Should You Get a Full Frame or Crop Sensor Camera?
- Full Frame or Crop Sensor Format - the Differences
- Full Frame or Crop Sensor Cameras - What’s Available?
- Nikon Z7 II
- Nikon Z6
- Canon EOS R6
- Full Frame or Crop Sensor Lower Cost Options
- Fujifilm X-T4
- Sony Alpha a6000
- Fujifilm X-Pro 2 vs X-Pro 3
- How to Save Money when Buying Photography Gear
- 4 Benefits of Buying Used Cameras
photo by nd3000 via iStock
Whether you are starting out in serious photography or you are ready to upgrade your photography gear, you are faced with the question of getting either a Full Frame or crop sensor camera.
There are so many good reasons for choosing Full Frame or crop sensor cameras, so let’s see a few good examples of cameras in the various types and sizes.
There are actually two major formats for crop sensor cameras, APS-C and MFT (Micro Four Thirds), but I’m going to concentrate on APS-C for a couple of good reasons (which I’ll explain in a bit).
Table of Contents
Full Frame or Crop Sensor Format - the Differences
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“Should I buy a crop sensor camera or Full Frame camera?” is a question with many valid and correct answers. One thing is for sure - whether you opt for crop sensor or Full Frame format, you want the best tool for your needs and the best value for your budget.
Many of the best cameras in Full Frame or crop sensor formats are mirrorless. Most of these can be found on an online platform for used photographic gear such as MPB.
I really like MPB for finding discounted pricing on fantastic cameras and lenses. Many of the items for sale are still in current production, and MPB also offers a six-month warranty on most items they sell.
Since so many modern cameras in Full Frame or crop sensor format have excellent resolution, one of the major differences has more to do with low-light sensitivity than image resolution.
All other things being equal, a Full Frame sensor has better low-light performance than a comparable resolution crop sensor camera.
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With the different film and digital sensor formats, the larger the size of your image capture, the more information it holds. This encompasses pure resolution but also includes color information and exposure detail.
However, another axiom is that the bigger your base format, the pricier things get. This applies to lenses as much as it does to camera bodies.
An exception to this rule seems to be in regards to MFT equipment. Most of the MFT cameras and lenses are firmly in the intermediate, prosumer, and pro categories, with prices reflecting that placement.
If we were discussing Full Format or crop video only for videography, I would list all three formats, with MFT having a very strong showing. For general photographic use, though, I’ll focus on APS-C as the crop format.
Full Frame or Crop Sensor Cameras - What’s Available?
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A lot more could be said about Full Frame or crop sensor cameras. In fact, we’ve said a lot more on Photography Talk, so check out some of our other articles for complete details.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the great choices we have available in Full Frame or crop sensor mirrorless cameras.
Nikon Z7 II
One of the premier Full Frame mirrorless cameras is the Nikon Z7 II. It’s a professional-level camera with a super-high resolution 45.7MP Full Frame sensor that also provides superior video with 4K recording.
It uses dual Expeed 6 image processors, has a 493 point autofocus system, 5-axis in-body image stabilization, dual card slots (CFExpress and SD), and the ability to work with close to 70 years worth of Nikon and Nikkor lenses with the optional lens mount adapters.
The MPB price for a Like New condition camera body at the time of this writing is $2,939.00. Considering this camera is the current camera model, it’s a very good value, especially with all that this camera can do.
The original Nikon Z6 is a fantastic bargain for a Full Frame format mirrorless camera, coming in at $1229.00 for a Like New condition camera body at the time of this writing.
While it doesn’t have the extreme resolution of the Z7 or Z9 cameras, 24MP is great for all sorts of still photography and videography. Remember, we used full-fledged pro models with 12MP just a few short years ago.
One of the most desirable results from this Full Frame sensor is the superb low-light performance it provides. This camera is a great choice if you like street photography, wedding photography, or similar genres. Low-light performance remains one of the performance issues separating Full Frame or crop sensor cameras.
Canon EOS R6
Another fantastic option for low-light performance and general professional performance in Full Frame mirrorless is the Canon EOS R6 camera, which can be found in Like New for only $2469.00 at this time.
This camera is definitely a low-light champ with sensor sensitivity reaching all the way up to ISO 102,400.
Other great features are an extremely quick and accurate AF in all light levels and super-fast still image capture cycling with the camera reaching speeds of 12 fps. It also boasts 4K video capability.
Full Frame or Crop Sensor Lower Cost Options
Answering the question of whether Full Frame or crop sensor cameras are best, any of these cameras make a good case for opting for Full Frame. Now let’s see some great APS-C sensor camera choices.
The Fujifilm X-T4 is a fully pro-capable APS-C format camera with a 26.1MP sensor and an amazing 6.5 stop in-camera image stabilization feature. This camera firmly makes a great case for the smaller format in the Full Frame or crop sensor competition.
Since it’s an APS-C format camera, it is smaller and lighter than comparable Full Frame, as are many of the lenses available in Fujifilm X-Mount. In Like New condition, you can find this camera for only $1489.00 at the moment, in either a chrome or black finish.
Besides the savings in size, weight, and money, you also gain several valuable features such as 4K video, 15 fps still imaging speed, ISO of 160-12,800, and 425 AF points.
Sony Alpha a6000
Anyone searching for a super bargain in a fine mirrorless APS-C camera should definitely consider the Sony Alpha a6000 APS-C 24MP camera. In Excellent condition, you can find this camera at MPB for $409.00 right now.
It’s really compact yet has a pleasing form factor and is comfortable to handhold. Combined with a Sony E-Mount lens, you can answer the question of Full Frame or crop sensor camera with a nod towards substantially lower prices with high-end performance.
As we explained at the start, there are many valid and correct answers concerning whether Full Frame or crop sensor mirrorless cameras are the way to go. Shopping at an online platform such as MPB helps make any decision a little easier.