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Old Sep 16, 2007, 9:22 AM   #1
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Hello guys,

Why have manufacturers like Canon and Nikon decided to make their flagship models FF cameras? What are the benefits inbrief? I mean, I've read several lens reviews on sites like www.slrgear.com and in almost every case they mention how when the lens was tested on a 5D artifacts (e.g. vignetting) was more noticeable than when tested on a sub-frame DSLR like the 20D. Why FF??
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 9:44 AM   #2
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Here's a few reasons off the top of my head why someone may appreciate at full frame model:

Larger photosites for each pixel to help with noise and dynamic range and/or the ability to get a higher resoluton sensor for a given photosite size (since you've got more surface area to squeeze them into).

You'll also have a wider angle of view for any given focal length, which can be attractive (as the ultra wide lenses needed to get a wider angle of view with an APS-C size sensor tend to have relatively high distortion and price points).

You'll also have a shallower Depth of Field for any given aperture and focal length, if your subject occupies the same percentage of the frame. That can be attractive to help your subject stand out from distracting backgrounds.

Viewfinders with a full frame camera are usually larger, too.

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Old Sep 16, 2007, 9:47 AM   #3
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There is a practical limit to the number of pixels that can be squeezed onto a sensor chip before image quality begins to suffer due to noise and loss of dynamic range. This is most evident in the point & shoot arena where they have gone too far in some models.

Until new technology circumvents this issue the manufacturers have no choice but to make the sensors bigger to accomodate increased megapixels. This can go to the extremes of the 39 megapixel 44×33mm sensor Hasselblad cameras that costs over $30,000!

Since field of view is determined by the sensor or frame size a camera with a 24 x 36mm sensor will deliver the same view as a 35mm film camera as well as similar depth of field. This may be important to some photographers.


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Old Sep 16, 2007, 9:48 AM   #4
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Lookslike JimC and I are singing from the same book!
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 9:49 AM   #5
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JimC wrote:
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Here's a few reasons off the top of my head why someone may appreciate at full frame model:

Larger photosites for each pixel to help with noise and dynamic range and/or the ability to get a higher resoluton sensor for a given photosite size (since you've got more surface area to squeeze them into).

You'll also have a wider angle of view for any given focal length, which can be attractive (as the ultra wide lenses needed to get a wider angle of view with an APS-C size sensor tend to have relatively high distortion and price points).

You'll also have a shallower Depth of Field for any given aperture and focal length, if your subject occupies the same percentage of the frame. That can be attractive to help your subject stand out from distracting backgrounds.

Viewfinders with a full frame camera are usually larger, too.
Thanks JimC,

So, FF DSLR buyers would keep those good points in mind while not worrying about the artifacts? Knowing that these same artifacts would be (in general) less prevalent on sub-frame DSLRs?
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 10:00 AM   #6
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I think you really need to take it on a case by case basis. If you're using a lens designed for a 35mm camera on an APS-C size sensor, you are using the "sweet spot" of the lens.

But, if you're using a lens designed specfically for a model with an APS-C size sensor on that type of camera, you may see similar problems with vignetting and corner softness, depending on the lens.

Also, softer corners and a bit of vignetting may not be a bad thing, depending on your subject, if you're using a lens that isn't sharp edge to edge on a given camera model. We're seeing a lot of software correction for some of these issues now, too (for example, image editors that correct vignetting), and I'd expect the in camera processing in more cameras to become more aware of any needed lens correction for a given lens model as time passes also and apply it in the camera's processing pipeline.

You'll have to look at any tradeoffs for a given camera/lens combination and decide what's best for your shooting style.

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Old Sep 16, 2007, 11:02 AM   #7
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DarkDTSHD wrote:
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Hello guys,

Why have manufacturers like Canon and Nikon decided to make their flagship models FF cameras? What are the benefits inbrief? I mean, I've read several lens reviews on sites like http://www.slrgear.com and in almost every case they mention how when the lens was tested on a 5D artifacts (e.g. vignetting) was more noticeable than when tested on a sub-frame DSLR like the 20D. Why FF??
First, a technical nit-pick on what FF is. Full frame is when a sensor takes advantage of the full image circle cast by a lens. In that definition, The Hassy mentioned by Bob is the largest FF format, and Olympus 4/3 is the smallest FF of the DSLR family.

FF is quickly becoming a term of the companies using legacy film lenses referring to the 24x36 sensor.

There is nothing magical about 24x36 other than this. It is a sensor in a range of sensor sizes. As the sensors proceed from the very large to the very small, their properties also change. The very large sensors can support a large number of pixels while keeping pixel density very low. This keeps noise to a minimum and dynamic range to a maximum. Both are good. It also means very high price and problems with corners (because of the angle of incident light) and larger camera/lens combinations.

Which is the camera for you will be hard to say. There is no perfect format. There is a range of performance within a range of prices and each of us needs to choose where we land. For me, I use the smallest DSLR format.
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 11:23 AM   #8
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Thanks guys. I was just curious any how.

Not sure I'd want to spend $6000.00 CAD on the new Nikon D3 as my first DSLR. Just wondered what was the big deal with FF and why the manufacturers value it so much to use it in their flagship models. Nikon and Canon.

I suppose if you were to go with a FF you would have to live with the tradeoffs to get the benefits. Even if that means a little more time with editing software like DxO's Optics Pro 4 (http://www.dxo.com/intl/photo).

For me it's still the Canon 40D vs the Nikon D300.
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 12:01 PM   #9
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DarkDTSHD wrote:
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For me it's still the Canon 40D vs the Nikon D300.
If you're camera shopping, you may want to take a look at the new Sony DSLR-A700. Sonystyle.com is taking preorders now, with an expected availability date of September 28th in the U.S. I haven't checked their web site in Canada yet. The overseas sites tend to have the best "eye candy" about it so far though. lol

Flash Presentation on new Sony DSLR-A700


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Old Sep 16, 2007, 12:18 PM   #10
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JimC wrote:
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DarkDTSHD wrote:
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For me it's still the Canon 40D vs the Nikon D300.
If you're camera shopping, you may want to take a look at the new Sony DSLR-A700. Sonystyle.com is taking preorders now, with an expected availability date of September 28th in the U.S. I haven't checked their web site in Canada yet. The overseas sites tend to have the best "eye candy" about it so far though. lol

Flash Presentation on new Sony DSLR-A700

Thanks JimC. I did vaguely entertain the idea of the A700. But it looks too plasticy and "toy like". Plus, I didn't like the ergonomics. And I am biased towards Canon and Nikkor glass (based on good past experience and what I've read). So I think I'll just stick with considering the 40D and the D300. Looking forwards to a test revport on both by Steve.

It's going to be a long few months waiting for the D300 to surface.
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