Richard Butler

Richard Butler

DPReview Administrator
Lives in United Kingdom Seattle, United Kingdom
Works as a Technical Editor
Joined on Nov 7, 2007
About me:

Richard graduated as a scientist but had a lot more fun writing and shooting for his university magazine. A number of years spent variously as a reporter, writer and editor on science and engineering titles combined his knowledge of science with his interest in images and words. But it was spotting the connections between emission spectra, white balance and all the nonsense he'd taught himself playing around in Photoshop that helped kindle an interest in digital photography. Searching for a camera led to him discovering DPReview and Richard was recruited by Phil Askey in 2007. He's been combining his love of photography, communication and attention to detail (pedantry?) ever since.

He has unusually strong opinions about lenses for the APS-C format.

Comments

Total: 6146, showing: 121 – 140
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In reply to:

jvt: Sony needs to drop its APS-C line of cameras. They throw out an occasional lens for that system every now and then but it seems stagnant.

They should concentrate on Full Frame and the 1 inch sensor. Replace their APS-C line with some higher quality bodies (larger than the RX100 line), and add some truly compact, fast lenses....or a body/lens package like the Panasonic LX100. The 1-inch sensor format has so much potential.

Just my opinion.

I'm not against buying full frame lenses for APS-C at all. I'm just not a fan of people *limiting* themselves to doing so, and trying to pitch the paucity of choice as a benefit, buying into the idea that they're now on a path to something they didn't necessarily originally want (especially since they're going to lose that 'reach' they apparently wanted, when they get there).

Poorly supported APS-C pushes people to buy full frame. Which is fine. That's marketing. But it's hard to advocate for it as being a customer benefit.

Link | Posted on May 30, 2018 at 18:06 UTC
In reply to:

jvt: Sony needs to drop its APS-C line of cameras. They throw out an occasional lens for that system every now and then but it seems stagnant.

They should concentrate on Full Frame and the 1 inch sensor. Replace their APS-C line with some higher quality bodies (larger than the RX100 line), and add some truly compact, fast lenses....or a body/lens package like the Panasonic LX100. The 1-inch sensor format has so much potential.

Just my opinion.

Sure, buy a camera that the manufacturer sees as an means of selling you a more expensive camera. Make do with lenses that either aren't ideal now, or won't fulfil the same role in the future (if you like the 75mm *equiv* of a 50 on APS-C, you're going to struggle to recreate it when you change to an a7).

Buying today for a format you didn't originally choose is [great for manufacturers](https://www.dpreview.com/articles/5678273556/), but not necessarily ideal for you.

Link | Posted on May 30, 2018 at 17:28 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

vFunct: You missed the biggest advantage of smaller sensors: larger depth-of-field.

A large depth-of-field makes it easier to focus, especially for video.

dSLRs are unusable for video because everything is out-of-focus. You need to build a rig to manually focus.

Also: a larger depth-of-field is more useful for group shots, where a shallow depth-of-field is really only for single-person portraits.

vFunct - I'm sorry, I can't follow your point. Where do wide angle lenses come into it?

photoMEETING - It's hard to know what you mean by "aperture settings are not relevant" when the discussion is depth-of-field.

When I use a depth-of-field calculator, it shows me that a 1"-type camera set to an F-number of *x* will give essentially the same depth-of-field as a Full Frame camera with equivalent focal length shot with an F-number of 2.72*x*.

Link | Posted on May 29, 2018 at 23:37 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

vFunct: You missed the biggest advantage of smaller sensors: larger depth-of-field.

A large depth-of-field makes it easier to focus, especially for video.

dSLRs are unusable for video because everything is out-of-focus. You need to build a rig to manually focus.

Also: a larger depth-of-field is more useful for group shots, where a shallow depth-of-field is really only for single-person portraits.

Except at macro distances there is no depth-of-field advantage to smaller sensors.

For most applications, you can stop-down the lens on a larger sensor and get the same result.

With an equivalent focal length and equivalent F-number sees the same view of the world through the same diameter aperture. Give it the same exposure time and you'll make an image from the same number of photons, so they'll look very similar.

Link | Posted on May 29, 2018 at 21:59 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

Rick Knepper: Since FF brands seem to have stalled out at 50 MPs, maybe we need bigger sensors if only to get more MPs. Sony is soon releasing a 100 MP 44x33 sensor and a 150 MP 54x41 sensor. Let's see C+N+S cram those pixels onto a FF sensor.

Hey, wait a minute. Didn't DPR run a past article claiming a MF sensor does not collect more light than a FF sensor? There's plenty of folks in the forums stating as such and I think they got it from your article. Maybe they are misquoting or misunderstanding the article or maybe I am not seeing the nuances of this characteristic.

I think [this is the article you're referring to](https://www.dpreview.com/opinion/2341704755/thinking-about-buying-medium-format-read-this-first).

It essentially says that 44 x 33mm lets you receive 2/3EV more light than full frame, when comparing the same F-number. But that this isn't always possible (F1.4 lenses are more common in full frame systems).

It also points out that there should be around a 2/3EV dynamic range advantage, but that some full frame cameras (D810 and D850) have a base ISO 2/3EV lower than the 50MP 44 x 33mm sensor, so can offer comparable DR.

Yes, it's true that if you need the DR *and* resolution, then there isn't a current full frame model that keeps up. And yes, the medium format lenses might be optically better. But are they better in proportion to the extra cost.

The entire article is entirely consistent with what I've said here.

Link | Posted on May 29, 2018 at 18:15 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

photoMEETING: > smaller sensors are getting better and better all the time

Not true. There is an end coming (soon). Nobody can't outrule the physics, wich is the number of available photons. Yes, it is limited!

There is no such thing like a quantum efficiency > 100%.

Smaller sensors ***are*** getting better and better all the time.

Nothing in that statement says it'll continue forever. But if the improvements allow them to produce results that people consider good enough for their needs, then that's sufficient.

The article also says that these technologies will filter up to larger sensors, restoring the performance gap that size along implies. But again, if the smaller sensor does everything you need...

Link | Posted on May 29, 2018 at 18:04 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

Johnpong: Sensor size doesn't make a difference to most people because they will only put it up on social media or blog. You can't use these photos if you're a professional. Once you start cropping and print poster size prints, these photos will show their weaknesses. It's even worse if these photos were taken under low-light.

Articles like these always have this assumption that big sensor cameras technology will remain constant while cellphone camera tech advances and catches up.

Except where the article explicitly says that some of these technologies will benefit larger sensors when then 'trickle up.'

Link | Posted on May 29, 2018 at 17:58 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

IcyPepsi: Why do you forget that bigger sensors are also getting better with technology? It's like saying "as I get older, I'll get more experienced than my dad"!! Also, the advantage with a bigger sensor is that for the same focal length and perspective, you get a wider view, keeping all other things constant. It makes so much of a difference just between a full frame and an APS-C

From the article:

*"This only goes so far. Partly because these technologies are also likely to have some benefit when they 'trickle up' to larger sensor sizes. This widens that gap back to the extent you'd expect, just based on the size difference."*

Link | Posted on May 29, 2018 at 17:51 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

Paul B Jones: With large sensors my wide angle lenses capture a much bigger chunk of the landscape, and with small sensors I get more pixels on the subject. Those are things that are important to me and I was surprised they weren't mentioned in the article.

...

With this starting point, you can then start thinking about which is lighter, which is cheaper, which lens performs better, which is built better, whether differences in sensor performance mean one camera under or over-performs expectations.

And whether one of the two options exceeds the 'good enough' threshold for your use.

But, although it sounds like it should be, simply comparing F2.8 to F2.8 isn't quite the apples-to-apples comparison you imply.

Link | Posted on May 29, 2018 at 17:50 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

Paul B Jones: With large sensors my wide angle lenses capture a much bigger chunk of the landscape, and with small sensors I get more pixels on the subject. Those are things that are important to me and I was surprised they weren't mentioned in the article.

F2.8 lenses project the same light per unit area. (Same number of photons per square mm, ignoring slight transmission differences). A full frame sensor has almost exactly 4x the surface area of a Four Thirds sensor, so will have access to 4x as many photons, during the same exposure.

Alternatively, with an F4 lens, will have access to 1/4 of the number of photons per sq mm, but still have 4x the active area, so will have access to the same amount of light (assuming the same field of view and the same exposure time).

That's the only source of "light gathering advantage". You'll note that the magnitude of that difference is exactly the same as the D-o-F difference.

Whether the larger sensor can make equal use of this extra light is another matter (primarily a question of sensor efficiency), but as a first pass, it's fair to compare a full frame camera with an F4 lens to a Four Thirds camera with an F2.8 lens.

...

Link | Posted on May 29, 2018 at 17:46 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

aramgrg: "Even though a larger sensor may be able to produce a better result, smaller sensors are getting better and better all the time"
Better than what? Large sensors get better at the same speed.

Elonlukatski is correct. They're getting better and better than they were before, and hence can pass more people's 'good enough' threshold.

The article makes clear that most, if not all, of the things that are making small sensors improve will also make their way up to larger sensors. (Though it's rarely 'at the same speed').

Link | Posted on May 29, 2018 at 17:35 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

kodachromeguy: Maybe I am missing something. The " experts" here, of which there are hundreds or thousands, have told us time and again that all formats smaller than " full frame" are inferior. They prove it with all sorts of equivalency arguments, photons, and folklore. But for larger sizes, i.e., medium format, all of a sudden it is a waste, totally unnecessary, the price is " ridiculous", etc. So which way is it?

To be clear, equivalence doesn't (and can't) say which format is right for you. Similarly, it doesn't have a preferred format, it just makes clearer the degree to which bigger is better, so long as the larger format uses similarly good sensor tech and lenses that are t least equivalently bright are available.

Full-frame happens to be very well supplied with bright lenses, to a degree that medium format may not be. But equivalence is only a tool to help quantify the size/price/IQ balance being struck by *all* formats.

Link | Posted on May 28, 2018 at 23:06 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

Great Bustard: For the benefits of larger sensor systems, I'd have said:

• Higher resolution
• Option for a more shallow DOF (if desired)
• Lower noise (although this often requires a more shallow DOF)
• Greater DR (with the remarkable exception of the 6D2 :-) )

While the last three bullets were mentioned, the first bullet was not, and it's the most important reason for some people.

No, I clearly said that it's easier to provide higher resolution in larger chips and that it's easier to design glass that's able to out-resolve them.

The only point of disagreement is whether "large sensors have higher resolution" or "large sensors can offer higher resolution" is the best summary of the current state of the market.

Link | Posted on May 28, 2018 at 21:39 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

Great Bustard: For the benefits of larger sensor systems, I'd have said:

• Higher resolution
• Option for a more shallow DOF (if desired)
• Lower noise (although this often requires a more shallow DOF)
• Greater DR (with the remarkable exception of the 6D2 :-) )

While the last three bullets were mentioned, the first bullet was not, and it's the most important reason for some people.

As I say, I was just trying to summarize, rather than having to write a '*why* large sensors tend to be better' article

There are, of course, always exceptions but I just personally didn't feel that 'larger chips have higher resolutions' is a common-enough case to state it as a truth. I agree it's easier to produce higher resolution large sensors but didn't personally see it as the general case, but that's just my own perspective.

That said, this perspective could be coloured by me writing only about new cameras and tending to think in terms of 'which (current) model would I recommend.' This means I didn't include things like the 5D in thinking about the degree to which you can treat (broadly) comparable sensor performance as the general case.

Link | Posted on May 28, 2018 at 20:53 UTC
In reply to:

dbateman: Great introduction video to video. Keep these coming I think they will help out a lot of people.

Now my take on exposure. In video and still you still only have two variables for exposure. That is aperture and shutter speed, which you seem to be fixing the latter to a constant (twice the frame rate). Sensitivity is not really part of exposure, but will effect the final image. You are manipulating sensitivity with Gain=ISO and ND filters. So you still only have two exposure parameters. Sensitivity is incorrectly grouped in there, but will affect final image, so I see why people do it. Sensitivity can be manipulated by may things.

We had a discussion about this while preparing the video. Strictly speaking, we agree, you're correct. Only shutter speed and aperture affect the initially captured data. A fuller picture would be that there are three variables: shutter speed, aperture and luminance level of the scene (which you can modify with NDs or adding lights).

However, since this video is explicitly about compressed video, unlike Raw stills shooting, it's very important that you get the ISO/Gain/Brightening right, in order to get usable footage, so we felt it was important to include it.

Link | Posted on May 28, 2018 at 20:40 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

NCB: A limited view of why people go for large sensors. Take landscape photography. You're not interested in blurring backgrounds, rather the reverse. Most of the time you're not in a low-light situation. Only the better dynamic range of the three reasons given applies to landscapes.

What you are ALSO interested in is noise-free images, free of noise-reduction processing. As pixel density increases, it is only the larger sensors which manage to give you that. Clean, sharp, process-free images. Larger sensors win all the time.

I may end up writing a fuller article about why larger sensors produce better images, but as I try to allude to here, it's primarily a question of receiving more light. It's not so much the larger pixels that give large cameras an advantage (eg the images from the 42MP a7R III are comparable with those of the a7S II, despite having much smaller pixels).

With the same exposure values (shutter speed and f-number), a larger sensor receives more light than a smaller one. This means every time in the image is then created from more light (assuming the large chip isn't *significantly* less efficient than the smaller one). **This**, not pixel size, is the reason your Raw files require less noise reduction. More light = better signal-to-noise ratio = cleaner image.

Link | Posted on May 28, 2018 at 20:33 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

Great Bustard: For the benefits of larger sensor systems, I'd have said:

• Higher resolution
• Option for a more shallow DOF (if desired)
• Lower noise (although this often requires a more shallow DOF)
• Greater DR (with the remarkable exception of the 6D2 :-) )

While the last three bullets were mentioned, the first bullet was not, and it's the most important reason for some people.

I was trying to make the general case, not get bogged-down in specifics. 20MP is the standard pixel count for 1"-type chips but there are still some 16MP Four Thirds sensors and even a 12MP full-frame chip knocking around, so you can't definitively claim resolution as a benefit of sensor size (though it's easier to achieve and build lenses to resolve for at larger sizes).

Link | Posted on May 28, 2018 at 20:22 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

stevevelvia50: Deep7 well said, the trendy movement to shallow depth of field is a little out of controle these days. I want more depth of field, and better controle of the area of sharpness. I have a friend who uses the Canon 6D and is a fantastic bird photographer...he frequently shoots with his 600mm at f11 and says thats barely enoughtomget more than just the eyes and som of the wing with the huge telephoto reach, with no negative effect on background blur. This is easily achieved with a 300 f4 on m4/3

If you can achieve something with 300mm F4 on an mFT camera, you can do the same thing with F8 on a 600mm lens on a 6D II. They're both seeing essentially the same field-of-view through a 75mm aperture diameter.

Link | Posted on May 28, 2018 at 20:18 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

Kubicide: "Because most noise in photography comes from the randomness of light..."

What is the world does this mean?

Precisely this. Except in real dark situations and special cases such as long exposure photography, most of the noise you see comes from [the way photons arrive at the sensor, randomly distributed in time](http://bit.ly/shotnoise).

Link | Posted on May 28, 2018 at 20:15 UTC
On article Does sensor size still make a difference? (1058 comments in total)
In reply to:

Jim Salvas: This should sell a lot of medium format cameras for Fuji and Hasselblad. Or isn't that what the author means by "large sensors?"

I've specifically tried to avoid writing about any specific sensor size. So long as the larger chip uses comparable technology **and** a lens with a suitably large aperture diameter is available, the larger sensor will be better, regardless of which sizes you're comparing.

Link | Posted on May 28, 2018 at 20:04 UTC
Total: 6146, showing: 121 – 140
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