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Author Topic: Does FF make your photos pop?  (Read 13797 times)

JT13

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Does FF make your photos pop?
« on: February 11, 2012, 11:04:31 AM »
Hi,

I have just upgraded from a 500D to a 7D. I didn’t really consider FF because I had my focal range pretty well covered with a 10-22mm, 17-55mm and 70-200mm f/4 L IS.
Two weeks after the purchase my 7D was stolen along with the 10-22mm.
Now, I am debating whether to get the 5- or 7-series successor, assuming that the specs are similar.

I take photos just for the fun of it and don’t do excessive printing but enjoy high quality.
Mostly, I take photos while traveling – landscapes, cities, people – as well as my dog.

The main reason for considering FF is that I sometimes see photos that have something mine are missing. It is hard to put a finger on it. It is a certain brilliance that gives the pictures the impression of depth. While there seems nothing obvious to be wrong with my photos they are “flat” and unspectacular in comparison.
Has one of you encountered something similar? I am not even sure if it is the FF or composition, light, post procession, primes etc.

FF from the web:






My out of camera jpgs:







In my pictures nothing pops out, everything seems to be on one plane.
What do you think? Is FF really the reason?

Besides this issue, lower noise in the range of ISO800-3200 would be the main benefit for me.

On the other hand APS-C has a lot of advantages over FF.
From what I have read the 10-22mm is on a level with the 16-35mm as well as the 17-55mm with the 24-70mm while having IS. So for the same glass quality you pay a high surcharge, have to carry more weight and lose tele reach.
To cover the same focal range with a FF body it would be about 1500€ over a crop setup.

If the 7D had been available when you switched to FF would you still have done it?

JT13

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Does FF make your photos pop?
« on: February 11, 2012, 11:04:31 AM »

Z

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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2012, 11:57:48 AM »
I think you're being a bit harsh on yourself and also viewing the full-frame pictures with rose-tinted glasses. Your photo of the girl 'pops' (I'm not entirely sure what you mean by this) more than the picture of the giraffe because she is sidelit, nicely separating her from the background.  On the other hand, your photo of the clock tower could probably 'pop' a little more if you used a polarizing filter to remove a bit of that haze.  The FF HDR landscape... well that just looks awful to my eye.

The FF sensor will provide a shallower DoF, so when using wide apertures it is easier to isolate a subject and nicely blur a background. They also have better colour depth, but can you even tell on your monitor? My monitor can't differentiate!

That being said, I am swapping to FF for its advantages to me (lower noise, shallower DoF, namely), but I don't expect it to make my crappy shots look any less crappy.

AJ

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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2012, 12:19:45 PM »
No it's not the sensor.  It's 1) the light, 2) the light, and 3) post-processing.

elflord

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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2012, 12:27:12 PM »

You get shallower depth of field which is really nice to have for portraits.

But you could get that from your existing setup by adding a budget prime (50mm f/1.4 or 85mm f/1.8) to your lineup.

btw, you could cover the same focal range on full frame with the 17-40 f/4 and the 24-105 f/4 IS. f/4 on full frame is dof-equivalent to f/2.5 on a crop. The 10-22mm is not comparable to the 16-35mm. The 16-35mm is constant f/2.8, the10-22mm is f/3.5-f/4.5. Faster apertures cost dollars.

Now about your pics: out of your people shots, I like (1) -- better than your ff examples imho.  (2) would work better composition wise if the girl was to the left of the frame. (3) is just kind of blah -- the subject isn't looking at the camera, engaged in any activity or expressing any strong emotions.
The stuff in  the right of the frame is distracting. It probably would have worked better in vertical orientation. Shallower dof is worth playing with for this kind of shot (you'd get this from a faster lens)

smirkypants

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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2012, 12:44:29 PM »
It's all about the light. What really makes photos pop is good lighting. I've taken lots of great photos with my 7D and 1D4, neither of which is full frame.

jwong

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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2012, 01:08:26 PM »


In my pictures nothing pops out, everything seems to be on one plane.
What do you think? Is FF really the reason?

Besides this issue, lower noise in the range of ISO800-3200 would be the main benefit for me.

On the other hand APS-C has a lot of advantages over FF.
From what I have read the 10-22mm is on a level with the 16-35mm as well as the 17-55mm with the 24-70mm while having IS. So for the same glass quality you pay a high surcharge, have to carry more weight and lose tele reach.
To cover the same focal range with a FF body it would be about 1500€ over a crop setup.

If the 7D had been available when you switched to FF would you still have done it?

JT13

I don't think it's purely a FF vs. APS-C difference.  Lenses and filters have a lot to do with it.  A CP would have helped with your landscape shots by increasing saturation and darkening the sky a bit.  A crop body will have more DOF than a full frame body, but that can also be addressed using faster lenses and shooting portraits with longer lenses.  A f/1.4 will separate the subject from the background much greater than the f/2.8 and f/4.  I agree with Elflord that you should try experimenting with the 50 f/1.4 and 85 f/1.8.  I use the 35 f/1.4 on a crop body, and the isolation or foreground/background separation is fantastic, which helps the subject pop.

JT13

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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2012, 01:42:53 PM »
Thank you for the great replies!

I picked these photos to point out the different depth / three-dimensional feel that I noticed in many FF shots.
I know that the valley or giraffe are not exceptionally good shots and neither are mine.

In the first three FF shots the subject really sticks out of the frame.
I would expect the same from my last picture of the boy.
It is a little better with the girl but nowhere near the first two photos.

I really feel drawn into the valley which makes a powerful impression on me.
In my first two pictures I don't really have that three-dimensional feel dispite objects in different distances.

You don't seem to think it is the sensor.
So, how can I create that spatial impression?
The background on the FF shots isn't more blurred than in my pics.
So, I don't think it is about the aperture. I've got a 50mm f/1.8 to play around with.
Do I need to catch the right light and shoot from a slight up-/downward angle?
Or could I get the effect by sharpening and brightening up the subject in post processing?


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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2012, 01:42:53 PM »

elflord

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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2012, 02:11:43 PM »
Thank you for the great replies!

I picked these photos to point out the different depth / three-dimensional feel that I noticed in many FF shots.
I know that the valley or giraffe are not exceptionally good shots and neither are mine.

In the first three FF shots the subject really sticks out of the frame.
I would expect the same from my last picture of the boy.
It is a little better with the girl but nowhere near the first two photos.

I really feel drawn into the valley which makes a powerful impression on me.
In my first two pictures I don't really have that three-dimensional feel dispite objects in different distances.

You don't seem to think it is the sensor.
So, how can I create that spatial impression?

The larger sensor (or more precisely, longer focal length with the same fov) helps you gain shallower depth of field, but you can do that by using faster lenses or changing the aperture setting on your existing lenses.

Quote
The background on the FF shots isn't more blurred than in my pics.
So, I don't think it is about the aperture. I've got a 50mm f/1.8 to play around with.
Do I need to catch the right light and shoot from a slight up-/downward angle?
Or could I get the effect by sharpening and brightening up the subject in post processing?

The valley shot is all about composition. You have 4 lines converging to the point in the distance, and the clouds lead the eye there. The distant mountain with the intervening haze adds depth.

In the people shots, the composition of the full frame shots is just a bit better which helps give them more pop. There are no distractions on the foreground, and the background is well behind the subject. With (2) you could improve the picture just by cropping it (the girl should be towards the left, not in the center) -- then the tree frames the shot and draws the eye in to the subject. Shoot vertical often for people shots. Avoid putting subjects in the center of the frame. Read a book on composition such as "the photographers eye" by Michael Freeman.

Changing the angle can help but not just in terms of an up/downward angle but picking a shot that aligns compositional elements in the right way, so that background content enhances the shot instead of serving as a distraction.

jwong

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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2012, 02:17:04 PM »
Thank you for the great replies!

I picked these photos to point out the different depth / three-dimensional feel that I noticed in many FF shots.
I know that the valley or giraffe are not exceptionally good shots and neither are mine.

In the first three FF shots the subject really sticks out of the frame.
I would expect the same from my last picture of the boy.
It is a little better with the girl but nowhere near the first two photos.

I really feel drawn into the valley which makes a powerful impression on me.
In my first two pictures I don't really have that three-dimensional feel dispite objects in different distances.

You don't seem to think it is the sensor.
So, how can I create that spatial impression?
The background on the FF shots isn't more blurred than in my pics.
So, I don't think it is about the aperture. I've got a 50mm f/1.8 to play around with.
Do I need to catch the right light and shoot from a slight up-/downward angle?
Or could I get the effect by sharpening and brightening up the subject in post processing?

Your first two landscapes are shot without a polarizer and the valley shot you like is shot with a polarizer.  Both your shots had pretty harsh light.  You should try using a polarizer or wait for the light to be softer.  That should improve the saturation and blue sky that you like in the valley shot.  Harsh light tends to give a washed out effect that makes objects look flat.

Your last two portraits have objects in the foreground that take away from the composition.  The two portraits that you like are also shot pretty close to the subject.  Try getting closer with the 17-55 and eliminate the foreground clutter.

AJ

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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2012, 02:37:03 PM »
Ok some more detailed feedback.

1) Church tower.  Awkward composition.  No single focal point.  Flat light.  Simple travel snapshot.
2) Beach.  Really nice!  With the 10-22, get lower and get closer.  This'll get you awesome perspective.  Horizon is at 50% and is tilting.  Too much bland empty sky.  Light is not bad, but sunrise/sunset would take it to the next level.
3) Curly-hair dude.  I like this photo.  The black point is a bit heavy.  I think you could dodge the eyes a bit to bring out the catch-eyes.  Get rid of the intruding finger bottom-left.  Try B&W conversions.  All this photo needs is a bit of post-processing. 
4) Girl.  Awkward centered composition.  Other child in front.  Background too contrasty.  Light is not bad.
5) Baby.  Light is not bad.  Contrasty cluttered background.  Eye contact would be good.  Crop to portrait orientation.  Dodge the catch-eyes.

unfocused

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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2012, 02:42:34 PM »
First, get Scott Kelby's 7-Point System for Photoshop book and work through the exercises. Shoot in raw and double process the images, it's one of the greatest tools in Photoshop. You'll be amazed at what you can do with a little practice.

Second, always pay attention to your background. Train your eye to always look at the background and simplify, simplify, simplify. Remember, photographs are two dimensions. Everything is on a flat plane, so everything gets equal treatment by that plane (unlike your eyes, which can differentiate the distances between objects)
pictures sharp. life not so much. www.unfocusedmg.com

JT13

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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2012, 04:35:48 PM »
I really appreciate the feedback.

Some of the advice miss my problem.
I am really concerned about that "sticking out of the frame" and not so much about the composition etc.
I didn't spend too much time in the selection of the pics because I was hoping that it would be a known issue.
It's probably best to get my hands on a 5D from somewhere and do some comparisons myself.

These are some shots from India that I prefer over the others (facebook compressed):



















« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 04:40:17 PM by JT13 »

wockawocka

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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2012, 05:38:43 PM »
Full frame is to crop sensors what medium format is to full frame.

I'll never forget the day I saw my first full frame images from a 5D2, wow.
1DX, 5D3 and Hasselblad H Series owner.

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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2012, 05:38:43 PM »

Picsfor

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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2012, 05:56:47 PM »
I think the problem is - you've just seen a picture taken with a 5D2 or 1Ds3

I used to shoot with a 30D and 40D. Loved working with them, and they worked ver nicely with a lens bolted to each one.

When i got the 5D2, i was required to sell the 40D (it was only 5 months old) and use the 30D as a back up.
When my wife saw the quality of the images produced by that 5D2 sensor, she just said "get rid of the 30D - it can't compete".

It wasn't about ff or crop - it was very much about a stunning sensor that 3 years on, is still holding its own - even against the new D800. It is a stunning camera with IQ second to none (for its price). As said in earlier answers - ff has the ability to create a shallower DoF - which means you can isolate an object with a very shallow DoF and make it really jump out of the picture.

I do understand what you mean by 'pop' - i don't think it's FF, it''s just that Canon's 2 FF 21mp cameras both produce stunning images. Given what you tend to shoot - i would recomment the 5D2 over the 7D, purely on subject matter.

Try it with that 50mm f1.8 on the front, it'll make you drool...

Mrs. Canon

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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2012, 06:33:26 PM »
I think what makes a photo "pop" is lighting, composition, and lots of practice.

That being said - I have a 5DmkII, 5Dc, and a 7D. The first body I pick up every time is the 5DmkII. My next pick is the 5Dc- which gives me a little different look (so sometimes I pick this body for just that reason). The 5Dc is still a great camera. I did an entire family shoot with the 5Dc and they look really good. My last choice is always my 7D (unless I am needing fast frames per second or if I want to extent my lens length ie. 100mm becomes 160mm, 135mm becomes 216mm etc). Not that there is anything wrong with the my 7D, I just love FF. I don't think FF makes my pics "pop" more, I think that depends on the skill level of the photographer. It is hard for me to explain why I love FF more. I was love at first sight.

Since your camera was stolen (sorry to hear that) now you have a chance to make the jump to FF since you have to buy a new body. I think you will be happy with the change. But I am not saying that it will make your images "pop" more- I just think it is more fun!

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Re: Does FF make your photos pop?
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2012, 06:33:26 PM »