Do I need to buy a Full Frame Camera?

Discuss cameras, settings, composition, or anything related to photography - cactus or other subjects.
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C And D
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Do I need to buy a Full Frame Camera?

Post by C And D »

I'm not happy with my photo quality

I have a DSLR Canon 2Ti or something, with a 60mm macro
and the sharpness is just not there, even though I have it on the highest sharpness setting.

Is there better software?
or is having a bigger frame the only answer.....

I hear you lose depth of feild, but you can bump up the ISO and still have better quality..

I'm looking at the Canon EOS 6D, $2000 body only
Denise is Not very supportive yet, maybe I can convince her if I get some positive feedback.
http://www.CandDplants.com

Craig and Denise Fry
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SnowFella
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Re: Do I need to buy a Full Frame Camera?

Post by SnowFella »

2Ti plus a good macro lens ought to be quite capable to get sharp images. Going full frame shouldn't really affect sharpness but rather give you some more ISO headrooom to play with.

What's your general setup and workflow?

Edit: Now I'm not to familiar with the Canon brand but it seems the 60mm Macro is an EF-S lens and as such won't work on a 6D full frame body.
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BarryRice
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Re: Do I need to buy a Full Frame Camera?

Post by BarryRice »

Hey,

I do pro photography of plants, very often in the macro regime. I can talk to you more about what you'd need, if you want. However, I think you'll find that a skilled photographer can do good macro with even moderate camera gear. It's common for the non-expert to look at fabulous images taken by highly skilled photographers, and think that the edge they have is purely based on the equipment they use. Instead, a lot of it is really just the skill and care taken in making the imagery. But that's cool--life is a learning process, right?

So my first question to you is the following. In your macro work, are you shooting with your camera fixed on a tripod? If you're doing handheld macro, all your images will be blurry, and the camera is not to be blamed.

Does your camera allow for you to set Fratio? You should be shooting at F16-F32.

Cheers

Barry

P.S. I don't mean to sound snobby or snotty, in my comments above. It's tough love. :)

B
I'll grow it as long as it doesn't have glochids. Gaudy flowers a plus.
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SnowFella
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Re: Do I need to buy a Full Frame Camera?

Post by SnowFella »

BarryRice wrote: Does your camera allow for you to set Fratio? You should be shooting at F16-F32.
I'd start getting worried about diffraction at those aperatures! Maybe not at F16 but F32 could end up looking horrible due to it.
Plus your not really going to gain much DOF at all going from F16 to F32.
The 60 Macro will do 1:1 at a distance of 20cm. Wide open at F2.8 you are looking at 0.08cm in focus, by F16 it's up to 0.47cm and F32 0.95cm. Just not enough gain compared to loss of sharpness from diffraction.
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BarryRice
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Re: Do I need to buy a Full Frame Camera?

Post by BarryRice »

Hey SnowFella,

I shoot exclusively from tripod, and DOF is critical for me. You're absolutely right that diffraction will start creeping in at, for me, around F22, so I usually bracket my Fratios to decide whether I like the improved DOF vs. the diffraction losses. But yeah, there is an improved DOF going from f16-f22-f32, and sometimes it can make or break the image.

Interestingly, I just bought a new Tamron 90 mm 1:1 autofocus macro. I've been using a manual focus version of this lens for years, and found that diffraction started causing a problem at about f22, so I'd prefer sticking at f16. However, after characterizing the new AF version of this lens with field tests, I'm getting really good results all the way to f32. I thought they hadn't changed the optical design, but now I think they've done some tweaking.

B
I'll grow it as long as it doesn't have glochids. Gaudy flowers a plus.
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C And D
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Re: Do I need to buy a Full Frame Camera?

Post by C And D »

I use a tripod for all my indoor work
and handheld in daylight

either way, I always take at least 4-6 shots, and then pick the best
I always push the f-stops, mostly f8, rarely f11, so maybe I should try f16
ISO 200

here's a sample
It's just unacceptable sharpness, it looks like the camera just can't handle all the detail to me
IMG_5091.jpg
IMG_5091.jpg (79.27 KiB) Viewed 6284 times

"Barry, you need to keep the pollen in the Freezer"
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Craig and Denise Fry
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BarryRice
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Re: Do I need to buy a Full Frame Camera?

Post by BarryRice »

Hmm. Your DOF is plenty deep for what you're shooting, so there's little benefit to decrease your aperture. Your focus seems great, and the soft lighting is good. But you're right, the image doesn't have much bite.

Is your lens a prime, or is it a zoom?

Thanks for the pollen hint.

B
I'll grow it as long as it doesn't have glochids. Gaudy flowers a plus.
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SnowFella
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Re: Do I need to buy a Full Frame Camera?

Post by SnowFella »

Is that the full frame shot or cropped?
If it's the full frame then I can kinda see how a 5184 × 3456 pixel image scaled down to a mere 800 x 577 will look soft. Plus the background looks funny to me with what seems to be lots of jpg compression artifacts.

More info needed really. :wink:
Processed RAW or JPG straight out of camera?
What program did you use to downscale it?
What does a crop from the original image look like?
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C And D
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Re: Do I need to buy a Full Frame Camera?

Post by C And D »

here is the raw photo,
I have better photos, I just picked this one as an example
IMG_5091a.jpg
IMG_5091a.jpg (46.29 KiB) Viewed 6270 times

compressed from 5.8mb to 354kb
using Microsoft Picture Manager

I have Adobe but don't use it,
instead I use Microsoft picture manager for all the few things I need to do to a photo
like cropping, brightness, contrast, compression etc.

Can the software be some of my problem?


here is another raw
close up
IMG_5072a.jpg
IMG_5072a.jpg (83.08 KiB) Viewed 6270 times
http://www.CandDplants.com

Craig and Denise Fry
GeneS
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Re: Do I need to buy a Full Frame Camera?

Post by GeneS »

I have a DSLR Canon 2Ti or something, with a 60mm macro
and the sharpness is just not there, even though I have it on the highest sharpness setting.

Is there better software?
or is having a bigger frame the only answer.....
Hi Greg,

Your 2Ti and 60mm macro is capable of producing images of very high quality. Quality, though, is an extremely variable subject, highly dependent upon the end use. If your prime use is for posting to sites such as this or social media, you should never need anything more. If you are planning to do hi-res slide presentations or large size prints, the extra pixels give you some latitude in cropping etc while still having a workable amount left to print at 250-300 dpi. Looking at them on most computer monitors, all you see is 72 dpi. The extra dpi and pixel count translates into more image data available for output. When you downsize from 5.8MP to 383kB you have compressed or thrown away most of the image data which includes most of the fine detail.

I agree with what others have already commented. Full frame is good because you get more pixels if you shoot in the largest mode. That comes at a price but results are not in direct ratio. Higher end cameras have more options and controls to offer the user but that also means more things that can be done wrong. I never cease to be amazed at the quality of images produced by my digital elph point and shoot with minimal interference by me(the user).

You mention using "the highest sharpening" on your camera and also show a image labeled as "raw". If you are shooting in RAW, not a JPG mode, your sharpening setting will have no effect. In fact, most photographers immediately turn off in camera sharpening. That is much better handled in post processing and for the specific end use.

You also mention software. Yes, it is very important in the digital workflow. But, you still need to make the initial capture the best you can. That means correct exposure, lens selection, depth of field(aperture) and lighting. Much of this can be changed in good post software but you can't "manufacture" image data. If it's just not there, you generally can't repair it.

Really good tips from others. Tripod for sure, or min 250 shutter speed, all manual control -- AP aperture priority at minimum or full manual is best. That includes manual focus! Do some tests with your lens to find the sweet spots, or use canon's lens data chart. I would start at about F13 and expect best results in the F16-22 range. Also, don't be afraid to bump up ISO. I regularly use 800 - 1200 for macro work. The canon digic processor handles that with almost no noise degradation. I know wildlife photographers that regularly push far beyond that.

Back to software. Get a good software package. You mention having Adobe but not which of their many products. For years, I have used ACDSee as an organizer and catalogue of all my images. It will do all basic manipulation such as cropping, resizing and minor corrections. All you need for email, blogs or social media. It is very similiar to Adobe's Photoshop Elements but I find it much easier and it's internal database is super. If I needed additional post or modification, I have used Photoshop for years, but now am going away from it because it has become more a graphic design tool then photo tool. My current workflow is ACDSee 7 Pro and Adobe Lightroom. If you shoot in true RAW mode, LR is the powerhouse of choice.

Both of these packages have downloadable free trials. I suggest you ditch the MS solution and try both of these to see which works best for you. A warning - ACDSee is a relatively quick learn for basics and Lightroom has immense capabilities and a learning curve to match.

Read through both of these links for comments on your lens and camera.

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/992962 ... s60mmmacro" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos550d/2" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Call me any time you have questions ... GeneS
BTW. Snowfella is right ... you EFS60 lens will not work on the 6d.
If I were looking to upgrade from what you have now, It would be 5D Mark III and suitable lens. Anything less else would be an unnecessary step.
Ron43
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Re: Do I need to buy a Full Frame Camera?

Post by Ron43 »

SnowFella wrote: Edit: Now I'm not to familiar with the Canon brand but it seems the 60mm Macro is an EF-S lens and as such won't work on a 6D full frame body.
Correct, the EF-S lenses will not fit a full frame camera. Try shooting several shots with different f settings and find the sweet spot for the lens.
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SnowFella
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Re: Do I need to buy a Full Frame Camera?

Post by SnowFella »

One thought that comes to mind would be how sturdy the tripod is and if you use Mirror lockup?
If the tripod is less than rock solid it's possible that the shock of the mirror flipping out of the way, in some cameras it's even possible to get shutter shock at some shutter speeds, blurs the image.
Poking through the interwebs the 2Ti does however have 2 ways of flipping the mirror out of the way before the shot, one in the Live view settings and one in custom settings.

In this situation though I have a feeling it might be the treatment of the images that cause the lack of sharpness. Just looking at the down scaling, programs used and size of the final image I could likely replicate the results even if the original image is tack sharp.
If I get a chance during the day I'll take a shot of a plant and process it both in Lightroom and picture manager to see what the differences are.

Edit: and another thing comes to mind seeing the new examples. Your 60mm macro will go down to 1:1 closeups, ie you can frame in an object just 22.3 x 14.9 mm. Your example shows quite abit of crop, I'd hazard a guess it's somewhere along the lines of 50% of the original image cropped out. That's 9megapixels worth of data that you just are tossing out even before downsizing. Try getting closer to begin with to limit that loss.
Sure it can be a pain to have to move the tripod back and forth for every shot of different sized plants, that's why I got an inexpensive macro focus rail (acctually the rail portion of an old macro bellows setup). Allows very fine adjustments back and forth with up towards 25cm worth of travel.
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C And D
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Re: Do I need to buy a Full Frame Camera?

Post by C And D »

Great Comments!

I will try some experiments this weekend:

check the lens and body for dust,
up the ISO
switch to raw mode (the photos above were not taken in raw mode, just raw from my disc)
use a tripod
try ACDSee 7 Pro

and see what happens

I thought I could use my old lenses, but it seems that I was wrong,
and adding another $500+ for a new Macro is something I didn't consider

----
Now this is what I call Sharpness
This is from Ralf's Member's Thread
I asked him about his techniques, I think he said he uses a German software system
203_Mammillaria_guelzowiana.JPG
203_Mammillaria_guelzowiana.JPG (248.83 KiB) Viewed 6248 times
http://www.CandDplants.com

Craig and Denise Fry
GeneS
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Re: Do I need to buy a Full Frame Camera?

Post by GeneS »

One more comment on plant photography come to mind. I use a Canon 100 macro lens for most of my true macro work but when photographing larger subjects such as 6" and larger pots, I find it easier to work with a good mid-range zoom lens. I use either Canon's kit 17-85 kit lens or 24-70 f4.0L. It allows me to cover a good range of subject sizes without moving the tripod (or me) constantly. If you work in the sweet spot of any decent lens, you can get good captures. Plus, getting further away from the subject makes lighting and obtaining adequate depth of field less of a problem.

I use the 100M as a walk-around lens because it is good down to 1" for small stuff but is also an excellent portrait lens. On my APS-C bodies, it works out to 160mm equivalent.

I think your plan above will give you some comparison data to help obtain the results you want.

Cheers ... GeneS
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Re: Do I need to buy a Full Frame Camera?

Post by DaveW »

Not been on the Forum for a while so only just noticed this. Lets get things clear, full frame will make no difference to apparent sharpness unless you are printing poster sized images the size of a door. If you are posting online a computer screen only has the resolution of about a 3-4 megapixel camera and many digital projectors often only 1 megapixel resolution, therefore even a cheap point and shoot as Gene says will probably appear as sharp as a 24 megapixel camera online.

A friend of mine did an experiment at a talk he gave when two digital projectors were available. He put in one slide taken on a low Megapixel point and shoot and another taken with a 10 megapixel DSLR in the other projector and projected them simultaneously but the audience could not tell which was which. It is a sad fact that Megapixels rather than image quality sell cameras since often more Megapixels can mean more noise on the image and noise suppression works by softening an image rather than sharpening it. Obviously there is no mileage in a camera manufacturer telling customers what they have is more than good enough for their needs, therefore they need never buy any more cameras or lenses until their present ones break!

Looking at your focusing the first thing I notice is your flowers are more out of focus than the plant bodies. Are you autofocusing, or manual focusing using your eye the focusing screen? Autofocus is often not as good as manual focus close up since autofocus does not always focus on the most important element in the picture, and close up there is not the depth of field to cover such miss focusing as in photography at more conventional distances. I must admit I seldom use autofocus in close up work, but use the human eyeball on the focusing screen and I have to normally wear glasses for reading. However most DSLR's these days have eyepiece dioptric adjustment you can set to suit your close up vision.

Another alternative is your lens may be either front or back focusing:-

http://www.canonrumors.com/tech-article ... st-a-lens/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

People like to believe their wonderful new camera and lens has been individually tested, but sadly that is not true these days. As manufacturing equipment is now pretty precise batch testing has taken over for many consumer goods which camera's and lenses now are. This means one of each batch is rigorously tested and if it passes the whole batch goes through. However that does allow the odd bad one to creep through. If you find yours is the one you need to return it (preferably with the lens) to a camera repairer for testing and recalibration.

Another variable is that there are some manufacturing tolerances in camera's and lenses, even if minute, but these matter in macro work with limited depths of field:-

http://www.ophrysphotography.co.uk/page ... stment.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

All the above presumes some equipment problem, but as those above have pointed out macro photography is not "point and shoot" photography and you cannot get away with the same casual technique that will produce satisfactory photography at normal range.

Shooting RAW and sharpening in post processing later is better than sharpening in camera, but your shots are too out of focus for it to be that. I would suggest you do the front and back focusing tests and then if they show up a problem send your camera and lens to get it checked over and adjusted since your sort of quality equipment should provide all the sharpness you need if not printing very large prints, therefore you would see no difference in normal use with full frame or large format equipment, and if you do it will be the new camera and lens are properly calibrated and your smaller format one was not.

Also your camera's base ISO will provide the greatest sharpness, but as Gene says posting online higher ISO's may be sharp enough, just as you can get away with smaller apertures on computer screens since the resolution is not high enough to show the diffraction effects a large print would. "Horses for Courses" in fact, or "a chain is only as strong as the weakest link", since your picture only needs to have a resolution above that of the medium it is being reproduced on, anything way above that like excessive Megapixels is wasted and so pointless.

My camera a Nikon D200 is now outdated with only 10 megapixels, but still good enough for online work:-
violaciflora.jpg
violaciflora.jpg (91.4 KiB) Viewed 6235 times
Remember though my camera is 10 Megapixels you are only seeing a 3-4 Megapixel image on screen since that's all your computer monitor can show. My image was taken using RAW and sharpened in Elements using Adobe Camera RAW since Photoshop is overkill for most photographers needs.

Barry says:-

"Interestingly, I just bought a new Tamron 90 mm 1:1 autofocus macro. I've been using a manual focus version of this lens for years, and found that diffraction started causing a problem at about f22, so I'd prefer sticking at f16. However, after characterizing the new AF version of this lens with field tests, I'm getting really good results all the way to f32. I thought they hadn't changed the optical design, but now I think they've done some tweaking."

I think diffraction is dependent on aperture not lens design Barry, so the improvements you see are due to the lens's optical improvement and were not diffraction effects previously unless the f-number scale calculation is slightly different. Only the highest quality very expensive lenses (such as used for making microchips) are diffraction limited, optical faults often show up before you start to notice purely diffraction effects. That is why few lenses are best at their maximum aperture due to optical limitations when diffraction should be at a minimum. Diffraction occurs at all apertures, but becoming more severe as the effective aperture gets smaller, it only becomes obvious to the human eye at the smaller apertures due to the limitations of our vision.

"Even when a camera system is near or just past its diffraction limit, other factors such as focus accuracy, motion blur and imperfect lenses are likely to be more significant. Diffraction therefore limits total sharpness only when using a sturdy tripod, mirror lock-up and a very high quality lens."

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutori ... graphy.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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