Photography Full Frame Equivalence Explained

How would you like to improve the photos
and videos you shoot? Well stay tuned to the end of this video because I’m going
to tell you why what you’re shooting isn’t turning out quite the way you want
it to. With smaller than 35 millimeter size image sensors, you will often hear
talk of a camera or lenses, “Full-Frame Equivalent” focal length. This can often
be a source of great confusion among new shooters and it can also be a point of
disturbingly odd derision for other people. In this video, I’ll be giving you
a detailed explanation of what Full-Frame Equivalence is and how it
affects the images and videos you shoot with your DSLR, mirrorless camera or
interchangeable lens video camera. Hi, I’m Jim Costa. I’m a videography, photography and
technology guru, but you can call me a #dadografer. I’ve created many other
videos on videography, filmmaking and more and I’ll link to those in the
description below and both during and at the end of this video, so stay tuned. If
you want to learn more, remember to subscribe to my channel and hit that
bell to be notified when I upload new videos. I upload every week and I’ll be
uploading many more explanations of film, video, photo, editing and tech topics. Stay
tuned to the end to find out how to get my F-R-E-E DSLR and mirrorless camera cheat
sheet that will have you shooting like a pro in no time. In order to understand
this topic you need to understand what a full-frame sensor is. A full-frame camera
has a sensor that is the same physical size of a frame of 35 millimeter film;
that is, 36 millimeters wide and 24 millimeters high. This is the height and
width of a piece of 35 millimeter film. A crop sensor camera is a camera with a
sensor that is smaller in physical size then the sensor of a full-frame camera.
In photography, the 35 millimeter equivalent focal length is a measure
that indicates the angle of view of a particular combination of camera lens
and film or sensor size. The term is used because most photographers experienced
with interchangeable lenses, are most familiar with 35 millimeter film formats
that were used back in the day when we still shot photos on film. On any 35
millimeter film camera or now full-frame DSLR mirrorless or video camera, a 28
millimeter lens or smaller is a wide-angle lens and a 200 millimeter
lens or longer is a long focus or zoom lens. However, now that digital cameras
have mostly replaced 35 millimeter film cameras, there is no uniform relation
between the focal length of a lens and the angle of view, since the size of the
camera sensor also determines and affects the angle of view and the sensor
size inside the camera that captures the image is not standardized from
manufacturer to manufacturer or even from camera model to camera model as
film size was. Back in the day, 35 millimeter film was 35 millimeter film,
regardless of the make and model of camera you were shooting with. The 35
millimeter equivalent focal length of a particular lens or sensor combination is
the focal length that one would need for a 35 millimeter film camera to obtain
the same angle of view. So, in short, the full-frame equivalent is a way to
compare the angle of view you’ll get between a full-frame sensor
and a crop sensor camera because the angle of the view (or in layman’s terms, how
much of the scene you can capture) is smaller on a crop sensor than it is on a
full frame sensor as exemplified in this image. Canon has a cropped sensor with a
factor of 1.6X. Nikon’s crop factor is 1.5X. There is also a the micro 4/3
system used by Olympus and Panasonic, which uses a crop factor of 2X. If
you’re shooting on a canon with a crop sensor, what this means is that your lens
is affected by a factor of 1.6X. A 50 millimeter lens on a crop sensor Canon
camera means that you are using the full-frame equivalent of an 80
millimeter lens because the 50 millimeter lens times the 1.6X crop
factor equals an 80 millimeter lens. 50 times 1.6 equals 80. Because you are
essentially zoomed in by using an 80 millimeter lens, as opposed to a 50
millimeter lens, you are going to capture less of the scene you’re shooting. All
this means that you have to understand what the crop factor is of your
particular lens if you do not have full-frame sensor and you have to
remember to multiply that times the focal length of your lens to understand
what you’re shooting. In the example I just used, you are using a 50 millimeter
lens that was equivalent to 80 millimeters, which means you’re zoomed in.
50 millimeter lenses are considered Normal Lenses, meaning they show a normal
angle of view; about the same that we see with our our eyes. I’ve done another
video on what a Normal Lens (or Standard Lens) is and I’ll link to that in the
description below. What this means for this video is, you’re not really shooting
what you think you’re shooting because of the crop factor. Smaller sensors mean
that you’re technically zoomed in on almost everything you shoot, if you don’t
have a full-frame equivalent sensor on your DSLR. I think the best way for you
to handle this if you can’t afford to get a camera with a full-frame sensor
is to get shorter length lenses. So, in other words, in my example I used before,
when you had a 50 millimeter lens with a 1.6X crop factor Canon camera, it’s
really 80 millimeters. If you truly wanted to shoot your scene with a 50
millimeter lens, you would actually need to use a shorter focal length lens,
equivalent to about 31 millimeters because 31 times the 1.6 crop factor is
just about 50. You have to take this into consideration when you are using a
cropped sensor camera. So now you understand what Full-Frame Equivalence
means and how it affects your images, so use that in the future when you’re
buying either a new camera body or a new lens because those two things you
have to consider when determining what it is you’re going to shoot and how are
you gonna shoot it. If all this is all making sense to you, put, “I’ve got it!” in the
comments section below. My question of the day is, “What kind of sensor does your
camera have?” Leave a comment below and let us know. Would you like to learn more
about your camera settings to get you shooting like a pro?
Well, I’ve created an absolutely F-R-E-E cheat sheet for you on all the best
camera settings for your DSLR, mirrorless and video camera that will show you the
settings you need to allow your photos and videos to compete with the pros. The
link to get those that cheat sheet is just below in the video description.I’ve also created other cheat sheets on other topics such as video editing and
now we even offer training courses on editing video using Adobe Premiere Pro
and soon other programs. I’ll link to those cheat sheets and training courses
in the description below as well. Do you want to see more videos like this? Subscribe to
my YouTube channel, Jim Costa Films, for many many more. Think what you saw was
great? Like it. Do you have an opinion? Comment below. Do you know someone who could
benefit from the information that I provided? If so, then share the
video. Do you want to learn even more? Then connect with Jim Costa Films on social
media and online on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and the web. I currently
have over 4280 videos on my youtube channel, Jim Costa Films, so feel
free to check out many of my other videos for great video, film, editing and
technology tips tricks and suggestions. If you’ve followed me for a while, you now may
know that I also have a community of photographers and videographers and
filmmakers just like you on Facebook we’re where I share even more pro tips
and tricks. It’s called Video Producers and Content Creators. I love new members
who want to share their work and learn from others. You’ll find a link to the
group in the description below as well, so feel free to join where you’ll learn
much much more.

9 Replies to “Photography Full Frame Equivalence Explained

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    Want to see more videos like this? Follow my YouTube channel, Jim Costa Films, for more! Think what you saw was great? Like it! Have an opinion? Comment below! Know someone who could benefit from the info I provided? Share the video. Do you want to learn even more? Connect with Jim Costa Films on social media and online!

  2. This is great, I wish I had this information 3 cameras ago. Now we have a full-frame camera and its so much better.

  3. Ooh Jim, I love this video breaking down the difference of a full frame and a medium as well as the breakdown of the crop censor on different cameras. I will watch this video several times until I can master the info. Thank you so much for sharing.

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