Crop Busting: Three Videos to Help You Think About Full-Frame vs. Cropped Sensors

August 1, 2014

By RF Staff

Henry Kissinger once remarked that "academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the stakes are so low." I wonder what he would make of the "full-frame vs. cropped sensor" debate that's raging through the photo community these days. The stakes aren't necessarily low — we're talking about potentially thousands of dollars in equipment here — but some of those forums sure do get vicious.

While I'm not here to settle the argument (it's my first week on the job), I did want to highlight a few videos that provide some interesting perspective on the question of camera sensor size and performance.

First up is Karl Taylor, who provides a nice overview of the debate, spelling out the pros of both full-frame cameras and cropped sensor models.

If you want a relatively short, entertaining take on the question, check out Zack Arias. Spoiler alert, he comes down on the side of...good photographers, or as he puts it, "the moron behind the camera."

Finally, Tony Northrup offers a less polemical and much more instructional overview of the not-terribly-complicated math behind converting camera specs such as ISO, focal length and aperture in full-frame to smaller sensor sizes. This math is important because, as Northrup explains, camera makers don't consistently perform these calculations when marketing their smaller format camera lenses (for instance, they often convert the focal lengths into full frame equivalents but not the apertures).