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Camera conference General and model-specific E-System camera chat.

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Old 7th October 2011
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Depth of field and sensor sizes

There has been some interest in the new Nikon 1 platform that will compete with Micro Four Thirds when it goes on sale later this month. One of its Achilles heels will undoubtedly be the increased difficulty in blurring backgrounds for effect. I have the new Nikons and thought it would be interesting to do some comparisons.

And here are some depth of field comparisons, all shot at f/5.6. The scene on the left is part of an A4 print placed around two feet in front of the camera (on a tripod) and the clock is on a wall about 6 feet behind the print.


Four Thirds sensor 2x cropping factor - Olympus Pen E-PL3, f=42mm (84mm equivalent)


1/1.63 inch sensor 4.7x cropping factor - Compact Olympus XZ-1 f=19.84mm (92.6mm equivalent)


1-inch sensor 2.7x cropping factor - Nikon V1 f=30mm (81mm equivalent)


APS-C sensor 1.5x cropping factor - DSLR Nikon D5100 f=55mm (82.5mm equivalent)

This isn't very scientific, but the as a guide I used the frame height to line up roughly with the same vertical points on the print with the lenses set to roughly 80-84mm. The XZ-1 is a bit out as it's impossible to set the zoom to a precise focal length.

Ian
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Old 7th October 2011
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Re: Depth of field and sensor sizes

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Originally Posted by Ian View Post
There has been some interest in the new Nikon 1 platform that will compete with Micro Four Thirds when it goes on sale later this month. One of its Achilles heels will undoubtedly be the increased difficulty in blurring backgrounds for effect. I have the new Nikons and thought it would be interesting to do some comparisons.

And here are some depth of field comparisons, all shot at f/5.6. The scene on the left is part of an A4 print placed around two feet in front of the camera (on a tripod) and the clock is on a wall about 6 feet behind the print.


Four Thirds sensor 2x cropping factor - Olympus Pen E-PL3, f=42mm (84mm equivalent)


1/1.63 inch sensor 4.7x cropping factor - Compact Olympus XZ-1 f=19.84mm (92.6mm equivalent)


1-inch sensor 2.7x cropping factor - Nikon V1 f=30mm (81mm equivalent)


APS-C sensor 1.5x cropping factor - DSLR Nikon D5100 f=55mm (82.5mm equivalent)

This isn't very scientific, but the as a guide I used the frame height to line up roughly with the same vertical points on the print with the lenses set to roughly 80-84mm. The XZ-1 is a bit out as it's impossible to set the zoom to a precise focal length.

Ian
There's definitely a difference, but I wonder if this is something that will bother likely Nikon 1 purchasers. As long as it's smal and says "Nikon" on the front they'll be happy.
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Old 8th October 2011
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Re: Depth of field and sensor sizes

Interesting Ian , although I would be more interested in a high ISO comparison as in theory there should be a big difference between the V1 (smaller sensor) and MTF, if there is not then Panasonic and Olympus really need to pull there finger out in the sensor department.
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Old 8th October 2011
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Re: Depth of field and sensor sizes

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Originally Posted by OlyPaul View Post
Interesting Ian , although I would be more interested in a high ISO comparison as in theory there should be a big difference between the V1 (smaller sensor) and MTF, if there is not then Panasonic and Olympus really need to pull there finger out in the sensor department.
Most Micro Four Thirds models apart from the Panasonic G3 and the GHx models use s three and a bit year old LiveMOS sensor. Nevertheless, DxOMark tests indicate that the new Nikon sensor is on a par with the 12MP LiveMOS in terms of dynamic range, but the LiveMOS sensor has the edge on optimum noise ceiling by around half an EV. Of course the Nikon sensor is 10MP compared to 12MP for the LiveMOS one. The 16MP sensor in the G3 is slightly better again. But I think there is plenty of room for improvement from Panasonic's sensor division.

But having said all that, none of these sensors is bad and you can produce excellent images with any of them in my opinion.

Ian
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Old 8th October 2011
Ulfric M Douglas Ulfric M Douglas is offline
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Re: Depth of field

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Originally Posted by Ian View Post
....This isn't very scientific, but ...
You're telling me!

edit. Thanks Ian.

The 19.84mm looks similar to the 30mm, much more so than to the other larger system lenses.
To my eye the 30mm doesn't approach the blurring of the 42mm. This strikes me as slightly odd.
Is there any way to double check the focal length and F-number of the results?
Did F5.6 result in the same shutterspeeds for the same (real) ISOs? : or is that a bit hard to measure? It sounds hard to measure.
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