Divine post by Ken Rockwell that’s more about psychology than photography. Even if you would test the Canon 1D X ($6,799) against the cheapo Canon SL1 ($599), world’s most compact DSLR, if you make the images the same size for a valid comparison = the complete, uncroppped images look completely identical, says Rockwell.
Quite a statement by someone who has an unfair share of critics among photography forum punters. Nevertheless, I have to wholeheartedly agree with Rockwell — less because his is no scientific comparison, but because we all shoot the best we can; some with expensive, some with less expensive gear. And whatever gear you’re using: for most shooters, the difference between cropped cheaper sensors and the ultimate full-frame experience is not as large as we may wish.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. We’re not getting into a moot debate about the validity of the f-stop used, shadow noise and equivalence. Just have a look at Rockwell’s Resolution and High ISO Comparison. Below are resized images, on his site Rockwell posts additional ones and crops. Now what’s that noise worth?
Rockwell’s prosaic summary and analysis:
As far as I’m concerned, I see no significant difference between the two. Remember, these are extreme blow-ups from prints many feet wide. If I showed the complete, uncroppped images (which I don’t here) or showed them at a more reasonable size more like the sizes at which people actually print, they would be completely identical.
Therefore as I always say, the more expensive camera only costs more and weighs you down more. Sure, I can force differences under unreasonable circumstances for the sake of spicing up my reviews, but for actual shooting, it doesn’t matter what camera you use.
Sure there is more to it than what meets they eye. Of course the 5D Mark III outperforms the SL1. The latter gives you no blazing AF speed, worse noise, etc., etc. But let’s be honest, for many photographers such performance differences are not so critical that they have the right to be entitled to worry so obsessively about such stuff.
Post-processing can easily clean up noise, for a fraction of the potential gear cost. Unless you shoot at high ISO, track fast moving stuff, need huge prints, do magazine work and are ready to spend much more money to carry the bulkier camera over the tiny SL1, well then the bulkier camera doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
The difference between the “pro” and average shooter might be not as large as we think. The difference between talents and experience is, but if you can’t deliver with an SL1 you’re unlikely to perform with a 5D Mark III.
But, and that’s a major but, the SL1’s limits of quality and the range of conditions that great photos can be produced in are quite restricted.
Not that the SL1 is good enough for most. But maybe some photographers are not that talented enough for gear they assume is what they really need and what they’re really capable of.
I love my shiny toys as you do. Image quality is only one aspect. The feel and mojo of gear is at least as important.
But imaging technology — even down at the level of smartphones — is so advanced these days, are some of the many photography enthusiasts handed on a plate to camera marketing campaigns?