Editing Practice and Just a Bit on the Crop Factor Debate « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Editing Practice and Just a Bit on the Crop Factor Debate

The Streak Continues: 309

I have now received all of four DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion Guide manuscripts from the reviewers via e-mail and will began incorporating the suggestions yesterday. I will ship the revised ms off to Arash so that he can create the PDF as soon as my work is done. I enjoyed an easy 1/2 mile swim yesterday and four great MLB playoff games. This blog post, the 309th in a row, took me exactly 1 hour, 54 minutes and 11.9 seconds to prepare, all of the work done on Sunday morning. It was published just before 7:00am from my home in Indian Lake Estates, FL.

To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we do ask that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, and the like. We sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

Scroll down in this blog post to learn about the $200 Last Minute Registration Discount offer for the Fort DeSoto IPT. Join us and you just might get a chance to try out a 7D II for a few minutes…..

Wow!

Right after publishing this blog post I stepped out onto the pool deck to barbecue my breakfast of chicken and Brussels sprouts and was shocked by how cold it was: 59 chilly degrees. I had heard that a front was coming through last night. The pool had already been down below 78 degrees. Yikes for today’s swim!


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This image was created at Fort DeSoto Park in 2009 with the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM lens and the (long ago) EOS-50D soon to be replaced by the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 500. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/6400 sec. at f/6.3 in Av mode. (Note: this is the equivalent of 1/3 stop darker than my standard, oft-recommended sunny/ISO 400 exposure for SUPER bright WHITEs: 1/2500 sec. at f/8)

9-Point AI Servo shutter button AF. Talk about the old days!

Image #1: 9:13.50am

Your Mission

Your mission here, should you decide to accept it, is to let us know which of today’s six images you would keep, which you would delete, and why. As always, should you or any of your BAA Force be caught or killed, Arthur Morris will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This blog post will will self-destruct in ten seconds. Good luck.


mg_5728-ft-desoto-park-st

This image was created at Fort DeSoto Park in 2009 with the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM lens and the (long ago) EOS-50D soon to be replaced by the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/3200 sec. at f/8 in Av mode. (Note: this is the equivalent of 1/3 stop darker than my standard, oft-recommended sunny/ISO 400 exposure for SUPER bright WHITEs: 1/2500 sec. at f/8)

9-Point AI Servo shutter button AF. Talk about the old days!

Image #2: 9:14.07am

Sitting Down on the Job

For images #1-#4 I was using my knee-pod: I was seated resting my left forearm on my left knee to stabilize the lens. Learn more about knee-podding here. And learn why you need to be in active AI Servo AF when hand holding in the “Best Ever Hand Holding Tip” blog post here.


mg_5731-ft-desoto-park-st

This image was created at Fort DeSoto Park in 2009 with the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM lens and the (long ago) EOS-50D soon to be replaced by the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/3200 sec. at f/8 in Av mode. (Note: this is the equivalent of 1/3 stop darker than my standard, oft-recommended sunny/ISO 400 exposure for SUPER bright WHITEs: 1/2500 sec. at f/8)

9-Point AI Servo shutter button AF. Talk about the old days!

Image #3: 9:14.20am

Photographing Preening Birds

When photographing preening birds it is almost always best to strive to press the shutter button when the eye is clearly visible and when the bird’s head is pretty much parallel to the imaging sensor, i.e., to the back of the camera.


mg_5743-ft-desoto-park-st

This image was created at Fort DeSoto Park in 2009 with the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM lens and the (long ago) EOS-50D soon to be replaced by the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/3200 sec. at f/8 in Av mode. (Note: this is the equivalent of 1/3 stop darker than my standard, oft-recommended sunny/ISO 400 exposure for SUPER bright WHITEs: 1/2500 sec. at f/8)

9-Point AI Servo shutter button AF. Talk about the old days!

Image #4: 9:14.33am

Coming Soon…

The thought of hand holding either a 400 f4 IS DO or a 300mm f/2.8L IS lens with the new 7D II and its 1.6 crop factor is intriguing. Some folks believe that the crop factor is an illusion, others like me believe that it is a plus for many folks. In that group you can include all the folks who have made good images with the EOS-40D, the EOS-50D, and more recently, the EOS-7D.

Here, unedited, is a comment left by Jim Magowan at one of the many 7D II-related blog posts here. Jim is obviously on the other side of the fence. My response, in green, is included.

Art,

You mention being able to use lighter lenses with the 7D II due to the crop factor. I have read much the same idea about the crop factor from other well known photographers. My first Canon (a 20D) had an 8 mp sensor. I believe the full frame model below the 1Ds was the 1D; whatever it was, when I calculated the pixel density (pixels per sq mm) for the two cameras it was identical. If images were shot with the same focal length lens from the same location (or distance) the 1D image, if cropped to show the same part of the image as the 20D image had the same number of pixels (resolution) as the 20D image. If all other things (pixel size or quality, etc.,) are equal this means that you could shoot the full frame image and if you want to get the 1.6 ‘magnification’ of the aps-c sensor just crop the image in Photoshop.

Of course, the sensors in the full frame cameras are supposed to be better so actually you got a better image using the full frame camera and cropping in PS. In short, if the pixels in the full frame camera are of equal or better quality to the aps-c pixels, image-wise, shooting full frame is like shooting with both cameras.

The ‘magnification’ of the aps-c sensor has nothing to do with the sensor, it is a function of the way the images are displayed and printed. The aps-c image is ‘blown up to fill the same area on the screen as the full frame image.

The advantages of the 1.6 crop factor do not include being able to work with shorter lenses unless you simply prefer to crop with the camera rather than PS. There is an advantage in being able to use lenses specifically designed for the 1.6 bodies in that they can be made smaller and lighter for the same focal length and speed because they do not have to project as large an image onto the sensor (not as much glass, etc.). When a full frame lens is used on a 1.6 body much of the image does not hit the sensor.

The question I would ask is how a 1.6 crop of an image from the 1Dx compares with the image from the 7D II? I would love to see the result if you were to shoot from the same location with the same lens on the 1Dx and the 7DII and print the 7DII image and the 1Dx crop at successively greater enlargements to compare image quality.

The advantages of the 1.6 bodies are:

1. They are (more) affordable for people like me than the full frame bodies.
2. You can leave the dual battery holder off to save weight and bulk, if desired.
3. 1.6 specific lenses can be lighter and cheaper than the equivalent full frame lenses.
4. The bodies can be more compact and lighter because components such as mirrors and sensors are smaller.
5. They usually have a built in flash which is often better than no flash.
6. On the 7D (and I assume the II)you can turn off the on camera flash, but still trigger off camera Speedlights with it.

The image magnification, however, is a myth. If I shoot a bird with my 7D (or maybe someday with a 7DII) from the same place as you shoot the same bird with your 1Dx, using the same lens (focal length) and you crop your image to match my 1.6 image your cropped image can be blown up far more than my 1.6 image because your 1Dx has ‘better’ pixels (or so they tell me).

Hi James, Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the info above. I have long tried to stay out of discussions on this topic as I really do not understand the concept very well, I am not very good at pixel math, and I feel that the arguments are in large part semantic in nature….

Lastly, seeing the image larger in the frame and larger on the LCD viewing screen gives many folks added confidence….

That said I will try to remember to shoot some side by side images with all three cameras when I get my hands on a 7D II. I will likely need a sleeping bird.

best and respectfully, artie


mg_5748-ft-desoto-park-st

This image was created at Fort DeSoto Park in 2009 with the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM lens and the (long ago) EOS-50D soon to be replaced by the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/8 in Av mode. (Note: this is the equivalent of my standard, oft-recommended sunny/ISO 400 exposure for SUPER bright WHITEs: 1/2500 sec. at f/8)

9-Point AI Servo shutter button AF. Talk about the old days!

Image #5: 9:14.52am

Today’s Featured Lens

Used Canon EF 400mm f/4 IS DO UMS Lens

Multiple IPT veteran Shelly Goldstein is giving away a Canon EF 400mm f/4 IS DO UMS lens in very good + condition for a ridiculously low $4100. The lens has been protected by a LensCoat since day one thus there are only a few small blemishes on the tripod collar. There are several extras. The sale includes a Really Right Stuff quick release lens plate (MAPR-1b), a LensCoat, the original lens trunk, the original leather front lens cover, the rear dust cap, and insured shipping via Fed Ex Ground to US addresses only. The lens was cleaned and checked by Canon in September 2014.

You can contact Shelly via e-mail or by phone at 646-423-0392 (EST). Your lens will be shipped only after your check clears.

I owned and used and loved my 400 DO for about five years. If you missed my comments on this lightweight–hand holdable for most–telephoto lens (and 14 great images) please see this blog post: The Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO Lens: Fourteen Images that Prove that the Internet Experts are (As Usual) Idiots.


mg_5782-ft-desoto-park-st

This image was created at Fort DeSoto Park in 2009 with the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM lens and the (long ago) EOS-50D soon to be replaced by the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/8 in Av mode. (Note: this is the equivalent my standard, oft-recommended sunny/ISO 400 exposure for SUPER bright WHITEs: 1/2500 sec. at f/8)

9-Point AI Servo shutter button AF. Talk about the old days!

Image #6: 9:16:23am

Lying Down on the Job

For images #5 & 6, I was lying down on the wet sand. Note the lower perspective in both images. And note the tilted horizon in Image #5; it is harder to create level images when hand holding and lying down than when hand holding and sitting down or standing. When on a tripod it only takes a second to check the electronic level on the rear LCD.

The new 7D II will be the first Canon dSLR to offer an optional electronic level in the viewfinder. This will be a boon to hand holders.

Most interesting is to compare the two portraits, image #4 and image #6. Feel free to comment if you wish….

ID Quiz

What species? If you own a field guide, take a peek. It does not get any easier than this.



Use the BAA Affiliate logo link above to pre-order your 7D II, shoot me your receipt via e-mail,
and I will do my very best to have your order expedited once the camera begins shipping.


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Fort DeSoto in fall is rich with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or early October. I hope that you can join me there this October. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

First-ever BIRDS AS ART In-the-Field/Meetup Workshop Session (ITF/MWS): $50

Join me on the afternoon of October 10, 2014 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images. Teleconverters are always a plus.

You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive afternoon workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tours. I hope to meet you there.

To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal registration fee. Your registration fee is non-refundable. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place at least two weeks before the event.


desoto-fall-card-a-layers

Obviously folks attending the IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are relatively short in October. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Fort DeSoto Fall IPT/October 11-13, 2014. 3 FULL DAYs: $1099. Limit 8/Openings: 5.

$200 Last Minute Registration Discount!

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds in fall. There they join hundreds of egrets, herons, night-herons, gulls, and terns who winter on the T-shaped peninsula that serves as their wintering grounds. With any luck, we should get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher likely. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Tricolored Heron are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. And Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork would not be unexpected.

Folks who sign up for the IPT are welcome to join us on the ITF/MWS on Friday afternoon as my guest. See above for details on that.

On the IPT you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

At lunch (included) we will review my images–folks learn a ton watching me edit–why keep this one and delete that one. If you opt to bring your laptop, we will take a look at five of your best images from the morning session. We will process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time.

If you decide to register and are traveling to attend this IPT, please make your reservations at the Beachcomber Beach Resort, 6200 Gulf Blvd, St. Petersburg (St. Pete Beach), FL 33706 (727-367-1902) as soon as possible as rooms for the weekend days are scarce: ARR: 10 OCT/DEP 14 OCT. I stayed there on my last DeSoto visit and was quite happy with it. Lodging is tough in Florida at this season…. The best airport is Tampa (TPA). It is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel so if you are interested it would be a good idea to register now and make your hotel reservations as well. We can, however, coordinate easily with local folks who opt to stay at home either by cell phone or e-mail.

Because of the relatively late date, payment is full is due upon registration either by check or credit card. If the former, please e-mail us immediately so that we can save you a spot. If the latter, please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand to register . Your registration fee is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with eight so please check your plans carefully before committing. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions, gear advice, and first morning meeting place about one month before this IPT.


fort-desoto-card

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45 comments to Editing Practice and Just a Bit on the Crop Factor Debate

  • avatar Warren H

    I read you equivalent “Sunny 16” of ISO 400, 1/2500, f8. For someone like me with a Rebel body (i.e. poor ISO performance), Would I be better at ISO 200 and 1/1250 shutter speed at f8? 1/1250 seems fast enough, and I would think ISO 200 would be better with this camera. Thoughts?

    • avatar David Policansky

      Warren H: If I might jump in here, the Rebel T41 has at least as good high-ISO performance as the 60D, probably a bit better than the 7D. It also has surprisingly good AF.

      David

      • avatar Warren H

        Thanks for jumping in. I thought it was pretty good, but without experience with the others, I never really knew how it stacked up.

        Thanks!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Warren, I see no need to go down to ISO 200. That said I do not know anything about your camera…. Is noise a problem at ISO 400?

      • avatar Warren H

        No, 400 typically looks pretty good. I guess I have just always read the lower the better. I will bet there is a lot of information like that which newbie hear and take to heart that they really shouldn’t.

        You need to just take pictures, experiment and see what works for you, I guess!

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Stick with us. We teach what works and what is real :). artie

          ps: ISO 400 is my everyday go-to setting.

  • avatar Chris

    Forster’s Tern, adult non-breeding

    Orangish legs, black bill with some color at base, eye stripes, white head with black whiskers on it. Guides used: Florida Birds by Pranty, and allaboutbirds.org.

    I had some trouble figuring which I would like, it would work better if I saw them side by side a bit, but I would likely keep most of them, and delete maybe 1 and 2, because 1 is a weird head angle, and also 2 is, and neither are really too appealing, but the others are more better.

  • avatar Warren H

    It looks like a winter Forster’s to me.

    I like images 4-6 the best, mainly for eye contact. However, I also really like #3 for the “cute” factor and emotion it brings!

    Between the 2 portraits, #4 and #6, it is interesting. The lower position gives the better”portrait” look with pleasing blurs in background, etc, ; however, in this case, I really #4 because I can see the surrounding a little better. (i.e. environmental shot) Specifically, I love the sharp clear water in the little wave coming by the bird. Some may say it too distracting, but I guess I love the ocean enough I like that addition.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Warren,

      I am with you on #3 and especially #4. Winter Forster’s Tern is correct. Well done my friend. Where do you live? artie

      • avatar Warren H

        I live in North Atlanta. I grew up at the beach in Jacksonville Beach, Fl, but back then I thought there were only “seagulls,” sandpipers and pelicans! I just started getting into shorebirds and seabirds this past year while helping my parents move.

        Thanks for all you do. I just bought my first real lens from one of you used sales, 300mm f4. So far I love it. Just waiting to get a 1.4TC to go with it. Any recommendations? Is the Kenco Pro just as good as the Canon for 1/3 the cost? (I am using a Rebel t4i)

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Hi Warren,

          I am not sure how the Kenko Pro does at communicating info to the camera. I’d try to get a used 1.4X II TC. You just missed on the other day….

          Where do you live now? artie

          • avatar Warren H

            I called to try to get those TC’s the day you posted them, but they were sold. $100 was a REALLY good price. Just have to wait…

            I live in Cumming, Ga, now.

            Thanks. How far from Jacksonville?

  • avatar Marvin Falk

    I use both the 7D and the 5D3. I don’t have a high quality 500 or 600mm lens so I make do with more moderate telephotos. In good light the 7D fills the frame better and I can compose and manage the image better. However the 7D does less well in dim light, both for sensor noise and for focusing performance.

  • avatar Bill Goodhew

    After re-reading the Sept 14 post, is it a Sandwich Tern in breeding plumage?

  • avatar Bill Goodhew

    So what’s the species? Couldn’t find in in Sibley…

  • avatar Christian C. Berclaz

    Looking at the pure geometrical comparison between Canon FF 24×36 and APS 22.3×14.9 it gives the FF a surface 2.6x larger than the APS, so keeping with the pixel density, you’d need a FF with about 50MP to crop an APS-C to 20MP.
    That doesn’t account for two competing factors: diffraction and noise. With the 7DII diffraction creeps in at around f/8 whilst on a 1Dx its above f/11 if I’m correct. However this is offset (partially) by the approx 1-stop of deeper DoF on the APS than FF. Signal to Noise is the other element, noise is proportional to pixel density, thus geometrically a 1Dx should have 2.8x less noise (50/18) than the 7DII, but we all know how technology has improved noise.

    That’s for the math, looking at Artie’s results with the 50D it is quite clear that an APS (this one being on paper vastly inferior to the 7DII) is as good a tool in any capable hands (I just guess that new cameras would require comparatively less post processing time).

    As to me: if the 7DII has the AF capabilities and noise level of a 5DIII, call me a happy camper 🙂 Let’s see…
    Chris

  • avatar Jim Magowan

    Art,

    I was surprised to see my ‘dissertation in your blog. Unlike you young guys my memory takes a bit longer to fire up. When I bought the 20D the full frame was the original 5D (not 1D). multiplying the pixels in the 20D (8) by 1.6 gave the same number as the pixels in the 5D. I then realized that an 8 mp crop of the 5D image should (other things being equal) have the same resolution as the full 20D image.

    From what I read it looked like the 5D crop would actually be better because all other things were not equal. Proof of this is that the 18 mp 1Dx produces superior images to the 20+ MP images from the 1Ds line.

    A friend who is the top pet photographer in Anchorage is using the 1Dx and considers it the best DSLR, period. He has compared images from other Canons as well as the Nikons, including blowing them up to see the differences.

    There are two things keeping me from buying the 1Dx, my wife and the bank account (or lack thereof).

    Ironically, when I bought the 20D (knowing virtually nothing about digital photography) I picked the 20D (8mp) over the Rebel (6mp) even though it cost more than I had intended to spend, because I figured I could crop 25% off an image and still have the same quality as with the Rebel image.

    In thinking about it, I have never looked at one of my images and wished I had had a higher resolution sensor unless I wanted to do a huge crop and enlargement. Frankly, even with the 20D the real limitation was not the sensor, it was (and is) me.

    In a way I think the issue is a lot like what I encountered with sound systems. Years ago when I was into that kind of thing I would look at frequency responses and S/N ratios on speakers before buying them. As a result I had speakers that produced great music including notes at 20,000 mhz. Thanks to a lot of shooting with 7-8 mm rifles instead of 35mm cameras I have ears that are good to a little over 2,000 mhz (almost deaf). A lot of it is about what we think, not what we see or hear.

    Incidentally, I don’t know if I have ever mentioned it to you (thanked you) for getting on me for using my little Gitzo 1297 tripod with the 500 f4 on the bank of the Chilkat at the American Bald Eagle Festival in Haines. When I got back to Anchorage I immediately went to the camera shop and told Mick that I needed a heavier tripod. He smiled and said, ‘Have I got a deal for you.’ A guy had ordered a Gitzo 3540 and never picked it up (‘That’s the last time I do a special order without a deposit’). I have used the 3540 with the 500 ever since including for a lot of nice shots of the Trumpeters and Tundras when they come through in fall and spring.

    • avatar David Policansky

      Hi, Jim Magowan. I apologize if my reply wasn’t expected. But multiplying by 1.6 isn’t the right calculation, because you’re dealing with an area, not a linear dimension. The area of a “full frame” sensor is about 864 square mm, that of a Canon 7D’s sensor is about 330 sq mm. So you’d need 2.6 times as many pixels in a “full frame” sensor as in a Canon crop sensor to get the same pixel density. So in the case of your 20D, which had 8 MP, you’d need 2.6 X 8 = 20.8 MP to get the same pixel density, so you’d be looking at the 5D2 or the 5D3, not the original 12 MP 5D, to get the same pixel density as your 20D. I suspect that you’re a very good photographer, and that you can make lovely images with any camera. But for me, who photographs birds that usually are too far away, and who can’t justify spending around $10,000 for a lens, the crop-sensor advantage is very real. And now that the 7D2 will AF at f/8, I can put a 1.4X TC on my 400 mm lens and still use it, which is even better. Best wishes, David

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie, and thanks as always. I wouldn’t delete any of the images. I have a harder time liking #2 than the others because of the upside-down head, but I’d for sure keep it too. I think image #1 has “eye contact” as well; I like it. On your issue of crop versus “full frame,” first, let me say that I at least can’t tell any difference in image quality from you images with the 50D and the 1DX, or anything else in between. Your images all are superb and I like pointing that out to pixel-peepers on internet photography forums who complain about Canon’s sensors. They surely don’t hold you back!

    Now, on the crop-factor advantage. Jim Magowan is really terribly badly wrong. The Canon EOS 1D’s sensor had a little over 4 MP. How could it give Jim resolution as good as his 8 MP 20D? And being “full frame” makes it worse. The pixel density of the 1D was way lower than the 8 MP crop of the 20D. It really isn’t very complicated. If you are focal-length limited–in other words, if you can’t get close enough–then having more pixels on the target, which a crop camera gives you, is better, all other things being equal. The advantage the crop sensor gives you in this regard is absolutely, positively real, but only if it is more pixel-dense, or has more pixels per square mm, than the “full frame” camera you are comparing it to.

    My Canon 7D has 18 MP. I am not usually limited by resolution; I’m usually limited by motion blur, poor focus, atmospheric conditions, bad exposure, bad framing, and other things. But when I’ve taken some photos with my Canon 6D in excellent light, with its “full-frame” 20 MP sensor, then I have been limited by resolution at times, because I have too few pixels on the target. (I always put “full-frame” in quotes, because as M. Bruce pointed out, that 35 X 24 format was in fact a miniaturization from 4 X % and 8 X 10 cameras.)

    • avatar Don Pugh

      “It really isn’t very complicated. If you are focal-length limited–in other words, if you can’t get close enough–then having more pixels on the target, which a crop camera gives you, is better, all other things being equal. The advantage the crop sensor gives you in this regard is absolutely, positively real, but only if it is more pixel-dense, or has more pixels per square mm, than the “full frame” camera you are comparing it to.”

      Sorry David, but this is complete nonsense, because all other things aren’t equal. All pixels aren’t created equal. The pixels of a full frame sensor are larger and much better than the pixels of a crop sensor camera. Canon explains this very clearly in a 2006 white paper on full frame versus crop sensors.

      • avatar David Policansky

        Hi, Don Pugh. It really isn’t even partial nonsense. 🙂 I did say “all things equal,” and in bright light, they pretty much are. Look at Artie’s images in this blog post; are they so much worse than they would have been if he’d used a 5D3 or a 1DX that you can tell? I surely can’t.

        But of course there’s a trade-off. We don’t want to be carrying heavy cameras if we could carry lighter ones, lenses too. So in dimmer light, then you have to start thinking about the trade-off. But interestingly, since the Canon white paper you mention from 2006, all Canon’s DSLR lines have more and smaller pixels than they used to (Rebel,6 – 18 or 20; 20D 8, 70D 20; 5D 12, 5D3 22). I can’t wait to read Artie’s real-life judgments made with a real 7D2 in real-world conditions.

        • avatar Don Pugh

          David, more and smaller pixels don’t trump fewer and larger ones that have much higher capabilities in terms of light gathering and capturing subtleties in color.

          Artie didn’t post any comparison pictures taken by the 5D III or 1DX at the same time and place, so we can’t judge whether they would have been better (of course the 2 full frame cameras didn’t exit when he took the pictures). I’m not sure we’d be able to see subtle differences on our computer screens anyway, even with properly calibrated monitors.

          Do you think Artie would be using heavier and more expensive cameras if he thought the image quality produced by crop sensor cameras was as good?

          • avatar David Policansky

            Don: You are creating a disagreement where none exists. Every camera is a compromise. Nobody is suggesting that “full frame” cameras don’t have IQ advantages. All I said, and continue to say, is that crop sensors can give you better “reach” and lighter camera bodies than “full frame” sensors, so you can use less-expensive lenses, and that especially in good light, I find that trade-off positive. So no, my crop sensor might not be as good as “full frame,” but if Artie can make spectacular images with crop cameras–and he can!–I have something to aspire to without buying a more-expensive and heavier “full frame” camera and bigger lenses. You also might ponder why Nikon decided to issue the 36 MP D800 and why Canon’s CEO has suggested Canon may soon follow suit. The new processors and other technological advances have worked wonders for all cameras. Anyway, I look forward to Artie’s impressions of the new Canon 7D2.

        • avatar Don Pugh

          David, a Canon full frame sensor is 2.6 times the size of a Canon APS-C sensor. If more and smaller pixels created the best image quality, why wouldn’t Canon make the 1DX a 50+ megapixel camera using the same pixel sizes as they use on crop sensor cameras? Here’s why, from the Canon white paper I referenced previously.

          “Regardless of format, full-frame sensors are all about image quality. The most
          obvious advantage of full-frame sensors is the ability to combine high resolution
          with large pixel sizes. Compare two sensors with the same number of pixels, one a
          full-frame unit and one smaller. The pixels of the full-frame sensor are larger. Each
          larger pixel has a greater surface area available for gathering light. More light
          collected means less amplification needs to be applied to the output signal of each
          pixel for the purposes of readout and image processing. Less is better here
          because magnifying low-level signals inevitably entails picking up and increasing
          noise that will then have to be removed as thoroughly as possible in a later step.

          From the diagram below, one can see that bigger pixels offer higher sensitivity
          because they can gather more light in less time than smaller pixels. The diagram also
          shows that larger pixels are less inclined to light overflow or spillover because of their
          greater capacity, improving dynamic range. Finally, for a given quantity of noise, more
          light gathered means a higher signal-to-noise ratio and increased optical signal purit

          In the extreme case of low-light photography and ISO ratings of 800 and above,
          high signal-to-noise ratios give full-frame sensors a great advantage. In bright light
          with low ISO settings, the abundant charge storage of Canon’s large CMOS pixels
          avoids over saturation.

          Larger pixels help full-frame sensors to produce a higher dynamic range and
          finer tonal gradations than their smaller brethren. Insufficient dynamic range for a
          given situation means values at their respective ends of the exposure curve will be
          compressed, showing little separation or variation, or worse, they will be entirely
          featureless. These unwelcome events are called, respectively, “blowout” and
          “black-crush.””

  • avatar Keith

    “The new 7D II will be the first Canon dSLR to offer an optional electronic level in the viewfinder”

    The 70D has one:

    http://kbsupport.cusa.canon.com/system/selfservice.controller?CONFIGURATION=1011&PARTITION_ID=1&secureFlag=false&TIMEZONE_OFFSET=&CMD=VIEW_ARTICLE&ARTICLE_ID=61672

  • avatar MJ Springett

    i like the eye contact on 4,5 and 6, but i would keep all

  • avatar M. Bruce

    When I was studying college level photography in the early 60s some of the teachers insisted that all class projects be completed on a 4×5 camera and most professional photographers considered 35mm cameras toys. There’s no question that large film had an image quality advantages, but it was much more expensive and more cumbersome than smaller formats, especially 35mm. A standard lens on a 4×5 usually has a focal length of around135mm whereas the standard lens for a 35mm camera is usually around 50mm, same as todays full frame DSLRs, all with essentially the same coverage. What we now call a full-frame DSLR has a sensor modeled after a 35 film-frame, or about 36×24 mm whereas a cropped sensor camera is of course smaller. Large film or large sensors have advantages and drawbacks. A 60MP Hasselblad with a medium sensor (40.2×53.7mm) and a standard 80mm lens sells for $43k. I’ve seen iPhone photographs with their tiny sensor and equally short focal length lens produce some amazing images. In accordance with Moore’s law, sensors are getting smaller and better. Am I simply adding to the confusion?

  • avatar Frank Peelee

    The 7d Mk II won’t be the first EOS DSLR with electronic level in the VF.” The feature is also found in models released since the 7D, e.g. the 6D.

    Frank

  • avatar Karen Jordan

    Here is my best effort: a second year Roseate Tern non-breeding. I loved the first three images as a set with maybe the forth one as an ending. They made me laugh this morning! Instead of looking like he/she was preening it looked like he/she was hamming it up for the fun of it just for you personally.

  • avatar Sarah Mayhew

    I think I understand Arash’s explanation and thought that was the case before I read it. I also have anecdotal experience using my friend’s 5D and my 40D when I had that. Seems I could blow up the 5D images past what the 40D gave me and have at least as good if not better image. Certainly didn’t do anything scientific to test this. I would be very interested if you do that comparison though Artie! For me it is the cost and weight that would make me choose the new 7D especially if noise is less of an issue as I seem to do a fair amount of low light photography requiring 1600 ISO and my 60D is quite noisy.

    Personally I would toss #1 and # 6 and keep the others. I rarely like a bird looking directly at me. The second one is my favorite as it is quite comical and the others are also quite nice.

  • avatar Bob

    I understand that the lenses can be made smaller and lighter but does anyone produce an L.type lens for crop bodies.

    Hi Bob, As far as I know, all L lenses work with crop bodies…. The EF-S lenses are designed to yield wide angle focal lengths equivalent to full frame wide angles. artie

    • avatar Jim Kranick

      Bob, Canon does not make an EF-S lens that is labeled as an “L” lens. Folks have written that being an EF-S lens it would not meet Canon’s spec for an “L” even though its performance does, don’t know how true that is. Others have written that the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens is an “L” lens in all but name. The EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 lens is also considered by many to be one of the best EF-S lenses Canon produces.

      I don’t own the 17-55 so cannot speak about it from experience. I have owned the 15-85 since shortly after it was released and was happy with it but seldom use it since buying a 5D3 with the 24-105mm “L” kit lens and have never done a side by side comparison. But even if the results from the 15-85 on the 7D and the 24-105 “L” on the 5D3 were similar many of the online “experts” would point out that the 24-105 is “a ‘kit’ lens and really a piece of crap, one of the worst “L” lenses Canon has produced.” Looking at the images posted on this blog I think Artie and others would disagree with them.

  • I never got all of that stuff about pixel size, pixel density, cropping from one sensor to match another, etc. I suppose I could learn, especially from Arash cause he does seem to explain it quite well, even though I have no clue what he’s talking about 🙂 All I care about is the output. Doug