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02-13-2012, 04:13 AM   #1
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Why do people want a Full Frame sensor?

I'm sorry if this subject has been talked to death and I can't find the thread. I've seen lots of people complaining about the fact that Pentax hasn't brought out a Full Frame (FF) sensor camera, but I don't understand why. My apologies that I'm missing the point, but please educate me, don't abuse me. Once upon a time I loved 35mm film, but now I can get great results with an APS-c digital SLR, and the sensor size is an advantage because it makes the effective focal length of a telephoto lens longer; handy when the longest Pentax lens freely available is only 300mm (well, until the recently announced 560mm ). I'm not at all bothered by the dimensions of the sensor in me K7 or K200. I'm more frustrated by being unable to get a digital image out of my old negs and slides as good as was possible printing them directly onto paper (and yes, I know there's lots of technical reasons for that).

So why would a camera with a 35mm film frame sized sensor be better than one with a smaller sensor?

PS If asking this question really bothers people, I'll delete the thread, but I'd like to know the answer to the question.

02-13-2012, 04:18 AM   #2
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I want one to gain on the wide end, larger sensor area to enhance the OOF area (ie. more background blur at a comparative f stop) and most of all for the increased high ISO performance.
02-13-2012, 04:19 AM   #3
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Yes, it's talked to death. Why FF? 1) Thinner DOF. 2) Brighter viewfinder. 3) Lenses seem wider. 4) Fatter pixels for smoother resolution. 5) Slightly greater diffraction limit. 6) Mania.
02-13-2012, 04:25 AM - 1 Like   #4
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A lot of the debate I see is simply a matter of keeping up with the Jonses. Canikon have FF, so why don't we?

I do understand there are technical reasons to favour FF, though I doubt many of them really matter, ultimately. You can capture great images with APS-C, and as long as you're not doing large prints, there's no -real- reason to go FF for the majority.

I do, however, hope Pentax do release one, so people sell their K5s and I can grab one at a nice price.

02-13-2012, 04:31 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by crf529 Quote
I want one to gain on the wide end, larger sensor area to enhance the OOF area (ie. more background blur at a comparative f stop) and most of all for the increased high ISO performance.
QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Yes, it's talked to death. Why FF? 1) Thinner DOF. 2) Brighter viewfinder. 3) Lenses seem wider. 4) Fatter pixels for smoother resolution. 5) Slightly greater diffraction limit. 6) Mania.
OK, I seldom want wider than the 35mm equivalent of 28mm, so I see why the effective focal length doesn't bother me compared to others who want ultra-wide. I thought that the ISO performance of the K5 was already excellent - would a FF sensor really make so much difference to signal to noise ratio? Why would larger sensor elements smooth resolution - wouldn't they increase the moire effect? I'll have to research the effect of the diffraction limit. Usually I want more DOF not less, so it seems that a FF camera is sought by people who prefer other types of photography - perhaps studio and architectural?

QuoteQuote:
I do, however, hope Pentax do release one, so people sell their K5s and I can grab one at a nice price.
I second that suggestion!

Last edited by RobG; 02-13-2012 at 04:32 AM. Reason: update
02-13-2012, 04:56 AM   #6
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To be able to shoot wide and fast, increased iq, much bigger VF, lower noise..... Not much reason really
02-13-2012, 05:02 AM - 1 Like   #7
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I am glad you brought up the topic. Fortunately ricoh/pentax is investing in the digital system I bought into ie APS-C although I have accumulated nearly 40 years worth of kit. I don't need a FF and personally don't want to see FF lenses dominate on the market. My opinion is that canon/nikon have their real kit as FF and the mickey mouse stuff for the smaller format. The pentax lineup is the only great set of lenses that take full advantage of APS-C. Sure you can stick the canon/nikon on their smaller cameras along with the exta kilos. I'm with you about FF.

It reminds me about the argument people had about film Vs digital. Really when it comes to K5 Vs a full frame we will find the limiting factor not the cameras, but the photographer and the lenses.
02-13-2012, 05:24 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Yes, it's talked to death. Why FF? 1) Thinner DOF. 2) Brighter viewfinder. 3) Lenses seem wider. 4) Fatter pixels for smoother resolution. 5) Slightly greater diffraction limit. 6) Mania.
Good points RR, but I'd like to arrange them a bit: and add a couple.
1) Mania. 2)Canikon envy. 3)Bragging rights (my sensor is bigger than your sensor) 4) Thinner DOF. 5) Lenses seem wider. 6) Brighter Viewfinder. 7) Fatter pixels for smoother resolution. 8) Slightly greater diffraction limit.

I would venture a guess that unless you are pixel peeping, being able to pick out a FF print from an ASPC print would be extremely difficult if not impossible.

NaCl(not a big fan of FF)H2O

02-13-2012, 05:26 AM   #9
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There are a number of practical reasons for FF. But it won't make much of a difference in results to the vast majority of photographers. Where it would matter the difference would be both real and indispensable. Though the law of diminishing returns applies here, there's still something more to FF than we give it credit for. It is not just about keeping up with the Jones's. But I am personally satisfied with the K-5 (notwithstanding a couple of its P-TTL and focusing nuances) and would be pleased to see it improved even more in APS-C. The 12-24 is plenty wide for the format, but I too would be seduced into knowing the full potential of the FA Limiteds on a FF camera, even though I know I don't really need one. So there is an element of infatuation with the FF concept, but I appreciate Ricoh/Pentax's limited budget and scope to expand the mid-high end gear. I would suggest there is a little too much of a gap between Pentax's APS-C and MF formats. But APS-C hasn't lost it's utility amidst FF and MF options.
02-13-2012, 05:44 AM   #10
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I tested the limits of K-5 by printing a super detailed print of macro photo, 1 meter wide. I love that image... I do not want more and I do not need more. APS-C is my way.

One ex-Pentaxian that bought a 5D told me that he needed a serious camera. But his photos never were much good and didn't get any better when he bought more expensive gear.
02-13-2012, 06:17 AM - 1 Like   #11
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I believe the majority, certainly not all, but the majority of those who say they want one, want it for one of two reasons:
1. They aren't completely happy with their photos now, so it just has to be an equipment issue.
2. Moving to FF, or even just saying that they are going to, proclaims to the world that their skills are so great that they can no longer stand being hindered by APS-C.
02-13-2012, 06:29 AM   #12
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For general image quality I agree the K-5 is fine. Yes, lenses with the same FOV have less DOF on FF (I compared my K-5 with 35 f2.0 to Leica M9 with 50 f2.0 and was surprized at the difference.) - but the character of the bokeh depends more on the lens optical design than sensor size.
I'd like a FF Pentax mainly for use with my large collection of manual lenses. These are a joy to use on my LX or MX film cameras, but hard to focus with the K-5 finder, and 24mm on the K-5 is very different than 24 on FF, etc. But a K-5 FF alone wouldn't make all the old lenses work just like on the old film models, since the new camera would still be designed for autofocus, auto-everything, modern photographers. I'd want a digital clone of the LX or MX in terms of controls and operation, and there just is very little market for such a camera.
So the correct solution for frustration in using old lenses on Pentax Digital (which at least does let you use these lenses), is to get new lenses matched to the APS sensor. Pentax would like that better as well!
As for me - I like the shooting experience better with manual cameras, and the Leica M9 is nearly perfect for the way I shoot, and works perfectly with all my old Leica lenses from 1941 through the 1980s. The K-5 works well when I need macro or longer telephoto, if I can just stop grumbling about its new-fangled controls.
02-13-2012, 06:30 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Yes, it's talked to death. Why FF? 1) Thinner DOF. 2) Brighter viewfinder. 3) Lenses seem wider. 4) Fatter pixels for smoother resolution. 5) Slightly greater diffraction limit. 6) Mania.
I understand that larger pixels perform better. But are the pixels really any bigger in a 24 or 36 megapixel full frame sensor than a 16 megapixel APS-C sensor?
02-13-2012, 06:36 AM   #14
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I am not on the list of those waiting for FF, but here is my synopsis of what a FF format offers over APS-C and why I don't feel a need for the larger sensor:
1) Wider photos from the same lens. I can already go to 10mm (15 equivalent) which is enough for me.
2) More bokeh. I am not enamored with bokeh. A little is enough for me.
3) at the same resolution, FF will have physically larger pixels on the sensor. This can improve DR and low light. The small improvement isn't worth spending 4 times as much for the camera.
02-13-2012, 06:48 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I want one for all of the above reasons, but mostly for technical reasons.

With a smaller sensor, there will come a time when you can't pack anymore pixels into the smaller area. When that happens - and we are getting close - you have to move into a totally different technology or move to a larger sensor with more surface area given the same pixel density.

Why does this matter?

When I take an image (Still or video), before I use it, I always crop it or only use the part of the image that is good. Many times there are two or three "images" in a single picture that I take, that I did not recognize when I took the first image. Sometimes/most of the time, someone or something needs to be edited/cropped out. Rarely do I take an image and use it 100%.

So I only use about 80-90% of an image. A Camera with more megapixels, has more area and resolution contained within an image, and with a larger sensor, I get more real estate to take as many extra images as I need.
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