View Full Version : so what exactly is it?

07-02-2008, 01:59 PM
i might be the only one that dont know what it is or what it means but
what is a full frame camera?
what does it do?
does it really make life better?

all i hear is how people want a full frame camera even back here at home and i dont really understand it compared to my own camera. so any help would be awesome.

07-02-2008, 02:21 PM
Full frame means the size of the sensor is the same as that of a 35mm SLR.

Which in turn means that all the focal lengths on your lenses will be exactly what they say on the lense. a.k.a you 50mm prime will be exactly that.. 50mm! opposed to it being 75mm on your d40 because of the 1.5x crop factor of the smaller sensor.

Bad for telephoto as FF compatible ones are very expensive! But very good for wide angle.

Full Frame also means very good high ISO's with very little noise. which is why you see them with ISOs of 22'000 upwards!

Downside is that they are very expensive... some lenses will not work with them because they have been specifically designed for DX size sensors. Meaning they will have extreme vignetting on Full Frame.

07-02-2008, 02:27 PM
A full frame camera is a camera that has a sensor size that is the same as the size of 35mm film which is 35X24mm. This is larger than that of DX cameras, which you have now (sensor size for these cameras is 24x16mm).

Because full frame cameras have the same sensor size as the film size, they do not have a crop factor. This means that a 50mm lens on a full frame camera has the same field of view as a 50mm on a old film SLR. With a DX camera, this lens would give an equivalent field of view of 75mm.

Whether full frame will make your life better depends on what you shoot. Here are some pros and cons of full frame compared to DX cameras:

- Larger sensor means better image quality. The pixels are spread over a larger area and are therefore more effective in capturing light. Therefore, there is less noise.
- The larger sensor will give you less Depth of Field. This is because you need to use longer glass to get the same picture. Longer glass gives shallower DOF. For this reason, bokeh is generally better on full frame cameras.
- There are better ultra wide angle lenses for full frame cameras. The wider lenses get, the more difficult they are to manufacture. Therefore, a utra wide angle lens for DX cameras (like a 10-20) will generally be of worse quality than one for full frame cameras (like the new nikkor 14-24).
- There are more wide primes available. On a full frame camera primes like the 24 f/2.8 and 35 f/2 are still wide angle, while on a DX camera, the 35 is a normal lens (52.5mm)
- Better viewfinders: The viewfinders of full frame cameras are larger and brighter, simply because the frame is a lot larger.

- Long glass is not as long as on DX cameras. The crop factor of DX cameras makes the focal length of your lenses a 1.5 times as long. If you go full frame you loose this advantage.
- If you use lenses made for small frame DX cameras, you can only use them on a full frame camera in DX-mode. This means that only a part of the sensor is used. For that reason, the result is only a 5 megapixel image. While this is enough for many purposes, to get the most out of a full frame camera it is better to buy full frame lenses.
- There will be more vignetting, because the lenses need to cover a larger image circle and because the pixels are not as effective in capturing light coming in at an angle. This issue can be resolved easily in post processing, though.
- Less depth of field can also be a con. It means that you will need to stop down more to get the same depth of field, which means that you will need a tripod sooner or you need to raise the ISO.
- Higher cost. Both the camera and good full frame lenses are more expensive.

07-02-2008, 02:35 PM
so generally speaking those of which who shoot film if they were to jump to digital would be happier or even more likely to buy a fullframe camera?

sounds like a big jump even for some digital users?
sounds expensive. haha
and something that would keep me with a d300 or in that area when i upgrade.
but i guess thats just me?

07-02-2008, 02:46 PM
I ALWAYS hated the crop factor. I was late to go digital, and that was part of the reason...but, until very recently, full frame cameras were very expensive and one vendor (Canon) had a lock. Now that there's competition, we see the positive effect its had on prices, but more importantly, on the products themselves.

I find the whole pro-crop factor argument a little strange. If a crop factor is so great, why not shoot a 4/3ds camera? Better crop factor right? :D:D:D

07-02-2008, 02:47 PM
sounds like a big jump even for some digital users?
sounds expensive. haha

It is definitly a big step for many digital users. Personally, I wouldn't switch to full frame anytime soon, because I would also have to replace two of the lenses I use.
If I upgrade I will probably go to the D300 instead of the D700.

Having said that, if I had the money, I would definetly get the D700 and some decent full frame lenses :)

Visual Reality
07-02-2008, 03:09 PM
I'm with Prospero on this one. I for one enjoy the crop factor advantage and my 17mm (25mm equivalent) wide angle is enough for me. If I need to do a wider landscape, I'll do a panorama.

D300 is perfect for me...D700 is perfect for others.

07-02-2008, 04:16 PM
actually dylan, for your type of shooting. FX makes more sense. on a D3, iso6400 is basically like iso400. the possibilities of hi iso for me rest in the balance of flash and ambient light. being able to use 1600 without much difference in DN and excellent retention of detail is very appealing.

remember this is not the age old iso argument that is based on pixel peeping and 100% crops to try and pick the difference between a d80 and an xti. this is real world noticebale differences in an image without pulling out a microscope.

07-02-2008, 09:00 PM
Sorry to hijack your thread Dylan. Since we are on the subject of full frame, can somebody tell me what is the importance of 5:4. I noticed it said the D700 does not have 5:4 like the D3.

sorry I do not know the really technical stuff :)

07-03-2008, 12:07 AM
Sorry to hijack your thread Dylan. Since we are on the subject of full frame, can somebody tell me what is the importance of 5:4. I noticed it said the D700 does not have 5:4 like the D3.

sorry I do not know the really technical stuff :)

The 5:4 ratio fits the industry standard enlargement size of 8x10, I think a lot of wedding albums and portfolios are 8x10 enlargements. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

07-03-2008, 08:09 AM
achuang, that would be correct, the D40 has a ratio 3:2 meaning no cropping on a 4x6 print. Dylan, on the other hand I would have to crop for a 5x7 and 8x10, 8x12 would the next available size print that would not require cropping. The problem starts when you have to figure cropping into the composition on your lonesome.

07-03-2008, 09:01 AM
Except that most every crop tool on a decent piece of software has the ability to select all the popular crop ratios from an easily accessible list. OTOH, if you shoot a D3 at 5:4, and miss your perfect framing by a smidge, you'll wish you had just left it on 3:2 so you could crop later.

07-03-2008, 12:45 PM
alot to take in, but im understanding it now and thats what counts haha.