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Author Topic: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here  (Read 55576 times)

rs

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #90 on: January 23, 2013, 04:26:21 PM »
@ Rocky : + 1

If nothing else this thread has shown many people don't realise that digital enlargement is all down to the number of pixels on the sensor, and not the physical dimensions of the sensor "format", unlike film format.
Yes, digital enlargement only takes into account the number of MP. But that argument is conveniently missing out many significant parts of the overall image capture process.

Light, and the scene captured by the lens/camera are analogue. The resulting print (unless its a particularly low res digital print) does its best to look analogue. And similarly speaking, with a good enough display (such as a retina display), its again a good approximation of analogue - and both print and display have light coming off them (reflected or lit) which is analogue, which is how your eyes can see it. With a digital camera, the in between bits of the process are a combination of analogue and digital. It starts off with a lens which is very much analogue. That creates an analogue imaging circle. That in turn is captured by an analogue sensor, which generates analogue electrical signals, fed through analogue amplifiers, before finally getting converted to digital. Only after all that is the RAW file or JPG created and stored. Then its transferred to a computer, possibly had PP done on it, before finally leaving the digital domain when it gets put into some sort of approximation of analogue so we can see it.

By talking about one stage of that process from half way through (the captured MP), and then talking about how magnifying that is the only thing which matters is missing out half the picture.

Comparing two similar sized sensors results in quite similar results, so comparing APS-C to FF is not so clear cut to visualise which is best. So to prove a point, lets compare a much smaller 18MP sensor such as the Panasonic ZS30 to a full frame 18MP sensor such as the 1D X. Printing both images at the same size has exactly the same digital enlargement, but the tiny sensored Panasonic compact analogue image will have been enlarged much more. And I can't imagine anyone trying to pretend that a 1D X, even with the same effective focal length, aperture and ISO will produce images when printed large that could be mistaken for ones taken with the Panasonic. The only way the two could ever look comparable is if their pictures are printed almost postage stamp small - that way the Panasonic analogue image has been enlarged by a more sensible amount, hiding its faults much better.

If we are talking about a purely digital image with no noise, diffraction, lens softness etc. such as CGI, then yes, MP is king. After all, enlarging can only be an enlargement of each pixel, and we don't want to enlarge it to the point where it looks pixelated. But digital photos are not perfect digital files. They are merely digital representation of an analogue capture of the scene. Enlargement of the sensor is the key factor to quality, not enlargement of each subdivision of one stage of the process.
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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #90 on: January 23, 2013, 04:26:21 PM »

AprilForever

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #91 on: January 23, 2013, 04:57:03 PM »
Full frame is not sharper than APS-C. It has shallower depth of field when framed the same, requiring a higher f-stop to get more in focus. Why did Ansel belong to the f64 club? Because much less than f64, even with tilts, and not much is in focus. Full Frame has the grim problem of using the bad part of lenses too, making corners truly grim on all but the most fine of lenses.

But, mainly, a pixel is a pixel, and it really doesn't matter what size the sensor was. Full Frame can deliver a better image sometimes, but there is a reason Canon's lead Action camera was a crop body (APS-H). Most likely, tachnology has progressed to the point where the 7D MK II will have better IQ at 1.6 crop than the old 1d MK IV had at its 1.3 crop.

APS-C has some serious advantages. Google "7D bird photography". You will see some amazing things...
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Rocky

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #92 on: January 23, 2013, 05:07:35 PM »
Sharpness has got nothing to do with perspective, or DoF.
I disagree. That's not even true when you only shoot ISO test charts. The larger DoF, the smaller the circle of confusion and the higher the resolution/sharpness (disregarding diffraction etc.).
As long as your lens can out resolve the senser, the DOF does not matter any more. Also the DOF is governed by the acceptable size of circle of confussion.  As long as you have the acceptable size of circle of conffussion, your DOF can either be  1 inch or 10 ft, both will give you the same result on the point of focus.

Sporgon

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #93 on: January 23, 2013, 05:23:04 PM »
Talking of "action cameras" I was really surprised to see how many 7Ds were being used at the London Olympics.

rs

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #94 on: January 23, 2013, 05:38:41 PM »
Full frame is not sharper than APS-C. It has shallower depth of field when framed the same, requiring a higher f-stop to get more in focus. Why did Ansel belong to the f64 club? Because much less than f64, even with tilts, and not much is in focus. Full Frame has the grim problem of using the bad part of lenses too, making corners truly grim on all but the most fine of lenses.

But, mainly, a pixel is a pixel, and it really doesn't matter what size the sensor was. Full Frame can deliver a better image sometimes, but there is a reason Canon's lead Action camera was a crop body (APS-H). Most likely, tachnology has progressed to the point where the 7D MK II will have better IQ at 1.6 crop than the old 1d MK IV had at its 1.3 crop.

APS-C has some serious advantages. Google "7D bird photography". You will see some amazing things...
The reason the Canon 1D line of cameras had a 1.3x crop is when it was introduced in 2001, it was the largest sensor Canon could source - as far as I know, it was the largest in a production camera at the time. FF sensors didn't hit the market until the Contax N Digital was introduced in 2002. That same year, Canon introduced the much more successful FF 1Ds. Due to the limits of the technology it had much slower read out, so it was nowhere near as fast as the 1.3x crop sensor 1D. They continued as two lines of bodies - FF for the highest image quality, 1.3x crop for speed. Nikon managed to combine FF and speed with the D3 (although it was slightly slower than 1D mk III and much lower res than 1Ds mk III). The D4 was their successor, and Canon's rather elaborate answer to it was to combine the two 1 series lines with the 1D X.

Granted, sometime lots in focus is desired. But that's why lenses can be stopped down, and why tilt and shift lenses exist. To get as large a depth of field on FF as on 1.6x, simply use an aperture 1.6x smaller. You will need an ISO just over a stop higher if you want the same shutter speed, but the advantage of FF is still there. And TS-E lenses take things to another level. When you don't want a huge DoF, try a lens like the 70-200 II or the 100L. What's in focus is capable of being so detailed even at the edges of the frame that you'll no doubt be immediately aware of the difference FF makes.
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TrumpetPower!

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #95 on: January 23, 2013, 06:29:49 PM »
I see there's still a great deal of misinformation going on in this thread.

The simple version is that, even if the number of megapickles is exactly the same, the larger format will intrinsically produce sharper images.

I'm attaching an image to demonstrate this. It's a simple enough experiment that anybody can perform: set up a still life. Take two images, one with a long lens and the other with a wide lens -- or with a zoom at either end of its range. Crop the wide image to the same field of view as the telephoto image, and scale the two to the same pixel dimensions. You're left with two images with the exact same number of megapickles, and everything else is either constant or can be controlled for. The sensors of the two images is identical, so you've got the same S/N ratio, the same everything.

To do the most fair comparison possible, you'll want to use the same shutter speed for both images, an aperture sufficiently smaller for the telephoto to match the depth of field, and an equivalent higher ISO to keep the exposure the same. That's exactly what I did below.

And, you can clearly see: the image generated with the larger, 135 format sensor is significantly sharper than the image generated with the smaller, P&S-sized sensor. And, again, I stacked the deck against the larger format in every reasonable way I could.

Pixel density is important, yes. But so is format size. For the absolute best results, you'll want the highest pixel density you can get in the largest format you can get. But, if you have a choice between two cameras of different formats and different megapickles, go with the bigger format. (With, of course, the usual caveats that sufficient technology age can skew the results.)

Cheers,

b&

dtaylor

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #96 on: January 23, 2013, 07:49:05 PM »
The simple version is that, even if the number of megapickles is exactly the same, the larger format will intrinsically produce sharper images.

All other things being equal, and assuming glass that does not have serious problems at the edges which are trimmed by APS-C...yes.

Quote
It's a simple enough experiment that anybody can perform: set up a still life. Take two images, one with a long lens and the other with a wide lens -- or with a zoom at either end of its range. Crop the wide image to the same field of view as the telephoto image, and scale the two to the same pixel dimensions.

While I agree with the principle, this test does not demonstrate it. The differences are way too large to be reliable (different lenses; scaling algorithms).

Quote
And, you can clearly see: the image generated with the larger, 135 format sensor is significantly sharper than the image generated with the smaller, P&S-sized sensor. And, again, I stacked the deck against the larger format in every reasonable way I could.

Nah, the differences cut against the WA shot. Again, I agree in principle, but this test isn't the way you demonstrate it.

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #96 on: January 23, 2013, 07:49:05 PM »

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #97 on: January 23, 2013, 07:58:51 PM »
Nah, the differences cut against the WA shot.

Seriously?

The wide-angle shot is with the sharpest wide-angle lens ever made for the format, and one of the sharpest lenses ever made, period. And it's at its sweet spot for aperture. Plus, the shot was at ISO 100.

The telephoto shot was with a lens with a built-in soft focus filter (with the filter turned to its least soft setting, of course),  fer chrissakes, and it was shot at f/32 (waaaaay past the point of diffraction), and it was shot at ISO 6,400.

I mean, seriously. I compared a Coke bottle with the Hubble, and the Coke bottle still beat the Hubble.

If you don't think that this test demonstrated the importance of format size over pixel dimensions...well...all sorts of unflattering adjectives come to mind, with "hopeless" being the one best suited for a family-friendly forum.

Cheers,

b&

skitron

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #98 on: January 23, 2013, 08:18:14 PM »
7. How many people can tell the difference in music between  amplifier with 0.01% distotion and amplifier with 0.005 % distortion??

In a double blind study I would be surprised if anyone could.

Not that it amounts to a hill of beans for this discussion, but it's actually pretty easy if you listen to the cymbals and the speakers/headphones are up to the task.

[/tangent off]  ;)
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 08:22:46 PM by skitron »
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rs

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #99 on: January 24, 2013, 01:51:30 AM »
Nah, the differences cut against the WA shot.

Seriously?

The wide-angle shot is with the sharpest wide-angle lens ever made for the format, and one of the sharpest lenses ever made, period. And it's at its sweet spot for aperture. Plus, the shot was at ISO 100.

The telephoto shot was with a lens with a built-in soft focus filter (with the filter turned to its least soft setting, of course),  fer chrissakes, and it was shot at f/32 (waaaaay past the point of diffraction), and it was shot at ISO 6,400.

I mean, seriously. I compared a Coke bottle with the Hubble, and the Coke bottle still beat the Hubble.

If you don't think that this test demonstrated the importance of format size over pixel dimensions...well...all sorts of unflattering adjectives come to mind, with "hopeless" being the one best suited for a family-friendly forum.

Cheers,

b&
You're completely right. With those lenses and those settings, that test couldn't have been more stacked against the full frame setup. Yet full frame easily and conclusively won.
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AlanF

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #100 on: January 24, 2013, 03:10:34 AM »
It seems to me that all that "experiment" has shown is that if you use a low quality telephoto lens to take a photo of, say, a small bird sitting in the middle of a tree you get a better image of it than taking a photo of the whole landscape with a wide angle lens and blowing up the teeny weeny central section.  Yes, I do know that you downsized the image from the telephoto, but it makes for the same thing in a conparison.

Basically, you have shown the image of the bird that covers the whole sensor - that is makes use of most of the megapixels - is far better than have it cover just a few pixels at the centre of the sensor.  That is not a relevant comparison for FF vs crop.
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rs

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #101 on: January 24, 2013, 03:22:24 AM »
It seems to me that all that "experiment" has shown is that if you use a low quality telephoto lens to take a photo of, say, a small bird sitting in the middle of a tree you get a better image of it than taking a photo of the whole landscape with a wide angle lens and blowing up the teeny weeny central section.  Yes, I do know that you downsized the image from the telephoto, but it makes for the same thing in a conparison.

Basically, you have shown the image of the bird that covers the whole sensor - that is makes use of most of the megapixels - is far better than have it cover just a few pixels at the centre of the sensor.  That is not a relevant comparison for FF vs crop.
OK - here's a simple question. Has anyone got a Pentax Q (12MP, small sensor) and a 5Dc (12MP, FF sensor) - if we look at a comparison of the two, it should solve this issue once and for all, even though the 5Dc is using much older tech.

The point of TrumpetPower's test is both of them are adjusted to a very low number of MP, therefore they're both on an equal footing (downsampling a high MP image to low MP is very similar to starting with low MP in the first place).

Comparing two similar sized sensors (FF and 1.6x) is bound to not return very dramatic difference in quality. We are just picking at the fine details here as they're both great in the big scale of things. That is why the tests should happen with a larger difference in sensor size if we want to conclusively solve this. That's why something along the lines of a Pentax Q and 5Dc comparison will solve the issue once and for all.
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Sporgon

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #102 on: January 24, 2013, 04:50:30 AM »
It seems to me that all that "experiment" has shown is that if you use a low quality telephoto lens to take a photo of, say, a small bird sitting in the middle of a tree you get a better image of it than taking a photo of the whole landscape with a wide angle lens and blowing up the teeny weeny central section.  Yes, I do know that you downsized the image from the telephoto, but it makes for the same thing in a conparison.

Basically, you have shown the image of the bird that covers the whole sensor - that is makes use of most of the megapixels - is far better than have it cover just a few pixels at the centre of the sensor.  That is not a relevant comparison for FF vs crop.

+1

There have been some really confused posts  ::)

IF lenses were perfect ( which they are not ), and IF pixels of any size were perfect ( which they are not), and IF the laws of physics didn't apply ( which they do ) then there would be no difference in the resulting enlargement of the information from equal pixel sensors of any format.

I don't think there is anyone on this thread who believes that lenses and pixels are perfect.

And by the way how many times have we seen people comparing APS to FF using a zoom such as the 24-105 to get same field of view on both cameras, and all they do is end up showing the different resolution characteristics of that lens at the different focal lengths   ;D
« Last Edit: January 24, 2013, 05:24:10 AM by Sporgon »

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #102 on: January 24, 2013, 04:50:30 AM »

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #103 on: January 24, 2013, 05:04:09 AM »

But, mainly, a pixel is a pixel, and it really doesn't matter what size the sensor was. Full Frame can deliver a better image sometimes, but there is a reason Canon's lead Action camera was a crop body (APS-H).

Where were you when 1DX was born?

iP337

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #104 on: January 24, 2013, 06:30:27 AM »
For one, I asked you what exactly you meant by "the APS-C lens has to be better than the FF lens"?

I followed that up with a clarifying question asking if you were talking about two different lenses such as one EF-S lens and one EF lens.

Sorry if I was the cause of any additional confusion... :)

-Yes, to get two images, one taken with APS and one taken with FF appear equally sharp when viewed at equal presentation size in your presentation format of choice, the lens used on the APS camera needs to be sharper, when sharpness is defined by "lines or line-pairs per mm".


Right, sensor sizes, output resolutions and print sizes aside; any sensor with a higher pixel density (smaller pixels) with resolve finer details, commonly measured in Line-Pairs per mm (or how many lines you can squeeze into a millimeter). 

So an equal pixel APS-C sensor has the potential of resolving finer details but the lens needs to be sharper, many of todays lenses, even EF-s lenses, are made for 135 (Full Frame 35mm) sharpness but APS-C needs sharper than that because it's trying to resolve finer details.  So blowing up to 100% (pixel level) on the APS-C image will look softer than a 100% 135 image because by going to "pixel level" you are actually magnifying the APS-C image about 50% larger than the 135 image.

This is also one of the reasons why the GH2 with a 4/3 sensor can resolve near 1000 lines in 1080p video vs the 5D2 resolving about 700 lines in 1080p and the older 2/3 HD camcorders did 1000 lines easy.  Now of course there is still diffraction to worry about, 5D2 starts to limit around f/11 while the 7D starts at f/6.3, go too small (pixel size that is) and you'll start out limited wide open!  APS-C has a deeper DoF so it about evens out; but this is why I think the high megapixel full frames like the D800 isn't a practical camera, you get a low f-stop diffraction limit with a shallow DoF, which is only really usable at f/4-f/5.6. 

The best setup to test this is with a 135 and an APS-C with the same output resolution (D3x and NEX7 maybe), get the sharpest glass you can find (a Leica Summicron or maybe that Ziess 35/2.8) shoot and compare.

But no matter what you find it doesn't change the fact that some things are better with 135 and some better with APS-C.  If you need shallow DoF, higher dynamic range or low light shots than APS-C will not work but if you need the extra reach but can't afford an exotic telephoto, need finer details and have the lenes that can resolve them or need a deeper DoF without sacrificing light than grab your APS-C.  There is a reason why the 1Dx, 1Dc and Nikon Full Frame DSLRs have an APS-C mode...

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #104 on: January 24, 2013, 06:30:27 AM »