Full Frame vs APS-C image quality difference

Started Sep 1, 2009 | Discussions thread
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AndreasOberg Contributing Member • Posts: 541
Full Frame vs APS-C image quality difference

I've been looking a lot at graphs for lenses comparing full frame vs APS-C especially at http://www.slrgear.com .

Now, 95% of the people seem to believe that full frame causes much better image quality, but is this really so?

This is the information I gathered, but I would like to hear more from more experienced people. This because I'm comparing 7D and 5D

If you look at high quality lenses they work nearly flawless in APS-C, but have great problems in full frame. The problems we are seeing in full frame are:

  • blurriness at the edges

  • vingetting so the edges are much darker

  • way more chromatic abberation.

Other full frame problems are:

  • lenses will be far more expensive to counter above.

  • heavier lenses.

  • 1/1.6 less zoom.

The full frame has the benefits of:

+ better noise sensitivity because more light hits the sensor but light sensitivity doesn't solve the problems above. This is the biggest benefit

+ Access to more high quality lenses, especially the wide angle lenses can be super sharp. Like 30mm f2.

+ Better cameras. At least until 7D came. You could not get the features of 5D, filming etc unless using full frame.

My opinion is that:

  • full frame is over hyped (but still great for some things).

  • will mostly be good if you have VERY high needs. Like prime super fast wide angle lenses.

  • full frame is mostly in so high regard because the pros would always use it because the cameras are so much better (good settings and focus etc).

I'm prepared to put down maybe 5000 dollars for upgrading my camera equipment

(using price levels in Sweden but translated to dollars so may be a bit strange for you all. they are not super exact so please bear with me)
7D. $1800
10-22. $1000
70-200 2.8 IS. $2500
already have 50mm 1.4 and 17-85 alround and 55-250mm

Sum:This is 2800 without the zoom lens and 5300 with the new zoom.

5D $2700
16-35/2,8 L II USM. $1800
70-200 2.8 IS. $2500
(have 50mm)
(cannot use the 17-85 and 55-250)
24-105/4,0 L IS $1100 for allround

Sum:This is $5700 without the zoom lens and $8200 with the zoom.

As you see I can get a pretty good setup for 2800 with medium quality glass. However the 7D is much less demanding than the 5D.

With 5D the upgrade will cost about 5700 where I live or more so that is about twice the price. Now, big question is actually what the quality difference will be. Any thoughts?


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