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Thread: What is a "Full Frame Camera"?

  1. #1

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    What is a "Full Frame Camera"?

    I was told that the Nikon D90 is not a full frame camera. Can someone tell me what a "full frame camera" is?
    Thanks

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    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: What is a "Full Frame Camera"?

    Hi, whats your real name? a full frame camera is one that has a sensor the same size as an old 35mm negative the D90 is a 1.5 crop sensor so the sensor is smaller than a full frame one, this can have various effects on how your camera performs, Equivalent lenses on crops will magnify more so if you buy a 100mm lens it will be 150mm on a crop sensor, depth of field is effected as well as the image quality. if you search the tutorials im sure there is one on this subject

    Had a look for you, here it is
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...ensor-size.htm

    mark

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    Re: What is a "Full Frame Camera"?

    Hi Pepper

    A full frame camera is has a the same size 35mm film. You and I have cropped sensors I have the Canon 40D.

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos5d/page12.asp

    I guess I got beat to it.

    Cool I will read CIC's article....

  4. #4
    rob marshall

    Re: What is a "Full Frame Camera"?

    The Canon 5D Mk2 is a full-frame camera, and I am very much in love with mine. The main advantage is that you can print to larger sizes and it still looks good. With a crop factor you start to lose quality as you go larger. That's why compact cameras are no good at larger print sizes - they have a tiny sensor, so the ratio between sensor size and print size is relatively greater. Ideally you would have a camera with an A4 size sensor! The medium format cameras are good as they take a film size larger than 35mm. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medium_format_%28film%29

    Just think of something like the 5D as an old 35mm camera, but digital. Crop factor cameras D90 etc as a bit below that (for production cost reasons). Compacts as well below that again, and as I said, medium format starts going the other way, above 35mm giving you possibly the best resolution quality - although some dispute that as the technology improves. At the end of the day it's down to what the human eye can percieve, and most people looking at your shots are not experts. Nor am I.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: What is a "Full Frame Camera"?

    Quote Originally Posted by PepperT View Post
    I was told that the Nikon D90 is not a full frame camera. Can someone tell me what a "full frame camera" is?
    Thanks
    Hi Pepper,

    If you need to ask, it doesn't matter to you
    (but that's not to say it doesn't help knowing the difference)

    Just don't feel 'left out' or 'short changed' - the vast majority of digital shooters are not using 'full frame' cameras.

    Nikon do sell full frame bodies e.g. D700 (NB not D7000), D300 and D3, these are also sometimes known as "FX".

    You do need to be aware that any lenses you have with "DX" written on the box won't really be usable on a full frame body because they don't let through a large enough patch of light to illuminate a whole full frame sensor. Not that I am suggesting you're about to go buy one, I'm just adding to your knowledge.

    Welcome to the CiC forums from ....

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    Re: What is a "Full Frame Camera"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Pepper,

    If you need to ask, it doesn't matter to you
    (but that's not to say it doesn't help knowing the difference)

    Just don't feel 'left out' or 'short changed' - the vast majority of digital shooters are not using 'full frame' cameras.

    Nikon do sell full frame bodies e.g. D700 (NB not D7000), D300 and D3, these are also sometimes known as "FX".

    You do need to be aware that any lenses you have with "DX" written on the box won't really be usable on a full frame body because they don't let through a large enough patch of light to illuminate a whole full frame sensor. Not that I am suggesting you're about to go buy one, I'm just adding to your knowledge.

    Welcome to the CiC forums from ....
    So my old Minolta 35mm film camera is a full frame camera? And you are correct it doesn’t really matter at this point as you can tell I’m a newbie to not only this site but to photography in general. I do find all this very interesting and now that I’ve reached an age where I can spend a bit more time learning things I want to learn this is great.
    Also you mention lens application. I can’t use a lens designed for a cropped sensor on a full frame but what about the other way around? Can I use a lens designed for a full frame camera on a cropped sensor camera?
    BTW: Thanks for the welcome, this is a great site.
    Pepper

  7. #7
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: What is a "Full Frame Camera"?

    Quote Originally Posted by PepperT View Post
    Also you mention lens application. I can’t use a lens designed for a cropped sensor on a full frame but what about the other way around? Can I use a lens designed for a full frame camera on a cropped sensor camera?
    Got it! Yes you can. That's exactly how it works.

    By the way and as you imply in your comment, learning is one of the most wonderful things we can do. And that's what this forum is very much about. So, please keep asking.

  8. #8
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: What is a "Full Frame Camera"?

    Quote Originally Posted by PepperT View Post
    So my old Minolta 35mm film camera is a full frame camera?
    Hi Pepper,

    Yes - in fact it may be that your Minolta lenses might work on a Sony DSLR body, since Sony bought up the Konica/Minolta camera and use that mount on their bodies now.

    But do ask a Sony person and give them details of which exact lenses you have and whether they were AF (auto-focusing) ones, or not, if you are interested in following this line of enquiry.

    I have a couple of FX lenses for my crop body camera too, in fact it is even better that way round because your smaller sensor only uses 'the good bit' in the middle of the 'patch of light' the lens forms, so lens performance is actually better than when used on a full frame camera.

    Glad you like the site

    All the best,

  9. #9
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    Re: What is a "Full Frame Camera"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Pepper,

    If you need to ask, it doesn't matter to you
    (but that's not to say it doesn't help knowing the difference)

    Just don't feel 'left out' or 'short changed' - the vast majority of digital shooters are not using 'full frame' cameras.

    Nikon do sell full frame bodies e.g. D700 (NB not D7000), D300 and D3, these are also sometimes known as "FX".

    You do need to be aware that any lenses you have with "DX" written on the box won't really be usable on a full frame body because they don't let through a large enough patch of light to illuminate a whole full frame sensor. Not that I am suggesting you're about to go buy one, I'm just adding to your knowledge.

    Welcome to the CiC forums from ....
    Hi dave,

    Ouch!!!

    The D300 is not a 'Full Frame'. That accolade is reserved for the D700, and the D1, D2 & D3 family. All the other Nikon DSLRs are DX format.

    Hi Pepper,

    Put simply. A 'Full Frame' or FX sensor is 24mm x 36mm and a DX 16mm x 24mm. As Dave rightly says, it's unimportant unless you're a pro doing huge enlargements (Billboards and the like). Sure it's nice to have a big sensor because it gives you more latitude to crop your pictures, but if you take care there shouldn't be much cropping necessary. I don't know what size prints Rob is doing, but they must be mightily impressive for him to be concerned about the quality.

    The upshot is that a print 2" x 3" will need to be viewed close up, whilst a print the size of your lounge wall can be viewed from the end of your garden (presuming an average size garden). Viewed from such a distance you will not notice any difference in sharpness and picture quality from the 2" x 3" held just in front of your nose. It's all about perception.

  10. #10

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    Re: What is a "Full Frame Camera"?

    Quote Originally Posted by krispix View Post
    The D300 is not a 'Full Frame'. That accolade is reserved for the D700, and the D1, D2 & D3 family. All the other Nikon DSLRs are DX format.
    A lot of people get confused over the D300 because it's the only 'professional' DX camera. Poor lonely D300 on his own in the list between the big FX guys.

  11. #11
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: What is a "Full Frame Camera"?

    Want to hear something quite confusing and unbelievable? A full frame camera is actually a double frame camera? Why, because the original 35mm motion picture frame was half the size of what we call a full frame camera in modern times. The original Leica 35mm film cameras used motion picture film stock but, instead of an image size the same as the 35mm motion picture camera frame; the Leica folks doubled that frame size.

    That is a totally useless and forgetable piece of trivia of which I am abundantly supplied.... Forget that I mentioned it.

    A full frame camera has an image (sensor) size of 24mm high by 36mm wide. Nikon crop cameras are considered 1.5x crops and have an image size of 15.7mm high by 23.6mm wide while Canon crop cameras are usually considered 1.6x crops with an image size of 22.2 by 14.8mm. Canon also produces APS-H cameras which are 1.3x crops and have an image size of 28.7 x 19mm.

    What is a "Full Frame Camera"?

    This illustration gives you an idea of the different crop factors as they are applied to the image that the lens projects on the sensor. The larger circle on the left is the image projected by an EF lens which is used for both full-frame and 1.3x crop Canon cameras. The smaller circle on the right is the image projected by an EFS lens on the sensor. Both of these circles are projected by a lens of the same focal length. By the way, a 50mm lens is 50mm on a full frame, 1.3x crop and 1.6x crop camera and will produce the same subject size. The only diference is the area covered by the different sensors.

    What is a "Full Frame Camera"?

    Note: the circle projected by the EF lens (left) is larger than the circle projected by the EFS lens (right)... BUT, the size of the subjects (not the area covered but, the size of the mountains in this case) within the sensor are the same for both EF and EFS lenses and for all sizes of crop cameras.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 5th December 2011 at 12:16 AM.

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