggling to get enough DoF
2

Superzoom2 wrote:

I'm thinking of buying my first ever MFT camera, an Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 14-42 EZ lens.

I've had lots of compacts and DSLR's, mostly Canon. Once in a while, you have these beautiful blurry background pics when the lens and aperture combination are right. I am a former pro photog, and understand fully camera optics and depth-of-field physics.

I just want to know if you sometimes miss the easily attainable shallow depth-of-field that you usually get with an APS-C or bigger sensor camera.

I know you can buy fast MFT lenses for more aperture control, but I'm probably going to just stick with a cheap 14-42 for various reasons.

Thanks!

Hi

This is a perennial question usually asked by people who have never used 35mm "FF".  Having come from a film background, I remember struggling to get sufficient DoF for portraits when using 85mm lenses back in the 70's-90's.  We used to have to stop down to f8 or more to make sure the models nose and ear lobes were in focus, if focusing on the eyes.  Medium format film, which was the "serious" format of that time (35mm FF was regarded as an amateur format then) had even greater DoF challenges.

A lot of new photographers seem to regard razor thin DoF as a holy grail and, for some subjects, it is a suitable way to portray the world but, in most cases, greater DoF is required in order to portray the world as we see it.

I find 4/3 a good format that allows me to use wider apertures (and hence higher shutter speeds/lower ISO's) to capture the DoF I need for portraits, weddings etc but still with "sufficient" quality. Most of the time I am trying to get sufficient DoF so use f5.6 or f8.  For mileage may vary...

Cheers Kevin 

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Godfrey Forum Pro • Posts: 29,306
Re: MFT Users: Do you miss the shallower depth-of-field of bigger sensor cameras?

windsprite wrote:

Godfrey wrote:

No. I shoot with smaller format camera systems using longer lenses when I want shallower DoF.

Longer lenses can help to isolate the subect, but they don't give you shallower DOF. For the same subject magnification and aperture on the same format, a wide angle will give you the same approximate DOF as a super telephoto. It's just that the background becomes magnified with the longer lens, giving the illusion of shallower DOF. If you look at the sharp area in each photo, you will see that they are about the same.

Julie

Why yes, of course. Duh.

That's the whole point: to create the appearance of a softer background. Who gives a darn whether the DoF is any different? You need a certain amount of DoF to make the subject sharp, wouldn't want to go shallower than that.

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