Full frame or crop sensor

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Member for

17 years 2 months

Posts: 102

Just wondered what you all use or what's best as looking to upgrage my trusty ol nikon - is it worth paying the extra to go full frame ?
Thanks
Tim

Original post

Member for

17 years 6 months

Posts: 8,983

I have just upgraded my Canon 50D cropped sensor to a Canon 1DX full frame, advantages are at wider angles on lenses as you get more of the view in, but you lose the telephoto reach of your lenses when shooting aircraft, remember a 200mm lens on a cropped sensor is nearer 320mm.

The new Canon 5DS incidentally has a F/F sensor @50m/pixel, but also allows you to use it as a cropped sensor at two different lower pixel counts, so you have in effect two cameras in one, though as a Nikon man with no doubt Nikon lenses that does not really help..ohh and it's not cheap... well not unless you compare it to the 1DX.

more blurb

http://www.photographymad.com/pages/view/crop-factor-explained

:)

Member for

20 years 7 months

Posts: 405

As a Nikon man I've used the D2x and D300 crop sensor camera's. They served me quite well and for airshow work the extra telephoto reach was a bonus of course. Later on I changed to the D300 and D700 (fullframe) combo, where the D300 was mainly used for ground-to-air photography and the D700 for everything else. The D700 had advantages in the wide-angle area of course and also much better higher ISO qualities. Since 2012 I work exclusively with fullframe camera's; initially the D700 paired with the 36MP D800, and nowadays with the D800 and the slightly faster and sharper D810. With the 36MP camera's, I have no use for a crop sensor body anymore. Instead, if necessary, I use the camera's in either 1.2x or 1.5x crop modes which give me all the reach I need.

Member for

17 years 2 months

Posts: 102

Thanks for the replies.

Member for

18 years 11 months

Posts: 1,084

Instead, if necessary, I use the camera's in either 1.2x or 1.5x crop modes which give me all the reach I need.

So, IIRC, in effect this would crop the images prior to exposure/capture, rather than cropping a "full sensor" image later as part of post-production manipulation on a PC?

I suspect the end result of both might well be pretty similar in terms of image quality/pixel counts etc, in which case I guess the full vs cropped argument comes down to how often you would use full frame images "uncropped"?

If you are going to crop most of your full frame shots (either via camera settings, or in post production ofterwards) to make up for the lost "telephoto" effect (that you would have gained by using a cropped sensor), then is it worth the extra expense of going for a full frame body?

However, if you expect to use most of your "full sensor" images without any/much post-production cropping then I guess full-frame is the way to go...

I'll stick with my now ageing "cropped sensor" Canon 40D, and benefit from the added focal length it gives me... if/when it eventually expires I'll probably replace it with another Canon cropped-sensor body for much same reason (and also because I'm not sure my current Canon lenses would fit on of Canons "full sensor" bodies...)

Member for

17 years 6 months

Posts: 8,983

Paul, the new 5DS does full frame or cropped it's a 50mp camera so the cropped is a reduced pixel count.

Member for

19 years 1 month

Posts: 2,656

I use the Sony 'Clear Image Zoom' mode if I want extra reach which basically takes a crop of the sensor and through the 'By Pixel Super Resolution Technology' software, enlarges the crop back to full frame size and then puts back the missing pixels.

Brian

Member for

20 years 7 months

Posts: 405

So, IIRC, in effect this would crop the images prior to exposure/capture, rather than cropping a "full sensor" image later as part of post-production manipulation on a PC?

I suspect the end result of both might well be pretty similar in terms of image quality/pixel counts etc, in which case I guess the full vs cropped argument comes down to how often you would use full frame images "uncropped"?

If you are going to crop most of your full frame shots (either via camera settings, or in post production ofterwards) to make up for the lost "telephoto" effect (that you would have gained by using a cropped sensor), then is it worth the extra expense of going for a full frame body?

I shoot a lot more than just aircraft in flight, which most of the time require some cropping anyway. For me the advantages of a full frame body especially are at the wide-angle end and the better high ISO capabilities. I've been a keen photographer for half a century now and over time I've built quite an arsenal of Nikon lenses, all of which can be used on full-frame bodies. Therefore the full-frame camera's feel a lot more natural to me than Nikon's DX camera's. Cropping in-camera does indeed give a similar result to cropping in post-processing. However using the 1.2x and 1.5x modes have a few advantages: smaller files, slightly higher frame rates and increased buffer sizes. Therefore for me the 36 MP full-frame camera's, with their fantastic pixel count reserves and dynamic ranges, are the most versatile camera's I've ever used. Don't get me wrong; there are many great crop-sensor camera's available which can deliver great results, but they just are not the thing for me.