Twelve examples of mFT vs FF with equal exposure and DOF

Started Nov 25, 2018 | Discussions
gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,760
Twelve examples of mFT vs FF with equal exposure and DOF
38

This post is long. If you are only interested in my overall impressions from this exercise please see the final section of this post, headed My overall impressions. Please read on here if you want to know why I did the exercise, how I did it and some of the problems I encountered along the way.

Several weeks ago I bought a Sony A7ii full frame (FF) camera. I wanted to see if I could get improved image quality by using a full frame camera, particularly for botanical subjects. Compared to my micro four thirds cameras I was hoping for finer, more subtle, more realistic renditions of colours, textures, light and details, and more “pop” to the images.

In this post I presented comparisons between the A7ii and a micro four thirds (mFT) Panasonic G80 for eight botanical scenes, with both cameras producing the same depth of field (DOF). When viewed as presented at around my normal output size of 1400 pixels high I could not see any consistent differences that favoured the full frame versions; for the whole images, and sometimes for particular parts of the images, sometimes one, sometimes the other looked better. All but one of those who commented expressed views along similar lines.

During a discussion on a similar subject in another thread, Great Bustard pointed out that the A7ii images had been underexposed compared to the G80 images, and so (in my words, not his) they had not shown the full potential of the A7ii. Here he wrote “you might want to try shooting photos of static scenes with FF and mFT, both using the same DOF and exposure (meaning 4x the exposure time for FF), and comparing the photos, both displayed at the same size.”

I have now done this, for these 12 scenes. (Scenes 9 and 10 look the same, but scene 10 has twice the DOF of scene 9).

Capturing the images

I used an EF mount Sigma 105 macro lens on the A7ii using a Sigma MC-11 adapter, and an Olympus 60mm macro on the G80. These are the most similar lenses I have for these cameras. They do not have the same angle of view, although it is similar, and the cameras have different aspect ratios. This means that a choice is needed between having the same angle of view vertically, horizontally or across the diagonal. I started off intending to use a vertically similar angle of view. However, my attempts at this were imperfect.

Also, I had intended to make the centre of the image the same for both formats, but I messed up the horizontal alignment badly for at least two of the scenes.

I used a tripod for scenes 1 to 7. For these I decided to simplify by using the tripod in the same position for each camera despite the difference in vertical angle of view this would cause.

Fortunately I don’t think these various misalignments compromised the overall usefulness of the exercise, or even the usefulness of those particular, misaligned scenes.

Shooting raw, I captured each scene three ways, two ways for the A7ii and one way for the G80.

One of the A7ii shots for each scene was as suggested by Great Bustard – it had the same DOF and 4x the exposure time compared to the G80 shot. It used the same ISO as the G80 shot. I’ll refer to this as the “equal exposure” A7ii shot. (See the response titled “A note on equal exposure” for more about equal exposure.)

The other A7ii shot also had the same DOF as the G80 shot, but it had the same shutter speed too. The A7ii shot used two stops higher ISO than the G80 shot so as to give it the same lightness as the G80 shot. I’ll refer to this A7ii shot as the “equivalent” A7ii shot.

For each scene I captured a ColorChecker Passport reference shot with each camera.

I wanted to have enough DOF to have enough in focus to make meaningful comparisons, and that meant using some middling to small apertures. I wanted to keep the ISOs within the bounds I generally use with the G80. This meant that some of the shutter speeds were on the low side, especially for the A7ii equal exposure shots which were 4x slower than the other shots. That did not matter for the indoor shots, for all of which I used a tripod. But it did matter for the outdoor shots, either because of risk of blur from hand-shake and/or the movement of a close-up subject or distant foliage in the breeze. (And it was distinctly breezy.) The upshot was that two of the A7ii equal exposure shots suffered from noticeable subject-motion blur and presumably there are lesser amounts of this and quite possibly also hand-shake blur spread around the other images, especially the A7ii equal exposure shots.

The captures were exposed so as to protect highlights and this meant that some of them looked rather dark “out of the camera”. This is how they looked on being imported into Lightroom with no adjustments.

The extreme underexposure for scene 1 was deliberate, and not to do with protecting highlights. I wanted to see how the cameras responded to strong shadow lifting of the type that I sometimes want to do.

I often work in light that is not very bright, photographing plants that move in a breeze, and so I often end up using ISO 800 on my G80, which would mean using ISO 3200 on the A7ii for the same depth of field and shutter speed. That is why the 12 comparisons use ISOs for the A7ii Equivalent shots up to 3200.

In order to choose a starting level for the exposures I chose an aperture for the A7ii and then found a shutter speed and ISO which was practical to use and which just avoided any highlight zebras. I used this for the A7ii Equal exposure shot and worked out the settings for the other two shots. As it turned out the ISOs were nicely spread, with the G80 having four shots each at ISO 200, 400 and 800, matched by ISO 800, 1600 and 3200 for the A7ii Equivalent shots. Like the G80 shots, the A7ii Equal exposure shots had four each at ISO 200, 400 and 800.

Processing the images

I used Lightroom CC Classic to process the raw files, loading them with Lightroom’s Auto Settings which makes image-specific adjustments to the lightness (called “Exposure” in Lightroom), contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, vibrance and saturation.

I adjusted the white balance for each image for each camera from a grey square on the ColorChecker reference shot for that image and camera. I wanted to make the colours as similar as possible for each three images of a scene, and to that end tried using camera profiles generated from ColorChecker reference images. I had also intended to use DXO PhotoLab, in particular its PRIME noise reduction, exporting from there to Lightroom using DNG and then using Auto Settings in Lightroom. This is a workflow I use a lot, particularly for invertebrates, and now that PhotoLab can use DCP camera profiles I wanted to incorporate these into the workflow. It was not successful. Somewhere along the line in and between PhotoLab and Lightroom (which can also use DCP camera profiles) some of the colours diverged rather than converged between the three images in a set (whether using a generic or camera-specific profile).

After much experimentation and frustration I ended up not using PhotoLab and using the default, generic “Adobe Color” profile in Lightroom rather than a camera-specific profile. There was still some variation in the colour rendering, most notably in Scene 2.

I applied the same mild Clarity enhancement and the same sharpening to all the images. For Scene 2 I thought that the A7ii Equal exposure shot did not need any noise reduction and that the A7ii Equivalent shot and the G80 shot should have the same noise reduction. I decided to use the same sharpening values for Scenes 3 to 12, including none for the A7ii Equal exposure shots. (Scene 1 was an exception, having be subject to strong shadow lifting.) The only other adjustment was to reduce the luminance of the reds in Scene 7 by the same amount for all the versions because the red channel was clipping and rendering the petals with large featureless areas of an unrealistically pure red.

I produced two sets of images, one at 3400 pixels high and one at 1400 pixels high. I produced two versions of the 3400 pixel set, one without the noise reduction and sharpening adjustments and one with them. The 1400 pixel high versions had noise reduction and sharpening applied.

The reason for producing the 3400 pixel high versions was to get the most detailed view possible while viewing the images at the same vertical pixel dimension. The reasons for producing a version with no noise reduction was that Great Bustard had said (my words, not his) that the equal exposure shots would have less noise than the other shots and this might explain some or all of what had been described in another thread as a “creamy” look of some full frame images. I wanted to see the extent of the difference in noise.

The reason for producing the noise reduced 3400 pixel high versions was to see how the difference in noise looked after applying noise reduction, and the extent of any side effects such as a reduction in detail.

The reason for producing the 1400 pixel high versions was that I wanted to see the extent of the differences between the three versions, after post processing had been applied, at my normal output size.

Comparing the images

I used 3-way side by side comparisons in Faststone Image Viewer to compare each set of three images. I viewed both the 3400 pixel versions and the 1400 pixel versions at 100%. (I did not use the 3400 pixel versions at 42%, which would have produced around 1400 pixels high, because the Faststone resizing had adverse effects which could have invalidated the comparisons, including making some of the fine detail appear to be oversharpened and making some of the plain backgrounds appear additionally noisy.)

Here is a screenshot of one of the 3-way comparisons, a 100% comparison of 3400 pixel high versions in this case. Like all of these 3-way comparisons it has the G80 version on the right, the A7ii equivalent version in the middle and the A7ii equal exposure version on the left.

I have provided my observations on each of the 12 scenes in responses titled “Comparing the images - Scene 1”, “Comparing the images - Scene 2” etc. These posts include screen shots for each scene like the one above for images that are 3400 pixels high and 1400 pixels high.

In the next section I summarise my overall impressions. Your impressions may of course be different (I am often surprised by the different aspects of images that we variously home in on, and how others notice things that I don’t, or don’t see what I see). Because of that I have provided a lot of images in this album at Flickr. It contains

  • The 3400 pixel high images, with and without noise reduction and sharpening
  • The 1400 pixel high images with noise reduction and sharpening
  • 100% 3-way comparison screenshots for 3400 pixel high images, with and without noise reduction and sharpening (for 9 of the 12 scenes there are two of these looking at different parts of the image).
  • 100% 3-way comparison screenshots for 1400 pixel high images with noise reduction and sharpening.

You should be able to find particular images/screenshots from the file names.

Here is a contents list for the Flickr album.

The look of the images obviously depends on the raw conversion and post processing I applied to them. I can put some raw files up at DropBox if anyone wants to look at them for themselves using their own preferred software and techniques to produce their own preferred output size and style and do their own comparisons.

My overall impressions

When capturing the same scene (shooting raw) with an A7ii and a G80 with the same DOF and shutter speed (to produce “equivalent” images), the results generally look rather similar. They look similar before noise reduction and sharpening is applied and they look similar after the same noise reduction and sharpening is applied to both images.

The major differences are that the backgrounds of the A7ii images tend to be very slightly noisier, while the clarity, detail and sharpness of the A7ii images is better in some cases. (For example see the response titled “Comparing the images - Scene 5”.) These differences are most apparent when viewing the images at the pixel height of the G80, 3400 pixels. When looking at my usual display height of 1400 pixels these differences (which are only visible in some scenes at 3400 pixel height) are sometimes still visible, and sometimes not.

The colours of the A7ii version can occasionally look richer compared to G80 colours that look a bit washed out. (See the response titled “Comparing the images - Scene 5”)

The A7ii handles deep shadow recover far better than the G80, which exhibited severe (I think unrecoverable) issues with noise, especially colour noise, with the deep shadow recovery test in this exercise. (See the response titled “Comparing the images - Scene 1”)

When capturing the same scenes with the A7ii using the same exposure as for the G80 (and the same DOF) the A7ii produces results which are significantly less noisy, with smoother looking backgrounds. The difference between these “equal exposure” shots and both of the other two shots is much larger than the differences between the other two shots. (See the response titled “A note on equal exposure” for more about equal exposure.)

However, using the same exposure means using an A7ii shutter speed four times longer and where the G80 (or the A7ii in equivalent mode) only just has a fast enough shutter speed the A7ii equal exposure shot can suffer from significant blur caused by subject movement and/or hand-shake. (For example see the response titled “Comparing the images - Scenes 9 and 10”)

From a previous comparison exercise I thought that using the A7ii might solve a problem I had been having with “difficult” colours of some flowers. This exercise showed that this was not the case. (See the response titled “Comparing the images - Scene 7”)

Despite my best efforts using a ColorChecker Passport and carefully setting white balances from reference shots, the colours varied between the A7ii and the G80, more for some scenes than others. Where the colours varied I could not assess which was the more accurate. I certainly did not get a feeling that the A7ii was giving me consistently more accurate/subtle/pleasing colours.

In closely comparing the images I did not notice any other benefits in terms of image quality from using the A7ii rather than the G80; no extra “pop” for example.

Panasonic G85
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OP gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,760
A note on equal exposure

I hope I have got this right! Happy to be corrected of course.

Exposure is a measure of the amount of light captured by the sensor per unit area. Therefore, since the A7ii sensor is four times the area of the G80 sensor, giving them the same exposure means that the A7ii captured four times as much light as the G80. As a practical example

  • If the G80 shot used f/4, then the A7ii shot used f/8 in order to give the same DOF.
  • If the G80 shot used 1/100 second, then the A7ii shot used 1/25 second in order to give the same exposure (1/100 at f/4 versus 1/25 at f/8).
  • If the G80 shot used ISO 400, the A7ii shot used ISO 400.

That is the approach I used for the “equal exposure” shots.

For the “equivalent” shots

  • If the G80 shot used f/4, then the A7ii shot used f/8 in order to give the same DOF.
  • If the G80 shot used 1/00 second, then the A7ii shot used 1/100 second.
  • If the G80 shot used ISO 400, then the A7ii shot used ISO 1600.

The exposure of the G80 shot (1/100 at f/4) was four times higher than for the A7ii (1/100 at f/8), but the lightness of the resulting image was the same because the A7ii used two stops higher ISO.

For equal exposure shots, the A7ii collects four times as much light and the image should be less noisy. However, as illustrated by scene 10, this is only practical when there is enough light for the four times longer exposure time to still give a tolerably fast shutter speed, or when the camera and scene are stable enough to allow a longer exposure.

For equivalent shots, the two cameras collect the same amount of light and the images should be similar in terms of noise.

OP gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,760
Comparing the images - Scene 1
1

I deliberately underexposed this one to see how the cameras responded to a big shadow lift.

The G80 shot is very bad, with heavy colour noise as well as a great deal of luminance noise; it is pretty much irrecoverable I think. The A7ii Equal exposure shot has a lot less noise than the Equivalent exposure shot.

Applying moderately strong noise reduction to the A7ii Equivalent shot produced a noticeable loss of detail in the carpet while not reducing the noise under the shelf to the level of noise there in the Equal exposure shot. The situation was significantly worse for the G80 shot, which in addition to higher luminance noise had purple, green and blue casts on various areas of the bag.

At 1400 pixels high the differences were less marked, but still clearly visible.

OP gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,760
Comparing the images - Scene 2

The colours are different in all three shots, most markedly on the top of the cushion.

At 3400 pixels high the level of sharpness and detail in the unsharpened, not noise reduced versions looked rather similar to me, for example in the pattern of the fleece at the bottom left below.

The background looks smoothest in the A7ii Equal exposure shot on the left below. To my eye the background of the A7ii Equivalent shot looks fractionally rougher than that in the G80 shot.

At 3400 pixels high, with the same sharpening applied to all three, and the same noise reduction applied to the Equivalent and G80 shots (and none to the Equal exposure shot), the sharpness and the smoothness of the background look similar to me, with the background of the Equivalent shot fractionally less smooth than the other two.

At 1400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as for Scene 1, the three versions look very similar to me in terms of sharpness/detail and smoothness of background.

OP gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,760
Comparing the images - Scene 3

In each of the 3-way comparisons shown below the G80 shot is on the right, the A7ii Equivalent shot is in the middle and the A7ii Equal exposure shot is on the left.

For the shot versions shown as “with NR” in the screenshots below, all three shots have had sharpening - the same sharpening for each. The A7ii Equivalent shot and the G80 shot have had the same noise reduction. The A7ii Equal exposure shot has had no noise reduction.

At 3400 pixels high in the non noise reduced versions the background has less noise in the Equal exposure shot and the top and neck of the pot look cleaner (beneath the neck what we can see is I think dust on the pot rather than, or as well as, noise). In the A7ii Equivalent shot the top and neck of the pot look a little more grainy to me than in the G80 shot.

At 3400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as for Scene 2, the background of the Equal exposure version still looks smoother than the other two.

Curiously though, the top and neck of the pot look smoothest to me in the G80 version.

At 1400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as for Scene 2, the three versions look very similar to me in terms of sharpness/detail and smoothness of background.

OP gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,760
Comparing the images - Scene 4

In each of the 3-way comparisons shown below the G80 shot is on the right, the A7ii Equivalent shot is in the middle and the A7ii Equal exposure shot is on the left.

For the shot versions shown as “with NR” in the screenshots below, all three shots have had sharpening - the same sharpening for each. The A7ii Equivalent shot and the G80 shot have had the same noise reduction. The A7ii Equal exposure shot has had no noise reduction.

At 3400 pixels high in the non noise reduced version of the Equal exposure shot the shadows and large leaves have less noise and better detail in the venation of the larger leaves than the other two versions. The Equivalent version has more noise but better detail in the venation of the larger leaves than the G80 version.

At 3400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as in Scene 2, the three versions look very similar to me in terms of sharpness/detail and smoothness of background, with the A7ii Equivalent image just a fraction noisier than the other two.

At 1400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as for Scene 2, the three versions look very similar to me in terms of sharpness/detail and smoothness of background.

OP gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,760
Comparing the images - Scene 5

In each of the 3-way comparisons shown below the G80 shot is on the right, the A7ii Equivalent shot is in the middle and the A7ii Equal exposure shot is on the left.

For the shot versions shown as “with NR” in the screenshots below, all three shots have had sharpening - the same sharpening for each. The A7ii Equivalent shot and the G80 shot have had the same noise reduction. The A7ii Equal exposure shot has had no noise reduction.

At 3400 pixels high the three versions had a similar level of (lack of) noise. Both of the A7ii versions had better clarity/sharpness/detail in the tracery of branches and the tree trunks compared to the G80 version, and richer yellows and browns in the leaves, many of which looked a bit washed out/bleached in the G80 version.

At 3400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as in Scene 2, the microcontrast in the tracery of branches improved slightly for both A7ii versions but not noticeably for the G80 version, which looked a little worse compared to the A7ii versions than before. Here we see the A7ii Equivalent shot on the top row, unsharpened on the left and sharpened on the right, and the G80 shot on the bottom row, unsharpened on the left and sharpened on the right.

The colour differences between the A7ii versions and the G80 versions remained unchanged.

At 1400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as for Scene 2, the tracery of the branches still looked noticeably better in the two A7ii versions, which also still had richer browns and yellows on the foliage, with a richer yellow also evident in the yellow fronds at the bottom right in this comparison.

OP gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,760
Comparing the images - Scene 6

In each of the 3-way comparisons shown below the G80 shot is on the right, the A7ii Equivalent shot is in the middle and the A7ii Equal exposure shot is on the left.

For the shot versions shown as “with NR” in the screenshots below, all three shots have had sharpening - the same sharpening for each. The A7ii Equivalent shot and the G80 shot have had the same noise reduction. The A7ii Equal exposure shot has had no noise reduction.

At 3400 pixels high the three versions had a similar level of (lack of) noise. The two A7ii shots were very similar. Compared to the G80 shot, both of the A7ii versions had better clarity/sharpness/detail in the roof tiles and the brickwork of the chimney, and better microcontrast in the thick branch rising diagonally up towards the top right corner of the comparison shots.

At 3400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as in Scene 2, the A7ii Equal exposure shot sharpened more/showed a greater increase in microcontrast than the A7ii Equivalent shot. (I came to this conclusion by repeatedly flipping back and forth between the 3-way comparison screenshots with and without sharpening.) This is especially marked in the thick branch rising diagonally up towards the top right corner of the comparison shots. The microcontrast of the G80 shot increased in the roof tiles but not in the brickwork of the chimney, and the shot still looked soft and/or lacking in microcontrast compared to the A7ii shots.

At 1400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as for Scene 2, the three versions look very similar to me.

OP gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,760
Comparing the images - Scene 7

In each of the 3-way comparisons shown below the G80 shot is on the right, the A7ii Equivalent shot is in the middle and the A7ii Equal exposure shot is on the left.

For the shot versions shown as “with NR” in the screenshots below, all three shots have had sharpening - the same sharpening for each. The A7ii Equivalent shot and the G80 shot have had the same noise reduction. The A7ii Equal exposure shot has had no noise reduction.

This flower was chosen because most of my attempts to photograph it have been problematic. The problem is that the petals have a strong tendency to appear as a plain, featureless red colour, almost fluorescent. It looks as though the red channel is clipping, but the histogram shows no sign of this. I was hoping that the full frame camera might solve this problem by being able to capture more subtle variations in colour, and possibly being able to capture colours that my other cameras cannot.

Here is a comparison at 3400 pixels high, with noise reduction and sharpening as for Scene 2. The upward pointing petal is a featureless red in all three versions. The coloured histograms are the Lightroom histograms for each version, which don’t indicate any problem with the red channel - in fact they all have a gap at the top, suggesting under-exposure. The A7ii Equal exposure looks pretty much as bad as the G80 version as far as the red petal is concerned, with the A7ii Equivalent version looking slightly better than the other two versions.

I spent a long time experimenting with camera profiles, using both the ColorChecker software and the much more flexible Adobe DNG profile editor to create various camera profiles. None of them solved the problem. I then tried something which I should have tried long ago. It looks as though the red channel is clipping. The histograms suggest not, but why not reduce the luminance of the Reds anyway to see what happens. Well, this is what happened when I reduced the red luminance for all three versions by the same amount. Problem solved, at least as far as getting texture back into the petals. So using full frame was not the solution to the problem.

However, each version has different colours, especially inside the flowers. I don’t know which of them is nearest to the real colours – I just went and checked the one remaining flower on the plant and the inside of the flower is dark purple. But the comparison shots were captured a week ago and flowers can change colours, so I don’t know which is nearest. I suspect it is the A7ii Equivalent shot because the outside of the flower (just showing to the right of the petals) looks too yellow in the A7ii Equal exposure shot and the inside of the flower looks too fluorescent in the G80 shot.

As far as noise goes all three are noisier than in the previous examples, but the relationship between them is similar with the A7ii Equal exposure shot least noisy and the G80 shot possibly just slightly less noisy than the A7ii Equivalent shot. This was the case at both 3400 pixels high and 1400 pixels high. Here are the 1400 pixel high versions.

There is no point comparing sharpness with these shots as they were captured in very difficult circumstances. I got the focusing wrong on the day when I first captured this scene and had to try again the next day, when it was extremely breezy. These flowers are on long stems and were gyrating wildly in the breeze. It took many attempts to get usable shots, and where exactly the centre of focus fell was a matter of chance.

OP gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,760
Comparing the images - Scene 8

In each of the 3-way comparisons shown below the G80 shot is on the right, the A7ii Equivalent shot is in the middle and the A7ii Equal exposure shot is on the left.

For the shot versions shown as “with NR” in the screenshots below, all three shots have had sharpening - the same sharpening for each. The A7ii Equivalent shot and the G80 shot have had the same noise reduction. The A7ii Equal exposure shot has had no noise reduction.

At 3400 pixels high in the non noise reduced version of the Equal exposure shot the plain background has less noise than the other two versions. The backgrounds have a similar level of noise in the other two versions. The plant looks a little noisy in the A7ii Equivalent and G80 shots, perhaps a little more so in the A7II Equivalent version, but with better clarity/microcontrast in the details than the G80 version.

At 3400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as in Scene 2, the relationship between the three versions looks similar, with less difference between the A7ii Equal exposure version (which had no noise reduction) and the other two (which did have noise reduction).

At 1400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as for Scene 2, the three versions look similar to me, with the background of the A7ii Equal exposure version just slightly smoother than in the other two versions.

OP gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,760
Comparing the images - Scenes 9 and 10

In each of the 3-way comparisons shown below the G80 shot is on the right, the A7ii Equivalent shot is in the middle and the A7ii Equal exposure shot is on the left.

For the shot versions shown as “with NR” in the screenshots below, all three shots have had sharpening - the same sharpening for each. The A7ii Equivalent shot and the G80 shot have had the same noise reduction. The A7ii Equal exposure shot has had no noise reduction.

At 3400 pixels high in the non noise reduced version of the Equal exposure shot the background has less noise than the other two versions. The background of the Equivalent shot has more noise than the G80 version. The flowers look similar in all three versions.

At 3400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as in Scene 2, the three versions look similar, with the background in the A7ii Equivalent version slightly noisier than the other two.

At 1400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as for Scene 2, the three versions look very similar.

The outcome was similar for Scene 10, which was the same as Scene 9 except that it had twice the depth of field, having used apertures two stops smaller than for Scene 9. One difference was that the smaller apertures meant that slower shutter speeds had to be used, and for the Equal exposure shot (for which the exposure was four times as long as the other two versions) the flowers were blurred by subject motion (and/or hand-shake).

OP gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,760
Comparing the images – Scene 11

In each of the 3-way comparisons shown below the G80 shot is on the right, the A7ii Equivalent shot is in the middle and the A7ii Equal exposure shot is on the left.

For the shot versions shown as “with NR” in the screenshots below, all three shots have had sharpening - the same sharpening for each. The A7ii Equivalent shot and the G80 shot have had the same noise reduction. The A7ii Equal exposure shot has had no noise reduction.

At 3400 pixels high in the non noise reduced version of the Equal exposure shot the background has less noise than the other two versions. The background of the Equivalent shot has more noise than the G80 version. The in-focus moss at the bottom looks similar in all three versions.

At 3400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as in Scene 2, the background looks noisier in the A7ii Equivalent shot than in the other two versions, in which the backgrounds look similar.

At 1400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as in Scene 2, the three versions look similar.

OP gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,760
Comparing the images – Scene 12

In each of the 3-way comparisons shown below the G80 shot is on the right, the A7ii Equivalent shot is in the middle and the A7ii Equal exposure shot is on the left.

For the shot versions shown as “with NR” in the screenshots below, all three shots have had sharpening - the same sharpening for each. The A7ii Equivalent shot and the G80 shot have had the same noise reduction. The A7ii Equal exposure shot has had no noise reduction.

At 3400 pixels high in the non noise reduced version of the Equal exposure shot the background has less noise than the other two versions. The background of the Equivalent shot has more noise than the G80 version. For the Equal exposure shot (for which the exposure was four times as long as the other two versions) a flower was blurred by subject motion (and/or hand-shake).

At 3400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as in Scene 2, the background looks noisier in the A7ii Equivalent shot than in the other two versions, in which the backgrounds look similar.

At 3400 pixels high, with the same sharpening and noise reduction as in Scene 2, the three shots look similar, with the motion blur of the flower less visible in the A7ii Equal exposure shot.

Okapi001 Senior Member • Posts: 5,025
Re: Twelve examples of mFT vs FF with equal exposure and DOF
8

gardenersassistant wrote:

When capturing the same scene (shooting raw) with an A7ii and a G80 with the same DOF and shutter speed (to produce “equivalent” images), the results generally look rather similar. They look similar before noise reduction and sharpening is applied and they look similar after the same noise reduction and sharpening is applied to both images.

tl:dr version: as expected - for the same DoF and the same shutter speed, the noise is the same, regardless of sensor size. Equivalency 101.

If you want less noise, you have to sacrifice DoF.

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Badwater Senior Member • Posts: 2,095
Re: Twelve examples of mFT vs FF with equal exposure and DOF
5

WOW,  great test.  Kudos for going through all that.

nevada5
nevada5 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,536
Proved my maxim
36

Trying to discern a difference in IQ between any two recent cameras is akin to picking fly sh!t out of pepper with boxing gloves on.

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If I'm ever on life support, unplug me - then plug me back in....See if that works.

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OP gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,760
Re: Twelve examples of mFT vs FF with equal exposure and DOF
2

Okapi001 wrote:

gardenersassistant wrote:

When capturing the same scene (shooting raw) with an A7ii and a G80 with the same DOF and shutter speed (to produce “equivalent” images), the results generally look rather similar. They look similar before noise reduction and sharpening is applied and they look similar after the same noise reduction and sharpening is applied to both images.

tl:dr version: as expected

Indeed so....

-for the same DoF and the same shutter speed, the noise is the same, regardless of sensor size. Equivalency 101.

... you might have noticed that I wrote 'to produce "equivalent" images'. A bit of a hint there perhaps.

If you want less noise, you have to sacrifice DoF.

Or shutter speed.

OP gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,760
Re: Twelve examples of mFT vs FF with equal exposure and DOF
2

Badwater wrote:

WOW, great test. Kudos for going through all that.

Thank you.

(Have to say it was largely self interest, helping me to sort out what, if anything, to use the A7ii for. But having done the exercise, I thought I might as well share it in case anyone was interested.)

Ab Latchin Senior Member • Posts: 1,613
Re: Twelve examples of mFT vs FF with equal exposure and DOF
7

The biggest misconception I have seen on this forum is that a bigger sensor means better image quality.

Better image quality comes from more light, not a bigger sensor. So you find that extending the SS 4x lead to a better image. This is no surprise, but why give 4* the SS to the FF camera, you can just as easily give it to the m43rds camera and prove that more light means better image quality.

The day I need more shallow DoF is the day I buy a bigger format, because SS can be leaned on right down to base iso regardless of sensor size where we are splitting hairs with IQ for almost every medium. But larger physical apertures can only be used on lenses that have them.

I hope you enjoyed your experiment.

THKPIC Regular Member • Posts: 327
Re: Twelve examples of mFT vs FF with equal exposure and DOF
3

I've done dozen of similar experiments between my A7 (now a7II) and E-P5. The last one I did was between my 65mm Voigtlander and 45mm 1.8. Despite a smidge of additional resolution in the center, I really didn't see much difference. Now outside of the middle of the frame, it was no contest as the 65mm in sharp all over the place.

Sometimes I like the Sony images better. Sometimes I like the Olympus. It's often rarely anything to do with SDOF. If I'm to be honest, 16 and 24MP with an anti alias filter aren't all that different. There is more detail in the 24MP files, but damn is it hard to spot often.

I think the bigger issue for many is that once you want the best across the frame performance...and at wider apertures...M43 prices start to creep up to FF...and with RII prices coming down, there is something to be gained if absolute resolution is your main objective.

Alas, I can't kick my M43 habit. It just works and the overall feature set and execution (in my opinion) is still far ahead of Sony. To me, that makes it worth sticking around.

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