So recently I’ve been finding my current camera, the Sony NEX-5N to no longer suit my needs. It’s safe to say its taken some stunning shots, as I don’t usually crop too many of my photos, a 16mp sensor was more than adequate, however, it’s not 3 years old and starting to show signs of wear, for instance at random points the shutter will just go off, which is rather embarrassing when your on the bus as people tend to stare at you for the entire journey. The time has come to upgrade.
I’ve always been impressed by the way compact-system cameras perform in spite of their profoundly smaller size than DSLR cameras, as I usually like to take my camera around with me everywhere I go to get ‘the shot’ they suited me perfectly. The choice was therefore simple, get a compact-system camera with a standard CMOS sensor as seen in newer Sony cameras such as the ‘A6000’ which will be coming out April 2014 (Check it out here: http://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/interchangeable-lens-cameras/ilce-6000-body-kit) seemed to be the ‘obvious choice’ for someone like me, an enthusiast looking for a mid-range, highly portable camera, however, then I came across the almost as new Sony A7 and A7R cameras. (Check them out here – A7 – http://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/interchangeable-lens-cameras/ilce-7-body-kit A7R – http://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/interchangeable-lens-cameras/ilce-7r) These cameras differ from the mould when we talk about compact-system cameras, this being, they’re FULL FRAME! Changing, in one sweep the image everyone has in their head of full frame cameras being these huge behemoth type devices requiring a fairly beefy and enthusiastic photographer to possibly wield such a device. This was a major curveball for me, I had only done a small amiount of research in Full frame at this point as I’d never bothered beforehand as I didn’t think I’d ever be able to have a chance of buying something like that in a small enough shell.
So, the field was now even, full frame had come to compact, but what does full frame offer as opposed to APS-C sensors?
Well, starting off with the basics, looking positively at full frame, expect a higher image quality, due to the larger sized sensor, (23.6mm x 15.6mm APS-C vs 36mm x 24mm for full frame) and this generally corresponds to better ISO performance across the range, helpful for those like me who enjoy going out randomly at night to do some street photography (Check out my instagram here – http://instagram.com/olievans17) because you can’t sleep.
Also, full frame sensors would be the choice for anyone shooting highly detailed, still objects, e.g. Architecture, Landscapes as they have a much larger range of lens options whilst boasting a 1x crop as opposed to a 1.3x, 1.5x or 1.6x crop offered by APS-C sensored cameras allowing essentially ‘more of the shot’ in each shot.
Ok, so after looking through those benefits I took a look at advantages of APS-C sensor cameras, the main advantages being to those wishing to take shots of nature, moving subjects and wildlife, this is due to the crop factor touched upon previously, this allows lenses to essentially zoom in further as on top of the lens zoom the crop factor also gives the impression of an increased zoom.
To me, in spite of the draws of full frame, APS-C still is the winner, this being largely due to pricing, full frame cameras do have useful benefits as highlighted in this blog, but in my opinion, you’d need to specialise in the areas in which full frame cameras out perform APS-C sensor cameras to justify the price difference. Since I photograph such a variety of subjects I went for APS-C as I think its more adaptable to a wider variety of situations, plus, my APS-C sensored Sony NEX 5N has taken some beautiful shots in complete night.
So, if you’ve got this far I hope it’s changed your opinion slightly on the importance of sensor size in cameras and how mostly, much can be achieved with very little.
I will be pre-ordering the Sony A6000 compact system camera very soon.