Dear smaller sensors…

MarlaOct13-43Is 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.

MarlaOct13-45In 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.

MarlaOct13-42More “life like”

Has23Oct13-04So 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 !!

Has23Oct13-01Fact n°1 : sometimes the mere properties of FF turn a shit shot into an interesting one…

Has23Oct13-05Fact 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.

Has23Oct13-09Fact n°3 : yes my 5 yr old now gets on her pony all by herself

Has23Oct13-10It’s more akin to mountain climbing than horse riding, but you gotta give it to her, she’s a real trooper.

Has23Oct13-12Fact n°4 : sometimes it’s good to look outside of the arena, at people/thing surrounding you.

Has23Oct13-07Fact n°5 : a FF camera handles all those challenges much better than another

Has23Oct13-25Fact 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.

Has23Oct13-14On 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.

Has23Oct13-08Enora is contemplating trying the “Galop2” in a while, so she has to work hard as well…

Has23Oct13-11Overall 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.

Has23Oct13-17Shutter speeds of 1/125 to 1/200th are essential to freeze motion

Has23Oct13-18With 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

Has23Oct13-15The 3D effect of FF really gives a sense of the actual depth of the place

Has23Oct13-19Hardly 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

Has23Oct13-20Another advantage of FF is the wider angle coverage with any given lens


Has23Oct13-22Marla and Eclaire doing patterns at a fast trot, rehearsing for their exam


Has23Oct13-24One sure sign of progress is Marla’s deliberate and secure looking far ahead



Has23Oct13-28All those shots might not have happened with the NEX. AF would have been an issue, as well as high ISO and shutter speeds.

Has23Oct13-29One tired little rider

Has23Oct13-32And a slightly lazy pony 😉

Has23Oct13-34End of session, both ponies get a well deserved hug

Has23Oct13-31I can’t get enough of that light !

Has23Oct13-36PMThat’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.

Has23Oct13-37Spoiler : next post is outdoor shots, stay tuned !


About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
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8 Responses to Dear smaller sensors…

  1. You know that FF thang when you see it. Excellent shots, made superb by beautifully balanced lighting and that 3D ‘pop’ that so far (to me) only FF brings to the table. The D7100 runs close in my book in the 3D sense, not the ISO performance though.

    The FF size issue won’t last for long, Sony have been innovating again and the crowd is sure to follow.

    (One thing I will say in favour of m43 is the shortage of OOF shots, everything is sharp as s**t)

  2. Couldn’t agree more. Your photos with the D600 definitely convey that 3D “thang”. Not sure if you guys have seen the rumours about the new Nikon retro full frame camera? Check out for all the details. Basically it will be a much smaller camera, retro look and feel and much smaller than their current full frame offerings. Has me very excited!!

  3. marla2008 says:

    Yeah Mark, I think we’ve seen it. I have only one gripe with it… it won’t be mirrorless. As I stated in my post, being able to handle the exposure real time thanks to Live View is as essential to me as fast AF or high ISO performance. That’s where the future FF Nik falls short here. So probably Sony A7 for me, then 😉

  4. laurent says:

    About the Nikon retro FF.(APSC would be ok too, by the way)….what took them so long? Canon, hello? Are you asleep?

    Your pictures are indeed quite stunning, specially considering the low light environment.

    Was considering a used 5D FF the other day (all I can afford right now), but not sure if the older sensor would be good enough…

    Indian summer is over here…..

  5. marla2008 says:

    Laurent, first of all… I hate you (you know why 😉 )
    2) even used a 5D is still an amazing camera, I would use one any day, eyes closed.
    Thanks for the kind words. I’m preparing another post with NEX 7 pictures… The 7 still goes strong !

  6. laurent says:

    Don’t hate me, really, we got the first snow this morning, which means we have to get ready for a 5 month winter (and fall colors are almost over). I like snow and cold, but this is just 2 months too long.

    5D sounds good. Need to investigate. I am just a sucker for cheap, old technology!

  7. Keith Caldwell says:

    Hi Claire I’ve missed you on DPR . I have probably missed it but what are your views on the Sony N7 ? I have waited a long time for a compact FF to supplement my A900 but I am not sure that I am willing to replace my older lenses in order to get new stabilised versions.

    I like the size & weight of the NEX 7 but if I could only have one camera it would have to be the A900.

    • marla2008 says:

      Hello Keith ! Thanks for visiting the blog 🙂 I’ve just pre-ordered the A7 as I’m willing to use my E lenses and crop in post, along with manual focus older glass, and A mount lenses with the LA-EA adapter. Three sources for optics without having to buy the grossly overpriced FE lenses. I have no preconceived opinion, but will discuss it at length here once I’ve had time with it.

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