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Full Frame 4k Ignorance

Discussion in 'Photography & Camera Basics Forum' started by MikeB, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    I'm a still photographer and I don't understand the complaining about cropped images from full frame cameras.

    I think I understand why videographers want to use a full frame sensor for 4K video. What I don't understand is why they expect to get that from a 24mp or 30mp camera without loss of image quality.

    It seems to me that using the Canon EOS R or the EOS 5D Mark IV sensor (6720 x 4480 pixels or 30.1mp) engineers have one of two choices to produce Full Frame 4K video (4096 x 2160 pixels or 8.8mp) - they can downsample the image or they can crop the image.

    Canon seems to combing the two. To have a 1.7 x crop of the 30.1mp sensor still produces image data from 17.7mp so the data has to be downsampled about 50% to arrive at the 8.8mp needed for 4K. Half of the image data captured from the crop is thrown out and the result is an interpolation of what was actually captured. Downsampling from the full sensor requires throwing away 70% of the image data - isn't that a huge amount of image resolution to be thrown away? Can downsampling by 70% ever produce an image having the same image quality of what was actually captured? So wouldn't the crop 4K produce higher quality results than 4k using the full frame of the 30.1 mp sensor?

    The Super 35 is a standard for cinematography. It is available for 4K with a resolution that does not require downsampling and there are wide angle lenses available to get that wide view.

    Wouldn't a Super 35 4K sensor with no downsampling produce superior image quality to any downsampling, let alone downsampling requiring throwing away nearly 70% of the data captured and settling for an interpolated image?

    I've been recommending that many photographers stick with their crop cameras rather than feeling pressure to go to full frame as these cameras produce excellent images and with high quality, ultra-wide angle lenses available there's very little they can't capture that a full frame can. Isn't this also true for videography or cinematography?
     
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  2. Minor Problem

    Minor Problem Always on Premium Member

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    I wonder if the bulk of the issue is simply the confusion and irritation of not achieving the same angle of view when switching between stills and video when using a cropping device. If you were taking both video and stills of the same scene changing focal length every time you switch between still and video might be a tad irritating.
     
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  3. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    I'm sure that's part of it. You certainly aren't going to get the same wide angle view with a crop but it is the expectation, indicated by the complaints, that somehow the camera is going to move from delivering 30mp to delivering 8mp with no loss of image quality with the same field of view.

    I wonder if Canon (nikon, etc.) offered a full frame 8.8mp sensor providing Full Frame 4K video with the proper aspect ratio whether any still photographers would be interested in it. I suspect not.

    Also, I'm not sure which would irritate me more, not getting the same field of view or not getting the same image quality.
     
  4. Minor Problem

    Minor Problem Always on Premium Member

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    Being a bit ignorant with regards video my immediate thought would be to make an 8k ff stills camera and then group each square of 4 pixels together, average the values and make a 4k video output with no crop and also reduced noise from the averaging process. Or am I either just stating the obvious or being hopelessly naive?
     
  5. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    lol - I have no clue, welcome to the club. But it does seem logical that if you want to shoot full frame 4K, which requires 8.8mp image data per frame, that you would use an 8.8mp sensor rather than something with significantly more pixels.

    Also 4K has an aspect ratio of 1.85 : 1 for standard or flat crop 4K and 1.9 : 1 for full frame 4K (I think "full frame" here refers to Super 35 sensors) both are a far cry from the 2 : 3 aspect ratio of DSLRs. So no matter how much of the sensor you can utilize for 4K recording it will still be a crop if recorded on a DSLR.
     
  6. SeanNeedham

    SeanNeedham Ol' Sparky Honorary Life Member

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    Sounds like Pixel Binning there, Barry... I think theres a mode on the Sony A7II that allows to switch between the "full frame (as in Super35)" readout or this as "full frame" readout.
     
  7. Activ8

    Activ8 I made the 1,000,000 th post

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    Most FF cameras do a significant crop on their sensors because most of the sensors or processors cannot handle the data pipeline at 4K. The problem that most people are complaining about is that the crop is not consistent in video modes so if you are shooting in 4K 24p and then switch to 4K 60p or 1080p 60 then the crop size will vary on the Canon and Nikon Mirrorless cams to being a sensor size between anything from less than M4/3 through to APSC-H when you come to edit the clips together in post. It is easy to mix resolutions as most 4K stuff is downscaled to 1080p anyway... but the change in FOV is a real PITA. That is why I moved to Panasonic for video (and stills) a while ago as the post processing was so much easier and clients want this stuff fast nowadays!
     
  8. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    The data pipeline is something I hadn't considered. As Canon's 5D4 can shoot up to 7 fps that's a long way from the 25fps minimum expected for 4K or the 60fps that is desired.

    After studying the specs for the initial EOS R Series camera, the 4K crop is 17.7mp in size and then Canon must interpolate on-the-fly to arrive at the 8.8mp per frame needed for 4K recording. I can see where the total number of pixels on the sensor is a determinant to how one goes about downsampling to arrive at the 8.8mp or 4096 x 2160px end result. And, if you are changing image formats, different sets of pixels have to be incorporated for downsampling - so I can understand that different fields of view occur.

    Going with a Panasonic makes a world of sense to me as the sensor size, aspect ratio, and number of pixels are far more consistent with the 4K specs than any full frame DSLR can be. High quality, wide-angle lenses are available and the total package cost is far less than using a DSLR. There will be less downsampling which may provide for better performance and image quality. But all that just seems to confirm that it is foolish to expect a high resolution sensor to be able to handle 4K video. The realtime downsampling alone is a challenge and the higher the pixel count the greater impact to image quality.
     
  9. SeanNeedham

    SeanNeedham Ol' Sparky Honorary Life Member

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    Keeping it consistent does make less of a headache when it comes to the end point as well. I used to work with a video guy, a good lad in "static" video but for me didn't have enough balls in a live situation and would shy back from stuff; he was using Panasonics for a long while, then two years back (start of the off season) swapped one for a couple of different Sony and then added a couple different Canon to the mix and some parts of the videos he did after that point you'd see some things would trigger the "what's wrong with this here?" circuit at the back of the head as something small seemed "out" if looked at closely. It was just the slight inconsistencies of mixing footage from the different cameras.
    The new guys I now work with, they are so on top of this (even though it's something small) that they'll roll up with the hard cases of cameras, and when we've gone through the plans the lead guy chooses the best fit camera for it and all of them are on the same bodies.
     
  10. Activ8

    Activ8 I made the 1,000,000 th post

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    I used to use Canon 1Dx's fro my mobile static stuff, Phase One MF for the studio static stuff and Panasonic GH4's for the video stuff... but the cost and size of keeping three systems and backup cameras all going was becoming a huge headache. I swapped Canon for Fuji for a couple of years but could not do the Hi Res Medium format stuff or video with it, so all I was saving was weight. The constant however throughout all this was the Panny's for video. When the GH5 and G9's came out it allowed me to do everything on 1 system for the very first time. I now only have two G9 bodies and two GH5 bodies I have one full set of lenses and can do everything including the studio 80mp medium format stuff! The G9's can also act as backup or b-roll cams and the GH5's can backup the G9's for most things too! The video mixes well between the cams too!
     
  11. Activ8

    Activ8 I made the 1,000,000 th post

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    Forgot to say the Panny's have a data pipeline so wide the can read the full 20mp sensor at 60fps without freezing or draining the batteries too quick either!
     
  12. SeanNeedham

    SeanNeedham Ol' Sparky Honorary Life Member

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    I've had a look at that G9 @Activ8, just for it's data-readout capabilities and it's response time; it's an impressive bit of kit and when the used prices start dropping on them, I wouldn't be surprised if one ended up following me home.
     
  13. Activ8

    Activ8 I made the 1,000,000 th post

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    The G9 makes my old 1Dx ii feel so slow... The autofocus even being contrast detect is blistering fast and focuses in the near dark! However I love it for use with a speed booster and a lens like the sigma art 18-35mm f1.8. This becomes a 25-50mm f1.1 lens for around £550! :)
     
  14. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    Ok, so I get going with Panasonic but that's a small sensor. Apparently you don't need a sensor with nearly 4x the sensor size to satisfy you wide-angle requirements. The G9 does not provide 4096x2160 4K and while the GH5 does, it's only at 24p. So, you seem reasonably satisfied as far as frames per second as well.

    Yet there seems to be this expectation by some that full frame cameras from Canon and Nikon should provide 4K video at 4096x2160 60p otherwise the camera is crippled. What's more the only reason Canon's not doing it is to protect their cine camera line. Yes, I understand that Sony has a full frame camera that does 4K but, like the G5, not at 4096x2160.

    I've looked at Camcorder specifications and there are a lot of cameras 4K capable that record 4096x2160 at 60p. A few are less expensive than the 5D Mark IV, most are not but they all have more capability for video recording than still cameras.

    So, are these whiners just throwing tantrums because they can? Are these simply those millennials who got everything they wanted as children now wanting to have the unobtainable toy today? Or do they have a point? Can anyone point to a high resolution camera that can do all they want?
     
  15. SeanNeedham

    SeanNeedham Ol' Sparky Honorary Life Member

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    I don't think it's whinging millennials Mike, I think it's more folk who just expect too much of technology; video (to me anyway) on a high pixel stills camera is a hell of a lot of compromises and it's frankly a mean feat of engineering that it's on there at all, but people see new tech but haven't got the capability (or are ignorant) to understand how all of it got there at that point instead think that somehow the manufacturers have screwed it up.

    You're asking the wrong guy about that! The Nikon D810 can do all what I want out of a stills camera.
     
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  16. Activ8

    Activ8 I made the 1,000,000 th post

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    Resolution is only a small part of the problem on quality from video. So the G9 does not have the video capabilities of the GH5 this is more firmware than anything as the G9 has a similar but newer hardware engine and can in fact shoot 6K video (6000x3000) in 6K photo mode quite happily (the GH5 can also do this). The 4K dci video at 4096x2160 is a very high quality mode on the GH5 shooting 4:2:2 10bit colour at a proper 24 fps and not 23.98fps (as most do) all at 400mbps using a high quality codec coded as ALL-I. This makes it one of very few cameras that can easily print high quality out to cine film. For the money in video terms the GH5 and GH5s are unbeatable! Most whine because they want everything in the same way people buy 200mph sports cars and whine when a new one comes out and does 201mph. Most people feel they need a FF of MF sensor as they feel anything smaller is less capable. At the end of the day tools are tools and my motto is to by the best for the job within a price that justifies a business case.
     
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  17. Phill104

    Phill104 Always on Premium Member

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    I would totally agree with that sentiment. Just think of the heat generated by pushing that amount of data around and still keeping noise down. Energy usage too must be huge.

    Personally, video holds little interest for me in a stills camera, just a nice feature to have. I am a believer in a tool designed for the job, so if I want 4K then a dedicated 4K video camera rather than a DSLR would be my choice whether it is a RED or a GoPro. So glad video is not my passion as my bank balance could not cope.
     
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  18. Activ8

    Activ8 I made the 1,000,000 th post

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    Totally agree which is why I have both the GH5 and G9 cameras... GH5 is a video tool that can take photos and the G9 is a still camera that can do video... The fact that they share the same lens mount, batteries and have a similar menu structure is a huge bonus.
     
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  19. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    Ok. This conversation seems to have confirmed my suspicions. In my limited understanding of getting 4K video from a high resolution full frame digital camera, the compromises encountered with cropping and/or downsampling seem to indicate that it is a foolish expectation, especially with getting "4K full frame" capability at 60p.

    If you want 4K then go with something like the Panasonic or a purpose-built videocamera or cine camera.

    Taking that a step further, it is wrongheaded for Canon or Nikon engineers to build into a high resolution digital camera 4K if it means compromising image quality to achieve it. Stick with opportunities that the sensor naturally offers rather than trying to make the camera a jack of all trades and a master of none.

    If Canon wants to produce the "perfect" vlogging 4K camera then build one with the appropriate sensor size and/or resolution that produces the best image quality.
     
  20. Activ8

    Activ8 I made the 1,000,000 th post

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    The no compromise approach is what RED take when building their cinema cameras. They have a super fast global shutter sensors at super 35 size 24x13mm to allow cinema lenses to retain the correct FOV. Everything we do on DSLRs is a compromise in comparison. As the world is utilising video more than ever the camera companies are trying to carve markets for themselves. Canon, Panasonic, Fuji and Sony have a strong presence in broadcast video but it is only Panasonic who seems to have let the tech filter through to its consumer camera divisions. Panasonic are rumoured to have a FF mirrorless due for release early next year that is capable of full sensor readout at 6K resolution. Video is a bit like the DSLR market in 2001-2008!
     
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  21. Andy 0

    Andy 0 Always on Premium Member

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    Are you asking us or telling us @MikeB?
     
  22. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    Questions, answers, conclusions

    I get that. Back in the late '60s I had a Karmen Ghia, referred to as a poor man's Porsche, but people weren't buying them and then complaining that they weren't Porsches. RED has made a name for itself but their cameras begin at $8,000 and Canon's stripped down C200 is $6,000. Though I am looking forward to Panasonic's full frame camera and expect they will have some neat capabilities, I think expectations need to be grounded with reality.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 15, 2018
  23. Activ8

    Activ8 I made the 1,000,000 th post

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    Agree... even with all the latest advancements it is still very difficult to achieve high quality video on the cheap!
     

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