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.
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 These are no longer applicable.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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Fascinating reading all of the comments but surely at the end of the day any difference is microscopic and would jo public know different cameras were being used. The primary reason any of us take pictures is to satisfy our need for a living or for interest and all 4 of those pictures would look great on the wall.
When do we get to see the actual answers?
Look, shmook. What's more important is the handling, and performance of things like AF. Getting the shot in the first place trumps any alleged look, which is why MF is not commonly used for sport or street photography, and neither are phones. Neither have the responsiveness of a top notch ILC.
And futhermore, the only really valid comparison tests are using decent sized prints, which no-one seems interested in making these days.
I like the idea of blind comparisons...they help to align a person's frame-of-reference and help them to realize what they need as opposed to what they THINK they need...BUT...
The photos on this web page are being displayed in the LEAST demanding circumstance (on phones or PC monitors, and at low/web/1920 resolution). Indeed, I'd think cell phone camera pics would look about the same under these circumstances. Almost any sensor can look pretty good when the light is good and the dynamic range and color depth of the shot are not very demanding, and, very little cropping is involved.
So this particular blind test is really kinda pointless (unless you are a person who shoots these subjects in these circumstances and displays on phones/PC's).
At least add a test where the light is low and/or the dynamic range high, and/or lots of cropping is involved (the way I happen to frequently shoot...birds under tree cover...surfers in black wetsuits surrounding by glaring/white surf)...and THEN we'd see the larger and more capable sensors rise to the top.