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Author Topic: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views  (Read 2836 times)

Mosccol

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Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« on: May 31, 2017, 01:05:18 PM »

Hello

I've been shooting with APS-C for the past 10 years or so and can get all the image quality that I need by using suitable prime lenses.

However, like many users in this forum, I increasingly 'forget' to pack my SLR on my trips because of weight/bulk etc. I find my telephone is clearly insufficient for my needs so I have bought a second-hand Canon mirrorless to get a feeling about these 'new' cameras' and, assuming I can find one with the right ergonomics, it's a no brainer to move to mirrorless these days.

However I find the choices even more daunting than in the the old days. I guess the first decision I need to make is sensor v lens bulk. It may only be an impression, but when using my daughter's 4:3 Lumix the depth of field is not so great (in fairness she doesn't have the best lens set). The beauty of course is the size and weight of the lenses.

Assuming that, over time, every major manufacturer will have a decent lens line-up, what are would you choose and why?

- Micro 4:3 - tiny lenses
- APS-C - Medium lenses
- Full frame - Any point?

Thanks!
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BradSmith

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2017, 02:30:23 PM »

You're using the mid-sized choice (APS-C) today and finding it to be too large.  Why would you consider full frame unless you went in the Sony mirrorless direction.  You'd probably have a smaller body, but lenses would still be too large.  Therefore, your question comes down to should I downsize to Micro 4/3?  I suggest you rent a high quality Micro 4/3 body and lens or two and test them out yourself.  What difference does it make what others think?
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rdonson

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2017, 04:24:47 PM »

By "full frame" I think you mean 35mm size sensors.

Since 2000 I've shot DSLRs with APS-C, APS-H and "full frame".

My current stable is a Fuji X-T2 and X-T1 with a number of Fujinon lenses.  I'm very pleased with what I can do with this gear.  I feel no constraints versus "full frame" as I don't print living room size monster images.  I don't show my work in galleries or museums where very large prints are in vogue. 

My friend has an Oly OM-D EM1 and hopefully the EM1-Mark II soon.  It's a fine camera but there are limitations. I would be reluctant to consider shooting high school Friday night football with one. 

If I get to the point where I might need humongous prints I would likely move up to medium format.  Perhaps something like the new Fuji GFX.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 12:07:59 PM by rdonson »
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scooby70

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2017, 05:31:47 PM »

I sold all my DSLR gear years ago. I'd never been really happy with the bulk, weight and in your face attention grabbing qualities of DSLR+lens combinations, so much bigger and heavier than the 35mm film kit I had.

I now have a "FF" Sony A7 and three AF lenses, the 28-70mm kit zoom, the 35mm f2.8 and the 55mm f1.8. With either prime the A7 + lens is a compact package capable of excellent quality. I also use old film era lenses.

I also have a couple of Panasonic MFT RF style cameras with 17, 25 and 45mm f1.8's, 14-45mm kit zoom, 9-18mm, 45-200mm and a 12-35mm f2.8. With any of the primes or the prime sized kit zoom these cameras are small and capable and I'm sure I get better quality than I got from 35mm film and although DoF is a criticism some level at the system I'm quite happy that I can get shallow DoF when I want it, ultra shallow DoF isn't everything, here's a nice little piece on the subject :D

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2012/06/in-defense-of-depth.html

I tend to use the Sony A7 for fun with old lenses and for when I want the best quality I can get. I tend to use MFT for when I want an even more compact system and when I want a faster responding camera than my A7.

If you can manage with the more compact lenses and the relatively leisurely speed of operation I think that the A7 is excellent. I also like the MFT system and I wouldn't spend the money I'd have to spend to build up an equivalent FF A7 lens set to my MFT set.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2017, 05:37:21 PM by scooby70 »
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scyth

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2017, 08:05:06 PM »


- Micro 4:3 - tiny lenses
- APS-C - Medium lenses
- Full frame - Any point?


I was using m43 (from GH2 to GH3 to E-M1 - only normal bodies with proper grip) and then switched to FF Sony dSLM ... I use only few primes (28/35-50-85-low 100s) and always take only one lens (mounted on a body) with me and relevant m43 bodies are simply not smaller enough to make a difference vs A7R2 ... in either case I take a shoulder bag for camera+lens ... or I am not taking camera at all... and more often than not I am making photos where I will use a strobe or two, so camera/lens is simply a minor addition to the rest of things

PS: (28/35-50-85-low 100s) in my case currently are FE35/2.8, FE55/1.8, FE85/1.8, Sigma MC11 + Canon EF 100/2.0
« Last Edit: May 31, 2017, 08:08:42 PM by scyth »
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stever

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2017, 08:40:13 PM »

if you're satisfied with APSC then you should be (in my experience) equally happy with the latest 16 and 20mpix micro 43 - so long as you use primes and the high quality zooms.  the space and weight saving with a kit of lenses is very substantial (amazingly so with lenses like the Pany 12-35 f2.8 and 35-100 f2.8).
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2017, 04:24:57 AM »

When I transitioned from FF DSLR to MILC, I tried m43, Fuji APSC, and finally settled with Sony A7. For what I shoot (landscapes and travel), Sony gives me the quality I was used to (EOS 6D plus Zeiss 21, for example), in a much smaller package (A7 plus Loxia 21, for example).

In terms of lenses, I think that Fuji X and Sony A7 are the systems to go to. Not to say that m43 does not have a full complement of lenses (it does), but I think it is an overpriced system; once you go to the better cameras and lenses, I can't rule out that I would be paying a lot for a system that has a sensor the 1/4 size of FF, and for expensive f1.2 lenses if I want shallow DOF.

Herbc

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2017, 09:47:30 AM »

I think your needs are the determining factor.  In my experience, FF Sony gives you a RAW image that has a lot of room to correct errors, be it shadow detail or whatever. That said, I have Oly m 4/3 and they are fun and always the one I pick up for walkabout.
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Mosccol

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2017, 01:11:16 PM »

You're using the mid-sized choice (APS-C) today and finding it to be too large.  Why would you consider full frame unless you went in the Sony mirrorless direction.  You'd probably have a smaller body, but lenses would still be too large.  Therefore, your question comes down to should I downsize to Micro 4/3?  I suggest you rent a high quality Micro 4/3 body and lens or two and test them out yourself.  What difference does it make what others think?

Sorry if my question wasn't clear. I'm happy with the small Canon M toy I have purchased, but it has pretty lousy glass. Obviously I can use my L glass but that defeats the purpose. I can either sell it or use it special circumstances.

If I buy a full frame mirrorless camera, are the lenses that much smaller/lighter? (at equal quality) It seems that lens size decreases with sensor size, hence the tenor of my question.
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Mosccol

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2017, 01:41:24 PM »

although DoF is a criticism some level at the system I'm quite happy that I can get shallow DoF when I want it, ultra shallow DoF isn't everything, here's a nice little piece on the subject :D

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2012/06/in-defense-of-depth.html

Great article. I can't speak about very large sensors (anyway it seems that everything in a studio is shot at f8...) I find that APS-C is a decent compromise. You can regain deep DoF by playing with the ISO when needed of course. I guess I need to broaden my experience by borrowing/renting proper glass with 4:3 to get a more informed opinion....
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BJL

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2017, 02:57:27 PM »

If I buy a full frame mirrorless camera, are the lenses that much smaller/lighter? (at equal quality) It seems that lens size decreases with sensor size, hence the tenor of my question.
I see no reason why comparable lenses would be smaller for a larger format, except maybe if you are comparing lenses designed for mirrorless system in the larger format to SLR lenses in the smaller format (or worse still using those SLR lenses plus an adaptor on a mirrorless body).  Otherwise, it will if anything be slightly the other way: the larger format needing lenses of proportionately longer focal length, balanced against being able to use lenses of somewhat higher minimum f-top to get comparable DOF wide open and so on, if such lenses exist for the larger format.

Since you seem to care about getting sufficiently little DOF, note that the minimum f-stop needed to get equal DOF wide-open scales in proportion to format size and the focal length needed for equal DOF, such as f/4 on your Canon EF-S gear comparable to about f/6 in 35mm and f/3 in Four Thirds.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 03:39:09 PM by BJL »
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BradSmith

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2017, 03:03:33 PM »


If I buy a full frame mirrorless camera, are the lenses that much smaller/lighter? (at equal quality) It seems that lens size decreases with sensor size, hence the tenor of my question.

Lenses for full frame mirrorless, ie, Sony A7 camera, are the same size as lenses for full frame Nikon or Canon or any other brand.  Check out the weight, length of various camera/lens options at this site:   
http://camerasize.com
Brad
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BradSmith

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2017, 03:31:35 PM »

Re: lens size comparison, here are three cameras with "comparable" lenses.  Left to right, full frame Canon 5D Mk IV w/70-200 f2.8,  wgt = 2290 g; full frame mirrorless Sony A7RII w/70-200 f2.8, wgt= 2105g; Micro 4/3 Oly OM-D1 w/Pana 35-100 f2.8, wgt= 857g.

Note that the Sony mirrorless full frame body is much smaller than the Canon, but overall size and weight between these 2 are more or less the same.  But look at both the size and weight reduction by going to Micro 4/3.  The much smaller Micro 4/3 lenses are what really make the difference. Smaller lens design to cover smaller sensor.  I left a Canon APS-C system for the Oly and am very happy.  80% of happiness is size/weight.  20% is improved image quality.
Brad
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TonyVentourisPhotography

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2017, 03:41:30 PM »

For me... the sheer size of M43 with lenses factored in with the quality the em1mkII delivers... it just no longer find a reason for anything bigger.  I do use medium format...and lately even that has been a lot less because of the new 20mp sensors.  Few clients NEED the size of MF.  It only gets used when I need true camera movements, leaf shutters, or insane detail at a high MP for specific subject matter. 

The size and quality won me over.  The trade offs are few from what i've seen in the way that I work, and the images that I prefer to make.  And the close focus distance of almost the entire olympus lens lineup beat out most others.
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Jim Kasson

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2017, 04:42:35 PM »

Re: lens size comparison, here are three cameras with "comparable" lenses.  Left to right, full frame Canon 5D Mk IV w/70-200 f2.8,  wgt = 2290 g; full frame mirrorless Sony A7RII w/70-200 f2.8, wgt= 2105g; Micro 4/3 Oly OM-D1 w/Pana 35-100 f2.8, wgt= 857g.

Note that the Sony mirrorless full frame body is much smaller than the Canon, but overall size and weight between these 2 are more or less the same.  But look at both the size and weight reduction by going to Micro 4/3.  The much smaller Micro 4/3 lenses are what really make the difference. Smaller lens design to cover smaller sensor.  I left a Canon APS-C system for the Oly and am very happy.  80% of happiness is size/weight.  20% is improved image quality.
Brad

For the same DOF, light on the sensor, etc, that MFT lens would have to be an f/1.4.

Jim

BJL

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2017, 04:58:11 PM »

Jim,
true IF that very shallow DOF is a goal, rather than just an unfortunate side effect of the need for adequate shutter speed with the far more limited ISO speeds of the film era which I suspect was the most common reason for using such bulky lenses back then!

For those of us for whom the DOF options and the lens and sensor speed combinations of formats like Four Thirds are quite adequate, a more relevant comparison might be 35-100/2.8 vs 70-200/5.6: the latter lens or the closest available approximation will be smaller than those 70-200/2.8 options, but the kit is still likely to be somewhat bulkier and distinctly more expensive than the MFT kit.
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Guillermo Luijk

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2017, 05:15:43 PM »

For the same DOF, light on the sensor, etc, that MFT lens would have to be an f/1.4.

For the same amount of total collected light and DOF, a M4/3 sensor needs two extra aperture stops over a FF sensor, that is right. But in that case, noise statistics dictate that the M4/3 sensor will double the SNR over the FF sensor, so the comparison at equal collected photons and DOF (2 extra aperture stops in the M4/3) is not fair either.

Same DOF and collected light:





My PEN beats my A7 II.

Regards.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 05:20:21 PM by Guillermo Luijk »
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BradSmith

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2017, 05:43:14 PM »

For the same DOF, light on the sensor, etc, that MFT lens would have to be an f/1.4.

Jim

Jim,
You're technically correct.  But I put "....comparable lenses" in quotes in recognition of your point.  I think that most (yes, I know.....not all)   photographers looking at quality equipment and results who are comparing these systems for lenses would look first at comparable field of view.   Then they'd consider the fastest lens in the high end series of lenses for that body with that field of view.  That is what I did. 
Brad
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scooby70

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2017, 05:58:28 PM »

I think one thing worth mentioning when talking about MFT is that some of the lenses are perfectly good from wide open, I don't think twice about using any of my MFT lenses from wide open. Thinking back to my SLR/DSLR days that wasn't always the case,
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luxborealis

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Re: Sensor size v Lens size compromise - Your views
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2017, 09:39:43 PM »

FF lenses are larger and heavier no matter what body they are in, so even FF-mirrorless would not be a good option if you are trying to save on weight.

Take a moment to consider the 1" sensor cameras. The Sony RX10iii has excellent Zeiss glass, is a 24-600mm equivalent at f/2.4-4. The DR is as good as any Olympus or Panasonic M4/3 and you never need to change lenses. I carry it around all day on my shoulder and in hand and never think twice. DoF at f/5.6 is the same as f/15 on FF, so even hand holding is much easier.

Almost everything I've shot in the last year has been with it, so have a look at my Flickr page to see what's possible. And they print to 13x19, no problem.

More on the Sony experience here, too.
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