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Author Topic: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here  (Read 48069 times)

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #180 on: January 26, 2013, 09:04:12 AM »
But I thought the test was one of format sharpness, not properly composed photography.  Again, maybe I'm missing the point of the thread, but it seems so silly, so I'll move on.  Thank you for your replies.

Let's say you have two very similar cars with two significantly different powerplants. Both engines have the same horsepower and torque at maximum RPM, but one engine (electric) has constant torque over the entire speed range and therefore a simple transmission while the other (gasoline) only produces maximum torque at maximum RPM and therefore has a geared transmission. Everything else -- chassis, curb weight, suspension, range with full fuel, etc. -- is the same.

The photocopyists in this thread will say that there's no difference between the two engines because they both output the same theoretical maximum capability.

The photographers in this thread will say that the car with constant torque will eat the other car's lunch because it'll handily win the race.

To further confuse matters, the same name applies to both the car model and its engine.

(I'm not a car nut so apologies if I got the technical details of the analogy worng. But, hey -- everybody loves car analogies, right?)

b&

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #180 on: January 26, 2013, 09:04:12 AM »

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #181 on: January 26, 2013, 09:39:46 AM »
Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C?

After Way Too Much Time spent reading this thread, I still don't know :P

It's quite simple. A larger sensor/film will be less critical of the flaws in the lens infront of it. IE: it's make bad lenses not look so bad.

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #182 on: January 26, 2013, 10:18:48 AM »
Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C?

After Way Too Much Time spent reading this thread, I still don't know :P

It's quite simple. A larger sensor/film will be less critical of the flaws in the lens infront of it. IE: it's make bad lenses not look so bad.

That's certainly true, but it's only a small part of the story.

The main reason has to do with simple geometry.

All cameras have lenses that project an image onto the sensor (/ film). And the dimensions of said sensor are fixed for said camera.

With rare exception, those sensors are much smaller than the final display size of the image that gets recorded.

Therefore, all photographic images get enlarged from their capture size on the sensor to their display size on the print or monitor.

The bigger the sensor, the less enlargement necessary.

It is unlikely you'll encounter a sharper photograph than a contact print made from an 8x10 view camera -- assuming, of course, all the usual caveats about lens quality and film chemistry and technique and the rest. It's certainly possible to screw it up, but, when done right, that's about as good as it gets. (One of those oversized Polaroids might be better...I've never seen one, so I don't know.)

In contrast to the lack of enlargement in an 8x10 print made from a view camera, an 8x10 print made from a 135 camera ("full frame") must be enlarged 7 times from the original image projected onto and captured by the sensor. Unless that original capture is at least 7 times sharper than the original capture with the view camera -- say, 7 times the linear pixel resolution of the sensor, or a lens that resolves 7 times as many line pairs, or whatever -- then the 8x10 print from the view camera is going to be sharper than the 8x10 print from the 135 camera.

Imagine you've got two square sensors. One is 1" x 1", the other 10" x 10". Both are divided into 1000 x 1000 pixel grids for a grand total of one megapickle on each sensor. Now, make a 10" x 10" print from each. The larger format is doing no magnification or interpolation, but the smaller format must enlarge each of its pixels 10 times to make the final print. Unless those original pixels on the smaller format are ten times better than the original pixels on the larger format, the larger format is going to win.

But...if you could make pixels ten times smaller and ten times better for the smaller format, why not also for the larger format? Take a hundred of the smaller sensors and line them all up in a 10" x 10" grid, and this new composite sensor is going to absolutely smoke the other two by an insane margin.

The difference between APS-C and 135 isn't the 7 times of the difference between 135 and 8x10. It's only a factor of 1.6. It's not all that hard to come up with something 1.6 times better in the smaller format. Hell, just using a tripod can make that much difference, as can a decade of technological advances. It's because the difference between APS-C and 135 is so minor that we're having this discussion, that there's even a question in the first place. But that difference is there, and it will always be there, even when the margins get blurry.

But, as a rough rule of thumb, if you're happy with a 15" x 22" print from an APS-C camera, you'll be equally happy with a 24" x 36" print from a 135 camera with comparable specs. Both represent a 25x enlargement from the original sensor capture. But, if you're happy with a 15" x 22" print from an APS-C camera, you're probably also going to find a 24" x 36" print from that same APS-C camera quite acceptable, because it's not going to be a whole lot softer than the print from the 135 camera. You'll probably be able to tell the difference if you look closely enough...but, again, if the image made from the APS-C was shot with good technique and the image made from the 135 camera wasn't, the APS-C shot will easily win.

Cheers,

b&

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #183 on: January 26, 2013, 10:32:26 AM »
Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C?

After Way Too Much Time spent reading this thread, I still don't know :P

It's quite simple. A larger sensor/film will be less critical of the flaws in the lens infront of it. IE: it's make bad lenses not look so bad.

In the '80's a got an adapter to enable my Pentax 6x7 lenses fit 35mm cameras.

I was quite disappointed in the results on 35mm - they were definitely not as sharp or contrasty as the 35mm lenses.

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #184 on: January 26, 2013, 10:44:49 AM »
Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C?

After Way Too Much Time spent reading this thread, I still don't know :P

It's quite simple. A larger sensor/film will be less critical of the flaws in the lens infront of it. IE: it's make bad lenses not look so bad.

In the '80's a got an adapter to enable my Pentax 6x7 lenses fit 35mm cameras.

I was quite disappointed in the results on 35mm - they were definitely not as sharp or contrasty as the 35mm lenses.

And they made cool lenses like this back in that era.  8) 240mm F/1.2

AprilForever

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #185 on: January 26, 2013, 11:53:58 AM »
It's quite simple. A larger sensor/film will be less critical of the flaws in the lens infront of it. IE: it's make bad lenses not look so bad.
Not entirely accurate.

It would be equally sensible to claim that a small sensor will be less critical of the flaws in the lens infront of it. Lenses tend to perform their worst in corners, and if the sensor does not record anything in corners, you avoid such problems.

-h



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TrumpetPower!

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #186 on: January 26, 2013, 12:11:47 PM »
Trumpet Power wrote: Imagine you've got two square sensors. One is 1" x 1", the other 10" x 10". Both are divided into 1000 x 1000 pixel grids for a grand total of one megapickle on each sensor. Now, make a 10" x 10" print from each. The larger format is doing no magnification or interpolation, but the smaller format must enlarge each of its pixels 10 times to make the final print. Unless those original pixels on the smaller format are ten times better than the original pixels on the larger format, the larger format is going to win.

enlarger each of the pixels ? how do you do that? enlarge a charge?
it is the  signal  ratio from each pixel  who are  important  and if they are equal then it is then a pure  optically question

Let me give a slightly modified example.

Imagine you create a digital file from each sensor and then view the images on a 100ppi monitor.

In both cases you're pixel peeping, viewing a 10" x 10" 100ppi image on your monitor.

In the case of the large format sensor, the pixels you're looking at are the exact same size as the pixels on the sensor. You're essentially looking at the digital equivalent of a contact print.

In the case of the small format sensor, the pixels you're looking at are ten times the size of the pixels on the sensor. Each pixel has been enlarged ten times. You're essentially looking at the digital equivalent of an 8x10 print made from APS-C.

Does that help?

b&

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #186 on: January 26, 2013, 12:11:47 PM »

kanonpokajanen

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #187 on: January 26, 2013, 01:53:02 PM »
No.  Your example only works at the low end of the spectrum.(where enlargement of smaller sensor image/pixels is necessary)

If both sensors have the same pixel count and that number is larger than the resolution of the monitor you a viewing them on, the sharpness will be identical.(assuming the captured images are identical)

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #188 on: January 26, 2013, 02:52:10 PM »
No.  Your example only works at the low end of the spectrum.(where enlargement of smaller sensor image/pixels is necessary)

If both sensors have the same pixel count and that number is larger than the resolution of the monitor you a viewing them on, the sharpness will be identical.(assuming the captured images are identical)

Maybe somebody could help me explain why everybody here seems to think that a pixel is an absolute unit of length as opposed to the dimensionless number it actually is.

When you take a photo with APS-C and make a 24" x 36" print, you're taking an image projected onto a 14.8mm x 22.2mm surface and then enlarging it 41x. When you take a photo with 135 and make a 24" x 36" print, you're taking an image projected onto a 24mm x 36mm surface and then enlarging it 25.4x.

The resolution of the original 14.8mm x 22.2mm image compared with the resolution of the original 24mm x 36mm image is nowhere near as important as the fact that you're blowing up the one half again as much as you're blowing up the other.

And that's true regardless of the absolute amount of magnification, whether you're pixel peeping, or anything else.

Your objection would apply if a pixel were an absolute unit of measurement, if every pixel were always the exact same size. But your objection is incoherent given the fact that a pixel can be any size from a micron to a mile or more or less.

Cheers,

b&

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #189 on: January 26, 2013, 03:21:02 PM »
@ TrumpetPower, you are certainly tenacious if nothing else.

It seems to me that you have a number of spades which you are using to dig this hole you're  in  :)

One of them is this business of enlarging pixels. From my understanding of your posts it seems to me that you think the pixels you see on your screen are the same ones on your sensor. You talk about the large theoretical sensor being printed as is, but the small one being interpolated up- but any electrical info from the pixels on the camera sensor has to be "interpolated" in order to display it on your screen as a ( completely different ) type of "pixel". The ambiguous term "pixel" is probably responsible for this misunderstanding.

The second spade is when you compare enlarging film to enlarging digital, the enlargement process is totally unrelated. If you're going to keep fighting your corner on this one I wouldn't mention film anymore.

Also the actual size of the image projected onto the sensor is creating another confusion here. Yes it's true to say the recorded image as it falls on the sensor is larger on a larger sensor, but the ability to record it accurately comes down to lenses and pixel efficiency, so having a ( slightly ) larger light image on the sensor does not necessarily mean it has been recorded more accurately.

Clear as mud  ;)

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #190 on: January 26, 2013, 04:13:18 PM »
From my understanding of your posts it seems to me that you think the pixels you see on your screen are the same ones on your sensor.

Eh, you might be the one with a bit of confusion as to what a pixel is.

When you're looking at a 100% crop of an image, the pixels on your monitor are a (close to) perfect representation of the pixels on the sensor, just magnified a Brazilian times. There are caveats, of course, insofar as there are different color gamuts and luminance mapping and what-not, but those have no practical bearing on the discussion.

Quote
Also the actual size of the image projected onto the sensor is creating another confusion here. Yes it's true to say the recorded image as it falls on the sensor is larger on a larger sensor, but the ability to record it accurately comes down to lenses and pixel efficiency, so having a ( slightly ) larger light image on the sensor does not necessarily mean it has been recorded more accurately.

As with so many others, you're significantly overstating the importance of the megapickles.

Can a smaller format system produce sharper images than a larger format system? Yes, but not by merely matching the (in the case of digital) total pixel count of the larger format. You need at least the same number of megapickles to make up for the quantization advantage of the larger format, but you then need even more (resolution, optics quality, whatever) to make up for the surface area advantage of the larger format.

And this is where film is such a useful example to bring into the mix. Let's say you developed some fantastic new film that was so much better than the film currently being used in 120 film that it made a 135 camera produce images as good as those from 645. Great news! But the very next thing that's going to happen is that said film is going to get packaged into a 120 roll...and now the 645 images are going to be just as much better. Indeed, the 645 images with the new film are going to be as good as 4x5 images with the old film...but, again, the large format shooters are going to be all over the new film, and the 4x5 images are going to be as good as 8x10, and the 8x10 images are going to be better than original reality.

That's the exact same thing we see with digital formats, except that the expense of scaling up film formats is much gentler than the expense of scaling up new digital formats.

So please, by all means. Support enhanced image quality in smaller formats. But what makes you think those same enhancements aren't on their way to the larger formats as well?

Cheers,

b&

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #191 on: January 26, 2013, 04:55:32 PM »
Ah well........

Incidentally I'm a dyed in the wool FF user.

At least we both agree the 40mm pancake is a little gem  ;)

TrumpetPower!

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #192 on: January 26, 2013, 05:09:19 PM »
Honestly, I can not understand  what you writing Trumpet Power, you use long sentence, many words.
It is the charge from each sensor small or big  who are importand, there is no enlarging regarding a sensors charge , as long it is the same  charge from a big or small sensor it is a optical question
AND if you do not understand this is it time for you to study the subject.


and cheers cheers and cheers
it is a question about  Physics

You don't like my English, so here's some math. I've even formatted it all so you can copy / paste into Google and it'll crunch the numbers for you.

To make a 24" x 36" print:

APS-C format = sqrt(24 in * 24 in + 36 in * 36 in) / sqrt(14.8 mm * 14.8 mm + 22.2 mm * 22.2 mm) = 41.19x enlargement

135 format = sqrt(24 in * 24 in + 36 in * 36 in) / sqrt(24 mm * 24 mm + 36 mm * 36 mm) = 25.4x enlargement

41.19 / 25.4 = 1.62 times as much enlargement for APS-C than for 135. (And, yes, that number should be very familiar.)

That's it. That the whole explanation for the superiority of 135 format over APS-C format -- or for any other large format over any other small format.

If you still don't understand, start playing around with some paper, a ruler, scissors, and a magnifying glass until you've got it figured out.

b&

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #192 on: January 26, 2013, 05:09:19 PM »

Plamen

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #193 on: January 26, 2013, 05:38:01 PM »
I created a few webpages about this topic here:

http://plamen.emilstefanov.net/index.htm

The answer is YES in principle but this also depends on the other factors.

AprilForever

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #194 on: January 26, 2013, 05:51:28 PM »
From my understanding of your posts it seems to me that you think the pixels you see on your screen are the same ones on your sensor.

Eh, you might be the one with a bit of confusion as to what a pixel is.

When you're looking at a 100% crop of an image, the pixels on your monitor are a (close to) perfect representation of the pixels on the sensor, just magnified a Brazilian times. There are caveats, of course, insofar as there are different color gamuts and luminance mapping and what-not, but those have no practical bearing on the discussion.

Quote
Also the actual size of the image projected onto the sensor is creating another confusion here. Yes it's true to say the recorded image as it falls on the sensor is larger on a larger sensor, but the ability to record it accurately comes down to lenses and pixel efficiency, so having a ( slightly ) larger light image on the sensor does not necessarily mean it has been recorded more accurately.

As with so many others, you're significantly overstating the importance of the megapickles.

Can a smaller format system produce sharper images than a larger format system? Yes, but not by merely matching the (in the case of digital) total pixel count of the larger format. You need at least the same number of megapickles to make up for the quantization advantage of the larger format, but you then need even more (resolution, optics quality, whatever) to make up for the surface area advantage of the larger format.

And this is where film is such a useful example to bring into the mix. Let's say you developed some fantastic new film that was so much better than the film currently being used in 120 film that it made a 135 camera produce images as good as those from 645. Great news! But the very next thing that's going to happen is that said film is going to get packaged into a 120 roll...and now the 645 images are going to be just as much better. Indeed, the 645 images with the new film are going to be as good as 4x5 images with the old film...but, again, the large format shooters are going to be all over the new film, and the 4x5 images are going to be as good as 8x10, and the 8x10 images are going to be better than original reality.

That's the exact same thing we see with digital formats, except that the expense of scaling up film formats is much gentler than the expense of scaling up new digital formats.

So please, by all means. Support enhanced image quality in smaller formats. But what makes you think those same enhancements aren't on their way to the larger formats as well?

Cheers,

b&

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Re: Is Full Frame sharper than APS-C? My answer here
« Reply #194 on: January 26, 2013, 05:51:28 PM »