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Thread: APS-C vs FF vs MF Comparison (2023)

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    APS-C vs FF vs MF Comparison (2023)

    I almost didn't post, but I do find this interesting enough. Nigel Danson did a comparison between a Nikon APS-C and FF against the Hasselblad. 21 MP vs 48 MP vs 100 MP. He printed out at various sizes looking for differences.

    Toward the end, he dwelled on resolution. The spoiler is....he really didn't find much of a difference, especially between the FF (48 MP) and MF (100 MP). But, the 21 MP APS-C held it's own, even at the largest print size, he labeled it "splitting hairs".

    While he focused on resolution more, he did make comments and kept coming back to the colors and tonality of the Hassy. He kept saying he thinks he can get there in post with the Nikon, but he obviously put a lot of effort into making the Nikon Z8 comparable and he still preferred the image out of the Hasselblad. I would argue that getting the tones and colors you want quickly has substantial value.

    Not to start a resolution war...but a data point for those that are interested. I still think the biggest benefit to more resolution is ability to crop. But, as you increase sensor size, you do increase tonality and tonal transitions.

    Also, regarding differences, his scenes may not have been the most challenging. Last spring, I did ~4 min exposures of the night sky with my M6 II and R5....there was so much more noise with the APS-C M6II compared to the R5. So, yeah, there are differences.

    All that said, I did like seeing the comparison to a pretty inexpensive APS-C kit vs the expensive Hasselblad printed large. It really emphasizes the point that the most important element to a good image is a located few inches behind the camera.

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    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Not a YouTube watcher, but practically speaking in good light there is very little benefit with a larger sensor. As long as you don't need shallow DoF (assuming you're unwilling to let AI provide it), shooting a well-lit scene with an iPhone is basically as good as with a FF camera. Where that breaks down is in low light, or with fast action. My $0.02.

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    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    I tend to look at things in terms of percentages. With my original 7D I took pictures that are still on my wall. Then the 5DIII, really, that camera could take the vast majority of the pictures I wanted with primary liabilities being very occasional banding (I saw it maybe a half dozen times), and fps. The 5DIV, banding was gone, the noise was better, another fps and I did like the slight shift in color schemes. The % of images I could capture increased, marginally. The R5, it is funny, the eye-detect AF gets me a much higher % of keepers on birds, more fps (I am usually at 9 fps), it lets me AF on portions of the scene I couldn't before, and I have never run into a buffer issue like I did all the time on the previous cameras (I know Joanathan has w/ the R5). So, it speeds up my work, makes things easier, and does get me a few more images that I might have missed before, mostly due to eye-detect AF, fps, and lack of buffer issues.

    But, if we are talking about an image that was already within the percentage I could successfully capture with the 7D which was already high...it's not like I am vastly more successful in capturing that scene with any of the successive cameras.

    And I think that is a flaw with what Nigel did. I could have captured those scenes (woodland landscapes) with my original 7D without a problem. In fact, I have many woodland scenes. So, if I was to compare those successful images to the one captured by the 7D, it would have been splitting hairs between, as he mentioned.

    Even the high MP, I did find it interesting that he had trouble discerning a difference most of the time. Yet, if I had an image of a Big Foot that was in 5% of my frame, extra MP would be crucial. In low light/higher ISO, then the larger sensor, better performance of modern sensors would be critical. What you need all depends on what you are trying to capture.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    The key parameters for me are focus, frame rate, and buffer size. I want a camera that can lock on the focus quickly, and then let me lean on the shutter for long bursts without slowing down. Resolution is of lesser importance. In the Pantanal last September, I had a jaguar walking slowly along the riverbank towards our boat. I fired a burst that must have lasted for a full minute. Sure, I ended up with an enormous number of shots, but deleting later is easy. Switching to C-RAW has helped a lot with the R5 to increase the buffer size and card capacity without sacrificing quality. This shot was with the 1DX III.


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