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crop vs full frame for macro


tepot 10 4.4k United Kingdom
3 Jun 2012 9:34PM
Wasn't sure where to put this but i'm sure a mod will redirect if necessary...

I used to use (and sometimes still do) my Nikon D70s with Tamron 90 for macro, i just came back from a shoot using my Canon 5D MK1 with Sigma 150, although i love the feel of the 5D and the 'clank' of the shutter as opposed to the 'click' of the D70s, i am thinking as far as magnification goes the D70s got me closer to the subject due to it's 1.6x sensor so i am tempted to buy a cheap Canon body just to get a crop sensor again for macro that i would use with the Sigma 150, i am surprised actually how much difference it does make.

I have cropped the shots so they look similar in size to what i might have seen through a cropped sensor camera and the image still looks good at 1000 px size, can i expect the same/better or worse quality if i get a Canon t2i?

Terry.

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User_Removed 10 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
3 Jun 2012 10:00PM
I think that you're misunderstanding the arithmetic.

An object that fills an image say 3000 pixels by 2000 pixels will be more detailed when it fills 6000 x 4000 pixels regardless whether one camera does or doesn't have a crop factor.

Just buying a crop camera won't be enough. I can take a telephoto lens and choose to put it on either my 10D or 5D2, I'll always get a closer / bigger end result using the 5D2 after cropping in software.
tepot 10 4.4k United Kingdom
3 Jun 2012 11:05PM
I'm sooo confused....if the object that fills the 3000 X 2000 frame fills the 6000 X 4000 frame but with more detail, then it means the object must be closer when you hit the shutter right? your right i don't get the maths here.

If i shoot an object at say 3" distance from the lens with a crop sensor, that same object taken from the same distance with a full frame and same lens will appear smaller in the viewfinder right? so to get the same area coverage on both frames i would need to crop the full frame shot?

Terry.
User_Removed 10 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
3 Jun 2012 11:51PM
Imagine it another way. You have two cameras. For argument's sake a crop camera that outputs images of 3000 X 2000 px and a non-crop camera that outputs images of 9000 x 6000 px.

Now you photograph a butterfly with one camera then the other from the same distance. The 9000 x 6000 image from the full frame camera has more background but even after cropping that off to leave only the butterfly the resulting image is still bigger and more detailed than the uncropped 3000 X 2000 image from the crop camera.
ianrobinson e2
5 1.2k 8 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2012 12:09AM
am i understanding that the 9000 x 6000 image is actually mega pixels if so then that is right what i am thinking, the canon 5d mark ii has 21 mega pixels and i tend to use that over my 7d with 18 mega pixels, and saying that i tend to fill the subject in my view finder on the full frame anyway so i benefit in both ways.

Here's a sample of an image.

img-9064-edit.jpg

tepot 10 4.4k United Kingdom
4 Jun 2012 3:57AM
ok Chris, now i got it....thankyou so much!

Terry.
4 Jun 2012 2:40PM
Smaller sensor cameras are easier to use for macro IMO. Take the example of say a Canon 7D and a 5DII. If you're taking a photo of a bug from, say, 6" with a 90mm lens on the 7D, in order to get the same shot with the 5DII you would need a 144mm lens. (The 7D and the 5DII have a similar number of pixels, so we can leave that out of the argument). The photo taken with the FF camera will have a much lower depth of field (for a given aperture) than the one taken with the APS-C camera - for the simple reason that it's taken with a longer lens.

Smaller sensor cameras tend to have higher pixel density than FF cameras (not always, but usually) - for instance the pixel density of the 7D is roughly double that of the 5DII. So, if you use the same 90mm lens on the 5DII and the 7D, in order to get the same angle of view from the 5DII, you would need to crop the its image down to 8Mp (21Mp/1.6 squared) - less than half that of the 7D. So it's another win for the crop sensor camera. If you try to get round this by moving the FF camera nearer to the bug you end up losing DOF (you'll get the DOF of a 144mm lens at 6" again).

If you try to get round this problem on the FF camera by using one with very high pixel density and cropping you'd need to have about 48Mp to get the same density as the 7D - very expensive even if it were available.

Small sensors work well for macro.
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
4 Jun 2012 2:50PM

Quote:Small sensors work well for macro.


Agreed. And you can sometimes get better results from using a compact than from a DSLR/CSC. You can often focus as little as 1cm away and the DoF from using very short focal length lenses (e.g. 5mm) is significant. You have to compromise a little on quality but for static stuff, where you can set the camera on a tripod or other firm base, you can use a low ISO to mitigate tis.
User_Removed 10 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2012 2:51PM

Quote:Small sensors work well for macro.


You're saying that as if it's a general fact about small sensors. I say not, it depends on the sensor/camera. Perhaps it makes sense when comparing 7D and 5DII but it's not a general rule.

I have an EOS 10D (which has a small sensor). I also have a 1D MkII with a larger APS-H sensor and a 5D MKII with a full frame sensor. Based on your advice I should do my macro shots on the 10D. I disagree.
4 Jun 2012 3:14PM

Quote:Small sensors work well for macro.

You're saying that as if it's a general fact about small sensors. I say not, it depends on the sensor/camera. Perhaps it makes sense when comparing 7D and 5DII but it's not a general rule.

I have an EOS 10D (which has a small sensor). I also have a 1D MkII with a larger APS-H sensor and a 5D MKII with a full frame sensor. Based on your advice I should do my macro shots on the 10D. I disagree.



The 10D's a 6Mp camera that's about 10 years and 5 generations out of date. You need to compare like with like.

Basically, if you have a small sensor camera and a large sensor camera with the same pixel density then you can get exactly the same shot from the large sensor camera by cropping it. However, most large sensor cameras use lower pixel densities so cropping the image to the same angle of view loses you pixels (very rapidly). If you try to get round the problem by using a longer focal length you lose depth of field (always your enemy in macro shots). And if you try to get round the problem by moving closer you also lose DOF.

I'd certainly advise the OP that getting something like a 550D would probably work better for macro than a 5DI or 5DII. Moving to M4/3 would work even better, but would mean buying a lot of new equipment.
Overread e2
6 3.9k 18 England
4 Jun 2012 3:15PM
Generally speaking the primary "advantage" of the smaller sensors (or film size) is a change in the value of the circle of confusion, which in turn affects the possible depth of field. Between 1.6/1.5 crop cameras and a fullframe (35mm) the difference in depth of field is roughly equivalent to around one stop in aperture.

However fullframe cameras can often use an aperture smaller than crop sensor cameras before diffraction softening becomes to extreme. This tends to be of around (yep) one stop. As a result whilst the crop sensor camera can give you around one stop more depth of field than the same aperture setting on the fullframe, the fullframe can close down another whole stop whilst retaining the same level of detail as the crop sensor - ergo negating most of the advantage (and actually putting the advantage in teh fullframe sensor camera for having an increased reduction in depth of field at wide open apertures - because not all macro has to be done with a small aperture).

This difference tends to show up a lot more when you start comparing the small compact cameras to DSLRs - esp when close up lens adaptors are used on them to get 3:1 and similar high magnifications of small insects.


Ps - I've left resolution differences out of this and focused only on the depth of field, mostly because that remains fixed no matter the body, whilst resolution gets down to comparing specific bodies against each other because of the differences in MP, resolution, pixel size, density and all that.
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
4 Jun 2012 3:17PM
If you want more magnification get a set of tubes, not a new camera Smile
User_Removed 10 3.3k 4 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2012 4:20PM

Quote:The 10D's a 6Mp camera that's about 10 years and 5 generations out of date. You need to compare like with like.


No I don't, you're the one who needs to mention that as you're the one coming out with blanket generalisations.

You need to stop telling people that crop is always better for macro, because it's not always true. Not everyone will own "like for like" which is why I pointed it out with my 10D example. My friend has 500D and 5D2, does your blanket generalisation still stand?

Take notice of what Overread says. "I've left resolution differences out of this and focused only on the depth of field, mostly because that remains fixed no matter the body, whilst resolution gets down to comparing specific bodies against each other because of the differences in MP, resolution, pixel size, density and all that."
lobsterboy e2
11 14.3k 13 United Kingdom
4 Jun 2012 9:20PM
Right, I have just cleaned up this thread. Please discuss the matter in hand without resorting to abusing each other.

N.B. There is no requirement for anyone to have pictures in their PF to comment in the forum.

Thanks
Chris
dandeakin e2
7 207 3 England
5 Jun 2012 12:22AM
I use a D300 (cropx1.5) & D700 (full frame) for macro (both 12mp, both the same era).

I would always use the D700 for macro due to ISO performance and DR unless I was limited by magnification in which case I'd use the D300. I'm usually at maximum magnification so use the D300 most.

The DOF issues arn't that significant as I'd use the D300 up to f11 and the D700 up tof16 (cause of the diffraction issues mentioned above).

As stated above the cheapest and easiest way to get more magnification is with extension tubes on you're 5d.

That said, there's a lot of benefits of having both a crop and full frame camera. Why not sell the old D70 and get an old Canon crop Body? You'd get to use the sigma 150mm on either body depending on how much crop/'magnification' you wanted .

Most of my macro (insects) is with flash on full manual so any reasonably high MP crop body would be fine to go with my "main" camera.

Just a thought.

(There's loads of other great things about having a crop and full frame body ( like adding a 50mm f1.4)

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