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Why I don’t shoot on Full Frame Cameras… yet | Crop Factors

What’s going on everybody? Potato Jet here. Today we are talking about crop factors. But I think I’m gonna title this video, Why I Don’t Shoot With Full-frame Cameras and I think that’s a little
bit more interesting sounding than Understanding Crop Factors. I don’t know, I might one day switch to a full-frame camera,
so if that day ever comes then this video will awkwardly be sitting in my video playlist. But I don’t really like
to think that far ahead. So, we’re Gucci, I probably
shouldn’t say that word, Gucci. In order to be allowed to say that word, you have to have a certain level of swag. If you have more than that level of swag, then you can say it all you want. It sounds good, it works. But if you’re below that
line you just sound stupid. I’m like right there, like
I could almost say it, but it’s just better for the entire planet if I never use that word again. What was this video about again? Oh, crop factors. The biggest misconception is that all 35mm sensors are the same, which is very much not true. It sounds about right, right? Like if someone says, my
sensor’s 35mm. You’re probably like, oh, that’s probably the dimension of the width, or height, or something like that,
but it’s actually not true. And if someone tells you their
sensor size is 35mm it could mean something
very, very different. It all goes back to before
we had digital cameras, to when everything was shot
on film, those long film strip that you imagine people
in a dark red room, snipping away, and cutting together. 35mm film is a strip,
and it’s 35mm wide. Now, let’s start by
talking about photography. In a film camera you
take this 35mm, you stick it on one side, you stretch it over to the other side, close it up, and the film goes through horizontally. It burns that image straight
onto that film strip, utilizing as much space as
it can without flooding over. And the image you can
place within that space is about 36 by 24, and they
call that 35mm in photography because it’s
on a 35mm film strip, not because of the dimensions
of the photography. So, if you hear full-frame 35mm, it generally refers to
photography, which is this size. The Canon 1D Series,
the 5D, 6D and a bunch of other cameras out there
that shoot full frame, in photography, that’s the
size they’re referring to. Now, here’s where people get thrown off, is they hear Super 35, or
35mm for video, which is actually a very,
very different size, and the main reason is because in traditional film movie cameras, the film gets fed in vertically,
so, it goes up and down. For example, this is a 16×9
frame that you’re looking at. Let’s squeeze this down, and
fit it onto a film strip. Now, if you look at throwing
it on a vertical film strip, notice you have to compress it way down because of the edges here. If I go any further out this way, then it’s gonna bleed
out onto the holey part. I’m sure there’s a proper name
for that, I never shot film. But let’s take this same image, throw it onto the horizontal one, then you can stretch it way bigger. So, that is why Super
35, or 35mm film for video is much smaller. In cameras that utilize the
Super 35mm sensor are like the Sony FS7,
the Canon C300 Mark II, this RED camera, a
majority of Arri ALEXAs. Now that we’re going digital, we’re no longer really restricted to this 35mm film strip so companies are exploring
these larger sensors like the Sony VENICE, the Arri ALEXA LF, and the RED Vista Vision MONSTRO. But keep in mind that 99% of everything you see on TV and theaters are still shot on Super 35mm sensor sizes. So to summarize, the two you’re gonna hear most often is
full-frame 35mm, which is the big one for photography, and Super 35 which is the most common one for video which is the vertically fed one, so it’s a little bit smaller. Full-frame, big, Super 35, small. Now when it comes to smaller
cameras like this Canon M50, a lot of times the sensor’s smaller and it’s cropped in a bit
which has crop factor. This is one of the most common sensors, it’s an APS-C sensor which
has a 1.6x crop factor. And some cameras like
the Micro 4/3 cameras have a 2x crop factor. So if you’re shooting on the same lens, if you’re shooting with
a cropped in sensor, it just appears to be more zoomed in. So for example, right now
I have a 1.6 crop factor on this camera and I’m
shooting on a 10mm. But since it has that 1.6 crop factor, it looks more like a 16mm, and if I zoom it in, let’s see, now this is a 18, it’s
18 times 1.6 which is… Someone give me an abacus, quick! Now when we say a 1.6 crop
factor for something like this, we’re saying it’s a 1.6x crop
to a full-frame 35mm, not a Super 35, a
full-frame 35mm. So yeah, a 1.6 crop factor
sensor is quite a bit smaller than a full-frame 35mm sensor but it’s actually not too different from a Super 35 mm sensor. So the sensor size between this and this might not actually be as big as you think. So basically if you tag an awesome lens on to this camera to try
to get cinematic images, the sensor size is not gonna be the thing that’s gonna limit you from
getting awesome images. I’ve considered going to a
full-frame camera a couple times specifically the 6D Mark II,
looks pretty appealing to me. Now aside from it being much bigger and more expensive than this camera, you also have to go to a full-frame lens. This lens is much cheaper and much smaller because it only has to
cover an APS-C sensor. Once you get a lens that can cover the entire 35-millimeter
full-frame sensor, then you can’t use this, you have to go to a much bigger lens. That this is big, heavy, and expensive. Another reason why a lot of
people love full-frame is for shallow depth of
field, it looks awesome. Admit it, we’re all a a
little bit overly obsessed with shallow depth of
field, it looks awesome. But have you ever tried to focus on somebody going in
and out from the camera and trying to keep them
in focus the whole time? It is tough. Autofocus is getting much
much better on cameras so that’s becoming less
and less of an issue but there’s still plenty of
people shooting out there manual focus for video for a good reason and doing this motion
with a full-frame camera with like an F1.8 would be impossible. You would lose focus on me so fast. I’m definitely not saying APS-C and Super 35mm sensors
are better than full-frame, that’s just the reasons
why I personally shoot with this 1.6 crop factor camera. Also, keep in mind that I
only really shoot video. If you shoot a lot of photography, then full-frame makes a lot more sense. You can go as shallow as
you want in photography because you only need that perfect, precise focus for that split second. You don’t have to keep the subject in focus consistently for
a long period of time. And with those big ol sensors, they generally have really, really, good low light capabilities. And Arri, my absolute
favorite camera company, they make the Arri ALEXA. People have always asked them why they don’t put more
pixels in their sensors. They obviously have the
technology to do that now but they say when they take their sensor, throw more pixels in there, then they have to take every pixel and make them even smaller. And they always say
they prefer the quality of a pixel over the quantity of it. So, hey, Arri says big
sensors are a good thing. I do think when you go
to a full-frame sensor and get that bigger sensor, you do get an improvement of quality. I really really wanna test
out a side by side comparison with something like this
to a 1DX or 6D Mark II and see side by side, like
how much of a difference does it actually make when
you’re literally looking at them side by side. Is that something you
guys might wanna see? If enough of you guys wanna see that then I might put that on
the to-make video list. My guess is that there is
gonna be image improvements but I think this is
gonna come super close, closer than most people think ’cause I do think a lot of
it is also kinda mental, like if you’re shooting
full-frame, you’re like, wow, this is full-frame,
I’m shooting full-frame. But I’m telling you the results out of these little guys, pretty solid. The sensor size obviously
makes a big difference but at the same time, it’s still, again, just a small part of the big picture. Anyways, enough about crop factors, I think you guys get the point but I’m also putting
together a full video course. But I wanna hear from you guys if there’s one thing that you
guys wanna hear me talk about or answer a question, let
me know in the comments and I’ll try to include as much of it as I can in the full course. I’ll see you guys later. I’m heading to Mexico next
week, a city called Loreto. I’ve never been there,
don’t know much about it, but apparently it’s only a
two-hour flight from Los Angeles. Beautiful beaches, tequila,
should be a good time. I’ll finally be able
to test this thing out, PolarPro sent it to me but apparently, you’d stick your GoPro in there and you can get shots
where it’s half above water and half below, should be interesting. I’ll do giveaway on this too, next time. So yeah, see you guys later.


  1. Justin Starr Author

    Shooting with a camera like the 80D, what are you doing about color? You don't have a flat profile like Canon Log, right? Do you color grade your videos? Thanks!

  2. Rodolfo Armendariz Author

    If you are going to Laredo the border town, you will be disappointed. But if you are already there, just 2 hours south from that is Monterrey city, my hometown that's a much better experience. Anyways, welcome to Mexico

  3. Richard Golonka Author

    the only reason apsc sensors exist is they didnt have the tech to make a full frame sensor back in the day, at a price that people could actually afford. Contax made one, the N digital way back when at it was 6mp, but we never speak about it and you cant find them anymore used. Buy a df and use smaller old AF flim lenses that still work. There is no need to buy crop anymore. That setup will be almost the same size as a mirrorless.

  4. Ben Jobob Author

    Super informative. I’m familiar with still photos and “35mm equivalent” i.e., Full Frame. When people discuss lens choices used in films, is there a conversion of FOV for Full Frame terms? Like, in film is a 50mm lens going to get you a normal view like it does in Full Frame for stills?

  5. leo i Author

    I think Canon 1D Mark 4 crop sensor APS-H image looks better then 5d mark ii (which is full frame) I think it is hi tech that makes not the size only.

  6. Damn Zodiak Author

    Sensor size doesn't affect depth of field, its the longer focal length when compared to smaller sensors. When the field of view is the same, so is the depth of field.

  7. Keith Spillett Author

    Love the video. As someone who HAS experience of shooting 35mm movie film, I'm always rather amused when people suggest you can only get cinematic depth of field by using full frame. The very 'filmic appearance' they're referring to was actually created using a film area equivalent to today's super 35 sensors ie a CROP frame format. Also, in movie film terms, we never referred to lenses by focal lengths, but by field of view, in other words, you would mount a lens that you knew gave you a 30°, 50°, 90° field of view, or whatever, irrespective of the focal length. Very fast primes would be used to achieve shallow depth of field, or, more usually, longer fast primes used at a distance.

  8. Derek Livingston Author

    Dude, thanks for this info! Love following your channel as myself now has moved more towards video when I got a job at a marketing agency. Just started making my own videos!

  9. Brad C Author

    Seriously the funniest and most engaging personality in this genre of education, review, and general imaging obsession that we all love.

  10. Peter Van Der Poel Author

    I think people are too obsessed with bokeh. From pollings I've seen online asking which pictures people prefer without knowing any camera settings in a side by side setting, most people( note, not photographers ) prefer the f4 – f5.6 depth of field. It blurs things a bit, but keeps some of your environment to give context to the picture.

    I upgraded to FF for the enhanced color rendering, the smoother tone/shadow transitions, and to get razor thin DoF for the few times a picture looks better with it.

  11. Denny Ordinary Author

    I will stick with my gh5 for another 3 years.. still the best bang for your bucks loaded with features and a very capable camera only with the limitation of sensor size and lack of reliable auto focus in video.

  12. Ofer Geva Author

    So, are cameras like the Sony A7iii or Nikon Z6 use the full frame sensor for video (since they have no crop factor in video)? Meaning, are they using a bigger sensor than the super35 cinema cameras do?

  13. Алексей Кулаков Author

    It is possible to use crop mode on ff sensor for filming and ff mode for stills, aps-c sensor though gives you only crop mode for both

  14. Tekno Ultra Author

    thank you must change your video name so you talk about super 35 same crop sensor but full frame different your video name write full frame chek different explain different name

  15. Wudang Academy Author

    Full frame is not really a limitation on video – if you wanna keep in manual focus you never shoot wide open – close the aperture down for better results. Less noise and cleaner image even with very cheap prime lenses like the ones from Samyang.

  16. Juan Pablo Castillo Author

    3 factors affect depth of field: 1. Aperture, 2. Subject to Camera Distance and 3. Focal Length. 

    The sensor size by itself is not what affects the depth of field. Is the focal distance that needs to decrease to have an equivalent field of view on a full frame sensor as opposed to a smaller one.

    For example: A 24mm lens on a full frame camera gives you a field of view of 24mm.  If you take that same 24mm lens and mount it on an APS-C sensor (1.5x for this example) the field of view will be equivalent to a 36mm lens but the focal distance remains the same at 24mm, is the field of view that changed to an ‘equivalent’ of 36mm (as if you would be looking through a 36mm).

    If you would actually use a 24mm equivalent on a APS-C sensor, 17mm would be the closest, to have the same field of view as a 24mm on a full frame sensor then only then only then the depth of field would be wider but this wouldn’t be due to the sensor size but because of the shorter focal length of 17mm.

  17. OldSchoolFilm1930 Author

    You shouldn't do that ….. you know …. you know better I assume.
    Just think about the inconsistensy of the term "crop factor" relating to gear and then consider how much film making lives on having a consistent terminology!
    Just take a millisecond to get aware of the fact that the complete bogus term "crop factor" only works one way, for one particular situation hammered in stone.
    Just think about what we are actually talking about and why "Focal Reducers" are not called "Crop Reducers".
    Let me start with a few hints:
    To crop is to cut away. This is true for all software photo and video alike and is consistent throughout ALL software developer. "Croping" does exactly the same thing in Photoshop, GIMP, Premiere, Davinci Resolve or AVID …. you get the idea. Now a digital sensor does not "CROP" a picture! Period. Different sizes of sensors produce different sizes of pictures (photo/video, makes no difference).
    When people apply the term "crop factor" they talk about malufunctions of lenses wrongly used.
    We all know that when you put a lens designed for full frame still camera and put it on a camera with a smaller sensor ALL of the information on the lens becomes void! F-Stop becomes void, focal length becomes void and all other measurements become void. Only T-Stop on cine glass will remain the same because its T-stop.
    Moreover, what all the "crop factorers" do not talk about is when full frame cameras become real "crop cameras" unlike cameras with a smaller sensor. If you put a classic B4 broadcast (camcorder) lens on a full frame stills camera you WILL get a black circle at the edge of your picture therefore the camera actually crops the picture.
    We remember, – to crop is to cut away – a smaller sensor does NOT cut away anything, it simply produces a smaller picture frame. A full frame camera on the other hand can very well – cut away – parts of the picture as we proved above.
    Now let me go back to "consistent terminology". If you tell your editor to "crop" the picture do you expect him to cut away parts of the piture or that he resizes the picture?
    This is just one point of view to showcase why the term "crop factor" is complete utter bullshit! 😉

    PS: the ASC handbook only mentions "crop" referring to cameras who crop in on their sensor to either avoid the above mentioned black circle or due to certain camera profiles when using high frame rates.

  18. John Smith Author

    just tried manual focus (by wire) on a6400 with 16-50 kit lens, on a moving subject, with focus peaking it's not that difficult 😉

  19. George Rady Author

    I wonder if there is going to be an aesthetic continuum between stills and “movies” since these Mirrorless DSLRs can actually shoot far more rapidly in continuous mode… giving an intermediate result that is the classic movie “flip book” look… now that Eye Focus will adjust (for a single subject)

  20. Live ARt Studio Author

    Hi 🙂 First of, love your vid, nicely done 🙂 Little thing I wanted to point out around 5"18…. where you say you can't use a FF lense on a APS-C cam… I'm sure you know, but beginners don't: some FF (=full frame) lenses work well on APS-C cam… and here come the interesting part: you'll augment the "zoom" factor of the ff lens on the aps-c cam… Mount a FF lense 100mm on an aps-c, and you'll get a (my crop factor is 1,6) 100×1,6=160mm lens … (and please, correct me if I'm wrong!!!) 🙂 Thanks again for sharing this!!!!!!

  21. Johnny Guitar Author

    I'm from Alabama, and when I saw that this video is on crop factors I thought that it was going to be about farming. My chickens and I are very disappointed …

  22. tectorama Author

    People think that using a full frame camera, makes them a professional.
    The truth being, they are good for studio work and landscapes. For many other aspects of photography
    a crop sensor camera is just as good, if not better.

  23. denvera1g1 Author

    I have an idea for an autofocus system,

    a barcode like scanning laser up where the logo normally goes on a sony/canon/nikon full frame mirrorless or DSLR, the height of the laser sweep adjusts to match your focus point, and that little scanning octogon mirror can pan an infrared laser over that point hundreds of times per second(8 times per revolution) giving the camera an exact distance to focus on how far it has to go to get there(so it doesnt overshoot by much), and more importantly, which direction the subject has moved during filming(reducing focus hunting), sure you'd still need contrast focus to get it more accurate because lenses do change, 15m focus might be 16m on a hot day but still, knowing where the focus needs to be, instantly, and knowing of any changes instantly(and in which direction the lens needs to focus) will make focus happen much faster and more reliably, instead of the 50/50 focus hunting method that often includes a distracting overshoot(possibly two),. with real time data, i would say that this system might be able to replace phase detect autofocus, though to be able to work in direct sunlight i expect the laser to be too powerful to be safe. If the camera's sensor was used to identify the laser sweep, it could easily see that the data it is getting is for the focus point, just use an an IR cut electronic filter to make the IR laser not visible(an allow for IR photography from the factory), though using the main sensor might not be precise enough and a seperate IR sensor might be needed for exact timing. the time it takes the full sensor to refresh might only allow for measurement in several meters or even thousands of meteres, instead of inches/centimeters/decimeters for something dedicated to laser distance measuring

  24. denvera1g1 Author

    Holy crap i forgot about speed boosters, never freaking mind this entire comment is pointless!!! but i'm still going to post it

    The most noticable thing i see between my A6400 and my A7iii while using them is ISO performance, at 2000 ISO i can easily see noise on the A6400, with the A7iii, i dont start seeing it in te EVF until around 5000, on desktop review it looks similar at 4000 on the a7iii, but still, maybe the EVF on the A7iii isnt as good, or is out of focus just enough to make it less noticable, but i though they would perform more closely. Everytying else(related to sensor size) can be compensated for IMO, except when using the same F1.4 on both cameras, obviously you could go from an 85 down to a 50 and get about the same FOV on the A6400(76mm equivelant using 50mm), but you cant get that depth of field back, you'd need to get an F0.95 to come close to the depth of field as the 85mm F1.4 on a full frame, and forget a 35mm F1.4

  25. Sikhumbuzo Dlamini Author

    Good job hey. may I ask if it PAL or NTSC frame rates matters anymore. e.g. can I shoot in 60 fps in Africa or 25fps in the US?

  26. ELPLAK Author

    I could be wrong, but the most viewable quality diferente between full frame and smaller format camera is the resulting noise for the same lighting conditions.

  27. ateb3 Author

    5:55 i didnt understand that point, cant you just close the aperture to an f/2.8 (f/1.8 x crop factor of 1.5) so they have the same dof as a super 35?

  28. hypekickerzog Author

    You say my crop won’t stop me from cinematic video..I have a crop of 2.7 (Nikon 1 series) but I rocked it for 3 years with one adapted FD lens and now I‘m going full frame


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