How do you know if u need a Full Frame ?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by stefographer, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. So... for the past few years with my XSi.. i was under the impression that full frame- under ALL circumstances- gave u better quality images... I was assuming that FF was always sharper, better color and better performance in low light, with wider latitude for post-editing....
    But i have been told a few times now that it depends on the situation.., and that perhaps it is really almost always MORE about the quality of the LENS..... Yet i dont know ANY 'professional' who works with anything less than a FF...
    I am becoming increasingly serious about my photography- especially since i have an increasing amount of work that is coming my way, through word of mouth...
    I am interested more and moreso in fashion/food/travel/portrait and nude photography...
    I have about 4 lenses so far - 18-55 kit, a wide angle tamron, a 50mm/1.8 and a 200mm/2.0...i think a macro will be next, as well as a zoom portrait...
    Am i wrong in thinking that a FF would ALWAYS serve me better with those subject interests...? I am really probably goning to get a FF regardless... but just wanted yo see if there are really are any reasons NOT to, with my eventual photography interests as listed here...
    my site, if it helps
    Thanks so much all..u guys (and gals) give great help..
  2. Yet i dont know ANY 'professional' who works with anything less than a FF
    You need to greatly expand your horizons then. Ever met a pro sports photog?
    It's either/or. Don't forget or ignore the part psychology plays in your decisions. If you psych yourself into feeling you NEED (and want) a FF DSLR then nothing can stop that urge until your pull the trigger and get a new 5D or 1Ds. Can your business model handle the pricier camera? (e.g., no more plastic EF-S lenses).
    Is there something the 5DII will do better for you than a new 7D? Likely not, just throwin' it out there.
  3. you might like having a FF sensor for your Travel work, but possibly for food, portrait, and nudes I don't think that you will see a noticeble difference as the setting is almost always controlled. FF sensor will definitely give you better low light performance, and the dynamic range as well, but ask yourself while looking thorugh your portfolio, would this have been that much better if you had taken with a FF sensor camera instead of a Crop sensor camera, and would your clients have noticed.
    By the way, I really like your work...but outside of a couple of pics I don't really feel that any of them would benefit from a FF sensor.
  4. well- that part of why i ask- Im thinking that sports would be one of the few exceptions to being able to get more from a FF.... and i have no ambition to do sports....
    So is it REALLY just my tech lust that is pushing me to get a FF...?
    Dont they deliver better quality images - with more ability for post-prod editing in the areas I will use it for mainly...? Fashion/portrait/food/travel.... ?
    And since i dont want to use my camera for video- the 7D doesn't appeal to me so much...
    Thanks again- all input appreciated...
  5. Wow.. so i may really have to re-examine my "whys" in getting one, huh...?
    I've just spent all these years since getting my 1st DSLR (4 yrs) thinking that a FF would be the next logical step toward professional-hood (and yes, i know its more a matter of attitude, conduct and skill)... That i would upgrade to FF when i could afford it (and thanks to student loans, i soon can), and have my XSi cropped as a back-up body.. i have bought mainly EF lenses for this very reason...
    Thanks for the compliments, Dan Glad u like.. I luv to share...
    muchas gracias all...
  6. If you have to ask that question, then you don't need a FF. You would need to upgrade your lenses before even thinking about going FF. A FF camera allows premium lenses to be used to their full potential, it also magnifies all the flaws of cheap glass. There are pros that don't use FF. The camera of choice for sports photogs is the 1DMkIII or MkIV now, and its not FF, its an APS-H sensor. You use the tool designed best for the job, and in some cases, a FF isn't the best tool.
    I would definitely NOT get a FF and use the kit lens with it. I would get a couple L zooms and a prime or 2 or 3 before going FF. Using the 18-55mm kit lens on a FF camera would be like riding a Harley Davidson with a dirtbike engine. As said on this forum and everywhere else, "buy glass first."
  7. [begin broken record mode]
    At desktop printer sizes, the quality differences are invisible.
    The differences are significant at print sizes too big for one person to hold.
    Even at such sizes, APS-C cameras can still make excellent enlargements.
    [end broken record mode]
  8. Ahh
    Ok ok
    starting to see the light...
    hmmm and like the idea of getting great glass, come to think of it...
    i can get 'more' of them for 'same' amount of a FF, as well..
    my covetous tech-lust can still be satiated! whoo-hoo!
    any suggestions for a REALLY good everyday lens...?
  9. I am a big fan of full frame and I believe it does offer some benefits but I think your collection of photos shows its the photographer that makes the photo, not the equipment. So many people think spending more money on equipment will give them better photos should see what can be done with fairly inexpensive gear. great photos
  10. It seems you reach a point in every sensor size where there is no useful increase in resolution possible, and that seems to be driving manufacturers to larger sensors, including full frame sensors in 35mm sized cameras. So if you make really big prints, Full Frame is a good option.
    If you frequently blow up small sections of an image to make your final image, then increased useful resolution could be useful to you and full frame might be a possibility.
    If you need really good performance in low light (high ISO low noise) it seems that certain full frame cameras starting with the 5D and ending recently with the Nikon D3 seem to be a good option.
    If you have a large investment in lenses for full frame cameras where you like the view you get from those lenses on 35mm, then a full frame camera will give you that. Right now I have a Sony A350 and I like the weight, but all my old Minolta lenses do different things on the sony and I really wish the 50 was a 50 on the Sony and it's not. So I would like to have a full frame Sony, but there's the cost and the weight of the A850 and A900.
    So, really unless you have a specialized need and a fair bit of money, you really don't NEED full frame. But one thing to consider is that we seem to be headed toward full frame and if that is true, then investing in a lot of APS only lenses could be an economic dead end. You will have to decide for yourself -- pay your money and take your chances.
  11. any suggestions for a REALLY good everyday lens...?​
    Canon 24-70 2.8 L
    Canon 28-105 4.0 L
  12. You might be "stuck" with video anyway... the 5D2 has similar video capabilities. BTW, the 1Ds is an APS-H, 1.3x crop, not full frame. The 1D (no 's') is the full frame series.
    It might seem completely contrary to say, but beyond some early threshold, the sensor is very much less important than simple ergonomics and features. The 1D and 1Ds are big, bulky boxes with built-in vertical grips. If I wanted a vertical grip, I could get a battery grip for the 7D.
    Why do pros use FF? I haven't seen the poll, but I imagine they have some history with how their lenses look and feel, 35mm frame equivalent and all. It's the same reason I stayed with a crop sensor with the 7D, rather than get the FF 5D2. I like the coverage I have on the long end, and the 10-22 will some day take care of the short end. I think it comes down to that today. Crop frame makes your long lenses longer, and FF makes the short lenses wider.
    It strikes me that you are at a crossroads. Your next few purchases almost certainly will include a few lenses. The 18-55 is more or less disposable, and would not be a horrific loss if you went FF.
  13. EF 17-40mm f/4 L or EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS on an APS-C camera, but the 17-55mm won't go with you to a FF camera; it will not mount onto it, so thats something to consider.
  14. One minor point is that the depth of field is generally narrower on a full frame sensor. i.e. 50mm f/1.8 on the full frame gives less depth of field than 50mm f/1.8 on the cropped sensor. This is a desirable effect for some applications, not so desirable for others. If you are apt to use selective focus control, full frame might give a slight advantage.
  15. I also began with an Xsi and recently added a 5DII. The Rebel Xsi delivers great quality up to 16x20 and even as much as 20x24 with the kit lenses, the 18-55 ef-s and the 55-250 ef-s. If I need that little extra edge on the telephoto end of things I reach for the Xsi.
    When I'm looking for the wide view it's the 5DII to do the job, with the 17-40 L, the 85/1.8 and the Sigma 50/1.4.
    Different tools for different applications.
  16. Just use both the way I do.
    My old PC-Nikkor 35mm lens was too long on an APS-C body to serve its function, so I bought a used 5D for it.
    From each according to its ability,.....
  17. Personally. The reason(s) I know I need full frame are because
    • I shot 35mm film for a few years before turning to mostly digital
    • I researched it a lot.
    My perspective changed a lot when I moved from 100% film to digital. I didn't like it either. I was used to a certain look from all of my lenses, and APS-C changed that look.
  18. I own two Canon crop bodies (40D and 7D) and the 5D classic. Except for bird and wildlife photography, the camera of choice for me is the 5D. There is something magic about the image quality of that camera that exceeds anything I can get with an APS-C sized sensor. I love my 5Dc and I would give up both of my other cameras if I could only have one.
  19. I know I don't need full frame because I have no medical condition that full frame would cure, nor is my job security threatened by not having full frame.
    I know I want full frame because you can use it in lower light situations than APS-C, and you can make really big prints if you want to. However, I also know that for 95% of my shots having full frame would not make much difference at all in my photography.
    Finally, and most importantly, I know I can't afford full frame (and corresponding lenses) because I make no money from photography, bought a house last year, and am getting married this year. Maybe someday, or maybe not. In the meantime I make the most of my humble yet capable little Rebel XS.
  20. BTW, the 1Ds is an APS-H, 1.3x crop, not full frame. The 1D (no 's') is the full frame series.
    You mean just the opposite. 1Ds is the first FF DSLR ever. 1D is the sport shooter 1.3 crop.
    My two favorite "best" 'everyday' lenses:
    EF 16-35 and the EF 24-70.
  21. Hal B,
    At best that is worded badly " i.e. 50mm f/1.8 on the full frame gives less depth of field than 50mm f/1.8 on the cropped sensor."
    A lens is a lens, it gives exactly the same DOF on whatever body it is fitted to. Think about it, the lens doesn't know what camera it is on or even if it on a camera, it is not sentient but if it was it wouldn't care. At any give focused distance the DOF is the same with the same lens on any camera. To fill the frame of the ff you need to move closer to the subject relative to filling the frame with the crop camera, this results in less DOF but it is not the same thing.
  22. I picked up a full frame sensor for $3 at Walgreens today. Wait! You want your FF to be attached to your camera.
  23. Maybe I had that mixed up. I know there's a relationship there, but what is it?
    I think, if you compare a 50mm f/1.8 on full frame to a 35mm f/1.8 on APS-C sensor (available by Nikon), you could frame the same subject from the same distance and get the same field of view. The difference, however, is that the 35mm on the APS-C would give a greater depth of field, while the 50mm on full frame would tend to be shallower.
    Does that sound right? Somehow, the user experience on full frame allows for more focus control for larger subject at longer distances. The cropped sensors give an experience where you tend to get that same level of focus control with subjects 1.6x smaller at distances 1.6x closer.
  24. Sean as you can see it depends on what you shoot and what you are used to. I finally bought a crop body - the EOS 7D after 25 years of full frame shooting. For sports use the 7D is a better camera than my 5DII as you have a faster frame rate, better Af and the 1.6x magnification factor. For almost all other subjects I prefer the 5DII. If you don't shoot really wide angles, keep the ISO at 400 or less and do not print poster size you will not see any real world difference between the two cameras. I prefer the 5DII but the two cameras handle very similarly. As others have suggested the lenses make a big difference - you appear to have an eclectic collection - three cheap lenses and the 200 F2 - a $5,500 lens (unless you mean the 200 F2.8?). You may want to consider an APS-C body (e.g. 50D or 7D) and spend the rest of good glass.
    In terms of low light the 5DII is as much as two stops better than the 7D (i.e. ISO 6400 on the 5DII has about the same noise as ISO 1600 on the 7D - even the Pop Photo tests show this). For image sharpness the 5DII is slightly more detailed - partly due to the slightly higher resolution sensor and perhaps partly due to the larger photosites. As well as the DOF discussion - full frame bodies allow shots to have the appearence of a shallower DOF - Scott is correct but a 50mm F1.2 lens on an APS-C body at a subject distance of 10 feet has a DOF of 0.54 feet, an 80mm F1.2 lens on a FF body at 10 feet has the same angle of view but a DOF of 0.33 feet. I know that Canon does not make an 80mm F1.2 but the 85mm F1.2 has a slightly smaller field of view than the 50mm lens on APS-C and a DOF of 0.29 feet. Thus the 7D portrait shot with a 50mm F1.2 has almost twice the DOF as a 5DII using an 85mm F1.2. Another full frame advantage is for wide angle shots - while there may be some APS-C wide angle lenses the top quality Canon wide angle lenses (16-35 f2.8 II, 14mm F2.8, 24mm F1.4) are all designed for FF bodies and lose their wide angle when shot on a crop body. From what I have seen of the 10-20mm type APS-C zooms they are not in the same league as the 16-35 II or even the 17-40 F4. That said the results from the Tokina 11-16 F2.8 look quite good so maybe APS-C will catch up for wide angle shots.
  25. I just wanted to point out a couple of mistakes in the responses. With all due respect, I want to make corrections in case someone who's less informed about Canon products get the wrong information and would make wrong purchases.
    "BTW, the 1Ds is an APS-H, 1.3x crop, not full frame. The 1D (no 's') is the full frame series." --[Michael Young] Actually, 1Ds is the full frame and the other non "s"s 1D series are APS-H (1.3x crop factor), including the new 1DMk4.
    "Using the 18-55mm kit lens on a FF camera would be like riding a Harley Davidson with a dirtbike engine."-- [Nathan Gardner] FF cameras like the 5D, 5DMk2 and 1Ds cannot use EF-S lenses, which the 18-55 is.
  26. Don't know the technical issues on this subject. I have a DX and FX fomat camera. For my applications there is no dicernable difference in image quality. I'd say you might desire full frame but you don't "need" it.
  27. Soe,
    The 18-55 can't fit on the 1D series either. EF-S also don't fit the 1.3 crop, so no 10-22 on the 1D Mk anything, which is a real shame.
    Hal B,
    Yep that's the source of crop camera deeper DOF myth. For the same framing you need a wider lens than a larger sensor which subsequently results in deeper DOF, at the same aperture, as a longer lens.
    Take care, Scott
  28. I'd say you might desire full frame but you don't "need" it.​
    Exactly, Meir. Nobody needs full frame.
  29. A lens is a lens, it gives exactly the same DOF on whatever body it is fitted to.​
    Nope. DoF isn't an absolute, it depends on the circle of confusion that is acceptable on the sensor. If, as is usually appropriate, you define that to scale with the sensor (so that it's the same when a fixed-size print of the entire image is made), then DoF does depend on sensor size.
  30. "Am i wrong in thinking that a FF would ALWAYS serve me better with those subject interests..."
    Yes you are wrong. But if you change the word ALWAYS to more OFTEN than not, your sentence would be accurate. The bottom line is that you will not be disappointed going to a full frame camera.
  31. You can get terrific images from either format.
    Most Canon lenses, especially the ones intended for specialized/professional applications, are designed with FF in mind. You can use them with APS-C cameras, but much of their value is wasted and often their focal lengths are awkward. But, image quality will be fine.
    The depth of field/selective focus control is the most dramatic visible difference between the two formats.
    Differences in dynamic range and low-light performance can be managed with technique, but with FF you certainly get more to work with.
  32. Robin,
    Way to go to confuse the issue even more :)
    Crop cameras give you no free lunch or tele advantage or added DOF. Same lens, same subject distance, same sized subject enlargement (not the same as the same sized print) then the crop camera image and the ff image are identical.

  33. Bob Krist is a well known Nat Geo photog that shoots with Nikon D300 and now D300s...FF is nice to have, but a real photographer can make a great image with anything. Not that these are the very best pictures out there, but they were done with a 1953 Kodak Retina w/ a fixed Schneider 50 mm lens.
    Foucus by "guess", exposure by "sunny 16" - <a href="">Kodak Retina 1 w/ Fuji Velvia 50</a>
    If i can do this with a camera that has no auto focus or meter without a bunch of lights going off, you should be able to get outstanding images with your Rebel. Just use good glass and good light, sun or artificial.
  34. Way to go to confuse the issue even more :)
    Scott, I'm sorry if you don't understand the point. If you're happy to define DoF on a crop sensor using the same size circle of confusion as on a FF sensor, that's your problem not mine.
  35. When in doubt, buy a $25 film body that will accept your lenses and shoot a few rolls, just to find out how your lenses & shots "look" and "feel" at 35mm/FF coverage.
  36. Generally speaking, I would invest in glass :) If you get the appropriate focal lengths you should, by and large, accomplish what you need or want, by applying the correct technique. Having said that, to satisfy your own curiosity, rent a FF body with good glass for a week or so. Shoot the same intended subject matter that you mentioned you'd like to. Wherever possible, shoot the same scene/photo with your XSi and with the FF, then you can do your own comparisons. On this forum you're likely to get as many opinions as there are members :) Everyone's experience varies, so create your own experience and make your decisions based on it...
  37. Robin,
    I well understand the point.
    The confusing bit for some people is that the COC is changed on different formats to replicate an equal print size. That is not at issue. If I take the same image from the same place with the same lens on different cameras the image, though not the framing, is identical. It has the same DOF. If you crop the ff image to match the cropped image you have to reduce the COC to match the one on the crop camera too. It is that simple.
    To say " i.e. 50mm f/1.8 on the full frame gives less depth of field than 50mm f/1.8 on the cropped sensor." is wrong.
  38. Scott: No need to call me out a second time on the SAME QUOTE. I've already been corrected, and once is enough.
  39. Hal,
    Sorry not calling you out, it wasn't directed at you, my apologies. Robin seems to be muddying the waters and I wanted to be clear on my point in the hope of reducing any confusion.
    The way we end up using lenses differently on different cameras results in different dof characteristics, it can be confusing. And the fact you have to enlarge crop camera images more to get the same print size as ff ones only adds to the confusion.
    Take care, Scott.
  40. Any person asking a question on most forums would be well advised to read everything after the first half dozen replies in a spirit of "sorta interesting". Once the various responders start to quibble with one another over technical points, the charge of "muddying the water" becomes an understatement for the entire thread.
    The truth may make us free, but too much truth can lead us into the wilderness.
    IMHO, FWIW ;)
  41. So JDM, we need to bring our wellington boots to the fray..........Good oh, I miss sploshing about in the mud :)
    Take care, Scott.
  42. After selling my 5D I was in a smilar dilemma, but I went with 7D and I think made the right choice. Go with 7D, and you will be buying a much more advanced camera.
  43. No offense but you said you have a 200 f2.0? You have a $6000.00 lens hanging on Canons least expensive consumer camera? Now you want to know whether to go full frame?
    Am I the only one who thinks something is amiss here?
    You can afford it. Buy whatever you think will make your game better.
  44. Looking at your work, I'd say that you'll be happier with a FF, gaining IQ and wider perspective from your existing lenses. I've got a 7D for wildlife and sports and use the 5D2 for almost everything else.
  45. Hello
    my answer to this is: if you feel you need more shallow depth of field, particularly in wide to normal focal lengths then you need a full frame.
    For me there is nothing in smaller formats which looks like an upper body framed portrait with a 50mm at f2. There is nothing in smaller formats which can do this (although a 35mm f1.4 goes close) the lens however will cost you as much as a used 5D from KEH in excellent condition. I personally use a Zuiko 21mm via adaptor on my full frame 35mm and I love it, nothing has the same look in that arena.
    If however you photograph always from afar, then I believe you will see no advantages in full frame. Even professionals in that area seem to be wanting the 1.3x crop that the 1D provides
  46. Sean, I took the time to look at your pictures and I have to say I am very impressed. You have obvious raw talent in that your pictures are great, but with nice glass, they could be superb. Your pictures have a definite style and you are surely deserving of a nice camera and some nice lenses. Full frame vs cropped has become less of an issue with the new 7d on the market. Just my 2 cents.
  47. You know you need a full frame SLR when:
    You keep pulling out your 1V HS and a role of film because your 17-40 f4L isn't wide enough
    You keep thinking you've gone backwards in camera quality and functionality because you don't have 100% viewfinder coverage
    You find the viewfinder to dark in low light situations
    All you want is Av, Tv, and M but you've got a tone of other automatic settings to accidentally turn the dial to when your not paying attention
    You never use the pop up flash anyway because it casts a shadow with your wide angle making it useless altogether
    Really miss the feel of a pro camera

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