8 Things I Learned Switching from a Crop Sensor to a Full-Frame Sensor

Discussions abound concerning the pros and cons of a crop sensor dSLR versus a full-frame dSLR. Whether you’re considering features like low-light capabilities, depth-of-field, the “crop effect” of the sensor, or simply the cost differences, the choice between a crop or a full will inevitably be a big choice you make when buying new gear. What gets lost in many discussions of crop-versus-full is what it’s like to actually make the transition.

In case this whole crop-versus-full is foreign to you, what I'm talking about is the size of the image sensor in the camera. Chances are, your entry-level camera, perhaps your first dSLR, has a crop sensor. That means it's smaller than the traditional 35mm size of a full frame professional camera. Essentially, a full frame sensor gives you a bigger canvas on which to capture your image.

I made the transition from crop to full ten days ago. For perspective, my trusty Canon T3i Rebel, an entry-level crop sensor, has been my workhorse since March 2011. For the first four years with my T3i, the camera was just for personal use–vacations, my family, randomness. For the last year or so, my T3i was also the camera I used for my weekend warrior family portrait business. After a year in business with a steadily-growing client-base, I invested in a full-frame Canon 6D.

A quick note about lens compatibility: prior to purchasing the full-frame, I had already invested in three lenses that would work with the full-frame when I decided to upgrade. I had purchased a Canon 50mm prime, a Canon 85mm prime, and a Tamron 28-75mm zoom. The podcast hosts give this advice, and I agree: buy lenses first, then buy an upgraded body. You'll want to have lenses already so that you don't have to purchase both the body and the lenses all at once. Plus, if you don't have any lenses besides your kit lens, you will be amazed by the jump in quality when you purchase your first professional or pro-sumer lens.

Another quick note about my perspective: this article is one person's transition from an entry-level crop sensor camera to a full-frame camera. The article isn't a debate about which is better, crop or full, only about my experience making the transition to a more professional-level camera. I imagine many readers will be in my exact position, wanting to take a step up in the quality of your camera technology. I am quite proud of the images I created for clients using my entry-level crop sensor. I just knew I could use the capabilities of a better camera to my advantage; thus, I bought a new camera. Furthermore, as you've heard on the podcasts and read on the site before, there are plenty of high-quality crop sensor cameras out there. Jim talks about his experience with a pro-quality crop sensor and switching to one from a full frame here.

If you’re wondering what it might be like to make the leap from entry-level crop to full, here are eight things I’ve learned during the short time I’ve had with a new full frame camera.

A favorite photo from my first family session with my new full frame camera.

A favorite photo from my first family session with my new full frame camera.

1. Be prepared for a physical change

The first thing you’ll notice is that the full frame camera is big and heavy. The 6D is a solid piece of technology. Holding it for the first time made me think, “This is a professional’s camera. This was worth the money paid.” With that rock-solid build comes a little discomfort. I could hold my crop sensor for hours in one hand with a clutch strap and not care. Not so with the full frame. While I still use the Peak Design Clutch on my full frame, I am fairly certain that I’ll need to invest in a different type of strap for longer sessions like weddings or nature walks. Essentially, everything you hear the podcast hosts talk about is true: you are committing to a significant weight increase when you go full frame.

2. The viewfinder is huge

Looking through the viewfinder on that first day was a little jarring. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was so odd. Only when I put both my crop and my full frame to my eye one after the other did I realize just how much bigger the viewfinder is on the full. It’s like going from peeking through a keyhole to opening the door and seeing the entire room. There’s just so much less black space around your view through the lens. If I had thought about it for a minute, I should have expected this change. After all, when you look through the viewfinder, you’re essentially looking down into the camera at a reflection off of the mirror. I should’ve realized that a bigger sensor would give me a bigger reflection with which to view the scene.

One difficult part about the larger viewfinder is that the AF focus points are still the same distance apart as they were on the crop. (Both the T3i and the 6D have the same focus-point layout.) That means that the focus points take up a smaller amount of the view through the viewfinder. With so many years shooting with the crop, I could use the focus points almost without thinking about them. Now I have to do a little more visual searching just to make sure I’m using the focus point in the way that I want to.

Along with this new, large view, I'm also finding that I'm shooting portraits a little farther away than I should be. I'm not as tight on my subject straight-out-of-camera as I’d like to be. Granted, the larger sensor is saving my post-processing cropping with its amazing resolution and detail. But I do need plenty more practice viewing the scene through this larger space in order to maximize the resolution of the amazing full frame sensor. In the end, the bigger viewfinder is amazing, but it definitely takes some getting used to. I’m still not quite there yet.

Another favorite from my first family session with my new full frame camera.

Another favorite from my first family session with my new full frame camera.

3. There are so many useful wheels and buttons

The full frame 6D body is more user-friendly than my entry-level crop T3i thanks to much more logical buttons and wheels. My entry-level crop has its share of buttons, but they aren't laid out well, nor are they nearly as functional as the full frame. The full frame 6D is a dream to use when keeping your eye in the viewfinder and changing settings by feel alone.

The 6D has a physical wheel near the shutter button to allow you to change shutter speed. This is not a revelation–the T3i has this, too. But my mind was blown when I discovered the wheel on the back of the camera that changes aperture. On the T3i, you have to hold the “Q” button on the back and use the same shutter speed wheel to then change aperture. With the extra wheel on the back of the body for changing aperture, adjusting these two parts of the exposure triangle is a breeze. It’s so much more intuitive and fluid to use one finger for shutter speed and a thumb for aperture. If you use the viewfinder to adjust for exposure when shooting manual–which I imagine many of you do–then having a dedicated wheel for each function is pure exposure triangle bliss.

Beyond the two wheels, the full frame also has dedicated buttons for AF mode, Drive mode, ISO, and light metering mode. Once again, being able to press each button and change the mode without taking your eye out of the viewfinder makes things that much more user-friendly. The bonus, too, is that the ISO button is different than the others, so finding your way by feel is easy.

Lastly, the LCD screen on top of the camera is a great resource for double-checking your settings without using the screen on the back of your camera. One thing I wonder with all of these amazing buttons is why they aren’t just standard on all dSLRs. The full frame is easier to use because of these buttons. Entry-level cameras should have these buttons, too, if only to make things easier on a beginner trying to learn how to shoot with a dSLR.

4. The crop factor is totally true

One of the things I was most curious about was the “crop effect” of the sensor. Does a 50mm lens on a full frame function like an 80mm on a 1.6x crop? To test the crop effect, I'd need a 50mm on a crop and an 85mm on a full. I know this isn’t a perfect comparison. Ideally, I’d have an 80mm lens on my full frame, but an 85mm is close enough. Practically speaking, these two lenses might be in many amateurs’ gear collection, so the comparison is useful enough.

I put my Canon 50mm f/1.8 on my crop sensor T3i, and I put my Canon 85mm f/1.8 on my full frame 6D. At first glance through each viewfinder, the scene is basically identical. Just to be sure, I set up a scene and took two photographs of it, one with each camera-lens combination mentioned, standing in the exact same spot, using the exact same settings. I didn't do any cropping in Lightroom, only small exposure adjustments to make things look a little better for you. Here's what I got with both cameras set to f/1.8, 1/200, and ISO 400:

iparticle-50compare

iparticle-85compare

As you can see pretty plainly, the images are not exactly the same perspective, but it’s pretty close. The crop version is slightly zoomed out compared to the full. The full also compresses the scene a bit more, though not by much. As I mentioned above, this might be due to the comparison not being entirely perfect. The real reason I wanted to see this comparison was to make sure I could duplicate with the full the look I crafted for so many years using my crop and 50mm. I wanted to know if I’d be able to put my 85mm on my full and not have too steep of a learning curve during the transition period. Looking at these images should prove that the crop factor is basically true. More usefully, if you like a certain look with a certain lens on a crop, you know roughly the lens you’ll need to have to maintain that look on a full.

Here's an overhead view of the setup I used for the test.

Here's an overhead view of the setup I used for the test.

While the perspective might be pretty similar, what’s significantly different is the depth of field. Remember, I used the exact same f-stop (f/1.8) in both photos. The crop-sensor photo has a much deeper depth of field than the full-sensor sensor photo. In both photos, look at the figure to the right of Batman (the one with a face that’s split in half, otherwise known as Two-Face). Notice how much more detail Two-Face has in the crop version compared to the full version. With the exact same f-stop and a relatively identical perspective, the full gives a much shallower depth of field than the crop. Take a look again, this time at the figure all the way to the right (the Joker). In the crop version, you can still see the cartoon teeth lines; in the full, the Joker is almost a complete blur. For those who like to shoot wide-open (i.e. at smaller aperture numbers like f/1.8 or f/2.0), you really have to be spot-on with a full frame. The margin for error is razor thin. My recommendation? Stop down a bit and don’t shoot so wide-open if you don’t have to. Give yourself that wiggle room.

In the end, here are the two things to remember about the “crop factor”: 1.Your focal length perspective really is a direct result of the crop multiplier. Whether your crop sensor is a 1.5x or a 1.6x, the correlation really is what you’ve heard all along. A 50mm lens on a crop sensor gives essentially the same perspective as an 85mm lens on a full. 2. A full frame sensor gives you a significantly shallower depth of field than a crop sensor. Adjust your aperture setting accordingly, and be careful shooting wide open.

5. A full frame still doesn’t guarantee amazing photos

If you’re anything like me, you probably have this thought: “I know I take good photos with my crop, but my photos will be amazing with a full. I just know it.” With that thought in mind, I was promptly disappointed by the first hour or so with the full frame. The photos looked just like what I was getting from my crop. It was such a letdown.

After a few deep breaths, I realized that, as always, it was my fault, not the camera’s. You see, I was just taking random photos around the house. I was testing the ISO capabilities, the auto-focusing, and the depth of field. After so many podcasts and articles, I knew the full frame would far outshine the crop, so I wanted to see just how much it could outshine. The problem was that I was taking boring photos. In fact, I was taking ugly photos with no consideration for light or composition or anything, really.

Lesson learned: seeing the world through a full frame doesn’t make the world any better. You still need to be a good photographer to get good photos.

6. Your first photos with a speedlight will blow your mind

This is one of my first images with my full frame and a flash. This is the original crop of the image straight out of the camera.

This is one of my first images with my full frame and a flash. This is the original crop of the image straight out of the camera. You'll see the detail I'm talking about as you scroll down.

Maybe my initial hour wasn't amazing, but then I got out my speedlight. With a simple bounce flash and solid focusing technique, I was floored when I zoomed in to see that I got every eyelash, every pore, every you name it. BAM! That was some serious detail. My first shot with a speedlight was what really impressed me. To have a clear photo at 3:1 resolution was just plain impressive. If there's ever been a reason to learn how to use a speedlight, a full frame sensor is it. (Look at the three black-and-white images for an example of just how much detail can be capture with the full-frame and a flash.)

As a loyal listener to the Improve Photography podcasts long before I started writing here, I thought that all the talk about flash photography may have been overkill. Then I began to learn with a speedlight on my crop. I am glad I learned. While my crop sensor and flash shots are great, I really see a difference on the full frame. Go learn how to use a flash and be amazed, especially on a new full frame.

7. You’ll want to understand AF microadjust/fine tune

Here's the same image, cropped to where I'd like it for a print or for sharing. I'd say that looks pretty good despite how much of the original image date was cropped out.

Here's the same image, cropped to where I'd like it for a print or for sharing. I'd say that looks pretty good despite how much of the original image data was cropped out.

Prior to purchasing the full frame 6D, I had only barely paid attention to this feature. I had committed it to memory enough to know that it existed, but I thought that maybe AF microadjust (fine tune on a Nikon) was for photo nerds or someone looking to blame the camera instead of themselves for a softly-focused photo.

Then I did a little test. My son was sitting still as a statue while watching Sesame Street. I propped my arm on the couch, making sure to hold my camera still, and snapped a few shots of my son at a wide-open aperture. (I was using my Canon 50mm at f/1.8.) I looked at the first shot, and I saw a fuzzy eye, not the tack-sharp eye I had focused on. I tried again, making sure that my technique was spot on. I got another fuzzy eye. I did this a few more times, changing what I focused on, ensuring solid technique–I still got fuzzy photos.

After a few messages on Improve Photography chat groups and some Google sleuthing, I decided to print a do-it-yourself lens calibration sheet. You can buy more expensive (and more exact) instruments with which to calibrate, but I thought I’d give the piece of paper a try. Sure enough, my 50mm was back-focusing, which is to say that it was focusing clearly a little farther behind where I had my auto-focus point locked on. After a quick adjustment in the opposite direction, my problem was solved. My 50mm now focuses exactly where I want it to. (My Canon 85mm f/1.8 doesn’t seem to have a problem, so I’ve told my camera to microadjust separately for each lens. I haven’t yet tested my zoom lens, though I hear a zoom lens comes with its own set of problems adjusting both zoomed out and zoomed in.)

In the end, I now believe that the AF microadjust function is totally useful and worth it. It's easy to do and just might give new life to lens you thought to give up on.

Compare this tight crop to the original image above. This image has cropped out so much of the original image data, but look at how detail has been retained in the eyes and eyelashes. Amazing!

Compare this tight crop to the original image above. This image has cropped out so much of the original image data, but look at how much detail has been retained in the eyes and eyelashes. Amazing!

8. The ISO capability is no joke

I mentioned earlier that I wanted to test the always-talked-about ISO capabilities of a full frame, especially compared to what I was used to on an entry-level crop. Just to review: ISO is how sensitive your sensor is to light. The higher the number, the more sensitive it is. That means high numbers help in low light. High ISO numbers also introduce ugly noise (colored specks that detract from the quality of your image) into your images, so you have to be careful how far you push the sensitivity of the sensor.

Invariably, when the podcast hosts talk about gear for weddings or other low light (indoor) sessions, they boast about needing the full frame's ability to crank up the ISO without losing image quality. Just like the “crop effect” validation above, the ISO ability of the full frame 6D is crazy good. With my entry-level crop T3i, I would never go above 800 with a client. The image would just have too much noise.

(A quick note: A professional-level crop sensor, like the Canon 7D Mark II, will have much better ISO performance than my entry-level crop T3i. My goal for this ISO section isn't to compare a professional camera to a consumer camera. That'd be silly. I’m really just interested in seeing how amazing a professional full frame camera performs.)

To test the full frame 6D’s ISO capabilities, I set up a simple scene: two superhero toys sitting on my printer lit by one tungsten bulb in a lamp. Below are a few tests with various ISO settings. I only edited the exposure levels in each to make the comparison easy to see. I did not touch any detail or noise reduction settings. Take a look:

iparticle-ISO2000

iparticle-ISO4000

iparticle-ISO8000

iparticle-ISO16000

The ISO 2000 image looks clean to me. I’d be more than comfortable giving that image to a client without any noise reduction applied. ISO 2000 is more than a full-stop of light higher sensitivity compared to my entry-level crop T3i. (Remember, a full-stop of light means that the sensor is now sensitive to double the amount of light than before. In other words, ISO 1600 lets in double the light as ISO 800.) The ISO 4000 image begins to show some fairly noticeable noise–just look at Batman’s head or the wall behind. Without much scrutiny, you can see little colored noise specks. But it’s still not terrible, and nothing that a little noise reduction couldn’t solve. I’ll take the significant increase in light sensitivity that I get at ISO 4000 even if I do have to apply some noise reduction. The ISO 8000 shows noise, and the ISO 16000 shows a ton of noise. Also worth noting is how difficult it will be to adjust the dynamic range of the highest ISO images, especially in the shadow levels. The lower ISO images will simply have better, cleaner dynamic range (the range from blacks to shadows to highlights to whites). To play it safe, this test leads me to believe that somewhere between ISO 4000 and ISO 8000 is where I’d start to get worried. Think about it, though: ISO 8000 is over three stops of light more sensitive than what I was comfortable with on my crop. That is a significant upgrade, especially for anyone who often needs to shoot in low-light situations.

What the ISO ability gives you is so much flexibility. You can shoot comfortably in so many more situations and scenes. It also gives me peace of mind. I don't have to worry nearly as much about a noisy photo as I used to.

There you have it. Eight things I learned after ten days with a full frame camera after years with an entry-level crop sensor camera. I’m impressed by how much more user-friendly the camera is to use. I’m equally impressed by the amount of fine detail the sensor can capture. If you have more to add to the crop-to-full conversation, comment below–and if you have questions about my on-going experience with the camera, post those, too. Happy photographing!

Read Part 2 of This Post

For my thoughts on making this switch after six months of experience with the Canon 6D, click here.

Comments

  1. Nice article, Aaron, and congrats on the new camera. While a crop sensor does have its advantages, I can certainly attest to the points you made when making the switch to full frame. Number 5 is a really good point, and something I experienced, too. But, the more you use the camera, the more you will discover where it shines far above the crop sensor.

  2. Great article, Aaron! I’ve always wondered how big of a difference the weight of a crop vs. full-frame camera is. I hear people talking about “lugging” around a camera all day, and I think about how light it is. Of course, I have a T4i.

  3. Awesome article Aaron! Love the comparisons. The ISO capabilities is pretty incredible from your examples. Does the 6D really have the same focus points as the t3i? My jump to the 7d mark ii I was pleasantly surprised to find 65 focus points to work with, quite impressive and gave me a lot to get used to. I too love the LCD on the top of the camera and all of my buttons and dials — upgrading is so much fun!
    Love your comparison on the lenses to show the crop factor too, nice being able to see that example.

    1. 6D has the same amount of focus points. I used then 6D for work fue weeks and did not really like that camera at all… Eaven it have full frame I did go for the 7d mk2, for it’s better ISO capability, more focus points and the 100% wievfinder (6D has only like 98% or something like that). I also think 6D isn’t that great of an camera, it’s good but for example the 7D (cropped sencor) ´has a lot more to offer. Ofcourse it depends what youre doing. But I diched the 6D for wirking and bought the 5D mk 3, a lot more expencive, but a lot more better.
      My opinion about the 6D is that 6D isn’t that good camera for the amount of money it costs. But this has nothing to do with the article, good article, but the fact you used 6D for comparison was kinda dealbraaker for me (depends also on camera you used before) if it was a rebel, then 6D is great camera compared to that, but if like a 7D or 70 D, then only good thing 6D has is full censor…
      Anyway, good article 🙂

  4. Very nice article! I actually just bought the 6d and eagerly waiting for it to arrive. This article pretty much touched on everything I was hoping to hear! Thanks Aaron!

  5. Great article Aaron! I also started with a t3i (we call them 600D’s) and when I updated to a 5D3 I experienced the same things as you – the viewfinder was the standout for me.

    I was thinking about the 6D but its focus system lets it down for sports photography which is what I do.

    The biggest challenge I have now is going back to the 600D! I try to use at as a second body at motorsports events but with its stupid viewfinder and terrible button design – it ends up staying in the bag most of the time. Instead I just change lenses son the 5D which is tedious – and I miss shots, but I miss them anyway on the other body fumbling around trying to remember how to change the aperture.

    I’m not budgeting for a 7D2 as my second body -0 I like the idea of a crop sensor for additional reach and the 7D’s body is a pro design.. much more inline with the 5D….

    The full frame effect and noise performance of the 5D are awesome too! The 6D probably has better noise performance actually as it has the later processor I think?

  6. Loved the pic comparison, I have a 60d and always wanted to see the comparison you had of the 50 vs 80. Am sold after having the 60d for 5 years it’s time for a change. Thanks.

  7. Great article up on this point:

    > I imagine many readers will be in my exact position, wanting to take a step up in the quality of your camera technology.

    I don’t think you have any basis for that statement other than as you say, your imagination.

  8. Great article, the change in depth of field makes batman look sharper in “similar” conditions, i use d7100 that is really great cropped sensor camera, was thinking to make the move to d7200 but now i preffer to wait and save for the d750, sorry my english no my first language…cheers!

  9. AAron, As long as you are trying new things, maybe you should rent a full frame mirrorless like the Sony A7r2. In body image stabilization is really useful, and if you choose relatively light lenses like the Batis line, you will get some of that weight difference back. Also, check out the dynamic range you get out of Sony’s sensors. You’re making progress, but you haven’t quite caught up yet to 2016. ‘-)

  10. I’m a fellow 6D owner… and I LOVE it! Thanks for the info on microadjusting. That may be why so many of my photos that I’m SURE are in focus seem a bit fuzzy.

  11. I have a 7Dmii and absolutely love it….I take sports photography for fun and portraits and weddings professionally. I couldn’t agree more with investing in glass first. All of my lens are L glass and I own a prime with f/1.4 , 70-200 F/2.8 2.8 and a wide at F/4. I have been wanting a 5Dmiii but waiting until the newest ones come to market to make it hopefully drop a little more in price to be more adorable! Plus I want the 24-70 2.8 II so there goes my $$$. I have found that the fast speed on the 7D is better for great for
    Sports but believe portraits and weddings would benefit more with portraits…but I think even if I do “upgrade” I will keep my 7D for the things that I do love about it (the extra reach may be hard to let go of and maybe curb my need for more lenses in the future!) Great article!!

  12. I’m Jealous Although I Shoot a Nikon d7100, I sure would like a d810a. But being retired it is a lot to spend

  13. Author

    Thanks to everyone for your comments (and kudos!) above. I appreciate the thoughtfulness and support. When I started writing for IP, Jim said that technology articles, especially reviews, would get attention. Boy, was he right! I’ll try to address everyone below…

    Rusty, Tim, and Erika: thank you! I appreciate the IP love.

    Henry: In my perfect world, I would have bought a 5DMiii. I just didn’t have an extra $1000US to spend. I do mostly portrait work, so the focus points of the 7DMii aren’t as valuable to me as the full-frame sensor. I definitely argued with myself for almost a year over the 7DMii or the 6D. It’s not an easy choice if you want to purchase near the $1500US range!

    Cody: Do you have your 6D yet? How much fun are you having with it?

    Dave: When we’re swimming in gobs of money as professionals, we’ll share our stories about how awesome our 1DXs are, right? Until then, I’m with you, I think a 7DMii as a second body would be awesome, especially considering its additional reach as a crop.

    Belinda: Glad to help!

    Khurt: What I meant by my sentence was that many photographers seem to languish over technology choices, especially jumping from an entry-level camera to something more “professional”. I just wanted to point out that I was writing with that person in mind.

    Gianpiero: Glad I could help with my comparison photos! I think waiting for a big purchase is always a good idea. The clarity that can come with waiting helps me, anyway.

    Eric: You definitely have a point. If I hadn’t invested in several Canon lenses already, I may have looked elsewhere, especially at mirrorless bodies and their respective lenses. I’m only a year or so into photography as a business pursuit, so a few years from, who knows? Thanks for the input.

    onewildolive: First, love the name. Too funny. Second, glad I could help you consider a feature that many probably miss out on. Did you get a chance to see the difference yet when microadjusting?

    Tammy: Thanks for the kudos. And absolutely, glass is what’s most important. Even with my T3i, I produced great stuff with a step up in lenses. There’s always something to buy when it comes to photography, isn’t there?

    Dewey: I hear yah, but don’t be jealous! Like I said in #5, a great camera still doesn’t mean you’ll have great images. You can make amazing stuff with any camera!

    Thanks again everyone–and if you want to chat more, you can find me through Facebook. I’m always on the Podcast Listener groups, too.

  14. When I went from Canon crop sensor to full frame, the big improvement I noticed was that looking into viewfinder was no longer like looking into a dark cave. The big let down was flash synch speed dropping from 1/250sec to 1/200sec. I later learned the hard way that to be safe, 1/160sec was the only way to assure no black band at the edge of the frame. I shoot outdoors with flash in all kinds of weather, which I’m sure is a factor. Usually the shutter mechanism can get out of the way of the flash at 1/200sec, but all too often, it can’t. To quote a phrase: Your mileage may vary.

    I’ve started using the term shutter duration to describe exposure, and shutter speed to describe how quickly the shutter mechanism can open and close.

  15. “7. You’ll want to understand AF microadjust/fine tune”

    Which is why I’ll stay in Fuji camp with my inferior crop sensor. This was my Bain dealing with DSLR’s in general. You get it micro adjusted, then a couple of months later, it’s back out of adjustment.

  16. I wish you would have pointed out that you used a 50mm full frame lens on a crop sensor to get that effect. So many, even seasoned photographers, get mixed up and confused as to how this works. Full frame lenses on a crop sensor are x 1.5/1.6. Lenses designed for crop sensors project a smaller image that fits the crop sensor dimension. Lenses designed for full frame sensors project a larger image on a smaller sensor. Thus the conversion.

  17. I LOVED this article. I’ve been on the fence for a while now, trying to decide if I will upgrade to the Canon 6D. I currently own the Canon 60D and have been very pleased with it. I feel I’ve outgrown it, however. You touched on so many great points that I had been wondering about myself. It’s only been the last few days that I decided that I’m going to make the jump. This article tells me that I’m making the right decision! Thanks.

  18. I have the 6D as well as the 60D and 70D … each have their strengths. I don’t just have one wrench in my tool box or one hammer for that matter. I love the 6D for portraits, weddings and really detail stuff that I plan on keeping for enlarging. Sports, video and some landscapes the 60 and 70 are my go to tools … using that crop factor to reach out there just a bit more. A great article though … appreciate reading your stuff.

  19. Great article, thank you! I noticed that you mentioned you were shooting for clients while you were using your T3i and your 50mm, correct? I have a T3i too and really want to branch out and start getting paid gigs but I’m just terrified that the pictures won’t be good enough. I’ve borrowed my friend’s 5D Mark III and ever since that day, I really haven’t wanted to shoot on my rebel, let alone charge people money for the photos it produced. Now I have only used my kit lens and have felt this way (I know you know about the not-so-great aperture of the kit lens haha) and I know how important a lens is, don’t get me wrong. I have just ordered a 50mm 1.4 lens a couple days ago (yay!!) and I know it will significantly improve my photos, but I guess my question is this: Were you/would you be confident in charging people for photos from a T3i and 50mm 1.4? More specifically, would you feel comfortable shooting a wedding? I know a prime wouldn’t really suffice because at a wedding you would really benefit from the zoom, but with those two lenses and a T3i would you shoot it? Thanks!!

      1. I was particular about my wedding photographer. It was shot on two bodies outdoors with D810, sigma 35mm art, 24-70, 14-24, 70-200, 85 1.4g. This wasn’t even an “expensive” photographer. I personally wouldn’t hire a wedding photographer shooting on an entry level or even a crop cam in 2017, maybe 10 years ago on a pro DX like a D200/D300, but I think other particular people might not either. If I’m paying for a day like that, I expect it to be shot on “pro” equipment and that they aren’t going to miss shots due to their lack of equipment.

  20. I made the leap from Canon to Sony just this year. I had a 7D MARK II and a 6D and now I have a a6300 and the 6D. Since I bought the Sony I’ve barely touched my 6D even though it’s full frame and my Sony in a crop. The Sony bodies are just amazing. I had invested over the years a ton of money into Canon glass and didn’t want to sell and buy new lenses, I wasn’t sure about the metabones mark IV adapter at first but after talking with two of my friends who owned one I purchased it and just in case you were wondering the metabones mark IV adapter works like a charm for using Canon glass on my Sony body. Now I’ve got the best of both worlds going on.
    Cheers.

  21. Good article. The only thing I would disagree with is getting the lenses first, unless you are shooting zooms only maybe, as they cover a similar range, at least the mid/long zooms… (and match it with a crop ultra wide)

    If you are a primarily prime shooter though, it doesn’t make sense to invest in the same focal lengths. For example, I shot 24/50 when I shot on aps-c body, knowing full well that I was emulating the 35/85 lengths I liked (I had previously shot film).

    So when the time came to change to full frame, I just sold all my equipment at once on ebay.

    If you were used to that 50/85 as a portrait shooter on crop (and it seems like you were having some trouble with framing), you really should have just kept the 85, sold the 50, and bought the 135 L on upgrade. Just my opinion though.

    On the other hand, if you really want to go full frame and on a budget, I’d definitely say spend more on better lenses and get a cheaper/older body.

  22. Awesome article, I shoot the 80D and often wonder if I should have gone full frame. Really helped me think about the practicality and learning curve of making the move. I wanted to point out (let me fist say I am NOT an expert here) but on point 4 I’m lead to believe that both compression and DOF are a function of the lens only, the crop just gives you a zoomed in version of the same pic. So at the same focus distance the 85mm will have the same DOF (and compression) on either body, the picture itself though will be more zoomed in. So I think (not 100% sure) the razor thin DOF is a function of that awesome 85mm that you have more so than the full-frame sensor. Also thanks for the reminder on the micro adjust. I’m going to look at that tonight!

  23. Aaron. Have only just read your article (but have subscribed now!)
    I’m about to make the jump myself…5d Mk iv…and was excited to read your experience, and blown away by the quality difference., especially with the speedlite. I have always shied away from using flash…I will be dusting it off before my new toy arrives so at least I have some idea how to use it.

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