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The Full Frame Experience

Published April 10th, 2012

I entered the semi-professional aspect of photography a few years ago and began swimming in the sea of options that is modern dSLR photography. I had been using a very nice Canon superzoom camera (SX20IS) and had invested in Canon peripherals like speedlites, so I felt like I wanted to stay with Canon. My first purchase was a Canon Rebel T1i. I came to believe (and still believe to a certain extent) that the quality of the glass is more important than the camera body. I have seen amazing pictures taken with the most humble of dSLR cameras. But I began to learn that there were other factors than image quality. Handling, for one thing. That led me to my second dSLR purchase...the Canon EOS 60D.



I love my 60D. It is so intuitive and easy to control. The flexibility for video is unmatched by any other dSLR that I have used. The articulating screen is surprisingly useful. And I discovered that when it comes to challenging lighting conditions, not all cameras are created equal. I quickly began to see a big difference in my photos taken at higher ISOs when compared with T1i.



I eventually determined that I wanted the flexibility that having both a full frame and a crop body (APS-C) would offer. I started saving (and shopping) for a 5D MK2. I purchased one a few months back and have been familiarizing myself with it since. At this point I have used an entry level sDSLR, a semi-pro body dSLR, and a pro dSLR. Here are my observations:



1) The 5D MK2 is a fantastic camera, but when it comes to handling, my 60D is my favorite. Live View is better implemented. Video function is more intuitive. The articulating screen is a big asset. The on/off switch is more logical. Those extra two years along the engineering cycle show.
2) Nothing beats a full frame when it comes to low light performance. The 5D MK2 laughs at ISOs into 5000+, and I understand the MK3 is even better.
3) Full frame produces slightly more saturated color. That big sensor stores a huge amount of information. I once produced an HDR .jpeg from it that was over 28MB - a jpeg! That is a lot of color info!
4) A crop sensor is both a blessing and a curse. The extra reach on the telephoto end without a loss of image quality or aperture size can make a huge difference. On the wide end, however, common lens like a 70-200mm often aren't wide enough. There are few lens designs that imitate the 70-200mm focal length for an APS-C body.
5) Some lens come alive on a full frame sensor. The full frame sensor is far more demanding...yet some lens just seem to love it. Other lenses are "shown up" by their sub-par resolving power on a full frame, but good glass really shines on a full frame.



I consider myself very blessed to be able to enjoy the best of both worlds.

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Fire and Ice

© 2012 Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott

This image shows have that even an entry level dSLR is capable of fantastic images when paired with a good lens.

Winter's Arrival

© 2011 Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott

The Canon 60D is great for low angle shots like this. Flip the screen around facing up, and it allows you to position the camera perfectly.

  • December 23rd, 2011
  • Canon EOS 60D
  • 15mm / f/13 / 1/5 sec
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The Deep Blue

© 2012 Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott

This image shows how capable the full frame sensor is of capturing deep, rich color info. A full size jpeg of this image clocked in at almost 30MB!

  • March 31st, 2012
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • 17mm / f/8 / 1/400 sec

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