Full Frame Digital Camera vs APS-C

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Updated July 27, 2022

When comparing a full-frame digital camera vs APS-C cameras, you need to consider a few differences. There are several big names out there, like Canon EOS or the Nikon DX. It’s hard to figure out what the best digital cameras are for your style of photography.


  • There are a few differences between full-frame cameras and APS-C cameras. Still, both types of cameras are great for most photographers.
  • A full-frame camera has a 36mm x 24mm sensor, while the APS-C sensor measures 23.6mm x 15.7mm.
  • Overall, the full-frame sensor cameras are better for different types of photography, including light and landscape photography.

This article will help lay out the differences between APS-C size sensors and a full-frame model. To get a first-hand look, see this mashup of the Sony Alpha A7R II mirrorless digital camera vs the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV full frame. Beyond simpler terms like film format, crop factor, and image quality, there are more crucial categories below.

Comparing Full Frame and APS-C Cameras

From the Canon EOS series cameras to the Nikon DX, several options for photography are out there. It isn’t just about the brand, however. Most folks know about lines like the Canon EOS, but it’s far more essential to know what sets those cameras apart. It’s crucial to understand the technical parts if you want to be a better photographer.

Comparing other models, like a flip camera vs a digital camera, a medium format camera vs a full-frame DSLR, or even the difference between 16MP vs 20MP digital cameras, is a great way to find the best model for your needs.

Insider Tip

Using prime lenses can only get you so far, and it’s essential to focus on improving your craft through continued education

Depth of Field

Achieving a shallower depth of field is a complicated process. There’s a ton of math involved, and it isn’t worth getting into the gritty-gritty of the formulas. Just know that a shallow depth is possible with either of these cameras, depending on the selection of lenses you have available.

In digital photography, there are a ton of different models to sort through. From cheap cameras to the high-end Canon EOS line, you have multiple options. Comparing a large format camera vs a digital camera is a significant next step in finding your perfect match.

Sensor Size

Digital camera sensor sizes all come with their pros and cons. For a full-frame sensor camera, the trade-off is that a larger sensor requires larger cameras. This means you’ll have a bit more weight to carry. The APS-C sensor is marginally smaller than the full-frame sensor and pulls ahead in this category.

Most folks prefer smaller-sensor cameras for their small size and portability. This will change depending on whether you’re doing portrait photography, wildlife photography, or another style altogether.

Dynamic Range

The dynamic range of full-frame cameras is always higher. This is because of the full-frame sensor, which provides better light performance due to having larger pixels.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean there is a higher pixel count for full-frame DSLRs than there is for an APS-C sensor camera. There aren’t more pixels. It’s just that each individual pixel is larger and can pull in more light.


When participating in street photography, get permission from your subjects before posting their faces on your website or portfolio for best practice.


Do I need a full-frame camera?

Full frame has become the dominant standard for professional photographers. Whether you think it’ll fade as a fad or become a fixed part of the industry, they’re certainly worth looking into.

What are the best travel cameras?

There are several travel cameras on the market and plenty of great options. Cheap cameras tend to be the best models to go with, and avoiding larger cameras will serve you well. Point-and-shoot cameras are a great option when it comes to travel cameras.

Are mirrorless cameras worth it?

If you’re a travel photographer, then absolutely. Keep in mind that mirrorless cameras will have fewer compatible lenses, and their optical viewfinder leaves something to be desired.

How do I successfully compare cameras?

You need a strong standard for comparison. To determine your standard for comparison, figure out what type of photography you’d like to do. From there, look into the current industry standard for cameras in that niche.

STAT: In 2020, the mirrorless camera became the dominant market share compared to DSLR options. (source)

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