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35mm Focal Length Equivalents in Digital Still Cameras.


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#1 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 07:45 PM

I was shopping for a Digital Still Camera upgrade from my Powershot.

As I looked around it dawned on me there were plenty of Super-8 ish digital still cameras in which a 4.5 to 5.0 mm is somewhat equivalent to a 28mm on a 35mm cameras.

When I looked for a 16mm focal length equivalent for digital still cameras, I was surprised to find out that there appear to be none.

So, in Film we had 35mm, 16mm and Super-8mm.

In video we had 2/3 chip size camera (like a 35mm equivalent), a 1/2 chip size (like a 16mm equivalent), and a 1/3,1/4 or 1/6 chip size (that was like a Super-8 equivalent).

But in the digital still world, there is no 16mm equivalent. So I'm basically stuck shooting Super-8 digital still technology, or, I can spend a ton of money and go the equivalent of 35mm. Apparently there is nothing in between.

I find this annoying.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 07:58 PM

2/3" is closest to S16mm, not 35m.. the closest to that is the APS-C sensor used in DSLR cameras. 1/3" would be closest, I believe, to S8mm.

There are some very cheaply priced DSLRs 'round these days, though.
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#3 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 10:23 PM

2/3" is closest to S16mm, not 35m.. the closest to that is the APS-C sensor used in DSLR cameras. 1/3" would be closest, I believe, to S8mm.

There are some very cheaply priced DSLRs 'round these days, though.



My 1/2 chip used a 6.7 to 117 lens. Yeah, I guess that could be thought of as Super-8.

There are so many chip sizes that are smaller than 1/2 chip, it seems inaccurate to clump both 16mm and 35mm for 2/3 and 1/2 chip for super-8... But 6.7 on a 1/2 chip is pretty darn close to 6.7 on a super-8 camera.

It seems like some enterprising company could find a following if they made a still camera in between a Power Shot and the super-expensive DSLRs.
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#4 Chris Durham

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 01:45 PM

The closest you'll get to a Super16 frame in stills - and it isn't that close - is the Olympus/Panasonic Four thirds system with a width of 17.3mm (S16 being 12.52mm). This is neither S16 nor S35 but somewhere in between. (The Canon APS-C chip has a width almost identical to techniscope). I don't think there's much you can do in stills to emulate Super16.
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#5 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 02:05 PM

The closest you'll get to a Super16 frame in stills - and it isn't that close - is the Olympus/Panasonic Four thirds system with a width of 17.3mm (S16 being 12.52mm). This is neither S16 nor S35 but somewhere in between. (The Canon APS-C chip has a width almost identical to techniscope). I don't think there's much you can do in stills to emulate Super16.


A super-16 format, even a 16mm type format, would be an interesting compromise. Part of digital still photography that I appreciate is being able to put a camera in my pocket or carry in a belt pouch and be able to shoot many photos at the same time. But the powershot cameras get boring after a while since they really don't give the feel of a real camera.
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#6 Mei Lewis

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 05:40 PM

You can get an APS-C DSLR for really not very much money now and the quality is very good.

I _think_ the reason why all really serious stills cameras have at least an APS-C sensor is because stills photgraphers want high ISO and the smaller the chip the nosier it is.
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#7 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 06:23 PM

You can get an APS-C DSLR for really not very much money now and the quality is very good.

I _think_ the reason why all really serious stills cameras have at least an APS-C sensor is because stills photgraphers want high ISO and the smaller the chip the nosier it is.


It sounds like an excellent compromise, like exactly what I am looking for, but the Canon EOS 7D body only, costs around 1,600 to 1,700 dollars. Ouch!
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#8 Mei Lewis

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 09:11 AM

For stills something like the Canon 500D with kit lens would be very nearly as good and a lot cheaper.
It's not got the build quailty of the 7D, but nor do any of the digital compacts.
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#9 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 10:05 AM

For stills something like the Canon 500D with kit lens would be very nearly as good and a lot cheaper.
It's not got the build quailty of the 7D, but nor do any of the digital compacts.


Thanks, I will look into that. So my original concern was somewhat incorrect but not totally incorrect. There is a compromise between the point and shoot digital cameras and the DSLR's, however, they rely on 35mm lens which in turn makes the cameras bigger and bulkier than they need to be.
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#10 Mei Lewis

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 06:21 AM

"they rely on 35mm lens which in turn makes the cameras bigger and bulkier than they need to be."

That's only partly correct. Cameras like the 7D and 500D have an APS-C sensor which is 1.6 times smaller than 35mm stills frame size, and there are special lenses that only work with these 'crop' cameras that are smaller and lighter than 35mm stills lenses.

For Canon they are called EF-S lenses (S stand for "short back focus"), http://en.wikipedia....EF-S_lens_mount.

A 500D with a kit lens such as the EF-S 18-55 IS is surprisingly light and small compared to an equivalent olf film based 35mm stills camera.


-------

From a photographer's point of view, the compromise between compact digital cameras and a DSLR is something like a Canon G10, Panasonic LX3, or a micro four thirds camera like the Panasonic GH-1 or Olympus E-450, or a Sigma DP-2. Some of these have interchangeable lenses.

I don't know enough about movie cameras to know if any of these has the exact sensor size you want, but my impression is that in stills there's a wide continuous range of sensor sizes for really very tiny up to massive medium format digital backs.


I've got an LX-3 and it's very, very nice :-)
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#11 Mei Lewis

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 06:24 AM

When I looked for a 16mm focal length equivalent for digital still cameras



I don't understand what this means. Focal length is a property of a lens not of a camera. Do you mean a camera with a lens which is the equivalent of 16mm on some certain size of movie camera?
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