However, just like with any other photographer, wedding photographers can buy new gear too often or buy photography gear that is frankly not even needed to shoot a quality wedding. The main thing I see wedding photographers buying that they don’t necessarily need is a full-frame camera. Don’t get me wrong, full-frame cameras are great… for landscape and nature photography. I just don’t see their benefit to weddings and portraits.
What’s the Difference?
When I’m talking with people interested in photography, people always ask me, “What is the difference between a full frame DSLR and a crop sensor DSLR?” Let’s go way back to the start of the saga with the death of film. Film’s most popular size was 35mm, however, when the DSLR camera came out, none of the sensors, which replaced film, were equivalent to 35mm. So, the big wigs at Canon put their heads together and came up with a sensor that was equivalent to 35mm. Thus began the great debate of full frame vs crop sensor.
Once the full frame sensor was introduced, Canon had to label all other sensors something. So, they chose to call them crop sensor DSLR cameras. Full frame sensors are actually 35mm equivalent sensors and crop sensors are APS-C sized sensors (as you might have seen them called before).
Positives of a full frame DSLR:
1) Low Light Performance – The performance of a full frame DSLR camera in low light situations cannot be beat. Their ISO goes WAY up there!
2) Depth of Field – You may have tried to copy someone’s photograph using a lot of depth of field and noticed you can’t get as much as they could even with a wide open aperture such as f/1.8. That’s because full frame DSLR cameras can produce more depth of field because of their larger sensor size.
3) Bells and Whistles – Unfortunately, camera companies stay stingy when it comes to features that are built into DSLR cameras. Full frame cameras get more features built in, and crop sensors get the basics. It’s sad, really. If you want a crop sensor that has a lot of features (it still won’t have as many as a full frame would) look for the Canon 7d Mark II under Hobbyist Cameras on my recommended gear page HERE
Negatives of a full frame DSLR:
1) Price – Full frame DSLR cameras are ridiculously expensive. Like, save for a couple years to buy one, expensive. In recent years, some full frame DSLR cameras have come down in price to tease us, but they are still very expensive. The best and cheapest full frame you can buy is the Canon 6d. Look it up under Hobbyist Cameras on my recommended gear page HERE
2) Field of View – If you are a landscape photographer, don’t even read this because you want a larger field of view. All other photographers beware. Full frame DSLR cameras have a much wider field of view which won’t allow you to zoom as close to a subject like you are used to if you have been using a crop sensor.
Something else to watch for: When you are purchasing lenses, be careful which ones you buy. Canon EF lenses will work on both full frame and crop sensor DSLR cameras, however, EF-S will only work on their line of crop sensor DSLR cameras. As for the Nikon users, Nikon says that both FX and DX lenses will work on full frame and crop sensor, but some DX lenses won’t be able to handle the full frame and will show shadowy black borders on the edge of photographs. Just be careful what you buy.
My thoughts: To be honest, I like full frame DSLR cameras because my passion is landscape photography, but I do not think they are necessary. I’m actually currently using a crop sensor. I can accomplish everything a full frame DSLR can do with my crop sensor DSLR. It’s just a matter of positioning yourself to get the same effect that a full frame would have. If you are a landscape photographer, I’d fully support your decision to go full frame although I don’t think it’s necessary. However, if you do portraits, wildlife, or anything that might require a lot of close up photographs, I’d think twice about a full frame DSLR because you will lose the extra zoom that a crop sensor DSLR will provide.
Advantages of Crop Sensors in Weddings
The one advantage that makes me recommend crop sensor cameras for wedding photographers is their ability to get the extra bit of zoom. Very rarely are you in any situation that would require you to get a crazy close wide angle shot of a couple, and even if you had to do that once in every one thousand shots, you could have an appropriate lens to do so.
So often in weddings, photographers are shooting from the rear of the audience, trying to get the perfect shots of the perfect moments. And often times, having just a slight boost in zoom will allow the perfect shots.
Look, if you’re a wedding photographer and you’ve done very well for yourself, you can shoot with a full-frame if you want. However, if you’re new to the game, don’t blow a bunch of money on a full-frame camera. You can still shoot an amazing wedding with a crop sensor.
24 MP, 11 FPS, 179 AF points, ISO 100-25,600. Am I crazy to put such a small mirrorless camera this high in my rankings? Some might think so. However, you should not be fooled by the stature of the a6000. If you’re looking at the size of the camera to determine how good it is, you’re looking at the wrong thing. Yes, the a6000 is small, but it shoots images that rival some of the expert cameras! Plus, if you’re switching from landscapes to wildlife, the 11 FPS and the 179 AF points (which Sony states as being the fastest AF detection system on the market) are going to allow you to shoot unrivaled photos. This is an amazing camera. Size doesn’t matter, results do.
Buy it on Amazon
Canon 7d Mark II
20.2 MP, 10FPS, 65 AF points, ISO 100-16,000. It’s official. I’m obsessed with the 7D Mark II. I’m often upset when manufacturers roll out a second edition of a camera model because it disappoints me a lot, however the 7D Mark II is a different story. Packing 65 AF points, an outrageous ISO range, and 10 FPS into a crop sensor camera is unheard of, but Canon pulled it off! Don’t let the 20.2 MP scare you. Yes, it’s no 36 MP sensor, but it will give you images just as clear. The new APSC sensor allows for a wider ISO range for optimal low light performance. It’s crazy that a crop sensor takes the top spot for the hobbyist category, beating out a full-frame DSLR, but the FPS and the overall quality of the 7D Mark II shines brightly.
Buy on Amazon