Introductory Guide to Crop Sensors

There are so many different elements and jargon, which we have to be educated about if interested in photography and cameras. Being an intermediate photographer, one of the tools I found useful was learning about Crop Sensor. 

There are two adaptations in which camera sensors appear: full-frame or cropped. This article illustrates the importance of crop sensors and why it is necessary to store it in our knowledge bank. Before we jump into that, we need to understand what a camera sensor is and its functions.

What is the function of a Camera Sensor? What does it do?

A sensor is regarded as one of the most significant parts of the camera. It is responsible for recording the scene and capturing every detail. It is regarded as the digitalized adaptation of photographic film in cameras used by our parents. The main distinction being that every analog and 3mm camera has an identicalness of the full-frame.

The quality of the sensor is directly proportional to the quality of the image, meaning, the better the sensor, the costlier it is. There is a colossal range of assortments and varieties when it comes to sensors, but the most significant thing to look out for is the size as well as the resolution. The saying “the bigger they are, the better” is very much applicable in this scenario. This implies that it captures greater detail, shading, and light, catches more tones, and hence transforms the capture into a better picture.

So, what about the Crop Sensor? What is that?

A Crop Sensor is defined as something smaller than the full-frame sensor size. These are otherwise called APS-C (which constitutes majority of DSLR cameras); the APS-C belongs to Canon. Finally, there is 4/3″ under Olympus and Four Thirds belonging to Panasonic as well as 1″. All of the above are sensors of different sizes offering variable crop factors. In other words, there is an alteration in focal length which is contingent upon crop factor of the sensor.

Here’s an example to help assist comprehension using the APS-C (Canon). This particular brand has a crop factor of 1.6x and when dropped to work with a 50mm, it’s transformed to (50×1.6) 80mm, therefore leading to an extensive change in focal length.

What is the point of Crop Sensor? What’s the use?

To some, crop sensors are considered mediocre and less expert as it alters focal length. However, there are certain rewards to this framework. For example, there is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L which transforms into an equivalent of 38.4-112mm, meaning it is as good as having telephoto lens minus the hassle of having to purchase one!

Certain camera companies that outsource producers make lenses specifically designed for cameras with crop sensors. Unfortunately, there would be outrageous vignetting if utilized on sensors which have a full-frame.

Similarly, it can assist you with accomplishing focal lengths that simply aren’t accessible. For example,  Canon EF 100-400mm when dropped onto the crop sensor of APS-C transforms to a focal length of 100 x 1.6x/400 x 1.6x) 160-640mm, a length with which you can easily capture the Milky Way and Astrophotography.