Full-Frame vs. APS-C Cameras: The Pros & Cons of Both (VIDEO)

Does size really matter? To be clear, we're referring camera sensors here so don't let your mind go elsewhere. Or as photographer Anthony Gugliotta poses the question more specifically, "do your really need a full-frame camera or is a crop-sensor model enough."

The answer to this question, like many others in life, is a definite "maybe," and it depends upon a number of variables including the type of photography you do, the capacity of the storage devices you own, and even the processing power of your computer.

Gugliotta is a professional landscape photographer based in Canada who draws on his previous experience as an architect to compose and capture some very stunning imagery. In this episode he explains why a larger sensor isn't always better, and how a crop sensor will impact the lenses you use and other key aspects of your images.

According to Gugliotti, "crop-sensor cameras are thought to be more beginner-friendly because they're less expensive, smaller, and their lenses are more affordable." Full-frame models, on the other hand, tend to be thought of as tools for professionals, "but that isn't always true."

As you'll see, there are benefits and compromises to consider with both sensor formats, and if bigger is always better, ask yourself this: Why stop at full-frame and not move up to medium format? The reverse can also be pondered; namely, maybe you would be best served with a micro-four-thirds (MFT) camera and it's positive attributes—despite the fact that the sensor in these cameras is noticeably smaller than their APS-C counterparts.

You've no doubt heard the term "crop sensor" before, and Gugliotta defines it like this: "A crop sensor camera is any camera with a sensor size that's smaller than full-frame." So technically this includes APS-C, MFT, and compact cameras with 1-inch sensors and smaller.

In terms of your results there are other important issues that factor into the equation, like the number of megapixels and pixel density—both of which not only affect image quality, the amount of noise in a photo, and the degree to which you can crop an image for making large prints.

Gugliotta answers these questions and more—even taking a brief departure to demonstrate the workflow he employs when processing his work. He then takes a close look at the benefits and potential pitfalls when shooting with either full-frame or crop-sensor cameras as they relate to different types of photography.

The video concludes with a discussion of medium format digital cameras and why or why not you should consider this option if your budget permits. After watching the video head over to Gugliotta's popular YouTube channel where you'll learn his take on shooting, editing, and gear.

We also suggest checking out the tutorial we posted recently from another accomplished pro, explaining why it's time to reconsider your preconceptions about shooting at high ISO settings.