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12-27-2018, 05:42 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Full frame vs the rest, can you see it?

A few days before Xmas B&H sent a helpful email explaining to the technically challenged like myself why full-frame sensors were better. Pixels as buckets gathering light and bigger buckets were better. I can take it on faith and fortunately have the discipline not to impulsively order my K-1. So, is there a question? Accepting that the product of a full-frame will be better than my K-70, my question is how much better? Can this be expressed in a percentage? (ignoring a sea of technicalities) Is the superior reproduction more noticeable in large prints? Is there a great advantage in highly creative post-processing? Those who make a living with photography, are editors and other professionally buyers exceptionally demanding of quality that only full-frame, or better, can meet?

12-27-2018, 05:53 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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Yes there's a difference and the full frame K-1 is better than the K-70. You're looking at 36MP vs 24MP, maybe a stop better in terms of noise, more detail in the RAW files, thinner DoF for a given field of view.

It's been discussed to death so there are loads of resources available. Is the K-1 really necessary for most of us? No.
12-27-2018, 06:03 AM - 2 Likes   #3
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- Dynamic range: Technically, the same pixels work the same way regardless of the sensor size. But the implementation of exposure and data processing with the larger sensor may be different. Typically, the scaling on the larger sensor can be such that it is more robust to burned high lights , simply because total noise is a lesser issue in final images when the sensor is larger. For this reason, even if the Pentax K3, K1 and 645z all code pixels values over 14bits, the K1 will clip slightly less than the K3, and the 645z will clip less than the K1, that's what I noticed when processing raw files from K3, K1 and 645z. => impact on dynamic range.


- Enlargement: sensor size and resolution makes a difference for enlargement/printing. For small prints, no one will notice the difference between full frame and apsc. For large prints, the enlargement limit of apsc will show up before full frame.

- Perspectives with bokeh: full frame will be capable of rendering more bokeh than apsc at same perspective, which can be of interest depending on the type of composition that the photographer wants to achieve.
12-27-2018, 06:51 AM   #4
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I don't have a k-1 or k-70... (I own a k-3) But the pros and cons are out there to read everywhere. The cons get discussed very little by those selling the cameras...

So on the K-1 con side:
Larger and heavier body and lenses.
Slower frame rate.
Smaller number of full size shots fit in the buffer.
Need longer lenses for telephoto shots to resolve the same detail.

As far as quantifying the advantages, that's tough. It really seems to matter what you use the camera for. Action photography isn't the place this will shine. Broad daylight shots (good light and stopped down) aren't going to show massive improvements. Low light noise levels will improve. Certain shots will have the potential for shallower depth of field. A battery grip will be available for the k-1 if you like that type of thing. Legacy manual focus lenses will be easier to focus due to the larger brighter viewfinder. Wide angle full frame lenses like the FA 31 will show a wider angle of view. Larger prints can be made from the full size images with less degradation. Dual card slots.

I know it sounds like the advantages are subtle. But even knowing all this I feel compelled to try the camera. I'm sure those with a k-1 may have more to say.

12-27-2018, 06:53 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
. . . Enlargement: sensor size and resolution makes a difference for enlargement/printing. For small prints, no one will notice the difference between full frame and apsc. For large prints, the enlargement limit of apsc will show up before full frame. . . .
can you be more specific on that

what do you mean by large prints


where does the difference in ability to print asp-c vs. full frame begin ?

does the type of camera matter, I use a k 3 and K 3 II

thanks
12-27-2018, 07:00 AM   #7
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Forgot to add this one from 8 years ago but had a lot of discussion regarding the apparent and real benefits of FF over APS-C cameras: Low noise benefit of FF vs APS-C equals ... zero - PentaxForums.com
12-27-2018, 07:03 AM - 4 Likes   #8
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Print quality comparison

QuoteOriginally posted by gump Quote
Accepting that the product of a full-frame will be better than my K-70, my question is how much better?
I think you have asked a great question, and expressed it well. I shoot with a K-3 II and have wondered the same thing.

I don't think that it's practical to compare the products (i.e., image outputs) numerically on a basis of percentages. We really can't say that format X is "n% better" than format Y.

One way to compare the two formats is to consider their final, printed outputs. Generally, a full-frame camera will offer larger, better quality prints at the same ISO sensitivity.

Here's what Imaging Resource says about the two cameras. Note that the K-1 allows better prints at higher ISO sensitivities -- perhaps 2 stops worth. Higher ISO settings allow you to take good pictures in lower light at smaller apertures or faster shutter speeds.


K-70: Pentax K-70 Review - Image Quality

Pentax K-70 Print Quality Analysis

Terrific 30 x 40 inch prints at ISO 100/200; a good 13 x 19 inch print at ISO 1600; a nice 5 x 7 inch print at ISO 6400.
ISO 100/200 both provide terrific printed images at 30 x 40 inches and larger - as large as you want to print until your resolution tops out. These images showcase crisp fine detail and rich color reproduction, with a nice vibrance throughout the image.


K-1: Pentax K-1 Review - Image Quality
Pentax K-1 Print Quality Analysis

Excellent 30 x 40 inch prints and larger at ISO 100/200/400; a good 24 x 36 inch print at ISO 1600; a nice 8 x 10 inch print at ISO 12,800.
ISO 100/200/400 images printed at 30 x 40 inches are simply stunning. The level of fine detail and "pop" in these prints rivals most any model that's passed through our test lab. Wall display prints are possible at larger sizes, until resolution catches up and individual pixels become noticeable, which given the 36.2-megapixel files would not be until very large prints indeed.


- Craig


Last edited by c.a.m; 12-27-2018 at 07:13 AM.
12-27-2018, 07:13 AM - 3 Likes   #9
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From my own photos and looking at others, here's what the full frame K-1 offers over APS-C. Note that all of these benefits are slight incremental improvements.

1) Low light. Modern APS-C sensors are already pretty good, but the K-1 shows even less noise. This gives more leeway to boost the shadows with Photoshop or other software.

2) Dynamic range. Useful if you have a scene with deep shadows and bright highlights.

3) Thin depth of field, aka "bokeh". This one is arguable amd leads to many internet debates. If you like portraits with very blurred backgrounds the K-1 works well, but you can blur the background with APS-C too.

4) Very large prints. If you never need to print larger than 16x20 I don't think you'll notice the extra resolution of the K-1.
12-27-2018, 07:21 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
where does the difference in ability to print asp-c vs. full frame begin ?
Depends on viewing distance. When looking at a distance 1x diagonal of the print, 8Mpixels are enough, FF vs apsc won't make a difference. But when the viewing distance is set to arm length (typical for an gallery), full frame allows 1.5x more enlargement. For immersive viewing (wide angle, with foreground), a viewing distance closer to print diagonal is wanted, FF helps, medium format is even better, but again it depends what kind of photographs are being displayed.
12-27-2018, 07:28 AM - 2 Likes   #11
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The number of images that will be better using a full frame will be marginal, especially for the 2650x1600 and 3840-x 2260 images I use for posting and display (on an HD TV) , which is 99% of what I do.

There will be some images where conditions tax the limits of the sensor. To use 1 stop more DR, noise and low ISO, you have to have conditions that would actually use the extra capacity. So, in my experience the initial response is disappointment there isn't much difference, which yields to a more positive view of FF when you get a few images that are actually better because they were shot with the FF.

In the end, you shoot everything you can with the FF including some you probably shouldn't. The slow buffer, small buffer and slow frame rates, along with the fact that the back screen doesn't come back and allow you to make changes until the buffer is clear. But the last print I did, 42x30, was a K-3 image and it looks great. I'm not sure I will ever need the K-1 for printing per se, although the extra crop room lets you create more compelling images compositionally.

As pointed out in an article on TVs. the human eye is capable of resolving 6 MP. You can focus that 6 MP on a small area by moving in ridiculously close, but at that distance you can't really see how the composition elements work together, and it's not really art appreciation at that point. So in the end, it comes down to "do you pixel peep your prints?" . If you do, you need lots of MP. If you enjoy composition, you can get away with a lot less. I really shouldn't have to say this, but composition makes compelling images, not resolution.

So my advice would be get an FF if you can, but don't sweat it if you can't. 95% of what you can do with. K-1 you can do with a K-70. The amount you extend your range going to FF is small, and yet there are times when it is important.

Last edited by normhead; 12-27-2018 at 07:46 AM.
12-27-2018, 07:33 AM   #12
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All I know is that the images I get from my K1and K1-II please me just a teeny bit more than the images I get from my K5-II or K3. To me they just have "It" whatever "It" is.


If you are looking at the same field of view with a FF and an APSc camera, having 36mp covering the are rather than 24 or 16mp allows for more detail. As someone who spent most of my professional live looking at the details in images, I appreciate this. It is simply an ingrained habit that I still have not overcome since retirement almost 3 years ago.


Since I went FF in May 2016 my K3 rarely gets used and my K5-IIs is used even less. I am willing to deal with the size and weight thing for potentially better images. It will be interesting to see what in in store for Pentax in 2019. I am really hoping for FF teleconverters more than anything else, but killer autofocus with a decent frame rate would be nice too. A limited edition anniversary model of an existing camera holds no interest to me as :I do not collect photo gear. Already setting aside money if my wishes come true.
12-27-2018, 07:46 AM   #13
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For macro, and wildlife, apsc with 24Mp is better than K1 full frame crop mode, it's a reason why I regret having sold my K3. For portraits with deep bokeh and perspective, I vote full frame, for me apsc doesn't do it. DoF is not always easy to manage with full frame, sometimes DoF is too thin with full frame or we have to stop down the lens and crank up ISO which cancel out the benefit of having a larger sensor. The K1 is highly versatile, one can always use it in crop mode to get back to apsc like conditions.
12-27-2018, 08:01 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by gaweidert Quote
All I know is that the images I get from my K1and K1-II please me just a teeny bit more than the images I get from my K5-II or K3. To me they just have "It" whatever "It" is.
Personally I haven't been able to confirm that in blind tests. The tests I've run, shooting in most cases with a k-1 and a K-5 have produced very similar images. But those were in good light and with good composition. 16 MP is actually quite manageable. Someday I'll get a couple where the K-1 is significantly better, but, it hasn't happened yet. So far we've run maybe 4 tests, so the sample isn't large.

Last edited by normhead; 12-27-2018 at 08:17 AM.
12-27-2018, 08:11 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Personally I haven't been able to confirm that in blind tests. The test I've run, shooting on most cases with a k-1 and a K-5 have produced very similar images. But those were in good light and with good composition. 16 MP is actually quite manageable. Someday I'll get a couple where the K-1 is significantly better, but, it hasn't happened yet. So far we've run maybe 4 tests, so the sample isn't large.
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