Pro photographers and filmmakers get to a point where they want a camera that gives them unlimited options.
In most cases, the first choice that comes to the mind of many is a full-frame camera.
So, let’s address what you get and miss when you go for such a camera model so you can stop standing on the fence and instead make a move.
What are the benefits/drawbacks of full-frame cameras?
A full-frame camera commonly refers to 35mm film size (36 x 24mm) sensors as opposed to crop sensors (usually 25mm).
Upgrading from a crop sensor (APS-C) to a full-frame offers the following advantages:
Full frame DSLRs boast bigger and better pixels. This enables them to capture crisp clear details in their full glamor.
While crop sensor APS-Cs can do the same, it takes a lot of adjusting and fine-tuning.
Bokeh is an enchantingly soft, blurred background that lets the main object take center stage.
It’s one of the biggest reasons portrait photographers pick full-frame cameras.
While crop sensors can achieve this, the background can still be a little distracting if proper care is not applied.
Excellent low-light performance
Full frame optical systems have a large sensor which further translates to bigger individual pixels.
Each of those pixels brings in more light for shooting crisp clear shots even in low-light conditions.
You can crop images radically
Cropping is an essential tool in photography. It lets you do away with distracting details so the primary elements or objects can stand out.
Since full-frame cameras capture wide angles, there is plenty to edit without degrading the image quality or raising noise levels.
But when it comes to crop sensors, radical cropping can easily snip off some important sections.
You can work with many lenses
If you are a serial photographer, your arsenal must have a lot of optical systems.
Guess what, instead of carrying multiple cameras to your shooting venues, a full-frame system could simply be enough.
Then carry along EF and EF-S lenses so you can swap them out as your production needs demand.
With crop sensors, you can only work with the standard lens. Changing to a full frame can result in improper crops.
Drawbacks of full-frame sensors
Full-frame DSLRs offer a lot of pros. However, there are a few tradeoffs as highlighted below:
Full frame cameras carry a lot of features so professionals have a lot to play with.
Talk of extra convenient dials and controls, robust firmware that is sometimes weather-sealed, and stronger batteries.
These can make full-frame sensors feel a little bulkier than their crop sensor counterparts.
The universal truth is that the extra features in full-frame cameras don’t come cheaply. You will be charged a couple of bucks more than when purchasing crop sensors.
On top of that, you might need to buy different lenses to fulfill all your professional needs.
Unreliable crop factor for distance shots
With full-frame DSLRs, a 300mm lens remains the same, 300mm.
But on a crop sensor camera, a 300mm turns into an enormous 450mm lens which is ideal for capturing long-distance details like wildlife or sports.
Note: The gap between Full-frame and APS C sensors has reduced significantly. Neither is the former complicated nor ultra-expensive. Full frame sensors are also lighter these days.
How much will it cost for a full-frame camera?
As mentioned before, you will likely spend a couple more bucks on full-frame than crop sensors.
On top of that, you must think of adding a few more lenses to get different results. On average, it costs $1000 to $2000 to acquire the cheapest full-frame DSLR.
What type of photography is ideal for full-frame sensors?
Full frame sensors are great for shooting landscapes, wildlife, sports, portraits, and low-light scenes.
You can shoot a lot more scenes with a bit of creativity as well as experimenting with different lenses.
There you go. Now you know all the pros and cons of owning a full-frame camera.
Understand that a camera is just a device that does what you tell it to. So, yes, it’s not entirely about the sensor but also how good you can use it.
It is also a myth that professionals use only full camera sensors. That’s inaccurate. Many find crop sensors just as reliable.
By now, you should know whether a full-frame camera is for you or not.