Impact of Sensor Size – Dogwood Tree

The dogwood trees were blooming here a few months ago, and I took an opportunity while my younger daughter’s soccer team practiced to shoot some dogwood trees next to the soccer fields. Unfortunately for me, the wind was really blowing (about 30mph). Here is what the trees looked like at 8fps.

20160407 184304 DSCF2181 XE2_DCE 8fps.gif

But with extreme patience, I did get some shots. What I wanted to do was to put my money were my mouth was – to shoot the best my iPhone, Canon G15 and Fuji 50-140 could shoot and compare.

A few feet away

Close up

(None of my Fuji lenses could shoot any closer so is out of the running in this next text (for now).)


As usual, all the shots looked mostly great when reduced to social media size, but if this were a once-in-a-lifetime group shot that needed to be enlarged, the iPhone picture would look like everyone was turned into watercolors.

Since the smaller sensors of the G15 and iPhone allowed me to be closer to the subject, it allowed me to hold the branch which was helpful, but I did not like the change in field of view and increased depth of field.

Because the fixed aperture on a tiny iPhone lens performs like f/16 on an APS-C sensor, you get a very wide depth of field. I am not a fan of the look this gives. I could not isolate the subject from the background due to limited composition options you have when you are so close to the subject with a wide lens (think fisheye). I had to move too far to find a good background that I lost the view of the flowers that I wanted (again, think fisheye).

  • When you shoot telephoto, the background and foreground compresses (seems closer together). In this case, you only need a small portion of the background to be a background (which is then beautifully blurred by a wide aperture). Don’t like the background? Move about one inch in any direction.
  • When you are inches from your subject with a wide lens, you also get a lot of background including the parked cars in this case. Move several inches in any direction and tons of your background is still in frame, but now your subject has changed, too.

Finally, don’t shoot flowers on a windy day. It is an exercise in frustration. 😛


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