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The FF DSLR myth - a thing of the past ?

Author: Jerusalem Photographer user
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Country: Israel
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We are being literally bombarded with new sleek bodies from multiple manufacturers every month.

These new bodies, include many small sensor cameras - with improved IQ. The MFT cameras like Olympus ep3, the fuji X100, and sony nex series are examples of this.

All this gets me to think - that the actual size of the sensor - as a factor in IQ - is quickly getting less and less relevant.

Compare images from a canon 7d - with a 5d FF from a few years ago. The 7d is easily the winner.

Now we have sites showing the fuji x100 - outdoing the 7d!

Obviously sensor technology is rapidly improving - and phtography has moved from optics to electronics.

We have to ask - is an ivestment in an expensive FF body worth it today? Sensor techology seems to leap every few months now - and your new FF may become stale fairly quickly ?

User rating + Comments

Average rating: 1.98  Votes: 57  Your rating:

24-01-2012 14:41 TheAlumni user

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Country: Singapore

Forgive me if my comment sounds sarcastic but, where are you basing your statements off? Reading the cameras and lenses you've owned, it honestly seems you're basing it off pure speculation and that you have not actually owned a full-frame SLR. A 7D out-performs a 5D? They are two different cameras and the 5D excels where the 7D does not which is in stills, while the opposite can be said for sports.

06-02-2012 03:03 borko1206 user

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I completely agree with the previous comment (TheAlumni) You probably never use these devices.Canon 5d with a Ff sensor, you compare with toys such as the fuji x100.Take 5d and you will see that your 550D is a toy.

09-03-2012 17:37 essejesse user

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What?? O.K. what ever you say.

10-03-2012 19:43 Colvin Atchison user

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Yes sensor technology is advancing, those same advancements yhat are making crop body sensors excellent are also making full frame sensors absolutly incredible! I shoot with a Canon 7D and a Canon 5D mark II using many of the same lenses. There is no comparison, the 5D mark II blows the 7D away, especially at high ISO levels, and with a greater DOF. The 7D maintains an edge and a place in my bag because of the increased magnification and the higher frame rate it brings to the game over the 5D, but it is still a toy compaired to FF.

10-06-2012 01:56 joeldesker user

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Well said Colvin Atchison!

11-07-2012 06:58 mattlach user

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As I understand it, there are two major differences between full frame and crop sensor bodies. 1.) Low light performance tends to be better on a full frame camera of the same generation. (in other words, you can hit higher ISO with less noise) 2.) Depth of field is going to be shallower on a full frame camera at the same aperture, allowing for some more creativity. (this is independent of generation) Yes, because of the speed with which sensor technology improves, a newer crop sensor camera may outperform an older full sensor camera, but when comparing sensors of the same generation and manufacturer, the full sensor cameras are typically going to perform MUCH better.

11-07-2012 06:58 mattlach user

wow, no line breaks in comments? Really?

30-07-2012 14:57 felix user

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it all boils down to the man behind the camera. skills and experience.

11-09-2012 05:39 Micah user

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It would have to be not true to be a "myth". The fact is you have to compare like with like, and full frame vs. less than full frame from the same generation is still much better in terms of IQ. My GX1 and D7000 are much newer tech, yet they still can't hold a candle to my D700, which is actually something like 2005 or 2006 technology. And the D3s is even better. It's no myth. Someday, maybe things will change. But FF is still much better in terms of image quality when we talk about dynamic range, noise across the ISO range, and resolution in general.

27-09-2012 21:52 Agis user

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Leica M cameras are all FF nowdays. That says a lot.

10-10-2012 09:32 felix user

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go out and shoot, learn your equipment. enjoy and practice........... its not what the other one has...... its how you use what you have...... learning never stops....,,,

20-11-2012 22:34 Matteo Pezzi user

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Well, I stepped from a Canon 450d to a Canon 5d Mk II 20 days ago...Definetly a new - better - world. If you're looking for slight dof, high-iso performances, big and top-quality images, and that pro-sensation that you can immediatly feel handling such a great camera, no doubt: buy it.

12-12-2012 01:09 Rixirox user

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Photographers for the most, are passionate artists. It is a Pas Da Deux, a duet, a dance of two or so I thought. I soon learned I was dancing with the light. My camera kit merely a pair of dancing shoes. After blissfully making wonderful shots all summer I faced the most formidable antogonists of my young photographers life. Dark clouds, rain and snow. My wonderful Brownie,virtually indestructable in my childish hands was not very waterproof nor fast enough for darkening days. If I wanted to "....dance with the Devil of Darkness in the pale moonlight". (...paraphrased from the Joker'S Line in BATMAN). I said to my mentor, "I need a better pair dancing shoes" (New camera) I learned from my mentor my best camera was my real camera. You know the round thing behind the box camera I was holding. And that the real photo lab (read brain) behind my real "camera" could make better images than any (film) post processing lab. So yes sir, I listened. I bought everything I could to improve my artistic expression. My Brownie became an F5 and finally a D800E. I had become a Nikon Acquisition Addict. Ten thousand dollars later I started calling them "Mikons". I bought so many of their products in pursuit of remediating my artistic frailties. Everyone else just shoots better. I hate my own work and I love everyone else's It took a beauty salon hair stylist with a cell phone camera capturing a freak tornado right out side her car window. A drunken college student captured the spectacular sunrise of his fist all nighter on the beach. Both images were stunning captures, exquisitely exposed with expertly framed compositions (NPR) No Photoshop Required. At long last the words of my mentor finally rang crystal clear and totally true: You, my friend are the artist and composer. You are the captain of your capture. Not the box nor lens, but you are the Master who follows the light which always leads. Its not the Sony, that's baloney Nor the Canon, might as well be Dannon Nor the Nikon, nor the Mikon ........................IT IS YOU! Learn how to build a pinhole camera and then go learn how to capture images with it. Get up before dawn and go get the first light in the mist. Break trail all the way to summit to capture the newly burdened firs ladened heavy with fresh snow. Capture the glittering sunlight streaming through the bending bows. Then go back to your Creative Suite to level and crop if needed or bring it to your art's next level. In closing, your "dancing shoes" won't make you a dancer but your passion will. Sir, if you get my mentors meaning, I see a pair of Brand New Capezios in your very near future. Remember this: Nobody will ever steal your pin hole box camera, your Holga or your old beat up dancing shoes. Hide your "sweetgear" in an beat up looking or no name bag. Telltale neckstraps that say "I have a gazillion dollar camera" should be left sealed in its plastic bag for later sale on ebay when it comes time to upgrade. In exchange, find a good comfortable and safe Crumpler Industrial Disgrace or non descript strap of choice so long a it doesn't say "steal me".

20-01-2013 17:40 garyfromiami user

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I have not read all of the comments but I do not understand the viewpoint that there is a FF myth. I have a 5d, 5d Mk II, and have had a 7d in the past (also have a Leica M8 right now) and the 5d'\;s are much better at low light/higher ISO, sharpness and by the way, the 5d does skin tones better than the MkII. The 5d is now about $600 used and it is the best damn camera for that sort of money. Blow up a 5d photo and blow up a 7d then get back to me. There may not be a dramatic difference every singe time, with every single photo, but there is a difference.

10-05-2014 11:18 randalf user

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There is hardly anyone who supported the observations made by JP. Most comments are shocked at such a claim, and this ends up a debate between FF sensors and smaller sensors. It was probably not a good idea at all to compare a 7D with a 5D but the point that JP wanted to make 2/3 years ago is a plain fact, sensor technology is improving. Period. Let us put aside the emotional debate, I personally spent a lot of money on a 5D M2 as well and lenses and I am not so happy to see that the camera I spent so much money on ,is no longer as attractive as it once was. The only way to escape obsolescence is to '\;invest'\; in painting or art work, something I may consider doing :-)

03-05-2015 20:35 Todd Saltzman user

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I own a 10d, 30d, 70d, and 6d. Like most of the other responses, I can tell you definitively there is a big difference between FF and not. Image quality, DOF, and low light shots are noticeably better on FF. If I am out shooting sports or wildlife however i'\;d take my 70d crop any day. Higher frame rate, better focusing, and the 1.6x crop factor(makes your 500mm=800mm).

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About the author Jerusalem Photographer

Country: Israel
More on: www
Lenses (owned): Canon 15-85mm F/3.5-5.6 Canon 35mm F/1.4 Canon 50mm F/1.4 Canon 60mm F/2.8 Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8
Cameras (owned): Canon EOS 550D