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Old Nov 4, 2005, 10:12 PM   #1
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I have been agonizing about whether to go with the 20D or the 5D, I hate to spend that kind of green on a camera, but I don't want the hassle of being stuck with yesterdays news in terms of the smaller CMOS on the 20D, which to me seems like a dead end.

What are the professionals saying about a preferred sensor size? Is the industry going to get into a game of non-standard sensors depending on brand for professional cameras?

Who is going to dictate sensor size, consumers or the industry. I am looking for any inkling of a trend so that I can make the best decision in my purchase.
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Old Nov 4, 2005, 10:44 PM   #2
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Professional photographers are say... almost nothing.
Many of them don't care. This is a tool and so many more things matter than sensor size that it is way down the list (for many... notice I don't say all.)

I sell my work a bit and I often shoot with others that do. So I have some basis for what I say (since you specifically asked for a "professionals" opinion.)

What matters, I hear you ask? It matters what you photograph. Someone who shoots wild animals will care about different thinks than a portrait or landscape photographer.
Megapixels, to a point. Once the image is "big enough" they care about other things.

The landscape guy cares about dynamic range, little/no bluming. Low noise, good histogram. Water proof (maybe.) Oh, and a good, bright view finder.

The wild animal photog wants fast, accurage AF. Low noise, deep buffer and high frame rates. Good dynamic range.

They all care about quality build that takes abuse.

As to sensor size its self.... Some absolute love the smaller sensors. I'm only using the best parts of the lens in my images (so the edges are better.) They simulate a longer lens (but it actually isn't.) The smaller DOF is bad, but its worth the trade off. I've very happy with the 1.6x crop of the 20D. And when the replacement for the 1D MkII N comes out I'll be very unhappy to go from the 1.6x to 1.3x. But I'll do it 'cause of the features listed above.

But most of all, the smaller sensors mean cheaper cameras.
Larger sensors cost a lot more, and they have lower manufacturing yields. So you throw away more and what they throw away costs more. A double whammy. No, There is nothing inherently wrong with the smaller sensor (except for its effect on noise.)

The success of Walmart clearly shows that the vast majority of people (at least in the US) care much more about lower prices than quality. Sad, but true.

Eric
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Old Nov 4, 2005, 10:58 PM   #3
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it really comes down to what you are shooting as eric mentions... there will be 35mm sized sensors AND aps sized sensors for the foreseeable future..

for a sports or wildlife shooter, having the crop factor is nice to make your telephoto lenses a little longer (i know eric, it isnt 100% right way to say that).. and usually results in a faster FPS as well...

if you do portraits/landscapes/macros and want to make use of your whole lens, then the FF is nice..

so base your decision on YOUR needs, not where you think the industry is going.. because its going to include both sensors...

i for one, would love to have a 5d to compliment my 20d... stick my 80-400 on the 20d on one shoulder, and a 17-40 on a 5d over the other shoulder..
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Old Nov 5, 2005, 4:03 AM   #4
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Is FF going to be industry standard? NO. NO. NO. Why should it be? The APS sensors on the 20D and forthcoming Sony 10.2Mp sensor ( which will find its way into Nikon, KM & Pentax) are already BETTER than 35mm film under most conditions. And the 12Mp sensor on the Nikon D2X is simply awesome.

But...

It seems fairly clear that no matter how many rational answers you get you want to hear that FF is the way to go. If the rational answers aren't convincing you then it's obvious that you wanted the "professionals" to tell you to buy the 5D.

The 5D is really the camera you want, it's what your heart desires. So just buy it already!

Get it with the 24-105L lens as a kit and save a few hundred dollars..

It's a simple fact that 90% of all photographs taken will fall within the range of that lens. For the bird guys or other specialists their needs may be different, but you want an all-round system. So why not spend the majority of your cash in the area that's going to get the most use? A great body and excellent primary lens, with which you will take the majority of your pictures.

You can then take your time building up a lens collection, as you will have no FF v APS dilemmas.

You're going to be able to get the 5D + 24-105 L for around $4500 I think.

If you can stretch to an extra $500 then get:
1. Sigma 500 DG SUPER flashgun. ($240) - the 5D has no pop-up remember.
2. Sigma 70-300 f4-5.6 APO DG Macro. ($220)

The Sigma 70-300 f4-5.6 APO DG Macro will give you the focal length for wildlife and a 0.5 Macro facility - which is fine to get started with, perfectly adequate unless you're REALLY serious about macro work.

You will have an outrageously good FF camera with an excellent L lens for 90% of your photographs and the best price/performance telephoto zoom in the business by far -with a good macro facility as a bonus, plus an excellent flash.

You will have spent 90% of the money in the place where 90% of the photographs will come from - that makes good sense to me.

I used to think that I wanted a macro lens until I discovered that I could get macro shots like the one below with only a 0.15 magnification!! The Sigma zoom will give you more than 3x greater magnification than my butterfly photo. Unless you're really planning on doing lots of macro work then the sigma zoom will be fine for a year or two - which will give you time to save up for some specialist macro gear. Hone your skills on the Sigma 70-300 first.


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Old Nov 5, 2005, 2:15 PM   #5
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I agree with whatthe others have said here!

I don't care what is insidea camera so long as my lenses fit, and the results are salable. Also since you can now buy it, the5d is already obsolete. It even looks like some local stores are already starting to offer discounts on it for the Christmas sales.

Pick your poison(lens system), that will be the most expensive part of your new hobby. The digital camera bodieshave become disposable throw-aways, if you are a gear-head they have a life expectancy of maybe 2 years if your are lucky.

Example: This year my equipment expenses were a bit high,I have spent about 4000$ on lenses, and 3000$ on new studio lights.800$ on portable strobes, and 0$on bodies. My good old 20D'shave no trouble producing the output I need. I have no plans to replace them until they break and then I will probably look for another 20D.

Due to time constraints I rarely visit Steve's anymore.
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Old Nov 9, 2005, 5:42 PM   #6
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peripatetic wrote:
Quote:
The APS sensors on the 20D and forthcoming Sony 10.2Mp sensor ( which will find its way into Nikon, KM & Pentax) are already BETTER than 35mm film under most conditions.
Please, do tell, in which way(s) are they "better"? Also, please be more
specific, are you speaking of color reversal or negative film?


-Ted
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Old Nov 9, 2005, 6:14 PM   #7
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have you also forgot about the little thing we call light fall-off... yea, here recently its easy to forget since the crop factor makes all of our lenses look so nice.. well, if you want FF, be prepared to experience it all over again..
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Old Nov 10, 2005, 1:28 AM   #8
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dimagez1 wrote:
Quote:
peripatetic wrote:
Quote:
The APS sensors on the 20D and forthcoming Sony 10.2Mp sensor ( which will find its way into Nikon, KM & Pentax) are already BETTER than 35mm film under most conditions.
Please, do tell, in which way(s) are they "better"? Also, please be more
specific, are you speaking of color reversal or negative film?


-Ted
A lot of people gave up banging on the 35mm film is better than digital drum back in 2000-2001.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/dq.shtml

IMO the Sony 6Mp sensor and the Canon 8Mp sensor give better results than I ever got from my film camera. I own a 20D and have seen prints from the Nikon D70 that satisfy me of this.

Of course digital has a host of other benefits that are so obvious as to not need explicit mention.

Most commentators that I find credible believe the question was satisfied long ago, and believe that the FF35mm cameras of today are competing in quality with the old medium format film.

I'm an amateur not a pro, but it's mostly a dead debate. There are a few - perhaps like yourself who were at the "craftsman's edge" of what was possible with 35mm film and still aren't convinced.

And so what? I used to use Kodak slide and negative film on my 35mm SLR and get it processed in a high-street lab. The pictures I get from my 20D + Epson R800 blow my old combo away, it's not even close.

I dug up a few of my old references on this subject.

http://www.gnyman.com/Digital%20Came...ith%20Film.htm

http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedeta....summary1.html

http://www.normankoren.com/Tutorials/MTF7.html

http://www.wlcastleman.com/equip/rev..._ccd/index.htm

http://www.photographical.net/canon_1ds_35mm.html

http://www.normankoren.com/Tutorials/MTF7A.html#Shannon
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Old Nov 10, 2005, 6:47 AM   #9
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I believe he's talking about slides, where in large projection system, the 'digital' slides from dSLR are still limited by their projectors - Unlike negatives which have to go an extra step of digitization for comparison, the slides are projected directly to large screens and this an area where digital still need to catch up - Although major studios are already releasing their movies in the digital formats...
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113159165963993244.html
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Old Nov 10, 2005, 4:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
IMO the Sony 6Mp sensor and the Canon 8Mp sensor give better results than I ever got from my film camera. I own a 20D and have seen prints from the Nikon D70 that satisfy me of this.
That could easily be possible if you didn't know how to properly shoot
film. Using cheap, consumer zooms is no match for L series prime lenses.
Underexposing negatives is no match for properly exposing negatives.
In fact, you'll actually get significantly better results if you overexpose
by about 1 stop. And of course, having an indifferent lab technician
print your pictures isn't exactly going to produce snappy pictures like
you see from your DSLR on your monitor. Those prints don't contain
the entire contrast range, the exposure may be off, or the color
correction may have been done improperly. Having a "digital" lab scan
your negatives isn't going to produce anywhere near the best possible
results either. Their scanner's resolution is typically inferior to a
personal film scanner. The images they give you are already pre-corrected
and do not give you the full contrast range, thus removing your ability
to perform true exposure correction and accurate color correction.
They may even use automatic correction junk that can wildly offset
the color balance.

Quote:
Of course digital has a host of other benefits that are so obvious as to not need explicit mention.
That's right, make sure to conveniently forget all of the massive disadvantages.
Let's take your 20D for example...

1. Dust accumulation. Thanks to the fact that the sensor is stationary,
permanent, and statically charged, dust is literally drawn to it like metal
to a magnet.

Film on the other hand...doesn't actually have a problem with dust anymore
thanks to Digital ICE technology. Infrared light is used to accurately identify
dust and scratches, which are then removed digitally.

2. Extremely inferior dynamic range. If the image is overexposed by so
much as one stop, highlight clipping is easily noticeable. By two stops, it
becomes blatantly obvious. If the image is underexposed by any amount
and then "corrected", noise becomes more apparent. The more correction
used, the more apparent noise becomes. This means that the photographer
must take the time get the exposure right WHILE shooting the picture.
Let's face it, we all do it from time to time (if not always). We shoot a
picture in sunlight and then struggle to check the exposure on that little,
dim LCD.

Film on the other hand...I have shot an exposure latitude test in which the
exposure ranged from -6 stops to +14 stops. 7 stops over looks perfectly
normal. 8 stops over begins to show a bit of color shifting and scanner streaking.
By 14 stops over, the image is still easily understandable, although riddled
with scanner noise and streaking as well as great color shifting. At 1 stop
under, shadow detail is acceptable, grain is acceptable, and color saturation
is maintained. At 2 stops under, grain and shadow detail become worse
but are still acceptable. Saturation is still maintained quite well. At 4 stops
under, the image becomes worthlessly grainy.

3. Inferior resolution. An 8 mega"pixel" Bayer pattern based sensor will
only produce a maximum of 4 megapixel resolution under the best conditions
and as little as 2 megapixel resolution under the worst conditions. This
is a simple fact of the arrangement of "pixels" of the sensor.

Film on the other hand...is widely known, by those who actually use it, to
have at the VERY MINIMUM, 10 TRUE megapixels of resolution. When scanned
at this resolution, 35mm negative film will easily produce perfectly true
and sharp looking edges. In film world, annoying digital artifacts (such as
edge halos) don't exist.

4. Absolutely no sensor scalability. As the sensor is permanent, one must
replace the entire body to upgrade to the latest sensor technology. If we
all had the mentality of computer technicians, this would be reason enough
to say "no".

Film on the other hand...is completely scalable. Anytime new film technology
is released, the quality of the picture can be enhanced simply by buying the
new film, and then using it like any other film. For those of you are stupid
enough to think film isn't advancing, consider this. Kodak and FujiFilm
both recently released new motion picture film stocks which use a new
technology that doubles the efficiency of the film. Thus, they achieved a 500
speed stock that has the same amount of graininess as the previous generation
of 250 speed stocks. Not only was the graininess decreased, but the color
accuracy and dynamic range were increased. After having released that new
technology, Kodak announced that their scientists believe that film can be made
anywhere from 2 to 7 stops more efficient. While film's development may be
slow, it has always been consistent and persistent. Film cameras also have
the ability to swap out sensors, allowing for the use of films optimized for a
specific use. For example, when trying to achieve the best displayed image
possible, slide film can be used. When trying to achieve the highest resolution
possible, black and white film can be used.


5. Crop factor. Causes a loss of usefulness in lenses. Currently causes an
increase in the cost of some lenses. For example, if you want a high-speed
50mm (effective) lens, you'll need to buy the EF 35mm f/1.4L USM instead
of the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM. Hence, buying a high-speed 50mm lens will cost
you more than three times the amount of a "regular" high-speed 50mm lens.

6. Poor long exposure capability. Contrary to popular and ignorant belief,
digital cameras can suffer from reciprocity failure. This is due to thermal
noise or "stuck pixels". Temperature variances, exposure lengths and
sensitivity all have a significant affect on thermal noise. As the picture
becomes filled with more thermal noise, the picture itself has less "room"
within the picture. If it gets bad enough, the thermal noise will eventually
crush the picture out of the picture. Not even dark frame subtraction will
correct the problem when it becomes this extreme.

Film on the other hand...never increases it's graininess just because
the exposure gets longer. Nor does it so quickly reach a point where
an exposure is literally impossible to make.

7. Initial costs. Call me crazy, but spending $1400 dollars on a crop body
still sounds like a waste of money for an amateur. And then there are
other little things like buying more batteries, memory cards, perhaps a
CD or DVD "burner", and maybe even a computer if you don't already
have one. And that is because those digital images can't just be stored
in a shoe box.

Film on the other hand...allows for the use of high-quality cameras
and lenses that can cost less than a total of $300. This camera can
easily produce 10 true megapixel images with brilliant color and truly
superior dynamic range. A film scanner, which isn't necessary to
take and store pictures, can be had for as little as an extra $230 and
will produce 13 megapixel images.

8. Poor ease of shooting. Typical digital SLRs give you more to worry
about. For example, now that you can change the ISO, you'll need to
consider which ISO is the most suitable for the situation. Or you can
always let automatic ISO kick in and possibly add extra noise to your
flash shots, for example. Another typical problem: "Should I shoot in
RAW or JPEG?". RAW is obviously superior to JPEG, but it requires more
space on your memory card and more time to process the image. Many
people are left with no choice but to shoot in JPEG mode. As if the
latitude wasn't poor enough already!

Let's see, did I forget anything? Perhaps the typically smaller yet more
cluttered viewfinder, the jungle of buttons and dials all over the camera,
the annoying little menus that can't be seen too well in sunlight, etc.

Quote:
Most commentators that I find credible believe the question was satisfied long ago, and believe that the FF35mm cameras of today are competing in quality with the old medium format film.
That's true, grain-wise anyway; and only when compared to the
digital camera at it's lowest speeds. What is your definition of "quality"
anyway? Many people will "go digital" and then try to defend that
choice by pretending that film has no advantages. Some pros are
actually humbled enough to admit that their digital camera isn't as
good as film in some of the many ways I have already stated. Plenty
of amateurs are annoyed simply by the limited dynamic range; that is
all too often evident on these forums.

Quote:
And so what? I used to use Kodak slide and negative film on my 35mm SLR and get it processed in a high-street lab. The pictures I get from my 20D + Epson R800 blow my old combo away, it's not even close.
Well, then you obviously didn't know how to get the best results. Kodak
seems to be always lagging behind in the quality of their film. I find FujiFilm
negative films to be consistently less grainy. It is also a well known fact
that FujiFilm's Velvia slide film lineup is superior to any E6 process film
Kodak has to offer. I wonder, how did you get the results from your
negatives? Did you have the lab print them or did you take the negatives
home and scan them with a film scanner? Your choice of scanning hardware
and software can make a huge difference in color accuracy. It is always a
good idea to buy a particular product from a company who has great
experience making that type of product.

Quote:
I dug up a few of my old references on this subject.
Honestly, those mean absolutely nothing to me. I find those people
to be extremely ignorant or biased towards digital cameras. Every
time I have ever read a page like that, they are comparing reversal
film to a digital SLR. The slides usually seem to be improperly focused
during the time of shooting or scanning. Anybody who actually has
real experience in this field has enough brains to know that there isn't
a personal film scanner in existence that can handle the extreme
density range of reversal films, nor can they capture the brilliance of
color. Therefore, the digital slide has inferior looking dynamic range
and color. And what scanners do manage to capture, they add noise
to; a little something called dark noise. Some scanners also have
the tendency to literally smear details in the image when scanning
reversal film or severely overexposed negative film. Also, any
knowledgeable person knows that negative film has significantly
higher resolution and a far wider dynamic range than any reversal
film. So, comparing digital cameras to a reversal film is by no means
showing the maximum capability of film.

Reversal film, as a capture medium (not a display medium), is hugely
inferior to negative film in many ways. Reversal film's resolution, dynamic
range, speed, and digitization ability are all much more inferior. Reversal
film is also harder to find, it costs more to buy, it's harder to find a place
to process it, it costs more to process, and it takes longer to process.
In this world of digitization, negative film is by far the superior capture
medium when compared to reversal film. So, why do so-called professionals
still insist on using it as a benchmark against digital cameras? It must
be ignorance.

So, before anybody flings around the word "better" again, please make
sure you actually know the full story and actually have the knowledge
gained from true experience to back-up your claims.

With all of that said, I must say, I love digital cameras. There are some
things they are simply better for; such as instant results for newspapers.
I use my digital camera every day. I also have the privilege to use the
very latest cameras from time to time. I carefully study them and their
limitations like any real photographer should. I don't blindly accept
something just because it is new. I don't accept a product based on
what other people say unless I know for a fact that they know what
they are talking about.


-Ted


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