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Gear Talk => EOS Bodies - For Stills => Topic started by: JT13 on February 11, 2012, 11:04:31 AM

Title: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: JT13 on February 11, 2012, 11:04:31 AM
Hi,

I have just upgraded from a 500D to a 7D. I didn’t really consider FF because I had my focal range pretty well covered with a 10-22mm, 17-55mm and 70-200mm f/4 L IS.
Two weeks after the purchase my 7D was stolen along with the 10-22mm.
Now, I am debating whether to get the 5- or 7-series successor, assuming that the specs are similar.

I take photos just for the fun of it and don’t do excessive printing but enjoy high quality.
Mostly, I take photos while traveling – landscapes, cities, people – as well as my dog.

The main reason for considering FF is that I sometimes see photos that have something mine are missing. It is hard to put a finger on it. It is a certain brilliance that gives the pictures the impression of depth. While there seems nothing obvious to be wrong with my photos they are “flat” and unspectacular in comparison.
Has one of you encountered something similar? I am not even sure if it is the FF or composition, light, post procession, primes etc.

FF from the web:

(http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=2753.0;attach=18201)
(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3058/3060728914_b94ea2a9a3_z.jpg)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61XboDSDWvL.jpg)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61OJ4s6CExL.jpg)

My out of camera jpgs:

(http://img337.imageshack.us/img337/6756/img0379i.jpg)
(http://img822.imageshack.us/img822/7300/img1292xh.jpg)
(http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/3461/img0387dc.jpg)
(http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/5789/img1946rm.jpg)
(http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/6899/img2068j.jpg)

In my pictures nothing pops out, everything seems to be on one plane.
What do you think? Is FF really the reason?

Besides this issue, lower noise in the range of ISO800-3200 would be the main benefit for me.

On the other hand APS-C has a lot of advantages over FF.
From what I have read the 10-22mm is on a level with the 16-35mm as well as the 17-55mm with the 24-70mm while having IS. So for the same glass quality you pay a high surcharge, have to carry more weight and lose tele reach.
To cover the same focal range with a FF body it would be about 1500€ over a crop setup.

If the 7D had been available when you switched to FF would you still have done it?

JT13
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Z on February 11, 2012, 11:57:48 AM
I think you're being a bit harsh on yourself and also viewing the full-frame pictures with rose-tinted glasses. Your photo of the girl 'pops' (I'm not entirely sure what you mean by this) more than the picture of the giraffe because she is sidelit, nicely separating her from the background.  On the other hand, your photo of the clock tower could probably 'pop' a little more if you used a polarizing filter to remove a bit of that haze.  The FF HDR landscape... well that just looks awful to my eye.

The FF sensor will provide a shallower DoF, so when using wide apertures it is easier to isolate a subject and nicely blur a background. They also have better colour depth, but can you even tell on your monitor? My monitor can't differentiate!

That being said, I am swapping to FF for its advantages to me (lower noise, shallower DoF, namely), but I don't expect it to make my crappy shots look any less crappy.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: AJ on February 11, 2012, 12:19:45 PM
No it's not the sensor.  It's 1) the light, 2) the light, and 3) post-processing.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: elflord on February 11, 2012, 12:27:12 PM

You get shallower depth of field which is really nice to have for portraits.

But you could get that from your existing setup by adding a budget prime (50mm f/1.4 or 85mm f/1.8) to your lineup.

btw, you could cover the same focal range on full frame with the 17-40 f/4 and the 24-105 f/4 IS. f/4 on full frame is dof-equivalent to f/2.5 on a crop. The 10-22mm is not comparable to the 16-35mm. The 16-35mm is constant f/2.8, the10-22mm is f/3.5-f/4.5. Faster apertures cost dollars.

Now about your pics: out of your people shots, I like (1) -- better than your ff examples imho.  (2) would work better composition wise if the girl was to the left of the frame. (3) is just kind of blah -- the subject isn't looking at the camera, engaged in any activity or expressing any strong emotions.
The stuff in  the right of the frame is distracting. It probably would have worked better in vertical orientation. Shallower dof is worth playing with for this kind of shot (you'd get this from a faster lens)
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: smirkypants on February 11, 2012, 12:44:29 PM
It's all about the light. What really makes photos pop is good lighting. I've taken lots of great photos with my 7D and 1D4, neither of which is full frame.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: jwong on February 11, 2012, 01:08:26 PM


In my pictures nothing pops out, everything seems to be on one plane.
What do you think? Is FF really the reason?

Besides this issue, lower noise in the range of ISO800-3200 would be the main benefit for me.

On the other hand APS-C has a lot of advantages over FF.
From what I have read the 10-22mm is on a level with the 16-35mm as well as the 17-55mm with the 24-70mm while having IS. So for the same glass quality you pay a high surcharge, have to carry more weight and lose tele reach.
To cover the same focal range with a FF body it would be about 1500€ over a crop setup.

If the 7D had been available when you switched to FF would you still have done it?

JT13

I don't think it's purely a FF vs. APS-C difference.  Lenses and filters have a lot to do with it.  A CP would have helped with your landscape shots by increasing saturation and darkening the sky a bit.  A crop body will have more DOF than a full frame body, but that can also be addressed using faster lenses and shooting portraits with longer lenses.  A f/1.4 will separate the subject from the background much greater than the f/2.8 and f/4.  I agree with Elflord that you should try experimenting with the 50 f/1.4 and 85 f/1.8.  I use the 35 f/1.4 on a crop body, and the isolation or foreground/background separation is fantastic, which helps the subject pop.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: JT13 on February 11, 2012, 01:42:53 PM
Thank you for the great replies!

I picked these photos to point out the different depth / three-dimensional feel that I noticed in many FF shots.
I know that the valley or giraffe are not exceptionally good shots and neither are mine.

In the first three FF shots the subject really sticks out of the frame.
I would expect the same from my last picture of the boy.
It is a little better with the girl but nowhere near the first two photos.

I really feel drawn into the valley which makes a powerful impression on me.
In my first two pictures I don't really have that three-dimensional feel dispite objects in different distances.

You don't seem to think it is the sensor.
So, how can I create that spatial impression?
The background on the FF shots isn't more blurred than in my pics.
So, I don't think it is about the aperture. I've got a 50mm f/1.8 to play around with.
Do I need to catch the right light and shoot from a slight up-/downward angle?
Or could I get the effect by sharpening and brightening up the subject in post processing?

Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: elflord on February 11, 2012, 02:11:43 PM
Thank you for the great replies!

I picked these photos to point out the different depth / three-dimensional feel that I noticed in many FF shots.
I know that the valley or giraffe are not exceptionally good shots and neither are mine.

In the first three FF shots the subject really sticks out of the frame.
I would expect the same from my last picture of the boy.
It is a little better with the girl but nowhere near the first two photos.

I really feel drawn into the valley which makes a powerful impression on me.
In my first two pictures I don't really have that three-dimensional feel dispite objects in different distances.

You don't seem to think it is the sensor.
So, how can I create that spatial impression?

The larger sensor (or more precisely, longer focal length with the same fov) helps you gain shallower depth of field, but you can do that by using faster lenses or changing the aperture setting on your existing lenses.

Quote
The background on the FF shots isn't more blurred than in my pics.
So, I don't think it is about the aperture. I've got a 50mm f/1.8 to play around with.
Do I need to catch the right light and shoot from a slight up-/downward angle?
Or could I get the effect by sharpening and brightening up the subject in post processing?

The valley shot is all about composition. You have 4 lines converging to the point in the distance, and the clouds lead the eye there. The distant mountain with the intervening haze adds depth.

In the people shots, the composition of the full frame shots is just a bit better which helps give them more pop. There are no distractions on the foreground, and the background is well behind the subject. With (2) you could improve the picture just by cropping it (the girl should be towards the left, not in the center) -- then the tree frames the shot and draws the eye in to the subject. Shoot vertical often for people shots. Avoid putting subjects in the center of the frame. Read a book on composition such as "the photographers eye" by Michael Freeman.

Changing the angle can help but not just in terms of an up/downward angle but picking a shot that aligns compositional elements in the right way, so that background content enhances the shot instead of serving as a distraction.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: jwong on February 11, 2012, 02:17:04 PM
Thank you for the great replies!

I picked these photos to point out the different depth / three-dimensional feel that I noticed in many FF shots.
I know that the valley or giraffe are not exceptionally good shots and neither are mine.

In the first three FF shots the subject really sticks out of the frame.
I would expect the same from my last picture of the boy.
It is a little better with the girl but nowhere near the first two photos.

I really feel drawn into the valley which makes a powerful impression on me.
In my first two pictures I don't really have that three-dimensional feel dispite objects in different distances.

You don't seem to think it is the sensor.
So, how can I create that spatial impression?
The background on the FF shots isn't more blurred than in my pics.
So, I don't think it is about the aperture. I've got a 50mm f/1.8 to play around with.
Do I need to catch the right light and shoot from a slight up-/downward angle?
Or could I get the effect by sharpening and brightening up the subject in post processing?

Your first two landscapes are shot without a polarizer and the valley shot you like is shot with a polarizer.  Both your shots had pretty harsh light.  You should try using a polarizer or wait for the light to be softer.  That should improve the saturation and blue sky that you like in the valley shot.  Harsh light tends to give a washed out effect that makes objects look flat.

Your last two portraits have objects in the foreground that take away from the composition.  The two portraits that you like are also shot pretty close to the subject.  Try getting closer with the 17-55 and eliminate the foreground clutter.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: AJ on February 11, 2012, 02:37:03 PM
Ok some more detailed feedback.

1) Church tower.  Awkward composition.  No single focal point.  Flat light.  Simple travel snapshot.
2) Beach.  Really nice!  With the 10-22, get lower and get closer.  This'll get you awesome perspective.  Horizon is at 50% and is tilting.  Too much bland empty sky.  Light is not bad, but sunrise/sunset would take it to the next level.
3) Curly-hair dude.  I like this photo.  The black point is a bit heavy.  I think you could dodge the eyes a bit to bring out the catch-eyes.  Get rid of the intruding finger bottom-left.  Try B&W conversions.  All this photo needs is a bit of post-processing. 
4) Girl.  Awkward centered composition.  Other child in front.  Background too contrasty.  Light is not bad.
5) Baby.  Light is not bad.  Contrasty cluttered background.  Eye contact would be good.  Crop to portrait orientation.  Dodge the catch-eyes.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: unfocused on February 11, 2012, 02:42:34 PM
First, get Scott Kelby's 7-Point System for Photoshop book and work through the exercises. Shoot in raw and double process the images, it's one of the greatest tools in Photoshop. You'll be amazed at what you can do with a little practice.

Second, always pay attention to your background. Train your eye to always look at the background and simplify, simplify, simplify. Remember, photographs are two dimensions. Everything is on a flat plane, so everything gets equal treatment by that plane (unlike your eyes, which can differentiate the distances between objects)
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: JT13 on February 11, 2012, 04:35:48 PM
I really appreciate the feedback.

Some of the advice miss my problem.
I am really concerned about that "sticking out of the frame" and not so much about the composition etc.
I didn't spend too much time in the selection of the pics because I was hoping that it would be a known issue.
It's probably best to get my hands on a 5D from somewhere and do some comparisons myself.

These are some shots from India that I prefer over the others (facebook compressed):(http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/393706_348382765176495_2092575774_n.jpg)

(http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/381189_348380471843391_100000143244210_1565521_1712175944_n.jpg)

(http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/377794_348381361843302_100000143244210_1565539_1124810082_n.jpg)

(http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/395608_348383928509712_100000143244210_1565594_8729867_n.jpg)

(http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/378107_348380215176750_100000143244210_1565516_1415346512_n.jpg)

(http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/409694_348382168509888_100000143244210_1565554_1526515879_n.jpg)

(http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/390761_348378505176921_100000143244210_1565482_733960763_n.jpg)

(http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/402980_348358821845556_100000143244210_1565307_9311665_n.jpg)

(http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/387416_348359121845526_100000143244210_1565312_2005677691_n.jpg)

(http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/373809_348359435178828_100000143244210_1565320_2082542311_n.jpg)

(http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/379965_348360675178704_100000143244210_1565349_1727676025_n.jpg)
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: wockawocka on February 11, 2012, 05:38:43 PM
Full frame is to crop sensors what medium format is to full frame.

I'll never forget the day I saw my first full frame images from a 5D2, wow.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Picsfor on February 11, 2012, 05:56:47 PM
I think the problem is - you've just seen a picture taken with a 5D2 or 1Ds3

I used to shoot with a 30D and 40D. Loved working with them, and they worked ver nicely with a lens bolted to each one.

When i got the 5D2, i was required to sell the 40D (it was only 5 months old) and use the 30D as a back up.
When my wife saw the quality of the images produced by that 5D2 sensor, she just said "get rid of the 30D - it can't compete".

It wasn't about ff or crop - it was very much about a stunning sensor that 3 years on, is still holding its own - even against the new D800. It is a stunning camera with IQ second to none (for its price). As said in earlier answers - ff has the ability to create a shallower DoF - which means you can isolate an object with a very shallow DoF and make it really jump out of the picture.

I do understand what you mean by 'pop' - i don't think it's FF, it''s just that Canon's 2 FF 21mp cameras both produce stunning images. Given what you tend to shoot - i would recomment the 5D2 over the 7D, purely on subject matter.

Try it with that 50mm f1.8 on the front, it'll make you drool...
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Mrs. Canon on February 11, 2012, 06:33:26 PM
I think what makes a photo "pop" is lighting, composition, and lots of practice.

That being said - I have a 5DmkII, 5Dc, and a 7D. The first body I pick up every time is the 5DmkII. My next pick is the 5Dc- which gives me a little different look (so sometimes I pick this body for just that reason). The 5Dc is still a great camera. I did an entire family shoot with the 5Dc and they look really good. My last choice is always my 7D (unless I am needing fast frames per second or if I want to extent my lens length ie. 100mm becomes 160mm, 135mm becomes 216mm etc). Not that there is anything wrong with the my 7D, I just love FF. I don't think FF makes my pics "pop" more, I think that depends on the skill level of the photographer. It is hard for me to explain why I love FF more. I was love at first sight.

Since your camera was stolen (sorry to hear that) now you have a chance to make the jump to FF since you have to buy a new body. I think you will be happy with the change. But I am not saying that it will make your images "pop" more- I just think it is more fun!
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: dr croubie on February 11, 2012, 06:57:47 PM
I think i'll echo what others have said here a bit, but there's more than sensor.

- Use a polariser. Blue skies get bluer, greens get livelier, water reflections get less, unless there's cloud or i'm inside (sometimes even if i am), the polariser is glued to the lens. Check out my two examples at the bottom, shot about 3 seconds apart, 7D and 15-85, one with polariser, one without, camera jpg with no PP (handheld, ignore the sloping horizon). Take your shots of the church and beach, and think about how much a cpl will do to them.

- Shoot RAW, and learn to PP. This one took me a while to get used to (i use linux and it took me a while to get DPP working, now I use it and haven't looked back). It takes some time to master, i'm still learning, going back over old shots and making them twice as good just from the new techniques i've learnt since i DPPed them the first time. Just a simple contrast or saturation boost, or even dragging the black-point slider up a bit to deepen all your blacks can make all the difference. Another 2 shots down the bottom for examples, the first is the batch-processed-raw (practically the same as a camera-jpg). The second had less than half an hour of PP and a bit of cropping.

- Looking at your examples you liked, the first two stood out to me for their colours, the yellow in the background of the boy, or the colours of the uniforms. The light on both of their faces is also very nice. The examples of yours don't have the colour range, but the portraits have nice face-lighting, a bit of PP could clean them up nicely, especially the one of the girl. PPing portraits to 'pop' is a definite artform, i'm struggling with my latest shots of a mate's engagement party, it's too easy to over-saturate the faces to look like cartoons. But with practice, i'll get there...

- The only differences between FF and crop, is the 'apparent depth of field' you get. Shooting a 50mm f/1.2L wide open from a certain distance on a crop-body, you'll get the exact-same look from a FF sensor in the exact same spot using an 80mm f/1.8. Or shooting with 85mm f/1.2 on a crop, you need a (roughly) 135mm f/1.9 on a 5D for the same shot.
In the first example, the 5D can get shallower DOF because it can go wider to f/1.2 (ok, but at 85mm, not 80).
In the second example, you'll get (practically) exactly the same results using a 7D+85/1.2 as you would with a 5D+135/2.0.

But going the other way, if you mount an EF 85 f/1.2L on a FF sensor, you'd need a 53mm f/0.7 lens on a 7D to get the same shot. Such a lens does not exist (although a 50mm f/0.75 does, but sell your house first). If you 'need' to get your DOF this shallow to make the photo 'pop', you 'need' a FF sensor, it can't be done on a crop. (alternatively, buy a Medium Format body and a 135 f/1.9 lens, don't think they're common and definitely not cheap either).
Same with the 50mm f/1.2L on a 5D. If the photo looks good only at f/1.2, then trying to get the same photo using a 7D you'd need a 31mm f/0.7, again, that lens doesn't exist so you can't get that shot on a 7D.
Once you stop-down past f/4 for more DOF though, it doesn't matter what lens/body you're using, because an equivalent length/aperture exists for a different sensor.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Kernuak on February 11, 2012, 07:17:33 PM
The short answer, as others have said, is no, you don't need full frame to make an image pop. That said, there is definitely a difference in tonality between my 5D MkII and 7D, although I can't put my finger on exactly what it is. Essentially, they're just different. I don't use the 5D MkII much for wildlife shots, but here are a couple for comparison of the same sort of subject on the same day (although they aren't technically wildlife). They are also taken with different lenses, but they do demonstrate that crop sensors can "po" too.

5D MkII:

(http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6215/6269806787_8f583c4141_z.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/15522274@N04/6269806787/)
Reindeer Lying Down (http://www.flickr.com/photos/15522274@N04/6269806787/#) by Kernuak (http://www.flickr.com/people/15522274@N04/), on Flickr

7D:

(http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6219/6269809775_42e13061f7_z.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/15522274@N04/6269809775/)
Reindeer Grazing Closeup (http://www.flickr.com/photos/15522274@N04/6269809775/#) by Kernuak (http://www.flickr.com/people/15522274@N04/), on Flickr
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 11, 2012, 07:18:24 PM
Some of the advice miss my problem.
I am really concerned about that "sticking out of the frame" and not so much about the composition etc.

Apologies if this sounds harsh, but on the contrary, I'd suggest your problem is not listening to/understanding the advice.

Yes, a FF camera can deliver shallower DoF for the same framing and perspective, but that's only a limiting factor at the extreme - anything narrower than f/1.9 on FF can be achieved on APS-C. 

What you describe as 'pop' is a combination of composition, light, and aperture, and photos like the ones you posted could certainly be made on an APS-C sensor.  Careful composition guides the viewer's eyes to the subject and provides subject separation, helped in some cases by a wide aperture, and directional lighting adds dimensionality to the image.

FF isn't a magic bullet - you can get yourself a 5DII, shoot with a shallow DoF like f/1.6, but if you've got distracting elements in the frame and the sun behind you, you'll still get a flat image with no 'pop'.

I'll echo the poster above who suggested getting a couple of books on photography - Michael Freeman and Bryan Peterson are good starting points. Don't just read the books - practice the techniques and critically evaluate your results.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Z on February 11, 2012, 07:31:18 PM
FF isn't a magic bullet - you can get yourself a 5DII, shoot with a shallow DoF like f/1.6, but if you've got distracting elements in the frame ... you'll still get a flat image with no 'pop'.
This reminds me of my favourite cork photographer. Man, could he take a photo of a cork.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: JT13 on February 11, 2012, 07:37:50 PM
Thanks for the info!
There are so many steps I can improve on - especially PP.

I take photos mostly while traveling.
When I am back home I am too busy with work to do PP.
So, I've just shot in jpg but I want to change that.

Regarding the "poping"  ;D I don't think it is so much about aperture and DOF.
In the portrait galary there is a great pic by JR:
5D mkII, 70-200mm f2.8L IS II, taken at 200mm, f4.5, ISO 320
(http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=1841.0;attach=17971;image)

The sharp face contour gives the image a great three-dimensionality.
It is almost like looking through a window.

To the last comments:
I don't claim that I mastered APS-C and now need a FF to push the technical boundaries.
I have just noticed that some photos have a great three-dimensional impression and they were all taken by 5Ds.
The reason is not clear to me. It might be PP that most 5D owners use.
Many of the pictures I admire don't look like they took hours of waiting for the right light and it is also not about the largest aperture.
You also don't need a complex composition, as you can see in the picture above.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Kernuak on February 11, 2012, 07:47:33 PM

I take photos mostly while traveling.
When I am back home I am too busy with work to do PP.
So, I've just shot in jpg but I want to change that.


Learning to get as many things as possible right in camera will help there, as it will save time on PP. You can then concentrate on enhancing what you have already, instead of correcting errors. The two examples I posted above had nothing more than a curves adjustment (actually, that's not quite true for the first one, as I applied  a gradient to the sky in Lightroom), they aren't even cropped, as I don't often have the patience (or time) to spend hours on playing around with a photo. I know of people who spend days cloning out background elements from a single photo, but that isn't for me, I'd rather just try to position the subject (or rather me) against an uncluttered background to start with. Sometimes you don't have a choice of course, then you can decide to shoot anyway and either live with the results or find the time to doctor the end result (my conscience, not to mention the time factor, usually leads me to the first option in those cases.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: elflord on February 11, 2012, 07:50:52 PM
I really appreciate the feedback.

Some of the advice miss my problem.
I am really concerned about that "sticking out of the frame" and not so much about the composition etc.
I didn't spend too much time in the selection of the pics because I was hoping that it would be a known issue.
It's probably best to get my hands on a 5D from somewhere and do some comparisons myself.

Full frame has the effect of making your lenses faster -- which creates options for shallow dof and low light photography. It won't solve lighting or composition problems. The intangible "sticking out of the frame" issue is very much related to composition (but also to lighting). A good book on composition will go much further than a 5D.

There is nothing about the "good" pictures you've selected that screams "full frame".

The "popping" in the most recent example is a result of shallow depth of field (200mm at f/4.5 will give you shallow dof, but nothing you couldn't do with a crop though you will need a fast lens -- you need 135mm at f/2.8 to get the same effect on APS-C), but also careful composition. There is a reason that the subject "pops" -- it's because the background is far enough back to be out of focus. There are no distracting elements in the foreground. The "looking through a window" effect is a combination of using a long lens, and again, lining up the background carefully so that it doesn't interfere (and making sure there is nothing in front of the subject).

It's true that you don't always need complex composition. Perhaps a point you've missed is that good composition isn't always complex. In fact on the contrary, for portrait shots like the one you just posted, it's desirable to eliminate distracting elements.
Again, completely attainable on APS-C but requires careful attention to composition.

(edit)
re this:
"I have just noticed that some photos have a great three-dimensional impression and they were all taken by 5Ds."

Portrait and landscape photographers like the 5D (high mpx, shallow dof). The high end APS-C cameras (e.g. 7D) is popular among those who need long lenses and/or fast AF. So I think it's more that the photographers who inspire you tend to like the 5D.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: pwp on February 11, 2012, 08:01:18 PM
You can make a photo pop just as effectively with an iPhone, a compact, an APS-C or FF.

It's all about the so called "decisive moment", that perfect confluence of composition, light and particularly with people, that magic moment.

A bit of feedback I often give when people ask me how to take better people pictures is to "look for the glow, and shoot that!"
Simple and effective. Remember, content is king.

You can definitely enhance a well shot image further in post-pro, but generally no amount of post-pro will retrieve and elevate a poorly shot file to brilliance.

Paul Wright
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: ghosh9691 on February 11, 2012, 08:17:37 PM
To the OP: There is a lot of good advice on this thread that, if I were you, I would try to follow to the letter. IMHO, what makes a photograph pop is composition & lighting. What camera you use is secondary in the modern world - an APS-C camera today has excellent performance. Probably what matters more is lens used. One suggestion I have: try with just one lens, preferrably a fast prime, and do not use any other lens till you master the composition aspect of photography and light. That may help - I know it helped me significantly while using a 50mm lens exclusively!

I have taken one of your samples and cropped it to make the photo more pleasing (no other changes):
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: JT13 on February 11, 2012, 08:32:21 PM
Could someone post a picture taken with an APS-C similar to the portrait in my last post?
The reindeers look good but don't have that "pop out of the frame" feel.
For me the cropped girl's head doesn't come close to it.

I am affraid I might have become too pedantic about the three-dimensional feel.
I will sleep on it for a night.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: elflord on February 11, 2012, 09:06:14 PM
Could someone post a picture taken with an APS-C similar to the portrait in my last post?
The reindeers look good but don't have that "pop out of the frame" feel.
For me the cropped girl's head doesn't come close to it.

I am affraid I might have become too pedantic about the three-dimensional feel.
I will sleep on it for a night.

PM sent with some of my humble efforts...
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: dr croubie on February 11, 2012, 09:07:00 PM
Could someone post a picture taken with an APS-C similar to the portrait in my last post?
The reindeers look good but don't have that "pop out of the frame" feel.
For me the cropped girl's head doesn't come close to it.

I am affraid I might have become too pedantic about the three-dimensional feel.
I will sleep on it for a night.

Not sure quite what you mean by the '3-dimensional-feel', but i'll have a crack. Normally I crop this shot a bit, but this is the entire frame as taken.
7D, <edit: it was the Samyang 35mm f/1.4 actually> at f/2.0 probably, 430EX flash on HSS and a $10 softbox from china via ebay. ISO100, Av, 1/1000s (so the flash probably wasn't doing much anyway).
DPP-processed from raw in Faithful, -1/8 EV, +3 contrast, -2 highlight, -1 shadow, +2 saturation, 3 sharpness, 1/1 NR. (i've found Faithful and Neutral do better for skin tones, you can add more saturation than using 'Portrait' and 'Standard' without the skin looking weird).

(i'm sure others do better at portraits, it's not really my thing)
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: arioch82 on February 11, 2012, 09:07:18 PM
Could someone post a picture taken with an APS-C similar to the portrait in my last post?
The reindeers look good but don't have that "pop out of the frame" feel.
For me the cropped girl's head doesn't come close to it.

I am affraid I might have become too pedantic about the three-dimensional feel.
I will sleep on it for a night.

my tries with a 500D and a "crappy" EF-S 55-250

(http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3526/5708022021_0d070b8623.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ocangelo/5708022021/)
_MG_0518.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ocangelo/5708022021/#) di ocangelo (http://www.flickr.com/people/ocangelo/), su Flickr

(http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6077/6101467948_ec5aa0143a.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ocangelo/6101467948/)
_MG_1975.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ocangelo/6101467948/#) di ocangelo (http://www.flickr.com/people/ocangelo/), su Flickr
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: ghosh9691 on February 11, 2012, 09:08:05 PM
Could someone post a picture taken with an APS-C similar to the portrait in my last post?
The reindeers look good but don't have that "pop out of the frame" feel.
For me the cropped girl's head doesn't come close to it.

I am affraid I might have become too pedantic about the three-dimensional feel.
I will sleep on it for a night.

I think your needs might be best served by a full-frame camera - maybe the 1DX, D800, D4, or if time permits and you can wait, the 5DIII whenever it gets released...

Alternately, the Leica M9 coupled with the 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux will give you fabulous photos as well...
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Drizzt321 on February 11, 2012, 10:44:06 PM
Could someone post a picture taken with an APS-C similar to the portrait in my last post?
The reindeers look good but don't have that "pop out of the frame" feel.
For me the cropped girl's head doesn't come close to it.

I am affraid I might have become too pedantic about the three-dimensional feel.
I will sleep on it for a night.

I think your needs might be best served by a full-frame camera - maybe the 1DX, D800, D4, or if time permits and you can wait, the 5DIII whenever it gets released...

Alternately, the Leica M9 coupled with the 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux will give you fabulous photos as well...

Actually, I don't know why he would bother with those cheap bodies. He needs to go right for Medium Format! There's no substitute for a truly giant sensor!
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: DarStone on February 11, 2012, 11:25:01 PM
I have both the 7D and 5D MkII to be honest I prefer my 7D in almost all shooting situations, but I always shoot raw but even Jpeg's can be tweaked. The shots you used as examples are all edited, while yours are straight out of camera, your shots are very good and would be even better with just a little editing. Here is an example using your own shots.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: tt on February 12, 2012, 07:58:22 AM
JT13 - looking at another thread, gave a simple demo of how a change in aperture (a 70-200mm 2.8 at 2.8 vs a 85mm at 1.2) can help this. Yes lighting would enhance the pop - looking at the photos it also shows how compression of the background via focal length, positioning of a darker/less busy background, and lighting can all help.

.. Bokeh wise, someone mentioned the 85 1.2 and 70-200 @200 2.8 would give the same look.. NO. it's not. n I took couple shots to see how much differences (for my own references at well)
all shot handheld, lowlight, straight out from camera, used 1d2 (FF would give a better look, isnt it?)
85L @1.2

(http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w48/vuilang/Sample%20test/8512.jpg)

70-200 @ 85mm 2.8

(http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w48/vuilang/Sample%20test/8528.jpg)

70-200 @200 2.8

(http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w48/vuilang/Sample%20test/20028.jpg)

BONUS: 200mm F2.0 IS

(http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w48/vuilang/Sample%20test/20020.jpg)
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Viggo on February 12, 2012, 08:49:51 AM
If you use 1,2's and 1,4 lenses on FF It can't be beat, it just makes the images look SO much better. I wil never consider a crop cam again, ever.... This image is shot a full stop down on the 50 L , and what sets the L's apart is the quality of the bokeh when stopping down, it stays supersmooth...

(http://photobyviggo.com/random/alex5d2.jpg)

Cereals with Mickey on the box, oh, happiness ;D
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: HTCahHTC on February 12, 2012, 09:01:54 AM
If you Google 'bokeh difference FF and crop sensor' you'll generate a few links which show the differences of bokeh effects on ff and crop sensors. The difference is what you're looking for. So, yes, ff do actually make a difference. I know what you're trying to say cos I am thinking exactly like you. My pictures from my 450D doesn't 'pop' as much but using the same setups but with a 5Dii, things turned out different.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: hoousi on February 12, 2012, 09:02:43 AM
Thanks for the info!
There are so many steps I can improve on - especially PP.

I take photos mostly while traveling.
When I am back home I am too busy with work to do PP.
So, I've just shot in jpg but I want to change that.

Regarding the "poping"  ;D I don't think it is so much about aperture and DOF.
In the portrait galary there is a great pic by JR:
5D mkII, 70-200mm f2.8L IS II, taken at 200mm, f4.5, ISO 320
(http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=1841.0;attach=17971;image)

The sharp face contour gives the image a great three-dimensionality.
It is almost like looking through a window.

To the last comments:
I don't claim that I mastered APS-C and now need a FF to push the technical boundaries.
I have just noticed that some photos have a great three-dimensional impression and they were all taken by 5Ds.
The reason is not clear to me. It might be PP that most 5D owners use.
Many of the pictures I admire don't look like they took hours of waiting for the right light and it is also not about the largest aperture.
You also don't need a complex composition, as you can see in the picture above.


I think I understand what you are getting at, it sounds stupid but after changing to FF I prefer my photos, though I certainly did not improve my photographing skills from one day to the other, and my D90 and X100 certainly were/are great cameras, but there just is something to these FF pictures, the tonality of the x100 plus the DOF control plus some L-magic. I get way more compliments now than before just shooting the same... Everybody says it's more important to take courses and read books on getting a better photographer, which is absolutely true, but if you have the funds for FF and other goodies it makes your photos better in an instant and you still can go on improving your skills...
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Viggo on February 12, 2012, 09:07:18 AM
Thanks for the info!
There are so many steps I can improve on - especially PP.

I take photos mostly while traveling.
When I am back home I am too busy with work to do PP.
So, I've just shot in jpg but I want to change that.

Regarding the "poping"  ;D I don't think it is so much about aperture and DOF.
In the portrait galary there is a great pic by JR:
5D mkII, 70-200mm f2.8L IS II, taken at 200mm, f4.5, ISO 320
(http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=1841.0;attach=17971;image)

The sharp face contour gives the image a great three-dimensionality.
It is almost like looking through a window.

To the last comments:
I don't claim that I mastered APS-C and now need a FF to push the technical boundaries.
I have just noticed that some photos have a great three-dimensional impression and they were all taken by 5Ds.
The reason is not clear to me. It might be PP that most 5D owners use.
Many of the pictures I admire don't look like they took hours of waiting for the right light and it is also not about the largest aperture.
You also don't need a complex composition, as you can see in the picture above.


I think I understand what you are getting at, it sounds stupid but after changing to FF I prefer my photos, though I certainly did not improve my photographing skills from one day to the other, and my D90 and X100 certainly were/are great cameras, but there just is something to these FF pictures, the tonality of the x100 plus the DOF control plus some L-magic. I get way more compliments now than before just shooting the same... Everybody says it's more important to take courses and read books on getting a better photographer, which is absolutely true, but if you have the funds for FF and other goodies it makes your photos better in an instant and you still can go on improving your skills...

I fully agree, now you can expect some rants from others for saying what you're saying, but it doesn't change the fact that you are right indeed.

Light is extremely important, but even with the same light, same lens same everything, one shot on a 450d at 100 iso and the 5d2 shot 100 iso, the 5d WILL look much more pleasing and it makes color-gradients, depth of color, punch of color, dynamic range, light to dark gradients, bokeh, everything is better.

Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: mws on February 12, 2012, 09:20:48 AM
I've been watching this form, as I feel the same way about my photos from my 50D (I have good glass, 50 f1.4, 24-70L f 2.8, 70-200L 2.8 IS II). Although I do realize most of the poor results are just due to me not having anywhere enough time (One kid under two and another due in 3 weeks will do that to you...) to practice shooting to get it down to the level I want.

I've already decided my next cam will be FF, most likely be what ever the 5D mk III ends up to be. I've noticed that a lot of people talked about the effect that PP has on the photo. Anyone care to share some tips/pointers/links to some good PP resources? I feel that I know my way around Lightroom pretty well, but always struggle to get the results I want from it. Even starting PP with photos that I feel are pretty good, I tend to spend far time much time screwing around in LR with sub par results.

I'll put it this way, it usually takes me so much time to do PP that I'm several months behind in uploading pictures to my website.

I assume it all comes down to get it right in the camera, and then less is more in PP?
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: dmills on February 12, 2012, 09:23:14 AM
Sure, full frame will look better. But, that doesn't mean that you can't get images that pop from an aps-c either. I'm no pro photographer, but I feel like any of these images pop pretty well in their own right. All shot on a 60D.

(http://millsdaniel.com/other/sunflower_1_small.jpg) - 10-22
(http://millsdaniel.com/other/race_1_small.jpg) 100-400
(http://millsdaniel.com/other/ballet_1_small.jpg) 85 1.2
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: ghosh9691 on February 12, 2012, 09:35:35 AM
I fully agree, now you can expect some rants from others for saying what you're saying, but it doesn't change the fact that you are right indeed.

Light is extremely important, but even with the same light, same lens same everything, one shot on a 450d at 100 iso and the 5d2 shot 100 iso, the 5d WILL look much more pleasing and it makes color-gradients, depth of color, punch of color, dynamic range, light to dark gradients, bokeh, everything is better.

Bokeh is the quality of the background blur. It depends on the lens and the way a lens "draws". The amount of background blur is controlled by Depth of Field (DOF) and this is driven by subject distance, sensor size and lens aperture. You can get the same bokeh (amount and quality) with APS-C and FF if you use the same lens. The only thing different will be subject distance and framing that will account for the size difference between the two formats.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Viggo on February 12, 2012, 09:46:23 AM
I fully agree, now you can expect some rants from others for saying what you're saying, but it doesn't change the fact that you are right indeed.

Light is extremely important, but even with the same light, same lens same everything, one shot on a 450d at 100 iso and the 5d2 shot 100 iso, the 5d WILL look much more pleasing and it makes color-gradients, depth of color, punch of color, dynamic range, light to dark gradients, bokeh, everything is better.

Bokeh is the quality of the background blur. It depends on the lens and the way a lens "draws". The amount of background blur is controlled by Depth of Field (DOF) and this is driven by subject distance, sensor size and lens aperture. You can get the same bokeh (amount and quality) with APS-C and FF if you use the same lens. The only thing different will be subject distance and framing that will account for the size difference between the two formats.

All theory and what might not be, doesn't change the fact that my 24 LII, 50 L and 85 LII looks fantastically much better on the 5d than they did on my mk4. Muchmuch cleaner iso's below 800 also helps the 5d over the 7d and the mk4, and as the iso get's cleaner the dynamic range is also better. Simply saying the dof is the same with different framing doesn't make sense. It's the whole package of the fullframe 5d2 over the mk4 and the 7d/60d/550d that is the key here. And the fact it being full frame and improves every aspect of the image is waay different from depth of field alone. And all those things combined gives you at much better image overall.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: stabmasterasron on February 12, 2012, 10:13:09 AM
I think there could be something else at work here.  I have thought about this same issue for quite some time.  When you troll the flickr groups for the full framers (like the 5D group or the 5Dmkii group) you will see some stunning photos.  Then you go to the crop group (maybe a rebel group) and the photos are still good, but maybe just a notch lower.  I think what could be happening here has less to do with camera and sensor and more to do with skill levels of photographers.  I think it is more likely that if a photog is shooting full frame, they probably have many years of expience with lighting, composition and all the little details that make a stunning photo.  Now I am not implying that there are not good rebel shooters, there certainly are.  But the overall skill level when looking at large groups of photos could be lower from a rebel group than from a FF group.
Do I think there is an advantage to FF camera?  I think there probably is.  But I think the skill of a photographer is many times more important than the equipment they are using.
By the way, I do believe that the photos you selected as examples of what a FF can do are very good compositionally and also most likely heavily post processed.  You are comparing them to your photos which are weaker in composition and jpg's straight from your camera.  I don't think this is a very good comparison.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: JerryBruck on February 12, 2012, 10:24:42 AM
Agree with neuro but with viggo too -- in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing FF can help produce a very pleasing difference (at least on the evidence of looking at some other people's FFs). 

But then again how high should this concern rank, in the drive to make pictures that stun?  Is the following FF?   http://photomoment.bg/photo/82375 (http://photomoment.bg/photo/82375)  (Check the EXIF data.)

Professionals naturally concern themselves with efficiency and keeping up with those Joneses, but among serious amateurs, where most of the memorable work seems to come from, does an obsession with equipment do any good?  Or can less be more?

@stabmastereason:  I've had some opposite impressions looking at Flicker.  For example check the tag for Zeiss Distagon 35mm f1.4 -- heartbreaking.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: ghosh9691 on February 12, 2012, 10:26:40 AM
I guess there are people here who feel that their photographic talents are being constrained by anything other than a full-frame camera and they are trying to justify the cost of upgrading to a full-frame. Well, why do you need justification from others? It's really a simple matter: if you have the budget, then you should go ahead and get one.

Don't talk rot about FF having more "pop" than APS-C. There are umpteen number of photos (and photogs) out there shooting APS-C professionally and their photos have equal amount of pop as anyone else shooting FF.

Don't believe me? Here are some samples from Flickr (these aren't mine, but they illustrate the point - and they were shot with a Rebel T2i):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/robbyryke/6846645823/# (http://www.flickr.com/photos/robbyryke/6846645823/#)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilovelotsofpizza/4675165898/# (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilovelotsofpizza/4675165898/#)

And if these still do not have enough pop and don't jump out of the screen/print, then maybe ya'll should consider this camera: http://www.shopfujifilm.com/detail/FUJ+16082969 (http://www.shopfujifilm.com/detail/FUJ+16082969)

Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: JerryBruck on February 12, 2012, 10:48:52 AM
@DarStone:  You made steel wool of that poor little girl's hair "with just a little editing"!  I'm calling Child Protective Services before you can get your hands on her raw.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: ejenner on February 12, 2012, 10:56:36 AM
My photos from my 5DII suck just as bad as with my T1i, but I feel like a better photographer with the 5DII in my hands.  Maybe FF is enough for extra inspiration and thought?

Seriously though, choosing a 5DII over a 7D came down to addressing specific issues I had with the T1i and had nothing to do with going FF per-se.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: stabmasterasron on February 12, 2012, 11:03:27 AM
By the way, I know the OP was looking for a photo that popped from a crop sensor.  I am not pro, but here is a picture of I took of my daughter that seems to have some of that magic.  I shot it with a Rebel XS with no special lighting setup (although the natural lighting was quite good).  I am pretty sure I shot it with the Sigma 50-150 f/2.8, a good lens, but most here would probably not consider great.  Maybe I just got lucky.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Kernuak on February 12, 2012, 11:05:31 AM
One thing that I don't think has been mentioned. If you have control over the position of the subject, then moving them away from the background will give you more separation and give you similar amounts of blur if you position them right. Because full frame is often the choice of studio photographers, there is a greater chance that they have actually set up the positioning, therefore they have more options when it comes to aperture choice. Of course for candid shots this isn't always possible, although you do have the option of moving yourself, so that you can choose a different background that is further away.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Viggo on February 12, 2012, 11:13:43 AM
I guess there are people here who feel that their photographic talents are being constrained by anything other than a full-frame camera and they are trying to justify the cost of upgrading to a full-frame. Well, why do you need justification from others? It's really a simple matter: if you have the budget, then you should go ahead and get one.

Don't talk rot about FF having more "pop" than APS-C. There are umpteen number of photos (and photogs) out there shooting APS-C professionally and their photos have equal amount of pop as anyone else shooting FF.

Don't believe me? Here are some samples from Flickr (these aren't mine, but they illustrate the point - and they were shot with a Rebel T2i):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/robbyryke/6846645823/# (http://www.flickr.com/photos/robbyryke/6846645823/#)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilovelotsofpizza/4675165898/# (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilovelotsofpizza/4675165898/#)

And if these still do not have enough pop and don't jump out of the screen/print, then maybe ya'll should consider this camera: http://www.shopfujifilm.com/detail/FUJ+16082969 (http://www.shopfujifilm.com/detail/FUJ+16082969)

I guess it has something to do with what you shoot also. From my perspective, I shoot a lot of my images at larger than f2,0 apertures, and that gives the FF cameras a huge advantage, but other styles may not be THAT much different, for example at f11 snapshots with useless light ;D

But these two examples, to me at least, prove the difference I see with my own images. It's too snapshotty.

This is my personal taste, and I'm not here to dog the aps-c, but for ME, the images will always be better no matter what you shoot with a fullframe. And extremely often, isn't very difficult to see what image shot with what, although there can be a garabage picture with a FF and a fantastic, optimal with an aps-c camera that won't tell the whole story. But there is a reason Canon released the FF cameras, and we will see more of them.

The x-factor or magic of the FF camera isn't that at all. It's much smoother gradients between light and dark, less depth which really show off the smoother better bokeh of those lenses used, it's better dynamic range and less noise.

My last comment for this thread, I just had to argue with that it's "no difference, it's all light and skill and framing" it isn't.....

it's the same as saying it's better to buy a polarizer than a better lens, no it isn't, because they also sell polarizer for the more expensive lens. It's the same as saying, learn how to sharpen and shoot raw and you don't need the more expensive lens, but you can also sharpen the images from the more expensive lens , so the better gear will always keep their advantage....

Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: JT13 on February 12, 2012, 12:49:54 PM
I like the second horse picture best. Interestingly, it has the lower focal range (85mm vs. 200mm) and the lower aperture (2.8 vs. 1.2) which goes against all the technical rules mentioned so far.
The main reason for me is the contrast and the sharp head in front of a dark background.
To be fair the perspective and focus are not completely equal.

Most of the crop pictures posted are really great but don't have that three-dimensional feel to me.
That might be very subjective.

I love Viggo's photo, that is exactly what I mean.
(http://photobyviggo.com/random/alex5d2.jpg)

I think the reason for it are sharp edges, either by blurring the background or high contrasts.
The boy's head and shoulders as well as the woman's face really stand out from the background.
(http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=1841.0;attach=17971;image)

The girl's chin blends in with the background and therefore doesn't give me the feel of depth.
(http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=3349.0;attach=18781;image)

BTW, I don't like 3D movies. I am not after some gimmick but great IQ.
Good plasmas also create a light spatial impression.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: TexPhoto on February 12, 2012, 02:09:32 PM
I like to think that I as a photographer, make my images pop. 

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7005/6705635189_831a6a2225_b.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12047900@N06/6705635189/)
Untitled (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12047900@N06/6705635189/#) by TexPhoto (http://www.flickr.com/people/12047900@N06/), on Flickr
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: AJ on February 12, 2012, 02:20:54 PM
This thread seems to equate "pop" with selective focus.

Personally I think "pop" is more of a matter of good colors, microcontrast, and composition where the eye immediately goes to the main subject.   Large-dof compositions like landscapes can have pop too.

Good color and microcontrast is a function of good light, good composition (e.g. no supercontrasty background), competent post-processing, and a quality lens.  Sensor format doesn't matter as much.

As for shallow dof.  Yes full-frame will help with this.  But I think blur is often overdone.  Let's go back to the first photo.

(http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=2753.0;attach=18201)

If this photo was shot with ultrashallow dof, the lanterns in the background would just be a sea of yellow.  But with the photog's choice of dof we can make out some detail.  Not enough detail to distract, but just enough to tell what's going on.  In other words, dof is just right.  This photo could have been shot with either crop or FF gear.


Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: NotABunny on February 12, 2012, 02:58:50 PM
Photography is about LIGHT (= natural or artifical, mood giving), GEOMETRY (= composition, distortions due to the focal length and angle of view, depth of field / background blur) and EMOTION. Post-processing is used to alter the light / color and geometry after the fact.


The photo with the asian kid is lacking light on the kid's face (to make the subject pop more).
The second has bad geometry. It just looks distorted.
The giraffe... ummm... while butts can make very good photos, that's just not one of them.
The valley shot is awful - all blurry and with bad light (= low and monochromatic) in the valley. (The geometry is good though.)
The clock tower should have been without the building on the right side (= it just unbalances the tower) and post-processed to give it contrast.
The beach + sea is nice, but it still feels unbalanced because both land and see are about equal in size. Usually in such cases the sea takes most of the photo.
The black dude with the crazy hair is good, but too tight and has The Finger, plus it could have used some fill light for the eyes.
The girl would make really good portrait photos, but this one is overcrowded and the girl is centered.
The toddler shot is crowded and has the red hue due to the red umbrella filtering the sunlight.


The background on the FF shots isn't more blurred than in my pics.
So, I don't think it is about the aperture.


Do I need to catch the right light and shoot from a slight up-/downward angle?

Normally, if you use a long focal length and shoot (a portrait) from a slight up-/downward angle, it's not going to show good geometry, it just feels slightly off and nothing more; you really need the space to use a hefty off angle. A short focal length is going to amplify the view, like this: http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/090518/16/4a11ef9f15285.jpg (http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/090518/16/4a11ef9f15285.jpg) or http://pics.livejournal.com/klyukovkin/pic/0002r0g3 (http://pics.livejournal.com/klyukovkin/pic/0002r0g3) (I couldn't find the color corrected one that I have on my computer)

Here is a shot at F 7.1 and 200 mm (not full frame camera) to show that in the end it's all about breaking the rules: https://plus.google.com/photos/106877334390873766615/albums/5659712870189269345/5659713156902762434 (https://plus.google.com/photos/106877334390873766615/albums/5659712870189269345/5659713156902762434)


And remember, not everything makes good subjects
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: smirkypants on February 12, 2012, 03:01:21 PM
I think it's plenty easy to get photos that pop with a crop sensor camera. I took this in the park last Friday. With a 1.4 lens it's easy to manage depth of field on a crop sensor camera. Cheers.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: elflord on February 12, 2012, 03:38:33 PM
I guess it has something to do with what you shoot also. From my perspective, I shoot a lot of my images at larger than f2,0 apertures, and that gives the FF cameras a huge advantage,

True, and that's the main thing that sets FF apart as a portrait camera.

Quote
The x-factor or magic of the FF camera isn't that at all. It's much smoother gradients between light and dark, less depth which really show off the smoother better bokeh of those lenses used, it's better dynamic range and less noise.

Compared to a body like the 7D, the 5D is about 1 stop better across the ISO range. So in practice, if you're shooting low ISOs, you won't see a huge difference. BTW, some of the new APS-C sensors from Sony do better in the dynamic range component of the DXO mark at low ISOs.

Quote
My last comment for this thread, I just had to argue with that it's "no difference, it's all light and skill and framing" it isn't.....

If OP had asked,  "I want a camera for shooting portraits and landscapes. Should I get a 5D or 7D ?", I would have voted for the full frame. But the "pop" that the OP is talking about really does seem to be largely about better photography -- a mix of composition, light, and perhaps some post processing skills.

A full frame camera will perform much better at high ISOs (the 5D MkII is about 2 stops better than my old rebel XS) and provide some shallow dof options, but it won't fix problems in front of or behind the camera.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 12, 2012, 03:54:10 PM
I think it's plenty easy to get photos that pop with a crop sensor camera.

If you want to see 'pop' in your photos, get a full frame camera.  It really is that simple.  After spending thousands on a new camera, you will immediately start seeing that pop, whether it's really there or not. Mind over reality - works wonders.   ::)
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: ghosh9691 on February 12, 2012, 04:07:34 PM
I think it's plenty easy to get photos that pop with a crop sensor camera.

If you want to see 'pop' in your photos, get a full frame camera.  It really is that simple.  After spending thousands on a new camera, you will immediately start seeing that pop, whether it's really there or not. Mind over reality - works wonders.   ::)

Depending on how many thousands one spends on a full frame camera, one might start seeing disco lights instead of pop :)

Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: JT13 on February 12, 2012, 04:31:55 PM
I think the attempts to ridicule me are unnecessary.  :-X

My definition of "pop" was:
"The main reason for considering FF is that I sometimes see photos that have something mine are missing. It is hard to put a finger on it. It is a certain brilliance that gives the pictures the impression of depth. While there seems nothing obvious to be wrong with my photos they are “flat” and unspectacular in comparison.
Has one of you encountered something similar? I am not even sure if it is the FF or composition, light, post procession, primes etc.
In my pictures nothing pops out, everything seems to be on one plane."

I described my impressions on different photos and tried to put it into technical terms.

Still, none of the posted crop photos made a similar impression on me like the two shots in my last post.
BTW, I never claimed that all FF pics look great, but the ones I like best were taken with a FF.
How about a "blind" test to make sure that not my wish for a FF is misleading me?  :P


Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: frisk on February 12, 2012, 04:38:43 PM
As for shallow dof.  Yes full-frame will help with this.  But I think blur is often overdone.  Let's go back to the first photo.

Indeed, it can be overdone.   Consider this:  crop camera 85mm @ f1.2

(http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4115/4798342855_f2dddeaf08_z.jpg)

It is interesting to see the narrow strip of gravel that is in focus, as it demonstrates how "thin" the area in focus really is....but the overall effect might perhaps have been more pleasing with if this was less extreme.

Having said that, I really want to put my 50mm f/1.0 lens on a FF camera and play around with it a bit.....
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: wellfedCanuck on February 12, 2012, 04:40:39 PM
I think it's plenty easy to get photos that pop with a crop sensor camera.

If you want to see 'pop' in your photos, get a full frame camera.  It really is that simple.  After spending thousands on a new camera, you will immediately start seeing that pop, whether it's really there or not. Mind over reality - works wonders.   ::)

Depending on how many thousands one spends on a full frame camera, one might start seeing disco lights instead of pop :)
Or stars when your spouse sees how much you spent...
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Viggo on February 12, 2012, 04:49:10 PM
I guess it has something to do with what you shoot also. From my perspective, I shoot a lot of my images at larger than f2,0 apertures, and that gives the FF cameras a huge advantage,


Compared to a body like the 7D, the 5D is about 1 stop better across the ISO range. So in practice, if you're shooting low ISOs, you won't see a huge difference. BTW, some of the new APS-C sensors from Sony do better in the dynamic range component of the DXO mark at low ISOs.

Have you even tried these cameras?

The lower iso's of the 5d is waaaaaay cleaner than the 7d, are you kidding me?

The 5d is also much better at the lower iso's compared to the 1d4. And, ahrg, pay attention so I don't have to write the same stuff all over, the difference in the overall IQ and "feel" of the image on the 5d2 compared to the mk4 is huge! If you don't see it, then fine, you saved a lot of money, but don't give me quotes from DxO marks telling me otherwise.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: smirkypants on February 12, 2012, 05:17:14 PM
Seriously guys, it's like tennis guys arguing over their gear. They hyperfocus on every little detail because those things are easily obsessed over. The truth is, I could play against Nadal, giving him just an old sneaker to hit the ball with and he'd still kick my ass. You can take fantastic pictures with a crop sensor camera and a little skill. Just don't tell Canon that, they want you to want 12 frames a second.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: briansquibb on February 12, 2012, 05:30:19 PM

The 5d is also much better at the lower iso's compared to the 1d4. And, ahrg, pay attention so I don't have to write the same stuff all over, the difference in the overall IQ and "feel" of the image on the 5d2 compared to the mk4 is huge! If you don't see it, then fine, you saved a lot of money, but don't give me quotes from DxO marks telling me otherwise.

I think the 5DII has more contrast in very good light.

In poor light it seems to be the other way round
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: elflord on February 12, 2012, 05:30:26 PM
Compared to a body like the 7D, the 5D is about 1 stop better across the ISO range. So in practice, if you're shooting low ISOs, you won't see a huge difference. BTW, some of the new APS-C sensors from Sony do better in the dynamic range component of the DXO mark at low ISOs.

Have you even tried these cameras?

I have the 5D Mark II. Before that I had a Rebel XS. I also have a panasonic GF2.

At ISO 100, at screen resolutions, I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between the three. I certainly don't see an intangible "pop" in the 5D Mark II that I don't see in the others (besides the dof advantage). High ISOs are a different story -- the 5D is about 2 stops better than the rebel.

Quote
The lower iso's of the 5d is waaaaaay cleaner than the 7d, are you kidding me?

I don't think we disagree, we just put it differently. It's about 2 stops better. That means that if you shoot at ISO 100 on the 7D or ISO 400 on the 5D, you will really need to pixel peep to see flaws in the image (I doubt you'll  see it on uncropped screen resolution jpegs)

Quote
The 5d is also much better at the lower iso's compared to the 1d4. And, ahrg, pay attention so I don't have to write the same stuff all over, the difference in the overall IQ and "feel" of the image on the 5d2 compared to the mk4 is huge! If you don't see it, then fine, you saved a lot of money, but don't give me quotes from DxO marks telling me otherwise.

I don't see it but unfortunately I blew the money on the 5D2 anyway.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: briansquibb on February 12, 2012, 05:46:06 PM
Seriously guys, it's like tennis guys arguing over their gear. They hyperfocus on every little detail because those things are easily obsessed over. The truth is, I could play against Nadal, giving him just an old sneaker to hit the ball with and he'd still kick my ass. You can take fantastic pictures with a crop sensor camera and a little skill. Just don't tell Canon that, they want you to want 12 frames a second.

+1 I get the comments about 'how can I get as good pictures as you when you have all that fancy gear?' I then get nearly the same from the 40D + 55-250. I can tell the difference but they struggle
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: smirkypants on February 12, 2012, 06:01:22 PM
+1 I get the comments about 'how can I get as good pictures as you when you have all that fancy gear?' I then get nearly the same from the 40D + 55-250. I can tell the difference but they struggle
Bum Phillips quote about Don Shula... He can take his'n and beat your'n and take your'n and beat his'n.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: pakosouthpark on February 12, 2012, 06:12:56 PM
Ok some more detailed feedback.

1) Church tower.  Awkward composition.  No single focal point.  Flat light.  Simple travel snapshot.
2) Beach.  Really nice!  With the 10-22, get lower and get closer.  This'll get you awesome perspective.  Horizon is at 50% and is tilting.  Too much bland empty sky.  Light is not bad, but sunrise/sunset would take it to the next level.
3) Curly-hair dude.  I like this photo.  The black point is a bit heavy.  I think you could dodge the eyes a bit to bring out the catch-eyes.  Get rid of the intruding finger bottom-left.  Try B&W conversions.  All this photo needs is a bit of post-processing. 
4) Girl.  Awkward centered composition.  Other child in front.  Background too contrasty.  Light is not bad.
5) Baby.  Light is not bad.  Contrasty cluttered background.  Eye contact would be good.  Crop to portrait orientation.  Dodge the catch-eyes.

exactly what he said!
a lot of times people think cameras will take better shots for them - but its wrong to think like that - you can get amazing shots with an okay camera and lenses.. but obviously it helps having high end technology.. but do trust on your own skills and try to improve them. dont think a camera will do that for ya ;)
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Kernuak on February 12, 2012, 06:37:13 PM
Many of the examples just don't look natural, due to the processing. While in some cases that may be aesthetically pleasing, you need to take into account that many of the effects that you are looking for in your work have been achieved through post processing of already good photos. In some ways full frame will give you more flexibility and the different tonality will give a different look, but that doesn't mean it is impossible with a crop sensor. I tend to underprocess my images, as I send them to stock libraries who prefer minimal processing and a more natural look, which as it happens, coincides to some degree with my preferences.
I was going to post a link to Darwin Wiggett's galleries, as I know he uses a Rebel, but he also uses a 1D MkIII and I'm not sure which images are taken with the crop for sure. These two were taken in different lighting conditions from the reindeer shots, with more directional side lighting, so maybe they show more of what you want to see. They are both with the 7D. I posted the reindeer shots, because they were the most direct comparison between the two cameras, as they were both taken on the same afternoon, with broadly similar results.

(http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4126/5087628798_3f2e338cbb_z.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/15522274@N04/5087628798/)
Kingfisher on a Tree (http://www.flickr.com/photos/15522274@N04/5087628798/#) by Kernuak (http://www.flickr.com/people/15522274@N04/), on Flickr

(http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5229/5806125134_0848df5894_z.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/15522274@N04/5806125134/)
Male Great Spotted Woodpecker Feeding. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/15522274@N04/5806125134/#) by Kernuak (http://www.flickr.com/people/15522274@N04/), on Flickr
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Hillsilly on February 12, 2012, 08:35:05 PM
I'm a recent convert to FF.  After using a 30D for a while, I picked up a cheap, used 1Ds mkii late last year.  As mentioned by others, there's noticeably less Depth of Field when shooting with wide apertures and you are generally shooting with longer lenses.  Combined these help to give images more "pop".  Photo's from the new camera seem to have more of a realistic / "3D" look.  Colours seem "better".  The photos have more detail.  Of course, this could be due to a lot of things - my imagination and twice the megapixels being the main things that come to mind.  But overall, I definitely prefer the photos from the FF camera.  In my first week with it, all I can remember thinking was "Wow, I should have grabbed one of these earlier".  Even now that the initial excitement has worn off, I still think that there was a big quality gain by changing cameras.  And given that my camera is 7 - 8 years old, I'd have to assume that a newer FF camera would be even better.

Now, that was going from an 8.2mp crop camera to a 16.7mp camera.  I'd like to think that the sensor in a 7D would be significantly better than a 30D and the increase in megapixels to a FF camera isn't as big.  But there would be a slight difference.  Given that you'd have to change some lenses and buy a new body, you'll just have to decide if a minor gain is worth the price. 

A simple, cheap experiment - Pick up the cheapest working Canon film SLR you can find off ebay (maybe $15), a projector ($20) and a roll of Provia ($6).   Take some photos and project them onto the wall.  That's what FF versions of your photos would look like.  Do they look better?  If so, make the switch to FF (then sell the film camera and projector and get your money back).     
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: stabmasterasron on February 12, 2012, 08:54:32 PM
ok JT13.  You wanted a blind test, here is your blind test.  Is this image from a FF or crop camera?
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Mrs. Canon on February 12, 2012, 09:24:21 PM
There has been a lot of talk about the "pop" coming from the camera, however there has been little said about the how much a lens can make a picture "pop". I wanted a macro lens for a long time simply because I like macro photography. But I really fell in love with my 100mm L when I did my first wedding with it. The color and contrast it produced was so pretty. I had another photographer borrow the lens because of the focal length (not because it was macro) and she really loved the color and contrast it produced also.

And if you are really wanting a "3D" look, check out the pics of the Zeiss 100mm- simply breath taking.

There are many more factors that go into a great photograph than just the sensor size.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Hillsilly on February 12, 2012, 10:41:29 PM
ok JT13.  You wanted a blind test, here is your blind test.  Is this image from a FF or crop camera?

iPhone?

As mentioned above, I like the photos from FF.  But I also like the photos from my old camera.  In a side by side comparison, you could probably identify which camera took which photo, but for 90% of my photos that doesn't necessarily make the FF photo "better".  Just different.  Unless you're shooting wide open and looking for more background blur, or want to shoot at high ISOs, the real world difference is immaterial. 
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: stabmasterasron on February 12, 2012, 10:58:57 PM
@Hillsilly: The OP asked for this.  I agree, I think the real world differences are probably slight. 
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: Hillsilly on February 12, 2012, 11:54:01 PM
I know, just having some fun.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: NotABunny on February 13, 2012, 03:31:45 AM
I am not even sure if it is the FF or composition, light, post procession, primes etc.

It's everything, not one thing. There is no shortcut.


Still, none of the posted crop photos made a similar impression on me like the two shots in my last post.

Sharp edges, like in the shot of the woman that you've posted can be achived with a backlight, or like in this case with contrasty clothing and background (including the blur of the background). Look at how her right hand fades into the background, while her left is in sharp focus.

The effect from the image of the kid is given by the high background blur and by the small focal length used to amplify the ratio of distances.

Other than this, I personaly see no 3D effect in them that you say you see.

The reason why your shots look bland is not because of lacking a 3D effect, but that you have no subject that pops in front of the viewer.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: bycostello on February 13, 2012, 10:24:57 AM
short answer, no
long answer, about a stop of difference in depth of field. (closer u are to something the shallower DOF u have, FF simply lets u stand closer [for the same crop]).
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: tt on February 13, 2012, 11:04:38 AM
Seriously guys, it's like tennis guys arguing over their gear. They hyperfocus on every little detail because those things are easily obsessed over. The truth is, I could play against Nadal, giving him just an old sneaker to hit the ball with and he'd still kick my ass. You can take fantastic pictures with a crop sensor camera and a little skill. Just don't tell Canon that, they want you to want 12 frames a second.
It's been interesting for me to recently see photographers I've been following, talking about how they're enjoying the X100, and anticipating the X1 Pro. Simultaneously, others have been heading to Medium Format!

For all, they're focused on lighting, good light. And they can pull good shots  - be it for Photojournalism (Mullins), wedding photography and some glamour (Lovegrove), flash photography (Hobby), bands and other (Arius).

I guess there are a *lot* of factors that contribute to getting the pop you're after.
Title: Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 13, 2012, 12:07:51 PM
I am not even sure if it is the FF or composition, light, post procession, primes etc.

It's everything, not one thing. There is no shortcut.


Still, none of the posted crop photos made a similar impression on me like the two shots in my last post.

Sharp edges, like in the shot of the woman that you've posted can be achived with a backlight, or like in this case with contrasty clothing and background (including the blur of the background). Look at how her right hand fades into the background, while her left is in sharp focus.

The effect from the image of the kid is given by the high background blur and by the small focal length used to amplify the ratio of distances.

Other than this, I personaly see no 3D effect in them that you say you see.

The reason why your shots look bland is not because of lacking a 3D effect, but that you have no subject that pops in front of the viewer.

+1.  Like I said, FF is not a magic bullet.  It really is about lighting and composition.  Does the ability to better manage DoF with FF help?  Sure.  But if you can't get 'pop' from an APS-C camera, you won't automatically get it with FF.  Conversely, if you can get 'pop' with APS-C, it can be improved - in some cases - by using a FF camera.