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Interesting article about "Full Frame Equivalence"

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Halaking, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Very nice article summarizing all those things we discuss in here all the time.

    What's actually amussing is this: Canonikon are lately pushing "economical FF DSLRs" as the way to go. This seems almost insulting to all those users sold on APS-C sensor DSLRs all these years.

    Bottom line: Canon EF-S, 10 total dedicated system lenses. Nikon DX, 17 total lenses. It's like saying APS-C has failed.

    Oh, yeah, a lot of people will say, "you can use EF/FX lenses with your crop sensor DSLR". What's the point? Cost will be marginally lower (for a complete system) vs FF. Weight and size will be roughly the same.

    I totally believe it's not a :43: vs FF vs whatever sensor size, though. I'm confident that in a year or so, technology will be mature enough to introduce a mirrorless FF system, with all the advantages and performance of a larger sensor and none of the disadvantages of a heavy FF DSLR.

    Sensor size is, IMHO, just another choice. We are going in a direction that IQ and performance will be a very minor consideration. One will choose a :43:, APS-C or FF size sensor camera for the different aesthetic experience and options they will give.
  2. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Not quite unlike Panasonic totally dropping Four Thirds after what one body? but with a few great Four Thirds lenses and Olympus not doing much in Four Thirds lately - with both companies pretty much saying "Micro Four Thirds" is the way to go.....(even though you may have thousands invested in Four Thirds)
  3. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    I must respectfully disagree.

    I don't find any similarities between these two cases. Historically, there are dozens of cases where a certain technology failed either practically or commercially. Canonikon have their share of them, as do all other current camera manufacturers, to a lesser of greater extend.

    Four Thirds started with serious potential, but failed, IMO, because of circumstances. "Failed" is a rather strong word, in this context. Olympus made a considerable investment in very high quality glass, but sensor technology was never at the same level. Panasonic abandoned ship very early, IMO.

    Objectively, at some point, it was evident that mirrorless was a much more preferable direction, both technologically and commercially. What I blame the FT companies for, is that they ought to provide a clear transitional roadmap from FT to :43: and stick to it. This is what they had to do 2 years ago. But this is no different to what Canon did when they switched to EOS from FD.

    Canonikon, OTOH, always used APS-C as bait for their FF cameras while knowing full well that only perhaps a 10% of APS-C customers would make the leap. I can't begin to tell you how many people I know, whose "dream" is to someday afford a FF equivalent of their APS-C system. Canonikon never saw APS-C as a viable technological alternative in itself; only as a marketing one. This is more than evident by the number of lenses (and quality, therein) specific to their crop sensor cameras.

    I believe that any system at some point passes a certain point from where on it can be considered "mature", both technologically and commercially. APS-C was never technologically mature, as a system, in my opinion. :43: reached this stage sometime last year and it continues to push forward.
  4. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    The poorly used term" full frame" is useful in that it provides a defacto "standard" from which comparisons can be made. It's kind of like a kilo or a millimeter. But that's where the benifit ends.

    As a definition of quality or superiority is useless, unless you're somewhat insecure.

    • Like Like x 2
  5. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Both companies now have the sensor technology to produce but where are the new Four Thirds bodies (at minimum) and perhaps new/updated lenses ?
  6. napilopez

    napilopez Contributing Editor

    Feb 21, 2012
    NYC Area
    Napier Lopez
    This is a wonderful article(the author is on this forum!) and it brings up a point I made in my thread here:


    The whole "full frame" semantic problem also alludes to why I wish lenses were labeled with their angle of view rather than their focal length, as it makes a lot more practical sense for telling you how the lens actually sees the world.

    As flash above mentioned, it's useful as a reference, but I have a problem with the term "full frame" itself. It implies that it's somehow inherently "better" than a smaller format. You can argue that it is, but it isn't a magical intrinsic property of the format size. It also makes me want to call medium format fuller-frame, or like, hyper frame. Perhaps mega frame?

    View cameras can then become gigantohypersaturatedexpialidocious frame.
    • Like Like x 3
  7. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Second that. Anytime a forum user asks a question about full-frame equivalence (or 135 format equivalence? :smile:)  in any shape or form, we can simply direct him to this article and close the case as soon as possible.
  8. arad85

    arad85 Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 16, 2012
    Nice article.
  9. I have seen some older film lenses that are labelled with the angle-of-view (Tamron, I think), but that does pre-suppose that they will only ever be used on the one sized format.
  10. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    hopefully this year...
  11. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    well said.
  12. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Sorry, too late now, unfortunately.

    And, more to the point, why a DSLR? Because this is the decisive difference.

    If Olympus can produce a hybrid type camera (with adapter?), that can provide an adequate PD-AF performance solution for FT lenses.... well, that's all I suppose. Why does it have to have the flapping mirror and added bulk of a FT body?

    What I agree with is that the had to already have it on market by now. But I suppose all the late financial trouble didn't help at all.
  13. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Full frame equivalence doesnt "matter" but full frame does have advantages. The article even summarizes the advantages nicely, and the advantages do matter IF you like what the advantages give you (minor tweaks in noise and tonality, and lesser DOF for the same f/stop). Bt its just as valid that some people prefer the advantages of m43 (size and deeper DOF for the same exposure equivalence).

    If the point is that "allowing" full frame to be a reference format is a negative, well, I can understand the consternation, as it makes full frame feel superior by defintion, but while the article is about the use of full frame as a references, the advantage of a larger sensor can make a difference in the areas mentioned above, but with trade offs.
  14. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    I've heard the AOV suggestion, and I agree here. In some ways it's better (if you actually understand angles and can get a reasonable feel for them in you field of vision) but them it creates other issues. It also creates issues in that AOV is not only sensor size dependent but also format/crop dependent.
  15. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Thanks Morris, that article is a good read.

    Full frame equivalence does matter to someone of my advanced years :biggrin:; I've spent decades shooting with 35mm film bodies and lenses and have a pretty good idea the view that I will get from a 50mm lens before I look through the viewfinder. This remained constant, no matter if the camera was a Nikon F, a Pentax K1000, or a Minolta X700.

    If I mount a 50mm lens on my OM-D EM-5 I get a different view than I would expect to see on a "full frame" 35mm camera body. Good thing to know before mounting the lens.

    So "FF Equivalence" is important to me as a point of reference. Toss me a 25mm :43: lens (Please. Somebody. Anybody. :biggrin:) and tell me that the 'FF Equivalent' is a 50mm and I'm good to - I know what the viewfinder will show before I look in it.

    Of course now that APS and :43: have been around for awhile it's not as critical a piece of information as it was when I bought my first Nikon D70S - I had to keep reminding myself of the "crop factor" when grabbing a lens to mount. Now it's pretty much second nature.

    Each genre has advantages and disadvantages (discussed ad nauseum :biggrin:) but to me 'FF Equivalence' is comparable to a yardstick.

    Me: "How long is a meter?"
    Teacher: "A bit longer than a yard, figure 39 inches ballpark."
    Me: "Got it."

    Me: "I want the same view on my OM-D EM-5 that I get from my nifty-fifty Nikkor on my D300."
    Sales clerk: "Leica DG Summilux 25mm. Just empty your wallet on the counter."
    Me: "Got it".

    Thanks for posting the article, it does a pretty nice job of explaining 'aperture equivalency' :wink:.


    • Like Like x 2
  16. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

  17. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2012
    It's a very good article and presents the potential advantages and disadvantages of different formats. While shallower DOF can be advantageous, deeper DOF can also be advantageous in many situations. In my opinion it's more often an advantage for what I do. There's the old "f8 and don't be late" line regarding shooting when control of depth of field is somewhat incidental. Well, with 43 you can be at f4 or f5.6, and be shooting at either a faster shutter speed or a lower iso. I think the format/brand wars are really tedious. I think a key point is that the systems need to be evaluated as systems. If money were no object I'd almost certainly have a FF system. The but is that m43 is a vastly better tool for MY uses and needs. I'd end up leaving that FF camera and kit at home or in the trunk way too often.
  18. FrayAdjacent

    FrayAdjacent Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 5, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I read that article last night at work. Very good article, very good information.

    I caught someone mentioning the aperture equivalence thing on another forum and gently informed him that it does not apply to anything but depth-of-field.
  19. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    A well thought out and easy to understand treatment of the whole matter. It would be nice if more people would read this - although, some will never change their minds no matter how clear the distinctions become. They have deep prejudices in favor of the DSLR that are incredibly difficult to overcome. :cool: 
    • Like Like x 1
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