Using Crop Lens On Full Frame

By | 31/10/2022

Last Updated on July 21, 2022 by Jeremy

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At that place is a lot of confusion on the performance divergence betwixt lenses if used on a specific camera body, particularly with regards to using full frame lenses on crop sensor cameras (like the Sony a6000, my camera, which uses a “crop” APS-C sensor).

Cameras similar mine take lenses designed for crop sensors (naturally), simply also take lenses that are rated for full frame cameras (like the Sony a7iii).

The defoliation comes in to play in what kind of image these ii lenses will produce at comparable focal lengths, as the give-and-take of camera “crop factors” is frequently used interchangebly with lenses equally much every bit they are for sensors. Fifty-fifty I have to admit existence messed up on information technology for quite some time (hence this post).

If comparison a full frame rated lens with a crop sensor lens on the same crop sensor camera body, the main deviation is this:

Focal Length is Focal Length

Sony 18-135mm on the Sony a6000

To put it bluntly- if y’all are looking to buy a full frame rated lens to apply on your ingather sensor photographic camera, as long equally information technology is uniform for your make and mount,
the full frame lens volition take the verbal same photograph as a ingather sensor lens
insofar as the focal length, aperture, lighting, etc. are however.

To interpret, a photo taken on a crop sensor Sony a6000 at 24mm f/4.0 one/200 sec with a full frame designed lens will produce more-or-less exactly the same photo as a photo at 24mm f/four.0 1/200 sec on a lens designed for the crop sensor.

The crop factor means nothing if y’all’re
looking at using a full frame rated lens on a crop body.

I tested this out, and the results are below for my 18-135mm f/3.5 lens designed for a crop sensor camera and my 24-240mm f/3.5 lens designed for a full frame camera- both used on the Sony a6000 with the APS-C ingather sensor at 24mm:

Full Frame vs Crop Sensor Lens Challenge

Full Frame vs Crop Sensor Lens Challenge

Can you tell the difference?
No, you can’t.

This is considering a shot at 24mm on a total frame lens and a shot at 24mm on a crop sensor lens volition produce exactly the same epitome
if used on the same camera body
(my Sony a6000).

Y’all but don’t become a crop when using full frame lenses on a ingather sensor trunk. The focal length of any lens will produce the same image on your crop sensor photographic camera regardless of if the lens is designed for a full frame camera or a crop sensor camera.

When the crop factor
does come in to play
is with regards to the sensor, and it should merely be used when comparison photographic camera bodies
in addition to
the lenses.

The Paradigm Produced Varies By Camera Body

Camera Sensor Comparison

The ingather factor concept comes in to play when comparison lenses on specific camera bodies. The reason for this is that full frame sensors are
physically larger.

This means they often have more pixels, only it as well ways that they inherently produce a larger/wider image due to the increased expanse.

If you accept a photo at 24mm in focal length on a full frame camera, y’all’re going to get a wider image than a 24mm image on a crop sensor photographic camera. This has nothing to do with the lens (24mm is 24mm), but is all about the size of the image captured on the sensor.

This is where crop factors come in to play.

My Sony a6000 has an APS-C sensor with a crop cistron of 1.five. A 24mm rated photo on my camera captures a scene proportional to what the camera’s sensor allows. Total frame cameras, on the other manus, tin can capture a larger scene due to the larger sensor size. What they capture at 24mm is actually a lot more of the scene (or, if keeping it in camera vernacular, ‘wider’).

How do we summate the departure?
With crop factors.
The one.5 crop gene rating is how nosotros catechumen.

So let’s say you have an epitome on my Sony a6000 at 24mm. To recreate that exact aforementioned photograph on a full frame camera (framed at the exact scale), you’ll need to take a photo at 36mm. The reason existence that the larger sensor collects more than of a scene than on a ingather sensor, and then you lot’ll need to shoot at a larger focal length to make full in the same surface area.

But why the defoliation? I experience similar a lot of people recollect that the rating on the lens means the crop factor is practical when using full frame lenses on a crop body.
It doesn’t.

The factor just comes in to play when y’all want to make an apples-to-apples comparison on cameras in terms of the images actually shot.

Say I desire to upgrade my camera in the future from a ingather sensor to a full frame sensor, and I similar what the viewing area is at 20mm for my shooting way (wide vistas).

Using a 20mm lens on a full frame camera volition actually produce a much wider prototype (past a factor of one.5), so instead I should look at a lens with 30mm instead to get the same exact upshot in the frame. (Or in reverse, if a lens review shows a picture from a full frame trunk at 30 mm, and I wanted to recreate it at the exact same spot with my crop sensor, I’d shoot at 20mm).

That is all! The lens sees what the lens sees, and information technology is the sensor that records the image.

You lot May Not Exist Able to Employ Ingather Lenses on Full Frame Cameras

At that place is one caveat to all of this I feel compelled to mention, and that is in regards to usability.

In the in a higher place discussion, I mentioned the physical size of the sensors and how that relates to the crop gene in a trunk-to-body give-and-take.

I mentioned that you lot can use full frame-rated lenses on crop sensor bodies (if uniform for brand and mount, of course), only I did not really explain why that is (and why the reverse is not inherently true).

Full Frame Lens on Crop Sensor Camera

Total frame rated lenses are often much larger than those designed for crop cameras equally they take to allow in more light (by cross-sectional area) to produce images on the larger sensor. These can be used on crop sensor cameras considering the lens is larger than what the crop sensor needs.

The only negative is the lens is likely going to be bulkier, heavier, and probable more than expensive than those designed purely for crop cameras (just sometimes y’all take what you can get if its the best fit for you).

Crop Sensor Lens on a Full Frame Camera

On the flip side, however, y’all often
cannot use a crop sensor lens on a full frame photographic camera
for the very same reason. These lenses are designed to be smaller to permit in just enough low-cal to cover a crop sensor and produce an epitome.

When put on a bigger camera the light will not reach the edges of the full frame sensor and produce some distortions on the epitome.

Some total frame cameras are at present able to adjust for this via internal processing, just they often but ingather the image to reduce the resolution of the photograph to fit the exposed parts of the sensor (per the image above). Only this is non necessarily the example with all cameras, then its best to avoid the event birthday and only purchase properly rated lenses (when in incertitude, reviews on Amazon provide really proficient insight).

This is why you can use full frame rated lenses on ingather cameras, but can’t in reverse. And hopefully with the above explanation, you now empathise the divergence into how images will expect when using the two kinds of lenses on your crop sensor body itself.

Just remember:

  • Focal length is focal length. A 24mm shot will always look the same regardless of the lens type if used on the aforementioned body.
  • Where the image will look unlike is comparing a photograph shot at 24mm on a crop sensor camera vs at 24 mm on a total frame photographic camera, and this is due to the sensor size- not the lens.
  • You tin use both kinds of lenses on your crop sensor photographic camera, but you may not exist able to use a lens rated for a crop sensor on a full frame camera unless the photographic camera tin internally compensate for this. Newer full-frame cameras tin can digitally crop images to compensate via internal settings, but you’ll exist taking photos at lower MP ratings.
  • Photographic camera manufacturer (Sony) and mounting type (E-Mount, A-Mount) considerations still utilise. Nikon lenses won’t work on Sony and A-Mountain lenses wont work on E-Mount cameras without adapters (that frequently tedious performance).

Ready? Pick up your new camera lens and get shoot!

For frequently asked questions regarding camera sensors, cheque out the following.

What is the difference between total frame and APS-C sensors?

The divergence between full frame and APS-C sensors is their size. The measurement between any two sensors is known as the crop factor. Full frame to APS-C is mostly 1.5x (i.east., the total frame sensor is 1.5x larger).

How does the sensor relate to the camera lens?

For any given sensor, a proportional lens surface area is required to capture a scene. For larger sensors, more glass is needed to let light in to cover the sensor.

Can APS-C rated lenses exist used on full frame cameras?

Generally speaking, no. The glass in almost APS-C rated lenses is not big enough to allow enough low-cal in to cover the entire sensor on a full frame camera. Some high-end full frame cameras have an internal ingather fashion, only this is simply a reduction of usable sensor space (MP).

Tin full frame lenses exist used on APS-C sensors?

By and large speaking, aye- insofar as the mount is compatible. The glass in virtually total frame lenses is oversized compared to what is necessary for APS-C sensors, so every bit long equally they are uniform with model and mount manner it should work. But it should exist noted that full frame lenses are frequently much more than expensive due to this extra drinking glass.

How does paradigm quality compare between the sensors?

Full frame sensors are larger than APS-C sensors, so for an equivalent focal length, the prototype will appear much larger (wider) than its APS-C counterparts. A 35mm focal point on a full frame sensor will appear one.5x larger than a 35mm focal point on an APS-C sensor- this is the crop factor.

Does image size alter using a full frame lens on an APS-C trunk?

The respective image “size” is always tied to the sensor. If yous are comparing ii lenses on an APS-C torso, the focal length volition always capture the aforementioned sized epitome. If y’all are comparing one lens used on a full frame sensor and an APS-C sensor, the crop factor tells how much the apparent image size volition modify. The sensor should always be the reference signal.

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About Jeremy

Jeremy from Living the Dream

Near the Writer:
Jeremy is a full-time travel writer based in Pittsburgh and primary author of this site. He has been to 70+ countries on five continents and seeks out new food, take chances activities, and off-the-beaten-path experiences wherever he travels.