The Recent F/stop Controversy

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kiwi2
kiwi2 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,517
Re: "Photography is more about being creative"
5

Great Bustard wrote:

mamallama wrote:

The Equivalence Controversy is like the Taiping Rebellion.

More like the Copernican Revolution. Amazingly similar, actually.

Man you love yourself.

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Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Forum Pro • Posts: 11,425
Re: The Recent F/stop Controversy

Great Bustard wrote:

riveredger wrote:

Michael Fryd wrote:

bolt2014 wrote:

The post about getting rid of the "F/stop" definition turned into such a technical subject that most photographers become lost in the jargon. I think that too many photographers become so embroiled in the technical aspects that they forget that photography is more about being creative .

I don't think the issue was about being technical.

With photography, as with many other subjects, there are multiple frames of reference that one can use. A big part of the "f/stop" discussion was which frame of reference to use.

Traditionally, Photographers use the light per unit area ("exposure") as their frame of reference. The primary reason we use relative apertures (f/stops) is that it makes it easier to relate the aperture to the light per unit area. Light per unit area is key when shooting film.

The question is that when one is shooting digital, is it still a good idea to place such importance on light per unit area. In terms of the resulting image, the correlation is much stronger with total light captured.

That's a reasonable question to ask, and a reasonable discussion to have. There are certainly pros-and-cons to either frame of reference.

it's not so much a technical question as a philosophical one. Is the frame of reference designed for the limitations of film the best frame of reference to use for digital?

Well, sir, I think light per unit area is easier to maximize than is total light gathered.

One in the same, for a given camera and scene. That is, if I maximize the exposure of a photo, I've also maximized the total light gathered.

One does not need a larger sensor for the former (which, incidentally will also maximize the total light captured for a given sensor), but will need a larger sensor to significantly impact the latter.

Of course, maximizing the exposure on a smaller format will result in less total light gathered than if one maximized the exposure on a larger format. However, neither is easier than the other.

It depends.

Assume that I am shooting with a 2X crop body.  I am using a 25mm lens to get the framing I want.  I am using f/4 to get the needed depth of field.  I have the shutter set at 1/60 which is the slowest I can use without unacceptable motion blur.

Now I switch to a full frame, and I want to "maximize" my exposure.

I am constrained to use a 50mm lens in order to get the framing I want.

I am constrained to use f/8.  Any smaller and I am unnecessarily reducing exposure.  Any wider and I am not getting the depth of field I need.

I still need a shutter speed of 1/60 or faster in order to avoid unwanted motion blur.

It turns out that my "exposure" (light per unit area) is 1/4 the exposure of the 2X crop camera.  However, the full frame sensor has four times the area of the crop.  Therefore the full frame captures exactly the same total amount of light as the crop body.  It may also be worth noting that both cameras now have the aperture set to the same diameter.

====

In cases where you are constrained by depth of field, the maximum light gathered is the same across all formats.

For many, this is a difficult concept to wrap their head around, as they are used to using light-per-unit area as their frame of reference.

If they used total light captured as their frame of reference then it becomes very clear where full frame performs the same as a crop body, and where it can offer an advantage.

====

The issue is whether you are more concerned with how your settings affect a particular camera specific implementation detail (light per unit area on the sensor), or if you are more concerned how your setting will affect the final image.

I don't think the point of this thread is to argue which is better.  However, even if you are not interested in the nitty-gritty technical details, your frame of reference influences how you see the problem, and steers your thinking towards certain classes of solutions.

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Lee Jay Forum Pro • Posts: 54,664
Re: Really?
2

Aaron801 wrote:

f-stop is just the standard definition... has been for years. No reason I can see to change it now. Not sure if any of this talk has anything to do with light transmission (or t-stop) but I get that this can be a bit different than the f-stop value. it's not typically a very large difference though and is really only important when you're shooting film/vide, which is why those lenses are rated in t-stops... so it seems that it's all good, right?

Well, the basic idea is this:

In the film era, ISO was hard to change and post-processing was usually pretty limited, so you're always stuck trying to get light-per-unit-of-area multiplied by time (f-stop * shutter speed) to be just right.  Plus most people (but not all) shot just one format (35mm for example).

However, in digital none of those three assumptions are true - we can change ISO easily, we can post process like crazy, and many, even most people shoot more than one format (full-frame + 1" compact + 1/2.3" cell phone, for example).

Given that fact, and the fact that image quality is not controlled by light-per-unit-area but rather by total light captured (and DOF is actually controlled by the same thing minus the effect of shutter speed), it makes more sense for some people to think in  terms of aperture diameter rather than in f-stop (ratio of focal length to aperture) terms.  This keeps things independent of ISO and format.

I have no issues with f-stop either (it's just math) but there is a logical reason to think in another way.

By the way, astro folks have been doing this more-or-less since the dawn of telescopes.  Telescopes are almost always sold in terms of aperture diameter rather than focal length, f-stop and format size.

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Lee Jay

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Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 42,969
Re: The Recent F/stop Controversy
4

Michael Fryd wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

riveredger wrote:

Michael Fryd wrote:

bolt2014 wrote:

The post about getting rid of the "F/stop" definition turned into such a technical subject that most photographers become lost in the jargon. I think that too many photographers become so embroiled in the technical aspects that they forget that photography is more about being creative .

I don't think the issue was about being technical.

With photography, as with many other subjects, there are multiple frames of reference that one can use. A big part of the "f/stop" discussion was which frame of reference to use.

Traditionally, Photographers use the light per unit area ("exposure") as their frame of reference. The primary reason we use relative apertures (f/stops) is that it makes it easier to relate the aperture to the light per unit area. Light per unit area is key when shooting film.

The question is that when one is shooting digital, is it still a good idea to place such importance on light per unit area. In terms of the resulting image, the correlation is much stronger with total light captured.

That's a reasonable question to ask, and a reasonable discussion to have. There are certainly pros-and-cons to either frame of reference.

it's not so much a technical question as a philosophical one. Is the frame of reference designed for the limitations of film the best frame of reference to use for digital?

Well, sir, I think light per unit area is easier to maximize than is total light gathered.

One in the same, for a given camera and scene. That is, if I maximize the exposure of a photo, I've also maximized the total light gathered.

One does not need a larger sensor for the former (which, incidentally will also maximize the total light captured for a given sensor), but will need a larger sensor to significantly impact the latter.

Of course, maximizing the exposure on a smaller format will result in less total light gathered than if one maximized the exposure on a larger format. However, neither is easier than the other.

It depends.

Assume that I am shooting with a 2X crop body. I am using a 25mm lens to get the framing I want. I am using f/4 to get the needed depth of field. I have the shutter set at 1/60 which is the slowest I can use without unacceptable motion blur.

Now I switch to a full frame, and I want to "maximize" my exposure.

I am constrained to use a 50mm lens in order to get the framing I want.

I am constrained to use f/8. Any smaller and I am unnecessarily reducing exposure. Any wider and I am not getting the depth of field I need.

I still need a shutter speed of 1/60 or faster in order to avoid unwanted motion blur.

It turns out that my "exposure" (light per unit area) is 1/4 the exposure of the 2X crop camera. However, the full frame sensor has four times the area of the crop. Therefore the full frame captures exactly the same total amount of light as the crop body. It may also be worth noting that both cameras now have the aperture set to the same diameter.

====

In cases where you are constrained by depth of field, the maximum light gathered is the same across all formats.

For many, this is a difficult concept to wrap their head around, as they are used to using light-per-unit area as their frame of reference.

If they used total light captured as their frame of reference then it becomes very clear where full frame performs the same as a crop body, and where it can offer an advantage.

====

The issue is whether you are more concerned with how your settings affect a particular camera specific implementation detail (light per unit area on the sensor), or if you are more concerned how your setting will affect the final image.

All correct -- I didn't mean to imply otherwise.

I don't think the point of this thread is to argue which is better. However, even if you are not interested in the nitty-gritty technical details, your frame of reference influences how you see the problem, and steers your thinking towards certain classes of solutions.

Absolutely.

Kung Fu
Kung Fu Senior Member • Posts: 3,563
Re: No it's not
3

camerosity wrote:

And that I was able to do it during the film era makes it even more meaningful for me as film still represents the purest form of photography there is.

Film trolling on digital photography review, nice touch.

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scrup Regular Member • Posts: 203
Re: The Recent F/stop Controversy
4

bolt2014 wrote:

I think that too many photographers become so embroiled in the technical aspects that they forget that photography is more about being creative .

It's like saying painting is only for creative purposes.

Cameras are tools, they have a variety of functions.

Sometimes people use them to create art other times people use it to document stuff.

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Lee Jay Forum Pro • Posts: 54,664
Re: The Recent F/stop Controversy

scrup wrote:

bolt2014 wrote:

I think that too many photographers become so embroiled in the technical aspects that they forget that photography is more about being creative .

It's like saying painting is only for creative purposes.

Cameras are tools, they have a variety of functions.

Sometimes people use them to create art other times people use it to document stuff.

I even use photography to measure stuff (called "photogrammetry").

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Lee Jay

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Aaron801 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,060
Re: Really?

Lee Jay wrote:

Aaron801 wrote:

f-stop is just the standard definition... has been for years. No reason I can see to change it now. Not sure if any of this talk has anything to do with light transmission (or t-stop) but I get that this can be a bit different than the f-stop value. it's not typically a very large difference though and is really only important when you're shooting film/vide, which is why those lenses are rated in t-stops... so it seems that it's all good, right?

Well, the basic idea is this:

In the film era, ISO was hard to change and post-processing was usually pretty limited, so you're always stuck trying to get light-per-unit-of-area multiplied by time (f-stop * shutter speed) to be just right. Plus most people (but not all) shot just one format (35mm for example).

However, in digital none of those three assumptions are true - we can change ISO easily, we can post process like crazy, and many, even most people shoot more than one format (full-frame + 1" compact + 1/2.3" cell phone, for example).

Given that fact, and the fact that image quality is not controlled by light-per-unit-area but rather by total light captured (and DOF is actually controlled by the same thing minus the effect of shutter speed), it makes more sense for some people to think in terms of aperture diameter rather than in f-stop (ratio of focal length to aperture) terms. This keeps things independent of ISO and format.

I have no issues with f-stop either (it's just math) but there is a logical reason to think in another way.

By the way, astro folks have been doing this more-or-less since the dawn of telescopes. Telescopes are almost always sold in terms of aperture diameter rather than focal length, f-stop and format size.

I think that I get what you're saying, that the amount of light that a sensor receives is totally different depending on what size it is and therefore the size of the opening of the lens in front of it. Of course f-stop is not the size of the opening but is a ratio... You need to do some math to figure out what the "equivalent aperture" is between different formats... but I'm OK with that.

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Lee Jay Forum Pro • Posts: 54,664
Re: Really?

Aaron801 wrote:

Lee Jay wrote:

Aaron801 wrote:

f-stop is just the standard definition... has been for years. No reason I can see to change it now. Not sure if any of this talk has anything to do with light transmission (or t-stop) but I get that this can be a bit different than the f-stop value. it's not typically a very large difference though and is really only important when you're shooting film/vide, which is why those lenses are rated in t-stops... so it seems that it's all good, right?

Well, the basic idea is this:

In the film era, ISO was hard to change and post-processing was usually pretty limited, so you're always stuck trying to get light-per-unit-of-area multiplied by time (f-stop * shutter speed) to be just right. Plus most people (but not all) shot just one format (35mm for example).

However, in digital none of those three assumptions are true - we can change ISO easily, we can post process like crazy, and many, even most people shoot more than one format (full-frame + 1" compact + 1/2.3" cell phone, for example).

Given that fact, and the fact that image quality is not controlled by light-per-unit-area but rather by total light captured (and DOF is actually controlled by the same thing minus the effect of shutter speed), it makes more sense for some people to think in terms of aperture diameter rather than in f-stop (ratio of focal length to aperture) terms. This keeps things independent of ISO and format.

I have no issues with f-stop either (it's just math) but there is a logical reason to think in another way.

By the way, astro folks have been doing this more-or-less since the dawn of telescopes. Telescopes are almost always sold in terms of aperture diameter rather than focal length, f-stop and format size.

I think that I get what you're saying, that the amount of light that a sensor receives is totally different depending on what size it is and therefore the size of the opening of the lens in front of it. Of course f-stop is not the size of the opening but is a ratio... You need to do some math to figure out what the "equivalent aperture" is between different formats... but I'm OK with that.

Right, or you can just say "50mm of aperture" (or 5mm or 200mm, etc.) does the same thing on all formats, assuming you keep angle-of-view the same.

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Lee Jay

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camerosity Senior Member • Posts: 1,604
Re: No it's not
4

Kung Fu wrote:

camerosity wrote:

And that I was able to do it during the film era makes it even more meaningful for me as film still represents the purest form of photography there is.

Film trolling on digital photography review, nice touch.

Dude. Chill. This forum is called "Open Talk". I don't need to apologize to you or anyone else for who I am. If you have a problem with it, that's entirely your problem. Sheesh.

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Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Forum Pro • Posts: 11,425
Re: Really?

Aaron801 wrote:

...

I think that I get what you're saying, that the amount of light that a sensor receives is totally different depending on what size it is and therefore the size of the opening of the lens in front of it. Of course f-stop is not the size of the opening but is a ratio... You need to do some math to figure out what the "equivalent aperture" is between different formats... but I'm OK with that.

Actually, at the same angle of view the "equivalent aperture" is the one with the same diameter.  In other words it really is the same aperture; no math needed.

You only need to do the math if you normalize everything to light per unit area (which is a great idea when shooting film).

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mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 55,840
Re: The Recent F/stop Controversy
1

Lee Jay wrote:

scrup wrote:

bolt2014 wrote:

I think that too many photographers become so embroiled in the technical aspects that they forget that photography is more about being creative .

It's like saying painting is only for creative purposes.

Cameras are tools, they have a variety of functions.

Sometimes people use them to create art other times people use it to document stuff.

I even use photography to measure stuff (called "photogrammetry").

That's what my M-Tailor does.

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riveredger Veteran Member • Posts: 3,359
Re: The Recent F/stop Controversy

Great Bustard wrote:

riveredger wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

riveredger wrote:

Michael Fryd wrote:

bolt2014 wrote:

The post about getting rid of the "F/stop" definition turned into such a technical subject that most photographers become lost in the jargon. I think that too many photographers become so embroiled in the technical aspects that they forget that photography is more about being creative .

I don't think the issue was about being technical.

With photography, as with many other subjects, there are multiple frames of reference that one can use. A big part of the "f/stop" discussion was which frame of reference to use.

Traditionally, Photographers use the light per unit area ("exposure") as their frame of reference. The primary reason we use relative apertures (f/stops) is that it makes it easier to relate the aperture to the light per unit area. Light per unit area is key when shooting film.

The question is that when one is shooting digital, is it still a good idea to place such importance on light per unit area. In terms of the resulting image, the correlation is much stronger with total light captured.

That's a reasonable question to ask, and a reasonable discussion to have. There are certainly pros-and-cons to either frame of reference.

it's not so much a technical question as a philosophical one. Is the frame of reference designed for the limitations of film the best frame of reference to use for digital?

Well, sir, I think light per unit area is easier to maximize than is total light gathered.

One in the same, for a given camera and scene. That is, if I maximize the exposure of a photo, I've also maximized the total light gathered.

One does not need a larger sensor for the former (which, incidentally will also maximize the total light captured for a given sensor), but will need a larger sensor to significantly impact the latter.

Of course, maximizing the exposure on a smaller format will result in less total light gathered than if one maximized the exposure on a larger format. However, neither is easier than the other.

Your first comment was exactly what I stated (parenthetically) in my next sentence

As to your second comment, I would say that it depends entirely on the equipment you have on hand at a given moment. The fact that I could gather more light with a FF camera when I only happen to have my 1" sensor compact with me is not going to change the outcome of ny photo. It will, though, encourage me to bring my DSLR out next time

Indeed. However, an important lesson that Equivalence explains is that, for a given DOF and exposure time, the same total amount of light is projected on the sensor for *all* systems. So, for a larger format to have a light gathering advantage over a smaller format, the larger format *must* use a more narrow DOF or a longer exposure time. That's worth knowing, methinks, even if one is otherwise uninterested in other Equivalence related topics.

While correct, I do not think it adds clarity to the discussion.  The short version is that a larger sensor will always capture more total light than a smaller sensor, given the same exposure.  The other consequences of exposure decisions remain the same, irrespective of format.

riveredger Veteran Member • Posts: 3,359
Re: No it's not
2

camerosity wrote:

Kung Fu wrote:

camerosity wrote:

And that I was able to do it during the film era makes it even more meaningful for me as film still represents the purest form of photography there is.

Film trolling on digital photography review, nice touch.

Dude. Chill. This forum is called "Open Talk". I don't need to apologize to you or anyone else for who I am. If you have a problem with it, that's entirely your problem. Sheesh.

I hear there is now a degree in Forum Etiquette at NYU.

Carol T Contributing Member • Posts: 799
Re: "Photography is more about being creative"

Great Bustard wrote:

bolt2014 wrote:

The post about getting rid of the "F/stop" definition turned into such a technical subject that most photographers become lost in the jargon. I think that too many photographers become so embroiled in the technical aspects that they forget that photography is more about being creative .

I imagine most would not disagree that "photography is more about being creative", but understanding the technical side doesn't get in the way of that end. Well, maybe for some it does, like this guy who said:

Further proof that the equivalence people have done permanent damage to the art of photography.

By the way, the guy who said that is the same guy who started the thread you're referencing and didn't return to post in it.

Anyway, I must confess that I'm not quite sure how the "equivalence people" managed to do that. Maybe we need some people to come forward and tell us their stories of how good their photos were until they read all the discussions on Equivalence, and how their photography suffered as a result -- like before and after photos:

Before I learned about Equivalence:

After I learned about Equivalence:

You know -- something like that.

No, she would need to be jumping up and down with her fingers in her eyes screaming "nanananana, I can't hear you."

camerosity Senior Member • Posts: 1,604
Re: No it's not

riveredger wrote:

camerosity wrote:

Kung Fu wrote:

camerosity wrote:

And that I was able to do it during the film era makes it even more meaningful for me as film still represents the purest form of photography there is.

Film trolling on digital photography review, nice touch.

Dude. Chill. This forum is called "Open Talk". I don't need to apologize to you or anyone else for who I am. If you have a problem with it, that's entirely your problem. Sheesh.

I hear there is now a degree in Forum Etiquette at NYU.

You are now Blocked. See ya!

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Guy Parsons
Guy Parsons Forum Pro • Posts: 32,316
Side note
6

camerosity wrote:

Kung Fu wrote:

camerosity wrote:

And that I was able to do it during the film era makes it even more meaningful for me as film still represents the purest form of photography there is.

Film trolling on digital photography review, nice touch.

Dude. Chill. This forum is called "Open Talk". I don't need to apologize to you or anyone else for who I am. If you have a problem with it, that's entirely your problem. Sheesh.

Just being a boring pedant, but the headline for Open Talk says....

Welcome to the Open Talk Forum, the place for threads related to digital photography. Threads unrelated to digital photography are not allowed here.

So technically nobody can start a thread about film photography, but they may intercede with their filmy thoughts in any other thread. The moderators have the last say on what goes.

Personal note: I'm glad film is dead and gone for me, digital photography is the real photography with instant results and feedback to help improve results way way faster.

The chemical method of getting a result is so 1800's.

Regards.... Guy

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Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Forum Pro • Posts: 11,425
Re: The Recent F/stop Controversy
3

riveredger wrote:

...

While correct, I do not think it adds clarity to the discussion. The short version is that a larger sensor will always capture more total light than a smaller sensor, given the same exposure. The other consequences of exposure decisions remain the same, irrespective of format.

If you want to add clarity, you should simplify.  Just say the larger sensor camera will capture more light when you select a larger aperture diameter.

You can simplify this a bit more by saying "at a particular angle of view, the camera with the larger aperture diameter captures more light, which also  results in a shallower depth of field."

The explanation becomes more complicated when you introduce the sensor size and light per unit area into the discussion.  Both of those are not relevant factors, they are implementation details.

If you want to look at other factors, such as overall image noise, you will find that it's total light captured we care about.   Working out the light per unit area, and then adjusting for sensor size is an unnecessary extra step.

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riveredger Veteran Member • Posts: 3,359
Re: The Recent F/stop Controversy

Michael Fryd wrote:

riveredger wrote:

...

While correct, I do not think it adds clarity to the discussion. The short version is that a larger sensor will always capture more total light than a smaller sensor, given the same exposure. The other consequences of exposure decisions remain the same, irrespective of format.

If you want to add clarity, you should simplify. Just say the larger sensor camera will capture more light when you select a larger aperture diameter.

You can simplify this a bit more by saying "at a particular angle of view, the camera with the larger aperture diameter captures more light, which also results in a shallower depth of field."

The explanation becomes more complicated when you introduce the sensor size and light per unit area into the discussion. Both of those are not relevant factors, they are implementation details.

If you want to look at other factors, such as overall image noise, you will find that it's total light captured we care about. Working out the light per unit area, and then adjusting for sensor size is an unnecessary extra step.

Except that saying "angle of view" and "aperture diameter" does not simplify the explanation for anyone but us tech nerds.

tony field Forum Pro • Posts: 10,263
Re: "Photography is more about being creative"
2

mamallama wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

bolt2014 wrote:

The post about getting rid of the "F/stop" definition turned into such a technical subject that most photographers become lost in the jargon. I think that too many photographers become so embroiled in the technical aspects that they forget that photography is more about being creative .

I imagine most would not disagree that "photography is more about being creative", but understanding the technical side doesn't get in the way of that end. Well, maybe for some it does, like this guy who said:

Further proof that the equivalence people have done permanent damage to the art of photography.

By the way, the guy who said that is the same guy who started the thread you're referencing and didn't return to post in it.

Anyway, I must confess that I'm not quite sure how the "equivalence people" managed to do that. Maybe we need some people to come forward and tell us their stories of how good their photos were until they read all the discussions on Equivalence, and how their photography suffered as a result.

The Equivalence Controversy is like the Taiping Rebellion.

I really seem to have missed this part of the discussion. What is the "Equivalence Controversy" ?

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