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Full Frame vs Crop Frame Sensor - Step by step with Screenshots

When it comes to camera sensor sizes, there are two different sensor sizes in general, full frame and crop sensor. The term “full frame” refers to a sensor size that has the same dimensions as the 35mm film format. A crop sensor refers to any sensor smaller than a full frame sensor or a 35mm film frame. The common types of crop sensor include APS-C and micro 4/3 systems. Nikon has two different sensor sizes: full frame (FX) and 1.5x (DX). Canon has three sensor sizes: full frame, 1.3x and 1.6x. In fact, Canon, Pentax and Sony usually refer to their cropped sensors as "APS-C" cameras. Finally, Olympus and Panasonic/Leica use a slightly different cropped format known as the Four Thirds system.

There are some differences between full and cropped frame. When using a cropped sensor camera, you'll need to remember that the focal length of these lenses will be changed. For instance, with Canon cameras, you'll need to multiply the focal length by 1.6, as mentioned above. So, a 50mm standard lens will become an 80mm. This can be a huge advantage when it comes to telephoto lenses, as you'll gain free millimeters, but the flipside is that wide-angle lenses will become standard lenses.

Full Frame Advantages – Generally, a full frame sensor can provide a broader dynamic range and better low light/high ISO performance yielding a higher quality image than a crop sensor. Full frame sensors are also preferred when it comes to architectural photography due to having a wider angle which is useful with tilt/shift lenses.

Full frame cameras obviously give you the ability to use lenses at their normal focal lengths, and they particularly shine in their ability to cope with shooting at higher ISOs. If you shoot a lot in natural and low light, then you'll undoubtedly find this useful. Those who shoot landscapes and architectural photography will also want to check out full frame options as the image quality and wide-angle lens quality is still far ahead.

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