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Full Frame, What Is The Big Difference?  
User currently offlinenotaxonrotax From Netherlands, joined Mar 2011, 397 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 4855 times:

Good day,

Simple question:

Say that I'd dish out the $$$ and buy a Nikon D600 plus a matching full frame lens with decent zoom; what difference would this make?

Yes, I know a good photographer can do miracles with an average camera and a bad photographer could mess up any shot, with any equipment.....but say I'm an average photographer: would my results be significantly better from my present work with the D3100?

Are there specific situations where I would gain a result with full frame?
Low light, heat distortion etc?

Thanks,

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31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineangad84 From India, joined Nov 2012, 799 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (1 year 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 4845 times:

Low light - better. Heat haze - no change.

I am not familiar with the sensor specs on the D600 and D3100, but given that FF typically has better dynamic range than APS-C, you will have more editing latitude in difficult light.

If you tend to shoot in daylight, there's little to be gained from making the move to FF, but if you tend to shoot in poor/low light, then it's worth the price of admission.

Cheers
Angad


User currently onlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9905 posts, RR: 26
Reply 2, posted (1 year 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 4812 times:
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Quoting notaxonrotax (Thread starter):
but say I'm an average photographer: would my results be significantly better from my present work with the D3100?

Just my opinion here. I've debated purchasing full-frame for quite awhile now, mostly for the high-ISO / low-light benefit. But while that's been kicking around in my head, I've actually gotten a lot better at shooting those shots with my APS-C camera, to the point where I'd only buy full-frame if I found a great deal.

Good lenses also make a heck of a lot of difference.



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently onlineFYODOR From Russia, joined May 2005, 661 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (1 year 1 week 3 days ago) and read 4777 times:
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I've moved to full frame about 3 years ago. I have to say that is another world of image quality. ISO is important matter, but the most important is the picture you have. And you'll not want get back.

However you have to answer yourself do you realy need thios quality. There is a level of price in photo equipment you should start count value. If you only need to look at the picture on computer and upload for publc website it might be not exactly you need. But if you plan to have sales - full frame is something you'll be unworried for result.

Regards,

Fyodor


User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4778 posts, RR: 26
Reply 4, posted (1 year 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 4721 times:
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The big differences with full-frame are:

*A physically larger sensor that offers superior image quality, especially at higher ISOs.

*For photographers who love to play with depth of field, full-frame cameras offer shallower depth of field at a given aperture. The reason behind this is somewhat complicated and hard to explain, but simply put there is a noticeable difference with DoF. This also means you have to be more careful.

*Getting the most out of full-frame lenses. My 24-105 was kind of awkward on my 7D, but on my 5D2 it's a whole new lens and I consider the range perfect with the 5D. Same with my 70-200. The ranges just feel right on full frame.

It's hard to really appreciate the benefits of full-frame until you actually make the transition. For most people it's once you go full-frame, there is no going back. It's like putting on a new pair of prescription glasses for the first time.

With that said, for uploading low res photos on the internet, there is NO difference.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlineseachaz From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 220 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (1 year 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4711 times:

Initilly when crop and full frame sensors were the same effective pixels full frame had a clear edge in terms of physics with bigger photosites, now the D800 has killed that notion as it has similar size pixels to the crop sensors and still blows them away - point being cash is king - R&D goes to the full frame flagship cameras first then trickels down.

Example: D300 APS-C vs D3 full frame. Both 12 megapixels and D3 beats the D300 in all areas. So looks like fewer megapixels = less noise, etc but then toss the D800 into the mix which has 3x more pixels as the D3 and smaller pixels then even the D300 and has superior IQ specs in all categories. Granted D800 is a lot newer but going a step further D800 vs D600, D600 is 12mp smaller so has bigger pixels but only improves on low light performance marginally and is 9 months newer.

So assuming the best R&D went to crop sensors first, probably the one area the full frame would still have a clear edge is fast lenses on the wide angle end of things.

[Edited 2013-08-12 14:03:39]

User currently offlineiamlucky13 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 242 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4691 times:

There is generally about a 1 stop improvement in equivalent ISO performance for full frame cameras of the same generation as 1.5x/APS-C crop cameras. Thus, if you're considering an APS-C camera that has satisfactory image noise at ISO 3200, the equivalent full frame version will probably give you similar results at ISO 6400. The very top end like the D4 seem to be an exception. I guess they do something different in the basic design of the imaging chip that makes it more expensive (perhaps part of why the D3S chip never made it into the D700), but further improves the performance.

In theory, a little bit better resolution is also possible (because a given angular radius of blur equates to less of a fraction of the sensor dimensions), but it also depends on the lens.

On the down side, you pay more for the camera (larger sensor chips are disproportionately more expensive, and the manufacturer's charge a higher markup on higher end products), and you pay more for some of the lenses, because they also are larger, have more total glass, etc. And of course, the gear tends to be heavier to carry around and take up more space.

I very seriously considered buying Nikon's D600 when it came out as one of the first full frame SLR's in the $2000 price range. I had decided I was fine paying $2000 for the body compared to the $1000 I could get the crop sensor D7000 for, but once I started adding up the cost of lenses to get the range of focal lengths I wanted, I realized full frame wasn't really in my budget. Instead, I'm saving that money to upgrade my lenses.

Which has turned out to be no big deal in my case. The D7000 is still an excellent camera, almost never holding me back in a way the D600 could fix, and I'm not a pro who's income often depends on squeezing every last bit of quality out of a shot.

Which is not to say I wouldn't have jumped on the D600 if money was less of an object. Simply that the DX D7000 was the best balance of cost vs. performance for my budget and needs.


User currently offlinetrvyyz From Canada, joined Oct 2004, 1369 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (1 year 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4692 times:

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 4):
For photographers who love to play with depth of field, full-frame cameras offer shallower depth of field at a given aperture. The reason behind this is somewhat complicated and hard to explain, but simply put there is a noticeable difference with DoF.

  

The DOF depends on the sensor size also, you can see the difference between f2.8 photos on a P&S vs APC DSLR.
Basically smaller the sensor size, greater the DOF. It (Shallow dof) is not needed on A.net, but professional photographers would need/appreciate it.

[

[Edited 2013-08-12 14:33:34]

User currently offlineclickhappy From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 9623 posts, RR: 68
Reply 8, posted (1 year 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4680 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

I went full frame in 2008, and I love it, but I also enjoy shooting my crop sensor cameras, too. They weigh less and are easier to stash in my convertible. I love the view finder on my FF camera. There are also cheaper prime lens options on FF.

User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 731 posts, RR: 16
Reply 9, posted (1 year 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4672 times:

From the point of view of the sensor there is no reason that a full frame sensor should be any better than a crop sensor IF the pixel density is the same. But manufactures don't tend to put out equivalent density sensors with the same level of technology - so you never really get to compare like with like!

In theory, crop has an advantage in only using the sweet spot of a full size lens, but, because of the excessive pixel density that advantage is lost - I maintain that the 7D would have been outstanding if they'd kept the pixel density to 12mp.

But image quality ignores the real difference between full frame and crop - its a different experience altogether. Working with a big bright viewfinder with a shallower DOF makes all the difference when composing. Its like the difference between working with a crop DLSR compared to a bridge camera.

If you are primarily a photographer, you'll love the difference, and to hell with the expense, extra weight, slower fame rate and reduced ability to fill the frame. If you are primarily a spotter then I suspect you'll think you've lost more than you've gained.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently onlinelen90 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 543 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4619 times:

I personally made the move to full frame in April and haven't regretted it at all. I tested out a 7D and there was way too much noise in it at ISO100. As for the downside, Colin is right that you get a slower frame rate. However, that has not affected me at all. I've been getting way more pictures accepted on here with my 6D than I did testing out a 7D.

In the end, the body is important, but the lens is the key. Get a great piece of glass and you will get awesome pictures. I am the first to admit that I am an amateur and have a ton to learn about photography. However, my 70-200 lens at times makes me look like a pro 

clickhappy: I actually don't like the lightweight feeling of most crop sensors lately. To me they just feel cheaply made and not as durable where they will last as long. However, that is just my opinion from holding it at a Best Buy.



Len90
User currently offlinenotaxonrotax From Netherlands, joined Mar 2011, 397 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 4500 times:

Thanks for the info so far.
So, it wouldn't make a huge difference for me I guess.

Quoting clickhappy (Reply 8):
There are also cheaper prime lens options on FF.

Do you have a link for Nikon lenses, please?

Quoting len90 (Reply 10):
I am the first to admit that I am an amateur and have a ton to learn about photography. However, my 70-200 lens at times makes me look like a pro 

Nice. A little trick of the trade!

No Tax On Rotax



Als vader voorlicht, kan je merken dat hij achter ligt.
User currently offlineghajdufi From Hungary, joined Jun 2005, 319 posts, RR: 7
Reply 12, posted (1 year 1 week 1 day ago) and read 4460 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

Why don't you just rent a FF body for a weekend to see difference yourself. There are many places in NL and B where you can do this for a small amount.


Your photos are like your children, you will always find them perfect.
User currently offlinedcaviation From United States of America, joined Aug 2011, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 4424 times:

D3100 = Fiat Punto
D600 = BMW 740


User currently offlineviv From Ireland, joined May 2005, 3142 posts, RR: 29
Reply 14, posted (1 year 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 4381 times:

Fiat Punto is maneouvrable, efficient, fun.

BMW 740 is an overweight cumbersome barge.



Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
User currently offlinedcaviation From United States of America, joined Aug 2011, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (1 year 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 4366 times:

Quoting viv (Reply 14):
Fiat Punto is maneouvrable, efficient, fun.

BMW 740 is an overweight cumbersome barge.

And you forgot to add the price difference  


User currently offlinederekf From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 909 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 4355 times:

Quoting viv (Reply 14):
Fiat Punto is maneouvrable, efficient, fun.

BMW 740 is an overweight cumbersome barge.

Or

Fiat Punto is cheap, nasty and will apart in months.
BMW 740 is reliable, bullet proof and will last for years.

Just saying........



Whatever.......
User currently offlineyerbol From Kazakhstan, joined Feb 2010, 219 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (1 year 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 4348 times:
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Quoting notaxonrotax (Thread starter):
Simple question:

Say that I'd dish out the $$$ and buy a Nikon D600 plus a matching full frame lens with decent zoom; what difference would this make?

Simple answer:
Better image quality but can't give scenario/composition of the photo. Main things in your mind and hands  



With best regards from Almaty
User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 731 posts, RR: 16
Reply 18, posted (1 year 1 week ago) and read 4278 times:

Hmm - as it happens I happen to drive a Fiat Punto but shoot with a 5D3. Guess I have identity issues  

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineJohnKrist From Sweden, joined Jan 2005, 1399 posts, RR: 6
Reply 19, posted (1 year 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 4182 times:
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Quoting derekf (Reply 16):
Fiat Punto is cheap, nasty and will apart in months.
BMW 740 is reliable, bullet proof and will last for years.

Possible, but we are what we are, and even though that 740 looks fine after 3 years there will be some fancy new extras on the newer model that we just must have. A Punto lasts 3 years too, at least  

Just got myself the 5D3 a couple of days ago. Do I need it? No! But my craving for it was more powerful than my rational thoughts, and it was 450 Euro off in my local store, costing just about the same as at BH-Photo. Not bad for being in expensive Sweden. I do love the results I'm getting though, just need to take it out for a spotting session and see how it (read I) performs  



5D Mark III, 7D, 17-40 F4 L, 70-200 F2.8 L IS, EF 1.4x II, EF 2x III, Metz 58-AF1
User currently offlinemegatop412 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 309 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3900 times:

Recently I tried shooting aviation with my D700. I actually did not like the experience.

I hated losing the 1.5 crop more than what I gained in high-ISO IQ.

So, it's aviation on APS-C all the way.


User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4778 posts, RR: 26
Reply 21, posted (1 year 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 3892 times:
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Quoting megatop412 (Reply 20):
So, it's aviation on APS-C all the way.

That really depends though. I have a friend who loves bird photography. He was tired of his D300s because he felt it lacked in image quality, noise handling and cropability. He really struggled with the decision to go FF because with birds you want all the reach you can get, but he recently got the D600 and he has never been happier.

The key with his situation is, the D300s is only 12mp. With the D600 at 24 megapixels, he can take a 1.5 crop of his original images and still come out with more resolution than a full-res image from his D300s. Of course the Nikons make this even easier by offering a DX (crop) setting, but even when shooting at full frame you can still crop and have plenty of pixels to work with.

For my friend, the superior image quality and noise handling outweighs the loss in reach. Like I said...it depends on each person and their situation.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently onlinelen90 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 543 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (1 year 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3880 times:

Quoting JohnKrist (Reply 19):

Congrats on the 5D3. Hopefully it will perform well. Remember, we are perfect and our cameras are what make the mistakes 

Think this thread really shows the 2 different groups of users. Unfortunately you can't get everything in one body. You have to really decide if you like the better quality or the extra reach. With that said, I am interested to try out the 70D and 7D2 one day.



Len90
User currently offlineclickhappy From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 9623 posts, RR: 68
Reply 23, posted (1 year 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3865 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
PHOTO SCREENER

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 21):
Like I said...it depends on each person and their situation.

Just get one (or more) of each. No need to compromise.


User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4778 posts, RR: 26
Reply 24, posted (1 year 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 3836 times:
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Quoting clickhappy (Reply 23):

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 21):
Like I said...it depends on each person and their situation.

Just get one (or more) of each. No need to compromise.


That works too. That's why I can't get rid of my 7D even though it hardly gets used. Still has it's uses from time to time.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlinesovietjet From Bulgaria, joined Mar 2003, 2596 posts, RR: 17
Reply 25, posted (1 year 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3794 times:
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Quoting len90 (Reply 22):
You have to really decide if you like the better quality or the extra reach.

As someone explained earlier, it's not technically "extra reach" but it just seems that way because under identical circumstances the airplane would fill up less of the image on a full frame. As was pointed out, if the full frame camera you are upgrading to has enough resolution it is the same as the 1.5x crop camera you are coming from.

notaxonrotax - You are upgrading from a D3100 (14.2 MP). With a 1.5 crop factor, in order to have the same "zoom" with a full frame and the same lens you will need a resolution of at least 14.2 * 1.5 = 21.3MP. Since you are thinking of getting the D600 (24.3 MP) you will actually have MORE "zoom" with this setup and combined with higher quality and lower noise. There is absolutely no reason (well besides money) for you not to upgrade. I would say do it right away!


User currently onlinelen90 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 543 posts, RR: 0
Reply 26, posted (1 year 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 3786 times:

Quoting sovietjet (Reply 25):
As someone explained earlier, it's not technically "extra reach" but it just seems that way because under identical circumstances the airplane would fill up less of the image on a full frame. As was pointed out, if the full frame camera you are upgrading to has enough resolution it is the same as the 1.5x crop camera you are coming from.

Canon 70D crop is 20.2MP and Canon 6D FF is 20.2... So what would be the difference then. Extra reach on the crop vs better handling on the full frame?



Len90
User currently onlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9905 posts, RR: 26
Reply 27, posted (1 year 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 3789 times:
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Quoting sovietjet (Reply 25):
With a 1.5 crop factor, in order to have the same "zoom" with a full frame and the same lens you will need a resolution of at least 14.2 * 1.5 = 21.3MP

Don't you need a resolution of at least 14.2 * 1.5^2 = 31.95 MP? Because crop factors refer to length and width of the sensor, not the area. Or am I not thinking particularly well right now?

Additionally, if you pack your full-frame sensor with the same pixel density as your crop sensor, in order to have the same "zoom", aren't you possibly negating the lower noise and higher quality?



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlineJohnKrist From Sweden, joined Jan 2005, 1399 posts, RR: 6
Reply 28, posted (1 year 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3769 times:
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Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 27):
Don't you need a resolution of at least 14.2 * 1.5^2 = 31.95 MP? Because crop factors refer to length and width of the sensor, not the area. Or am I not thinking particularly well right now?

Length, width and area are linked, but not the number of pixels.
So in order to calculate the pixels you need to take the actual pixels of image size of the D3100 and multiply it's pixels wide and pixels high value by 1.5 and then multiply those values with eachother to get the exact MP.

D3100 is 4608*3072=14.155
Multiplied by 1.5 is 6912*4608=31.85MP, so a D800/E would suffice  

So Vikkyvik, you were not far off, blame the 14.2 rounding  



5D Mark III, 7D, 17-40 F4 L, 70-200 F2.8 L IS, EF 1.4x II, EF 2x III, Metz 58-AF1
User currently onlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9905 posts, RR: 26
Reply 29, posted (1 year 2 days ago) and read 3759 times:
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Quoting JohnKrist (Reply 28):
Length, width and area are linked, but not the number of pixels.

What I was saying is that length and width are directly proportional to crop factor. Area is proportional to the square of crop factor, just like megapixels if we're trying to achieve the same "zoom".

And yes, I was just going off of the 14.2 MP stated - didn't know the actual resolution of the D3100. The math I did is the same math that you did - you just applied it to the length and width, and I just went by megapixels (a.k.a. area).  



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlinestevemchey From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 366 posts, RR: 0
Reply 30, posted (1 year 2 days ago) and read 3758 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 27):
Don't you need a resolution of at least 14.2 * 1.5^2 = 31.95 MP? Because crop factors refer to length and width of the sensor, not the area. Or am I not thinking particularly well right now?

No, you are correct... A full frame sensor has an area of 864mm2 (36x24mm), while a Canon APS-C sensor has an area of 356mm2 (23.1x15.4mm). Therefore the area of the APS-C is 2.25 (or 1.5^2) times smaller.


User currently offlinemgear From United States of America, joined Aug 2013, 2 posts, RR: 0
Reply 31, posted (12 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3468 times:

To me, Full-Frame isn't worth the price.


APS-C or Micro Four Thirds cameras have further reach (due to crop factor) and generally have cheaper lenses. You won't get a razor thin DoF but you don't really need that when taking pictures of aircraft.

If you're worried about Dynamic Range. APS-C's (since around 2009) have been on par with the Canon FF offerings while the Pentax K-5 is on par with offerings from Nikon and Sony.

I'm not being a brand elitist, that's just how it is for some reason.

Right now I shoot with a Sony A55 but I'm trying to move back to the NEX system for portability and the possibility to try a lens turbo or speedbooster.


Take DXOMark with a grain of salt but it does give you numbers. In the real world, you won't really notice anything but ISO performance. While they have different dynamic range numbers, you could just bring the shadows or highlights to normal in Post (assuming you shoot raw). They'll be noisier than normal, but at least you still get a usable image.


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