How are reach and sensor size related and what are the merits of different options?

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  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 982Member
    snakebunk" The D7100 has more reach than the D610 because it has much higher pixel density, not because the sensor is smaller.

    If this is the case, does the D800 has more "reach" than the D600, the D4 the Df or the D300 ???

    To answer my own question. it just depends of your definition of "reach"
    Yes, Ade has published the full list earlier in the thread. I am glad you get my point.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,181Member
    edited January 2014
    come on we all think in 35mm terms because that is the historical convention even FX sensors are not exactly 35mm .. seriously do you want us to talk about a 99 - 61 degree Zoom ? I think all of us know that a 24mm lens is a 24mm lense is a 24mm lense. The only reason we say its a 35mm lense equivalent is the historical and basic convention to use the old 35mm film as the medium of communication... .. ie. its so that we dont confuse you FX guys ;-)

    I think the best technical definition for "reach" is FOV.
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 982Member
    It is nice that you do not want to confuse :) But I must say that I do not fully understand your post.

    I think of 24mm as 24mm and I know that the field of view changes with around 1.5 when switching to DX.

    I do not understand how fov and reach are related. Can you please explain? Maybe we just have different understandings of the word reach? I am not english speaking but I think of reach as a quality of your equipment that makes it possible to take good photos from far away.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,450Moderator
    The problem is that you all are trying to assign a meaning to a word that does not have a meaning in the context you are using it therefore y'all want each other to accept what your own personal interpretation is.

    Now that the old '200mm is still 200mm on a 1.5 crop' chestnut has been bought up, this thread reads like the finals in the world hair splitting contest! :))
    Always learning.
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 982Member
    I want to be able to say something like "the D800 gives me more reach than my D300s because the pixel density is higher". Don't need to split hairs but good communication is important in a forum like this.

    As a comment to msmotos example I find high pixel density important in not ideal conditions. For example when you use a 500mm lense and you still have to crop out a very small part of the image.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    slightly off topic but I case any one has missed them
    some nice BIF shots on the main blog from an FX fanboy
    http://nikonrumors.com/2014/01/18/birds-in-flight-photography-with-the-nikon-d800-and-d600-cameras.aspx/#more-70504
  • ricochetricochet Posts: 54Member
    When someone tells me they shoot FX with a teleconverter most of the time, I'm inclined to wonder if they might do as well or better with a DX and no tele.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    +1 With teles you loose light (1-2 stops) and you stick something between your lens and the camera which might rob some IQ.. With DX you gain DoF and you use the best part of the lens. For BIF what's not to like?
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Good healthy input from all. My path, as many of you know, went from DX (D7000) to FX (D4).... reach as I understand it to be, was never a problem for me on either sensors.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited January 2014
    When someone tells me they shoot FX with a teleconverter most of the time, I'm inclined to wonder if they might do as well or better with a DX and no tele.
    When hell freezes over and we get a D400 maybe, but at the moment there is no Dx camera with features of a D800


    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,437Member
    When someone tells me they shoot FX with a teleconverter most of the time, I'm inclined to wonder if they might do as well or better with a DX and no tele.
    When someone says something like that, I just assume they've only ever shot DX.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • tc88tc88 Posts: 537Member
    Here is the benchmark I use for reach assuming the lens can resolve the pixels.

    focal length X pixel count (per dimension) / sensor size (per dimension)
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 982Member
    edited January 2014
    Here is the benchmark I use for reach assuming the lens can resolve the pixels.

    focal length X pixel count (per dimension) / sensor size (per dimension)
    I think I agree, but what does "per dimension" mean?

    Post edited by snakebunk on
  • manhattanboymanhattanboy Posts: 1,003Member
    Having shot both full frame and crop, I will say zooming in past 100 percent for some reason causes less pixelation in ff than crop. Silly I know, but I've seen it again and again.
  • KibokoKiboko Posts: 3Member
    I've been reading this post with great interest (from beginning to end and it's taken me well over an hour!) - because I'm trying to decide whether to buy a D610 or D7100, (for sport and wildlife). I want the longest reach I can get (and I use the term "reach" with trepidation, but you know what I mean!), so I've been thinking of the new Tamron 150-600mm. with either body, (Coastalcon, have you got yours yet, what body are you using it with and how are you finding it?). Whilst the D610 offers a low light advantage I think the D7100 wins for me, it's cheaper and gives me more reach (sorry, I've used that word again)! I can't afford a 500mm f4 prime, and wouldn't want the weight & size of one either.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    Although I have been branded a FX fanboy I would go for the D7100 over the D600
    I am assuming a D800 is going to blow the budget
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,450Moderator
    @Kiboko: Coastalconn uses a D7100 these days, but he did well with his D300 before that. The important thing is DX anyway. FWIW I had the same choice at Christmas but chose D7100 over D610 AND D800.
    Always learning.
  • KibokoKiboko Posts: 3Member
    Thanks for the info, it certainly seems the D7100 has a lot of advantages over the D610, in respect of the crop factor, speed, & focusing points. I'm not really looking at the D800, I'm too concerned about huge file sizes and the fact that pin sharp images can be difficult to obtain. Also it's rather slow for sport and wildlife perhaps. And yes, cost!
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,181Member
    edited January 2014
    When someone tells me they shoot FX with a teleconverter most of the time, I'm inclined to wonder if they might do as well or better with a DX and no tele.
    When someone says something like that, I just assume they've only ever shot DX.
    Interesting .. so what makes an FX camera / sensor offset the obvious disadvantage of having extra lense elements (less sharp) and less light that a TC brings ?

    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • CoastalconnCoastalconn Posts: 527Member
    @Kiboko I do shoot with the D7100 now because the sensor is so much better than the D300. I actually think everything else about the D300 is better but that's a whole separate issue. I shot with a friends D600 a few months ago and thought it was very forgiving and quite easy to get sharp shots. I only could find gulls that day but here is the set.. http://www.flickr.com/photos/coastalconn/sets/72157637026556984/ The D7100 is way more demanding when you zoom in 100% I don't know the exact math but I'm guessing there are 4 pixels for every 1 on the D600 15.3 microns vs 35.7. I try to use at least 1/(2.5x focal length)for flying birds.

  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,181Member
    edited January 2014
    It is nice that you do not want to confuse :) But I must say that I do not fully understand your post.

    I think of 24mm as 24mm and I know that the field of view changes with around 1.5 when switching to DX.

    I do not understand how fov and reach are related. Can you please explain? Maybe we just have different understandings of the word reach? I am not english speaking but I think of reach as a quality of your equipment that makes it possible to take good photos from far away.
    We definitely have a different meaning for "reach" ! I may be wrong but I think you may be the only one here with that definition !

    My definition is simply being able to see more of the subject. eg if you take a photo of a little bird on a branch outside your window with a 50mm lens on a Df and print it on a postcard size photo its likely that you would be hard pressed to see it in the picture. to get more "reach" lets say you have a 300mm lens and you swap lenses, you will get more "reach" as you can now see the birdy! let say it covers 1/2 of the postcard. But if you now swap the 300m lens and put it on a shiny new D400 ;-) you will now see the birdy and its a bit bigger ! it now covers 3/4 of your postcard.. Just the way you wanted it! so a DX sensor gives you that bit more reach!. of course the D400 will also have a 1.3 crop and you now can fill the whole postcard with the birdy instead of just 1/2 of the postcard with a FX sensor camera!

    So the FOV of the 300mm on the FX camera gives you a birdy that fills only 1/2 of the postcard. wheres with the DX camera the FOV of the 300mm(for you FX users the FOV is now similar to using a 450mm lens ;-) ) now fills 3/4 of the postcard. giving you more "reach".

    PS can we thank the birdy for posing on the branch outside the window while we swap lenses and cameras and print postcards .. :-)
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 982Member
    edited January 2014

    My definition is simply being able to see more of the subject. eg if you take a photo of a little bird on a branch outside your window with a 50mm lens on a Df and print it on a postcard size photo its likely that you would be hard pressed to see it in the picture. to get more "reach" lets say you have a 300mm lens and you swap lenses, you will get more "reach" as you can now see the birdy! let say it covers 1/2 of the postcard. But if you now swap the 300m lens and put it on a shiny new D400 ;-) you will now see the birdy and its a bit bigger ! it now covers 3/4 of your postcard.. Just the way you wanted it! so a DX sensor gives you that bit more reach!. of course the D400 will also have a 1.3 crop and you now can fill the whole postcard with the birdy instead of just 1/2 of the postcard with a FX sensor camera!
    And if you switch to a really shiny brand new 100MP D6X, the bird will look smaller in the view finder but the pixel density is much higher and you can crop out the eye of the bird to fill a full page in a glossy biology book.

    My definition of reach comes from focal length and pixel density because that is what is relevant to me (in terms of getting close). I don't care that much about how big the bird is in the view finder.

    I think you and I can live with different definitions but it is harder for beginners. I started with photography just a few years back and it took a while for me to understand that a DX camera is the same as an FX camera only with a smaller sensor. There was so much talk about FX having superior image quality that I thought there was something magical I dit not understand.

    Anyway, to avoid complications I'll use the terms focal length and pixel density instead of reach from now on. You can have the R word :)

    Happy shooting!
    Post edited by snakebunk on
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member


    My definition of reach comes from focal length and pixel density because that is what is relevant to me (in terms of getting close). I don't care that much about how big the bird is in the view finder.

    Perhaps "the lessor of pixel density and lens resolution", as pixel density on a D7100 will exceed the resolution of most DX lenses (not sure about the macros) and quite a few FX lenses.

    Consider that my D800's resolution, with a lower pixel density than the D7100, exceeds the resolution of my lenses and people would not be arguing about the merits of the sharpness Sigma 35mm 1.4 if vs the Nikon 35mm 1.4G if it wasn't true.
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    Here is an interesting article from our friends at Photography Life that nicely simplifies the reach argument:

    http://photographylife.com/dx-or-fx-for-sports-and-wildlife-photography
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    The 15 mp of the D800 in DX crop mode is already beyond the capability of anything but the best lenses. I have seen very few 400/2.8 on DX cameras lately.

    A good 400 (200-400 /4, 400/2.8, 80-400 G) will do better on a D800 with a 1.4 extender in FX mode than without extender in DX. With extender, 15mp in DX is already as good as 24.

    I do a lot of Eagle shoots (Conowingo Dam Maryland side) using mostly D800e, and I while I rarely fill more than a DX frame, I shoot in FX mode and keep an autofocus point centered on the birds head, I am then often cropping out a DX size frame, but not always centered in the frame. For me, the optimization of autofocus and freedom of composition are more important than a few extra pixels, which even the 400/2.8 with 1.4 tce II cannot take advantage of. I will be trying the 1.7 on this lens as soon as we thaw out to try to fill even more of the FX frame.

    Any lesser lens is an even simpler comparison, end people spending $ 9,000 on a lens and 2,000 on support gear, should consider a D800 body as an accessory.

    We should also consider the advantages of the professional user interface which is only on the D300 DX body, and the more powerful autofocus systems on the pro bodies.

    Having an FX body also allows me to mount a longer lens before worrying about wildlife or sports action getting to close.

    Regards .... H

    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

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