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Author Topic: Crop vs FF for landscape photography  (Read 10019 times)

Corylus

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Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« on: December 12, 2012, 05:47:12 PM »
So I was wondering, if higher pixel density is useful for landscape photos, would the 7D be a more useful tool for the job than say the 5Ds or 6D. As I understand it (which may not be very well...) the shallower DOF with FF is no advantage and neither is high ISO capabilities if shooting with good ambient light (which most landscape shots tend to have I think).

I ask because i want to take more landscape shots. I currently own a 40D and am thinking of getting a 10-22mm. However, i will prob upgrade from the 40D in the new year (once we know what's happening with the 7D line) and may move to full frame (which would make the 10-22 redundant).

My first post btw - thanks all

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Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« on: December 12, 2012, 05:47:12 PM »

Drizzt321

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2012, 05:52:44 PM »
Welcome to the forums! If you've been reading a while, you'll see most of us tend to be pretty civil and helpful :)

I think the other thing is that there tends to be better quality lenses for super-wide. I know the 10-22 is pretty good, but I believe the 16-35 is at least as good with better build quality, and the 14L is pretty good, and the 17mm T-S is phenomenal from what I understand.

If you have good lighting, I'd actually go for the 5d2 or 6d, as the 5d2 has a bit of an edge in low ISO over the 5d3 I believe, and I think the 6d performs pretty good, although I haven't done much research on it over the 5d2 with IQ.

Note: I don't really shoot landscapes, so I probably am not the most qualified person to reply to this
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inter211

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2012, 06:51:52 PM »
I would recommend going FF (5Ds or 6D) for landscape. I primarily shoot landscapes and went from a 7D to a 5D2. From that switch I could tell that the 5D2 images were cleaner and crisper across all ISO ranges (even low ISO). Also, the FF cameras offer ISO-50 which comes quite handy at times when longer exposures are needed to smoothen out the scene. The L-lenses are also optimized for FF in terms of focal length and the weather sealing combo of L-lens + FF bodies help when outdoors in nature shooting landscapes. My advice...go FF.

dtaylor

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2012, 08:18:01 PM »
So I was wondering, if higher pixel density is useful for landscape photos, would the 7D be a more useful tool for the job than say the 5Ds or 6D.

Higher pixel density is not more useful for landscape photos because you are typically not telephoto limited. You can use telephotos for landscape shots, but you typically end up using wide angle, ultra wide angle, and shorter telephoto lengths when you do use them. Higher pixel density comes into play when you need more reach then you can achieve with your longest telephoto, which is typically sports and wildlife.

On the flip side, contrary to the many claims you will hear, right now in the Canon lineup a 36x24 sensor is also not more useful for landscape photography UNLESS you own and use the T/S wide angle lenses. You will hear all day long how FF offers better image quality at low ISO. It does not, and you can demonstrate this all day long by presenting unlabeled large prints from both (or pixel crops online) and watch while FF fans stumble trying to guess which is which. They never can.

The Nikon D800 is the only DSLR which currently blends a FF sensor with crop sensor like pixel density for 36 MP, and that is useful for landscape photography if you are making large prints.

Another note: diffraction does not impact any format more than another for the same FoV/DoF. So there's no real deep DoF advantage for crop.

What does all this mean? Buy your crop lens if you want it. Don't worry about FF for landscapes until Canon produces a high resolution FF. (Or until you can afford $2k T/S lenses.) Even if you do decide to go FF, you can sell the lens for not much less than you paid for it.

Oh yeah: take a long, hard took at the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8. It has the optical IQ of the Canon 16-35 f/2.8L II.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2012, 08:59:35 PM »
Pn the flip side, contrary to the many claims you will hear, right now in the Canon lineup a 36x24 sensor is also not more useful for landscape photography UNLESS you own and use the T/S wide angle lenses. You will hear all day long how FF offers better image quality at low ISO. It does not, and you can demonstrate this all day long by presenting unlabeled large prints from both (or pixel crops online) and watch while FF fans stumble trying to guess which is which. They never can.

Who is 'they'?   Here's what I can tell you.  I took a series of paired, identically framed shots shots with the 7D and 1D X, using either the 24-105L or the 70-200/2.8L IS II, using the zoom to compensate for the effect sensor size on FoV (meaning same distance, so same framing and same perspective for each pair).  I shot about a dozen paired images like that, some landscapes, some architecture, and a couple of close-up flower/plant shots with the 24-105. I processed them equivalently, then showed the paired images to my wife, scaled down to 3.7 MP (full screen on an Apple Thunderbolt Display), and asked her which she liked better.  For 11 of the 12 shots, she picked the 1D X image.  Subjective and completely anecdotal? Yes. But subjectively and anecdotally, at least, the 'FF mystique' is real.
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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2012, 09:07:59 PM »
I absolutely agree with Neuro, there is just something about an image shot with FF.

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2012, 09:08:47 PM »
I have done landscape both with 7d and 5d using the same scene. No comparison. FF is miles ahead.

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2012, 09:08:47 PM »

Drizzt321

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2012, 09:43:34 PM »
Pn the flip side, contrary to the many claims you will hear, right now in the Canon lineup a 36x24 sensor is also not more useful for landscape photography UNLESS you own and use the T/S wide angle lenses. You will hear all day long how FF offers better image quality at low ISO. It does not, and you can demonstrate this all day long by presenting unlabeled large prints from both (or pixel crops online) and watch while FF fans stumble trying to guess which is which. They never can.

Who is 'they'?   Here's what I can tell you.  I took a series of paired, identically framed shots shots with the 7D and 1D X, using either the 24-105L or the 70-200/2.8L IS II, using the zoom to compensate for the effect sensor size on FoV (meaning same distance, so same framing and same perspective for each pair).  I shot about a dozen paired images like that, some landscapes, some architecture, and a couple of close-up flower/plant shots with the 24-105. I processed them equivalently, then showed the paired images to my wife, scaled down to 3.7 MP (full screen on an Apple Thunderbolt Display), and asked her which she liked better.  For 11 of the 12 shots, she picked the 1D X image.  Subjective and completely anecdotal? Yes. But subjectively and anecdotally, at least, the 'FF mystique' is real.

And neuro strikes again. But this is why we all love him, because he runs the tests we are too lazy to do ourselves :)
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katwil

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2012, 10:55:06 PM »
I prefer my 5DII to my 7D for landscape photography.  You mentioned possibly getting a 10-22, and another poster provided feedback on the 16-35.  From my limited experience I think the 16-35 is a better lens, but there’s a value proposition that’s unique to everyone.  The bigger issue for me was that next lens up, i.e. what’s my walkabout lens that can go fairly wide and still give me some flexibility with zoom.  Using a 24-70 or a 24-105 on a crop camera gives you a lens no wider than 38mm.  The best options for the walkabout lens with reasonable wide angle capabilities on crop cameras are the EF-S 15-85 or the EF-S 17-55.  Just as with the 10-22, both of those lenses are good to very good, but now you’re really invested in a crop system.  If landscape is the top priority, it’s probably a good time to move over to full frame.   

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2012, 11:17:38 PM »
Given you have a crop already, albeit a 40D, just leap frog directly to the FF especially if 6D goes down in prices. Perhaps even 5d2 as its price new or used is bound to slide even further with the entry of 6D.

7D II when it shows up is bound to sport better features, but I subscribe to the idea that crops are transitionary in the long run. Also, most EF lenses that are "blah" on crops, come into their own on FF... This is particularly true for good UWA lenses IMHO.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2012, 11:21:15 PM by Ray2021 »
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dtaylor

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2012, 11:47:16 PM »
Who is 'they'?

Everyone who has ever tried. I've posted unlabeled crop pairs to photo.net and dpreview, and shown 24" print samples to people in a couple photo clubs. Another dpreview member did the same exact thing, online crops, only with Nikon equipment. The results were random in every instance. Nobody could reliably tell FF from crop when push came to shove, even people that insist that there is a huge, just huge IQ difference. There is not at ISOs where noise does not come into play.

I always state that this is after processing. Crop takes more sharpening and more LCE. When you get close to the ISO where noise differences are clearly apparent, crop takes more NR as well. Make of that what you will. But I process all of my shots any way. If two sensors are close enough that differences are gone after processing, then they are equivalent for my purposes.

Now at higher ISOs it's not a contest. Crop is very good, but FF clearly has less noise with more detail. I should also note that if higher pixel densities were applied to FF then there would be a human observable IQ difference at any ISO, at least for large prints. Put another way, the D800 does produce large prints that are better than those from any crop body. But they're also better, by about the same amount, as those from any Canon FF.

Quote
Here's what I can tell you.  I took a series of paired, identically framed shots shots with the 7D and 1D X, using either the 24-105L or the 70-200/2.8L IS II, using the zoom to compensate for the effect sensor size on FoV (meaning same distance, so same framing and same perspective for each pair).  I shot about a dozen paired images like that, some landscapes, some architecture, and a couple of close-up flower/plant shots with the 24-105. I processed them equivalently, then showed the paired images to my wife, scaled down to 3.7 MP (full screen on an Apple Thunderbolt Display), and asked her which she liked better.  For 11 of the 12 shots, she picked the 1D X image.

Your three mistakes are as follows:

* Zooming the lens. This is likely inconsequential with these lenses, but it is a mistake none the less.

* Equivalent processing. This is a huge mistake which invalidates your test and your results out right. You do not use identical processing with different sensors, even different sensors of the same format.

* You do not mention if the shots were unlabeled. If your wife knew which came from which before picking, the results are less than worthless, they are misleading. There is no shortage of examples of conscious and subconscious human bias, of people picking what they think they should pick. It's just what we do. Even if they were unlabeled, a strict scientist would discount your results because you knew, and there's no shortage of ways you could have consciously or subconsciously telegraphed the "correct" choice to her.

That said, if you want to post a zip archive some where with the RAWs I would love to process them optimally and run a taste test at a site/time we agree upon. I'll record all processing steps for your review, and we can play with those if you feel they are less than optimal. I doubt you made any shooting mistakes that invalidate the comparison.

Side rant: One of my pet peeves with photography is that people make mountains out of molehills. FF vs. crop, Canon vs. Nikon, lens A vs. lens B, tripod A vs. tripod B, etc. They used to do it with film A vs. film B, developer A vs. developer B, etc. During the film/digital transition it was film vs. digital all the time. I've seen people argue that there are huge, just huge differences between PS scaling in one step or multiple steps.

Most of what we debate is meaningless. It is below the threshold of human observability even in a large print (or on a modern LCD), especially in the age of digital processing. But people absolutely cling to these debates. If you think there's a real IQ difference between two pieces of equipment or two techniques, produce some big prints with both. Go to a mall. Ask people who pass by if the photos are identical or different, and if different, which is better. You will quickly learn if the difference is meaningful or not.

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2012, 12:04:13 AM »
i bet if you had 2 images side by side you'd not see the difference....

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2012, 12:10:35 AM »
Pn the flip side, contrary to the many claims you will hear, right now in the Canon lineup a 36x24 sensor is also not more useful for landscape photography UNLESS you own and use the T/S wide angle lenses. You will hear all day long how FF offers better image quality at low ISO. It does not, and you can demonstrate this all day long by presenting unlabeled large prints from both (or pixel crops online) and watch while FF fans stumble trying to guess which is which. They never can.

Who is 'they'?   Here's what I can tell you.  I took a series of paired, identically framed shots shots with the 7D and 1D X, using either the 24-105L or the 70-200/2.8L IS II, using the zoom to compensate for the effect sensor size on FoV (meaning same distance, so same framing and same perspective for each pair).  I shot about a dozen paired images like that, some landscapes, some architecture, and a couple of close-up flower/plant shots with the 24-105. I processed them equivalently, then showed the paired images to my wife, scaled down to 3.7 MP (full screen on an Apple Thunderbolt Display), and asked her which she liked better.  For 11 of the 12 shots, she picked the 1D X image.  Subjective and completely anecdotal? Yes. But subjectively and anecdotally, at least, the 'FF mystique' is real.

I agree with neuro.  I'm not an expert and I'm only speaking from my limited experience.  The magnification of the lenses are independent of the sensor size.  For instance, a 16mm lens would have the same angle of light on full frame or crop sensor.  However, on crop sensor, the field of view would be, well cropped.  In other words, with the same framing by zooming, the distant objects on crop sensor will appear farther away.  For example, an image with mountains in the background, the mountains would appear much smaller when taken with a 15mm lens on crop (1.6 factor) compared to an image taken with a 24mm on full frame.

Regarding the TS lens, they offer two advantages.  The obvious is control of distortion, again has something to do with angle of light coming in to the sensor.  The other advantage is greater DoF.  The latter can be remediated by focus stacking.  Furthermore, greater DoF doesn't matter whether you're shooting with full frame or crop due to diffraction.  Shallow DoF on the other hand is achieved easier with larger sensors.

Your concern regarding higher pixel density, higher gets better detail in low ISO.  In my experience, if you want to print larger prints with higher resolution for closer viewing distance you need higher megapixel camera.  The other benefit is the ability to crop more from the image.  However, higher pixel density sensors will also require higher quality lenses, which means spending more money, a lot more!

I hope I explained that correctly.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2012, 12:29:05 AM by christianronnel »
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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2012, 12:10:35 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2012, 12:32:02 AM »
Your three mistakes are as follows:

* Zooming the lens. This is likely inconsequential with these lenses, but it is a mistake none the less.

* Equivalent processing. This is a huge mistake which invalidates your test and your results out right. You do not use identical processing with different sensors, even different sensors of the same format.

* You do not mention if the shots were unlabeled. If your wife knew which came from which before picking, the results are less than worthless, they are misleading. There is no shortage of examples of conscious and subconscious human bias, of people picking what they think they should pick. It's just what we do. Even if they were unlabeled, a strict scientist would discount your results because you knew, and there's no shortage of ways you could have consciously or subconsciously telegraphed the "correct" choice to her.

Actually, those are your three mistaken assumptions.

* Zooming is necessary.  Cropping to match FoV negates the purpose of the test, and moving the camera changes the perspective of the image, i.e. the size relationships of various elements - kind of important to a picture.  What viable alternative would you suggest?

* I stated 'equivalent' - thinking that I meant 'identical' is a huge mistaken assumption.  Equivalent means processed in such a way as to extract maximum detail with minimum noise, correct color as appropriate, etc.  Obviously, that means different processing for different sensors.  The idea was to make both images as good as they could be, not to stack the deck against the 7D. 

* Did I have to mention that? Really? What do you think, that I said, "Sweetheart, the first image in each pair is from my new, top-of-the-line camera, my favorite camera in the world, the second is from the old piece of crap camera that I'm going to give to our 3 year old as a toy...now tell me which ones you like better, wink-wink, nudge-nudge?"  The fact that you even considered something like that, much less labeled it a mistake that I made, is actually pretty damn offensive.  In fact, I watermarked a '+' or a 'o' on each image, each label was randomly assigned to one of the pair, but balanced so there were the same number of each label in total, and I set up a looping slideshow that she looked at when I wasn't in the room.  Before you go to the next level and suggest she peeked at the EXIF, if she did I bet she'd have picked the 7D because 7 is a bigger number than 1. She likes my pictures, supports my hobby, and doesn't give a darn about the gear itself.  But being a Professor of Anatomy, she does have a keen eye for detail in the images.

FWIW, I am a card-carrying 'strict scientist', PhD and a day job in the field (including responsibility for some bioanalytical assays conducted under GLP conditions), and once upon a time I actually conducted neuropsychological testing.  I explicitly stated the above was subjective and completely anecdotal.  You seem to have truncated your quote of my post right before that statement. 

Given your evident bias and unsupported assumptions in calling out my 'mistakes' I don't see any point in pursuing this discussion further.
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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2012, 12:47:55 AM »
Given you have a crop already, albeit a 40D, just leap frog directly to the FF especially if 6D goes down in prices. Perhaps even 5d2 as its price new or used is bound to slide even further with the entry of 6D.

7D II when it shows up is bound to sport better features, but I subscribe to the idea that crops are transitionary in the long run. Also, most EF lenses that are "blah" on crops, come into their own on FF... This is particularly true for good UWA lenses IMHO.

Agree about EF lenses coming into their own. My 50 1.4 was average at best on my crop. It shines on full frame.

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2012, 12:47:55 AM »