Zack Arias Schools You on Why the Full Frame vs APS-C Debate is Crap

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What’s the difference between a full-frame and APS-C sized sensor? You might think it’s quality but according to famous photographer Zack Arias it’s really just about having a sensor that’s just a tiny bit bigger. Arias put out a new humorous and biting video that debates the advantage of full-frame sensors over the course of 11-minutes (plus two and half minutes of bonus gear porn).

Arias does not mince words and points out the size difference between sensors pales in comparison to film days when image sizes became exponentially larger. Going back in time Arias gives us a history lesson on how film photographers though bigger was better. Medium format was better than 35mm film, large format was better than medium, and then real large format users took pictures with 8 x 10-inch frames, not that baby crap 4 x 5-inch paper.

Arias said people think bigger is better applies to digital sensors in the same way. Sure APS-C sensors used to have poorer high ISO performance, but technology has advanced to the point where a Micro Three Fourth sensor backed Panasonic GH4 can perform amazingly at ISO 12,800. Otherwise the only other advantage full-frame sensors have is the ability to resolve slightly more bokeh.

To sum up the video, Arias says the difference is negligible. To illustrate this he chooses to use the Fujifilm X-T1 over the Nikon D4s for his next shoot. Lastly the famous street photographer points out cameras from full-frame DSLRs, to APS-C mirrorless cameras, and even Go-Pros are amazing cameras, but at the end of the day they’re just pieces of gear. What really matters is the “moron behind the camera”—that’s you by the way—because you’re the one who knows about composition and lighting.

Make sure to watch until the end of the video for all the gear porn set to trance music.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee is a freelance journalist and photographer based in Brooklyn.