Is it the full frame?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by TiCoyote, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. TiCoyote

    TiCoyote TPF Noob!

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    My mom got me back into photography when she picked up a D90. I started shooting with a D-Rebel.

    Recently she switched over to a D700. I'd call her an "Enthusiast." She shoots amateur stuff every weekend, and just got 2 shots in a local paper.

    I'm thinking of picking up a Canon 40D. Here's the thing. Mom claims that she gets MUCH better shots from her D700 than from the D90. I think that, considering her level, the only difference in image quality would come from either a better lens or the full frame sensor.

    Will a full frame sensor make an appreciable difference in terms of noise reduction? I know there's a whole deal with cropping and focal length. At what point does the full-frame sensor become financially practical (or necessary, or noticeable)?
     
  2. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    I've never shot full frame so I don't know, but if I were you I'd lock in on a Nikon so you can share lenses - sounds like your mom has great taste :D
     
  3. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Full-frame is a significant upgrade, if you can afford it. It's not just about noise reduction, you get better optical performance from a full frame lens as well.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I wouldn't necessarily say that. There are some high quality lenses made only for crop cameras. Plus, when using 'full frame' lenses on crop bodies, you get better corner-to-corner sharpness because you are cropping of the worst areas of the image circle.
    But overall, the best lenses in either the Nikon or Canon line up, are 'full frame' lenses.

    A larger sensor does help, especially when it comes to digital noise at higher ISO levels. As for when it becomes practical...that's up to you. You can still get great quality images with a crop sensor camera and even make large prints.
    Also, a larger sensor will give you a shallower DOF than a crop body camera.
     
  5. TiCoyote

    TiCoyote TPF Noob!

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    Okay, so what do you mean specifically when you say "better optical performance"? Contrast? Color balance? Sharpness?
     
  6. TiCoyote

    TiCoyote TPF Noob!

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    Thats a great point, but mom lives 300 miles away, and she'd never let me touch her lenses. :thumbdown:
     
  7. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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    Does your mother shoot a lot of wide-angle stuff? Because that would definitely make the D700 a better choice for higher-quality shots, since full-frame shoots wider since it's not being cropped. If you shoot telephoto though, you should stick with cropped bodies because that crop factor will extend your reach by a factor of 1.6 and no loss in quality for free.
     
  8. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Full frame sensors are pretty awesome, but I haven't found that IQ is better, per-se, on either. If anything, IQ will be better on a crop sensor shooting through full frame glass because your using the best part of the lens (as others have said). High ISO noise on the D700 will, however, be a bit better than the D90. That could have a lot to do with it.

    I shot with a 5D for a while, and the only thing that made my photos better was the fact that I was a physically better photographer than when I was shooting a crop camera. A good photographer can shoot with either and make equally good pictures. I've actually grown to prefer crop cameras, because you can get good, inexpensive DX wide-angles, but you cannot get inexpensive full-frame, high-quality telephotos. The only lens I really miss from the 5D is the 20mm F2.8, as you can't get decent wide-angle primes for DX.. yet. I actually can't wait to see an inexpensive 12 or 14mm F2.8 DX prime lens.

    I've gotten some wonderful images on a Nikon D80... but I had overall many more on the 5D. But, it likely had a lot more to do with my skill as a photog getting better. Plus I shot through a lot more primes, which could have something to do with it too.
     
  9. MrLogic

    MrLogic TPF Noob!

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    Yes, it's noticeable... don't believe clowns like Ken Rockwell. Dynamic range is most definitely better. High ISO performance is MUCH better. Corner vignetting can be an issue, though... especially with fast lenses.

    I'm an "enthusiast" as well... and I have both a D90 and a D700. The D90 will have to go. My next camera will be full-frame... no question.
     
  10. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Ah, but if your dynamic range is higher and there is far less noise, the vignetting is a non-issue because that can be fixed in post...as long as you aren't getting something obscene like -3 EV at the corners. Ew. That'd be a bad lens.
     
  11. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The idea that using only the center of a lens's imaging circle on an APS-C image sensor will yield better image quality is a myth left over from long ago. The idea that the "sweet spot" of the lens will boost image quality over a full capture of the lens's imaging circle does not actually work out in practice. The Canon 24-105 L zoom for example, delivers higher image quality on a FF Canon than on a crop-body Canon.

    The full-frame imager in a Nikon is 2.3x larger than an APS-C Nikon sensor, 2.5x larger than a Canon APS-C sensor. The size of a FF sensor is 864 square millimeters, an APS-C Canon is 329 sq. mm, a Nikon is 370 sq. mm. The FF sensor is much larger, and the image captured is significantly larger, and as a result the same,exact lens, used on a FF body and a crop-body will out-resolve more line pairs per millimeter on FF than on crop-frame. It's not like modern lenses have edges that absolutely "suck"; with a sensor 2.3x to 2.5x LARGER, the High ISO is better, and overall the demands put on a lens are lower on FF than on APS-C or 4/3. The same holds true of medium format lenses; they can resolve fewer lines/mm, sikply because the capture format is quite large. The Olympus 4/3 format is 17.3 x 11mm, just 0.3mm larger than the old 110 Instamatic formt--as a result, Olympus has had to design an entire series of lenses that can deliver incredibly high MTF performance. The smaller the format, the BETTER the lens must be, across a very small image circle. The "sweet spot" myth has hung on for a long time.

    If your Mom says she gets better pictures from the D700 than the D90, it could be the larger sensor's different "look", as well as the superb performance at moderate ISO's like 400 to 800,and the sensor that's 2.3x larger than her D90 has. If your car had an engine 2.3x larger than it currently has, do you suppose you could spot any performance difference at all? what if your bank balance went up by a factor of 2.3x?
     
  12. FrankLamont

    FrankLamont TPF Noob!

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    It depends (yes, I'll say it) on what you shoot.

    You'll hear this often.

    What are you looking for? Wildlife, sports, action? 40D/50D. Fast fps, and with the help of the APS-C sensor, you get a 1.6x crop factor on all lenses.

    For night, portraiture, landscapes? Not so important for portraiture, or even for landscapes (but improvements), but in low light full frame excels. For wide-angle, yes, on APS-C you can use a 10-22mm, but it's not going to be f/2.8, unlike what you can get from full frame for ultrawide.

    Ultimately, though, it's lenses. Canon's top of the range is their L series. Pro glass. What's so good? Normally, weather-proofing, but more importantly, constant max-apertures (most of the time), sharper, better colour, saturation, etc.
     

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