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03 - Full Frame or Cropped?

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Sensor sizes can be confusing. Micro four thirds, 1" sensors, cropped, full frame, medium format, what's the difference? Image quality is not dependent solely on sensor size. The idea that full frame is better than a cropped sensor is mostly nonsense. Image quality is more down to the lenses you use than your sensor. If an APS-C camera has quality lenses that can be used wide open and produce stunning bokeh, that is superior to a full frame camera that has to be stopped down 2 or 3 times because the image quality of the lens is rubbish wide open. Generally speaking, most landscape photographers I know prefer full frame cameras for the higher resolution, while most wildlife photographers I know prefer cropped cameras because of the extra reach. There is no such thing as a camera that is good at everything. Micro four thirds cameras can produce excellent landscape photos, take superb wildlife and action photos, and they can be excellent for street and events. The best way to begin is to buy a good cheap camera with manual as well as automatic controls and learn how to use it properly. When a camera begins to hold you back because it can't do what you want it to, that's the time to upgrade. By that time you will also have a fair idea of where you want to go with photography and will be less likely to waste money on expensive gear not suited to your needs. The following illustration is for comparison of sensor sizes only, it is not to scale.


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