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Shooting from Different Locations with One Focal Length

A second way to compensate for the difference between a full frame sensor and an APS-C size sensor (and the third way to compare the sensors) is to shoot at the same focal length, but from a different location.

Because of the 1:1.6 zoom factor adjustment, the camera with the smaller sensor will always be farther from the subject to capture the same field of view at the same zoom factor.

In Figure 8, the area of the wall outlined in blue was captured using EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens. To fill the frame, the Canon 5D (with its full frame sensor) was nine feet from the wall, while the smaller sensor of the 20D required backing the tripod off to 14.4 feet.

Figure 8

Figure 8 To fill the frame with the outlined area using the same 50mm lens, the two cameras were spaced over five feet apart.

When zoomed to 200%, It’s obvious that the Canon 5D (Figure 9, top) not only captured more detail but also produced significantly less noise. Other pairs of images showed similar results.

Figure 9

Figure 9 The 5D (top) captured more detail and generated less noise than the 20D (below).

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