Aperture, focal length, camera to subject distance, and sensor size. I know we are seeing a magnified image or are we just seeing a crop of the lens? When I was in photography school we had a class called “The Science of Photography.” It was taught by a physics teacher and one of the assignments we had that quarter was to build a pinhole camera. We had to build a pinhole camera and then calculate its focal length and aperture. And yes, the image above, I didn’t get it tack sharp and all that and I’m not super interested in doing so. Tony puts out great stuff and his video above is well researched and I think his math is right but honestly, my dear? Where things start to get confusing and is the topic of many a debate on forums is focal length of lenses and equivalent focal lengths in regard to crop sensors and all that. The only other thing we have to look at is focal length and sensor size. However, through that time I still argued that 35mm full frame was still a small format. It’s a tiny ass little itty bitty format when you compare it to the other formats of photography out today. The thing that I would first consider is depth of field. Medium format then gives you a look and feel that can’t be achieved in smaller formats. You go shoot a portrait with a large format camera, nail that exposure, nail that print… You are cheating yourself out of something mystical, magical, and a royal pain in the ass. He’s still traveling the world with large format cameras and film and all the PITA stuff that goes with that.
I cropped into some images and enlarged them to full page. However, camera manufacturers are bringing some amazing wide lenses to the market now. I’ve also recently purchased the Panasonic 7-14mm for my GH4 and it’s a kick ass wide lens. I have twice had the privilege of seeing Gregory Heisler’s work in print. There’s a photo he has of Cal Ripken that was shot with a large format camera.
You know what happened between my D200 and the Fuji x100? During the time I was saying, “full frame sensors are the way to go,” crop sensors were getting better and better and better. Everything has gotten better but I’d argue that the difference in image quality from crop to full frame has narrowed significantly. That “focus gradient” for lack of a better term, or, how the field of focus works with large format film and optics. Large format cameras and lenses give you this “look” that just can’t be achieved with smaller formats. You need to have the experience of shooting large format at least once in your life. 🙂 Above you see David Burnett working an old 4×5 Speed Graphic in Dubai. Lastly, check out this post over at Wonderful Machine’s blog about Austin Hargrave photographing Dany De Vito with an 8×10.
Here we have three shots that are basically the same frame shot with three different focal lengths and you can clearly see the difference in the depth of field.
The D3 bokeh balls are softer and larger, thus more out of focus. The deepest, or largest depth of field comes from the smaller sensor sized GH4 camera. at an 85mm focal length, the full frame sensor camera has…
Let’s look at three different sensor sizes and their equivalent lenses that would give the same field of view. The equivalent field of view lens on a 1.5 crop factor Fuji is the 56mm. Which one has the most effect on the changes in depth of field?