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    We are living today in a somewhat confusing 

world of cameras with full-frame image sensors and ones with smaller so called cropped sensors.

This dual system began with the advent of digital DSLR cameras. Initially digital cameras with large sensors equivalent to the film frame in 35mm cameras were very expensive to manufacture. Therefore lower-cost cameras with smaller sensors were introduced to appeal to a wider audience. These cameras have become the cameras of choice for non-professional photo enthusiasts and will probably continue to be popular for a long time. 

    The two formats have compatible lens mount, which allows professional full-frame lenses to be used on lower cost cameras. More importantly though old lenses have become usable due to a large variety of lens adapters. These inexpensive lenses are all full-frame equivalent lenses. On new cameras they work in manual mode only and not taking advantage of the automation built into the modern cameras. For enthusiast where speed and convenience of use is not as critical as it is for professional photographers using low-cost manual lenses is an attractive alternative for producing high quality images.  

    The images to the left demonstrate the result of using a full frame lens on a cropped sensor camera; the image produced by the lens is literally cropped to appear as one taken with a longer focal length lens. Because the image is cropped from a larger image area it is not quite as sharp as one taken with an equivalent tele-photo lens. In addition there is an effect on the exposure and on the depth of field of the images. These differences are minor, but beg the question on the wisdom of buying expensive new full frame lenses for a cropped sensor camera.

Sony mirrorless + manual lenses
Sony mirrorless APS-C  ISO test
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Cropped vs. non-cropped images
Copyright 2013 Stefan Ahlblad All rights reserved
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