Full frame vs crop sensor (photography)

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written by owen on 2024-Jun-01.

I have been watching tons of videos covering the advantages and disadvantages of sensor sizes. The key take away from this research is that bigger sensors are better. Which I already knew. The con is that full frame sensors have to be huge in order to hold the sensor and lens. That is pretty much it. When you go crop sensor you are sacrificing extra detail around the edges for camera size and cost. All the numbers and conversions do not matter because at the point when you take the picture you either get less or you get more - that's it.

Film vs digital
Comparisons to analog film also boil down to the same thing. When you shoot on 35mm analog film you are always shooting full frame at max resolution. The bigger the film frame the more image you get. This fact against digital photography means that you are always at a disadvantage unless you have the biggest sensor possible. Repositioning, changing lenses, doesn't matter in the digital world - you only get what you take - exactly. It is the exactness of digital which is the reason why we need bigger and bigger sensors so we can capture more. Film just has all the resolution while digital is limited from the start. Film is more expensive but this is no secret.

So what to do
Once you understand the parameters of the tools you are working with then you know your limit. I think 35 megapixels on a full frame camera is the sweet spot. You want the resolution for the detail and you need the full frame to capture the biggest frame you can. With a crop sensor you lose everything around the edges. Even if everything in the center frame is awesome. All you can do is stuff as much as you can in the center and shed a tear for the fallen edges.

Possibly at some point in the future they will be able to make super small and cheap full frame sensors. But for now we are stuck with the choice between small/cheap crop sensor or expensive and big full frame cameras. You have to choose your battles. Maybe the only times you will miss the full frame is when you barely miss a person at the sides of a picture or you wish there was a little bit more sky to work with in post. Make the pictures you can make with the tool you have. Below I will attach some photos I took with my ASPC crop sensor GR3 in May2024.

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