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Full Frame VS MFT (Micro Four Thirds)

Let's make two things clear from the very first beginning.

In this article we focus on filming not photography.

There are different systems for different reasons. Each one has to figure out what system suits his needs.

Having said that. For our daily needs we - as Local Stage - figured out that the Micro Four Thirds system is great. So piece after piece we ended up on the following setup:

- Panasonic GH5s

- Panasonic GH5

- 7-14mm

- 25mm f1.4

- 42,5mm f1.2

- 12-60mm f/2.8-4

- 35-100mm f2.8

I could name the reasons this setup suits our needs but this in not the purpose of the article.

I want to point the reasons I found the MFT system more effective rather that the Full Frame that is super super - insanely - crazy popular in Greece for shooting video.

What triggered this though is the following image

What we see above is two lenses (and a bottle of beer for no reason) that produce the same result on focal length in different system. The big one in the middle is for Full Frame cameras and the one on the right is for MFT.

I think you understand where I going without saying much more!

Why would you like to carry a lens that is 3 times bigger and 3 times heavier compared to another one that can do the same business?

Picture quality? Don't think so. Don't forget we said that we are "shooting" video on this article...

Depth of field? Check below my comments on this one.

I will definitely point something that for sure you cannot do with the full frame equivalent. Check the pic below.

How amazing and how revolutionary is that we finally are able to place a telephoto lens on a conventional gimbal?

Depth of Field and light

Two advantages of Full Frame on MFT is that a lens with a certain aperture can produce more depth of field when used on a Full Frame than used on a MFT system.

Another advantage is that the full frame sensor is bigger and can shoot easier on low light. After Panasonic's GH5s, Blackmagic's Design Pocket, etc, with the dual ISO tech, we are now able to shoot in low light with MFT. So low light is not an issue any more.

So... Depth of Field is what left to talk about and debate. And the question is...

Is depth of field really an advantage on video?

First of all check the lenses of our setup. You can see primes with f1.4, f1.2 and zoom with constant f2.8. Having said that, do you really need wider (shallower) depth of field?

What I can tell you for sure is that many times you need deep depth of field for having everything in focus and not loosing always something in your frame.

On a MFT camera with a wide lens, if you adjust your aperture on f6 you can get almost everything in focus. Put that on a gimbal and you will have always a clean picture. Go on f4 and you can still have clean shots of people standing in different layers with a little blurry background. Do that on a Full Frame and the picture will be "confusing" and not very clean, because something will be on focus, but something else that still maters and you want to point out will be out of focus and not clean.

So many times you see videos shot with full frame cameras that are not so clean and don't know for sure what they want to point out.

If you are shooting a movie and everything is under control it's a different story. But still...

Does Full Frame and depth of field makes a frame "cinematic"?

From my point of view Full Frame doesn't makes a frame "cinematic". On great movies with spectacular frames you rarely see images with shallow depth of field, especially when they go wide.

It's the use of the light, the scenery, the imagination and other things rather that the depth of field that makes a frame cinematic.

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