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04-28-2010, 08:01 PM - 1 Like   #1
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A vote for cropped sensors

A few weeks ago, I picked up a new photography book, Digital Portrait Photography by Steve Sint. I was really looking for a source to learn the ground rules of classic portraiture, and I think it was a great choice.

But in his chapter on gear, Steve says he's a big proponent of APS-C cameras. He makes three main arguments. First, now that we can make digital sensors any size and dimensions that we want, why are we clamoring for the arbitrary 24x36mm size that the 35mm film creator (who he named, but I can't recall) conjured up? Second, cropped-sensor cameras and lenses are quite a bit smaller and lighter than their full-frame counterparts. And finally, small-format DSLRs have fantastic image quality, and if it's not enough, what's to say that full frame is? Why not go to all the way to MF?

Anyway, it was really nice to see someone arguing in FAVOR of APS-C for a change. And since we're all part of a system without a full-frame option, I thought I'd share.

04-28-2010, 08:04 PM   #2
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I'm all for cropped sensor cameras. I think the KX has proven that you can get fantastic ISO/Resolution performance in an APS-C sensor.

I have owned both FF and Cropped and I can tell you that my shoulders and lower back thank me for my current cropped sensor kit.
04-28-2010, 08:16 PM   #3
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The main advantage of FF is the sensitivity to light and resolution while maintaining high quality images is generally about 3 years ahead of what APS-C can do. That and if you are used to thinking of focal length in 35mm terms you don't have to translate.

However, with the quality of APS-C today...for the vast majority of shooters the quality of the image is excellent.
04-28-2010, 08:22 PM   #4
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I have no issues with the image quality of crop sensors. You get what you pay for and demanding full size quality at crop size pricing is unreasonable.

I'm just peeved about the 1.5x focal length conversion. It's expensive as hell to score a wide angle lens under 24mm. This is where the beauty of full sized sensors come in. I have no interest in bird/sports shooting so the 1.5x sucks, a lot.

04-28-2010, 08:30 PM   #5
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The smaller viewfinder of APS-C camera is MUCH more difficult to use when using manual focus, especially with wide lenses...
04-28-2010, 08:40 PM   #6
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1.5x crop in FOV and loss of DoF control is why I have both a great crop (K-7) and FF (5D MkII) camera.

In theory, you'd think it would be easier to make faster lenses for a smaller sensor.

If they could actually do that and make lenses like 35/1.4, 50/1.2, 85/1.4 etc. the standard lineup for DA* primes, I wouldn't need FF :-)
04-28-2010, 09:06 PM   #7
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FF = more pixels and/or better noise control. All the old Pentax lenses support FF, so that should be all the more reason for Pentax to make an FF. They abandoned the idea for the *ist due to sensor delivery issues, but what's their excuse now?

That's not to say that Pentax's APS-C performance on bodies so far has been bad, as it's in fact been great!

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04-28-2010, 09:33 PM   #8
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I don't need more pixels. 10MP is enough for me. If 6MP would give me less noise, I'd be fine with that too. If I'd really want more MP, now that would be a reason for me to look for FF or MF. What ruins the APS format is the insistence on matching the resolution of FF sensors.

For me, the only advantage that FF cameras have today is noise control. And the reason they have that is because their sensors have smaller photosite density than APS cameras. All the other stuff about thinner DOF and wide angle lenses is fine, but I don't care about that.

04-28-2010, 09:52 PM   #9
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Whilst an APS C sensor is great for most situations, a FF viewfinder is much better for manually focusing and also for auto focus confirmation of accurate focusing and composition. There are other benefits to a FF sensor if it can be housed in a camera that is only as big as the K-7, IMO.
04-28-2010, 09:53 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RawheaD Quote
1.5x crop in FOV and loss of DoF control is why I have both a great crop (K-7) and FF (5D MkII) camera.

In theory, you'd think it would be easier to make faster lenses for a smaller sensor.

If they could actually do that and make lenses like 35/1.4, 50/1.2, 85/1.4 etc. the standard lineup for DA* primes, I wouldn't need FF :-)
Can you use your Pentax lenses on the Canon 5D Mk2? I remember there was an adapter for it, but it required you to snip off all the aperture triggers on the pentax lenses for FF cameras....
04-28-2010, 10:16 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by lurchlarson Quote
The main advantage of FF is the sensitivity to light and resolution while maintaining high quality images is generally about 3 years ahead of what APS-C can do.

However, with the quality of APS-C today...for the vast majority of shooters the quality of the image is excellent.
I couldn't agree more. By 2013 (latest) you'll have D700 image quality and high-ISO performance in an entry level DSLR. By 2015, D3 image quality and ISO 102,400 (!!)

And unless you make a living from photography, or routinely print at very large sizes, the camera size trade-off simply isn't worth it.

Having said that, if Pentax introduced a D90-sized weather-sealed FF, I think they'd do very well out of it.
04-28-2010, 11:04 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Unsinkable II Quote

Having said that, if Pentax introduced a D90-sized weather-sealed FF, I think they'd do very well out of it.
I was hoping Pentax can make a K-7-sized FF dSLR, and don't mind it's not weather sealed
04-29-2010, 04:09 AM   #13
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First of all, I like crop sensors just fine. I think those who like full frame like (a) the better viewfinder (b) the fact that there are cheaper wide angle lenses (c) better control over depth of field and (d) they are used to the way certain focal lengths act on film and don't like the change that cropping them brings.

I don't continue to forsee amazing increases in high iso on crop framed cameras. I think there will be some improvements, but the reality is that you can only capture the light that is there. You just can't manufacture photos out of no where.
05-01-2010, 09:25 AM   #14
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I see high ISO improvements on all sized sensors.

Improvements will seem slow, but will be relentless. ISO 102,400 will be with entry-level DSLRs by 2015, together with 1080P 24/30/60 fps with autofocus.

The lenses will still be where the real $$$ benefit and final image quality lie.

The real difference will be in (electronic) speed.

Electronic shutters providing the ability of 100fps at FULL resolution (2015), and 1000fps by 2020. This is for consumer-level products.

Of course, not much use really.

Gimme ISO tho. Smaller lenses are fine by me.
05-01-2010, 12:09 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RawheaD Quote
1.5x crop in FOV and loss of DoF control is why I have both a great crop (K-7) and FF (5D MkII) camera.

In theory, you'd think it would be easier to make faster lenses for a smaller sensor.

If they could actually do that and make lenses like 35/1.4, 50/1.2, 85/1.4 etc. the standard lineup for DA* primes, I wouldn't need FF :-)

This is the biggest failure of 1.5x so far. No wide angle fast lenses. If Pentax could make a 18 1.4 and a 24 1.4 to go with the 55 1.4 they have, it would be magical.

I think it was Olympus's biggest mistake with 4/3rds. If they would have made a line of small f1.4 primes I think 4/3rds would have been taken more seriously by pro's.
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