Sensor Sizes: Compared
All right, the next session of The Sensor is comparing these sensor sizes. So we know what they look like physically but what's it gonna mean into the final images that I shoot? And so, in general, when we compare a bigger sensor versus a smaller sensor, we generally get bigger pixels. We generally get more pixels. And we can shoot shallower depth of field because there's a different set of lenses that we use with those larger sensors. And over on the smaller sensors, we tend to get smaller cameras that cost less money and they tend to give us a little bit more depth of field on a regular basis. So if we were to just compare three different cameras here, a Full Frame, a micro four-thirds, and one of those one-inch compact, point and shoot cameras. So there's gonna be a big weight difference between these cameras. And if we try to put it on equal types of equipment. The size of the image, the profile, how big a bag you need to carry with these, is gonna be notably different in these cam...
eras. And newcomers to photography tend to be drawn very much to smaller sized cameras and what they don't always anticipate down the road is that they're gonna have to be working with that camera, pressing buttons, turning dials, and sometimes, a really small camera is hard to work with. It's convenient to carry from A to B, but once you get to B, actually shooting with that little dial is not as nice as having a nice big dial that has good click turns on it and nice big buttons for all those features. You have to dive into your menu all the time. And so there can be a big difference between the small and the big camera in that regard. And so, the best of the point and shoots are upwards of $1,000 for a really nice point and shoot. For a little bit more, you get a little interchangeable lens camera, and it's gonna cost you a fair bit to get into a Full Framed camera. I'm gonna talk a lot more about that cost as we move along here. And so, thinking about bigger and smaller, because we're all gonna have this option. We all have the option. I have the option of getting bigger or going smaller, and there's just a level of trade-offs to figure out what is best for what you're doing. Now, I tend to spend too much time in forums and the comments sections watching, I don't really participate, but just watching what people say about this and that. A new camera will come out and the fan boys are this and the fan girls are that, will come in and they'll start arguing about this and that and one of the most popular topics these days when comparing sensor size is the shallower depth of field option that you get with Full Framed cameras. It's an ability that they have because of the types of lenses that you work with it. So, I decided to run a test with the holy grail of portrait lenses on all three systems. And so, we'll start in the studio here, and we're shooting with an 85 millimeter, 1.2 lens on our Full Frame, a 56 one too, one our APSC system, and with out micro four-thirds, a 42.5, which doubles up because it's got a two-times crop factor, to be exactly 85. These are as close as you can get to being the same. Now, you can clearly see that the camera in the background and the subjects in the foreground are more out of focus with the Full Framed sensors. And this is just the benefit you get with a Full Frame camera. Now, I know there are some people out there that are saying, wait a minute, what's better? Shallower depth of field or more depth of field? It depends on what you're shooting and the fact of the matter is photographers like options. And when I'm out there shooting, I want shallow depth of field some other time. And other times, I want more depth of field. Most importantly, I want to be able to choose to go back and forth and so, if you are a portrait photographer and you want the shallowest depth of field possible, you go with the Full Frame camera because there's just more options for shallow depth of field. But if you do want to shoot shallow depth of field on a different sized sensor, you can definitely do so. You're just never going to get as shallow a depth of field as you do with the Full Frame. And so as we stop our apertures down, you'll see that it's always more depth of field on the right, and less depth of field on the left. No matter what aperture we're at. Even if we stop all the way down, in these cases, the smallest opening is f/16. We're gonna get more depth of field on the right. And you know what, for some people, they do want more depth of field, and sometimes that might be easier to get on the smaller-sized sensor. And so it's not a gimmy that it's always better but it's better in the situation where you want shallow depth of field. The larger the sensor, the larger the opportunity for shooting shallow. Taking it out in the real world. Is this shallow enough depth of field for you? Well, this was shot with a micro four-thirds and a 25, a normal 1.4 lens, and we can look at that, what it's gonna look like on the different sized sensors and so, this is a tool that is valuable. You're able to focus on a subject and if that's a distracting background that you don't want part of the photograph and you can't move your camera to get it out of the way, you need to throw it out of focus, the larger sensor gives you a little bit more lee-way in what you can do with it. The fact of the matter, though, is that you can get shallow depth of field with all systems, if you get the right lenses. This is mostly in play in portrait photography. And so, this is what the smallest of those interchangeable systems, the micro four-thirds system. Once again, these are the, they are the holy grails of shallow depth of field. Portrait lenses that let in a lot of light that allow you to shoot in a very, very shallow depth of field. And there's a lot of photographers out there who can't afford an 85 1.2. It's, I don't know, it's like a $2,000 lens, and that's a lot of money for doing portrait work so a lot of photographers shoot with an 85, 1.8, which is just one of the sharpest lenses you'll get from any of the manufacturers. It's reasonably priced, reasonably sized, and it's perfectly practical. And I know a professional photographer who does professional headshots and he shoots with an 85, 1.8. He calls the 85, 1.2 a vanity lens. It's kind of for show. It's for that person who really wants to go the extra distance, as far as you can. And so, there's always going to be those people who need to go that extra distance. And so, I wanted to show you personally what it's gonna look like I different situations. And if you want that look, you know what, there's really only a couple lenses that are gonna give you that type of look in an image. All right. I like lots of examples, so we got some more examples here. I wanted to compare a telephoto lens. This is a really small, cheap lens. Goes up to 150 millimeters for micro four-thirds and it's gonna be about equal to this 200 millimeter lens which is about equal to this 300 millimeter lens and so if you're gonna be doing maybe sports photography or wildlife, you're focusing on the subject, how out of focus is the background? Well, we're gonna work with a little bit more stationery subject here, and what you wanna pay attention to is the tree in the background. How out of focus is the tree in the background? The Full Frame cameras, using different sets of lenses, are gonna give you a different depth of field. The fact of the matter is that the angle of view is the same. The aperture is the same. It's just the depth of field is different because it's a different lens to get that done. Now, I was trying to figure out how much does it cost to get to all the different levels? So if you want the basic level, you can buy a camera and lens for 600 bucks. If you wanna get to the level, you can do that for 600 dollars as well. The next level, unfortunately, you gotta buy a Full Frame camera. That's gonna cost you $2, plus the appropriate lens that does it, but with Full Frame cameras, there's lots of lens options so if you wanna go shallower than that, you can, it's just gonna cost you a bit more money. All right? You wanna go one more? You can go one more. There's always ways to go one more. And so, you gotta get a Full Frame camera. Come on. Full Frame camera with a 300 2.8 lens and yeah, you gotta spend a bit more money. It's like a lot of things in life. You wanna improve just a little bit at the top end of the spectrum, you're gonna spend an exponential amount of money to go that extra little distance. And so, it's up to you to determine where on that curve is the optimum point for you to be. One of the most common questions people have when they're getting into photography is, Should I go for a Full Frame camera, or should I go for a cropped frame camera? So let me see if I can help answer that question for all of you. We're gonna be comparing Full Frame cameras against APS cameras. Now APS stands for Advanced Photo System and it was a film that came out in the late 90s and it was designed to be smaller and simpler to use than 35 millimeter film. Lot of people are having problems loading their film so they designed a more automated system that used this smaller, drop-in loading film system. To be honest with you, it wasn't all that popular because it was just different. People didn't want anything different. But it was out there, and these new cameras used some of that technology as far as the lenses because they devised some lenses for this and some of that carried forward with these companies. It's like, well, we used the system and now APS means nothing to people other than sensor size. There are two different APS systems out there. There is one that is primarily used by Nikon, which is also used by Sony and Fuji and Pentax and then there's the one used by Canon which is slightly different. And so the size measurements is actually very, very small difference between these and if you actually take a look at the technical specs on your Sony or Nikon, you might find that they're slightly different than this because they do vary by a tenth of a millimeter from camera to camera. Nikons, or Canons are usually a little bit more consistent as a straight 1.6. The other ones are really a 1.53 in many cases but we just call it at 1.5. Yes, I do like to get exact about things. All right, so we're gonna kind of mesh these two together and just call it all the same, for going through this. And we're gonna compare Full Frame against the APS systems here. So, there is a variety of ways in which it's gonna be a different user experience in total. This is our image area and we can see that when we look at the size of the smaller area, it's only 44 percent of the size and so it's less than half the size. One of the things, and this is mostly true for SLR users, is that you get a bigger viewfinder in a Full Frame camera. And so, you've got a bigger sensor, you've got a bigger mirror, you end up with a bigger viewfinder and so you'll end up with a viewfinder that if we were to compare them side by side and overlapping each other, it depends. In this particular case between these two cameras, it's 12 percent larger. It may not be a huge deal, but the bigger than viewfinder is, the easier it is to work with your subject. Looking at the Nikon system. Nikon D750 and 7500, both very good cameras, different viewfinders 'cause they're on different systems. 0.7 magnification, 0.94. When we compare them over each other, the Full Frame is gonna be larger by 14 percent. It's one of those intrinsic things when you pick up two cameras, it's like, just seems better over here and that's because that bigger viewfinder is gonna make it easier for focusing and composing your shots. I want the biggest viewfinder I can get my hands on. That's a really, really nice user experience when you get into there. When it comes to focusing, you might find kind of a reverse benefit here. With the focusing systems, they tend to need to put the focusing points towards the middle, because this is where they're getting the best information from the sensor. But with a crop framed sensor, these points reach further out to the edge and if I were shooting sports, the camera that I'd wanna do it with if the Nikon D500 here because they have these focusing points further out to the edges of the frame. The other ones are kinda clustered towards the middle and that's something that frustrates photographers. When they're all clustered in the middle. I wanna have, I wanna be able to focus wherever I want in the frame and so the crop framed cameras actually have the advantage for sports and focusing in that regard. You see, it's getting confusing. Which one's better? All right. Now let's say, you wanna shoot with a wide-angle lens. If you said, ah, Full Frame, I would need a 16-35, but if I get a crop frame, I can get a 10-18. 10 is equal to 16 on the different sensors. Different lenses for different sensors and so I thought, well, you know, if I wanted to shoot photos that are wide angle, I would probably like a lens that shoots 84 degrees from side to side. That's like a really good wide angle. You can get wider, but that's a good, solid wide angle. If that was a standard, and I needed to shoot that, maybe because I worked in real estate and I was shooting interior homes and buildings and I needed a wide-angle lens, how many options do I have if I go with a crop frame system? Well, in that case, I need a 12.5 millimeter lens and I have three lens choices. Good, I love choices. That's three choices. What about if I go with the Full Frame system? Well, I got fish eyes, I have super wide-angles, I have fixed lenses, I have fast apertures, I have zooms, I have tilt shifts. I have all sorts of choices. And so I get many more choices with that Full Frame system. And so, if you don't need them, you don't need to worry about it. You know, buy the one lens that fits your needs and you're good, but if you decide, oh, I would like a lens that does this or does that, there's just gonna be more options when it comes to Full Frame sensors. Let's do this with Nikon. So we want the same wide angle point of view. In this case, we have a few more choices. We have five different choices for wide-angle lens that are 13 millimeters or wider. Go over to the Full Frame side. We're gonna need a lens that's 20 millimeters, and what do they have here? They have seven different lenses to choose from. And when it comes to options, I like more. I can get more of exactly what I want when I have more options and so if you're a demanding wide-angle shooter, Full Frame is gonna offer more options. Doesn't mean it's better. It's just gonna offer more options. Let's try this on the other extreme. If I was shooting sports, I would wanna shoot with about a seven degree angle of view, which means I need a 300 millimeter lens. Now if I wanted to make this a 2.8, which is what a lot of professional sports photographers shoot with, a professional set-up for one camera, one lens, not the whole kit, but just one set up, it's gonna cost you close to $10,000. What would it cost if I downgraded to an APSC system? Well, I only need a 200 millimeter lens which is a huge price difference than the one for Full Frame. And so, I could shoot pictures at $2, that is very close to $9,400. Not the same, but very close. Professional quality, yes. Not as good, but still professional. Okay, what if I wanted to get a Nikon system and I wanna get two versatile zoom lenses over a wide range. What would you recommend, John? Well, the 750 and the 7500, I think, are really good cameras, but let's get some good all around purpose lenses. And so the 16-85, the 70-300, package price, a little under $3,000. Now, with a Full Frame camera, it's typically a little bit higher quality sensor. I recommend a little bit higher quality lenses. I think the lenses should be proportional to the quality of the camera. And so in this case, I'm gonna recommend slightly different lenses. They're not all together that different but they are a little bit more appropriate for that camera and it's gonna cost you $5,200. And so, it's not just the price of the camera. It's the lenses and everything that go along with this. And so when people ask the question, "Should I buy a Full Frame camera?" there's a few questions that you can answer for yourself. Do you need a professional quality camera? Are you trying to compete with professional photographers? If you are, look at what they're using, and chances are that a lot of them are using Full Frame cameras. If you need the highest level of image resolution possible for whatever your needs might be, you're gonna get that in Full Frame. If you need the best in low light performance. You're shooting weddings and you have dark reception halls and you need to shoot there. Most of those photographers are shooting with Full Frame cameras. If you need that really, super shallow depth of field, more options to choose from with a Full Frame camera. If you need wide angle needs. That architectural photographer professional is probably shooting Full Frame. Now, what about the APS camera? Should you buy one of those? If you want an affordable camera, yeah. They're a great deal. They're the best values out there right now for serious photography. It has a very good value. Definitely good resale value on these as well. Telephoto capabilities is actually better here than on the other cameras. There's a lot of wildlife photographers and sports photographers that have a second camera or shoot with an APS system because it just makes telephoto so much easier to work with. You do not need to carry as big a lens because each of them have a bit more reach. So if you're new to photography and you're spending less than $5,000, I say concentrate on the crop frame sensors, the APSC sensors. I think it's perfectly fine. If you're really serious and you know that you're gonna end up with Full Frame, you might as well start with Full Frame and that way you don't have to replace lenses down the road. Serious enthusiast, you can go either way on this one. I kinda put myself in this category in some ways. Sometimes I use one, sometimes I use the other. A working pro can use either because there are professional quality that you can get with the APS system. It's just there's a few advantages. And finally, if you wanna upgrade from APS because that's where a lot of you may be at up to Full Frame, should you do that? Well, I think, for the most part the biggest question is, do you have the dollars to buy all the lenses that you want and need for what you're gonna do? Because that's where it's gonna cost a lot of money. And so, there's always a way of upgrading and spending more money. So wherever you are, you're always gonna be kind of perplexed. Should I go to the next level? Should I go to the next level? And at a certain point, you're gonna have to figure out what works for you, and say, (stomping) I'm happy here. And just be happy. Stop looking over the fence. (laughing) All right? All right, let's do another quick comparison here. All right, I wanted to set up three systems using the professional standards of lenses. The basic zoom with a 2.8 aperture and a telephoto zoom, 2.8. This is what a general purpose professional photographer would buy. How much are they gonna spend? $5,600. I told you, you gotta spend more than 5, to get this sort of, good set up. Six and a half pounds. Next, let's downgrade just a little bit. Let's go to crop frame. We're gonna do with Fuji in this case. They make a couple of equivalent lenses and when I say equivalent, don't start writing letters. Let me clarify. It's the equivalent angle of view, it's the equivalent aperture, different depth of field. But they're very equivalent in two or three categories. And this is gonna save you a good chunk of change and a fair it of weight. You wanna go down to micro four-thirds? Much smaller lenses. And much less in money. All of these systems basically do the same thing and I've tried to be pretty equal about cameras and lens choices. There are differences in here. I have no doubt admitting that, but these are basically similar systems. So, I'm sure we're gonna have a few questions on sensors or I would imagine so. Do we have anything in the studio here? Questions on sensor size, cameras with sensors.
So if you're shooting with a crop sensor lens right now, does it make sense to, and you're considering upgrading at some point in the future, but don't know when, does it make sense to consider that, to buy lenses for what you have and then also hope to use them for the future, or should you expect to just probably need a reset with lenses, as well.
Yeah, if you kinda wanna plan for the future and you wanna think about upgrading, if you have a crop frame camera, especially from Sony or Canon or Nikon, where you have two different choices of lenses, a lot of times, especially with the telephoto, you can only buy the Full Frame lenses that happen to fit on your camera. And so there is a certain sense that if you know, you know, maybe with next year's Christmas bonus, you're gonna get a Full Frame camera, then you get a Full Frame lens now and you start using it. The most important thing is the thing that you buy now actually work for you. Don't buy something that doesn't work. One of the things that has taken be a while to become comfortable with is that I'm a photographer, these are my tools. I like 'em. I don't love 'em. And I do not become emotionally attached to my cameras or my lenses. I like 'em, and when they stop needing what I need them to do, I put them up for sale and I sell them. And you can retain quite a bit of value. Generally, it's 70 to 80 percent of what you paid new, you can turn around and sell it. So when you buy a $1,000 lens, you did not flush $1,000 down the toilet. You rented that lens from the society of the world, and you get to return it at a cost of two or $300. And so if you need a certain lens for your crop frame camera right now, buy it. Use it, take care of it, turn around, and let somebody else use it when you're done with it. We have another question in-class.
I'm curious about your opinion-- Oh, sure. I'm curious about your opinion on buying used lenses and camera bodies.
I have bought a number of used items because there are a... I used to work in a camera store and so I got to see. There are some bad things out there, but there's a lot of people who just bought too much camera gear and didn't set aside enough money to pay rent and they have a perfectly good lens that's just waiting to get used. And so you can save a bit of money. You just need to be comfortable with knowing what you're looking at, and so, don't buy something you're not familiar with. And so, you need to do some research. And research these days is very, very easy to do about condition, and I generally don't touch anything that has seen a lot of use. That's just me. Granted it may be half-price, but you know, it was used by somebody on a daily basis. And one of the things I do is I look if it's a camera, I look at the bottom of the camera and that's usually a tell-tale sign as to how much it's been put up and down and how much it's been used. If it looks like it's been used a lot, it most definitely has. And so I typically like to buy Like New or Lightly Used gear. Sensors can get dust on them and so I'm not as big a fan with heavily used cameras in that case, but lenses can last many, many years. There are people out there using 20, 30 year old lenses. And so, I'm a fan if you can check it out. Some people like to do to stores where they get warranties on things, or they're just comfortable knowing what they're looking at, testing to make sure it works, and then buying used and so I guess I encourage it because I sell stuff used all the time and so there's some good stuff out there. You just gotta know what you're looking for and be patient. Whether you're on the selling side or the buying side. Another question.
Just kind of to expand on the used equipment. Do you not look at the shutter count? Like, how important is that, more than, I guess, the external wear?
Right, and so when you get into used cameras. A lot of cameras, you can plug them into your computer and do a shutter count, which sees how many times the shutter was fired and that's one of the things the first savvy photographers will ask about a used camera is What's the shutter count? And so if you're seeling a camera, you gotta check it, list it, you know, so that people will know how much you've used it and that's one of the first failing points in a camera is how many times has the shutter been used and what's gonna happen when we get rid of our shutters in our cameras and don't have shutters moving back and forth. We could have the images captured, but that's not really a use and so that is something that you could check and it's kind of like miles on a car. A camera with 100,000 clicks has seen a lot of use. A camera with 1,000 clicks is like new in a box. And that's one of the things that you can check on.