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Old January 27th, 2009, 11:08 AM   #1
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Full Frame vs. APS-C

So with dSLRs going to full frame sensors now, which is "better"? Obviously there are pros and cons. I've done a LITTLE research so far and it seems like people say full frame can give you slightly better picture quality, but that the lenses cost more.

Thoughts?
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Old January 27th, 2009, 04:12 PM   #2
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Last I checked, the lenses cost the same, unless you've been getting APS-C specific lenses. That's one thing I love about the Canon's, all EF lenses work on all cameras, with a few minor exceptions. Some of the non-Canon EF-S lenses fit on FF cameras too. One of the reasons I would say that FF is better is that the pixels aren't as smooshed together as they are on an APS-C. You also get the true FOV with a FF sensor, not the 1.3/1.5/1.6x of crop sensors.

I really don't see a need to get a FF camera unless you need the extra FOV, FPS rate or a fully sealed body.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 08:38 AM   #3
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Well with Nikon, if you get their DX format lenses, the pictures will be cropped on a full frame lens.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 11:33 AM   #4
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Cropped yes, but you can still use them. The cropped FOV can actually work to your favor in some cases, mainly on the telephoto end. When I was using the Canon 100-400, it had the FOV of a 160-640 on a FF, which was really nice doing wildlife in Colorado.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 02:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by VietNinjaJ30A1 View Post
Well with Nikon, if you get their DX format lenses, the pictures will be cropped on a full frame lens.

not sure if you're familiar with ken rockwell's site (probably are).. but here's two great articles...

the full frame advantage:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/full...-advantage.htm

future of FX and DX formats
http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/fx-dx-future.htm
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Old January 28th, 2009, 02:28 PM   #6
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If you need great high ISO performance at or above 1600 shooting indoor sports, weddings, or other types of photography where you need to stop action and a flash isn't necessarily allowed or appropriate (concerts) then there's no question that full frame is superior. Otherwise APS-C is perfectly fine IMHO. If you need insane resolution beyond 12MP, then my opinion is that you're better off shooting film and scanning than spending tons and tons of money on a high-resolution full-frame digital that will be worth less than 50% of what you paid for it after 2 years. If you're a professional and your clients demand it then sure - different ballgame there.

I think a lot of people buy full-frame digitals because they think they'll be able to avoid ever using a flash again, or even bothering to learn how to use one in the first place. Nope. Trying to get nice photos of moving kids indoors with typical household lighting, even iso6400 doesn't cut it. I get niceer results off of my D40 with a fast lens, some bounce flash, and lower ISO than anybody with a D700 or D3 will at 6400 and no flash. And controlling your light better will actually enhance the look in your photos a lot. Without a flash lighting will often look flat and dull, at least for indoor people shots. Many seem to think that super high ISO wonder cams will eliminate the need for a tripod too. I can park my D40 and 18-55 kit lens on a super lightweight tripod and do a long exposure and get better results than a handheld D700/D3 with a fast lens and high ISO, and the light streaks from the long exposure always look cool too. Plus the tripod I need for my setup is no big deal, whereas you need something heavy and elaborate and clumsy for a D700/D3 and a heavy pro lens. People don't seem to realize this.

If you get a full-frame digital and you're on the budget of mere mortals, get it for the right reasons. Or if you're a rich guy, get whatever the heck you want and who cares what I say.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 12:08 PM   #7
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^^ Thanks, Steve! Yea...my baller status is currently sitting at "mere mortals" . I just starting thinking a little ahead of myself (because Circuit City is going out of business) and looking at D300s, D3s and D700s. I'm nowhere near good enough to justify the purchase of one of these cameras, especially the D3, but it got me thinking about which one I would get if I did get one.

Realistically, by the time I decide I'm "good enough" to justify the D300, Nikon will have a D1200 and the D300 will be affordable ...perfect.
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Old February 4th, 2009, 11:37 AM   #8
 
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Depends on budget, I think most people will always want to go full frame, however many stick with the aps-c because of the 1.6x crop ratio, good for sports/bird watching, etc, where the extra length might be useful. Ex, 100-400mm turns into a 160-600mm on a Canon Xseries/xxD.
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Old February 4th, 2009, 11:54 AM   #9
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Most people will never want to go full-frame because of the cost. By most people I mean the millions buying Nikon D40/D60 and Canon XSi kits at Costco. Hobbyists, enthusiasts, and semi-pro and higher are completely different from the masses.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 03:57 AM   #10
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The full-frame cameras are better to me, because you can do anything the not-so-full-frame cameras can do... and then some. Like Steve said, most people don't need a full-frame, and can still make kick-ass pictures like him if they just do it right. However, if price isn't a factor... do what he said too and get whatever you want.

My D700 savings fund is currently somewhere around $300... but it may end up going toward a 17-55mm f/2.8 AF-S, or 50mm f/1.4 AF-S (I just wish they had VR too... expecially at their prices). I just am not happy with my pictures. I know that if I had better glass, my signature picture would have turned out a lot cleaner and nicer.
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Last edited by Kuya Master; February 13th, 2009 at 04:02 AM.. Reason: grammar
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Old February 13th, 2009, 07:49 AM   #11
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^^ What were the specs on your signature picture? I think some adjustments on aperture and shutter speed could have helped bring out the car more, but that's just a guess. I mean the picture is sharp, the details are there, just some adjustments could make it look like you really want.

If I had a ton of money, I would've gotten the D700 with the 70-200mm f/2.8...but I don't. So I'm pulling the trigger on a used D300 (1100 clicks) today.

While I agree that there may be some things you can capture with a full frame that you can't with an APS-C...I don't think it's deal maker/breaker for me. The forced crop factor that I'm getting with a FX lens on a DX camera won't really be an issue to me unless I'm standing on a log in the middle of a lake and I can't quite capture the ENTIRE mountain in front of me. I don't see that happening too often.

Or maybe I'm just justifying my purchase since I'm getting the D300...haha.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 11:06 AM   #12
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I just bought a used D50.

Kuya, what the heck is wrong with your signature picture? You could have taken it on a D40 with the 18-55 kit lens or a D700 with 24-70mm f/2.8 and nobody would be able to tell the difference. I don't get it. You've got a shadow on the side of the car facing the photo which is a lighting (or composition) issue. Or maybe you intended it that way in which case it's fine. I like it - it looks mysterious and maybe a bit menacing. I don't see any camera issue here.

For $200, order the new Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX. After zillions of people piled into the Amazon pre-order, I waited for Adorama and got 1st in line there.

http://www.adorama.com/NK3518U.html
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Old February 14th, 2009, 01:20 AM   #13
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Let us know how clean the pictures are with that 35mm when you get it!

The picture of my car has the shadow, because that's just how the lights were positioned. I composed it that way, because I hate how "cut off" and incomplete it looked when I scooted the car to the left of the frame. I am a bit happy with it, but like my pictures at the LA Auto Show thread I put up... it's still not as good looking as some pictures a guy took at the Detroit show.

I think I would be able to tell the difference between the a good lens on the D700 vs the kit lens on my D40 because I totally noticed the difference whenever I used my ex's D50 with the 105mm f/2.8 Micro. Things were clearer and cleaner with it. I just couldn't take the wider shots I wanted to of things other than her. I'm afraid that the 35mm f/1.8 will only have good low-light and shallow depth of field, but still not be as clear (I don't know of a better word to say) as the "good" lenses. I mean, I'm sure that you were able to notice the difference between the kit lens and the 17-55mm you got.

I don't know, I'm just not happy (for lack of a better analogy) driving a Civic all the time, when there are TL Type-S's. I know that I haven't maxed anything out since I'm still not an expert, but if you give the same photographer a D700 with the 24-70mm and also the D40 with the 18-55mm, he or she will most likely get better shots of the same thing with the better equipment. Like you for instance, I know that you can take better shots with your higher-class lenses than the kit lens. If not, then you wouldn't have spent thousands on the lenses.

You inspire me a lot... I just feel that I'll never get to your level, so (for lack of another better analogy) instead of trying to be as fast as you at the autocross with our Miatas, I want to get an Elise so that it can be easier for me to be faster than I currently am (yet still not as fast as you).
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Old February 14th, 2009, 02:47 AM   #14
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Well comparing the D700 to the D40 is almost apples and oranges when it comes to noise. Which does effect how "nice" a picture looks. Other than that, Steve is right, composition and lighting can make noise barely a factor in a picture. Just throw it through Noise Ninja.
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Old February 16th, 2009, 03:07 PM   #15
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Let us know how clean the pictures are with that 35mm when you get it!

The picture of my car has the shadow, because that's just how the lights were positioned. I composed it that way, because I hate how "cut off" and incomplete it looked when I scooted the car to the left of the frame. I am a bit happy with it, but like my pictures at the LA Auto Show thread I put up... it's still not as good looking as some pictures a guy took at the Detroit show.
The only difference between your pictures and theirs was that they mixed it up a little more with a wider range of focal lengths and explored different perspectives. I saw as wide as 16mm, and as long as 85mm whereas yours were more walkaround snapshots from approximately the same perspective. I'm not a huge fan of the "broken neck" style shots either unless there's something you get from that which really adds to the shot. Rather than just showing the exterior of the car, try to get closer to the details, or take some interior shots. Get right up close to a certain exterior feature of the car and then use the widest angle you can to capture that feature along with the lines of the car. There was nothing technically wrong from what I could see with any of your car show photos - the other person just varied perspective more with a wider range of focal lengths.


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I think I would be able to tell the difference between the a good lens on the D700 vs the kit lens on my D40 because I totally noticed the difference whenever I used my ex's D50 with the 105mm f/2.8 Micro. Things were clearer and cleaner with it. I just couldn't take the wider shots I wanted to of things other than her. I'm afraid that the 35mm f/1.8 will only have good low-light and shallow depth of field, but still not be as clear (I don't know of a better word to say) as the "good" lenses. I mean, I'm sure that you were able to notice the difference between the kit lens and the 17-55mm you got.
The 105/2.8 micro was better compared to what and shooting what? Weren't you comparing that lens with a 55-200VR before or something, and doing portrait style photos with it? If so that'd be understandable since the 105/2.8 will yank backrounds out of focus which would be far harder to do with a 55-200. But with a landscape type photo there might not be any difference at all. My 17-55 blows the 18-55 kit lens away for chasing my kid around and portrait type photos. There's no difference at all for landscape and scenic type photos. Color is the same, contrast is the same, and the corners on the 18-55 are actually a bit sharper because it has a flatter focus field than the 17-55 does. And the VR system makes up for its lack of speed vs a 2.8. You car shot in your signature was a longer exposure stopped down at f/8 and base ISO, right? The kit lens and the 17-55 look identical at f/8, so there wouldn't have been any difference. And both a D40 and the D700 will look perfectly clean at iso200. The only difference is that you've got 12MP vs 6MP on the D700, and the D700 will probably have a little bit better dynamic range, but that's it. Very minimal differences. If you flipped them back and forth real quick you could probably tell, but it'd be subtle and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference otherwise unless you were specifically trying to see it and looking very closely. The 35/1.8 should be a super sharp lens. Nikon's published MTF tables suggest it will be, and the samples I've seen posted online so far have been pretty impressive. At last a DX equivalent to the "nifty fifty". There's no reason anybody shouldn't be able to get super sharp photos with this lens.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuya Master View Post
I don't know, I'm just not happy (for lack of a better analogy) driving a Civic all the time, when there are TL Type-S's. I know that I haven't maxed anything out since I'm still not an expert, but if you give the same photographer a D700 with the 24-70mm and also the D40 with the 18-55mm, he or she will most likely get better shots of the same thing with the better equipment. Like you for instance, I know that you can take better shots with your higher-class lenses than the kit lens. If not, then you wouldn't have spent thousands on the lenses.
I both agree and disagree. If your shooting specifically demands that level of equipment then your photography will benefit. But if not it's just needless expense, complication, and weight, all of which can distract you from getting good photos. A lot of people don't know the difference and just assume that spending more will always get them better photos when it won't. I use my pro stuff when the needs demand it, but otherwise am perfectly happy to shoot with the 18-55 kit lens. Seeing is believing. I know the 17-55 and 18-55 will give identical results in certain conditions because I have both and have shot them back to back to know.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuya Master View Post
You inspire me a lot... I just feel that I'll never get to your level, so (for lack of another better analogy) instead of trying to be as fast as you at the autocross with our Miatas, I want to get an Elise so that it can be easier for me to be faster than I currently am (yet still not as fast as you).
And then you'll get the Elise and realize that you never needed it to begin with and that you could do just as well with the Miata. Seriously though, I'm not saying don't buy nicer stuff. God knows I have a ton of it now. But if you're going to sink some major $$$$ into stuff at least get something that'll improve your photography in some meaningful way. I have the 17-55 and 70-200 because I've got a kid to chase around who never holds still. I need it for the added speed, selective focus for portraiture, and to better control light balancing with flash photography. If it wasn't for that and I was still doing mainly just scenic type photography my equipment lineup would be far simpler and I'd probably just have a basic body and an 18-105VR or something.

In a bit I'll post every lens I have and what exactly I use it for.
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