Can You Guess Which Camera Took Which Picture?

Can You Guess Which Camera Took Which Picture?

Do medium format cameras have a specific look? Do Micro 4/3 camera take horrible still photos? You tell me. 

I happen to have a range of different cameras in my possession and I thought it would be interesting to shoot the same image with each of them to see if we could actually tell a difference. This is not a resolution test, we will do that in another video. This test is strictly to determine if images inherently different coming from different sized sensors and manufacturers. 

I stood in one spot and shot my buddy Keith Bradshaw with 4 different cameras with 4 different sized sensors. To keep the field of view the same, I used a 50mm "equivalent" lens on each camera. To keep the depth of field the same, I changed the aperture as well. My cameras and settings are below. 

FujiFilm GFX 50R/ 43.mm x 32.9mm sensor/ 64mm lens f/8

Canon 6D/ 35mm ff sensor/ 50mm f5.6

FujiFilm XT-3/ 23.6mm x 15.6mm sensor/ 35mm f4

Panasonic GH5/ Micro 4/3 sensor/ 25mm f2.8

I shot each of the images below in raw, I changed only the white balance, and stacked the images on top of each other. I cropped in on all of the images to hide the 4/3 aspect ratio of the GFX and GH5 and shrunk them to 1920 pixels in width. Can you guess which camera took each image? 

UPDATE: The results are in

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124 Comments

Previous comments

WHAT A LOAD OF BOLLOCKS. Sorry, I don't know what else to say. Yes, when you shoot "scientifically" like this, trying to make the shooting conditions for each camera as similar as possible, finding the differences is going to be hard. This is not why you buy a camera with a bigger sensor, you buy a camera with a bigger sensor because you can do things with that camera that is hard or impossible to do with smaller sensor cameras.

You don't shoot portraits with a MF camera at F/8, you shoot at a larger aperture. When allowing this, the camera with the bigger sensor can do things that cameras with the smaller sensor simply can't do since getting glass of appropriate quality to match is difficult or even impossible.

That someone at Fstoppers still don't understand that you don't buy more expensive cameras to shoot under the same conditions as you can with the cheaper ones, you buy more expensive cameras because they can do what the cheaper ones simply can't.

This "test" is silly.

David Ha's picture

And where is your proof? What you are saying is the theory.

Where is my proof of what? That you can't get an M4/3 lens with the equivalent of a Medium Format 110mm F/2 lens? Well, for one, you can't prove a negative, but try B&H or similar.

David Ha's picture

You are arguing that Medium format has its look and yet you have no proofs.

"You don't shoot portraits with a MF camera at F/8, you shoot at a larger aperture. When allowing this, the camera with the bigger sensor can do things that cameras with the smaller sensor simply can't do since getting glass of appropriate quality to match is difficult or even impossible."

Medium format is just a bigger camera with a bigger sensor. The quality can be different but the look can not be special. What makes you think that Medium format camera produces its aesthetic? Do you even have test images with both 35mm and MF?

Jorge Cevallos's picture

I´m looking forward to seeing the results.

I think it would be more interesting if we viewed the photos after they had been edited to their potential. Frankly, some of the advantages the MF and FF have over the crop sensor cameras comes in the ability to edit and the greater information contained in the file.

That you can get similar results from 4 very size camera sensors, using lenses of different focal lengths and apertures is... hardly a discovery, Lee.

You may as well have blindfolded and put ear muffs on a person, drove them from 0-60 mph in exactly 10 seconds in a Volkswagen Beetle, a Honda Accord, a Porsche, and a Mclaren F1 and then asked them which car they were riding in each time.

This... really doesn't make any sense. Of course you're not going to get a 'full frame' or 'medium format' look when you're doing EVERYTHING TO MITIGATE THE DIFFERENCES FROM THE BEGINNING.

Stuart Carver's picture

You need to stop copy and pasting comments, we don’t need to read the same thing 5 times in one article.

David Ha's picture

MF look never exist. It just a dream. I used a digital MF more than 5 years including the newest Hasselblad X1Dii with 80mm F1.9 and I never found its look. Also, for those of you believe that MF look exist never ever have proves and scientific testing to show.

Maybe I'm crazy but I expected to see a number of different shots and compositions, not just one.

Totally irrelevant comparison. You don't buy a high end camera and lens and define it's quality by shooting with closed aperture at daylight. Unless you have very serious GAS, you get the gear to do things you can't do without it..
I'b put an older canon TI with the kit lens to the same test, and get similar results.

Ok, I'll give it a try!

1. FujiFilm XT-3/ 23.6mm x 15.6mm sensor/ 35mm f4

2. FujiFilm GFX 50R/ 43.mm x 32.9mm sensor/ 64mm lens f/8

3. Canon 6D/ 35mm ff sensor/ 50mm f5.6

4. Panasonic GH5/ Micro 4/3 sensor/ 25mm f2.8

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For this shooting (and display) scenario, there are no meaningful photographic differences.

Back in the film days, aspect ratio and grain differentiated MF and 35mm aesthetics. These are no longer applicable.

Pretty close here, being focal-length matched, DoF matched, stacked, cropped, resized and white-balanced, but here you go:
1 - GFX
2 - GH5
3 - XT3
4 - 6D (has a magenta cast to it)

I'll bet high-end camera phones like the Pixel 3 XL, Huawei P30 Pro or iPhone XS Max would also produce pretty good results in this scenario. They kind of "cheat" by taking multiple shots and stack them with smart algorithms, but that's how they make up for their small sensors.

As many here have already mentioned, differences will become more apparent in lower light, in larger apertures (f/1.2 - f/2.8) and/or in higher ISOs.

if the photographer does their part, getting proper exposure, composition, post processing. It is difficult if not near impossible to tell the difference. In low light, shooting in auto mode with a jpg straight out of camera you can start telling one from another.

Tom Beckman's picture

It's was pretty hard to tell on my phone but in the computer the skin tones and detail tell all. I feel pretty confident. We will see.

I watched this on my 40 inch 4k screen and on my older laptop with a 1080p screen.
On the 4k screen I could see the difference but I seem to have no preference. The third picture looked a bit sharper on the 4k screen but on the 1080p screen, I was incapable to see the difference.

I love this test.

Eddy Waddel's picture

For all the negatives on 4/3 systems i think it can stand up to other cameras..its not all about pixels...

I agree. Especially for amateurs, there is hardly any need for full-frame.

As long as you are shooting in good light, and don't need to crop much...then, yes, MFT is very capable.

So equivalency comparisons have gone from comparing full images to comparing aligned crops?

Ryan Davis's picture

I'd like to see 16x20 good quality prints. Then I'd feel comfortable making a call. Since we don't have that, I'll tell you exactly how good each of these photos is: as good as my monitor. A convoy sails at the speed of its slowest ship.

I think a lot of people are not understanding the point of the test. Many/some users of medium format (44mm x 33mm) have contended that medium format has a “look” that is immediately recognizable in their photographs and that can not be reproduced by smaller formats. I have seen it asserted—multiple times by multiple photographers—that the look is visible even in web-sized (or, indeed, in thumbnail sized) photographs. This test is exploring that specific contention—that there is something about formats larger than full frame that creates an easily recognizable “look”.

This test is NOT intended to show that format doesn’t matter, or that there are no benefits to larger sensors, or that identical images can be made in all situations with anything from micro 4/3” on up.

There are definitely photographers out there who claim that medium format results in obviously superior images (3D “Pop” is often referenced) even when an equivalent lens is used on another format, even at web resolutions. This tests that contention and only that contention.

Of course larger formats have advantages in terms of dynamic range, resolution, etc. This wasn’t testing for that and never claimed to be testing for that. Nothing disingenuous or misleading in the test. It is looking at one thing only—are larger formats immediately recognizable in web sized images when equivalent focal lengths and apertures are used. That is a perfectly valid question. There are lots of people out there who claim, “Yes”. This is intended to validate or disprove that one specific assertion. Nothing else.

Laughing Cow's picture

No, I can't and I don't see the point at all…

On web-sized images, it's impossible to tell. For example, my portfolio is only pictures taken with the Panasonic FZ200 which is a 1/2,3" sensor, even smaller than a micro 4/3, it managed to fool a few people.

marc gabor's picture

I could be totally wrong here but it seems to me that the biggest difference between the 3 bayer array sensors is dynamic range. I'm especially looking at how the highlights are handled in each image. To my eyes #1 has way more dynamic range suggesting it's MF. Image #4 is the only one that has noticeably different colors so I'd say that's probably the only camera that doesn't use a bayer array. That said they're super close and it's interesting to see how 4 very different lenses render very similarly at least when viewed at this size. I've recently had no problems shooting m43 instead of usual full frame and this just confirms how hard it is to tell the difference.

Keith Meinhold's picture

At web resolution in good light with an organic object it's tough call. A cityscape/landscape might be more revealing.

Sensor size Large to small:
4
2
3
1

As for 3d pop, it always seemed to me It occurred from cameras with a red dot, but photographer processing could account for that.

They all look the same to me.

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