Reason for going with cropped sensor (i.e. 50D, 7D), other than cost

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mjones185, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. mjones185 macrumors regular

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    #1
    Hello,

    I'm sure this has been asked a thousand ways but my searches didn't reveal any helpful information.

    I consider myself sightly below advanced amateur photographer, I take all sorts of photos from family (kids), city life, to aircraft. I currently have a Canon EOS 10D (never used) and an EOS 40D (always used). I have the 28-135 lens (not good at all) to the 70-200 2.8L (awesome). I about to purchase a new lens and am looking closely at the 17-55 2.8 which will lock me into the cropped sensor relm.

    Oddly enough, my questions is not about the lens but about the camera and if cropped sensors are all I'll ever need. I am the type person (good or bad) that wants the best that I can afford and/or use at the time.

    So, those of you that have purchased cropped sensor cameras, other than cost, what are the other reasons you chose cropped sensors over full frame like the EOS 5D?

    Any information you contribute will be helpful probably to a few of us.


    Thanks,

    Mike
     
  2. gnd macrumors 6502a

    gnd

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    #2
    With the cropped sensor your lenses give you more reach than with a full frame sensor. So if you like "zooming in" then cropped sensor is a good thing.
    Another thing is more depth of field. Sometimes you actually want everything to be sharp and cropped sensor gives you more depth of field compared to a full frame sensor (I'm talking about the same framing/composition at the same aperture, so focal lengths would be different).
    Also, lenses specifically designed for a cropped sensor should be smaller and lighter than their full frame equivalents (compare the 17-55mm f/2.8 to a 24-70mm f/2.8: 5 x 5 x 3 inches 1.5 pounds against 8 x 5.6 x 5.6 inches 2.7 pounds).
     
  3. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #3
    You see more of the background (more of what the lens sees) on a full frame camera. This guy explained it, sort of clearly: linky

    Cropped sensors just record what is in the middle of the glass, and size that up. If the background of the bird is blurred, you will see more of that blur in the full frame version. For the cropped version, other parts of the photo are cut off (but effectively zoomed in closer) and so you can't see as much of the differential between the bird (in focus) and the area surrounding (out of focus)

    [​IMG]
     
  4. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #4
    Some form of crop sensor, either APS-C or APS-H, is highly desired by wildlife and sports shooters for the added reach that enables them to get the shot that would otherwise require much more expensive telephoto lenses.
     
  5. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

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    #5
    There is no "extra reach." Only a center cutout from a 35mm sensor. There's an assumption of reach, but nothing more.
     
  6. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #6
    It's not just an assumption, but a widely used term as the effect of cropping without losing resolution is effectively added reach (or focal length). I admit were arguing semantics here but this is common industry terminology, not something I cooked up.

    EDIT: to the OP... one other benefit I just heard about watching the B&H video on the 7D is that the focus system for an APS-C camera effectively covers more of the frame. But I'm sure someone will just point out that there's less frame so the focus area covers the same amount of subject ;)
     
  7. toxic macrumors 68000

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    #7
    - narrower AoV with cheaper lenses. see price difference between 200/2.8 and 300/2.8 IS, or 300/2.8 IS and 400/2.8 IS, 85/1.8 and 135/2, etc. (for Canon). however, the advantage only exists if the pixel density of the smaller sensor exceeds that of the larger sensor. there is no advantage, image or "reach"-wise, of using an 8MP APS-C camera over a 21+MP 35mm camera.
    - response. the 5D shutter lag and VF blackout times are longer than the 10-series and 7D. to get faster times, you must buy a 1-series.
    - fps. Canon has chosen not to go past 5fps in its 35mm bodies, favoring resolution instead.
    - ability to use smaller and cheaper EF-S/Di II/DC lenses
     
  8. venusian macrumors member

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    #8
    size (and weight) - both the bodies and the lenses
    that's why i went fourthirds anyway
     
  9. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #9
    I upgraded to a 5DII from a 20D and 400D.

    I don't shoot wildlife, birds or sport... so I'm unimpressed by long lenses and 'reach'.

    It's great to be on full frame as:

    - Depth of field control is so much nicer. It's a lot easier to get the background out of focus using f2.8 and wider lenses.
    - Some of Canon's great zooms now have a sensible range of focal lengths. I bought the 24-70 f2.8, which is an amazing standard lens.
    - It's easy to use the camera with a standard prime like the 50mm f1.4
    - I now have access to fast wide angle primes like the 24 and 35mm f1.4 lenses - these aren't wide at all on cropped body cameras.

    Long term, I think cropped frame is going to be a niche product at the low end, and for telephoto nuts. Full frame will always have a larger sensor size per megapixel, so lower noise and better image quality.
     
  10. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #10
    That is IMHO a misunderstanding: lenses retain their value very well, you can always sell that lens later easily since it is famous for its optical quality. I don't think you'd lose more than $100-$200 (if you take good care of it).

    Advantages of crop sensors other than cost, let me see:
    (1) Lenses tend to be lighter -- unless you insist on using full frame lenses. E. g. the crop equivalents of your 70-200 mm f/2.8 weigh half. That's pretty significant. Lenses are also cheaper.
    (2) You have more reach: if you're into birding or so, you have a significant advantage.
    (3) At reasonable ISOs (100~800), the image quality is usually very close to that of full frame sensors.
    (4) Larger depth of field if you compare equivalent focal lengths.

    Personally, I think you will benefit much more from getting additional glass and a decent flash gun than an expensive body and less lenses. This way, you'll have much more creative freedom.
     
  11. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #11
    I'm not sure what you mean by long term... I think we're already there. Canon's professional product line (xD) strategy appears to be...

    Crop bodies = 7D -> 1D (for sports/wildlife or telephoto nuts as you call them)
    FF bodies = 5D -> 1Ds (for portrait/landscape)

    That's not to say that one can't do the job of the other, but the focus systems, sensor sizes, and/or frame rates all make trade-offs along these lines.

    Amateur photographers should pick their first xD body according to this, unless cost is the only consideration in which case the 7D is probably better than nothing from this group unless you're limited by glass in which case I think we all agree that should be the first upgrade.
     
  12. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #12
    Already there? We're only on the second generation of 'reasonably priced' full frame sensors - and sensor resolution hasn't even bottomed out yet.

    I'd expect full frame to get cheaper. I'd expect full frame to appear in a wider range of body types.

    Sorry, but I completely disagree with you. We're not at the endpoint yet, and there will be a lot of change over the next 5 years.
     
  13. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #13
    Yeah, I don't disagree but you said that crop would be limited to the low-end and telephoto nuts. Unless I misunderstand what you mean by low-end, that's the xxxD, xxD, and the wildlife and sports segments of the xD line. Which really only leaves the portrait and landscape shooters in the xD line which are currently served by the 5D and 1Ds. Are you suggesting a future xxD with a FF sensor?
     
  14. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #14
    Who knows. I wouldn't be surprised to see a full frame xxD. Certainly I think there will be a 'cheaper than 5D' full frame camera.

    There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of space in the current lineup between the 550D and the 7D for an xxD cropped sensor camera.
     
  15. mjones185 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
     
  16. Gold89 macrumors 6502

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    #16

    But if larger ff sensors get cheaper so will smaller ones, the rapidly improving sensor technology (7d as an example) will mean that systems can get ever smaller whilst improving IQ and sensitivity.

    Whilst FF or larger is the best now, I think in 10/15/20 years we will be using much smaller sensors. :)
     
  17. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #17
    Every improvement to sensors gives even better results on a big sensor.

    And on a big sensor you also get to make creative use of depth of field.

    We're even starting to see Medium Format becoming affordable again - with even bigger sensors!
     
  18. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #18
    I think the 17-55 would make an awesome complement to your already amazing telephoto lens and you would probably get a lot more life out of your 40D yet. Then if you want to upgrade the body later, the 7D or it's successor will be a great match for what you want to shoot. And if you become a image quality fanatic and low-light shooter, you can very likely sell your kit for a premium and move to FF when you're ready.
     
  19. mdatwood macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    IMHO, this is the biggest advantage of a full frame sensor. Given the choice I would always get a full frame over a smaller sensor.
     
  20. AndyGordon macrumors newbie

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    #21
    Not sure about that as you must also take into account pixel size and density I would of thought?

    I appreciate that it is at the margins, but the reviews of the 24mp Sony show it as being noiser at higher ISO's than the 5Dmk's 21mp sensor and they are both full frame, with the SOny having a greater pixel density - so arguably a smaller sensor with less pixels may be able to produce a cleaner image.

    AP in the UK compared a 7D to a 5Dmk2 recently and found that the 7D matched the 5D in most cases, and given that DP Review didn't find significant differences between the 7D (18mp APS) and Nikon D300s (12mp APS) can we assume that for all intents and purposes we have reached some optimum level here?
     
  21. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #22
    You can't directly compare different manufacturers, different technologies and different generations of sensor. The 7D is higher density than the 5DII, but the camera is 12 to 18 months newer.
     
  22. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #23
    It's a crop, not a zoom. You get the same sized image at the sensor plane, and you have to magnify the same amount, so there's really not an advantage if the two cameras have equivalent full-sized resolution numbers. That is to say if I shoot my D3x (24.5MP full-sized) I'm not going to get a noticeably different image shooting with my crop-only D2x (12.4MP) at the same focal length if I crop or set my D3x to DX crop mode, even if the subject fills the frame with the D2x- since you're not "zooming in" at all, there's really not an advantage to the smaller sensor.

    If you're comparing a FF body with the same resolution as a crop sensor body, then you'll get a resolution advantage with the crop body.
     
  23. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #24
    To be fair, this thread has been mostly Canon talk.

    In your case, there is an advantage in the D300, as a 1.5x linear crop on your D3x is < 12Megapixels.

    The difference is much more extreme comparing the 21MPix 5DII to the 18MPix cropped 7D (and remember the Canon crop is 1.6x)
     
  24. Gold89 macrumors 6502

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    #25

    But the point i'm suggesting is that there may come a point when the sensor technology is so advanced that there is no point having a ff or larger sensor even for most pros.

    This is just my mere ideas and ramblings and I mean in the long run (we'll have DSLRs for the next 10 or more years) :)
     

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