Debunking the Full-Frame Camera Superiority Myth

Are you the type of photographer who swears by his full-frame camera and can easily get into a fight with anybody denying its quality? Do you absolutely and utterly despise crop sensor cameras? You may be in for a rude shock. In this video, Zack Arias explains the futility of this snobbery:

A lot of full-frame users would say, “You know what, I just don’t want to give up the quality of a full-frame sensor.”

Well to clarify, dear full-frame user, there is absolutely no merit in you trying to bully the humble APS-C user. To drive the point home, Arias points out the differences between the different formats of film and sensors.

35mm vs aps-c

Point and Shoot Sensor (far left) vs. 35mm Film (highlighted) vs 4 x 5 Format Film (far right)

Back in the days of film photography there were the 35mm film cameras, then the medium format, and finally the large format, which included the 4 x 5, 8 x 10, 5 x 7 and even the 11 x 14. In those days, medium format was king. It was the most commonly used format because—believe it or not—35mm (or full-frame) was considered too small!

Even then, there were photographers who preferred not to shoot with a 645 because it was considered too small for comfort. It was sometimes referred to as the “35mm of medium format” (all of a sudden 35mm seems like a bad thing). They preferred to shoot in 6 x 7 instead.

medium format 6 x 7 film

Arias compares the size of a 6 x 7 film. Heck, it’s bigger than a GoPro!

If you’re already reeling, just don’t pass out yet. There’s more!

The 6 x 7 format, even with its large size, was not quite big enough for some photographers. They preferred shooting on the 4 x 5 format. And if that isn’t enough, some photographers wielded the heavy and intimidating 8 x 10 format cameras.

By now you are probably convinced that there is as much merit in fighting over the optical superiority of the full-frame sensor over APS-C as there is fighting over Nikon or Canon is the better camera make. As Arias reiterates probably half a dozen times in the video, the difference is negligible.

Now, if you move from APS-C to something like the 6 x 7, that’s something to talk about.

If you are still not convinced skip to 8:53 in the video and listen to how subtly Arias explains the futility of this full-frame 35mm vs. APS-C sensor comparison.

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  1. Sam Cox says:

    Well, that was an annoying advertisement for Fuji.

  2. Andrea says:

    This is not my fight, but the video was very entertaining. Hope to see the shots from the Property Brothers show since it is a favorite of mine.
    Can we have more, please?

  3. You could have made it sound less like a commercial for Fuji:}

  4. Ed Fitzgerald says:

    Couldn’t get this to run on my MAC mini. Read Sam’s comment so I guess it’s no big loss. I’m sure it would have been worth listening to.

  5. Wes Triplett says:

    I cannot believe I just wasted 10 minutes to hear something that could have been said in 90 seconds if this guy just had an editor! What did I learn? Nothing.

  6. michael mcandrews says:

    Zack makes everything about fuji cause he loves them. Im willing to bet everyone bitching about it wouldn’t care if he made it about nikon or canon.

  7. dave says:

    Im with Andrea.. he was funny, and a bit of sarcasm. Maybe didnt learn a ton but the topic was put in a different perspective.

  8. ernaldo says:

    I own both systems (Nikon) and like them both. I prefer my full frame bodies (D800/D700) for certain genres, like low light and night time shooting, my crop body (D7100) is a great walk around and wildlife camera…..There it is….

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