Crop vs Full Frame for Landscapes

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#1
I was unsure wether to put this in the equipment sub forum or this one, it kind of applies to both but I wanted to discuss the use of the different formats specific to landscapes so it's here.

For many years I have shot landscapes with full frame cameras, convinced it was the right thing to do. I think in part it was down to seeing the large difference in image quality between Canon crop cameras and Canon full frame cameras. Even at base ISO there was a difference in the noise, dynamic range and the colours. There was a smoothness to the way the highlights rolled off softly rather than abruptly and when looking at the images at 100% they had a 'wow' factor with increased sharpness. Crucially the files could handle more manipulation in post processing.

Moving to Nikon I jumped right in with full frame, shooting a D750 which I love. (Not looking to start a debate but the step up to Nikon FF from Canon FF was larger than the step up from Canon crop to Canon FF...) I assumed the Nikon crop sensors would be a step down in IQ compared to the Nikon full frame sensors, much the same as the Canon ones were.

As a backup camera, and to give me something different I went for a D500 Nikon 1.5x crop camera. Now, it is noisier than the D750, and when boosted the larger pixels clearly gather more light even at the same exposure, but here is the thing, there is hardly anything in it from an IQ point of view.

I have shot some real life landscape test shots with a 20mm lens on the D500 and a 35mm lens on the D750, in demanding situations at various matching exposures then tortured the RAW files. Honestly, when you account for the fact that the D500 does not have an optical low pass filter (AA) and you apply less sharpening than you do with the D750 the noise at ISO100 is very similar. If you apply the same sharpening the D500 shows more noise, understandably. From an exposure latitude point of view there is nothing in it. The colours are as near the same as makes no difference.

The only difference I can find is that the D500 images are pin sharp into the corners, where the D750 is soft(er) in the corners. Arguably the crop sensor is using the best bit of the glass only.

So my question is, when you are shooting landscapes and able to take control of the ideal settings, by using a tripod and base ISO, which I very rarely deviate from, do you need a full frame camera? Or, are you better off with a crop sensor giving you sharper corners and arguably lighter/cheaper lenses for carrying around...?

I get if you are going handheld, and/or want to up the ISO the full frame will pull ahead, and I have not downsized the 24MP D750 files to 20MP and then tried printing big yet. I think diffraction may still have a part to play in this, as it kicks in earlier with the higher pixel density of the crop sensor, but they we are using the sharper centre of the lens which affects blur level in the corners...

Just interested if anyone else has contemplated any of the above. Maybe I am only thinking it due to these 2 specific cameras?

Caveat - photography is more about subject, light, composition and post processing than sensor choice ;)
 
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#2
Modern APSC sensors are very good - but you are comparing the D500 with the D750 - try a D810 or D850 ;)

The one big plus to using APSC is using only the center portion of a full frame lens meaning no loss of sharpness accross the frame - and not all landscapes are low light and it will be easier to get front to back sharpness using an APSC camera and full frame lens :D

And another thing - if you are happy with 20mp from a D500 the 14-24 zoom with the SW150 kit gives you a 21-35mm effective lens for landscapes - using just the center and the 1.5 crop factor - that has to be a good wide lens system and one I would look at once APSC gets to over 30mp
 
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#3
You're right to consider the differences between specific cameras as well as sensor size; few of us have the chance to compare enough cameras to disentangle that issue. So to be specific - my D800 produces files with a lot of detail and with the ability to recover a lot of shadow detail without significant loss of quality. When I want both the highest quality I can get, and am working in high-contrast conditions, it's my first choice. Also, just because it's heavy, I prefer it for windy days with tripod. But - it's heavy, the lenses are heavy, and I'm getting older. So for hill days I usually take mirrorless APS-C. For viewing up to say A3ish, the results are quite acceptable (to me!) when I've been careful, and the files are good - but not as good as the D800. So ND grads are more necessary, exposure has to be spot on, etc.

But your last line is the key - I'd rather be on the top of the hill with APS-C than weighed down at the bottom with FF.
 
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#4
Modern APSC sensors are very good - but you are comparing the D500 with the D750 - try a D810 or D850 ;)

The one big plus to using APSC is using only the center portion of a full frame lens meaning no loss of sharpness accross the frame - and not all landscapes are low light and it will be easier to get front to back sharpness using an APSC camera and full frame lens :D

And another thing - if you are happy with 20mp from a D500 the 14-24 zoom with the SW150 kit gives you a 21-35mm effective lens for landscapes - using just the center and the 1.5 crop factor - that has to be a good wide lens system and one I would look at once APSC gets to over 30mp
True. From downloaded files I have looked at and sensor tests it seems the dynamic range is similar. I suppose the noticeable improvement in IQ is when you downsize D810/D850 to match the D750 or D500 output. Arguably those higher megapixel sensor full frame cameras are giving you a full frame and crop sensor built into one body.

You mention a 14-24mm lens on the crop as a useful focal length, which it would be. It is also a super wide option on the full frame. The decision I have to make with 2 different cameras in my bag is do I have a collection of lenses that allows pretty much all focal lengths to be covered in the event of one camera failing. Or, do I select lenses for each camera that gives me total overall focal length coverage, with the risk of losing some options if one camera breaks whilst away on a photography trip. This is further complicated by asking if I decide to own FX only lenses, or if I incorporate some DX lenses in the collection!

I suppose what my original post was about is the fact that when I bought the D500 it was going to be used for aviation, and purely with a body cap on it as a backup if the D750 broke and I was on top of a mountain in the Alps. Now, I am appreciating it's IQ is right up there I am considering having both cameras set up with lenses on them ready to be used in the field. I'd always keep the D750 for the wide end, and for astrophotography low light.

Arguably what I am looking at is something like a 14-24 FX lens, which gives me superwide normally on the D750, (but could be put onto the D500 to give a minimum effective focal length of 21mm in the event of D750 failure). Then mating the D500 up with something like a Sigma 18-35mm ART. I miss my ART primes, and think this would give me 27-52.5mm, right around the 35mm I usually shoot at and I fancy a zoom again because I am missing shots changing lenses sometimes. I already own a 70-200 f4 Nikkor that becomes 300mm on the long end if I use it with the D500. So, this set up would give me 14-300mm with a tiny unimportant gap between 52.5mm and 70mm. The only lens changes in normal use would be between 14-24mm or 70-200mm on the D750 whilst the D500 covers everything in the middle. The problem with this set up is if the D500 fails I've lost 24-70mm unless I keep a lightweight Nikkor 35mm 1.8g in the bag. More weight though...!

Back to my original post, it is only the impressive D500 files that are making me consider bringing this in as an equal landscape camera rather than a back up, and made me question if anyone else has considered the benefits of crop only for landscape...

You're right to consider the differences between specific cameras as well as sensor size; few of us have the chance to compare enough cameras to disentangle that issue. So to be specific - my D800 produces files with a lot of detail and with the ability to recover a lot of shadow detail without significant loss of quality. When I want both the highest quality I can get, and am working in high-contrast conditions, it's my first choice. Also, just because it's heavy, I prefer it for windy days with tripod. But - it's heavy, the lenses are heavy, and I'm getting older. So for hill days I usually take mirrorless APS-C. For viewing up to say A3ish, the results are quite acceptable (to me!) when I've been careful, and the files are good - but not as good as the D800. So ND grads are more necessary, exposure has to be spot on, etc.

But your last line is the key - I'd rather be on the top of the hill with APS-C than weighed down at the bottom with FF.
They used to say 'use the smallest, lightest format you can to get the results you need' I think. Some interesting thoughts in your post too about weight and IQ...
 
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#6
One more thought - Kirk Tuck's site has recently praised the quality of the files from an old D700 (12 MP?) and certainly some of my favourite pictures were taken with that camera; even quite big enlargements look good (to me). The sensor brings qualities other than resolution.

A bit of an aside - but the reason I got into mirrorless APS-C was that I love using old, adapted lenses of 'character' and the long flange distance of a Nikon DSLR prohibits that; also the APS-C format crops off the edges of an old lens' image circle, often the weakest and most aberration-prone part. So yet another criterion for choosing format.
 
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#7
From what Ive seen on the internet, Ive been able to identify 810 & 850 images from only the cleanliness and well balanced colour.
 
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#8
Caveat - photography is more about subject, light, composition and post processing than sensor choice ;)
You answered you own question in the first post ;) I think we look too hard at these things... do a blind 'Pepsi challenge' with a load of prints from different (decent) cameras and I doubt you could tell the difference.
 

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#9
I think we are entering the time - probably already have a few years ago - when all higher end cameras are good enough and the determining factor really becomes the end user and maybe the lens.

The difference is only in the details and maximum print size. And this is where a good medium format will come on top.
 
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#10
I think we are entering the time - probably already have a few years ago - when all higher end cameras are good enough and the determining factor really becomes the end user and maybe the lens.

The difference is only in the details and maximum print size. And this is where a good medium format will come on top.
The end user has always been the critical factor ;)

Cameras don’t take pictures, people do.
 

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#11
Are you better off with a crop sensor giving you sharper corners and arguably lighter/cheaper lenses for carrying around...?
You mean "sharper corners OR lighter/cheaper lenses", not "AND".

If you use full frame lenses on a crop sensor camera, your corner image quality should be improved because you're not using the outer areas of the image circle, but you haven't reduced the size/weight.

If you use lenses designed for a crop sensor, you can have reduced size/weight, but there are no benefits in corner image quality because you're using the outer areas of the smaller image circle.

At least you have the choice, but you do have to choose. You can't have both benefits at the same time.
 
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#12
So my question is, when you are shooting landscapes and able to take control of the ideal settings, by using a tripod and base ISO, which I very rarely deviate from, do you need a full frame camera?
In these situations almost any sensor size may be adequate depending on the output size requirements... that's why I still own and use 2/3 and 1" cameras. Other than that, things start to become a circle of tradeoffs... and they tend to wash out.
I.e. you want equivalent IQ/image quality/light gathering for the smaller sensor... that requires a faster wider lens of equal IQ, and it's probably not going to be any cheaper/lighter/smaller... quite possibly the opposite.
Or using a smaller sensor for "reach" on a shorter lens... it doesn't work quite that easy, but the result can be as good as any other option when you can't get closer.
 
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#13
try the d850 for landscape and you won't even consider the d810 or the prehistoric d800
they where good enough in there day but the d850 is a league ahead
never known a camera maker to bring out a new camera that is not better than
its predecessors
trade in the d750 and the d500 and buy the d850 you will newer regret it
thats what i did fortunately i was financially able to buy another d500 for my birding long lens work
but the d850 is still king of the hill especially for iq so if your a pixel peeper get the D850
 
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#15
I moved from full frame to APSC sized sensor as my main camera, which I use mainly for landscapes. That camera is a Leica CL, with 18-56 and 55-135 lenses (24-70 and 70-200 ish) and a 23 prime (35 ish).

It’s smaller, the lenses are smaller and lighter, and the image quality is just amazing. I don’t need mega ISO (though it’s still surprisingly good). The native lenses are superb. I have a super kit in a small, light package. Full frame stuff is just too big and heavy.

If you want to see what the CL can do with landscapes, take a look here: http://tobinators.com/blog/2018/01/landscape-2/leica-cl-in-scotland-2018-part-1/

Fujis get great writeups too, but the Leica is just so nice to use.
 
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#16
Thanks for all the discussion comments everyone.

You mean "sharper corners OR lighter/cheaper lenses", not "AND".

If you use full frame lenses on a crop sensor camera, your corner image quality should be improved because you're not using the outer areas of the image circle, but you haven't reduced the size/weight.

If you use lenses designed for a crop sensor, you can have reduced size/weight, but there are no benefits in corner image quality because you're using the outer areas of the smaller image circle.

At least you have the choice, but you do have to choose. You can't have both benefits at the same time.
Very fair point, and 100% true. I didn't explain or elaborate quite what I meant when I said that though. In my limited experience I have found to get something sharp in the corners at landscape apertures it needs to a fast (heavy) full frame lens like a Sigma ART series. I still meant to use a full frame lens, but something slower and lighter that maybe isn't as good in the full frame corners, but fine on the crop corners.

I moved from full frame to APSC sized sensor as my main camera, which I use mainly for landscapes. That camera is a Leica CL, with 18-56 and 55-135 lenses (24-70 and 70-200 ish) and a 23 prime (35 ish).

It’s smaller, the lenses are smaller and lighter, and the image quality is just amazing. I don’t need mega ISO (though it’s still surprisingly good). The native lenses are superb. I have a super kit in a small, light package. Full frame stuff is just too big and heavy.

If you want to see what the CL can do with landscapes, take a look here: http://tobinators.com/blog/2018/01/landscape-2/leica-cl-in-scotland-2018-part-1/

Fujis get great writeups too, but the Leica is just so nice to use.
A perfect example of the photographer being more important than the kit Andy. Thanks for sharing your experience with the CL though.

One other consideration for landscapes is depth of field. @SFTPhotography has mentioned it before, but a crop sensor with a given lens on it that produces the same field of view as a longer lens on a full frame does give more depth of field with the same distance from focal point at the same aperture. This means you can have a faster shutter speed with sufficient dof. Meaning less blurring of moving grasses for example, or a focus stack is quicker and easier to carry out. Or when masking the frames take less time to expose.

Does anyone else see this as a benefit for landscape exclusively, tied to the crop sensor? So we have sharper corners and more depth of field at equivalent FOV/apertures.

I appreciate the pixel density is usually higher and diffraction kicks in sooner, so you don't want to be using smaller apertures anyway if you can help it. If you think about there may be benefits with other types of photography, there is roughly a stop more of depth of field, and if a full frame camera with a longer lens meant you had to stop down more, (say to get the whole of a bird in sharp focus) arguably the better ISO performance is negated too.
 
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#17
I much prefer shooting landscapes now on FF as there's less DoF when shooting wide open, so I can place the emphasis on where I want people to look easier; because of this I often shoot at or below f2.8

I'm actually working on a new lecture for the YPU entitled "Wide open landscapes", as a play on expectations as I know more people assume that's wide vistas not that the lens is at, or close to, wide open

FF all the way for me :)

Dave
 
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#18
Thanks for all the discussion comments everyone.



Very fair point, and 100% true. I didn't explain or elaborate quite what I meant when I said that though. In my limited experience I have found to get something sharp in the corners at landscape apertures it needs to a fast (heavy) full frame lens like a Sigma ART series. I still meant to use a full frame lens, but something slower and lighter that maybe isn't as good in the full frame corners, but fine on the crop corners.



A perfect example of the photographer being more important than the kit Andy. Thanks for sharing your experience with the CL though.

One other consideration for landscapes is depth of field. @SFTPhotography has mentioned it before, but a crop sensor with a given lens on it that produces the same field of view as a longer lens on a full frame does give more depth of field with the same distance from focal point at the same aperture. This means you can have a faster shutter speed with sufficient dof. Meaning less blurring of moving grasses for example, or a focus stack is quicker and easier to carry out. Or when masking the frames take less time to expose.

Does anyone else see this as a benefit for landscape exclusively, tied to the crop sensor? So we have sharper corners and more depth of field at equivalent FOV/apertures.

too.
Me, I do. I think it gives the APSC shooter a big helping hand.

However given what I shoot (distant long lens scenes) and lake reflections where there isn’t often a prominent foreground it’s not so much of an issue as I’m not so interested in foreground (a rock, some grasses - big deal imho) but the big view ahead.
 
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#19
Does anyone else see this as a benefit for landscape exclusively, tied to the crop sensor? So we have sharper corners and more depth of field at equivalent FOV/apertures.
I see it as a trade off still. From experience my preferred aperture on the lenses I most commonly use for Fx landscape is f13, and on Dx f8, based on crispness and contrast. DoF is quite smilar on the 2 formats, but I can do a lot more tweaking in post with my Fx files before halos etc start to be a problem, thus I'd still prefer Fx with the opportunity to get really shallow DoF if I want it.
 
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#20
try the d850 for landscape and you won't even consider the d810 or the prehistoric d800
they where good enough in there day but the d850 is a league ahead
never known a camera maker to bring out a new camera that is not better than
its predecessors
trade in the d750 and the d500 and buy the d850 you will newer regret it
thats what i did fortunately i was financially able to buy another d500 for my birding long lens work
but the d850 is still king of the hill especially for iq so if your a pixel peeper get the D850
But does it really make a better picture? Absolutely not. I have a D810 (acquired from work when we went to D850s) and D750 and I usually choose the D750 - that might sound crazy, but it's far less taxing on my computer and you really wouldn't notice the difference in prints. You don't look at a picture and say "that's great, but it was shot on an older camera so I don't like it anymore". So many landscape photographers are obsessed with ultimate image quality at the expense of an engaging picture.
 
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#21
But does it really make a better picture? Absolutely not. I have a D810 (acquired from work when we went to D850s) and D750 and I usually choose the D750 - that might sound crazy, but it's far less taxing on my computer and you really wouldn't notice the difference in prints. You don't look at a picture and say "that's great, but it was shot on an older camera so I don't like it anymore". So many landscape photographers are obsessed with ultimate image quality at the expense of an engaging picture.
Totes :agree: here :)

I was invited to shoot with the D850 recently by a magazine and when asked I said - yep its a camera, far too many pixels though

I was also asked by a preferred venue of mine to use my photos for their calendar last year, so I sent them over about 70 low res (1,200 px less than 300kb each) photos for them to pick 12 from, next I heard they'd printed it !!! EEK !!! Then they sent me one (its A4 size) and the print quality is fine. I was shocked as I thought it'd look really crap

So yes - 24mp on the D750 that I use too is more than enough for all but the very biggest prints

Dave
 
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#22
I think we are entering the time - probably already have a few years ago - when all higher end cameras are good enough and the determining factor really becomes the end user and maybe the lens.

The difference is only in the details and maximum print size. And this is where a good medium format will come on top.
I don't think it's just higher end cameras. I sometimes shoot with a 12MP Olympus e-p3 and IQ is fine for A4 prints (and I suspect A3 also).

In general, I like shooting with m4/3 cameras for landscape. The larger depth of field and IBIS means I can do away with a tripod - something I actively dislike and I feel limits the creativity of landscape photograpgy
 
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#23
I don't think it's just higher end cameras. I sometimes shoot with a 12MP Olympus e-p3 and IQ is fine for A4 prints (and I suspect A3 also).

In general, I like shooting with m4/3 cameras for landscape. The larger depth of field and IBIS means I can do away with a tripod - something I actively dislike and I feel limits the creativity of landscape photograpgy
35mm Film cameras were fine for A4 print...

My benchmark is a detailed A2 as a minimum.... A1++ is preferable.
 
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#24
But does it really make a better picture? Absolutely not. I have a D810 (acquired from work when we went to D850s) and D750 and I usually choose the D750 - that might sound crazy, but it's far less taxing on my computer and you really wouldn't notice the difference in prints. You don't look at a picture and say "that's great, but it was shot on an older camera so I don't like it anymore". So many landscape photographers are obsessed with ultimate image quality at the expense of an engaging picture.
No - but more pixels don’t make a worse picture.

Storage has never been cheaper and having the extra pixels does allow for a) larger printing b) more cropping ability later down the line. I’m not a heavy cropper but sometimes you do see something within the file that would look better.

Personally when storage is sold by the TB and processing power only gets more powerful you cannot have enough pixels on the sensor imho and more is more not less.
 
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#25
You need to choose which compromises you are willing to take.

I am not prepared to carry A DSLR and certainly not a 35mm format DSLR simply due ro weight but then again I am not trying to sell prints.

I use a full frame camera just not 35mm format (the lenses and lens mount were designed for the sensor size of the system) it is a compromise but I notice noboby is talking about medium format or even large format kit as a comparison or compromise.
 
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#26
35mm Film cameras were fine for A4 print...

My benchmark is a detailed A2 as a minimum.... A1++ is preferable.
I'd be shooting 35mm film mostly if it was free...

Discussion on IQ should always be frames by what the user wants as the end result. A3/A4 is fine for me so I have no issues with 35mm film or crop digital
I've no interest at printing at A1 myself so wouldn't have a clue as to what works at that size
 
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#27
I'd be shooting 35mm film mostly if it was free...

Discussion on IQ should always be frames by what the user wants as the end result. A3/A4 is fine for me so I have no issues with 35mm film or crop digital
I've no interest at printing at A1 myself so wouldn't have a clue as to what works at that size
5d 3 is fine. Just...
 
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#28
I switched to FF quite recently, the reason was less DOF for better subject isolation when needed (not especially landscape relevant but it sometimes comes in useful), and the availability of a much better range of ultrawides, including primes like the Samyang 14mm, Irix 15mm etc and ultrawide zooms. There is so much choice on FF right now and a lot of these options are reasonably priced and relatively small/light.

I did have a Sigma 10-20mm on APSC at one point, but it's quite large considering it's f4-5.6, and I found the stretchy corners a bit much. I now have the Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 OSD, which is about the same size and a fraction lighter.
 
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#29
I switched to FF quite recently, the reason was less DOF for better subject isolation when needed (not especially landscape relevant but it sometimes comes in useful), and the availability of a much better range of ultrawides, including primes like the Samyang 14mm, Irix 15mm etc and ultrawide zooms. There is so much choice on FF right now and a lot of these options are reasonably priced and relatively small/light.

I did have a Sigma 10-20mm on APSC at one point, but it's quite large considering it's f4-5.6, and I found the stretchy corners a bit much. I now have the Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 OSD, which is about the same size and a fraction lighter.
I agree, there is so much more choice for FX. Nikon for example have the D7200 which would be perfect for landscapes at an affordable price point (if DXOmarks dynamic range testing is to be taken seriously) but the lens selection is just not there for Nikon DX. I'm sitting here on my M43 system waiting for a suitable upgrade as I do find not being able to crop with 16MP a bit limiting - so far the Fuji XT system seems the best bet, but even that has drawbacks as you have to give up either IS or weather sealing depending on lens selection. Comprimises all over the shop :)
 
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#31
I'm sure there are millions and millions of landscape photos out there on the Web that are shot with APS-C, m4/3, etc and for viewing on the web I doubt if you could tell they were taken with crop cameras. The average amateur probably doesn't print much bigger than A4 maybe A3. Again their crop cameras are probably more than adequate, but a professional (or semi professional) landscape photographer selling photos, to magazines, publishers, commission work etc who may not necessarily know how big their photos are going to be printed at, would definitely benefit from using a ff camera.
 
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#33
I'm sure there are millions and millions of landscape photos out there on the Web that are shot with APS-C, m4/3, etc and for viewing on the web I doubt if you could tell they were taken with crop cameras. The average amateur probably doesn't print much bigger than A4 maybe A3. Again their crop cameras are probably more than adequate, but a professional (or semi professional) landscape photographer selling photos, to magazines, publishers, commission work etc who may not necessarily know how big their photos are going to be printed at, would definitely benefit from using a ff camera.
My understanding is that MP and sharpness determine print size, whereas sensor size affects dynamic range and ISO performance (as well as other stuff non IQ related). That means a crop sensor at 24 MP and a full frame at 24 MP should in theory be able to print the same size at the same quality, assuming the images where both about as sharp as each other. Editing the image would be easier on the FF due to highlight and shadow recovery etc...is my understanding correct or is there a correlation between print size & sensor size?
 
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#34
The X-H1 will give you IS on all lenses, then just WR to consider!!
Trouble is the XH1 is more expensive and I'm not a massive fan of the form factor vs the more compact XT cameras.

Not a problem this idea is widespread on the www.
Example From Colin Hawkins photography blog
View attachment 135249
I've seen that condensation can occur when camping out in cold conditions which could penetrate a non-WR lens even if it was covered like that.
 
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#35
Trouble is the XH1 is more expensive and I'm not a massive fan of the form factor vs the more compact XT cameras.



I've seen that condensation can occur when camping out in cold conditions which could penetrate a non-WR lens even if it was covered like that.
Well then codensation could also develop inside lens and camera so...... even so thats much less of a problem than a regular downpour that hits the camera with some force and much higher volumes of water
 
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#36
I'm sure there are millions and millions of landscape photos out there on the Web that are shot with APS-C, m4/3, etc and for viewing on the web I doubt if you could tell they were taken with crop cameras. The average amateur probably doesn't print much bigger than A4 maybe A3. Again their crop cameras are probably more than adequate, but a professional (or semi professional) landscape photographer selling photos, to magazines, publishers, commission work etc who may not necessarily know how big their photos are going to be printed at, would definitely benefit from using a ff camera.
Though still there are professionals using APSC and M4/3
 
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#38
Thanks for all of the discussion on this one everybody.

Another good question, that myself and a friend have been talking through the last couple of days is if you had to choose between; Ease of use of the camera in it's ability to get shots versus it's ultimate image quality, what would matter more to you?]

As an example the new Canon 6dii has, compared to 5div, Nikon D750, Sony A7ii, and even crop sensors like Nikon D500 and Fuji XT-1 relatively poor image quality. Especially in reference to dynamic range and pushing shadows.

However, as a tool it has Canon ergonomics, menu layout and crucially a fully articulating screen with touch autofocus in live view. You simply do not know how much you need a flippy screen and touch AF until you have used it, for me it is one of the best steps forward that has gone almost unsung.

So, I guess it comes down to the importance and enjoyment of making the capture, or the enjoyment and importance of looking at RAW files at 100%.

For me the Nikon D500 gives you both excellent usability and great IQ. Just got to work round the lenses, and I think @SFTPhotography suggestion of a 14-24mm might be the answer, except I'll get the Sigma and keep the D750 in case I need wider too.
 
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Toni
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#39
Lack of flip-out screen is a major lack in many Nikon cameras, never mind fully articulating. However for *landscape* use I'd generally rate image quality above that kind of ease of use because there's normally time & space to make evberything come together, even if it's a bit more hassle.
 
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Terry
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#40
I was unsure wether to put this in the equipment sub forum or this one, it kind of applies to both but I wanted to discuss the use of the different formats specific to landscapes so it's here.

For many years I have shot landscapes with full frame cameras, convinced it was the right thing to do. I think in part it was down to seeing the large difference in image quality between Canon crop cameras and Canon full frame cameras. Even at base ISO there was a difference in the noise, dynamic range and the colours. There was a smoothness to the way the highlights rolled off softly rather than abruptly and when looking at the images at 100% they had a 'wow' factor with increased sharpness. Crucially the files could handle more manipulation in post processing.

Moving to Nikon I jumped right in with full frame, shooting a D750 which I love. (Not looking to start a debate but the step up to Nikon FF from Canon FF was larger than the step up from Canon crop to Canon FF...) I assumed the Nikon crop sensors would be a step down in IQ compared to the Nikon full frame sensors, much the same as the Canon ones were.

As a backup camera, and to give me something different I went for a D500 Nikon 1.5x crop camera. Now, it is noisier than the D750, and when boosted the larger pixels clearly gather more light even at the same exposure, but here is the thing, there is hardly anything in it from an IQ point of view.

I have shot some real life landscape test shots with a 20mm lens on the D500 and a 35mm lens on the D750, in demanding situations at various matching exposures then tortured the RAW files. Honestly, when you account for the fact that the D500 does not have an optical low pass filter (AA) and you apply less sharpening than you do with the D750 the noise at ISO100 is very similar. If you apply the same sharpening the D500 shows more noise, understandably. From an exposure latitude point of view there is nothing in it. The colours are as near the same as makes no difference.

The only difference I can find is that the D500 images are pin sharp into the corners, where the D750 is soft(er) in the corners. Arguably the crop sensor is using the best bit of the glass only.

So my question is, when you are shooting landscapes and able to take control of the ideal settings, by using a tripod and base ISO, which I very rarely deviate from, do you need a full frame camera? Or, are you better off with a crop sensor giving you sharper corners and arguably lighter/cheaper lenses for carrying around...?

I get if you are going handheld, and/or want to up the ISO the full frame will pull ahead, and I have not downsized the 24MP D750 files to 20MP and then tried printing big yet. I think diffraction may still have a part to play in this, as it kicks in earlier with the higher pixel density of the crop sensor, but they we are using the sharper centre of the lens which affects blur level in the corners...

Just interested if anyone else has contemplated any of the above. Maybe I am only thinking it due to these 2 specific cameras?

Caveat - photography is more about subject, light, composition and post processing than sensor choice ;)

I would suggest it is largely down to the size of the prints you intend to make or the magnification you view at. A majority of people can only see the difference when they pixel peep.
If you never make a print larger than A3 Full frame is overkill.

It is interesting that Fuji have missed out Full frame in their range, and only make APS or Medium format. their APS results are astonishing, and their medium format satisfies even the most critical quality needs.
 
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