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06-06-2016, 06:14 AM   #1
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Telephoto or Crop

Which should give clearer images a photo shot with a 300mm lens or a shot taken with a 50mm lens and then cropped to the same size image as the 300mm? Or would there really be no difference? My thought is the 300mm is more likely to have less IQ due to camera shake etc. Am I thinking correctly?

06-06-2016, 06:21 AM   #2
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300mm and a tripod would solve camera shake... kinda depends upon what you are shooting, what camera body, which lenses are you comparing, etc....
06-06-2016, 06:27 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by fstopfanatic Quote
Am I thinking correctly?
No.

A 300mm lens would give a lot better image.
Say for example on a K-3, a 300mm lens would end with a 24mp image and a 50mm lens would end with a 4mp image (6x crop).
06-06-2016, 06:31 AM   #4
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Most of the time the long lens (of sufficient quality) easily outperforms cropping.

06-06-2016, 07:19 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by fstopfanatic Quote
My thought is the 300mm is more likely to have less IQ due to camera shake etc. Am I thinking correctly?
I handhold all my shots @ 300, plus 1.4xTC; and with the K3, cropping of these images are quite good; so the telephoto goes a step further, in my case.
06-06-2016, 08:28 AM   #6
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Assuming proper technique, the 300mm. Way more pixels on the subject if nothing else.
06-06-2016, 08:58 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. This sheds a good bit of light on the subject.
06-06-2016, 09:16 AM   #8
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Check out this thread and the crop involved at 50mm !! Have a look down for when he shows the full image ....

https://www.pentaxuser.com/forum/topic/garden-visitor-this-afternoon-56410

06-06-2016, 09:47 AM   #9
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I'm not surprised that the K-1 accomplished that. But, I'm shooting a K-X 12mp and a K200D 10mp camera. I took this shot handheld at 18mm with the 18-55 DAL kit lens and my K-X. The first photo is 1350 X 900. I then cropped to 405 X 270. These were my results.

Last edited by fstopfanatic; 07-27-2016 at 11:39 AM.
06-06-2016, 10:11 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Check out this thread and the crop involved at 50mm !! Have a look down for when he shows the full image ....

https://www.pentaxuser.com/forum/topic/garden-visitor-this-afternoon-56410
you really nailed the focus there, and the lens rocks.

the problem is that if you look at one of the long whiskers on the right side, you can see the jagged artifacting... my a7r does the same thing.

if you can fill the frame with the subject, even with a weaker piece of glass, you'll be able to apply more sharpening, and not have so much of an artifacting problem.
06-06-2016, 10:47 AM   #11
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I'll add a couple more reasons why long glass is better than extreme cropping. More accurate metering and more detail in the viewfinder. Even with spot metering, the rest of the frame will affect the camera's metering and the viewfinder is the only way to determine how well the available light illuminates the cropped portion of the image, if there is something in the scene (like branches) that blocks or hides part of what you are trying to capture and getting the pose you want. You might be lucky and get everything the way you want in the cropped portion, but you have more control with a longer focal length.
06-06-2016, 11:15 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by fstopfanatic Quote
I'm not surprised that the K-1 accomplished that. But, I'm shooting a K-X 12mp and a K200D 10mp camera. I took this shot handheld at 18mm with the 18-55 DAL kit lens and my K-X. The first photo is 1350 X 900. I then cropped to 405 X 270. These were my results.
I think we all answered the same way. Crop is less good than telephoto - that's what math and practical observation tell us. It is possible to get a lousy telephoto where cropping is a better choice than using the lens. But when comparing good quality lenses this simply is not the case. If you are happy with your results - who cares what we think. Just don't expect us to confirm your selection as superior.
06-06-2016, 03:27 PM - 1 Like   #13
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I care what others think or I wouldn't have asked my question to begin with. I wasn't arguing which was better, I was simply asking. I wasn't posting my results to confirm my selection was superior.


I agree it was unanimous that cropping is not the best way to achieve a larger image. So today I learned something which makes for a good day in my book.
06-06-2016, 04:13 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by fstopfanatic Quote
I care what others think or I wouldn't have asked my question to begin with. I wasn't arguing which was better, I was simply asking. I wasn't posting my results to confirm my selection was superior.


I agree it was unanimous that cropping is not the best way to achieve a larger image. So today I learned something which makes for a good day in my book.
Forgive me if I misunderstood.

To be fair the intended use matters also. If you post to Facebook it might be just fine. If you want to make large prints it will disappoint you.

I'm glad this was helpful. Again sorry if I came across wrong.
06-06-2016, 06:24 PM   #15
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Not to worry UV. I'm learning as I go. I mostly make 4X6 prints for our own photo album. My biggest project every year is making a calendar for our four adult children. The photos on the calendars are 8X10 so again not huge enlargements. I have a variety of lenses and am trying to learn which ones fit certain circumstances best.
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