So What is a Format?

BobBill

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As most of us know the 4/3 format is compared to full frame 35mm sensor area, a host of APC formats and phones...let's agree to ignore phones.

I wonder, seriously, does the smaller sensor produce a better representation or image than say a full frame? (I use mostly a A6300 for its focus thingy) but do retain hand P&I small sensor and a GX1-4/3 sensor.) Or, are they the same or close enough to mitigate difference (resolution) bull?

I wonder...a given sensor, either has a lens made to its cast an image to its size or is used with an adapted lens. In the former case and perhaps in the adapted versions, the circle of focused subject is "x" only so many pixels...or sensor action (some is on sensor; some is off...or wasted.)

So, what is big deal, the smaller sensors you walk up or back a bit, press shutter and...voila?

It is not the same as old film large format versus smaller...say 645 or 8x10-etc, compared to 35mm is it?
 

MichailK

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“format” popped up thoughts of floppy disk operations..:coffee:

now, I do not see “better” but “different” between formats, a bit different use envelope for each rig combinations

my guesstimated semi educated feeling is that bigger formats and their lenses make room for less abrupt bending and refraction of various wavelengths of light through the multi lens element surfaces so the transcendence from the plane of focus to the variably unfocused areas of the two dimensional picture is much smoother and the contrast less muddy at the crossing of light/dark details than smaller formats and this gives that MF and Large Format much coveted look looking down on those lesser smaller formats

at a cost of an arm&leg or a broken back by the weight and bulk or much more regrettably, missed shots because you left the rig home and YOLO, so for my needs, ef those larger fromats
 
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exakta

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It is not the same as old film large format versus smaller...say 645 or 8x10-etc, compared to 35mm is it?
In many ways it is:

-- larger formats, shallower DOF at same f/stop and subject distance

-- larger formats need less enlargement for a given print size, so less IQ is lost and the noise (digital) or grain (film) is less obvious.

-- the larger the format, the smaller the aperture at which diffraction effects begin
 

MichailK

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all of these, correct but .... just technicalities and just different use envelopes overlapping or not depending on what the user asks the equipment to do like, (shallow DoF&low noise->big formats), (carry everywhere&shoot candid->small formats) etc

however, I have never seen a proper equal format comparison:

same scene/time/light, similar optical formula lenses on various format cameras shooting in exactly equivalent settings so we can clearly look at the clear format differences (most else tech details will be too small to affect things in a big way I guess)
 
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pdk42

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This has surely been done to death on here, and many other forums, years ago! Basically, in any given generation of sensor tech, give or take a bit, the image quality (noise, DR) will increase with increasing sensor size. At the same time, the size of cameras and lenses will increase, as will cost. Smaller sensors will also likely deliver benefits in stabilisation and perhaps other features . So, the format you prefer will always be a balance of IQ vs these other things. There's no right answer for all needs and photographers.
 
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MichailK

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This has surely been done to death on here, and many other forums, years ago!
not with mostly same optical formula lenses, AFAIK

so we can asses diffraction/microntrast differences only due to format (size) of elements dictating different angles of light bending/refracting, most else being equal

I guess you cannot do this without custom made lenses
 

pdk42

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not with mostly same optical formula lenses, AFAIK
Not sure what that means. For sure there will be different design considerations as the size of the image circle and focal length change - but I see excellent lenses in systems from m43 right up to MF, so the designers clearly understand these things well.

so we can asses diffraction/microntrast differences only due to format (size) of elements dictating different angles of light bending/refracting, most else being equal
I'd like to see a test that can establish that (either the truth or the fallacy). As above, there are excellent lenses in all systems, and dogs in all systems. I don't see any average or trend that says one format has better lenses than any other.

I guess you cannot do this without custom made lenses
Why? Custom-made for who?, and why? If you're talking low-volume lenses then that doesn't count at all. Hand-crafted designs made in bijou quantities will have a bunch of characteristics that will be unique - but so what?, and what will it say about the format for which they are designed?
 
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MichailK

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Not sure what that means.
...
Why? Custom-made for who?, and why?
leaving aside equivalency and sensor size physics typicalities,
sterile lab tests to clarify whether there are inherent light manipulation handicaps in smaller vs larger formats in lens design due to size alone, like inherent glass microscopic irregularities affecting smaller formats or if the smaller formats require more complex lens formulas hence more surfaces to cross hence more light irregularities added (like the intermodulation in audio amplifiers, a reason the primitive class A ruled-rules? for so long in old HiFi despite its inherent deficiencies or so, like cubic inches vs turbo charged small volume engines etc, there are always differences affecting best use envelope, me preferring high revving small volume engines over here, the m43 equiv. in the automotive world) - now, if photon noise in dark areas plays some role too against small formats besides noise, I would like to know

thoughts of a respected much bigger than mine photographic mind
https://blog.mingthein.com/2015/02/24/that-medium-format-look-what-is-it/
 

pdk42

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leaving aside equivalency and sensor size physics typicalities,
sterile lab tests to clarify whether there are inherent light manipulation handicaps in smaller vs larger formats in lens design due to size alone, like inherent glass microscopic irregularities affecting smaller formats or if the smaller formats require more complex lens formulas hence more surfaces to cross hence more light irregularities added (like the intermodulation in audio amplifiers, a reason the primitive class A ruled-rules? for so long in old HiFi despite its inherent deficiencies or so, like cubic inches vs turbo charged small volume engines etc, there are always differences affecting best use envelope, me preferring high revving small volume engines over here, the m43 equiv. in the automotive world) - now, if photon noise in dark areas plays some role too against small formats besides noise, I would like to know

thoughts of a respected much bigger than mine photographic mind
https://blog.mingthein.com/2015/02/24/that-medium-format-look-what-is-it/
An interesting idea - but I think that's impossible because there will be way too many other variables. How could you be sure if lens A on m43 was better than lens B on MF because of the format difference, or something else. We can only really judge the question based on real-world lenses, available in the market today. That's a more reasonable test and moreover, it's one that average photographers can relate to and if necessary make purchasing decisions on.

And on top of all that - we know that the lenses in phone with tiny sensors are optically excellent so we are not hitting any microscopic irregularities etc.
 

PakkyT

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so we can asses diffraction/microntrast differences only due to format (size) of elements dictating different angles of light bending/refracting, most else being equal
What are these asses you speak of and why does it matter which format we use to photograph an ass? A great ass will look great in any format.

:whistling:
 

RayB

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As most of us know the 4/3 format is compared to full frame 35mm sensor area, a host of APC formats and phones...let's agree to ignore phones.

I wonder, seriously, does the smaller sensor produce a better representation or image than say a full frame? (I use mostly a A6300 for its focus thingy) but do retain hand P&I small sensor and a GX1-4/3 sensor.) Or, are they the same or close enough to mitigate difference (resolution) bull?

I wonder...a given sensor, either has a lens made to its cast an image to its size or is used with an adapted lens. In the former case and perhaps in the adapted versions, the circle of focused subject is "x" only so many pixels...or sensor action (some is on sensor; some is off...or wasted.)

So, what is big deal, the smaller sensors you walk up or back a bit, press shutter and...voila?

It is not the same as old film large format versus smaller...say 645 or 8x10-etc, compared to 35mm is it?
  • A smaller sensor with a proportionally smaller focal length will give you better depth of focus. Compare a photo of the same object taken with a iPhone (approx 5 mm focal length) with one taken with your m43 camera at about 20 mm focal length
 

drd1135

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Interesting questions. Some tout the mu43 benefits of enhanced DoF and smaller teles. After all, shallow DoF is just a style/technique/current preference. Back when, huge DoF was all the rage. If by some magical physics, mu43 and FF had the same high iso behavior, I wonder what the market would be like.
 

MichailK

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Back when, huge DoF was all the rage.
I want to hear more on the old times I just had a glimpse on.

Like when all that the real life lab-dependent amateurs had was ISO 400 (how much “pushing” could you ask-was it possible in the first place?) and they really had to get that F/1.4 prime for flash less shooting and then how many shots would be “bad” due to too shallow DoF if properly focused at all or too grainy when ordering for enlarged crops... and all the envy towards the guy showing off his F/1.2 and frowning upon the guys with the kit F/1.8 lens... were the 126/110 Kodak film compact shooters kicked out of the photo clubs in shame back then?
 

drd1135

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I want to hear more on the old times I just had a glimpse on.

Like when all that the real life lab-dependent amateurs had was ISO 400 (how much “pushing” could you ask-was it possible in the first place?) and they really had to get that F/1.4 prime for flash less shooting and then how many shots would be “bad” due to too shallow DoF if properly focused at all or too grainy when ordering for enlarged crops... and all the envy towards the guy showing off his F/1.2 and frowning upon the guys with the kit F/1.8 lens... were the 126/110 Kodak film compact shooters kicked out of the photo clubs in shame back then?
Think Ansel Adams.
 

MichailK

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Think Ansel Adams.
hey, we are talking about plain folks, not gods!
his zone system and total control over exposure-development-printing is way beyond what a lab defendant amateur could afford or master by him/her self...

thinking more on this, lab dependent MF users (120 film also used on decades old compacts, not that expendable cameras back then) must have been in a handicap vs 135mm (what we call FF) users since the typical MF lenses were slower and the film speeds were the same and being lab dependent you could not take much advantage on finer MF grain on typical small prints - the smaller FF format must have been in a lens speed advantage back then..

duh, overthinking again... glad I can still can!:boohoo:
 

Carbonman

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were the 126/110 Kodak film compact shooters kicked out of the photo clubs in shame back then?
My mother took up photography as a hobby after I left home. She joined a photography club and at one point submitted a slide of a sunset to a competition. The image made it through 3 rounds of judging before anyone realized it was a dreaded 126 format transparency. In short, yes there was lots of snobbery back then, just as now. The difference is that there's arguably much less difference in image quality between the various digital formats but an easier venue (the interwebs) to spew your rash opinions.
 
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