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Author Topic: Crop vs FF for landscape photography  (Read 8663 times)

Don Haines

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2012, 06:41:20 AM »
To my mind, crop is the way to go for shooting wildlife through good glass, but for landscape I would go ff

My observations are that the ultimate sharpness of your pictures is a combination of three things,  sensor, lens, and calibration. In moderate conditions, both using a top quality lens, I see very little difference between crop and ff, but as the light dims (sunsets) or where there are dark areas of the picture, ff seems a bit better. When the light gets real bad, ff seems noticeably better. If you are not using really good glass, even in good light, crop just doesn't seem as nice. Of course, this is all about pixel peeping, depending on how much you zoom in on the image you will notice differences more...

The third factor is AFMA. Until you have had experience with it, it is hard to appreciate the importance of it. This is the calibration of your equipment... A camera, crop or ff, will take better focused pictures when the lenses and body are calibrated, unless you are insanely lucky and everything you own came perfectly set for each other and that is a very rare occurance. Lenses and cameras are manufactured to tolerances... Not to perfection. Your lens and your body have to be calibrated together to bring out their maximum potential. Personally, I would rate calibration of your gear as far more important than the crop/ff debate... But note that the only canon crop body to offer AFMA is the 7D, while all the ff offer it. Calibrated gear is professional, uncalibrated is just someone goofing around.

So to summarize, I would say in good light it's AFMA, lens, sensor and in poor light AFMA, sensor, lens.
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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2012, 06:41:20 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2012, 06:54:34 AM »
But note that the only canon crop body to offer AFMA is the 7D...

...and the 50D (yet another way in which the 60D was not an upgrade, and consumers were pushed to the 7D, similar to how the 6D is not an upgrade to the 5DII, but I digress).  Oh, and the 1DIII and 1DIV...1.3x is a crop sensor, too.   ;)
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Don Haines

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2012, 07:09:22 AM »
But note that the only canon crop body to offer AFMA is the 7D...

...and the 50D (yet another way in which the 60D was not an upgrade, and consumers were pushed to the 7D, similar to how the 6D is not an upgrade to the 5DII, but I digress).  Oh, and the 1DIII and 1DIV...1.3x is a crop sensor, too.   ;)
Thanks Neuro.... I should have said APS-C, and didn't know about the 50D. Always learning something here :)
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Corylus

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2012, 05:20:34 PM »
Thanks for everyone's comments. It seems most here give FF the nod with regard to landscape work. I do shoot mainly wildlife (more macro and portraits than fast action stuff) but I'm getting increasingly into landscapes. The 5DIII is the dream for me. If i can stretch to one of those come 2013 i think i'll go for it. I'd still have the 40d if i ever got desperate for extra 'reach'. I own a 400mm f5.6 and the f8 firmware upgrade for the 5DIII would be fab for the 1.4x TC. AFMA will also be great. 2013 could get expensive!

Thanks again
« Last Edit: December 13, 2012, 05:53:04 PM by Corylus »

Corylus

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2012, 05:30:16 PM »
Incidentally, does anyone know if you can store AFMA settings in camera for, say, a 400mm f5.6 as well as a separate setting for the same 400mm but with a TC attached - i.e. are TCs recognised by cameras when storing AFMA settings?

neuroanatomist

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2012, 06:04:05 PM »
Incidentally, does anyone know if you can store AFMA settings in camera for, say, a 400mm f5.6 as well as a separate setting for the same 400mm but with a TC attached - i.e. are TCs recognised by cameras when storing AFMA settings?

Yes, each unique combo of lens + TC is treated as a separate lens.
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Corylus

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2012, 06:17:12 PM »
Good to know. Thanks Neuro

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2012, 06:17:12 PM »

Botts

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2012, 01:07:07 AM »
Incidentally, does anyone know if you can store AFMA settings in camera for, say, a 400mm f5.6 as well as a separate setting for the same 400mm but with a TC attached - i.e. are TCs recognised by cameras when storing AFMA settings?

I'm seriously considering keeping an EOS-M in my bag instead of a TC.  Similar to Corylus' comment of using the 40D when extra "reach" is required.  You also seemingly wouldn't lose the aperture advantage, though you'd sacrifice some ISO performance.  I fully expect Neuro to correct me if I'm way out to lunch.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2012, 04:26:27 AM »
Incidentally, does anyone know if you can store AFMA settings in camera for, say, a 400mm f5.6 as well as a separate setting for the same 400mm but with a TC attached - i.e. are TCs recognised by cameras when storing AFMA settings?

I'm seriously considering keeping an EOS-M in my bag instead of a TC.  Similar to Corylus' comment of using the 40D when extra "reach" is required.  You also seemingly wouldn't lose the aperture advantage, though you'd sacrifice some ISO performance.  I fully expect Neuro to correct me if I'm way out to lunch.

Not a bad idea from an optical standpoint, but depending on what you're shooting, the AF speed may be an issue.  A TC does slow down AF (by 50% for 1.4x, 75% for 2x), but the EOS M may be a several-fold reduction.
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te4o

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2012, 11:27:35 PM »
Apart from the heated scientific debate based around personal selection of images collected under controversial but plausible methodology, let me give you my personal experience:
I had a 40D since 2008. In 2010 I borrowed a 5D2 and went for several days of parallel test shooting with my 70-200/4 in pursuit of the same answer you are chasing.
I uploaded the images from both cameras on my NEC PA 27" with Aperture. Well, I did not find much of IQ difference at standard ISOs (100-400) ie my preferred range for tripod based landscape photography. Sure, the FF has a lot more functions, better high ISO etc, but I was not convinced and returned it waiting for the 5D3 while gearing up with some Zeiss. Well, in retrospect the IQ of the 5D3 at lowish ISO is not dramatically different to the oldish 40D. Of course, it is a different style camera, we all know it, but if you are strictly shooting landscapes, lenses and right technique (PP, stitching etc) make more difference than anything. Sorry, Neuro, I did ask my wife to differentiate as well. Hmm, she couldn't and after that she asked unfortunately about the price of the FF... So, I needed a reason to justify the purchase and this was mainly videography of our second son, but not the IQ.
But who does ONLY landscaping with a DSLR. The FF excels in so much else that the discussion shifts always towards them. In your place I'd wait for the full frame megapixel something coming next year or change the company for a completely different sensor.
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BrandonKing96

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #25 on: December 14, 2012, 11:53:35 PM »
My thoughts on it- generally, the colours from the full frames are much nicer compared to the crop sensors. On crop you can still get brilliant glass to do it with that ultra-wide angle (the 10-22), but the DR on a 5D II/III compared to a 40D/7D is just really different. 
And as stated before.. all this technical stuff away, there's something really different when using a full frame sensor as opposed to a crop frame.  Then again, I suppose it's a similar concept when people jump up to medium format photography.
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Jackson_Bill

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #26 on: December 15, 2012, 02:58:36 AM »
...
But who does ONLY landscaping with a DSLR. The FF excels in so much else that the discussion shifts always towards them. In your place I'd wait for the full frame megapixel something coming next year or change the company for a completely different sensor.


+1!


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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2012, 05:11:27 AM »
I think the main advantage of FF to APS-C in terms of landscape photography will be DR.  You might argue that it's achievable with HDR but still it's different.  As for noise, @ISO 100-200, I think they're comparable except if you're printing mural-sized photos.  Also, according to some sites, DLA also occurs in much narrower apertures in FF thus helping the photos become sharper (even @ the same comparable DOF).  I still have to verify this statement since I haven't owned an FF yet though I'm already saving up for one.   This is a sample of diffraction comparison.  A 50D @ F5.6 and F11 using the same lens.  I believe DLA is also one of the determinants of how sharp your picture will be.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=458&FLI=0&API=4&LensComp=458&FLIComp=0&APIComp=6&Camera=474&CameraComp=474&Sample=0&SampleComp=0

« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 05:26:04 AM by verysimplejason »

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2012, 05:11:27 AM »

dtaylor

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2012, 05:15:35 AM »
* 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?


We are discussing whether or not there is an IQ difference between sensors of similar resolution but different physical size. All other factors must be equal in testing this, or perceived differences could be due to something other than the physical sensor size.

I will grant that in some situations those other factors may be practically relevant. For example, when the choices were the 5D and 20D there were no good options for UWA on crop. But in judging any of this we must first determine what, if any, sensor differences exist absent all other influences.

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* I stated 'equivalent' - thinking that I meant 'identical' is a huge mistaken assumption.


No, it's not. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equivalent. Note "equal in value".

I did not assume anything, you misspoke. Next time be more clear and precise in your test description.

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* 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.


I have to mention it because the simple fact that you presented the images was a mistake, no matter how sincerely you tried to minimize it.

In all fairness, you could say the same of my experiences. But I wouldn't get all huffy and puffy and act "offended" if someone pointed it out. I'll admit it. So let's do it the right way and see if the results change.

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FWIW, I am a card-carrying 'strict scientist', PhD and a day job in the field


This means nothing at all. All that matters is how a test is performed, and not who performed it. As a "card-carrying 'strict scientist' PhD' you should know and live by this.

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Given your evident bias and unsupported assumptions in calling out my 'mistakes' I don't see any point in pursuing this discussion further.


Translation: you can't prove your point with hard evidence, so you're taking your ball and going home.

What a classic and intriguing case of human bias and emotion in action, and from a "card-carrying 'strict scientist', PhD" no less. This is why I never automatically trust scientists even in their narrow fields of study, but treat their claims with the same critical eye as I would anyone else. No matter what is claimed in training or degrees (pieces of paper with ink), they are still human, and display all the classic flaws of human nature.

dtaylor

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2012, 05:25:39 AM »
I think the main advantage of FF to APS-C in terms of landscape photography will be DR.  You might argue that it's achievable with HDR but still it's different.

I've never thought this was that big of a deal for landscape because the landscapes I shoot tend to either be in the range of both, or way outside the range of both. It's never a 1-2 stop difference. The sun and shadows come into a scene (i.e. sunset) and it's 6 or 8 stops more and I'm shooting HDR. That said, yes, FF sensors generally have greater DR, especially when you post process to dig into the shadows. If you feel that's significant, it's a definite tick in the FF column.

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Also, according to some sites, DLA is also occurs in much narrower apertures in FF thus helping the photos become sharper (even @ the same comparable DOF).

Diffraction does not impact any format more than any other for a given FoV/DoF. There's no deep DoF advantage either way, though FF does enjoy a shallow DoF advantage. (I think shallow DoF is overblown, but it's clearly there.)

The real advantage here, if you can afford it, is T/S for FF. Tilt the lens and you can get insane DoF at optimum apertures. You can sort of use T/S on crop, but the flash housing gets in the way, and who wants to pay insane amounts of money for an ultra wide T/S focal length only to have it cropped.

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Re: Crop vs FF for landscape photography
« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2012, 05:25:39 AM »