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Author Topic: Mirrorless and FF - comparing image quality  (Read 2564 times)
NigelC
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« on: April 26, 2013, 06:38:32 AM »
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I would like to settle on one system that is significantly smaller and lighter than Canon FF with (mainly) Zeiss primes. However there seems to me to be some inconsistency in the way these systems are reviewed.

Ideally I would go with M4/3 as I have GH2 and lenses already. The Imaging Resource review of the OMD-E5 indicates that at base ISO, the OMD is if anything sharper
than X1-Pro (they say use primes of equivalent sharpness?) although the Fuji gains an advantage at high ISO. It also says you would need to go to FF to get an "appreciable" gain in quality. But bearing in mind it ia at least as sharp at base ISO as XPro, then same should be true of the Fuji, yet that is regarded (in some places) as being equivalent to FF - or is that just older FF, like my 5D2?

Or maybe the differences are just getting too small to matter much, except at pretty high ISO. Or alternatively these tests are sometimes attributing advantages to the camera imaging pipeline and that properly should be attributed to lens performance.

I should say I print to maximum A2, although looking to crop to landscape format 17" x 37". I also have a DP2M which is currently my preferred camera. (The Canon stuff just stays in its bag)
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fike
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2013, 07:10:25 AM »
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I think there is a lot of nonsense about the IQ of smaller sensors being "just as good as full frame." They aren't and that's okay.  Full frame is always better at high ISO, it always has less diffraction.   Full frame sensors tend to have higher dynamic range. 

After that, everything else is a tradeoff: weight, depth of field, focus systems, EVF/optical viewfinder. 

Full frame is great.  Cropped sensors are great at different things.  But, don't let anyone give you the impression that on a pure IQ-level cropped sensors match full frame.  They may be 80% as good, but that is 20% worse...and that is still okay.
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2013, 07:26:17 AM »
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Which format would be better for landscape shooting?  Which model would you recommend and why?
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fike
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2013, 08:43:26 AM »
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Which format would be better for landscape shooting?  Which model would you recommend and why?

The answer to that question is a long and complex debate that is ongoing on forums all around the web.  All I can give you is my opinion based on what I value in my photography tools.

The full frame Nikon D800E is the "best"  landscape camera.

While landscape photography IS my main focus...I use Olympus micro four thirds cameras and have no desire to get a D800E. I am happy with the tradeoffs.

I guess you are on the journey to pick the perfect camera for you.  We all go through that process, and don't worry, you will probably get it wrong.  ;-)

My suggestion is to look at the photos of currently working photographers who you admire and look to see what camera they are using.  You will find they use all kinds of equipment but this exercise can give you validation that the photography you want to do is possible with that piece of equipment.  Just a warning about this approach...you may find that they are all using high-end Canons or Nikons.  Those two manufacturers probably account for 80% of the great work being done today, so be sure to seek out photographers (pro and amateur) that are using other brands and other formats like APS-C or MFT.
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stever
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2013, 11:28:15 AM »
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if you're only going to print to A2, then the OMD with good primes (and probably the Pany 12-35 and 35-100) shouldn't be a problem under most conditions.  if low light, action, or focal lengths beyond 200mm are important, then (today's) mirrorless will be a problem.

cropping 4/3 to 17x37 leaves only 125 pixels per inch - not many for a landscape image.  but even with a 5D2 or 3, i'd stitch something this wide

i agree that the difference between 4/3 (or APSC) and Canon FF resolution is about 20% under good conditions - i think the difference at higher ISO and with a D800 will be greater.  If anything i think this difference may increase as higher resolution FF and better lenses become available.

it's really an issue of what's good enought for your purposes
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2013, 02:33:30 PM »
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I would say many of the current mirrorless cameras will be fine for what you want to do. Why not buy three Merrills since you like the camera?
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stever
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2013, 07:46:39 PM »
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extended discussion of 4/3 vs APSC at diglloyd.com today
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OldRoy
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« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2013, 04:57:14 AM »
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extended discussion of 4/3 vs APSC at diglloyd.com today

Yes, Mr. Chambers helpfully informs us that M 4/3 is really rather poor, and probably a format in imminent decline. Instead we should all be purchasing fixed-lens viewfinder-less APS-C cameras. Wanting to use a VF for framing or requiring a number of alternative focal lengths is just perverse, obviously. Carrying 3 Merrills is another alternative... providing you don't need a viewfinder and have plenty of pockets. And only photograph stuff that doesn't move much. And don't mind using junk RAW processing software. And have lots of spare cash.

If you adopt Mr. Chambers' world-view you will probably prefer to equip yourself with a D800 (E, naturally) and a set of monstrously expensive manual focus Zeiss lenses. Of course this camera and these lenses will have to be subjected to a neurotically intensive investigation lest you've inadvertently acquired "bad copies" which exhibit all kinds of minute inconsistencies which may get in the way of taking photographs. Assuming that's what you want to do.
Roy
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AFairley
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« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2013, 11:11:22 AM »
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Yes, Mr. Chambers helpfully informs us that M 4/3 is really rather poor, and probably a format in imminent decline. Instead we should all be purchasing fixed-lens viewfinder-less APS-C cameras. Wanting to use a VF for framing or requiring a number of alternative focal lengths is just perverse, obviously. Carrying 3 Merrills is another alternative... providing you don't need a viewfinder and have plenty of pockets. And only photograph stuff that doesn't move much. And don't mind using junk RAW processing software. And have lots of spare cash.

If you adopt Mr. Chambers' world-view you will probably prefer to equip yourself with a D800 (E, naturally) and a set of monstrously expensive manual focus Zeiss lenses. Of course this camera and these lenses will have to be subjected to a neurotically intensive investigation lest you've inadvertently acquired "bad copies" which exhibit all kinds of minute inconsistencies which may get in the way of taking photographs. Assuming that's what you want to do.
Roy

+1
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Glenn NK
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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2013, 11:35:19 AM »
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In think Mr. Chambers pushed the BS so far that his credibility approached a negative value.

Glenn
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PeterAit
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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2013, 03:57:45 PM »
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Which format would be better for landscape shooting?  Which model would you recommend and why?

The problem when comparing FF to smaller sensors is that people tend to rely on test results and not on actual experience taking photos and making prints. Of course if your interest is modulation contrast and lines per inch and other such techie folderol, the FF will always come out ahead. But, does this result in really better prints (Pixel peepers need not apply)? What do you care about - test results or your prints? I know what I care about.

The one place where FF sensors really have the advantage is low-light work, there's no doubt about that. Not an issue, really, for landscape photographers.

I have been using a Panasonic G3 system for a couple of years now. The Leica lenses are superb and the whole kit, with 35mm equivalent lenses from 14 to 600 mm, is a load I can actually carry without making myself miserable. Photography is supposed to be fun, right, not a chore!
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Peter
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scooby70
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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2013, 06:08:03 PM »
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I have a 5Dc with Sigma 20mm f1.8, 50mm f1.4, 85mm f1.4, 150mm f2.8 and 12-24mm, Canon 20-35mm and 70-300mm.

I also have a G1 with Panasonic 20mm f1.7, 14-42mm, Voigtlander 25mm f0.95, Zuiko 28mm f2.8, 50mm f1.8 and 135mm f3.5, Rokkor 28mm f2.8, 50mm f1.7, 55mm f1.7 and Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro.

My own little tests have convinced me that at low to middling ISO's (I can't say at exactly what ISO the image quality nosedives so I'll stay vague...) and when viewed normally or even closely on screen or in print at image sizes up to A3 once images have been processed to get the best out of them G1 images can easily be lost amongst 5D images and neither I nor people I've roped in can reliably or consistently pick out the G1 images.

The 5Dc is getting old now and so is the G1 but I'd be surprised if later generation MFT cameras are really that far behind the latest 5D images when viewed normally but of course some people may be more picky than me.

IMVHO MFT is ok, image quality wise, for most uses and I'm pretty sure that I personally will only see any significant differences when shooting at the highest ISO, when doing severe crops and printing large or when pixel peeping. Even the dynamic range disadvantage of my G1 is mitigated to an extent by the lovely in view histogram and by processing with modern software.

There are a few irritations with CSC...

In low light and even with everything turned down my G1 shines a torch in my eye is unusable for night time shooting.

Many CSC are limited to a max shutter speed of 1/4000, this matters to me as I like shooting with wide apertures even in good light so ND's are needed... and may need to be on for one shot to keep the shutter speed down and off for the next to get the ISO down and / or the shutter speed up. Maybe I'm grouchy but I got used to being able to shoot at f1.4 and 1/8000 sec without ND's.

Some of the newer CSC don't have ISO 100, they start at something else such as 160 or even 200. For me this would mean increased use of ND's.

Until the tourch in my eye thing can be fixed I don't think I could move fully to a CSC. I'd also love a max shutter speed of 1/8000.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2013, 06:09:45 PM by scooby70 » Logged
Mjollnir
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2013, 09:58:32 AM »
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All this talk of high ISO capability reminds me of what I was told when I first started doing landscape by shooters far, far more experienced than me:

"Landscape shooters live at base ISO".

Oh, that, and "There's no such thing as a landscape lens".

Thanks, G. Dan Mitchell!
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Isaac
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2013, 10:33:00 AM »
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The one place where FF sensors really have the advantage is low-light work, there's no doubt about that. Not an issue, really, for landscape photographers.

"Landscape shooters live at base ISO".


Sometimes the landscape darkens.
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Mjollnir
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« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2013, 10:46:36 AM »
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Aye, sometimes it does.


pano crop from Moro Rock by tanngrisnir3, on Flickr
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