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Author Topic: Sensor size and DoF  (Read 49932 times)
danag42
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« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2006, 09:24:14 PM »
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Perhaps instead of using the "focal length multiplier factor" we should simply call it "crop factor".  For that's what it is.

Take your 4x5 camera, put a 200mm lens on it.  Then cut out a 24x36mm piece.  The result is EXACTLY THE SAME as if you used the same film in a 35mm camera with a 200mm lens at the same f/stop, from the same viewpoint.

It's a good thing that our large format lenses go up to f/64, f/96, and further.  That allows us to get more depth of field from the same angle of view.

So an APS-C sensor is the same as if you cut out an APS-C size bit of film from a 35mm camera.  

The "normal" lens for 24x36 is usually 50mm (it's actually 43mm, but that's another whole subject).  The "normal" lens for APS-C is 31mm or thereabouts.  So to get the same field of view, from the same spot, you're using a wider angle lens on the smaller sensor.  Thus more depth of field, assuming the same f/sop.
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Craig Arnold
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« Reply #41 on: September 26, 2006, 04:25:30 PM »
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Perhaps instead of using the "focal length multiplier factor" we should simply call it "crop factor".  For that's what it is.

Take your 4x5 camera, put a 200mm lens on it.  Then cut out a 24x36mm piece.  The result is EXACTLY THE SAME as if you used the same film in a 35mm camera with a 200mm lens at the same f/stop, from the same viewpoint.

It's a good thing that our large format lenses go up to f/64, f/96, and further.  That allows us to get more depth of field from the same angle of view.

So an APS-C sensor is the same as if you cut out an APS-C size bit of film from a 35mm camera. 

The "normal" lens for 24x36 is usually 50mm (it's actually 43mm, but that's another whole subject).  The "normal" lens for APS-C is 31mm or thereabouts.  So to get the same field of view, from the same spot, you're using a wider angle lens on the smaller sensor.  Thus more depth of field, assuming the same f/sop.
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Which is true, as far as it goes, and completely misses the point.

Why would someone do that? Do you do that? What people do is frame the shot they want through the viewfinder and then enlarge it to the print size they want. If they can't get the framing they want then, if at all possible, they either change lens or move their camera. What they don't want to do is crop a bit out of the middle of their picture and thereby lose a significant percentage of the available resolution on whatever format they happen to be using.

Focal length multiplier is a far more useful term, not because anyone cares very much about focal lengths, but because everyone is really far more interested in angle-of-view, and people know (in broad terms) what angle-of-view corresponds to a particular focal length on a 35mm camera.

So insisting that 200mm is 200mm is 200mm is pedantic and misleading and frankly has nothing to do with the way pictures are taken.

But if it makes you feel intellectually superior...

(The bit that is unspoken and wrong in what you wrote is that you're implicitly assuming that the print size varies between the crop and non-crop. If you make an 8x10 print from a 200mm lens on APS-C and an 8x10 print from a 200mm lens on 24x36mm sensor and crop out the equivalent bit, you are not left with an 8x10 print. If you enlarge that middle bit you have lost your "identical" DOF.)
« Last Edit: September 26, 2006, 04:31:46 PM by peripatetic » Logged

Anon E. Mouse
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« Reply #42 on: September 27, 2006, 12:00:03 AM »
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Focal length multiplier is a far more useful term, not because anyone cares very much about focal lengths, but because everyone is really far more interested in angle-of-view, and people know (in broad terms) what angle-of-view corresponds to a particular focal length on a 35mm camera.

Actually, "focal length multiplier" is a bad term because focal length changes more than angle of view - "crop factor" is far better. This problem of different formats is only a problem with amateurs with a singular knowledge of 35mm cameras. Photographers used to other format do not have any isses with this. Manufacturers have taken this "35mm equivalent" thing because they have found their customers do not understand fairly basic concepts in photography. They have even gone so far as to give magnification in "35mm equivalents."

This thread is a result of the "dumbing down" of photography inforced by manufacturers and the trade publications. The issue here is not that complex, but the subject come up time and again. Actually, there should not be any reason to compare formats. Learn to use the format as it is and not compared it to something else.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2006, 12:00:46 AM by Anon E. Mouse » Logged
howiesmith
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« Reply #43 on: October 09, 2006, 03:50:41 PM »
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I know from hearing snippets of conversations that reduced sized sensors have different DoF characteristics than that of a FF sensor with same lens, f/stop, etc.  But I don't know why.  Could I persuade anyone to enlighten me, please?
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"There was a query ... as to whether Depth of Field was calculated any differently for digital Vs. film.  The answer is, no.  There is no difference whosesoever.  DOF doesn't care about the recording media type or size, though a lower COF is used for medium and large format, since the amount of magnification to make a decent sized print is much less than for 35mm."

I think that should answer the original question.

The last part of the last sentence in the quot refers to the degree of enlargement.  Medium and large formats usually require less enlargement.  Therefore, I think the quote should be that a higher COF is used, not a lower.

Oh, the quote is from Michael Reichmann on the Luminous-Landscape.
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davaglo
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« Reply #44 on: October 09, 2006, 08:59:13 PM »
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If one were to place on a multi-camera bar a 20D and a 5D using the same mm lens at the same f stop the picture would be exactly the same except for the crop factor of the aps sensor, right? At the same time, the DOF is only a function of the distance from the sensor to the subject at a given f stop, right? The shorter the distance from the sensor to the subject the shalower the DOF , the longer the distance the deeper the DOF. Have I got it?

Jerry
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« Reply #45 on: October 09, 2006, 10:53:56 PM »
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If one were to place on a multi-camera bar a 20D and a 5D using the same mm lens at the same f stop the picture would be exactly the same except for the crop factor of the aps sensor, right? At the same time, the DOF is only a function of the distance from the sensor to the subject at a given f stop, right? The shorter the distance from the sensor to the subject the shalower the DOF , the longer the distance the deeper the DOF. Have I got it?

Jerry
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Almost. You are right that depth of field increases with object distance and larger f-numbers. However, if the images are displayed the same size, the depth of field will be sligthly less with the smaller sensor due to the greater image magnification.

Normally, photographer are only interested in one camera at a time so cross format comparisons are not normally an issue. But note, if the focal length is different where the angle of view is the same, the smaller sensor will have the greater depth of field.
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Ray
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« Reply #46 on: October 10, 2006, 12:19:29 AM »
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If one were to place on a multi-camera bar a 20D and a 5D using the same mm lens at the same f stop the picture would be exactly the same except for the crop factor of the aps sensor, right? At the same time, the DOF is only a function of the distance from the sensor to the subject at a given f stop, right? The shorter the distance from the sensor to the subject the shalower the DOF , the longer the distance the deeper the DOF. Have I got it?

Jerry
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=79745\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

This is an excellent example of the sort of statement that brings together subjective and objective concepts of DoF which are the source of much confusion.

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....the picture would be exactly the same except for the crop factor of the aps sensor, right?

That's almost like saying, 'these two pictures are exactly the same apart from the fact they are different'.

If you compare a 5D image with a 20D image in the manner you suggest, what is the impression you get if the 5D image, with its wider FoV, has a few out-of-focus rocks in the foreground which have been cropped out of the 20D image?

Subjectively, whether 2 images are completely different or similar, the image containing blurred objects in the foreground, background or to one side, will be perceived as having shallower DoF. If you crop the 5D image so the FoV is exactly the same as that of the 20D, you are comparing a 5mp image with an 8mp image. You don't have to be a genius to work out which image is likely to be sharper.

To the extent that the 20D image is sharper than the 5D image at the plane of focus, the 20D image will have a shallower DoF.

Your above statement would be more true if the comparison was between a cropped 1Ds2 image and a D60 image, same lens, same f stop, same distance to subject, same pixel density.

A couple of days ago I used my TS-E 24mm with the 5D to get an extended panoramic shot of one of these magnificant ruins in the jungle at Siem Reap (Preah Khan, actually), by extending the width 22mm using shift. Back at the hotel, having downloaded my day's shooting to the laptop, I was dismayed to find the corners and edges were not sharp. I've been used to using this lens with my D60 and 20D where there's no problem with resolution fall-off at the edges.

It's really not acceptable. I wish Canon would upgrade this lens. It's expensive and we deserve better. I felt compelled to return to the same venue this morning and reshoot using my 20D with the same lens but from a greater distance.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #47 on: October 10, 2006, 04:53:45 AM »
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Ray makes a good point.  DoF is a visual thing.  But it can calculated.  He also brings up some things that are second order effects.

When breaking down something with several variables to see the effect of s single variable or each variable, it is very useful to seperate the variables and change only one at a time.  I am afraid Ray and others are guilty of confusing the issue by changing more than one variable at a time.  If you want to see the effect of format (sensor size), change just the sensor size.  Looking at different size prints (showing the out of focus rocks) and making prints of different subject image magnification same size prints from different size sensors) only confuses the answer and hides the effect of sensor size among other factors.

According to Michael Reichmann, changing only sensor size does not change depth of field.  I believe that is true.

The original question as posed changes more than one varible (sensor size and sensor resolution by using two different kinds of cameras).  If the original question is what effect does sensor size have on depth of field, the answer is none whatsoever.

As an aside, pinhole cameras may have huge depth of field for at least two reasons.  The f/stop is huge (tiny aperture with long focal length).  The resolution is poor so it is difficult for people to distinguish betweem focused and out of focus parts of the image (the very essence of depth of field).  Depth of field is judged by what the viewer sees as acceptable sharp.  Some may say a pinhole camera (or even a Canon 1ds with a cheapo coke bottle lens) has no acceptably sharp image, even at the plane of focus.  Then the depth of field is undefined (for that viewer).
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Ray
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« Reply #48 on: October 10, 2006, 05:26:32 AM »
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According to Michael Reichmann, changing only sensor size does not change depth of field.  I believe that is true.
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I'm familiar with this view. There is a theoretical DoF in relation to a perfect or standard lens that can be calculated with a simple mathematical formula. The result is the DoF of the imaginary lens, not the printed image.

It's ironic that we should spend  so much time worrying about the performance of our lenses, yet when it comes to DoF, many of us (not me, however), accept that all lenses are the same.

Changing only sensor size does not change the characteristics of the lens, if the lens is not changed, but it may certainly change the charcteristics of the sensor (pixel pitch, for example) and it certainly, without doubt, changes the composition of the scene being photographed.

When Michael made that statement, in my opinion he should have emphasised that he was only referring to the characteristics of the lens in an objective manner. Clearly, changing sensor size cannot affect the properties of the lens. Such properties are independent of the photograph or composition.
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Anon E. Mouse
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« Reply #49 on: October 10, 2006, 09:39:28 PM »
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DOF is calculated based on standard print size not based on the image at the image plane of the camera (you can do it, but it is still in relation to display size). This is done because DOF is based on the average angular resolution of the human visual system - there is no absolute definition of sharpness. To say DOF is exactly the same at the image plane regardless of the format size is a pointless comment; are you expecting the resulting DOF in my full-frame print from a 55mm Grandagon on my 4x5 view camera to appear the same from my 55mm macro Nikkor on my F3? Or do you always view images at the sensor dimensions - I would suggest you are very, very near sighted as well as that limit being really tough for folks with compact digital cameras.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #50 on: October 10, 2006, 11:32:01 PM »
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DOF is calculated based on standard print size not based on the image at the image plane of the camera (you can do it, but it is still in relation to display size). This is done because DOF is based on the average angular resolution of the human visual system -
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It is not necessary to base DoF on an average angular resolution of the human visual system.  It is merely a convenience.  Because DoF is personal, I can base it on anything I want, like my own visual system.  I might have the eyes of an eagle or Mr. Magoo.  Doesn't matter.  If I do use the average person, my prints will appeal to the average person, even if that persom does not exist or view my prints.

Same goes for a standard print size.  I have no need to limit myself by that assumption.  The driving factor is the degree of enlargement for a particular negative or file and viewing conditions.  I definiely do not need to assume I am making an 8x10 or 5x7 print to be viewed by the average person at arms length.  As mentioned in Michael Reichmann's tutorial, various lens makers use various assumption.

When I make prints for myself, I use what works for me.  I have less than average eyes.  For sales, I use the average.  Don't know who, if anyone, is going to buy or under what conditions they will view the print.  Sales are a crap shoot.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2006, 11:34:25 PM by howiesmith » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #51 on: October 11, 2006, 08:14:49 AM »
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It is not necessary to base DoF on an average angular resolution of the human visual system.  It is merely a convenience.  Because DoF is personal, I can base it on anything I want, like my own visual system. 
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This is the crux of the problem. Objective factors can be more easily defined. We can say that a lens at a particular f stop and distance to subject will produce images that are acceptably sharp between distances of x and y from the camera.

Acceptably sharp to whom? Acceptably sharp at what print size? Acceptably sharp at what viewing distance from the print? The variability of the combination of these 3 factors is enormous. We try to simplify matters by introducing a standard size print about the size of a page from a largish book (8x10"); make an assumption that everyone's eyesight is roughly the same for reading purposes because if it's not, we'd expect it to be corrected by appropriate glasses.

The more precise you want to be about this issue, the more variables you have to take on board.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #52 on: October 11, 2006, 08:53:24 AM »
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Acceptably sharp to whom? Acceptably sharp at what print size? Acceptably sharp at what viewing distance from the print? [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=79929\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Whom?  The photographer or print designer.
Print size?  The one chosen by the photographer or print designer.
Viewing distance?  The one chosen by the photographer or print designer.

Then throw in "viewer."  The one chosen by the photographer or print designer.

DoF is simple.  The photographer or print designer (usually rhe same person) just has to know, understand and plan (apply the principals) what he is doing.  A print may look one way to me but totally different to you or anyone else.  It may have more or less DoF than I planned for you or anyone else.  I don't think I ever said this was a recipe for a print everyone would like.  Just me.

DoF is no different than any other photographer selected print element.  There are no guarentees about subject, exposure, lighting, or composition either.
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Olivier_G
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« Reply #53 on: October 11, 2006, 10:46:08 AM »
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Some comments:
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According to Michael Reichmann, changing only sensor size does not change depth of field.  I believe that is true.
Michael Reichmann actually said that DoF calculations for Digital were identic to Film... which means that a smaller format has a smaller CoC (and DoF will be different).
The quote, again:
Quote
whether Depth of Field was calculated any differently for digital Vs. film. The answer is, no. There is no difference whosesoever. DOF doesn't care about the recording media type or size, though a lower COF is used for medium and large format, since the amount of magnification to make a decent sized print is much less than for 35mm.

Ray,
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If you crop the 5D image so the FoV is exactly the same as that of the 20D, you are comparing a 5mp image with an 8mp image.
To the extent that the 20D image is sharper than the 5D image at the plane of focus, the 20D image will have a shallower DoF.
Quote
There is a theoretical DoF in relation to a perfect or standard lens that can be calculated with a simple mathematical formula.
Changing only sensor size does not change the characteristics of the lens, if the lens is not changed, but it may certainly change the charcteristics of the sensor (pixel pitch, for example) and it certainly, without doubt, changes the composition of the scene being photographed.
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The more precise you want to be about this issue, the more variables you have to take on board.
You are getting into the situation I described earlier.
And as I said, please use a different name to that concept, wich is not DoF™ (as defined and currently used by 99% of photographers and manufacturers). It will help avoid collisions and misunderstandings.

Olivier
PS: Angkor is a wonderful area (I stayed 7 days on site), especially for sunrise near temples you already visited by day.
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Olivier_G
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« Reply #54 on: October 11, 2006, 11:00:23 AM »
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Side-note: this article about Blur quality (Bokeh) and Blur quantity is extremely interesting, and may be of interest even for DOF fanatics here...  

Olivier
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howiesmith
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« Reply #55 on: October 11, 2006, 11:10:00 AM »
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Some comments:
Michael Reichmann actually said that DoF calculations for Digital were identic to Film... which means that a smaller format has a smaller CoC (and DoF will be different).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=79950\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The value given to CoC is chosen by the photographer or print designer tp meet the needs of the designed print.  

It is not attached to any camera format.  Smaller formats (than what?) can have any CoC the print designer desires.  Small formats may require more enlargement to get the designed print size and therefore reuire a small CoC.  But a large format may also require a small CoC for a very large print to be viewed closely.  Likewise, a large CoC can be used with smallr format digital cameras to get shallow DoF.

CoC only depends on what appears to be in focus to the designer of a particular print under particular conditions for a particular viewr.  Or what the designer may think appears in focus.  When a print designer doesn't understand his audience and/or tries to satisfy a large audience with different needs, he may resort to assumptions (CoC, print size, viewing distance, eye sight, etc.) that do not apply to everyone (or anyone) in that audience.

My opinion is, simply stated, neither DoF calculations nor application has any connection to camera format.
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Anon E. Mouse
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« Reply #56 on: October 11, 2006, 10:35:58 PM »
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The value given to CoC is chosen by the photographer or print designer tp meet the needs of the designed print. 

It is not attached to any camera format.  Smaller formats (than what?) can have any CoC the print designer desires.  Small formats may require more enlargement to get the designed print size and therefore reuire a small CoC.  But a large format may also require a small CoC for a very large print to be viewed closely.  Likewise, a large CoC can be used with smallr format digital cameras to get shallow DoF.

CoC only depends on what appears to be in focus to the designer of a particular print under particular conditions for a particular viewr.  Or what the designer may think appears in focus.  When a print designer doesn't understand his audience and/or tries to satisfy a large audience with different needs, he may resort to assumptions (CoC, print size, viewing distance, eye sight, etc.) that do not apply to everyone (or anyone) in that audience.

My opinion is, simply stated, neither DoF calculations nor application has any connection to camera format.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=79955\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Please give me a few examples how you calculate that based on format, print size, and viewing distance. I am interested in your system. I would also like to know how you deal with diffraction.
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Ray
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« Reply #57 on: October 12, 2006, 02:47:46 AM »
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The value given to CoC is chosen by the photographer or print designer tp meet the needs of the designed print. 

It is not attached to any camera format. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=79955\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

This I think is your blind spot, Howie, or maybe it's my blind spot. It's true that the photographer, understanding the issues, can sensibly choose an appropriate CoC for a particular print size, to be viewed from a certain distance, enlarged from a specific sensor of given size and pixel density, using a lens at a particular f stop and focal length.

If the camera format is not attached to DoF considerations, then it becomes a bit tricky working out the degree of enlargement, doesn't it? I think it's possible with sufficient measuring devices and given all the other relevant information, including pixel count which, in digital systems, seems to take the place of enlargement.

For example, let's say I'm moving down from large format and am not at all familiar with miniature cameras. Someone plays a trick on me and hands me a Nikon D2X renamed as a Canon 5D with some Nikkor lenses also renamed as Canon lenses of the same focal length. I know the camera is a 12mp DSLR. Does it not make any difference what the sensor size is when I choose f stops for a particular DoF effect?
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howiesmith
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« Reply #58 on: October 12, 2006, 10:45:06 AM »
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For example, let's say I'm moving down from large format and am not at all familiar with miniature cameras. Someone plays a trick on me and hands me a Nikon D2X renamed as a Canon 5D with some Nikkor lenses also renamed as Canon lenses of the same focal length. I know the camera is a 12mp DSLR. Does it not make any difference what the sensor size is when I choose f stops for a particular DoF effect?
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Then all I can say is you don't know your tools.  How can you expect to build a house with a ballpeen hammer and a hacksaw?  It won't take you long to figure out something is really wrong.  If you don't understand your tools, it isn't very likely you will be able to use them to get what you want.

How can you expect to design prints if you don't understand your camera and lenses and how to use them?  My method does not require me to know the format but I do need to know the relationship between the viewed image size in the camera to the captured image size.  For both my cameras that is 1:1.  Yours may be different.  Format size is useful if you plan to make omly full frame enlargements.  Then just ratio up the format dimension to the print dimension.   I usually crop before enlarging.  You do need some way to measure the size of the image (the projected size) in the camera.  Otherwse, there is lots of math and measuring actual dimensions of things in the fireld - sometime not easily done.

I use 4x5 and 6x6 film and can measure image sizes directly from the ground glass.  No need to know the pixel size or pitch because there aren't any.  If there were, I don't need to know thatanyway.  (I do need to know not to try to make CoC less than the pixel size though.)  Then it is a simple matter of saying that the 1 inch high tree on the ground glass will be 20 inches on the planned print.  A 20X enlargement.  Not hard to do and not determined by format.  Note that if I am using my 4x5 and think I am using my 6x6, I still get the same results - a 20X enlargement.

Then I divide the CoC on the print by 20 to get the value to be used in planning the in camera work.  The rest is simple math using the easily determined factors like lens focal length, f/stop, focus distance, etc.  It is just a matter of taking time to plan what I'm doing.

I don't take a two week trip, squeeze off 10,000 images, and then print 50 "keepers."  I take a two week trip, maybe squeeze off 15 images, and get 1 or 2 I like.  Sometimes more, frequently less.  Sometimes none.  (But I enjoy the trip anyway.)
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howiesmith
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« Reply #59 on: October 12, 2006, 12:28:22 PM »
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Please give me a few examples how you calculate that based on format, print size, and viewing distance. I am interested in your system. I would also like to know how you deal with diffraction.
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Anon E. Mouse, I think from my reply tp Ray you can figure out "my system."  I use quotes because it isn't really mine.  This method is the result of several teachers, many books, soem personal experience and trial and error.

Viewing distance I frequently use the 1 minute of arch rule.  It usually works for me.  Mr. Magoo and a couple of my eagle friends don't agree always.  I may change it slightly for viewing conditions, like a dim room.

I deal with diffraction by simply ignoring it.  (I know it exists though and is quite a hurdle for some folk's styles.)  If I need f/22 1/2 (or 32 or 64) to get what I want, I use it.  I figure that is what its there for.  When I Schemphlug (never could spell that), rise/tilt/swing, I don't worry about using the side of the lens.  I just don't let that stand in the way.

Sometimes I want to rehoot an image.  Usually I can.  The light outside may change (for the better or worse).  If it changes for the better, I get a better image than I have, using the info I gathered that drove me to reshoot.  I have found trees don't grow very fast.

By the way, I never use depth of field preview on my SLR.  I have no idea what the "print" size or viewing distance is. and it is just too dim for me.  I only loupe 4x5 to check critical focus of the subject, not DoF.

DoF to me isn't something I can determine to a tenth of an inch.  I don't always get exactly what I want, as with most everything else.  If the result is unacceptable, I try to determine why and go on.  Reshoot if I can.

This method works for me and my style of shooting.  It probably isn't for everyone, maybe no one else.  But I do get anoyed when I'm told it doesn't work or nobody does that.  But then I don't photograph for anyone else but me.
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