Why No One NEEDS a Full Frame Camera

Chris Gampat Julianne Margiotta's Edits (54 of 56)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 3.2

Almost everyone dreams of getting their hands on a full frame 35mm digital camera, and while people want it, they don’t need it necessarily. So why would you need a full frame camera? Two reasons are high ISO image quality and more megapixels, particularly if your job demands these things. Additionally, if you need a shallower depth of field than what you’re capable of getting (though wide aperture lenses are always available) then you may need a full frame camera. But again, this isn’t entirely necessary.

Not many people really NEED a full frame camera–and if you do then why not shoot with 120 film or 645 medium format digital?

No One Looking at the Images Can Really Tell the Difference

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 5Ds first impressions sample images (5 of 9)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 4.0

The myth of better photos is only a technical one. You’re bound to one day be browsing the web and find someone who shot an absolutely incredible photo with a Fujifilm X-T1, and you’ll then be very envious of them and look at your full frame camera while thinking to yourself that it just isn’t performing the way you want it to.

The truth is that the most important part of a camera is the person behind it who’s executing a vision as well as following through with their motivations to actually create better photos in post-production.

Now here’s the other more important thing: no one looking at your images is seriously going to wonder what camera you’re shooting with unless the person is looking to purchase a new camera or a photographer themselves. Instead, they’ll be too caught up with what they’re looking at.

If you can’t captivate a person with one camera, then you can’t do it with any of them.

The Depth of Field Factor


When people start out using full frame cameras, they start to realize all of their flaws as photographers. The slightest camera shake is magnified and focusing issues happen due to the larger surface area, among other things. What they also start to realize is that in order to get more of a scene in focus, they need to stop their lenses down. This means also needing to possibly shoot at slower shutter speeds or higher ISOs. For example, if you want to get the equivalence of f5.6 in focus with a full frame camera, then you’re stopping down to f5.6. But with a Micro Four Thirds camera, you only need to stop down to f2.8 and you’ll therefore also get more light gathering abilities.

Modern APS-C and Four Thirds Sensors Are Incredible

This brings us to our next fact: APS-C and Four Thirds sensors have far improved on what they were. For many years, people didn’t think that Four Thirds sensors would be able to handle high ISO output very well because they were so much smaller. But after a while, they caught up. Additionally, Fujifilm’s X-Trans sensors are used by many photographers for the incredible colors and the way that the images are rendered. In fact, you can argue that they’ve got the best colors in the industry (though Sigma’s Foveon sensors should really get some love too.)

A Full Frame Camera Is Worthless Without Incredible Lenses

More important than any camera are the lenses that are used with them. Once you get this camera, you’ll need much better lenses to take advantage of it. I’ve known many photographers who work professionally and had to face this problem despite working with the same camera and lenses for many years.

If you’re going to go the full frame route, upgrade your lenses first and then go for the camera.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.