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Thread: Older full frame vs modern APS-C

  1. #1

    Older full frame vs modern APS-C

    I'm seriously contemplating a new camera for an upcoming holiday, I've spent what feels like days reading up on various specs and reviews of a good number of cameras however I'm still unsure as to exactly which direction I should take. I'll be using the camera for landscape/cityscape photography with maybe some street photography thrown in to the mix as well, portrait and sports aren't a priority, and I don't feel the requirement for a video function either. Wifi would be handy as well as decent battery life, something weather sealed would be good but not a necessity and I have a budget of up to/around £800 all in for camera, wide angle lens (if I go DSLR/mirrorless), memory card, bag and so on i.e. everything I'll need be out and about with.

    To give you an idea as to my thought train I started looking at decent compacts such as the Ricoh GR and Sony RX 100 models then I started looking at APS-C DSLRs such as Nikon's D5300, and now I'm looking at older cameras such as Nikon's D700 and Canon's 5D mkii due to their full frame sensors. My question to you all is which would you go for - older model full frame or new model APS-C? I'm aware of the advantages of a full frame sensor (greater control over DoF, better light gathering etc) however will a modern APS-C with greater resolution and more up to date processing level the field?
    Last edited by CardShark; 18th September 2018 at 12:40.

  2. #2
    There are many options for you but all have advantages and disadvantages and you will have to compromise based on your budget.

    From what you said below I'm taking your requirements to mean a fairly small, light camera that will have good image quality, will be mostly used for things that don't move, but for some street photography as well.

    If you go the FF route with the budget you have, it will mean a larger, heavier camera such as a Nikon D700, D600/D610 or Canon 5D/5dmk1. You mentioned a wide angled lens and this would be good for landscapes/cityscapes so with a FF body you would also be bolting on a fairly large lens...it's far larger than if you put on a 50 f1.8.

    These are my suggestions:

    Nikon has just introduced the D3500. There's no fancy technology here like touchscreen, 4K, high fps etc but it's even smaller and lighter than the previous D3400 and has that fantastic 24MP sensor. It's also got an updated processor and a battery that lasts about 1500 shots. I think it's about £500 brand new or even cheaper and comes with the 18-55 VR. Obviously, this lens isn't great, but you could get the older (used) 16-85 VRII which is an excellent lens.

    Another option would be something like a Fuji X-T20 which is very small and light, has a tlting screen which is handy for exactly what you want to shoot, 24MP sensor, loads of great Fuji film simulations, and the other characteristics of mirrorless. The downside would be battery life but I don't see any hassle with carrying a couple of spares with you. Lenses - the 14mm f2.8 is fantastic and the 18-55 f2.8-f4 is really, really good. I would buy the body and lenses used, from somewhere like MPB or London Camera Exchange.

    I must admit, another camera I thought of (because I own it) is one that I doubt anyone would recommend - the Fuji X-Pro1. It's long in the tooth and has very iffy autofocus (some would say rubbish AF) but for stills it's an absolute joy to use because it doesn't have many features, buttons or technology. It's also built really well, can take a battering and has excellent ergonomics.

    Hope that helps

    Quote Originally Posted by CardShark View Post
    I'm seriously contemplating a new camera for an upcoming holiday, I've spent what feels like days reading up on various specs and reviews of a good number of cameras however I'm still unsure as to exactly which direction I should take. I'll be using the camera for landscape/cityscape photography with maybe some street photography thrown in to the mix as well, portrait and sports aren't a priority, and I don't feel the requirement for a video function either. Wifi would be handy as well as decent battery life, something weather sealed would be good but not a necessity and I have a budget of up to/around £800 all in for camera, wide angle lens (if I go DSLR/mirrorless), memory card, bag and so on i.e. everything I'll need be out and about with.

    To give you an idea as to my thought train I started looking at decent compacts such as the Ricoh GR and Sony RX 100 models then I started looking at APS-C DSLRs such as Nikon's D5300, and now I'm looking at older cameras such as Nikon's D700 and Canon's 5D mkii due to their full frame sensors. My question to you all is which would you go for - older model full frame or new model APS-C? I'm aware of the advantages of a full frame sensor (greater control over DoF, better light gathering etc) however will a modern APS-C with greater resolution and more up to date processing level the field?
    Last edited by Shane; 18th September 2018 at 15:20.

  3. #3
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    If you want to travel light Iíd suggest a Fuji X100. MPB have several nice X100Ts at around £650

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Shane View Post
    There are many options for you but all have advantages and disadvantages and you will have to compromise based on your budget.

    From what you said below I'm taking your requirements to mean a fairly small, light camera that will have good image quality, will be mostly used for things that don't move, but for some street photography as well.
    The compromise part is certainly true, I appreciate that at the budget I'll be operating at I won't be able to have my cake and eat it, however I'd like to get at least within sniffing distance! Your summary is pretty much spot on and I've now ruled out the 5D and D700 due to the pixel count, I'd like to have the option of printing large copies of the 'photos that I take so my thinking is that higher resolution cameras along with a decent lens will give me greater flexibility, I usually frame my 'photos so as to avoid cropping however I'd also like a degree of flexibility here as well.

    There was another lengthy and informative post before yours Shane however it appears to have been deleted... I was just looking up a couple of the camera/lens combos recommended and the response disappeared.

  5. #5
    Master Tokyo Tokei's Avatar
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    Previous response was mine but a ton of words so I deleted it with a view to writing something more concise, my apologies.

    On resolution, my own DSLR instruction book advises to reduce the resolution (from its highest of 6MP) down to 4MP for anything to printed up to and including A4. 6MP is there for A3. HD televisions are 2MP. The resolution wars have convinced people to "need" more, but you don't really need much more, even for a bit of cropping.

    With that said, the 5D and D700 are excellent but now old cameras (I used both) and while I'd happily use either again, if you do have resolution anxiety(!) or just want something newer, consider:

    Pentax:K5 or K-S2 or K3 or KP (in ascending order of expense)

    Reason: In body stabilised DSLRs, so the lenses (which account for most of the weight for any format) can be tiny. Weather sealed. Proper pentaprism viewfinder. CHEAP, especially the K5, because it is getting old, and, err, a Pentax. Who don't really advertise or promote via online "influencers" so get little coverage. There's a thread on here about CCDs where I admit that Pentax's 2004-era DSLR, with very cheap lenses, gives me photos today no worse than (or even superior to) my newer 2015 era "pro" mirrorless with "pro" lenses. They are not easy to find, but if you can hold a K5/K3/KP series Pentax with one of the "Limited" lenses attached you may have an epiphany.

    The 40mm/2.8 lens for example, is as deep as a body cap and near weightless. Picture of it on a K5:



    I used this lens on a K7 (exact same body as K5 but a 14MP sensor) and was very happy with it indeed. With that lens, it packed smaller than my old Fuji X100, and was vastly superior. The price of a K7 is so close to a K5, I'd opt for the K5 with its better sensor though, hence I've missed the K7 off the list.

    There are some examples in the CCD thread of other lenses too. The 35mm limited is spectacular, and only available for Pentax. A metal-bodied older full frame 50mm/f2 or 1.7 can be had for less than 50 pounds for Pentax (or Nikon) used. If you don't need all the wi-fi gubbins of the newer models, the cheaper Pentax K5 is often available used at a very good price. IBIS, excellent sensor. Build quality on par with the pro Nikons, which is saying something. Superb handling. Endless battery life. Money saved could buy another limited prime, or the wide-angle/fisheye Pentax zoom for interior/architecture shots.

    Any of these would make a nice travel setup, avoiding the DPreview trap of a "prosumer" DSLR and f2.8 zoom. Which everyone who spends too long reading reviews ends up with and then wonders why their back aches and they never take their enormous camera with them.

    Nikon: D3xxx series. Nothing wrong with these if you don't mind a small viewfinder. Super light and well built. I find the lenses on all the APS-C cameras (except for Pentax) just too big really, but you can fit a 35mm/1.8 on a D3xxx and have a nice light setup. I went back to a decade-old D50 for a while, and it was more than fine too. D500 I owned was a beast but you might as well pack a full frame like my old D750 if you are happy with the expense, size and weight of the D500 - the FF will be no heavier nor more expensive.

    D750: Limitless dynamic range and superb quality. With an older lens (or three - I used a 20mm/50mm/100mm/f2.8 set of primes from the 1970s, each took 52mm filters and would easily fit in your palm, to give you an idea of how small they were) this is a great travel setup. Once you put a big modern zoom on it, all bets are off. Might as well use an iPhone.

    Fuji: vocal fans, but although I still own a Fuji, I'm not one of them. If you enjoy adding film simulations, shooting pictures of peoples backs ("street!") or adding "drama" filters to skies, I'd just use an iPhone rather than spend 1000s on a capable camera and then butchering the output. But each to his own. Do make sure to obtain an artisanal strap if you buy a Fuji.

    Canon: All good but not as easy to use old lenses as Pentax and Nikon due to the lens mount change. I suspect that along with micro4/3, APS-C is a soon-to-be-dead format, so probably some bargains but I wouldn't invest a lot (especially in glass) unless full-frame. Thus the idea to look at used equipment.

    Basically - all modern cameras will give you very usable output for prints (including iPhones) so buy one you enjoy using - which includes holding and operating it all day. A cheap one, with a nice lens, will generally give you better output than an expensive one with a cheap lens. Lenses for Nikon and Pentax are available that are both nice and cheap though, if you avoid the modern hefty zooms. Hence the advice above.

    Now I've written about as much as before. I'll leave it this time.
    Last edited by Tokyo Tokei; 19th September 2018 at 16:02. Reason: picture

  6. #6
    There's nothing wrong with 12MP or 16MP. Far more important than MP is the quality of the light, composition and just capturing an interesting or compelling scene.

    However, there are quite a few cameras that have a 24MP sensor; some are APS-C and some full frame. The FF bodies that fall within your budget will be quite large, apart from the original Sony A7. You've said you want to shoot landscape/cityscape and some street. You could buy a FF body and a 35mm or 50mm lens which are both fairly small, but that would mean you having to capture multiple images of a scene in portrait orientation and stitching them together in software.

    However, a wide angle lens would make things easier and you could use this for street photography by setting a small aperture like f8 - f16 and fast shutter speed (depending on the light) and zone focusing so that anything within a certain area is acceptably sharp.

    Other things to consider: are the lens and body comfortable to hold? What are the ergonomics and button/dial placement like? How's it going to feel carrying it for a few hours in a backpack, messenger bag or around your neck? Will you be carrying more than one lens, water, other stuff? Tripod? - you'll need this for landscape/cityscape, especially in low light.

    I've used Fuji cameras and while they're far from perfect, they are very good for what you want to shoot: quite small and light (and therefore easy to carry for long periods and less conspicuous for street), good focus peaking for manual focusing, tilting screen, WYSIWYG exposure, no AA filter, and very sharp lenses. I'd certainly consider them, even if you don't decide to go with one in the end.



    Quote Originally Posted by CardShark View Post
    The compromise part is certainly true, I appreciate that at the budget I'll be operating at I won't be able to have my cake and eat it, however I'd like to get at least within sniffing distance! Your summary is pretty much spot on and I've now ruled out the 5D and D700 due to the pixel count, I'd like to have the option of printing large copies of the 'photos that I take so my thinking is that higher resolution cameras along with a decent lens will give me greater flexibility, I usually frame my 'photos so as to avoid cropping however I'd also like a degree of flexibility here as well.

    There was another lengthy and informative post before yours Shane however it appears to have been deleted... I was just looking up a couple of the camera/lens combos recommended and the response disappeared.

  7. #7
    I've heard good stuff about the limited edition primes from Pentax. I've also been looking for a nice compact setup around 40/50mm - the K5 may be a nice thing to try......

  8. #8
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    I usually use my Sony A7Riii but for extreme compactness I take my Sony RX-100V. It can produce some excellent results.

  9. #9
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    I've got three options, Fuji XT10 APS-C, Nikon D600 FF and iPhone. Tend to take the Fuji on holiday or to events, it's nearly pocketsized with the pancake prime and with a zoom it's fairly small. The Nikon for landscapes/portraits or low light but it's a bit bigger with prime lens so less convenient. iPhone gets used the most as the quality is fine for snaps and it avoids having to sort them afterwards!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tokyo Tokei View Post
    Do make sure to obtain an artisanal strap if you buy a Fuji.
    Iíve bitten. Care to explain?

  11. #11
    Master Tokyo Tokei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CriticalMass View Post
    Care to explain?
    https://www.google.com/search?q=x100+strap&tbm=isch

  12. #12
    Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CriticalMass View Post
    Iíve bitten. Care to explain?
    I think itís because an awful lot of people do buy X100s because of the retro appearance of the damn thing and then feel the need to accessorise it with a coloured button and a hipster strap. Similar could be said of certain watch models or even cars. The X100 is a damn good camera in itís latest iteration, the film simulations and other tricks arenít compulsory, itís a camera that subjects donít seem intimidated by, so itís worth looking beyond the stereotype image.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Curta View Post
    I think itís because an awful lot of people do buy X100s because of the retro appearance of the damn thing and then feel the need to accessorise it with a coloured button and a hipster strap. Similar could be said of certain watch models or even cars. The X100 is a damn good camera in itís latest iteration, the film simulations and other tricks arenít compulsory, itís a camera that subjects donít seem intimidated by, so itís worth looking beyond the stereotype image.
    Ha- got it. I have to admit to having a Footprint leather wrist strap on my X100- itís now on my XT20. Never thought of myself as a hipster!

  14. #14
    Master
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    I went the Fuji route a couple of years ago (XT-10) and don't regret it one bit. Went from a FF Nikon to the Fuji and I find that I take it along with me much more often than I used to take the Nikon due to the weight and size.

  15. #15
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Old cameras are finished. I paid @ £350 for a Canon 5D original several years ago, pretty much as new with @ 5k actuations, and it turns out crap like this . . .





    I need to find £3-4k to get better shots . . .



    . . . and the 1D MkIII can go as well . . .




  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by magirus View Post
    Old cameras are finished...


    I spent some time today chatting to an extremely helpful and knowledgeable assistant in a local camera store, I asked about the relevance of high resolution shots when it comes to blowing them up and he pretty much confirmed what has already been said in this thread. He shoots mostly in 8mp and has no issue at all blowing them up to A3 and, based on the fact that the bigger the picture the further away you stand from it, there's no real issue printing larger than that.

    I had a play with a couple of cameras and lenses, including a 10-22mm Canon wide angle. Never used a wide angle lens before, boy do they pack in a lot of picture!
    Last edited by CardShark; 21st September 2018 at 21:42.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by magirus View Post
    Old cameras are finished. I paid @ £350 for a Canon 5D original several years ago, pretty much as new with @ 5k actuations, and it turns out crap like this . . .





    I need to find £3-4k to get better shots . . .



    . . . and the 1D MkIII can go as well . . .



    Yes get something newer. Apparently the newer ones can do colour!

    Great pictures :)

    Kev

  18. #18
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    OP. You missed my ‘obsolete’ D700 for a cracking price on SC. Don’t get too hung up on MPix - do try cameras out in your hand - personally I love the Nikon bodies - I guess because I have used them since 2004.

    Here are a 4MP coolpix4000 shot:





    Alabama hills, Calif.
    Last edited by MartynJC (UK); 22nd September 2018 at 17:29.

  19. #19
    Master petethegeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magirus View Post
    Old cameras are finished. I paid @ £350 for a Canon 5D original several years ago, pretty much as new with @ 5k actuations, and it turns out crap like this . . .

    I need to find £3-4k to get better shots . . .

    . . . and the 1D MkIII can go as well . . .
    Quote Originally Posted by kdes24uk View Post
    Yes get something newer. Apparently the newer ones can do colour!
    You don't understand. That's what it looks like up there :)

    Quote Originally Posted by kdes24uk View Post
    Great pictures :)
    +1. (Could it be that TT might also extend his current journeying back in time to the era when colour photography was still a marketeer's fanciful dream.)

  20. #20
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kdes24uk View Post
    Yes get something newer. Apparently the newer ones can do colour! Kev
    Quote Originally Posted by petethegeek View Post
    You don't understand. That's what it looks like up there :)

    Aye, it's grim up north hinny! ;-)

  21. #21
    Looks like I've just become a Pentaxian! Got a K5 and a couple of older yet seemingly highly regarded prime manual lenses on their way.

    I've owned a Canon 450d before however I found the viewfinder both a little dim as well as a degree or two off the horizontal, it's something I had to keep in mind when a took a 'photo. I'm hoping that Pentax's set up is favourable as that was one of the reasons for going for that brand. The UK owners forum seems a little lifeless however the US forum has a wealth of info on it, just need to be careful I don't fall too far down that particular rabbit hole.

    Thanks again for your responses, chaps.

  22. #22
    Master Tokyo Tokei's Avatar
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    Good choice, I liked my old K7 so much that I bought a K5 (same body, better sensor) when I found one recently.

    A few of the very first pics from the K5, taken this weekend...













    It's a good camera. Lenses were either the 35mm or 15mm limited primes.

  23. #23
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    My favourite camera is a Sony A7SII Ö full frame Ö and only 12.2 megapixels Ö but the results quality is superb even at ISO 20000 (twenty thousand) Ö which is so useful for low light imaging.
    And it's one of the most compact FF ICL cameras available.

    dunk
    "Ö but the greatest gift the railways give to us is the proper treatment of time." John Betjeman , BBC Home Service radio broadcast 4 July 1940.

  24. #24
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sundial View Post
    My favourite camera is a Sony A7SII Ö full frame Ö and only 12.2 megapixels Ö but the results quality is superb even at ISO 20000 (twenty thousand) Ö which is so useful for low light imaging.
    And it's one of the most compact FF ICL cameras available.

    dunk
    I've been vaguely considering replacing my 2 Canon bodies, 5D and 1D MkIII (12.8mp and 10.1mp) with 1, a 1DX. 1DX prices are coming down and although I'm loath to move to a larger 18.1mp sensor I think the benefits of superior low light performance outweigh having to process and store larger files.

  25. #25
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CardShark View Post
    Looks like I've just become a Pentaxian! Got a K5 and a couple of older yet seemingly highly regarded prime manual lenses on their way.

    I've owned a Canon 450d before however I found the viewfinder both a little dim as well as a degree or two off the horizontal, it's something I had to keep in mind when a took a 'photo. I'm hoping that Pentax's set up is favourable as that was one of the reasons for going for that brand. The UK owners forum seems a little lifeless however the US forum has a wealth of info on it, just need to be careful I don't fall too far down that particular rabbit hole.

    Thanks again for your responses, chaps.

    Good to see you are sorted! Is the US forum on POTN? There are dedicated Canon model sub fora there that I've found helpful in the past.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by magirus View Post
    Good to see you are sorted! Is the US forum on POTN? There are dedicated Canon model sub fora there that I've found helpful in the past.
    Err... POTN? Pentax Owners...? Excuse my dimness if I'm missing the obvious! I've been using pentaxforums.com for reference though I'm yet to sign-up and contribute. I've also found a couple of Youtube channels extremely helpful and insightful, not just for the technical aspects of photography but also how to approach scene making and so on.

    Thanks, it does feel good to have a proper camera back in my hands rather than a mobile 'phone that I've been using for the last good number of years. Mobiles are easy, just point and snap, and I've got some (what I'd consider to be) great 'photos from them however they can seriously limit creativity - that's another aspect that I've missed. I'm going in at the deep end and trying to get used to combining manual settings from the off, I'm already aware of the basics however combining them along with learning how to navigate the camera itself is going to take some time. Never really used RAW processing either, the software is also going to take me a little while to master however I've always tried to take the best 'photo possible from the off rather than rely on adjustments after.

    TT - you're probably going to roll your eyes and tut under your breath however I've bought a well reviewed Sigma 17-50 to match with the K-5, it's a tad chunky(!) however it'll give me some versatility as well as auto-focus whilst I'm acclimatising to the camera itself. I really like the idea of adding some quality AF primes in the future though, I felt massively conspicuous walking around town yesterday... Something I'll get used to though, hopefully.

  27. #27
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CardShark View Post
    Err... POTN?

    Apologies, POTN ie. Photography On The Net, they have all sorts of brand sub fora and I thought you might have found one dealing with Pentax there.

  28. #28
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    I am now at the age where lugging a couple of bricks around no longer appeals. However my Nikon D700 and bag of fat ‘Made in Japan’ Nikon glass are keepers for occasional use with my 60mm Nikon macro being my favourite and it also a great portrait lens when my 85mm is a bit long. When I venture outdoors or go on holiday I have toys to choose from. Nikon Coolpix A; RX100V; RX1; Leica XV; Ricoh GR. Pocketability is the main factor for me nowadays and whilst I love the RX100V for that, I prefer the Nikon Coolpix A which is like a comfortable pair of slippers. The RX1 is great for specific ‘idea’ shots and general macro, the LXV is great in good light and the Ricoh GR is good for street shots.
    I like having kit choices and the only downside for me is hopping from one camera to another, you tend to not get the best from any. Knowing full well that a great pic is all about the ‘bod behind the box’, I do not produce much in the way of really great pics but I do have a lot of fun and enjoyment and for me, that is what photography is about.
    Last edited by KavKav; 11th October 2018 at 10:58.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by KavKav View Post
    I am now at the age where lugging a couple of bricks around no longer appeals. However my Nikon D700 and bag of fat ĎMade in Japaní Nikon glass are keepers for occasional use with my 60mm Nikon macro being my favourite and it also a great portrait lens when my 85mm is a bit long. When I venture outdoors or go on holiday I have toys to choose from. Nikon Coolpix A; RX100V; RX1; Leica XV; Ricoh GR. Pocketability is the main factor for me nowadays and whilst I love the RX100V for that, I prefer the Nikon Coolpix A which is like a comfortable pair of slippers. The RX1 is great for specific Ďideaí shots and general macro, the LXV is great in good light and the Ricoh GR is good for street shots.
    I like having kit choices and the only downside for me is hopping from one camera to another, you tend to not get the best from any. Knowing full well that a great pic is all about the Ďbod behind the boxí, I do not produce much in the way of really great pics but I do have a lot of fun and enjoyment and for me, that is what photography is about.
    I'm like that too. As I get older, I seldom take my 5x4 on trips. I usually just take the Bronica (6x4.5cm). I've even cut down on the number of film backs from 3 to 2, and lenses to 2 max, and often just a normal lens. However, other things being equal, whether digital or film, the larger the sensor the better. All things considered, however, this isn't so. There are always tradeoffs.

    Best wishes,
    Bob

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfrazier View Post
    I'm like that too. As I get older, I seldom take my 5x4 on trips. I usually just take the Bronica (6x4.5cm). I've even cut down on the number of film backs from 3 to 2, and lenses to 2 max, and often just a normal lens. However, other things being equal, whether digital or film, the larger the sensor the better. All things considered, however, this isn't so. There are always tradeoffs.

    Best wishes,
    Bob
    Oh how true, for holidaying and capturing things quickly even smaller than APSC cameras can still produce more than acceptable results....




    Spotted and taken from a moving bus as we drove past. Fujifilm X-20, 2/3 inch 12 Mp sensor.
    Best Regards - Peter
    Please Note: It is possible that Griswold may know nothing whatsoever about horology. It's even possible that he has never even owned a watch. It is also highly possible the he has a strange imagination. His wife insists he would be far better off paying more attention to taking his medication on time.

  31. #31
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Griswold View Post
    Oh how true, for holidaying and capturing things quickly even smaller than APSC cameras can still produce more than acceptable results....
    Indeed Peter, and with the advances in mobile device (I don't call them phones any more) cameras then they are suitable for the vast majority of this type of shot. However for a planned and considered shot a camera with a large sensor, with a quality lens, will always win the day. IMHO.

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