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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

 

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Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 

 

Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."

 

I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!

 


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Little Cameras
Old 10-07-2017   #1
Bill Pierce
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Little Cameras

Sensor size used to be an important factor in image quality. Is it still? There are apparently a number of commercial photographers shooting micro 4/3 with no problem . While I have a lot of friends that shoot full frame and larger, the majority of my work is now APS-C, and it stands up well in comparison with their work and my own full frame work.

Sharpness in an image, an important criteria for a lot of people, isn’t just dependent on sensor size.

(1) Lens quality - There are any number of lenses that can’t take full advantage of their sensor’s performance, including many of the ever popular, ever present economy zooms. Interesting that Nikon just published a list of their lenses that provide an image that they feel can take full advantage of the sensor in their new D850 (11 lenses) as has the ever wise Thom Hogan who is actually a little more generous than Nikon in its brochure. And don’t forget that all lenses have optimum apertures.

(2) Focus quality - Auto focus or manual focus, we all know that cameras and/or photographers can miss focus because we’ve all been there.

(3) Photographer quality - Camera shake, really awful exposure, finger prints on really cheap protective filters… Of course none of us would be guilty of that; so, how about just a little camera shake or a slight under exposure that lowers our brightness range or a slight overexposure that blows the highlights and dust and fingerprints not on on some cheap, image degrading protective filter, but the lens itself.

My criteria for image quality has always been a print in the 11x14 to 16x20 inch range, never a screen image. The prints are small enough that you can hold them and study them closely, large enough to let you evaluate image quality. Larger prints, framed and hung on a wall, are usually viewed at a greater distance (except when hung in a museum or gallery where for some reason people want to press their nose against the image), and if it makes a sharp medium sized print it will make a sharp larger print.

The biggest difference I see in the quality of images from different sized sensors is the more obvious high ISO noise level in small sensors. The biggest difference I see in sharpness, the rendering of fine detail and tonal range for all digital cameras comes not from sensor size but from the photographers ability to use a digital darkroom, to adjust the sharpness and tonal controls for a given image and not to rely on one or two presets for everything they do.

(I would add one camera brand specific point. Fuji is the only camera manufacturer besides Leica that currently makes a digital camera with a bright line finder. That type of finder is an important part of the appeal of “rangefinder” cameras. Fuji’s unique sensor pattern does not do well with many image processing programs initially set up to only process sensors with a Bayer pattern. My recommendation, either Iridient Developer or Iridient X-Tranformer, not a necessity for all Fuji pics, but a great help when the picture benefits from the sharpest rendition of fine detail.)

So, am I nuts or are some of these “little” cameras pretty good. I would appreciate hearing from those of you with experience in this area.
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Old 10-07-2017   #2
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................... So, am I nuts or are some of these “little” cameras pretty good. I would appreciate hearing from those of you with experience in this area.
I believe if that last small difference in image quality makes a big difference in your photographs then you have failed as it did not deliver your message about the subject.

Only exception is if your objective was to impress other photographers about your lenses, your ability to focus and hold a camera steady, and your post processing skills but not about the subject of your photos.
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Old 10-07-2017   #3
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I agree with you Bill. I've been moving away from FF to APS-C for a while. I don't plan to buy any more lenses for the FF gear and will likely sell off most of it except for a micro lens I like. APS-C is fine for most all I do. If I need (read client wants) something bigger, I'll rent a PhaseOne or maybe a Nikon 850. I don't expect to see much of that.

You might look at Matt Black's current work. On a trip around the country for a Magnum project, he's mostly using a Sony 1" sensor camera. It's very small and looks "unprofessional" , which likely aids in his work. Black knows image quality, as in his past film work, he used Nikon bodies with Zeiss lenses - for their enhanced quality.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8OybGqUNsA

When I want sharp pictures (most of the time) I use a tripod if possible. I learned this years ago. I own two old Gitzos that are small, by studio standards, and tough. I carry manfroto clamps (car door, chair back, window sash ..) that will mount my ball head. I have a walking stick/monopod, that will hold a small ball head. I have a platform that sits on the ground or can be screwed into a post or phone pole, that mounts a ball head. You get the idea..

Edit: I don't print really big. Big for me is 30x40". I've been attached to 20x24" for a long time. Of my work, that I own, nothing is bigger than 16x20". I've been studying big print making for a while. Andreas Gursky, who prints big and sells big, does a lot of combined, stitched images. He does this with both 4x5" film and digital capture. The film is scanned with the best scanners, Creo or better. I think a lot of his stuff, where film is the original, 6 or more sheets are stitched to produce a file for printing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_UHPT0b07k
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Old 10-07-2017   #4
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For me, sensor size does make a big difference in how much work I have to do with an image before I'm happy with it.

Just going from a compact 1:2.8 sensor to a 1:1.7 made a big improvement, so when it was time to do some upgrading, I jumped to DSLR APS-C. Mind you, I'm just an "amateur" going on my 47th year at this, but the joy of being able to rip through a hundred photos in post without having to make more than a cursory change to anything is well appreciated.

Then again, even with the larger sensor, other qualities of the camera came into play, such as the consistency of the metering system, and this I didn't find until upgrading one more time from a D80 to a D300s. It's not the good old days when all you had to do was change film for better quality.

So I'm thinking now what is the next step when it comes time to replace the D300s? Do I go full frame, or hope that Nikon keeps making quality APS-C models that are good all around performers, since they've now declared full frame mirrorless is where they are at? It's bad enough my computer system is now on it's last legs since I've overloaded it with working on these larger files (and I haven't even used the video on the camera yet).

Having to invest in a new lens line is not what I'm looking forward to, seeing what they did with the new P lenses (right, more affordable price of the lens, but you need a more expensive camera to operate it). It is a never ending cycle with all this digital gear.

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Old 10-07-2017   #5
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I would like to say thank you for our mentor. For rased questions.
I can't tell for sure anymore. For prints MP numbers and sensor size doesn't matter anymore.
IMO.
I came to it after realizing what f16 is more valuable for me than f1.1.
I want to see more picture and less bokeh.
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Old 10-07-2017   #6
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I'm jumping between a iphone 5 , Pentax Q7 , Panasonic GX85, Ricoh GR and Leica M9/10.
They've all produced images I like in their own way. However the smaller sensors coupled with those cameras lower capture bit depths fall apart far more quickly and when viewed alongside the full frame output : even at base ISO, the tonality, sparkle and gloss never come close to that of the M9.
At higher ISOs the new sensors do indeed seem proportionally better for their given size - so there still case for GAS.

Not really set out to take 16x20" prints since long past days of camera club competitions* - perhaps that's why I'm happy to be caputuring what I see and can float between 1/1.7" and 24x36mm sensors.

* back in those film days, sharply printed grain at 11x14 from a Minox 8x11mm neg had its place just as much as 16x20 from medium format.
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Old 10-08-2017   #7
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I've used APS-C format cameras since my first digital camera. The only limitation I found at the time was the lack of lenses dedicated to the format. That changed over time with there now being a wide range of excellent lenses in every brand. For my use, I don't see any real benefit I would derive from using full frame.

I've also used M4/3 and standard 4/3 cameras. While I have many photos I cherish done with these cameras, I can see limitations in the M4/3 photos in comparison to the APS-C photos. At present, there's little to sway me toward M4/3 over APS-C. In physical size, my Fuji X-T1 is about the same as my Olympus OMD E-M1 so there's no benefit in the size/weight category. I do like Olympus lenses and their in body image stabilization and those are my main reasons to still use M4/3.

For me, APS-C is the standard...the sweet spot in digital formats.
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Old 10-08-2017   #8
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I've used APS-C format cameras since my first digital camera. The only limitation I found at the time was the lack of lenses dedicated to the format. That changed over time with there now being a wide range of excellent lenses in every brand. For my use, I don't see any real benefit I would derive from using full frame.

I've also used M4/3 and standard 4/3 cameras. While I have many photos I cherish done with these cameras, I can see limitations in the M4/3 photos in comparison to the APS-C photos. At present, there's little to sway me toward M4/3 over APS-C. In physical size, my Fuji X-T1 is about the same as my Olympus OMD E-M1 so there's no benefit in the size/weight category. I do like Olympus lenses and their in body image stabilization and those are my main reasons to still use M4/3.

For me, APS-C is the standard...the sweet spot in digital formats.
You take the larger size Olympus camera as your example for comparison - perhaps not quite cricket. I have stuck with Olympus Pen series with small prime lenses for the sake of size and cost (reasonable) and because I like the images I get with the cameras. Must admit Fuji is the one other format that has interested me, but never acted on the impulse and over the last couple of years I have tended more and more toward shooting film in any case.
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Old 10-08-2017   #9
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I use M4/3 and like the format, I think it is the new 135 format for 21st century.

M4/3 system has high flexibility. You can mount an EM1 with telezoom to hunt elephants, or you can get a GM5 with pancake or even BODYCAP lens to make a pocket-able combo, without losing image quality.

Olympus has always been the Small Size pusher in the camera industry. They did it with PEN, PEN F, OM and XA and Mju. M4/3 carries the mission today.

I also enjoy using my Ricoh GRD IV. The image quality is not the best (1/1.7" sensor), but the camera is just so easy to carry and so easy to use.

Film camera wise, I like RFs in general and small SLRs like Pentax MX/ME.
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Old 10-08-2017   #10
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Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
I believe if that last small difference in image quality makes a big difference in your photographs then you have failed as it did not deliver your message about the subject.

Only exception is if your objective was to impress other photographers about your lenses, your ability to focus and hold a camera steady, and your post processing skills but not about the subject of your photos.
Love this, I fully agree.
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Old 10-08-2017   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
...
My criteria for image quality has always been a print in the 11x14 to 16x20 inch range, never a screen image. The prints are small enough that you can hold them and study them closely, large enough to let you evaluate image quality. Larger prints, framed and hung on a wall, are usually viewed at a greater distance (except when hung in a museum or gallery where for some reason people want to press their nose against the image), and if it makes a sharp medium sized print it will make a sharp larger print.

...
This. ^^^^

Unless one depends on extreme crops as a means to achieve composition, viewing extreme crops on a display screen is not useful. I wonder if it's even informative at all.
  • Even the minimum possible level of JPEG compression acts as a filter. This affects perceived image detail.

The $500 (printer and ink bundle) Canon PIXMA Pro-100 and the Canon the $700 (no ink) PIXMA PRO-10 printers have a 4800 x 2400 resolution.

The Nikon D-850, X-Pro 2, and Leica M10 have 8256 x 5504, 6000 x 4000, 5952 x 3992 resolution respectively.

  • So uncropped, printed images are downsized. Image downsizing happens to filter noise too.

Practically all of newest top-of-the line still digital cameras have very low read noise levels. Electronic amplification to increase ISO does not significantly increase the read noise levels. At all ISOs the noise levels are dominated by photon (shot) noise (link). Photon noise becomes more obvious as exposure decreases. Increasing ISO decreases exposure (less light reaches the sensor). This is not intuitive as increasing ISO increases global image brightness after the shutter closes.
  • Photon noise is intrinsic to the creation of light. It is independent of sensor area.

In terms of signal level (exposure) more sensor surface area can be useful.

When DOF is irrelevant, and the camera is hand-held, a wide aperture lens and a large sensor will record more signal than a smaller sensor with the same aperture lens. So increased sensor area can affect photon noise levels.

Increased sensor area also offers more flexibility to use DOF as a means of subject isolation and achieving out-of-focus rendering aesthetics.

Sometimes people think, "Well how can a smart phone camera with only a 32.8 square millimeter area and a 1.22 micron pixel pitch perform as well as a camera with an 864 (36 X24) square millimeter area and a 4.35 micron pixel pitch?"

It can't.

The lens element surface area and the sensor surface area have to be considered as a pair.

The smart phone sensor would need a 400 fold increase in lens maximum surface area to transmit enough amount of light required to offset it's smaller sensor area. The maximum exposure achieved with a f 1.4 lens with a 24 X 36 mm sensor would impractical to match with a 32.8 sq. mm sensor.

Pixel pitch (ability to record light) differences aren't important compared to the ability to deliver light (maximum lens aperture).
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Old 10-08-2017   #12
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My feeling is that it is up to the photographer to decide which format/camera/size. Just like when making a photograph, having some vision of what it is one is after in advance of shooting. I have not used smaller than APS-C but in many cases found my results with APS-C was perfectly adequate and compared to what I might have achieved in full frame.

That said, I remember bringing the RX-1 home and shooting wide open a selfie in the mirror as a test using my X100S for comparison to my new "pre-owned" RX-1. The shallower DOF from the full-frame camera yielded a more satisfactory result. I use this example because it stuck with me, and because the fixed lens/small camera package brings that factor into play here.

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Old 10-08-2017   #13
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Above, PKR offered a link to a photojournalist that uses the 1" sony sensor cam (along with his M9/Monochrome). His photos are amazing, encourage viewing, especially the 6 minute youtube video of his project in Mexico re: the slaughtered/missing student protestors.)

the M4/3 has come a long way in the last 6 years, but to me, it still degrades too quickly when blowing up to even 11x14. Perhaps Bills point about skillful post-production holds true here.

I would agree that the APS-C is the sweet spot for digital, but still it doesn't allow me to use my vintage FF lenses properly (1.5x focal view), that is kind of a bummer.

Last, I still have a Digilux 2 with a small sensor. It produces some of the best sunny weather color photos I have ever seen, but that is only up to 400 ISO. But these kind of peculiarities (or limitations) only make the shooting more interesting for me.
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Old 10-08-2017   #14
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Originally Posted by fotomeow View Post
Above, PKR offered a link to a photojournalist that uses the 1" sony sensor cam (along with his M9/Monochrome). His photos are amazing, encourage viewing, especially the 6 minute youtube video of his project in Mexico re: the slaughtered/missing student protestors.).
I don't know the % of Sony x100 vs digital M photos, but Black's current project is square format. The Sony will capture/display in square, I don't know anything about the M. Composing in a square is often tough and great training for good composition. If you look back through the project you will see his improvement in composition. Black has a gallery handling his work. So, prints, maybe 11x11, are expected from this big project. The 1" sensor in the Sony X10, X100 cameras seems capable of good imagery.

I think that "little camera" is totally disarming to most photo subjects. It was a wise choice, I think, given his non immersion with his subjects. I don't think he spends more than a day or two in one place.
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Old 10-08-2017   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
Sensor size used to be an important factor in image quality. Is it still? ...
So, am I nuts or are some of these “little” cameras pretty good. I would appreciate hearing from those of you with experience in this area.
They are pretty good and my opinion is that sensor size isn´t such an important factor in photography today anymore.
There is written a lot about physical circumstances but my important thing is that I don´t "lose" a picture because of using a camera with small sensor and getting bad pictures.

So for portrait, landscapes and street I have a small pocketable camera that can do all the focal lengths I had to carry a bag for
ten years ago.
In the size of a pack of cigarettes.
And panos and videos if I need...
Alone or as a insurance while carrying my APS-C with a small zoom or a fixed length.
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Old 10-08-2017   #16
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You take the larger size Olympus camera as your example for comparison - perhaps not quite cricket....
Actually the comparison is fair. The OMD E-M1 and the X-T1 are of comparable design and function (and I happen to own them both so it was an easy comparison). If I were to compare the Olympus Pen F to a Fuji model, it would be the X-E2. In that comparison, both cameras are still pretty close in size although the Olympus is just a bit smaller.

I admit lenses for the M4/3 can be smaller than APS-C, making the whole package smaller overall. I'm particularly fond of my old Olympus E-series High Grade zooms. Comparing them to the Canon zooms I used, they are almost always smaller, faster and usually better built and sharper. But M4/3 lenses aren't always smaller. The 25/1.4 Panasonic Leica is about the same size as the 35/1.4 Fuji--both being 50mm equivalent lenses and both being excellent quality.
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Old 10-08-2017   #17
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Actually the question isn't about camera size, it is about sensor size. And for me it always trades around physical size and wide angles combined with weight. I don't mind size, I do mind weight. I prefer something that is on the large size to something where size reduction has lead to compromised ergonomics. And I need wide angle performance for a reasonable cost.

So FF looks like the best compromise in digital, 6x4.5 in film. But in both sizes I'd like a reduction in weight. I don't care a lot about "features". I want something to control focus, speed, aperture, sensitivity and enough info about battery and and remaining takes as is sensible. If they trow all the rest away to reduce weight, then I'm all for it.
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Old 10-08-2017   #18
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I have 24x36(36MP)Nikon and APS-C Fuji.
For general 'everything in or nearly in focus' shots the APS-C is fine.
However, the APS-C seems to have a limitation on how much you can stop down the lens before softness sets in. The 24x36 seems better in this regard. Note: My lens sample size is big in 24x36(20-something lenses), but I have only 2 Fuji primes. The softness I'm seeing at f/16 could just be the Fuji lenses(14 and 23/1.4), although I doubt it.
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Old 10-08-2017   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
I believe if that last small difference in image quality makes a big difference in your photographs then you have failed as it did not deliver your message about the subject.

Only exception is if your objective was to impress other photographers about your lenses, your ability to focus and hold a camera steady, and your post processing skills but not about the subject of your photos.
Hear Hear!
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Old 10-08-2017   #20
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Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
I believe if that last small difference in image quality makes a big difference in your photographs then you have failed as it did not deliver your message about the subject.

Only exception is if your objective was to impress other photographers about your lenses, your ability to focus and hold a camera steady, and your post processing skills but not about the subject of your photos.
I think this is a bit harsh and overlooks the fact that different kinds of photography have different requirements. This is why in film we have had everything from smaller than 35mm to larger than 8 x 10". I think landscape photography could benefit from a larger sensor, while street and documentary photographers would find it less useful.

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Old 10-09-2017   #21
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... I think landscape photography could benefit from a larger sensor, while street and documentary photographers ...
Yes and life can benefit from not carrying around big gear and marvellous pictures can benefit from having a camera at the decisive moment

And gear talks, "gas" and holding a camera that feels very well in my hands are other nice aspects of this interesting hobby.

But too often I noticed that I´ve got - for example - a stunning photo of landscape with "totally wrong equipment".
So let´s stay straight here and recognize that small sensors have grown pretty good in the shadow of the big, fast an precious supercams
in the last years.
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Old 10-09-2017   #22
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Yes and life can benefit from not carrying around big gear and marvellous pictures can benefit from having a camera at the decisive moment

And gear talks, "gas" and holding a camera that feels very well in my hands are other nice aspects of this interesting hobby.

But too often I noticed that I´ve got - for example - a stunning photo of landscape with "totally wrong equipment".
So let´s stay straight here and recognize that small sensors have grown pretty good in the shadow of the big, fast an precious supercams
in the last years.
I said that landscape photography could benefit from a larger sensor, not that it is the only way it can be done. And landscape photography has nothing to do with decisive moments, unless I'm waiting for the wind to die down.

I've taken landscapes with 35mm and they were good images. I prefer to use medium format for that, however, and it would be even better in large format.

I get that APS-C is amazingly good, but that doesn't mean that no photographer will find good use for a larger sensor. Is this what you really mean to say?

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Old 10-09-2017   #23
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Originally Posted by CMur12 View Post
I said that landscape photography could benefit from a larger sensor, not that it is the only way it can be done. And landscape photography has nothing to do with decisive moments, unless I'm waiting for the wind to die down...
Landscape photography has a lot to do with decisive moments. They appear, for example, when light and fog or wind and clouds are in interesting arrangements. And they benefit extremly from your ability to move around finding nice perspectives...

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Originally Posted by CMur12 View Post
... I prefer to use medium format for that, however, and it would be even better in large format ...
... and nothing of all that can beat the live situation!
Sometimes it happens that circumstances are even ideal to get a stunning panorama

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Originally Posted by CMur12 View Post
... I get that APS-C is amazingly good, but that doesn't mean that no photographer will find good use for a larger sensor. Is this what you really mean to say? ...
Bigger is always better when it comes to sensors and motors and tits

But this thread started with a clear question from Bill and with this question in mind I have the answers I give
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Old 10-09-2017   #24
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Perhaps it is more useful to post some pictures here what is possible with small sensors than to brood about what maybe not.



Fuji F900EXR (2013), 1/2" sensor, 25-500mm, 212g, 4.1x2.4x1.4 inches/105.1(W) x 61.0(H) x 36.0(D)mm
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Old 10-09-2017   #25
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Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
I believe if that last small difference in image quality makes a big difference in your photographs then you have failed as it did not deliver your message about the subject....
Not necessarily.

Having the ability to present the subject as sharp and clear as possible is a Good Thing. It's not a requirement that you always do so.

Sometimes it's best to present the message about the subject with utmost clarity. Sometimes not.
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Old 10-09-2017   #26
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It´s not the story about "image quality" (*** ) - it´s the story about having 350mm optics when you just can make a good use of it

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Old 10-09-2017   #27
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I've been using an Olympus pen e-pm1 micro 4/3 camera every chance I get. I bought it used, for less than $100. The e-pm1 was released six years ago, so it's not exactly the latest technology.

I prefer it to my larger Nikon dSLRs. Maybe it's because it fits in a pocket with the smaller lenses, or I can put four focal lengths and the camera in a very small bag. Since money is an object, I've benefited from adapting high quality legacy manual focus lenses using cheap adapters. The only native lens for the system I own is the 15mm f/8 pancake lens. I enjoy the variety of legacy lenses available which are much more affordable than the equivalent for the Nikon system.

The only real downside is the availability of cheap, fast wide-angle lenses, though I guess that's true for every format.

The noise levels are ok, but not as good as I'd like. At low ISO, I think it's certainly comparable to my much older Nikon D80 which is APS-C, and probably quite a bit better at the higher ISOs. I do a lot of image stacking to reduce noise, which I find very satisfying, and which makes the camera do much more than its price point would indicate.

I very much like the camera's ability to digital zoom 5x to 14x in the viewing screen. I use that feature to nail critical focus.

I think I've become a much better photographer with this camera. I don't know that it's anything specific to the camera itself, but rather the fact it's so easy to carry that I use it more, and have learned better techniques.

Part of the reason I'm so happy with this system is the price point. If I hadn't bought a used camera or used lenses, I would be less satisfied. It's a remarkable system, compact and versatile, but I can't see spending $1000. There are used full-frame cameras in the price range.
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Old 10-09-2017   #28
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My take:

1. I think the most significant difference is high-ISO performance. In good light, I use APS or even smaller sensors, and I don't feel any compromise.

2. Depth of Field drives my choice often -- When I want lots of DOF, I use the iPhone. When I want subject isolation, bigger sensor and lens.

Bill, I like the idea of a medium sized print for judging sharpness.
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Old 10-09-2017   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pluton View Post
I have 24x36(36MP)Nikon and APS-C Fuji.
For general 'everything in or nearly in focus' shots the APS-C is fine.
However, the APS-C seems to have a limitation on how much you can stop down the lens before softness sets in. The 24x36 seems better in this regard. Note: My lens sample size is big in 24x36(20-something lenses), but I have only 2 Fuji primes. The softness I'm seeing at f/16 could just be the Fuji lenses(14 and 23/1.4), although I doubt it.
The softness you see stopping down is caused by diffraction. As sensors have improved, that slight softness is more apparent. (You rarely saw it with film.) However, remember that you don’t have to stop down a lens on APS-C sensor as much to get the equivalent depth of field on a full frame sensor. If you are just after an equivalent depth of field the difference in image sharpness will really be caused by other factors. Don’t stop down too much and everything should be fine.
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Old 10-09-2017   #30
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Sharp is good if you can get it and still get the shot.

The smaller cameras are getting pretty good. I shoot and enlarge some of my Pentax Q7 shots up to 11x14 and they turn out pretty darned good.

But I have to be careful with my framing because they do not stand up very well if I need to crop. That is where a full frame photo comes in really handy in my opinion.

But, no matter how hard I try, my small camera 8x10 prints do not look at all like my 8x10 contact prints. Size still matters if you can carry the gear.
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Old 10-09-2017   #31
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Originally Posted by fotomeow View Post

I would agree that the APS-C is the sweet spot for digital, but still it doesn't allow me to use my vintage FF lenses properly (1.5x focal view), that is kind of a bummer.

You can though, that is what the Speedbooster and Lens Turbo II is all about. I have the LTII that I use with Nikon glass on my Fuji.

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Old 10-09-2017   #32
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Originally Posted by shawn View Post
You can though, that is what the Speedbooster and Lens Turbo II is all about. I have the LTII that I use with Nikon glass on my Fuji.

Shawn
You are right Shawn, what I meant was that I can't use those old primes as Full Frame, which I much prefer, b/c of the 1.5x crop factor.
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Old 10-09-2017   #33
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Originally Posted by fotomeow View Post
You are right Shawn, what I meant was that I can't use those old primes as Full Frame, which I much prefer, b/c of the 1.5x crop factor.
The 1.5 crop factor is removed with a Speedboost or LTII adapter. That is the point, you get the typical FF FOV on a crop sensor with the benefit of more light as the adapter shrinks the FF image circle down to APS-C sized.

Boring example to show this, just shot hand held...

As a base here is the Fuji 35mm f2 (50mm FOV)



Here is a Series E Nikon 50mm with a typical adapter. Typical 1.5x crop.



Same lens with the Lens Turbo II adapter...



BTW: Ignore differences in DOF between the two 50 shots, different F stops as the glassless adapter was set to shoot wide open.

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Old 10-09-2017   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
Sharp is good if you can get it and still get the shot.

The smaller cameras are getting pretty good. I shoot and enlarge some of my Pentax Q7 shots up to 11x14 and they turn out pretty darned good ...
Yes! And carrying a small sensor compact is an ideal complement while lurking around with a rangefinder camera. Shoot like you are used to and grab the small one if an object appears that you would miss with the fixed lens / flashless whatsoever
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Old 10-09-2017   #35
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Originally Posted by PKR View Post
You might look at Matt Black's current work. On a trip around the country for a Magnum project, he's mostly using a Sony 1" sensor camera. It's very small and looks "unprofessional" , which likely aids in his work.
The camera he's using in the Youtube video on the link, looks more like a Panasonic compact (don't know which model), than the Sony RX100 series. Not that it changes the essence of what's being discussed, of course...
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Old 10-09-2017   #36
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Much like with film, bigger sensors seem to provide more natural looking, richer color with less edgyness.

I don't really care much about sharpness or enlargement quality or high ISO performance but even at smaller viewing sizes, bigger sensors provide a richer look to my eyes.

I didn't really like the look of digital till I started shooting with an M9 and medium format digital looks even better to my eyes. Nothing really matches the look of Portra in a Mamiya 7, but I'm pretty much over the hassle of shooting and scanning film.

I wish this werent the case but even well regarded compacts using APS-C sensors like the GR leave me sort of cold.
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Old 10-09-2017   #37
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I have a 16x20 print sitting above my fireplace from a vacation to New York several years ago. It was taken with an 18 megapixel micro 4/3 camera, and the print looks fantastic even when you stick your nose up to the glass. The only reason I moved to "full-frame" is due to the commercial architectural photography I do that necessitates perspective control lenses with wide angles of view. Yes, larger sensors offer better quality, but I can't tell at much difference at any reasonably sane print size. Plus, vacations are so much more enjoyable when you aren't lugging around a 50-pound backpack all day.
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Old 10-09-2017   #38
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It was Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend and crowds taking fall colors pictures in our conservation areas, which are famous for it in GTA.
It is very diverse here by origins, religion and drinks preference. The only thing which was common for this weekend were cameras in use. Nothing but Canonikon DSLRs. One goof (me) with M-E and one with Hero on steady-cam and something like 8mm movie camera in the case. No Fuji, Sony, Panasonic at all... I gues, it is urban crowd
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Old 10-09-2017   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
... The only thing which was common for this weekend were cameras in use. Nothing but Canonikon DSLRs. One goof (me) with M-E and one with Hero on steady-cam and something like 8mm movie camera in the case. No Fuji, Sony, Panasonic at all... I gues, it is urban crowd
Let´s guess who wins next year - more canon or nikon?
Doubtful urban structure to me (country human)
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Old 10-09-2017   #40
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All my "little cameras" have full frame sensors, are lightweight and very easy to operate:

http://subclub.org/shop/aps.htm

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