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01-07-2012, 05:36 PM   #1
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APS-C vs FF format

After using APS-C cameras of various makes and with a huge variety of lenses, I find APS-C cameras and the format itself severely wanting. I compared my dad's old prints from his FF 35mm film camera and the images I and others get from their APS-C cameras, and have to say that given the same lenses mounted on the different camera bodies, the APS-C cameras always come short. There's just something missing. The images from the APS-C cameras look more "snapshot" like than "photographs". I think this has to do with the 1.5x crop factor that APS-C cameras suffer from. This 1.5x crop factor seems to destroy the gradual reduction in sharpness (defocus) and light falloff that is very characteristic of good FF photos and what unconsciously gives images from Full Frame 35mm cameras their "look". Forgive me, but this "look" is very hard to articulate, so I've attached some examples. But I think people who remember the old days of 35mm film, will definitely recognize "the look". I know I can very easily recognize it.

Some FF 35mm examples:












Last edited by mika.; 01-07-2012 at 06:29 PM.
01-07-2012, 05:47 PM   #2
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This was already fought-out elsewhere, and you lost. You are cherry-picking some wide-aperture shots. We can find scads of FF photos that look worse than dSLR shots, with less DOF. Apparently the disagreement of those who have worked with multiple formats doesn't faze you. Have fun.
01-07-2012, 05:58 PM   #3
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.

With regards to FOV/DOF difference between the two formats, here's 99% of what you need to know. (Summary originally provided by Bob Atkins)


.
For an equivalent field of view, an APS-C crop sensor camera has at least 1.5x MORE depth of field that a 35mm full frame camera would have - when the focus distance is significantly less then the hyperfocal distance (but the 35mm format needs a lens with 1.5x the focal length to give the same view).

Using the same lens on a APS-C crop sensor camera and a 35mm full frame body, the APS-C crop sensor camera image has 1.5x LESS depth of field than the 35mm image would have (but they would be different images of course since the field of view would be different)

If you use the same lens on an APS-C crop sensor camera and a 35mm full frame body and crop the full frame 35mm image to give the same view as the APS-C crop image, the depth of field is IDENTICAL

If you use the same lens on an APS-C crop sensor camera and a 35mm full frame body, then shoot from different distances so that the view is the same, the APS-C crop sensor camera image will have 1.5x MORE DOF then the full frame image.

Close to the hyperfocal distance, the APS-C crop sensor camera has a much more than 1.5x the DOF of a 35mm full frame camera. The hyperfocal distance of an APS-C crop sensor camera is 1.5x less than that of a 35mm full frame camera when used with a lens giving the same field of view.



I always summarize with a real-world example: 50mm f/1.7 on FF = ~35mm f/1.2 on aps-c.

or:

50mm f/2.8 on FF = 35mm f/1.8 on aps-c.

Ex:


50mm f/2.8 (on FF) left, 35mm f/2.8 (on aps-c) right,same exact distance to subject, vertical framing moved a bit:




.

Last edited by jsherman999; 01-07-2012 at 06:07 PM.
01-07-2012, 05:59 PM   #4
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I'll repeat what I asked in the other thread cause I still want to know:

Could someone explain to me what Mika is talking about regarding compression/decompression, etc etc. He seems to be saying that if I take a picture FF and crop out the middle part that an APS-C sensor would give me that I'd get a different picture than if I just took it directly with an APS-C sensor camera using the same lens taken from the same position with the same aperture, i.e. that the optical qualities are somehow inherently different from a FF (even within the APS-C area), which makes no sense to me. If he is NOT saying that, then what is he talking about with the crop factor having this and that effect? The crop factor is just a crop factor, nothing else. (i.e. any FF photo cropped to APS-C area is equivalent to an APS-C sensor taking the same photo with the same lens/aperture from the same position.) If we crop out an APS-C area from one of his above examples, that's what an APS-C camera will get you, so we will suddenly have lost that "look"? (Of course, with any kind of digital we won't have that film grain, but it is easily added in post if desired. And we can even "de-focus" areas in post if we like, but let's not think about that.)

I understand that if you try to take the SAME picture (same composition) from an FF and an APS-C and each is using the full area available to them with their respective formats, then you need different lenses, etc etc and of course you never really get the same thing. Is that all he is saying? If so, duh.

01-07-2012, 06:15 PM   #5
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vonBaloney you are right. APS-C is basically a masked FF. Cropped a FF picture and you get APS-C. Plain & simple. The truth is different formats will never produce identical results because of different focal lengths being used. If FF is considered superior to APS-C, then so will 645, and also 6x7, 4x5, 8x10 etc. I am more concerned by the quality of lenses available for any particular systems, than the format itself.
01-07-2012, 06:25 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
50mm f/2.8 (on FF) left, 35mm f/2.8 (on aps-c) right,same exact distance to subject, vertical framing moved a bit:
Both images look "wrong" and unappealing, though interestingly enough the one on the right (APS-C) is less "wrong" than the one on the left (FF). Maybe, what we have here is a fundamental divide between photographers who can see and identify "the look" and snapshot takers who for ever will remain blind to the difference.

Last edited by mika.; 01-07-2012 at 06:49 PM.
01-07-2012, 06:25 PM   #7
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Medium Format >>> Full Frame. That is all.
01-07-2012, 06:34 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mika. Quote
Both images look "wrong" and unappealing, though interestingly enough the one on the right (APS-C) is less "wrong" than the one on the left (FF). Maybe, what we here is a fundamental divide between photographers who can see and identify "the look" and snapshot takers who for ever will remain blind to the difference.
Ok, so have we finally established that look does not derive from the sensor (or film) size? And if that's true, would you care to explain what the "look" entails? Something more than film grain?

01-07-2012, 06:37 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mika. Quote
Both images look "wrong" and unappealing, though interestingly enough the one on the right (APS-C) is less "wrong" than the one on the left (FF). Maybe, what we here is a fundamental divide between photographers who can see and identify "the look" and snapshot takers who for ever will remain blind to the difference.
So, you're saying... what are you saying exactly?

Those were shots meant to illustrate what it looks like with the same FOV from the same distance to subject, with the same aperture. It's an illustration that describes in image what Bob Atkins described in his bullet points. The one on the left was the 50 f1.8D at f2./8 on D700, the one on the right was the 35 f/2.8 Limited at f/2.8 on K20D. You aren't meant to be 'wowed' by anything, only to understand what the difference is. Get it?

.

Last edited by jsherman999; 01-08-2012 at 06:04 PM.
01-07-2012, 06:39 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
Medium Format >>> Full Frame. That is all.
4x5 >> Medium Format. That is all.
01-07-2012, 06:42 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
Ok, so have we finally established that look does not derive from the sensor (or film) size? And if that's true, would you care to explain what the "look" entails? Something more than film grain?
I'm starting to suspect that you may not want to pay too much attention to whatever his answer is, for anything more than it's amusement value.....
01-07-2012, 06:42 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
4x5 >> Medium Format. That is all.
Pffft... the difference between Medium Format and Full Frame is much more than 4x5 to MF. You'd be silly to go 4x5, the gains aren't noticeable!
01-07-2012, 06:42 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
4x5 >> Medium Format. That is all.
Anything smaller is unacceptable.

01-07-2012, 06:43 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
Ok, so have we finally established that look does not derive from the sensor (or film) size? And if that's true, would you care to explain what the "look" entails?
The "look" is a compression in focus/defocus. It is an image in which you can see several distinct elements or areas of focus/defocus.
01-07-2012, 06:47 PM   #15
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JinDesu, jsherman999, RioRico, I'd like you to refrain from participating in this thread. You obviously don't get it, and your sarcasm is not appreciated. Please go away.
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