Getting Wide

Ah! I realized I didn’t get my blog post written on time today! I think this is the first time I missed my self-imposed deadline of 6AM since I established it.

But, here I am. And, I am here to report that after many months of trying to decide whether I really needed a second camera, then more time debating what features were most important, and then finally waiting patiently for another month because my new camera was on back order, it arrived late last week.

My new Canon 5D Mark III has given me a whole new set of things to learn!

But, today, I want compare the field of view between my old camera (a cropped, 1.6 sensor) vs the field of view with the full frame. I’ve matched some recent test shots with some similar past shots in the gallery to show just how much wider a full frame sensor let’s you go.

I love, love, love shooting wide with the full frame! It’s amazing how much of the scene suddenly fits into the frame! The one down side is that the distortion created by a wide angled lens becomes much more noticeable in the full frame because now, the image captured includes the area from the outside edge of the lens, where the most distortion occurs.

You can see this distortion well in several of the images. By comparison, the buildings in the cropped-sensor version look straighter, although the large brick buiding in the foreground near the bridges always looks warped. This building is built going up a hill and curved to the street–it looks warped to my eye, too. Although, not quite as much as it does through a lens.

I decided to go full frame (meaning the sensor is the same size as one frame of 35mm film) in part because I really like to shoot wide, but also because of what I learned about sensor size. The larger the sensor, the more room for bigger photosites and micro lens that collect and record data, the better quality image you get. This is especially true in low-light shooting conditions.

Since I also like to shoot in low light, I did a little experimenting with different ISO settings. I found that I could get as much noise into an image by under exposing it and trying to post-process it to the correct exposure as when I shot at the highest ISO setting, which was 25,600 (an insane number!). I’m really impressed with the quality of the image at ISO settings that compare to my 40D, which maxed out at 1600 but pretty much sucked once you got above 400 in low light scenes). However, the need to get the exposure right hasn’t changed, which makes sense.

I have much to learn about this new beast–the number of new features over my 4 year old 40D is astonishing. For one thing, it adds video. That’s a whole new world!