Feb 142015

I got a lot of questions about what is a Full Frame Camera and whether its worth it to spend the extra cash in getting one?. For those who attended my classes, you would know by now that the Camera has nothing to do with the final outcome of the Image, it all depends on the Photographer. So whether your buy  a Full Frame Camera or Cropped Frame camera it all draws down to your budget and your needs, but it has nothing to do with the final beauty of the image.

Lens are circular as you know, thus Lenses project a circular image , but the sensor only records a rectangular portion of the scene – the rest of the image is thrown away. If the sensor covers the full area of the image circle, it is called a “full-frame sensor” and if it covers a smaller portion that throws away or crops part of the image, it is called a “crop sensor”. Now how much it would be cropped depends on one manufacturers to another. See illustration below for clear explanation.


(Photo courtesy by photographylife.com)


So what does this all means?, if you a buy a full frame Camera, it has the ability of giving the full size image, which has the same physical size as 35mm film (36mm x 24mm). But if you buy a cropped frame Camera than you won’t get the full size image, instead it would be cropped, i.e. some of the image would be cut and thrown away.

Lets use Nikon as Example, All Full Frame Camera with Nikon they are Called FX Cameras, while Cropped Camera are called DX Camera. So if you buy a Nikon DX Cameras, than every image you take you would end up with a 1.5x Crop. For Example, if you use a 24mm Lens on your DX Frame Nikon Camera, than the Final Image won’t be 24mm it would be (24×1.5) = 36mm.

Below is a Photo taken using my Nikon D3S, which is a Full Frame Camera with a 24mm Lens



Now if I was to  use a Cropped Frame Nikon Camera, the same Image at the same distance would be cropped and instead giving me a 24mm Frame, I would end up getting only 36mm Frame. See image below and notice the difference between the below image and the above




Here is a sample list of current cameras that have different crop factors:

  • 1.5x Crop Factor: Nikon DX (Coolpix A, D3300, D5500, D7100); Pentax K-5 II; Sony A5100, A6000; Samsung NX1; Fuji X-A1, X-M1, X-E2, X-T1, X-Pro1
  • 1.6x Crop Factor: Canon Digital Rebel, 70D, 7D Mk II, EOS M2
  • 2.0x Crop Factor / Micro Four Thirds: Olympus OM-D Series; Panasonic DMC Series
  • 2.7x Crop Factor: Nikon CX (J4, S2, AW1, V3); Sony RX100 III, RX 10; Samsung NX Mini


I hope this quick tutorial and Tips answers your questions, let  me know your thoughts?, if you have any more question, please feel free to ask by commenting below

  6 Responses to “The Difference Between Full Frame and Cropped Frame Camera”

  1. Very useful tips

  2. Very nice, truthfully, first time I’ve understand full frame vs cropped frame. JAK for explaining things in such a simple way for us.

  3. I have always wondered as to what a full frame camera would be and you game me the answer. Many thanks.

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