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Lens crop and full frame equivalent flame
  • This might be a dumb question but why the hell does everyone on all these boards compare every damn lens' focul length to full frame cameras? It's really driving me crazy. Isn't most of what's being shot and has been shot professionally about a 1.5 crop for our cameras? I know there's many types of cameras and sensors out there but would anyone agree that a 1.5 is more sensible than all this 2.0 crap? Most of what's being shot that I'm seeing is on Reds and Alexas at the moment with the occasional Panavision Camera thrown into the mix. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills over here!!!!

  • 40 Replies sorted by
  • I'm with you, it's frustrating, especially when you try to explain to someone that your sensor isn't "cropped", it's just a different format. I've met extremely knowledgeable and accomplished cinematographers that deride cameras like the 7D and the GH2 due to their "crop", while heaping praise onto the beautiful "full frame" 5D.

    I think a lot of the misleading vocabulary came from the legions of loud-mouthed photographers that fancied themselves cinematographers when the 5D mark II came out. They needed a way to explain why the lenses designed for their 35mm sensors (or film) looked different on cameras with smaller sensors, which is a legitimate concern. The fallacy was to assume that 35mm sensors were somehow the Platonic ideal form, and everything else had to be understood in relation to them.

    I'm guilty of it too, though. I instinctually think of FOV in terms of focal length on a 35mm camera, and have to make the calculations in my head based on sensor size ratios.

  • @vicharris

    Let me get this right: are you objecting to, say, specifications being listed for a 16mm camera's lens which might say,

    25mm (50mm equiv) lens included


    I which case, are you saying you'd prefer them to say,

    25mm (normal) lens included


    or just

    25mm lens included

    And let us work out the FOV?

  • @vicharris

    Because it is tradition.

  • this is nothing new. I remember back when I was choosing between prosumer video cameras back in 2004 (gl2, dvc30, vx2100). All of the video cameras on BH Photo's website had the 35mm equivalent listed within the specifications of the lens. This is half a decade before the 5d or any HDslr came out.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev Tradition since when? The 5d? @goanna Yes I am. The motion picture industry is not built around FF cameras.

  • @peterosinski Really? Was 35mm film the standard in movies as well?

  • @vicharris

    Since long time ago.

    35mm equivalent is very handy as it allows you instantly understand available angles of view.

  • Well I think its pretty standard because most of us on a budget aren't using cine lenses that cover 35mm film size sensor but instead still lenses that cover the full frame photographic 35mm. And so our crop is calculated based on the lens coverage area in relation to our sensor size is capturing out of that projected image circle. I agree with Vitaliy, its tradition ;)

  • @vicharris

    OK, would you like to suggest a new lens nomenclature to replace the old "50mm equiv?"

    Like FI (fish eye wide) VVVW, (very very very wide) right up to XXXXXL?

    I'll continue to go with the crowd and industry. When the Camera operator calls out to the assistant, "gimme a (50)!" it can be called anything you like but we've all got to use the same words.

  • Just wondering why I never hear it on sets then? I guess I'm just tired of hearing people ask what's the crop compared to the sea of 5D's everyone uses.

  • here's the deal. Cinematographers know what a lens looks like for any format, and if they don't they will figure out what will give them the FOV they want.

    All this talk of crop factor now, and 35mm equiv listed in video camera specs is to help consumers and people that aren't as knowledgeable have a frame of reference when switching between formats.

    ( if you look at this link they don't even give you the focal length, they ONLY give you the 35mm equiv

  • @goanna Wow, great job missing the point there. Nobody on a real set says "Give me a 50mm equiv" I'm so confused by all of your responses.

  • @peterosinski Thanks for the non condescending answer! :)

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev Did you change the topic name? Funny :)

  • @vicharris no problem, I try to keep a good attitude on these types of forums

  • @vicharris

    Who's missing what point here?

    In 40 years of film making I've never heard of a 5D equivalent. We say, "Gimme a 50" or more like "Let's try the Angie 50."

    I'm saying that if you want us all to use some other lingo, then you may be right. Give us your ideas. They might just catch on.

    (Does anybody else misunderstand me, or have we all been drinking, browsing other websites and watching TV simultaneously?)

  • Any cinematographer worth her salt should be familiar with the ratio of focal length to angle of view for the camera being used.

    I think everyone is misunderstanding everyone in this thread, lol. What's happening to members of P-V lately? Lots of weird arguments and misunderstandings.

  • How about expressing angles of view as angles? 35-mm equivalent focal lengths are for people who spent a long time using nothing but 35-mm photographic cameras.

  • @balazer +1 to use the angle of view in degrees. I am just afraid that people would prefer the long "Full 35mm Frame equivalent" unit, since it sounds "more professional".

  • Didn't Canon invent the "Full frame" expression for upping their sales? Since medium format sensors are even larger ;)

  • @balazer

    Yep, bingo, what I'm thinking too. New lenses can be firmware-set to display the PV Angle* on the LCD monitor once fitted to a particular camera.

    This number will be known as the PV Angle

    You heard it here first.

  • @oscillian

    Great remark! Let's calculate crop factors for the 5D vs. Linhof Tecnica…

    Or do larger sensors have an enlargement factor? ;-)

    BTW, when is RED's Monstro coming? After all, Sony is not delivering:

    F23: 2/3 sensor, F35 35mm sensor, F65 35mm sensor ;-)

  • Wow. Completely missed the point. I'm not asking for different lingo at all? Where did that come from? Couldn't agree with you more @Sangye

  • @vicharris

    Check your language.

  • @vicharris - I can't tell you how not work it it is to try to figure this out in a forum setting. The basics:

    Call all lenses by their focal length

    Know your format's crop (1.5 for RED, Arri, etc, 1.86ish for GH2) and compare the FOV. For example, I love Roger Deakins work. On his own forum, he discloses that he loves his Arri and has been preferential to 32mm and 40mm lenses for things like No Country For Old Men or Skyfall. (I think No Country was 35mm but the crop is similar) If I take a 32mm lens and multiply it by the crop factor I get the FOV, 48 for a 1.5 crop. If this number is divided by the GH2 crop, we'll have the focal length that is required to maintain the same FOV as on the 1.5 sensor which in this example is 25mm. Now I'm one step closer to only REPLICATING THE FOV.

    We should be comparing our crop to cinema cameras, not full frame. And a lenses focal length, which gives it it's name, doesn't change from sensor to sensor, only the FOV.

    I feel that I've opened a can of worms even larger.