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Old full frame or new APS-C?

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by mikechopragant, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. ianwaite

    ianwaite Well-Known Member

    you was doing well up to the last paragraph, the fundimental is sensor size the photon is a certain size, reduced sensor size and increase megapixels then it's a guaranteed way to lower quality. Its not debatable its physics. The bigger the area receiving the image, the easier it is to get quality of image. Sensor size will never be a non issue if you want quality.
  2. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Ok Ian, an analogy for you, to try to make it simple.

    For car, let's think camera.
    For engine, sensor.
    For fuel, light.
    For transmission, processor.
    For throttle, lens.

    You can have a heavy aerodynamically inefficient car driven by a big powerful engine which (due to physics physics physics) consumes more fuel than a smaller one. It can generate more power too. Yay! However, if the transmission is geared too short it will never achieve its full 'performance' - likewise if the throttle is never opened fully.

    Or, you could have a lighter and more aerodynamically efficient car with a more moderately sized engine, of lower capacity, which cannot consume as much fuel and develop the same amount of power. However, the throttle is great and the transmission perfect, so it performs excellently.

    So, in what appears to be your preferred "top-trump" style there is a clear winner for power and engine capacity. However, and this is the point you are either blind to or refuse to acknowledge, there are some aspects of the second vehicle's performance which are superior.

    Going back to cameras.... Yes, a larger sensor can 'hold' more light. But if that light has been passed through a low transmission lens, and the processing of the image (demosaicing, interpolation, colour accuracy etc) is less than optimal, so what? In golf you can drive the ball further with a heavier club, but unless you can hit the fairway consistently it won't benefit you.

    Do you honestly believe that the first 36x24mm sensor digitals (Contax, Kodak etc) still outperform the latest APS-C cameras? If so, this thread ain't going to come to a conclusion anytime soon. If not, why not? Performance can be measured in many ways, if you're open to see that.

    Bear in mind that throughout this discussion we are looking at a 5D (c2005) and K-5 (c2010).
  3. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Perhaps you should read again exactly what Zou wrote and then apologise to him
  4. ianwaite

    ianwaite Well-Known Member

    Your getting carried away with gadgetology, there is a purity in photography which is important. Its the science that makes it all work. Resolution (megapixel) does not equate quality. You if anyone Zou you should appreciate this as a shooter of medium format and beyond, why do you do that when 35mm is acceptable, or as you like small why don't you carry 110 instamtic. The reason is the bigger area you project the image on to the better quality you get. APS-C cannot and will not ever exceed full frame in quality, it can't it's physics. The optional extras, frame speed da, da,da, will not make your pics better, just icing n a flawed cake.

    Regards as always

    Ian (Thanks for your comments on lightning photo)
  5. ianwaite

    ianwaite Well-Known Member

    No.... and don't shout at me opinions are personal, not offensive!!!
  6. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Zou said
    (my emphasis)
    and you attacked him as if he himself held that opinion which is the exact opposite of his post.

    and I did not shout at you THIS WOULD BE SHOUTING

  7. ianwaite

    ianwaite Well-Known Member

    You used bold, in forums this is shouting just like capitals. My opinion is my opinion, you seem more interested in attacking than commenting on the question raised. Just an opinion! Whats your thought on the subject, love to hear!

  8. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Not on the fora (note correct plural) I frequent, where bold can just be used for emphasis. But perhaps you should ask a mod for a ruling on this.

    If you want to know my views check post no. 51 in this thread

  9. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I'm not passing a ruling per se, but I will express my opinion - make that two opinions:

    1. Both "forums" and "fora" are acceptable plural forms of "forum".
    2. I've never, ever heard it suggested before that the use of bold could be considered as shouting on a forum, merely a form of emphasis, and it's certainly never been considered as anything other than that on here.
  10. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Sorry Ian, but you have missed the point, this thread is not about sensor size. It is about buying a camera and the most important point about buying a camera is handling. Pentax and Canon cameras handle differently from each other so the first thing to do is to handle the contenders. Once the handling is sorted out it is time to consider sensor size, not before.

    If the OP chooses Pentax on handling sensor size is already decided.

    If the OP chooses Canon there is a choice

    However, first he must choose between Pentax and Canon.
  11. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Apples vs pears

    The advantage of a bigger format is you get a bigger field of view for given focal length. If you want to match this field of view on a smaller format you need a shorter focal length. If you want to print this at a fixed size then this means enlarging the smaller image. Comparing the two you get to see the contributions of the optical systems plus the recording medium. For film this latter can be the same for both systems so you get grain and definition degradation. In digital the pixel density can be different so the recording medium contribution is different between the two sizes.

    The advantages of one sensor size over another relate to the desired field if view for a given focal length. For landscape etc. a larger field is desireable to me so I use a full frame. If I am after birds then the wide field of view is less useful and with my full frame I usually have to crop the image to the subject. In this case the potential issues with "enlargement" fall on the bigger format when printing to the same size.

    Choose sensor size according to field of view needed at given focal length. "Quality", whatever that means, can be compared between like systems in a peer comparison test but between formats it does not seem appropriate to me. Apples and Pears.
  12. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Sorry, but that's really not true. What you missed out is the critical bit, and particularly critical to the two cameras being discussed: "All other things being equal". Compare a full-frame camera with an APS-C model of the same generation, and there's no doubt the full frame camera will produce better image quality. Compare a full frame camera of three generations ago with a current-ish APS-C model and it's not necessarily true at all - the advances in such areas as microlenses and processors (and processing) mean it's just not as simple as which sensor has the bigger pixels - there's a lot more physics going on than you're allowing for with that over-simplistic view. And the point is that the OP is comparing an elderly full-frame camera with a pretty much current generation one - this isn't a generalised full frame v crop sensor discussion, but one about two particular cameras. I'm no expert on the Pentax, but it's highly regarded as one of the best APS-C models avaialble. I did have a 5D for several years, have several other full frame cameras and a few APS-C models, and really, it's just not that simple; my 18MP APS-C cameras produce at least as good quality as the 5D up to ISO 1600, and for macro, the resolution of the APS-C camera is a clear winner. Now if the OP could stump up the cost of a 5D II, the argument becomes very one-sided, but as it stands, there are pros and cons to each side and it's not a clear-cut decision on quality grounds, or anything else. For me, the OP's choice depends more on his feeling about the handling of the two cameras, and which lenses he has for each system - and which way he sees his photography developing.
  13. ianwaite

    ianwaite Well-Known Member

    Apologies to anyone I may have come over grumpy with on last nights posts here, wasn't in the best of moods and one too many glasses of red wine. Sensor size and it's importance is one of my favourite subjects and I tend to get carried away.

    regards to all

  14. mikechopragant

    mikechopragant Active Member

    Many thanks to everyone for the very helpful posts. Since the question has been asked I have both a canon 20d and pentax K-r at the moment and have a slight preference for the handling of the 20d, largely because the entry level pentax requires a bit too much involvement with the menu system, an issue I don't think exists with the higher spec K5. So on handling I think they're both pretty even for me. So far as lenses go, I'm old fashioned and would use film all the time if I hadn't been suckered by the immediacy of digital. But I have a strong preference for primes and manual focus. On the 20d I use either a contax Zeiss planar 50/1.7 or, more usually, a distagon 35/2.8, and I have other yashicas in the bag, including a zoom and a 50/1.4 if needed. On the K-r I mostly use a pentax 35/2.4 and sigma 24/2.8 super wide. both are AF but almost always used manually. 50mm is taken care of by a pentax SMC-A f1.4. Again there are others including zooms in the bag. I think I've reached the conclusion that either of these options is only a stop gap between the current set up and future one with a current model FF at its centre. On that basis shelling out £400+ on a 2 generation old body doesn't really make sense and the price/spec equation for the K5 is too compelling. It means delaying the move to FF but who knows, maybe Pentax will finally have got their act together by the time I get to make that leap. Thanks again for the comments.
  15. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    I appreciate you may be posting from a 'phone and that it's reasonable to assume 'we all' know what you mean {which we do;):)} but I'd be a lot happier if you either refrained from posting this or expressed it better or more fully as it can lead beginners and others astray.
  16. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Agreed and as I've posted before 'All pixels are equal, but some pixels are more equal than others!' It can boil down to a specific sensor as to whether IQ is OK, really good or excellent.

    Just to add a little balance, every now and then AP (and other camera mags)carry really excellent full page, full bleed landscapes done by a guy - sorry, can't remember name - using a Canon 20D. I've seen incredible wildlife stuff also, coincidentally, done on a Canon - think it's either a 20D or 30D {whatever, generations outdated} and printed at A3. Some experienced pro photographer (& highly critical) friends were at Photokina last year, saw some great large scale prints and assumed they had been done on medium format or rollfilm. They were suprised to find they had been produced with Micro FourThirds cameras.

  17. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    But you could say that about any of that poster's posts... ;)
  18. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    No. I couldn't. Far too unkind. :( But then you ... er, no ... let's not go there! ;)

    Far too unkind. 'Sides, I'd miss P if he wasn't around.
  19. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    This is exactly the point. It comes down to output. To try and spot the difference between a APS-C and FF sensor at say reasonable print size like A3 it's very difficult because you are only talking about a 50% reduction of sensor size. Sensor design has improve by leaps in the last two to three years. How comes more pixels have been jammed on the same size sensor yet ISO ceiling have maintained, in some cases improved. Because the processing and sensor layout have improved.

    Look at one of the lastest APS sensor in the D5200 to the wonderful 5DMKII


    The APS from DxOMark test beats the FF and it has more pixels.

    Unless the FF sensor benefit for the last 2/3 years of research and development it is likely to be behind the APS of today. So when you do a print and ask for the taste test so to speak it going to be tough to spot the APS. :)

    So if you can produce the art with a APS sensor camera then why not shoot with a APS camera?
  20. ianwaite

    ianwaite Well-Known Member

    One major flaw in your argument, the need for higher ISO to combat the "physics" problem of less light on smaller area, FF manages better on lower ISO to get the same result therefore does not need the extended ISO that APS-C needs. I accept that if you shoot it nicely without cropping or don't need A0 the APS-C might do the job, but if you crop images to any major extent then it will come into play. No matter how good the processors are getting in noise reduction there is detail lost as well as artefacts of processing gained.

    This is an argument that isn't solvable APS-C users will swear its just as good as processing has moved on, however FF users have physics on their side. Those of us who use both understand the benefits of APS-C for sports/wildlife but know from experience of both that FF will always have lower noise and less artefacts of processing, better colour but there is a place for both. depending on your requirements and demands for perfection in different areas.


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