Understanding The Difference Between Full Frame And Crop Sensors


Here’s where the differences between full and cropped frame really come into play. With the purchase of a DSLR camera comes the opportunity to buy a whole host of lenses (given your budget). If you come from a film camera background, you might already have a host of interchangeable lenses laying about. But, 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 flip side is that wide-angle lenses will become standard lenses.

Manufacturers have come up with solutions to this problem. For Canon and Nikon, who both produce full frame cameras, the answer has been to produce a range of lenses specifically designed for digital cameras — the EF-S range for Canon and the DX range for Nikon. These lenses include much wider-angle lenses which, when magnified, still allow for a wide angle of view. For instance, both manufacturers produce a zoom lens that starts at 10mm, thus giving an actual focal length of 16mm, which is still an extremely wide-angle lens. And these lenses have also been designed to minimize distortion and vignetting on the edges of the image. It’s also the same story with those manufacturers who are producing exclusively cropped sensor cameras, as their lenses have all been designed to run alongside these camera systems.

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