October 24, 2014, 07:40:43 AM

Author Topic: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?  (Read 11846 times)

neuroanatomist

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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2014, 08:45:00 PM »
I agree, for macro photography, a crop sensor has the edge.  Unless of course, you're a fan of focus stacking 10 or more images...which I'm not.  A full frame sensor necessarily requires more focus stacking, unless you want your macro images with shallow depth of field...in which case either FF or crop are ok for that.  I don't profess to be a macro expert, though...but I do know that a macro image I shot with an effective 270mm focal length at f/20 on a crop camera, would have needed to be at f/45 or smaller on a full frame sensor, and would have provided 1.6x less magnification to boot.

Sorry, but no - you can't have your cake and eat it, too.  The deeper DoF with APS-C occurs because you're further from the subject for the same framing, and being further away means less magnification.  There's no real penalty for stopping down more on FF, when you factor in DoF and noise, there's really no difference – there are plenty of articles describing the concept of equivalence.  In a nutshell, FF allows shallower DoF if you want it, but there's no penalty for matching the DoF of a smaller sensor. 

The advantage of APS-C for macro shooting is that, as a general rule with most current sensors, the pixel density is higher with APS-C, meaning more pixels on target and higher digital magnification (the amount of benefit depends on the sensors being compared - the D800/a7R  actually put more pixels on target than the recently no-longer-current 12 MP sensor in the T3/1100D, a sensor that actually delivered relatively good noise performance).
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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2014, 08:45:00 PM »

CarlTN

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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2014, 08:50:32 PM »
I agree, for macro photography, a crop sensor has the edge.  Unless of course, you're a fan of focus stacking 10 or more images...which I'm not.  A full frame sensor necessarily requires more focus stacking, unless you want your macro images with shallow depth of field...in which case either FF or crop are ok for that.  I don't profess to be a macro expert, though...but I do know that a macro image I shot with an effective 270mm focal length at f/20 on a crop camera, would have needed to be at f/45 or smaller on a full frame sensor, and would have provided 1.6x less magnification to boot.

Sorry, but no - you can't have your cake and eat it, too.  The deeper DoF with APS-C occurs because you're further from the subject for the same framing, and being further away means less magnification.  There's no real penalty for stopping down more on FF, when you factor in DoF and noise, there's really no difference – there are plenty of articles describing the concept of equivalence.  In a nutshell, FF allows shallower DoF if you want it, but there's no penalty for matching the DoF of a smaller sensor. 

The advantage of APS-C for macro shooting is that, as a general rule with most current sensors, the pixel density is higher with APS-C, meaning more pixels on target and higher digital magnification (the amount of benefit depends on the sensors being compared - the D800/a7R  actually put more pixels on target than the recently no-longer-current 12 MP sensor in the T3/1100D, a sensor that actually delivered relatively good noise performance).

Not sorry to you (again get over yourself), and you're the one trying to have your cake and eat it to.  Who said "the same framing"?  I was referring to using THE SAME LENS...as in, the same distance from the subject.  So you can't have your cake and eat it too, by attempting the same "framing" with a macro telephoto lens, which is being used at its minimum focus distance.

And frankly, my 50D put more pixels on the subject than a D800 would have...a FF equivalent 38.5 MP, versus 36.  The 70D would put 5 MP more on subject than that...which again, was already more than the D800.

Most people who do macro photography, use MACRO lenses, in any case.  And sorry but no, with the same 100mm macro lens (for example), a 70D is going to put the full frame equivalent of approximately 50 MP on the subject...but obviously with narrower framing.  You get more detail, more effective magnification, because the pixels are smaller.

You know that, so don't try to frame this as if it doesn't matter, because it does.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2014, 09:19:36 PM »
Not sorry to you (again get over yourself), and you're the one trying to have your cake and eat it to.  Who said "the same framing"?  I was referring to using THE SAME LENS...as in, the same distance from the subject.  So you can't have your cake and eat it too, by attempting the same "framing" with a macro telephoto lens, which is being used at its minimum focus distance.

Well, in that case you are just plain wrong. If you shoot APS-C and FF at 1:1 and the same f/stop, the APS-C image will have shallower DoF than the FF image.  Not that much shallower, but your contention that APS-C gives deeper DoF than FF under the conditions you just described (same lens, same subject distance) demonstrates that you simply don't understand the relevant concepts.

In addition, you do have to consider subject size.  If you're shooting a subject the size of the APS-C sensor (~15x22 mm) or smaller, you can shoot at 1:1 with either APS-C or FF.  But you can almost frame a quarter at 1:1 with FF (you'll cut off 250 microns), whereas with APS-C at 1:1 you can't even frame a dime.  If you increase distance to frame a subject too large for APS-C, you decrease magnification (and decrease pixels on target - filling the frame with a quarter on a 5DIII at 1:1 puts more pixels on target than filling the frame of a 70D with that same quarter).
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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2014, 10:41:58 PM »
This somewhat depends on what you are shooting - distance, size and shape.  The bulk of my macro work is on a copy stand with the 100L and 6D or 550D - DOF is less an issue when shooting stamps, photos and other relatively flat objects - F5.6 or F8 is usually sufficient.  The 6D can give me a true 1:1 and handles larger objects better since I don't have to place it farther from the target to frame.  The 6D does much better for this type of work. 
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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2014, 12:48:14 AM »
I found that I preferred using my 100L on my 7D for close images of very small creatures to those of my 5D MK II.  The 7D seemed to work really well with that lens.  I wouldn't say that the images were of better quality, but I liked the results better and found it easier to use.  I had excellent results with both, I'd say the photographer is the bigger factor.
 
 

neuroanatomist

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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2014, 12:59:02 AM »
I found that I preferred using my 100L on my 7D for close images of very small creatures to those of my 5D MK II.  The 7D seemed to work really well with that lens.  I wouldn't say that the images were of better quality, but I liked the results better and found it easier to use.  I had excellent results with both, I'd say the photographer is the bigger factor.

I'd say that's often true. 

If you use AF for macro shooting (most don't), AI Servo on the 7D detects Canon macro lenses and uses an algorithm optimized for macro, to compensate for the fore-aft motion. Combined with H-IS of the 100L, not bad.

I do a fair bit of handheld shooting with the MP-E 65mm and MT-24EX.  For that, composition at 4-5x is hard enough with FF - the narrower AoV with a crop sensor makes that even harder.

Speaking of AF, I sometimes wish Canon did trap focus.  I wonder if ML has that feature?
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Marsu42

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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2014, 02:07:14 AM »
What do you think, is really a crop sensor better than full frame for macro photography?

Owning the ff 6d and the crop 60d I do think the latter is better for macro for various reasons, this is my practical experience and I'll keep around the 60d if even for macro alone.

1. Working distance on 100mm lens: If using artificial light or taking shots of something tiny that tends to fly, crawl or jump away this focal length on ff is rather short, I guess that's why they also offer a 180mm... or you put a tc on the lens, but the Kenko has issues with the newer camera's afma and lowers iq a bit.

2. Swivel screen, though that wasn't the question: Only the 60d/70d/Rebels have it, it's invaluable for tripod macro work, esp. when paired with Magic Lantern's focus peaking.

3. Last not least dof (you mentioned it): If you do focus stacking you'll use the lens' best aperture setting before diffraction is an issue, which means many more shots required on ff. If using handheld, a deeper dof = smaller aperture means higher iso, i.e. the iso advantage of ff diminishes.

What might not have been mentioned yet: With ff, you are more likely to run into the macro zone where the usable aperture drops, or the problem is more severe, so that even more (over-)compensates for the iso advantage of ff... the only redeeming fact is that you can better noise-reduce recent ff shots than crop, but still higher iso = less dr. All of the above us for usual firefly to butterfly shooting distances, not for extreme 1:1 which I seldom really require.

With a good lens like the 100L and the current crop resolution, the iq of the lens on crop is about the same as on ff... but of course ff shots have more postprocessing elasticity if you need that.

Speaking of AF, I sometimes wish Canon did trap focus.  I wonder if ML has that feature?

Yes, it does - move the camera until the phase af point detects af lock, then the camera automatically takes the picture. Very handy if you slowly move the lens forward with a fixed focus setting.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 02:14:54 AM by Marsu42 »

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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2014, 02:07:14 AM »

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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2014, 05:10:04 AM »
Take the argument to the extreme and consider something like and iphone 5s. It has a tiny sensor so everything is always in focus. But it still has an f2 lens in terms of light transition. So sometimes I can get a better macro shot in low light on my 5s than I could on my 5d mk iii. Because to get an equivalent depth of field I'd have to stop down to f18 which would push up the ISO to extreme.

I think you have to factor in the difference in sensor size and light gathering capabilities of both. I don't know the exact factor but I would say that the FF sensor would gather a lot more light than the iPhone sensor at the exact same exposure settings. Well that part is obvious but then you see, when you stop the FF / lens aperture down a few stops to match the amount of light you have essentially "bought" yourself a few stops of ISO too. Then another feature of the FF is that even at ultra high ISO it will be relatively noise free and have more detail.

I've never tried macro with an iPhone using only ambient light. I'd imagine you'd need a lot of light. It would be interesting to see a side by side comparison with a 5D3.
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CarlTN

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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2014, 05:28:49 AM »
Not sorry to you (again get over yourself), and you're the one trying to have your cake and eat it to.  Who said "the same framing"?  I was referring to using THE SAME LENS...as in, the same distance from the subject.  So you can't have your cake and eat it too, by attempting the same "framing" with a macro telephoto lens, which is being used at its minimum focus distance.

Well, in that case you are just plain wrong. If you shoot APS-C and FF at 1:1 and the same f/stop, the APS-C image will have shallower DoF than the FF image.  Not that much shallower, but your contention that APS-C gives deeper DoF than FF under the conditions you just described (same lens, same subject distance) demonstrates that you simply don't understand the relevant concepts.

In addition, you do have to consider subject size.  If you're shooting a subject the size of the APS-C sensor (~15x22 mm) or smaller, you can shoot at 1:1 with either APS-C or FF.  But you can almost frame a quarter at 1:1 with FF (you'll cut off 250 microns), whereas with APS-C at 1:1 you can't even frame a dime.  If you increase distance to frame a subject too large for APS-C, you decrease magnification (and decrease pixels on target - filling the frame with a quarter on a 5DIII at 1:1 puts more pixels on target than filling the frame of a 70D with that same quarter).

Let me get this straight.  You're saying that a crop sensor will have shallower depth of field than a full frame sensor, given the same subject distance from the lens?  So, if that lens cannot focus at closer than 35 inches (as in the case I described), somehow I'm going to get shallower depth of field with a crop sensor, than with a full frame camera?  Why?  Because the subject is relatively tiny in the center of the (full) frame, and is represented by larger (and thus fewer) pixels over its area?  So what?  I still say with a 100mm macro lens, if ultimate detail and subject magnification is what you want, a crop sensor will be better.  To get the same subject magnification with a full frame camera, the distance will be closer, and then the depth of field will be SHALLOWER than it was with the same framing on the crop camera, not deeper.  It's you who doesn't understand relevant concepts here.  Get off my back.

CarlTN

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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2014, 05:29:23 AM »
I found that I preferred using my 100L on my 7D for close images of very small creatures to those of my 5D MK II.  The 7D seemed to work really well with that lens.  I wouldn't say that the images were of better quality, but I liked the results better and found it easier to use.  I had excellent results with both, I'd say the photographer is the bigger factor.

Nice to see someone can understand where I'm coming from.

CarlTN

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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2014, 05:30:59 AM »
What do you think, is really a crop sensor better than full frame for macro photography?

Owning the ff 6d and the crop 60d I do think the latter is better for macro for various reasons, this is my practical experience and I'll keep around the 60d if even for macro alone.

1. Working distance on 100mm lens: If using artificial light or taking shots of something tiny that tends to fly, crawl or jump away this focal length on ff is rather short, I guess that's why they also offer a 180mm... or you put a tc on the lens, but the Kenko has issues with the newer camera's afma and lowers iq a bit.

2. Swivel screen, though that wasn't the question: Only the 60d/70d/Rebels have it, it's invaluable for tripod macro work, esp. when paired with Magic Lantern's focus peaking.

3. Last not least dof (you mentioned it): If you do focus stacking you'll use the lens' best aperture setting before diffraction is an issue, which means many more shots required on ff. If using handheld, a deeper dof = smaller aperture means higher iso, i.e. the iso advantage of ff diminishes.

What might not have been mentioned yet: With ff, you are more likely to run into the macro zone where the usable aperture drops, or the problem is more severe, so that even more (over-)compensates for the iso advantage of ff... the only redeeming fact is that you can better noise-reduce recent ff shots than crop, but still higher iso = less dr. All of the above us for usual firefly to butterfly shooting distances, not for extreme 1:1 which I seldom really require.

With a good lens like the 100L and the current crop resolution, the iq of the lens on crop is about the same as on ff... but of course ff shots have more postprocessing elasticity if you need that.

Speaking of AF, I sometimes wish Canon did trap focus.  I wonder if ML has that feature?

Yes, it does - move the camera until the phase af point detects af lock, then the camera automatically takes the picture. Very handy if you slowly move the lens forward with a fixed focus setting.

Looks like you also, agree with my point of view.  So I do understand relevant concepts here, and am not just looking to argue and make myself look like an idiot...not this time anyway.  But somebody sure is...

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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2014, 09:02:35 AM »
Let me get this straight. You're saying that a crop sensor will have shallower depth of field than a full frame sensor, given the same subject distance from the lens?  So, if that lens cannot focus at closer than 35 inches (as in the case I described), somehow I'm going to get shallower depth of field with a crop sensor, than with a full frame camera?  Why?  Because the subject is relatively tiny in the center of the (full) frame, and is represented by larger (and thus fewer) pixels over its area?  So what?  I still say with a 100mm macro lens, if ultimate detail and subject magnification is what you want, a crop sensor will be better.  To get the same subject magnification with a full frame camera, the distance will be closer, and then the depth of field will be SHALLOWER than it was with the same framing on the crop camera, not deeper.  It's you who doesn't understand relevant concepts here.  Get off my back.
That's exactly what I'm saying - with the same focal length, aperture and subject distance, a crop sensor will have a shallower depth of field.  The 'deeper DoF with a crop sensor' applies only when considering the same framing, where to match the FoV with the smaller sensor you are either further away or using a shorter focal length.  Also, crop sensors don't magnify, they just use a much smaller portion of the image circle (less than 40% of the FF area) - optical magnification of the subject isn't changing. The 'magnification' you're talking about is solely a function of pixel density, which is usually, but not always, higher on crop sensors.  If you frame the subject the same with both formats, the 'advantage' of pixel density is reversed (in general with current sensors). If you keep the distance the same you get more pixels on target with the crop sensor (in general with current sensors) – however, the DoF will be shallower, not deeper...and the smaller pixels of the crop sensor mean a greater effect of diffraction as you stop down, costing you more sharpness.


So I do understand relevant concepts here, and am not just looking to argue and make myself look like an idiot...not this time anyway.  But somebody sure is...
Sorry, but no, you don't.  Don't feel bad, you're not the first to be lost inside the circle of confusion, and you won't be the last.  Instead of calling people names, you could do some reading on the subject, or simply try going to an online depth of field calculator (such as DoFMaster), pick a focal length, aperture, and subject distance, then without changing any other settings switch back-and-forth between a full frame body and a crop body in the camera selection, and see which one has the shallower depth of field.  Then you can come back here and tell us who looks like what…
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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2014, 09:33:31 AM »
The differences between the crop camera and FF camera can be said to have, the same dof, less dof, or more dof depending on your output.

Dof is determined by aperture size and reproduction ratio alone, focal length and subject distance are just parts of the magnification side of the equation, so the output, the final image be it on screen or print is critical in determining dof. All dof calculators assume a same sized output and an average viewing distance, I believe that to be an 8"x10" print (or screen image) viewed at 12" with 20:20 vision.

For a very good explanation look here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of_field

Specifically:-
Quote
Relationship of DOF to format size

The comparative DOFs of two different format sizes depend on the conditions of the comparison. The DOF for the smaller format can be either more than or less than that for the larger format. In the discussion that follows, it is assumed that the final images from both formats are the same size, are viewed from the same distance, and are judged with the same circle of confusion criterion. (Derivations of the effects of format size are given under Derivation of the DOF formulas.)

“Same picture” for both formats
When the “same picture” is taken in two different format sizes from the same distance at the same f-number with lenses that give the same angle of view, and the final images (e.g., in prints, or on a projection screen or electronic display) are the same size, DOF is, to a first approximation, inversely proportional to format size (Stroebel 1976, 139). Though commonly used when comparing formats, the approximation is valid only when the subject distance is large in comparison with the focal length of the larger format and small in comparison with the hyperfocal distance of the smaller format.

Moreover, the larger the format size, the longer a lens will need to be to capture the same framing as a smaller format. In motion pictures, for example, a frame with a 12 degree horizontal field of view will require a 50 mm lens on 16 mm film, a 100 mm lens on 35 mm film, and a 250 mm lens on 65 mm film. Conversely, using the same focal length lens with each of these formats will yield a progressively wider image as the film format gets larger: a 50 mm lens has a horizontal field of view of 12 degrees on 16 mm film, 23.6 degrees on 35 mm film, and 55.6 degrees on 65 mm film. Therefore, because the larger formats require longer lenses than the smaller ones, they will accordingly have a smaller depth of field. Compensations in exposure, framing, or subject distance need to be made in order to make one format look like it was filmed in another format.

Same focal length for both formats
Many small-format digital SLR camera systems allow using many of the same lenses on both full-frame and “cropped format” cameras. If, for the same focal length setting, the subject distance is adjusted to provide the same field of view at the subject, at the same f-number and final-image size, the smaller format has greater DOF, as with the “same picture” comparison above. If pictures are taken from the same distance using the same f-number, same focal length, and the final images are the same size, the smaller format has less DOF. If pictures taken from the same subject distance using the same focal length, are given the same enlargement, both final images will have the same DOF. The pictures from the two formats will differ because of the different angles of view. If the larger format is cropped to the captured area of the smaller format, the final images will have the same angle of view, have been given the same enlargement, and have the same DOF.

Same DOF for both formats
In many cases, the DOF is fixed by the requirements of the desired image. For a given DOF and field of view, the required f-number is proportional to the format size. For example, if a 35 mm camera required f/11, a 4×5 camera would require f/45 to give the same DOF. For the same ISO speed, the exposure time on the 4×5 would be sixteen times as long; if the 35 camera required 1/250 second, the 4×5 camera would require 1/15 second. The longer exposure time with the larger camera might result in motion blur, especially with windy conditions, a moving subject, or an unsteady camera.

Adjusting the f-number to the camera format is equivalent to maintaining the same absolute aperture diameter; when set to the same absolute aperture diameters, both formats have the same DOF.

For a long thread with lots of good imformation, illustrations and links look here http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=15884.0

You have to state what criteria you are using for your output before you can state what effect you are seeing.
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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2014, 09:33:31 AM »

Marsu42

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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2014, 02:14:17 PM »
That's exactly what I'm saying - with the same focal length, aperture and subject distance, a crop sensor will have a shallower depth of field.  The 'deeper DoF with a crop sensor' applies only when considering the same framing

Good we have that sorted out :-) ... and I'm no way intervening between you and good ol' CarlTN, but I'd like to add that the thread title and op makes most sense when considering the same framing, i.e. /me shooting a live firefly with my 100L and getting the vf to match on 6d and 60d. In that case, I'd pick the 60d.

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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2014, 02:53:31 PM »
That's exactly what I'm saying - with the same focal length, aperture and subject distance, a crop sensor will have a shallower depth of field.  The 'deeper DoF with a crop sensor' applies only when considering the same framing

Good we have that sorted out :-) ... and I'm no way intervening between you and good ol' CarlTN, but I'd like to add that the thread title and op makes most sense when considering the same framing, i.e. /me shooting a live firefly with my 100L and getting the vf to match on 6d and 60d. In that case, I'd pick the 60d.
To take an even further step back, I would say that the crop vs. FF argument for macro is no different than it is for other genres of photography.  Crop will give you more perceived magnification (via cropping) at the same lens-to-subject distance just as it would for wildlife or anything else.  FF cameras offer better quality (sharpness) at the pixel level and better performance at high ISO.   This last point is important if you shoot with natural light because as you increase magnification you lose light and the more a slight wind will seem like a hurricane.  To shoot flowers in soft light with a light breeze at 1:1, you'll often need to be at ISO 1600-3200 just to get 1/30s which is the bare minimum for most subjects.  Got to 2:1 and it gets even worse.  That's where the FF bodies can give you an advantage.  If you shoot timid or dangerous subjects, crop will give you extra working distance for the same framing, giving an advantage.

Both types of cameras will give you great macro shots, and if you look at some of my 70+ macro shots in the gallery below, you'll be hard pressed to tell what was shot with a crop vs. full frame without looking at the EXIF, which is in the "Show Details" tab.  With macro, technique will trump equipment for most people, so the best bet is just go out there and shoot :)
http://www.ianandersonphotography.com/Other/InBloom/32974529_HgZgN5#!i=2857799475&k=8bfmgKj

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Re: Crop sensors better than full frame for macro photography?
« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2014, 02:53:31 PM »