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Author Topic: do crop sensors really add reach?  (Read 19199 times)

natureshots

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2012, 07:22:09 PM »
Whatever you do don't get a 5d mkII. When doing focal length limited stuff where you're going to wind up cropping you have to look at pixel density of the sensor to get the best result. 7D- 1.6 (crop) x 18MP = 28.8MP (full frame equivalent). 5ds you get 22 or 23 MP.  I recently upgraded my t2i to a 1d Mkiv- 1.3 (crop) x 16.1MP =20.9 MP full frame equivalent. While I do miss the extra MPs practically my image quality has improved a bit for my type of shooting which is primarily birds and some mammals/reptiles/macro stuff. My image noise has improved by ~1 stop at higher ISO's (the higher you go the better the noise improvement is) and my dynamic range at lower ISOs has also improved.  In really bright light with great glass you can probably get better pics with a 7d/t2i if you have great glass, a ton of light to work with, if you are severely focal length limited and have a stationary subject but in 95% of shooting situations you're going to be happier with the 1d Mkiv. I payed $3000 for a used 1d Mkiv and I recommend this purchase over the 5ds because of higher fps, similar image quality (each will shine in different situations), similar FF equivalent MP and its a GD tank and I will definitely be running it into the ground.  The autofocus on the 5dmkIII is a good deal easier and most people get better results with it.  I personally believe if you devote tons of time to the 1d mkIV autofocus you will wind up with slightly better results. Its important to notice that I've been missing more exposures recently because I'm still learning the metering on the camera and the autofocus will take atleast months to get used to. If you shoot jpegs (not really what I recommend) forget everything I said and get a 5dmkIII. If you want the absolute best and have the money to spend get the 1dx, (now they announced f8 autofocus, which I really wish I had known about when I bought the 1d MkIV) you wont miss the MP much but it sounds like this may not be practical. Otherwise, IMO, a used 1d MkIV is your best buy.

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2012, 07:22:09 PM »

BK

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2012, 07:31:12 PM »
I added a 5DMII to my T2i about a year ago. I agree with pretty much all that's been said here. But I thought I'd add a few thoughts.

1. I've found that the AF on the 5D pretty much the same as the T2i in use and may actually be slightly degraded. Given what I shoot it's not that much of a handicap to me. I find that if I have enough leeway in my DOF that I tend to do a lot of focus and recompose to compensate for the mediocre AF.

2. I found I didn't miss the reach given what I shoot. You can closely approximate what the 100-400 would look like on the 5D by limiting it to 250 on the T2i.

3. My biggest bonus in keeping the T2i was that it felt like a point and shoot especially with a 50 1.8 on the camera. I take the 5D anywhere I intend to make nice photos. But I keep the rebel with me pretty much all the time.

4. In addition to the reach difference you'll also find a difference in DOF. I find that there is just something special about some of my 5D shots that I just can't replicate with the T2i.

Good luck with your choice!

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2012, 07:31:21 PM »
I have done the comparison as well. Comparing the 7d to the 5d II image cropped to match, the amount of improvement you gain with the  7d is marginal. If you have no PP skills it is non existent as the 5d II will be better.  To make the 7d file marginally better requires more processing than the 5d II. The difference is not enough to matter.

The difference that does matter is the AF system of the 7D and the high frame rate which makes it a better wildlife camera.

This really depends on the ISO setting. At lower ISO settings (sub ISO 1600), I would say the 7D generally wins. It has noise, but the greater number of pixels on subject will usually more than make up for that fact. Noise becomes sub-detail, making it a lot easier to remove (i.e. moderate noise removal tends to have zero effect on actual useful detail). It is only when you get into super ISO 1600 settings that the 5D II would consistently win because of its lower noise. Anything at or beyond ISO 3200 is pretty much dead territory for the 7D...it just doesn't hold up well unless you have a lot of light, in which case you can usually opt for alternative solutions to getting light onto the sensor in trade for a lower ISO setting.

Also, don't forget with a 5D II, you'll have to crop any photo taken with the same lens by about 45% to match the 7D. Assuming you put as many pixels on subject as possible, a 45% crop on the 5D II (leaving 55% of the image remaining) will definitely increase the effects of noise. Now visible noise is also depends on what tonal range it exists in. If you are taking photos of higher key scenes, then cropping the 5D II is probably find. If you are taking photos if lower key scenes, or scenes where smooth gradients are primarily 18% gray tone or less, then noise could very well be a bigger problem on a cropped 5D II than on an uncropped 7D...assuming you get as many pixels on subject as possible (i.e. fill the frame with your subject.)

I would agree that the AF system on the 5D II is very wanting. I would actually pick up a 6D over a 5D II these days if I wanted a cheap FF body (assuming one wasn't willing to convert to Nikon for the D600).

I was talking about cropping the 5D II to match the 7D. When compared the two I was using lower ISO settings. The 7D is just marginally better, not substantially. To get it better you have to do more post processing to bring it out than you do the 5D II. So if you are shooting JPEG in camera I would say the 7D is not going to be better at all.

I have had these discussions in the past, until it finally got to the point that I compared. The logic is that the higher pixel density is going to trump substantially the lower pixel density of the 5D II. The logic makes sense, but in real terms it isn't the case. Do keep in mind, I did say "marginally better" I didn't say the 7D's would be worse.

The 7D is the better wildlife camera. I am not sure the T2i would be, you have to weigh out the AF system and frame rate as well. You can have all the pixels in the world, if the camera can't track a BIF will it make a good birding camera?

neuroanatomist

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2012, 07:37:30 PM »
I have done the comparison as well. Comparing the 7d to the 5d II image cropped to match, the amount of improvement you gain with the  7d is marginal. If you have no PP skills it is non existent as the 5d II will be better.  To make the 7d file marginally better requires more processing than the 5d II. The difference is not enough to matter.

The difference that does matter is the AF system of the 7D and the high frame rate which makes it a better wildlife camera.

+1

I'd take the 7D over the 5DII for birds/wildlife/sports.  But compared to the 7D, the 5DIII has better AF, much better high ISO M, and gives up just 2 fps.

When I got my 5DII, I kept my 7D for birds/wildlife. After getting the 1D X, I sold the 5DII.  Now, I'm not sure I will keep the 7D...the IQ is no where near the 7D, and with the new 1D X firmware I can now AF at 1200mm... 

Outside of a backup body, why keep the 7D?
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PackLight

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2012, 07:41:20 PM »
I have done the comparison as well. Comparing the 7d to the 5d II image cropped to match, the amount of improvement you gain with the  7d is marginal. If you have no PP skills it is non existent as the 5d II will be better.  To make the 7d file marginally better requires more processing than the 5d II. The difference is not enough to matter.

The difference that does matter is the AF system of the 7D and the high frame rate which makes it a better wildlife camera.

+1

I'd take the 7D over the 5DII for birds/wildlife/sports.  But compared to the 7D, the 5DIII has better AF, much better high ISO M, and gives up just 2 fps.

When I got my 5DII, I kept my 7D for birds/wildlife. After getting the 1D X, I sold the 5DII.  Now, I'm not sure I will keep the 7D...the IQ is no where near the 7D, and with the new 1D X firmware I can now AF at 1200mm... 

Outside of a backup body, why keep the 7D?

To loan to people, you never know when your best drinking buddy might need a camera. You sure don't want to just have one body and have to let him take off with your 1D X.

Also you never know when 1920mm focal length might be handy.

jrista

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2012, 08:38:10 PM »
This article from Roger Clark, a well-respected scientist and designer of image sensors, might be helpful. It explains and visually demonstrates how pixel density, ISO, noise, and overall light sensitivity relate and work:

http://clarkvision.com/articles/pixel.size.and.iso/

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2012, 09:07:36 PM »
This article from Roger Clark, a well-respected scientist and designer of image sensors, might be helpful. It explains and visually demonstrates how pixel density, ISO, noise, and overall light sensitivity relate and work:

http://clarkvision.com/articles/pixel.size.and.iso/


A couple quotes from your linked author;

"Crop factor and the associated focal length multiplier only affects field of view. They do not affect telephoto reach.

Effective focal ratio is a bogus concept. A cropped sensor does not suddenly multiply the lens focal length with the same f/ratio."

"The bottom line in my opinion: given a focal length limited situation and desire for as much detail as I can get, a camera with small pixels, like the 7D is the what I would choose. Not shown in the test, but given a non focal length limited situation where you can change position to get the subject to fill the sensor, a larger sensor (e.g. full frame) with the most pixels is the what I would choose. But if money were not an object, a compromise pixel size is a good option, if one chooses a high quality sensor like those in pro-series cameras."

Interesting though is his test is on the moon, a rather bland subject. If comparing a good wildlife camera I would think you would want to test with a subject with a bit more color variety and a possibly in the same neighborhood.

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2012, 09:07:36 PM »

gmrza

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2012, 09:16:07 PM »


Outside of a backup body, why keep the 7D?

For your kids ;-)

OK, my son is 6, and there is no way I would give him the 7D to play with, maybe the 350D (which is still sitting in the cupboard). - Admittedly, when I was 6 my father was occasionally letting me use (what was then) his Zeiss Ikon...
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jrista

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2012, 10:11:01 PM »
This article from Roger Clark, a well-respected scientist and designer of image sensors, might be helpful. It explains and visually demonstrates how pixel density, ISO, noise, and overall light sensitivity relate and work:

http://clarkvision.com/articles/pixel.size.and.iso/


A couple quotes from your linked author;

"Crop factor and the associated focal length multiplier only affects field of view. They do not affect telephoto reach.

Effective focal ratio is a bogus concept. A cropped sensor does not suddenly multiply the lens focal length with the same f/ratio."

"The bottom line in my opinion: given a focal length limited situation and desire for as much detail as I can get, a camera with small pixels, like the 7D is the what I would choose. Not shown in the test, but given a non focal length limited situation where you can change position to get the subject to fill the sensor, a larger sensor (e.g. full frame) with the most pixels is the what I would choose. But if money were not an object, a compromise pixel size is a good option, if one chooses a high quality sensor like those in pro-series cameras."

Interesting though is his test is on the moon, a rather bland subject. If comparing a good wildlife camera I would think you would want to test with a subject with a bit more color variety and a possibly in the same neighborhood.


Well, the nice thing about a bland subject is the fine details, minutia, are easy to find and compare. In a complex scene of a bird or wildlife or even landscapes, it is MUCH more difficult to make an objective comparison. The moon has very distinct, fine features but is otherwise simple...so the details, and the differences in the details that exist, are easier to pick out. Like the fine differences in detail and color that the 7D picked up, but which the 5D II did not.

Assuming money was no object, a 1D X with a 600mm f/4 L II IS and a pair of Mark III TC's is definitely the way to go. I don't think money can currently buy a better set of gear for a nature fan. But money...well...it tends to be THE object most of the time for most people, and objectively, the 7D offers a lot more than people really give it credit for (especially for a nutty nature fan. ;))
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PackLight

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2012, 11:00:26 PM »
This article from Roger Clark, a well-respected scientist and designer of image sensors, might be helpful. It explains and visually demonstrates how pixel density, ISO, noise, and overall light sensitivity relate and work:

http://clarkvision.com/articles/pixel.size.and.iso/


A couple quotes from your linked author;

"Crop factor and the associated focal length multiplier only affects field of view. They do not affect telephoto reach.

Effective focal ratio is a bogus concept. A cropped sensor does not suddenly multiply the lens focal length with the same f/ratio."

"The bottom line in my opinion: given a focal length limited situation and desire for as much detail as I can get, a camera with small pixels, like the 7D is the what I would choose. Not shown in the test, but given a non focal length limited situation where you can change position to get the subject to fill the sensor, a larger sensor (e.g. full frame) with the most pixels is the what I would choose. But if money were not an object, a compromise pixel size is a good option, if one chooses a high quality sensor like those in pro-series cameras."

Interesting though is his test is on the moon, a rather bland subject. If comparing a good wildlife camera I would think you would want to test with a subject with a bit more color variety and a possibly in the same neighborhood.


Well, the nice thing about a bland subject is the fine details, minutia, are easy to find and compare. In a complex scene of a bird or wildlife or even landscapes, it is MUCH more difficult to make an objective comparison. The moon has very distinct, fine features but is otherwise simple...so the details, and the differences in the details that exist, are easier to pick out. Like the fine differences in detail and color that the 7D picked up, but which the 5D II did not.

Assuming money was no object, a 1D X with a 600mm f/4 L II IS and a pair of Mark III TC's is definitely the way to go. I don't think money can currently buy a better set of gear for a nature fan. But money...well...it tends to be THE object most of the time for most people, and objectively, the 7D offers a lot more than people really give it credit for (especially for a nutty nature fan. ;))


You did see his degree is in Planetary Science, so no surprise his subject is the Moon.

One of the problems with photographing the Moon is the lack of contrast. For the most part it is a bland flat orb of reflected light. If you are shooting during the early or late phases you can get more shadow for detail. Contrast is one area that the 5D II and 1D IV are much better than the 7D. I have several thousand pictures of the moon on my computer from all three bodies.

I have to discount his comments about loss of color because that has not been my hands on experience.

I don't disagree with his conclusions either. I only say that the margin of IQ between the 7D and the 5D II cropped is very narrow, and not as wide as some believe. From my perspective when talking sensor only, the crop body is only preferred over full frame when you have your longest lens mounted and you have no more focal length.

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2012, 11:08:12 PM »
Assuming money was no object, a 1D X with a 600mm f/4 L II IS and a pair of Mark III TC's is definitely the way to go. I don't think money can currently buy a better set of gear for a nature fan.


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moreorless

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2012, 11:18:29 PM »
I have a t2I.  I've always been very happy with it, but I would like to buy a new camera.  Basically so I don't have to switch lenses as much.  I shoot pretty much anything.  Mainly wildlife, nature scenes, and old buildings.  I thought if I'm buying a new camera maybe go for the 5dmrk2.  I worry about losing reach on my wildlife pics.  Would I really lose reach or can I just crop all the way down to what I would get with my t2I?
As far as lenses go, I have a canon 24-70 2.8, 100-400L, 10-22, and 100 2.8 macro.  I think if I go with the 5dmrk2 my 24/70 would be great, but id also have to find an equivalent ultra wide angle.  Are the low light capabilities of the 5d2 really worth me adding that camera, keeping in mind I still plan on carrying my t2I on my hikes?

I'd say the main thing you need to consider is which aspct of your photography your looking to improve.

The 5D2 probabley would not help you much for shooting wildlife unless you can get very close where as it would improve IQ for closer subjects and in low light.

If you wanted up  improve that aspect perhaps consider the 7D or 1D3 used? you'dnot gain any resolution but would gainy improved AF and FPS.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2012, 11:20:01 PM by moreorless »

jrista

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2012, 11:34:12 PM »
This article from Roger Clark, a well-respected scientist and designer of image sensors, might be helpful. It explains and visually demonstrates how pixel density, ISO, noise, and overall light sensitivity relate and work:

http://clarkvision.com/articles/pixel.size.and.iso/


A couple quotes from your linked author;

"Crop factor and the associated focal length multiplier only affects field of view. They do not affect telephoto reach.

Effective focal ratio is a bogus concept. A cropped sensor does not suddenly multiply the lens focal length with the same f/ratio."

"The bottom line in my opinion: given a focal length limited situation and desire for as much detail as I can get, a camera with small pixels, like the 7D is the what I would choose. Not shown in the test, but given a non focal length limited situation where you can change position to get the subject to fill the sensor, a larger sensor (e.g. full frame) with the most pixels is the what I would choose. But if money were not an object, a compromise pixel size is a good option, if one chooses a high quality sensor like those in pro-series cameras."

Interesting though is his test is on the moon, a rather bland subject. If comparing a good wildlife camera I would think you would want to test with a subject with a bit more color variety and a possibly in the same neighborhood.


Well, the nice thing about a bland subject is the fine details, minutia, are easy to find and compare. In a complex scene of a bird or wildlife or even landscapes, it is MUCH more difficult to make an objective comparison. The moon has very distinct, fine features but is otherwise simple...so the details, and the differences in the details that exist, are easier to pick out. Like the fine differences in detail and color that the 7D picked up, but which the 5D II did not.

Assuming money was no object, a 1D X with a 600mm f/4 L II IS and a pair of Mark III TC's is definitely the way to go. I don't think money can currently buy a better set of gear for a nature fan. But money...well...it tends to be THE object most of the time for most people, and objectively, the 7D offers a lot more than people really give it credit for (especially for a nutty nature fan. ;))


You did see his degree is in Planetary Science, so no surprise his subject is the Moon.

One of the problems with photographing the Moon is the lack of contrast. For the most part it is a bland flat orb of reflected light. If you are shooting during the early or late phases you can get more shadow for detail. Contrast is one area that the 5D II and 1D IV are much better than the 7D. I have several thousand pictures of the moon on my computer from all three bodies.

I have to discount his comments about loss of color because that has not been my hands on experience.

I don't disagree with his conclusions either. I only say that the margin of IQ between the 7D and the 5D II cropped is very narrow, and not as wide as some believe. From my perspective when talking sensor only, the crop body is only preferred over full frame when you have your longest lens mounted and you have no more focal length.


Well, there are subjective feelings about IQ, and objective comparisons of IQ. Your "feelings" about the 5D II and 1D IV's contrast, at least at the moment, are just that. I was trying to add some objective evidence to the conversation with my link to Roger's article, and I think his evidence speaks for itself.

Regarding moon photography, I too am a moon aficionado. I photograph it all the time with my 7D. Out-of-camera "contrast" is actually something highly dependent on which "camera settings" or "camera profile" you use in your RAW editor. It is also something that is very easy to tweak post-process without any loss of detail. Contrast is certainly not a problem with the 7D, either with neutral white balance, or with enhanced color. All of the following photos, exposed VERY far to the right (so the moon was almost a white disc), looked extremely flat and drab "strait out of camera", appearing to lack any detail at all. I import with the Canon Neutral Camera Profile. With a neutral white balance, bit of exposure tweaking, clarity, vibrance/sat (for the color enhanced versions) and some curves adjustments:

http://500px.com/photo/13321795 (B&W)
http://500px.com/photo/13321799 (Color)

http://500px.com/photo/13008253 (B&W)
http://500px.com/photo/12964733 (Color)

http://500px.com/photo/13008271 (B&W)
http://500px.com/photo/13008277 (Color)

I'd advocate that much the same information is present in each camera, regardless of whether it is a 5D II, 1D IV, or 7D. Despite higher full-well capacity in the 5D and 1D, there is little difference in actual dynamic range between all three cameras. All three are also 14-bit cameras, so there is little difference in the quantization output. The 5D II and 1D IV probably have a higher gain (more electrons per output level), but all that serves to do is mitigate some of the potential benefits of a higher full well capacity (such as greater ADC bit depth without the need to quantize fractional electrons...the other benefit would be S/N). A higher S/N, which leads to a lower per-pixel noise, for the 5D II and 1D IV is mitigated when a 7D image is normalized to the same size. In terms of pixels on subject in a focal-length limited scenario, the 7D actually captures the most total overall light since the moon covers more total pixel in it's frame relative to the 5D or 1D frames.

I would offer, for the benefit of the OP, that the 7D is essentially synonymous with the T2i (from a "reach" or "pixels on subject" standpoint), as they both use the same sensor.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2012, 11:51:16 PM by jrista »
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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2012, 11:34:12 PM »

PackLight

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #28 on: October 19, 2012, 12:09:55 AM »
Out-of-camera "contrast" is actually something highly dependent on which "camera settings" or "camera profile" you use in your RAW editor. It is also something that is very easy to tweak post-process without any loss of detail. Contrast is certainly not a problem with the 7D, either with neutral white balance, or with enhanced color. All of the following photos, exposed VERY far to the right (so the moon was almost a white disc), looked extremely flat and drab "strait out of camera", appearing to lack any detail at all. I import with the Canon Neutral Camera Profile. With a neutral white balance, bit of exposure tweaking, clarity, vibrance/sat (for the color enhanced versions) and some curves adjustments:



I think that is one of the points. The 7D has allot of headroom to be "tweaked".
So a person with far less PP skill than you wouldn't necessarily see the same results out of his 7D would he?

Still, my opinions are based on actually owning all three bodies and actually using them in the field taking wildlife pictures. The 7D gets taken because of its AF system over the 5D II, if I owned a 5D III and its AF system was as good as they say I would take it over the 7D. Right now I take my 1D IV over the 7D and and 5D II. We can read the so called "experts" opinions but in the end, it is the pictures I take that provide the final proof for me. So yes, my opinions are just that opinions of the 3 bodies based on the 80,000 pictures they have put on my computer in the last 3 1/2 years. Some of us prefer to find out for ourselves what is best.



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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2012, 12:17:48 AM »
I have a t2I.  I've always been very happy with it, but I would like to buy a new camera.  Basically so I don't have to switch lenses as much.  I shoot pretty much anything.  Mainly wildlife, nature scenes, and old buildings.  I thought if I'm buying a new camera maybe go for the 5dmrk2.  I worry about losing reach on my wildlife pics.  Would I really lose reach or can I just crop all the way down to what I would get with my t2I?
As far as lenses go, I have a canon 24-70 2.8, 100-400L, 10-22, and 100 2.8 macro.  I think if I go with the 5dmrk2 my 24/70 would be great, but id also have to find an equivalent ultra wide angle.  Are the low light capabilities of the 5d2 really worth me adding that camera, keeping in mind I still plan on carrying my t2I on my hikes?

Usually but not because of the crop per se but just because they usually have a denser sensor than the same FF models of any given era. The key is to have a higher density of photosites per area.

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Re: do crop sensors really add reach?
« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2012, 12:17:48 AM »