Is there, in truth, such a thing as “the FF look” ?
Your mileage may vary, but having shot all three formats, from m4/3 to FF, with APS-C in between, my clear answer is : YES.
In my experience (and it’s not universal, you might perceive things differently), full frame sensors are able to convey a better sense of perspective and “three dimensionality” to your shots.
More “life like”
So I was back to the drawing board, in my case, to the indoor riding arena, two days ago with the Nikon D600 + 50/1.8 AF-S. Talk about a torture test !!
Fact n°1 : sometimes the mere properties of FF turn a shit shot into an interesting one…
Fact n°2. APS-C, and more significantly m4/3 shooters can argue and bitch till they’re blue in the face, subject isolation and perspective perception is just totaly superior with FF.
Fact n°3 : yes my 5 yr old now gets on her pony all by herself
It’s more akin to mountain climbing than horse riding, but you gotta give it to her, she’s a real trooper.
Fact n°4 : sometimes it’s good to look outside of the arena, at people/thing surrounding you.
Fact n°5 : a FF camera handles all those challenges much better than another
Fact n°6 : I think I want FF from now on !!
So what’s the last word on the Nikon D600 ? It went back. Returned yesterday, on behalf of dust/oil on the sensor. In all truth, had it been spotless, I still wouldn’t have kept it. I disliked handling it, so what’s the point ? Image quality, though, is stellar. Absolutely NO complaint there. BUT (and to quote my friend Liz, it’s a big, Beyoncé one 😉 ) if you take into account the missed shots due to not having an Live View and relying on a meter that regularly gets fooled by the crazy lighting conditions, you soon realize that the AF advantage over NEX is somewhat negated by this amount of misexposed shots.
On a horsey note, the session went exceptionally well. Marla is practicing to take her first official test, the much anticipated “Galop 1”, so the teaching level was high, and she really made the effort and gave all she had.
Enora is contemplating trying the “Galop2” in a while, so she has to work hard as well…
Overall the D600, when it metered usefully, did a beautiful job, delivering very clean and clear images at high ISO values, with good color and wide DR.
Shutter speeds of 1/125 to 1/200th are essential to freeze motion
With such dramatically changing lighting conditions from one end to the barn to the other (this is the very harshly lit part), full time exposure preview is godsend, which a DSLR does *not* offer
The 3D effect of FF really gives a sense of the actual depth of the place
Hardly lit area again, tough on lenses and sensor, the large size file showed chromatic aberration along the pony’s face, which cannot be seen at small res
Another advantage of FF is the wider angle coverage with any given lens
Marla and Eclaire doing patterns at a fast trot, rehearsing for their exam
One sure sign of progress is Marla’s deliberate and secure looking far ahead
All those shots might not have happened with the NEX. AF would have been an issue, as well as high ISO and shutter speeds.
One tired little rider
And a slightly lazy pony 😉
End of session, both ponies get a well deserved hug
I can’t get enough of that light !
That’s likely to end up enlarged and framed, somewhere…
So, dear smaller, and not so big, sensors, you’ve served me well in the past, and I will keep one APS-C solution around (NEX7/D90) but from now on I think I really want to enjoy what FF has to offer.
Spoiler : next post is outdoor shots, stay tuned !