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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Richard: So Rob, I know you're one of the early shooters, you had a Canon 5D Mark II full frame sensor, then you picked up a 7D, crop sensor. I'm shooting on crop sensor, why would someone choose a crop frame sensor? Robbie: It's a great question and the one that we know we get all the time there is a couple of reasons that I would sort of suggest people shoot on crop frame sensor. First, crop frame sensors are generally in cheaper cameras, right? They are not going to be quite as expensive. That's a general thumb, not always the case but generally you can save a couple of bucks by going with the crop image sensor.
The next thing that I particularly love is that because we have a multiplication value on a crop image sensor, so on this 7D it's 1.6 on your Nikon there it's 1.5, we actually get more length on telephotos side of things. What I mean by that is it say I put a 200 millimeters, it's not actually 200 millimeters, it's 200 millimeters times 1.6. So if I'm in a situation where I need to get more distance out of my lens, for a like you know a close up or something like that, I have that multiplication value, which is nice.
Richard: And if I took that same lens if it was a lens that had a different mounting system that was flexible, or I use an adapter I put it on here, with the 1.5, that 200 millimeter lens would behave like it was a 300-millimeter lens. Now I think it's important to realize we're not magnifying the image, it's just the fact that because you're only using part of the sensor, it's cutting in tighter, and it makes it look like it's a tighter lens length. Robbie: Yeah, and you can see that in the graphic that we have here, right this is a Full Frame Sensor, same shot and then a Cropped Image Sensor.
Same shot, same lens just a slightly different composition, and that's something that you have to put into play, right? As you have to understand what the multiplication value is going to do to your framing of a shot. And again we're going to see this most on the longer end of things. Now just be aware on the sort of you know close up side or the wide end of things, you're not going to have as much flexibility, right? If you trying to go for a nice say you know wide shot at 24 millimeters, well 24 millimeters is not really 24 millimeters on a crop image sensor. And so you're going to have to go really wide if you want to get that nice wide shot.
Typically on, you know, 7D something like a 10, 11, 12 millimeters lens, it's going to give you that sort of traditional wide shot. Richard: And it's kind of interesting, it's where do you want to spend the money? Those long telephoto lenses get really, really expensive when you go over 200 millimeters, 300 millimeters and particular it's sort of the threshold from like, oh I'm a high-end hobbyist, too, oh I'm a natural wildlife photographer, and I need a whole separate support system just for this giant barrel of a lens. Same way though, as you start getting wider and wider and faster and faster on those wide angle lenses they could really kick in, in price too.
So you have to think about your shooting style. Now besides that crop factor which changes the essential the, you know the practical focal length, I think one of the other things that really matters is sensitivity to light. Robbie: Absolutely, absolutely. Richard: Now it depends on the type of shooting you're doing. You know we'll talk about the benefits. Everyone talks about oh the full frame sensor is awesome for a low light performance. What they don't say is oh but when you get outside, you pretty much have to put on an ND filter, because it blows out. Robbie: Yeah, and the other thing that they don't say is that compared to a traditional video camera, a crop image sensor is not small at all.
You know and even though these cameras are using crop image sensors, they can still give you that nice diffuse blurred background. Richard: Yeah, and I think what we're getting at there is that it works really well, and it's sort of the middle compromise. A crop frame sensor is a compromise across the board. It's a compromise on cost, they tend to be little less. It's a compromise for a low light versus outdoor shooting. It still gives you really good performance for low light shooting, especially compared to traditional video camera. However, it is going to not tend to over expose when shooting outdoors, you know you still may have an ND filter, but you're not going to have to constantly work-- Robbie: It's not as sensitive, right? And I think the last argument that I just, I put a lot of credence into is that when you compare a 35-millimeter motion picture frame, you know from motion picture film, a crop image sensor say like from my 7D here or your Nikon there is about the same size as that frame in a 35-millimeter motion picture film.
So, I think the argument of crop image sensor not as good to not be a really valid one, right? These cameras, crop image sensors are great for a lot of reasons. And I think in most situations they're going to produce shots that are just as nice and just as beautiful as they're full frame equivalent. Richard: Okay, so if money is any issue to you--for some of you it's not, for many of you it is--consider rerouting that cost difference between the full frame versus crop sensor and to some more support equipment or lenses. All right. Let's go ahead and come back in a second and talk about why you would choose a full frame sensor.
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