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Thread: Using the crop factor to get more reach

  1. #1
    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Using the crop factor to get more reach

    Terry posted in another thread how she used the 100-300mm Panasonic on safari and was now testing out the Nikon 70-200/2.8 on the V1. I wanted to continue the discussion started by the following three posts without taking that other thread off track:

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hmmm, but how about a NEX with adapter and the nice Sony 70-300G? Not long enough?
    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    Correct - I did 75% or more of my Kenya shots at 600mm or longer.

    So, Nikon gives me two extra stops (I know partially offset by good high ISO on the NEX 5n and cropability of the NEX 7). We shall see how this goes. I was really just looking to take advantage of the crop sensor of the Nikon and then the extra DOF that comes along with it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Brittenson View Post
    I wonder how the V1 with a Nikon tele compares to the NEX7 with a similar lens (like the Sony 70-200/2.8G) cropped a little bit?
    As Jan alludes to, crop sensors can give more effective reach because of smaller pixel pitch. Ie, there is nothing specific about the sensor size itself that gives more reach.

    It's interesting to compare the 10MP Nikon V1, 16MP Panasonic G3, and 24MP Sony NEX-7. On the face of it, we have 2.7X, 2.0X, and 1.5X crop systems. However, if we crop the Panasonic and Sony sensors to 10MP each, then on the basis of the resulting sensor area, we get 2.7X, 2.6X, and 2.5X crop systems, respectively. Very little difference.

    At that point, the effective reach is more a function of which system has a lens that can outresolve the sensor. Of course there are operational issues (VR, AF performance) which may prove even more important.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Using the crop factor to get more reach

    There are other factors that come into play also, like the strength of the AA-filter. The Olympus E-5 is a good example of a camera that has it all for long reach:

    - A 2x crop factor
    - Weak AA-filter, enabling it to render much more detail than its 12MP indicate
    - Lenses that are sharp all over and tailor-made for the system
    - Features and build quality that are suitable for situation where long reach is typically required (sports, wildlife etc.)

    Unfortunately, I can't afford to change systems right now, so I have to stay with Nikon. I did however get a D2Xs for a very reasonable price, and compared to a D700 or D3, I have a distinct reach advantage. The below photos are shot with a Nikkor 300mm f/4, a lens that is available for a very low price and that is relatively lightweight for what it is. If I had a camera with a full frame sensor, I would need a 450mm lens. The Sigma 150-500mm would be the obvious alternative, but it's more expensive, more than twice as heavy and being a zoom lens, it probably isn't as sharp as the Nikkor.





    Except for low light performance, I see very little gain in upgrading to FF, but I might in the future keep an extra body just for that. I also use a GH1 for motor sports, but mostly with the 7-14 for pit lane shots. A long prime (sharper than the 100-300 at the long end) and more buffer depth would be required for shots around the track, at least for international events. It would be interesting to try the V1 with a long prime. The Nikkor 200mm f/2.0 would be perfect, but it's heavy, expensive and hardly hand holdable over time. My 80-200 AF-S on the V1? Sounds interesting. I'll have a look at the bottom of all drawers when I come home, and see if there are any monies left
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    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Re: Using the crop factor to get more reach

    Excellent points and fantastic photos, Jorgen!

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    Re: Using the crop factor to get more reach

    I'm glad we are having this discussion.

    I haven't fully tested the focus tracking capability of the V1 yet but if I listen to Thom Hogan it clearly outperformed the Panasonic and Oly cameras on his recent Galapagos trip. So, ideally it would be great if Nikon had a native 1 system lens to fully take advantage of the technology. A 100-300 f4 lens (270-810mm) would be an amazing range and the f4 keeps the size reasonable. The reason for native is that you do lose some functionality with the FT-1 adapter and can't do focus tracking.

    One pro of using the 70-200 or Jorgen's 300mm is also the availability of good teleconverters that still keep you below the max aperture of m4/3 and don't mesningfully degrade sharpness.

    Admittedly, in my first thought process I was thinking about the Sony solution in regards to the first adapter and not the newer adapter that does phase detect. So, if I can find a copy of the Sony 70-200 I can do a side by side with the Nikon.

    All that being said, when you don't need the really long reach, the 30-110 lens for the Nikon system is by far the smallest of all the compact system cameras. (115g, 58mm diameter, 42mm long vs the equivalent Sony at 345g, 64mm diameter and 108mm long) but of course you still have a huge difference between 10mp and 24 mp and the depth of the color etc coming from the Sony. The Nikon camera can go completely silent with electronic shutter. Didn't consider it that much before but after using it, I like it.

    If I could only afford one system it would be Sony over Nikon.

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    Re: Using the crop factor to get more reach

    Interesting thread (and great shots.) I used to shoot motorsports with the original D1...seems like ancient history now.

    I was thinking about this concept after listening to your podcast the other day, Amin (well done, BTW.) Specifically on the NEX 7 since there are megapixels to spare...

    Just how fast is the V1 and 70-200 for focusing? Terry said it was fast; I'm curious if it as fast as on a DSLR body.

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    Re: Using the crop factor to get more reach

    I've always found that fewer Mpixels when working with ultra telephoto FoV (anything longer than about 200mm, 4x normal on 35mm format, is in the ballpark for me) are perfectly ok. For instance, my ancient Panasonic FZ10 was a JPEG-only, 4 Mpixel camera with a teensy sensor but produced exceptional 350-400mm EFL photos. Air quality and the quality of the light has as much to do with image resolution as the lens or antialiasing filter in many cases given high magnification FoV.

    My current ultra long setup, not that I use it all that much, is an Olympus DSLR with Pentax 135 and Nikkor 200 (400 w TC300) lenses. The E-5 (sold now) is great at hand-held work with its image stabilization, the E-1 does beautifully with monopod or tripod for stability assist if the light levels aren't up to the shorter exposure times.

    Yes, the E5 and GXR-M resolve better than the E-1, but the E-1's rendering qualities are just so nice that it hardly matters. A measly 5Mpixels and a strong AA filter (never mind the interminable wait if you've banged off 8 exposures on continuous capture ...): it's hard to say why the E-1 images look so good, but they do. :-)

  7. #7
    rmorris
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    Re: Using the crop factor to get more reach

    That really depends on what modes you are more shooting with just so you could ensure that you are getting the optimum levels of each take. I like the idea of actually being able to shoot with almost any level and medium at that. But of course, you should still make amends with what hardware you are going with just to be sure.

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    Re: Using the crop factor to get more reach

    Best to get a Pentax Q if you want reach from legacy lenses (CF=5.5)
    Trouble is, the built in IS doesn't work with the non-q lenses.
    Keith

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    Re: Using the crop factor to get more reach

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    There are other factors that come into play also, like the strength of the AA-filter. The Olympus E-5 is a good example of a camera that has it all for long reach:

    - A 2x crop factor
    - Weak AA-filter, enabling it to render much more detail than its 12MP indicate
    - Lenses that are sharp all over and tailor-made for the system
    - Features and build quality that are suitable for situation where long reach is typically required (sports, wildlife etc.)

    Unfortunately, I can't afford to change systems right now, so I have to stay with Nikon. I did however get a D2Xs for a very reasonable price, and compared to a D700 or D3, I have a distinct reach advantage. The below photos are shot with a Nikkor 300mm f/4, a lens that is available for a very low price and that is relatively lightweight for what it is. If I had a camera with a full frame sensor, I would need a 450mm lens. The Sigma 150-500mm would be the obvious alternative, but it's more expensive, more than twice as heavy and being a zoom lens, it probably isn't as sharp as the Nikkor.





    Except for low light performance, I see very little gain in upgrading to FF, but I might in the future keep an extra body just for that. I also use a GH1 for motor sports, but mostly with the 7-14 for pit lane shots. A long prime (sharper than the 100-300 at the long end) and more buffer depth would be required for shots around the track, at least for international events. It would be interesting to try the V1 with a long prime. The Nikkor 200mm f/2.0 would be perfect, but it's heavy, expensive and hardly hand holdable over time. My 80-200 AF-S on the V1? Sounds interesting. I'll have a look at the bottom of all drawers when I come home, and see if there are any monies left
    Love the "Silver Star" photo in this pair!

  10. #10
    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Using the crop factor to get more reach

    Thanks, Godfrey.

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