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Shooting from One Location with Different Focal Lengths

When capturing the same field of view using the same lens on a camera with a full frame sensor and on a camera with an APS-C size sensor, the distance from the subject and/or the lens focal length must be adjusted.

In Figure 5, you see a photo taken with the Canon 5D using the EF 24–70mm f/2.8L USM lens, set to 55mm, from a distance of 9 feet. The two inserts show detail of that image (to the left) and a comparable shot taken with the Canon 20D (on the right).

Shooting with the 20D from the same location, the lens needed to be set to 35mm in order to capture the same content.

Figure 5

Figure 5 The insert on the left shows detail from the 5D shot, while the insert on the right shows the 20D’s detail.

Not surprisingly, the 5D shooting at 55mm captured more fine detail than did the 20D shooting at 35mm.

The image from the 5D also had substantially less noise than did the photo from the 20D, as you can see in Figure 6.

Figure 6

Figure 6 When zoomed to 400%, the noise captured by the 20D (right) is visible.

Shooting at a fixed target from a distance of about 12 feet and using the EF 70–200mm f/1.4L IS USM lens, the Canon 5D used a focal length of 112mm to capture the same area for which the Canon 20D used a focal length of 70mm.

Again, not surprisingly, the 5D (left) was able to do a better job of capturing fine detail, as shown in Figure 7 (100% zoom for both samples).

Figure 7

Figure 7 Although perhaps not as evident in a Web-sized image, the Canon 5D did a much better job of preserving fine detail in the target’s pattern, with crisper lines and better definition in the center.

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