Thursday, May 26, 2016

Crop Sensor vs Full Frame ...... Which one is better?

Hello fellow photographer. Hope you guys are doing great. Many are still wondering my views about the D500. Well that D500 is basically pushed me to write this blog. I will be sharing my views about the machine later. But first thing first …. lets discuss in detail which one is better …. Full Frame body? ….. or Crop Frame body?

Its going to be little teche so you guys needs to bear with me a little ….

Frankly speaking ….. the recent development in the digital photography is changing the landscape of it. There was a time when 12MP was considered more then enough on 36x24 mm digital sensor (A.K.A. Full frame format)  and now we are witnessing around 250MP sensor from Canon in the same area of 36x24 mm. Technology is evolving rapidly and effecting the photography big times. 

The original question was ….. Which one is better …. Full Frame or Crop Body? …. The honest answer is …. NO ONE.  Actually it depends what you are going to shoot. If you are low light shooter and shooting dark areas or low light gatherings/parties then you need a full frame. If you are nature/wild life or bird shooter then you need a crop body condition provided you are shooting them in day light. Of course you are going to shoot birds in the day light to capture their beautiful colors. But Why crop body for wild life or Bird Photography? …. The answer is …. "more data per square millimetre". Let me explain below how. 

Take a look at below image. Left one is crop sensor ….. and right one is Full Frame. Both are exposed with a streak of light  of equal quantity. Now look and tell me which sensor area "relatively" more expose to the light. The crop body ? or Full Frame? ….. the answer is crop body. Even though the quantity of light is the same but it is covering "more" area of the crop body because of its smaller dimension & causing more data/detail to be record on it. That's why if low light is not an issue, then you will get maximum details using a crop body. But if you are in Low Light ….. then you need Full Frame. 

Talking about the crop body …. i was thinking ….. why there is a hell of difference in performance of two old crop bodies like D90/D3000 who's ISO cannot go more then ISO1600 practically speaking against the newly announced D500 who's maximum ISO is 51,200 which is unbelievably high!

The answer is Signal-to-Noise compression algorithm (SNR Firmware) which is embedded into the processor. Its this software who's job is to suppress noise which is generated by the sensor in the form of a different frequencies and then this software start filtering out those un-necessary frequencies from the sensor output and produces cleaner images.

As the time passes by, all these camera manufacturing companies are working day and night on manufacturing better sensor and writing better software for every new model. Its exactly like you are upgrading your PC RAM and processor to support new version of Windows. By the way …. Both Nikon and Canon are not making any thing new for every new camera they release. In some models, either they stuffing more pixels into the sensor keeping the same SNR firmware ….. or some time they keep the pixel count same but release the new model with better SNR firmware which ultimately causing "better ISO performance" by one-two full stops …. & company marketing team uses that increased performance characteristic to sell the new machine. 

Below are are some example. 

D5000 = 12MP = Max. ISO 3200
D5100 = 16MP = Max. ISO 6400
D5200 = 24MP = Max. ISO 6400
D5300 = 24MP = Max. ISO 12,800
D5500 = 24MP = Max. ISO 25,600

D7000 = 16MP = Max. ISO 6400
D7100 = 24MP = Max. ISO 6400
D7200 = 24MP = Max. ISO 25,600

If you look above table you will see that from D5200 ~ D5500 ….. the pixel count is the same …. but Nikon was releasing the new models back to back by increasing the ISO performance of one full stop. They were putting better SNR software to increase the performance of the same sensor used in all 3 models. Canon & all other digital camera manufacturer does the same regardless its a full frame or crop body. That's how they are running their business. 

Now here is another interesting thing …. i have quoted at my photography page some times ago that the future of digital photography will be ….. "Full frame camera will be coming in crop body pixel density" …. Now what that suppose to mean …. I am assuming  here that all reader knows this fact that pixel pitch (pixel width) on the crop body is smaller causing low mega pixels e.g. Nikon D300s/D90 which were of 12MP each …. vs ….. bigger pixel pitch on the full frame using the same 12MP count like Nikon D3/D700. Its like fitting 12 people inside a small room (crop body) which will cause every one to be squeeze and less chances to move …… vs ..... the same 12 people fits in a bigger room (full frame) in this way the same 12 people will have plenty of room to play around ….. Now if i give each of these 12 people 1 liter of bottle to collect water in 1 minute of time …. inside the bigger room then i will be having 12 liter of water total after one minute. So my Gain over Time (G/T) is 12. 

Now what happens if i squeeze 250 people in the same bigger room (full frame) …. obviously count is increase from 12 to 250 means there will be less space for each person. And i will be repeating the same exercise by asking 250 people to collect 1 litre of water in 1 min. Then i will be having 250 liter of water at the end of 1 min. Now my Gain over Time (G/T) is jumped from 12 to 250 :) …..  If you looked above i mentioned about Canon 250MP mega pixel right !!!! …. Why i mentioned this 250MP canon sensor? Reason i just explained  …. Gain over Time (G/T) ….. Canon newly announced 120MP & 250MP sensors are the foundation on which new bodies will be make. More MP means more G/T. Let me share few interesting example of G/T. 

The G/T of the 24MP D750 which is a full frame is "LESS" then 24MP D7200 which is a crop body which is a interesting fact. Why? Because the pixel width of D750 is bigger (5.9µ) in compared of D7200 (3.92µ) so if i distribute D750 pixel width (5.9µ) over a crop body sensor (24x16mm) then i will be having less number of pixels on a crop body sensor unlike D7200. That is why the G/T of the D7200 is better then full frame D750. 

Another interesting example is of Canon 5DSR vs 7D MkII. Both having identical pixel pitch of 4.1µ. Canon first build 7D MkII with more mega pixels (means smaller pixel pitch of 4.1µ) over a smaller APS-C sensor size (22.4x15.0mm) and then they enlarge/sampled the same ratio over a full frame 36x24 mm sensor ….. making gigantic 50MP Canon 5DS. So if follow the same analogy for Nikon D7200 which is 24MP over (24x16 mm) APS-C sensor ….. and then i try to enlarge that ratio like Canon over a full frame area (36 x 24mm) …. i will be having a new Nikon Full Frame camera around 54MP. If i enlarge the smaller pixel of Nikon D500 which is 20.9 MP over a full frame ….. i will be having a 46MP monster which exactly we witnessed in the form of a Nikon D850. In short, there is no difference at all when it comes to Mega Pixel count between Nikon D500 vs Nikon D850. Why? Answer is, both got the same pixel pitch (means same number of pixels per unit area). 

So basically the new domain or direction of digital photography is full frame sensor is coming in crop body pixel density. This means instead of bigger pixel width on full frame (means less pixel count) we are going to have many smaller pixels which can provide very fine details when you capture any image. But for every good thing, there is a bad thing coming ….. the more pixel these companies are going to squeeze into the sensor  regardless size, the more noise it will create. Consider this as a example. First there was 12 people talking in a small room (crop sensor) & talking so noise was high . Then we moved the same 12 people in a bigger room (full frame) so noise level went down considerably due to bigger room size. Now if I push the 250 people in the bigger room and they start talking ….. imagine how much noise is going to be?  :) 

All these companies are working hard on both end …. first by making new sensors with more pixel counts in it & then making better SNR to handle them. There is a chance that in future you will be seeing a crop body with 36MP sensor like mighty D810, which not only offer  Dynamic Range but also better ISO due to advance SNR firmware but it will be higly unlikely happens becuase physical limitation of the silicon is reached to its max when it comes to sensor which we will discuss in some time. So in future you will be seeing crop body performing almost near to Full Frame. The performance gap between a full frame and crop body is almost finish. The latest Nikon D500 is the best example to prove my point. I am testing it and its Dynamic Range and ISO performance is mind boggling. The D500 is better in performance to those full frame machine which were released like 7-8 years ago. 

So as far as question goes which body is better … full frame or crop body? ……

Answer is …. No One :)….. it depends on you what you like to do with them. The ISO performance of the full frame is better but crop body G/T is better then full frame means more translation data per square millimeter ..... means you can crop in later in post processing and still get stunning result.

Hope it will make sense. 

Thanks for stopping by  …. Have a great day ahead. 


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Lens vs Camera

Today at one of a famous Facebook Photography page, i came across a very interesting argument. I was saying ….. Bodies comes and goes …. Lenses remains forever.

And then one young talent jumped-in with a counter argument " Balance is a Key. No point of getting very expensive lens when your body cannot utilise it". 

And i was like …. :O …. Really !!!!! … Am i missing something here? What lens has to do with the body any ways, even technically speaking? …. Then i asked the gentleman " What body has to go (technically speaking) by utilizing the lens? " ….. and to my surprise the gentleman replied "For Instance ISO Performance. You can utilise higher ISO at time". 

That reply was too much for me to digest. I am not going to lie but i was feeling sorry for that gentleman. It was not his fault for what ever he was saying to be honest. Why? Because in our country people take photography as a FASHION rather then as a field of interest to learn it to the core. And when u do fashion ….. You just follow the trend rather then first read it …. understands it …. and then apply it. In our country these days, every one is either want to Actor … or model …. or Director. And if they not able to make any of it, then becoming Photography is their last and easy option to go with. Since the world is becoming digital, things are becoming to easy and accessible for all. Same applied for photography. Make no mistake about it but respect all professional photographers who running their kitchen and paying the bills .... its not easy to make both end meet using a Camera. Trust me on that.

Since digital took over the film photography, a wise man said a beautiful line …. "Digital makes you lazy" ….. This is one of the main reason you often see many people carrying digital camera these days. Many people want to be Professional Photographer without realizing the fact that this field will suite them or not .... How to break-in into the market. How to advertise your work (not talking about making Facebook Page) etc etc.

Coming back the main topic which is what lens has to do with camera bodies which are better capable of handling higher ISO values. By the way …. just like to share a key point that ISO has nothing to do with the Exposure Triangle. Its just a applied gain just like an audio amplifier where you pumping up the volume as per your need. Same applies for the ISO value of the machine. Every machine sensor got a basic ISO value which you can "manipulate" later either from the camera body or in the post processing to get your desire results. We will have separate blog on that later in future. 

So i was saying about lens role with machine and their ISO capability …. The feedback that i received was "An expensive lens makes a hell lot of difference when they used over a crop body like 70D vs full frame 1Dx". Now this feedback made me start thinking on logical and physical basis what really lens performance has to do with a Crop Body (CB) vs a Full Frame (FF). And if you have read up on you field of interest,  it will not take much of your time to get the answer which is "NONE" when it comes to ISO performance of the body. Lens has nothing to with ISO which i will try to explain in simple words below. But when you compare a 70D vs 1Dx .... there is not major difference among the machines other then the following 

1- ISO performance.
2- Higher FPS
3- AF options and AF speed.  
4- Mega pixels count (which is least relevant) 

Now lets see what ISO has to do with the lens here. Imagine you have Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 which is a good sharp lens at the center (marked green below) but not towards the edges of the lens. 


Now you have used this lens on a FF body (say Canon 1Dx or Nikon D5) and the expected coverage is going to be like this. 

The above image shows a considerable central area of FF sensor that is covered by the FF lens which is mostly sharp and marked in green (also known as SWEET SPOT). Now i start using this lens on 1Dx or D5 at ISO 100 and then i started increasing the ISO all the way to their top values which is over 400,000 for 1Dx and 3.2 Million ISO for D5. After taking few photos now i decided to switch from FF to CB which is Canon 70D or Nikon D7200 and used the same lens. Lets what happens next.

If you look at the above image it is clear that most of the "Sweet Spot" of the FF lens is covering the CB sensor which is marked in RED of the CB 70D or D7200. So yes …. that's the ONLY ADVANTAGE that i see of using a FF lens on a CB. Now many will jump from the seat and start thinking that i missed the " 1.5/1.6 multiplication zoom factors" here. No i am not forgetting anything. First of all it is NOT ZOOM. That focal length multiplication factor is just "Angle of interception/Field of view". Depth of Field will remain the same if we only change the lens, do not change the aperture and shoot from the same distance. Just like you switch the camera body from D750 to D7200 over a fixed tripod. 

Hay ….. wait a minute ….. where is the ISO thing in this whole conversation and explanation? What lens was doing here when i was changing the ISO from ISO 100 —> 400,000/ 3.2 Million followed by changing the bodies? Is there any "technical attribute" lens is adding to the camera body or in the final image? Let find out. 

Before we see what lens will do with camera body ISO …. we need to see what lens is capable to do and what attributes of the lenses are out there to play with. Lens making is an art. It not easy. A same company some time making a superb lens at one particular focal length but they are unable to replicate the same level of performance & perfection on some other focal length  or making zoom lens. For example, Carl Zeiss is world famous in prime lenses. Their Otus line is world class but their wide angle lenses sucks big …. Yes i am talking about 15mm & 21mm. They are not good in over all performance like their other primes at higher focal length …. not believing me …. google for it and you will get the result. Thats shows the weak point of Carl Zeiss that they are not good in wide angle lenses. 

On the same note ….. Nikon and Canon made whole range of 50 & 85mm lens. But their 60mm lens is not that good like their 50/85mm. Again Nikon and Canon made some excellent Zoom lenses. But Nikon 24-120mm f/4G is not performing like 24-70mm f/2.8G. Same goes for Canon 24-105mm f/4L lens vs 24-70mm f/2.8 lens II USM L lens. And at the same time it is also strange thing to notice that it is not mandatory that a cheap lens performance is lagging behind in compared to any expensive lens. For example Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 G is one sharp lens and optically equal in quality with its expensive sibling 16-35mm f/4G VR which is double in price. Same goes for Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX lens which is only $200 with Auto Focus and its one hell of a sharp lens. So yes, Lens making is an art. 

So what are the lens attributes in general that we know, 

1- Bokeh (most commonly known) 
2- Sharpness
3- Focal Length
4- Offered Aperture

I guess yes …. that's the common known attributes mentioned above. Now following are the addition attributes which many does not know or don't even consider. We all have to include these attributes next time when you buy any lens.

5- Acutance
6- Resolution
7- Rendered depth
8- Perceived depth
9- Micro Contrast (for black and white editing) 
10- Contrast
11- Colour Saturation
12- Meshing 
13- Weight

All above define attributes are happening inside the lens …. or shall i say lens does these attributes what ever makes sense to you. When light enters into the lens from the front element, it get "processed" and WELL DONE by the different glass elements into it and then the processed light get out from the rear glass element of the lens and fall over the sensor. Many fellow photographers doesn't know the fact that the more glass element inside the lens, the more images quality is going to be destroyed. The less glass elements inside the lens produces far better results. We will have a separate blog on it later in future. 

So after light enters and get process by the lens regardless it was a day time or night time ….. lens treating the light the same based on the above mentioned attributes and then throw it over the sensor of the camera body. Now it doesn't matter if the body is 70D or 1Dx …. lens is already done its job ..... Finish ..... Khallas ..... Done. Now its camera body job to process it as per dialed value of "Aperture - Shutter Speed (which is already happened inside the lens) " …. and ISO.

Mind you …. Camera body only add dialed ISO value to the "processed light" which is coming from the lens and then mix it into the blender of the "18% Grey" and then dumped the result on the SD/CF card for your view. It doesn't matter at all if the body is 70D …5Dmk3 … 1dx …. 1200D …. D5 …. D810 ….. D750 …. D3 …. or D3300 ….. Shooting at different ISO's values …… they all behaves the same. .....

Receive light from the lens --> process it as per ISO --> Throw it on the SD/CF Card --> Repeat

No camera body in the world has anything to do with the lens. If lens with aperture f/2.8 is dialed to shoot at f/9 …. it will stopping the light by f/9 regardless whatever body is going to be attached to it shooting at what ever ISO. Camera bodies just processes the light coming from the lens which passed from the f/9 aperture. What ever they will receive  …. they just going to process it …. Simple.

I have seen canon users using Nikon lenses for the ultra wide angle shots using special adapter's ….. that point is clear cut proof that body has nothing to do with the lens. Both are doing their own job independently. 

As i explained in detail what happening between the lens and the camera body ….. does any one still have this confusion Lens has anything to do with the camera body ?

Thanks for stopping by and reading this blog. You all have a great day ahead.