Full frame look?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Mellow, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    I don't know if this has been posted before (I couldn't find it), but what exactly is the "full frame look" that FF users sometimes swoon about? Is it simply shallow DOF under conditions that would be difficult to achieve with a smaller sensor--i.e., greater distances from the camera? Does it only occur when using fast glass? In other words, if I'm shooting with a 50mm f/3.5 lens on a FF camera is it possible to produce photos with that "full frame look"?

    I know this is a very basic question, but I just realized I didn't know the answer.
  2. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    Yep, part of it is shallow DOF. Though M43 is shallow enough for all practical purposes.

    Part of it is the greater clarity and lower noise that comes from larger photocell sites.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    I understand noise, I don't understand "clarity". Are you talking about resolution? Wouldn't that depend on the resolving power of the lens and the number of pixels on the sensor?
  4. Reflex439

    Reflex439 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 2, 2010
    Massachussets, USA
    Also, there is a greater dynamic range in most cases. All of these contribute to that look. In some cases it's minor and hardly noticeable, in others it's pretty obvious.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
  5. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    I've never heard of it, but I take your word that full-frame-35mm users sometimes swoon about the "look".
    The combination of a certain DOF with a certain framing of the subject can make a great photo, and that's what you're going to see as different between two systems with different sensor sizes.
  6. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    It's a lot like that "Leica" look... :rolleyes: :biggrin:
  7. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    assuming you have two sensors exactly the same, the only difference is the size, the larger sensor will have more tonal range across the image. Typically you would notice the image just having a certain extra fullness to it. EG look at a phaseone iq 180 portrait compared to a m43 portrait, the m43 will look like someone smeared the skin with Vaseline. The DoF thing is also different, only at the extreme lens speeds of each system.
  8. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 31, 2013
    That "look" they're talking about is the look on their faces when they can proclaim they own more costly gear than you and therefore, are superior.

    I have a friend who can take a well composed, technically correct photo. He will then take the photo and aggressively postprocess it and post it on the Leica forums with the EXIF data stripped. They will start making assumptions that it is indeed a Leica M9 on a Leica lens. He then will make the reveal and they will go "damnit stop ruining our hopes and dreams (Alternatively: "experience" or "bad financial decisions.")" kinds of posts towards him.

    There is no FF look, go buy yourself some really fast glass and/or boost really fast glass and you can mercilessly mock the people that take photos with a 18-300VR on a D600 (If you don't get what is implied, go look up the lens. Hint: It isn't because it is a superzoom) and then turn it to a black and white photo, add grain to it and then vignette the corners real heavy intentionally.

    I bet you can take a photo from a D2X, tweak the EXIF info and resize competently and claim that it came from a D600 and get away with it on DPR or other forums.

    I need to finish my infographic on The Abuse of Equivalence as a Word and how people tend to get all stupid about sensor sizes.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    From my perspective, the 'full-frame look' refers to a look that can be acheived with a full-frame sensored camera that can't easily be achieved with a smaller-sensored camera. For me, that look is moderately wide angle photography with a very shallow DOF - for example, what you get from a 35mm f1.4 lens on a full frame sensor shot at f1.4 with a subject a moderate distance from the camera. Its not simply a matter of saying its very shallow DOF as that can always be accomplished through a combination of focal length, aperture, camera to subject distance and subject to background distance.
    • Like Like x 2
  10. brettmaxwell

    brettmaxwell Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2012
    agreed. I really enjoy my OMD and 17/1.8, but it simply can't match the look of my 35/1.4 on D600.
  11. I think that there are a couple of things that can constitute a "full frame look".

    The first has already been mentioned, that being the ability to use shallower depths-of-field with wider angle lenses. I think the second is the ability to pull brighter colours out of dull conditions. This can result in a striking image but with a touch of the unreal about it. Sometimes a good result, sometimes bad. I don't think that it is specifically related to having more dynamic range since Canon's full frame sensors have less measurable dynamic range than a lot of APS-C sensors from other brands. And besides, if ever greater levels of dynamic range are only considered to be a good thing then we'd all be looking at HDR images and saying "wow, that's the most amazing effect I've ever seen in my life!" But seriously, who going to say that? :smile:

    You can spend a lot of time looking through samples from D800s, D700s, 5Ds, 6Ds, RX1s, etc without seeing a whole lot that's unique, but every now and again you will see a difference.
  12. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    It would probably be helpful if somebody posted some comparative photos to demonstrate what folks have been trying to describe in words. I do know there is a difference between shooting with a 17 f/1.8 on an m43 body and a 35 f/1.4 on a FF body, but the questions in my mind are how much of a difference, and does the viewer (not the photographer) care about the difference? (I know that if the photographer cared, they would change bodies/lenses.)

  13. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Back in the good old days we used to have the same arguments between 35mm and medium format. A shot taken at 25mm on m43 doesn't quite look like a 50mm shot on 135 which doesn't look like a shot on a 90mm lens on 6x9, regardless of aperture equivalencies. I spent some time trying to understand it. Pages and pages about nodal points and flange distances and magnification and circles of confusion. In the end I gave up trying to understand why and just looked at the pictures. A 50mm lens is always a 50mm lens, as they say.

    Then you combine that with the different DOF issues and the fact that Canon lenses look a bit different to Nikon lenses, to Leica lenses and olympus lenses and the manufacturers tonal responses built into the film/sensor and it all starts to get very muddy very quickly. The colour thing is more down to technology though. There are fewer 14 bit smaller format sensors than 135 ones and there are virtually no 16bit 135 sensors but quite a few MF ones. Plus I think a current EM5 sensor has better tonal range and DR than say an original Canon 1Ds sensor but I think the 1Ds still has a look that the m43 sensor can't replicate and it's not all down to DOF. It's how a 50mm lens responds to a larger sensor versus how a 25mm responds to a smaller one.

    And of course, IMHO, that doesn't make one "look" better than another. Just preferential, although some like to state that a particular 'look" is factually superior. Personally i prefer a 75mm 1.8 on an EM5 to a 135L on a 5D2, regardless of the aperture. And I'll take my 50mm CV on my M9 @2.8 to the 25mm on a m4/3 body at 1.4. Personal preference only.

    I find there is a difference in the look of m4/3 to 135 but it's rather subtle and often buried by post processing and 800 pixel wide displays. The difference was much greater with 35mm and 6x9. I had the opportunity to see near identical prints from those formats sided by side and there certainly was a difference. Hard to find that comparison nowadays though.

    • Like Like x 3
  14. TransientEye

    TransientEye Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 18, 2013
    Very much this. The 'Leica look' that people rave about is very often little more than a strong uncorrected vignette - combined with deliberate and meaningful composition. This is particularly true of street photographs, where the lens is often shot stopped down to increase DOF.
  15. nardoleo

    nardoleo Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 2, 2013
    This is an example of the "full frame" look i shot with my friend's D800 and 70-200mm f2.8.

    The Olympus 75mm f1.8 is pretty good at getting something close to the full frame look in my opinion.

    Attached Files:

  16. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    18-300 is for a crop sensor (DX), right? d600 FF (FX).
  17. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    So a Phase One IQ 180 is the best example you can give of that full frame look? :biggrin:
  18. Mookalafalas

    Mookalafalas Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 22, 2012
    Tainan, Taiwan
  19. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    no... I could tell you to look at a 16x20 contact print. It's the tonal range that gives it the "look." I just wanted to demonstrate extremes. I can see the difference from the FF's to the mu43, especially in skin tones. m43 is fine, but in comparison it looks smeared or flat.

    But meh, I bet most people wouldn't see it between m43 to ff.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    I think it's more than just this. The M9 CCD sensor renders like nothing else I've ever owned regardless of the lens on the front of it. The 135 APO I own, doesn't vignette but it still has "the look". It's more a combination of the sensor and lens design. Lenses designed for the M can sit a whole lot closer to the sensor than any DSLR (and relatively closer than even m4/3 compared to sensor size). Mandeler design lenses, especially, render in a certain way. Less macro contrast and more micro contrast. Combine that with the sensor and the things you've mentioned and there's something no Canon can do. The leica look does decrease with the longer lenses though as they get closer in design to a DSLR lens.

    35mm look with a bit of Leica look thrown in.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9947547426/" title="L1000407.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr"> 9947547426_2feebeb890_b.jpg "1024" height="681" alt="L1000407.jpg"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/7095838319/" title="119-D&amp;S_by_FlashGordonPhotography.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr"> 7095838319_fd6a1d6689_b.jpg "1024" height="681" alt="119-D&amp;S_by_FlashGordonPhotography.jpg"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6115342903/" title="L1002073.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr"> 6115342903_b88ceefb61_b.jpg "1000" height="665" alt="L1002073.jpg"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9327579342/" title="GTC15060.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr"> 9327579342_a8ba4670bc_b.jpg "1024" height="512" alt="GTC15060.jpg"></a>

    I do like a nice vignette though.... :)

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