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12-24-2012, 09:02 PM   #1
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Do i really need a FF DSLR

The days before christmas i wanted to spend a bit money to the suffering economy (my own christmas gift). So i went out to take a look to all those FF DSLRs. I rented a D800, a EOS 5(III) for a few days and tried the D600 in a shop.

I used them in that way i use my K5's (landscapes, nature, cityscapes). I printed the pics in DIN A3+, using the best settings i can on my PC.

But - there is no advantage for me in FF

The results didn't look better than the results of the K5 (i use very good Pentax and Tamron lenses), the prints in DIN A3+ didn't show an advantage of FF or more pixx. OK, there is the advantage to crop the images, but i always try to arrange my photos the best way, when i take the photos. Than there is less cropping in pp.

My result is: i really don't need FF (at the moment). I can do what i want to in the best and affordable way with my K5 (i think the same is for the K30) and i decided to spend these free dollars in a further holiday next year in Scotland (where else?) and looking for good pictures.

My opinion!

simple mick

12-24-2012, 09:04 PM   #2
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Sony A99 looks really good too, you forgot to rent that out too! Other than that, I agree, no need for FF for me also.
12-24-2012, 09:22 PM   #3
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FF is just a "Want" for 99% of the people on the forum. It's not needed per se, but it does have benefits for sure.

The 1% who *do* need it pretty much end up leaving for Canikony.
12-24-2012, 10:23 PM   #4
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I would like to have a FF camera and all the bells and whistles of lenses I can think up. Really though the advantage to FF as far as I can tell is the FOV particularly on the low end. It also has an effect on DOF as well. I don't think I absolutely MUST have one (or two)...but if I win the lottery I will have a room or two dedicated to being a studio with some really cool printers and stuff and the list of all the best lenses available.

Also on FF the lenses offer a bit more. For example a 20mm lens on a FF camera will have an 84 degree horizontal field of view. By comparison the DA 15mm Limited has a 77 degree horizontal FOV. You can get that FOV with a larger aperture (f2.8 vs f4)...and that is just using the pentax lens database as a rough guide....

The Tamron 10-24mm has a 98 degree horizontal FOV @ 10mm on a crop sensor... but you can get better FOV with less distortion on a FF...

So in other words, its more than just the frame, but also what you get in the way of lenses that makes me kinda want a FF camera...

If I win powerball Canon and Nikon both might get some business, but I still won't give up Pentax.


Last edited by alamo5000; 12-24-2012 at 10:47 PM.
12-24-2012, 10:53 PM   #5
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I do not need a FF nor do I want a FF. What I do want though, is a new APS-C and many more lenses.
12-24-2012, 11:08 PM   #6
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Well done with coming to that humble conclusion with a good experience trying out those cameras. There are always going to be photographers who are looking for more than what is available - and particularly with Pentax as there is still no dFF offering. The K-5 is pretty good for APS-C but I can't see Pentax resting on their laurels with this product.
12-25-2012, 12:11 AM   #7
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I tried the Nikon 600 this past weekend. Maybe I could get used to it but it didn't feel right in my hands, and the camera/lens combo was heavier than I want to tote. Beyond that there are advantages to APS-C, at least for me. The most important is that for bird and wildlife photography the crop factor works substantially to my advantage. That's why I'm hoping that the next Pentax flagship is a 24 megapixel APS-C rather than a full frame -- more pixels on the bird.

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12-25-2012, 12:15 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by simple mick Quote
The days before christmas i wanted to spend a bit money to the suffering economy (my own christmas gift). So i went out to take a look to all those FF DSLRs. I rented a D800, a EOS 5(III) for a few days and tried the D600 in a shop.

I used them in that way i use my K5's (landscapes, nature, cityscapes). I printed the pics in DIN A3+, using the best settings i can on my PC.

But - there is no advantage for me in FF

The results didn't look better than the results of the K5 (i use very good Pentax and Tamron lenses), the prints in DIN A3+ didn't show an advantage of FF or more pixx. OK, there is the advantage to crop the images, but i always try to arrange my photos the best way, when i take the photos. Than there is less cropping in pp.

My result is: i really don't need FF (at the moment). I can do what i want to in the best and affordable way with my K5 (i think the same is for the K30) and i decided to spend these free dollars in a further holiday next year in Scotland (where else?) and looking for good pictures.

My opinion!

simple mick
I wouldn't doubt that you are happy with A3+ prints from the K5, or that you can't see much difference with FF cameras at that print size. All the cameras in question are capable of producing excellent prints, much larger than your requirements. You're being very sensible in deciding to put your money elsewhere. A rational decision made on the basis of testing!

We all have our own reasons for preferring different formats.

I am still using a K20. I sell 24x36 inch prints from it in serious galleries. Without knowing what I shot with, people are consistently impressed by the sharpness. Detail is very important in my style.

However, I would prefer to have a higher resolution sensor. 24x36 inches is at the outer limits of what is acceptable by my personal standards. I'd like to take my digital work to the same standard as my medium format film, where my basic size is 30x40 inches. Why? Among other things, people with money seem to like big honking prints.

I think 24 megapixels might do the job, but will draw no conclusions without doing as you did and testing some cameras. I will do this in a year or so, once Pentax has finalized its new product line. (Real world industrial design and production takes a lot longer than a video game simulation...)

APS-C might do it for me. However, I used to shoot a lot with an early FF DSLR- the Kodak DCS Pro14n. That camera had its problems, but it was a delight to shoot with lenses such as the Sigma 20/1.8. Something that is often not mentioned in the APS-C/FF debates on this forum is the advantage of the larger, bright viewfinder of FF cameras. Makes quite a difference if, for example, you are working underground with nothing but the illumination from a miner's helmet-mounted lamp.

I don't care much about the much-ballyhooed differences in DOF between the two formats. For one thing, the differences aren't necessarily as dramatic as some would make out. For another, in the real world most photographs are not shot wide open. In my case, my style requires shooting at mid apertures, and sometimes stopped down as much as f/16.

Because I also shoot film, and out of hope that Pentax will eventually go FF, I have accumulated a set of FF capable lenses from 15 to 400mm. Therefore I'm in good shape whether Pentax goes FF or not.

Whether Pentax comes out with a full frame camera is a business decision. I don't see much point in getting excited about speculating about what will happen. I intend to wait and see, and will make a business decision myself.

12-25-2012, 01:00 AM   #9
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FF is about taste of image dimension....for it i used my 35mm film...its enough for me
12-25-2012, 01:11 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by simple mick Quote
Do i really need a FF DSLR
Only you can answer that - I do know that I don't.
12-25-2012, 01:20 AM - 1 Like   #11
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So the fast focus, low light focus and responsive performance of the Nikons and Canon compared to your K5 didn't impress you I take it.
12-25-2012, 01:30 AM - 1 Like   #12
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It is never about what you need.
12-25-2012, 02:15 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
So the fast focus, low light focus and responsive performance of the Nikons and Canon compared to your K5 didn't impress you I take it.
It's a question of individual priorities.

It is quite possible that these issues are of secondary importance to the OP. In his words: "I used them in that way i use my K5's (landscapes, nature, cityscapes). " He tested for what was important to him.

Given that AF comparisons between systems are already available, he may not have felt it necessary to reinvent that particular wheel using his own time.

I've been getting along quite happily with K20 AF performance for subjects similar to those cited by the OP. A lot of the time I use MF, and would probably do so no matter what camera I chose. If I was doing something like event photography or sports in a serious way I'd evaluate things quite differently.

It is one thing to be impressed by a particular aspect of performance. However, it is sensible to look beyond being impressed to decide whether that particular piece of performance is relevant, cost effective, and affordable to such a degree that changing systems is justified.

I'm like the OP- I'd rather have a camera that meets requirements and have money for travel to a great location than have a camera that exceeds requirements but be stuck in a location I'm tired of. Just one of those trade-offs most of us make.
12-25-2012, 03:31 AM   #14
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I hope Pentax is going to release a lightweight 24mp (Nex 7 sensor) camera soon. I've looked at lots of pics taken with Nex 7 and D600, and I think there's little difference, if any, between their IQ at lower iso (100-400). On the other hand, FF has its advantages (better DOF control, brighter viewfinder, etc.), and the D600 weighs only 760 grams, which is 10 grams more than the weight of K-5. At least four Nikon FF primes are decently priced and lightweight as well: 20mm/2.8, 35mm/2, 50mm/1.8, 85mm/1.8. I don't *need* FF, but I'll take the camera that represents the best value proposition. Of course, in this case, value is relative to one's various personal considerations (e.g., for me, weight counts for more than ISO performance above 800, and the ability to use old glass is slightly more important than the superior FF DOF control).

Last edited by causey; 12-25-2012 at 03:48 AM.
12-25-2012, 04:15 AM   #15
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Mick,

For me working with my Rollei-and-digital-back is quite different from working with the dSLR. The larger camera with the need of a tripod, at least mostof the time, gets me in a different mindset and the photos come out different. More thoughtful, more risk of being a tat static too.
A dSLR or Q is often liberating in style, but the number of keepers is far lower.

Would for you shooting with a FF be really a different shooting experience, a different workflow or just about the same?

I think this is quite as important as mere image quality.
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