Apsc Lens Vs Full Frame Lens

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There’s no denying the prototype quality produced past total-frame lenses, simply when to utilize APS-C lenses instead of total-frame?

Turn your lens around and you’ll see that lenses are designed with an imaging circumvolve effectually the portion of the optic that mounts into your camera trunk. This image circle collaborates with your sensor, and equally such lenses are designed to exist used with specific sensor sizes.

A full-frame lens is roughly equivalent to a 35mm frame of film, while an APS-C sensor is a little chip smaller.

When yous mount a full-frame lens on a camera with an APS-C sensor you volition get what is called a crop cistron. This means your photographic camera’south APS-C-size sensor magnifies the scene to produce an image that will match the lens’s full-frame image circle.

The event is that a 50mm full frame lens mounted on an APS-C body with a 1.5x crop factor will capture a field-of-view that is the same every bit a 75mm on a full frame body.

For Catechism, this crop cistron is 1.6x. For Nikon, Sony, Pentax, information technology’south 1.5x. For Micro Four Thirds, information technology’due south 2x.

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And so as yous’ve probably figured out, if you take a full-frame lens with an image circumvolve bigger than your photographic camera’s sensor, your camera will only tape an epitome from the middle of that imaging circumvolve. This means you are capturing less of your scene when you mountain a full-frame lens on an APS-C-sensor photographic camera.

For portraiture this isn’t an consequence, only if you are shooting sport or wild animals or landscape photography, even, you sometimes want to capture every bit much of the scene as possible.

So the main benefit of using APS-C lenses and tertiary-party equivalents instead of total-frame is that these ‘crop’ lenses offer wider coverage for those times when you need to capture as much of the scene as possible.

Some other matter to consider is that you can sometimes become more than flare in your images when using a total-frame lens on an APS-C camera body. This is because an APS-C lens has a narrower field of view, so if you’re shooting shut to the sun the light has no physical path through the lens.

This actually only happens though when yous’re shooting in very vivid conditions or right adjacent to a main light source.

A word of alarm: as reader Rob Bridden rightly pointed out on Facebook, attaching Canon EF-S lenses to full-frame cameras tin can cause damage to the mirror mechanism of your camera. This is due to the extra long baffle on the mount. This tin can be an expensive repair job, and then information technology’s all-time avoided with EF-S lenses.

Which full-frame cameras allow APS-C lenses?

Nikon and Sony both allow their full-frame and APS-C lenses to be used interchangeably with their total-frame and APS-C format cameras. This means you tin mountain your Sony or Nikon ingather lenses onto Sony or Nikon full-frame bodies.

The cameras then offering a ‘crop’ mode you lot tin can enable when using APS-C lenses. This will effectively tell the camera not to utilize the information from the entire total-frame sensor, but rather extract an APS-C-size crop from it. This provides the event of shooting with a longer lens.

Canon EF and EF-S mounts are different. Ingather lenses sit deeper into the body in Catechism’south APS-C DSLRs. Mounting these EF-S lenses on total-frame Canon DSLRs could cause internal damage to your camera, equally the bayonet could bump against internal elements.

By making the 2 mounts different, Canon prevents EF-Due south lenses from being mounted on a full-frame camera. It’s besides worth noting that Canon’south M-series lenses for its APS-C mirrorless cameras cannot mount onto its full-frame EF or R mounts.

Why use Sony and Nikon crop fashion?

Beingness able to plough crop mode on and off for unlike focal length furnishings means fewer lenses you have to lug around. Of course, you are sacrificing some image quality past using fewer pixels. Just if you are a wedding photographer, for instance, the trade-off in resolution could be handy, as y’all’re less likely to miss central moments by changing lenses.

APS-C lens prices vs full-frame

The other big reason you might choose an APS-C lens over a full-frame optic, of course, is that APS-C lenses are much cheaper to manufacture, which means you can buy them for much less money.

Permit’due south wait at Nikon as an example. Nikon’s standard APS lens, the18-55 F3.5-5.6G AF-P VR, this gives photographers an effective focal length equivalent to 27-83mm on a photographic camera such every bit the Nikon D5300

This standard lens will cost y’all effectually £seventy on its own and is often much cheaper when purchased in a kit with the photographic camera body.

Nikon can sell this lens for so much less than its higher-stop, total-frame lenses because information technology is significantly smaller, lighter and easier to manufacture. It has fewer costly components, meaning Nikon tin can churn them out quickly with fewer costs to pass on to the consumer.

Nikon’s full-frame FX 16-35mm, on the other mitt, offers a similar focal length to its APS-C standard lens, but this FX wide-angle zoom will price y’all upwards of £one thousand.

That’s because it’s much bigger, heavier, has a more complex interior design and costs more money and takes longer to produce.

Reasons for using full-frame lenses over APS-C

I’m going to be commenting just from the perspective of crop cistron here. Obviously yous would employ a full-frame lens over an APS-C lens for image quality reasons.

But for those times when you want the wider coverage, at that place are some counterpoints to consider for mounting that total-frame lens on your APS-C body.

For starters, once you lot start shooting at focal lengths of 24mm or more, the advantages of making lenses with modest image circles for reduced sensor sizes are less pronounced.

You’ll as well discover less vignetting in your images when using a full-frame lens on an APS-C body.

Full-frame lenses also allow you to use teleconverters (though sadly not with Canon EF-South lenses, as these can crusade damage).

  • Full Frame vs APS-C cameras: what’due south the existent difference

When to use APS-C lenses instead of full-frame

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When to utilise APS-C lenses instead of total-frame


There’south no denying the image quality produced by full-frame lenses, merely is there ever an advantage to using lenses only suitable for APS-C sensors?


Jeff Meyer

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Camera Jabber

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