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Archive 2013 · FF vs crop for portraits
  
 
Daan B
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p.2 #1 · FF vs crop for portraits


Access wrote:
But FF gives you a little more freedom when it comes to composition, and sometimes even lighting.


How come?

When it comes to gear, composition is mainly bound by the used focal length. You can match this between crop and FF. I really don't understand how FF or crop affects lighting in an esthetical sense.



Jan 16, 2013 at 06:38 PM
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p.2 #2 · FF vs crop for portraits


One tool for composition is simplicity, showing no more than what we desire to be seen. And one common way to achieve this is through background blur.

The relative ease with which this effect can be achieved, what focal lengths, what working distances from the subject, what lenses can be used (zoom lenses, etc.) and how large of a subject can be covered. FF is almost always advantageous. ie. Compare a crop camera with 50mm f/1.4 lens vs. a FF camera with 85mm f/1.8 lens.

It's not a huge significance, but it is there. I see this mostly because I've shot a lot with micro four thirds (which is basically 2x crop). The thing that I often have to consider is at what point with a given system can I achieve the effect I want for a desired type of shot. The same is true going the other way for medium format.

For lighting, it's again back to working distance. If my working distance is forced to be very long, the angles and position I can choose are more limited. It's less of a significance than composition, but again, still there.

I don't think FF is a huge thing, I used a rebel and a 20D from 2003 to 2008. As new things go, it is really pretty far down the list of most people that are just starting out.

Edited on Jan 16, 2013 at 07:26 PM · View previous versions



Jan 16, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Gunzorro
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p.2 #3 · FF vs crop for portraits


The advantage lies in the FF for fine detail and tonal transitions. This applies to all photos, not just portraits.

I own a 60D, and I like it very much. I also own a 1Ds3, and like it even more, and it's become my go-to camera.

Last year I had the opportunity to set-up these two cameras with comparable lenses (60D = Zeiss ZE 21/2.8, 1Ds3 = Zeiss ZE 35/2, both around f/8) to do a series of twilight shots, starting at just after sundown to deep dusk. I found the 60D tended to lack smooth transitions in the faintest tonal shifts, becoming blocked up and slightly posterized, whereas the 1Ds3 showed more detail and tonal steps (especially evident in blue/purple range).

Two notes: 1) the larger sensors seem to have better ability to provide these tonal steps, depending on the camera processor (Digic) and the sensor resolution/pixel size; 2 ) generally longer lenses aid in the better edge roll-off and contrast gradations, coupled with larger sensor sizes this becomes more noticable.

Is the larger sensor of a top 1D-series camera worth it to you? Probably not. You can achieve more with controlled lighting (not cheap, depending on your system). There are probably similar, if smaller, advantages to be had with a FF like 5D original, and the 5D2 is probably close to the 1Ds3 (I haven't tested against each other).

If you want to see if you get an advantage, I recommend trying the 1D Mark III and/or the 5D Mark II and comparing to your 60D.

The short answer is that 1.3 crop and full frame (or medium format) are going to offer better IQ compared to crop sensors, all else being equal (which is seldom the case -- these larger cameras usually have better and more processing power and top sensors for class). Still, the 60D should provide excellent portraits and product photography in the right hands, where shallow DOF isn't an issue.



Jan 16, 2013 at 07:26 PM
Daan B
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p.2 #4 · FF vs crop for portraits


Access wrote:
FF is almost always advantageous. ie. Compare a crop camera with 50mm f/1.4 lens vs. a FF camera with 85mm f/1.8 lens.


Not always. It really depends on the lens and aperture used.

It's not a huge significance, but it is there.

Right, and you can make crop and FF match by choosing the right lens/aperture.

For lighting, it's again back to working distance. If my working distance is forced to be very long, the angles and position I can choose are more limited. It's less of a significance than composition, but again, still there.

It still doesn't make sense to me. If I have placed light on a subject, and ask the subject to hold still, and I stay in the same spot, the lighting doesn't change because I use crop or FF or even focal length for that matter. If I move the lighting in the final result will change. But again this has nothing to do with using FF or crop IMO


Edited on Jan 16, 2013 at 07:36 PM · View previous versions



Jan 16, 2013 at 07:35 PM
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p.2 #5 · FF vs crop for portraits


Gunzorro wrote:
The advantage lies in the FF for fine detail and tonal transitions. This applies to all photos, not just portraits.

Sometimes, but sometimes not. In practice, if you want fine detail at a distance, like birding, you want the crop with the highest pixel density like a 7D.



Jan 16, 2013 at 07:36 PM
 

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Gunzorro
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p.2 #6 · FF vs crop for portraits


Access -- In a practical sense, I agree. But my statement is still accurate when you don't include factors like magnification through cropping. Until you get to astronomical focal lengths, when you match the subject size to the sensor (using longer lens for FF), FF will always have more detail and better tonal transitions for similar MP sensors.

I think people understand that an 18MP APS-C sensor was crop from a scaled up FF, it's equivalent to around 29MP. If you take a 21MP sensor and crop down to match the APS-C, you get around a 12.5MP image (vs. 18MP). In that case, yes, the 12.5MP "FF" image is going to have less detail and tonal transition compared to 18MP APS-C. (I think I've got that right! )

It's nearly a wash, with the slight edge going to FF.



Jan 16, 2013 at 08:33 PM
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p.2 #7 · FF vs crop for portraits


Daan B wrote:
It still doesn't make sense to me. If I have placed light on a subject, and ask the subject to hold still, and I stay in the same spot, the lighting doesn't change because I use crop or FF or even focal length for that matter. If I move the lighting in the final result will change. But again this has nothing to do with using FF or crop IMO

Here too, having less of a range of focal lengths in order to achieve a desired effect.
If I'm shooting outdoors (not a studio), the more restrictive my usable focal lengths, the more restrictive (or just longer) my working distance, the less freedom I have to compose a shot with the angle, lighting, even background magnification that I want.

I've done portraiture with the u4/3 setup and that is where it is most evident. The difference between 1.6x crop and FF is not huge, but it's still there. Like the example I gave before, the rebel with the 17-55mm f/2.8 lens versus the full frame with the 24-70mm lens. Zoomed all the way in (70mm or equivalent), you can often achieve 'enough' background blur with the FF, but not with the rebel.



Jan 16, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Daan B
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p.2 #8 · FF vs crop for portraits


Access wrote:
Here too, having less of a range of focal lengths in order to achieve a desired effect.
If I'm shooting outdoors (not a studio), the more restrictive my usable focal lengths, the more restrictive (or just longer) my working distance, the less freedom I have to compose a shot with the angle, lighting, even background magnification that I want.

I've done portraiture with the u4/3 setup and that is where it is most evident. The difference between 1.6x crop and FF is not huge, but it's still there. Like the example I gave before, the rebel with the 17-55mm f/2.8 lens versus
...Show more

I think we are talking about different things



Jan 17, 2013 at 03:40 PM
GC5
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p.2 #9 · FF vs crop for portraits



In a portrait situtation where you are controlling many of the variables, the type of body won't make that big of a difference. Wonderful portraits can be captured with either body type.

I like my full frame 5d2 for better high ISO performance and occassionally for shallower depth of field. When you are using flash, that high ISO advantage becomes mostly (not entirely) irrelevant. In any case, many of my favorite portraits were taken on a 7D/60d/40D...



Jan 17, 2013 at 04:58 PM
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