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Full Frame vs Crop Sensor for Video

If there is one topic that has ever been debated for the longest time in the film industry, then it is nothing far from full frame vs crop sensor for video. However, it is very difficult to come up with a conclusion since both have their own advantages as well as their compromises. The end video product is what matters. With such a debate, it can be very challenging to decide on which format is really best for you.

However, with several improvements on the cameras specifically on the format, we need to know how effective it has become and that is why it is still very relevant. Now let's go into depth about this interesting topic and find out if it really matters but first, let's look keenly into each of the formats.

Full Frame Sensor

It is quite undeniable that full-frame shots are very appealing. Lively and exemplary sceneries even in low light bring us the main advantage attached to any of the cameras that support this format of video.

The ultra-shallow depth and surreal feeling that feels something more than life could be the feeling that is immediate when it comes to full-frame video shots. However, we must agree that there is much that comes as disadvantages of this format.

For example, the full-frame lenses are quite rare to find a perfect fit for the exact outcome that you might need. It is also important to consider the fact that full-frame glasses are quite expensive. However, it is still not enough to get it off your list since we have to look at both sides and a number of factors first before we come to a good conclusion.

Crop Sensor

Away from the overall capture that is common with the full-frame cameras, we need to look into the cropped view that comes about with the crop sensor which basically befits the 35mm standard film. On this, it is important to mention some of the DSLRs such as the LUMIX GH4 which are quite a good illustration for the specific four-thirds size sensor.

When we talk about anything to do with this four-thirds size sensor, we basically mean that there must be a focal multiplier of 2. This basically means that if you got a 50 mm lens to fit in, the image or video you come up with is essentially under a crop of 100mm.

With this format, you can find it a little difficult to take some shots which are far much easier done with the full-frame format.

From the section above, we can now be able to distinguish the shortcomings as well as the advantages of each format. For instance, full-frame video shots are easy to take in low light while you can enjoy great flexibility in terms of lens extension and interchange options on, the crops sensor shot. 

Talking of capability of the two, a number of experienced filmmakers and directors often do not support cutting out on which of the two formats is better. A GH4, for example, can provide a quality HDSLR with such amazing features as video monitors and slow-motion options all in one relatively small device. 

On the other side, the distinction makes it clear that the format is important but a number of factors further affect the outcome. What we get from this, therefore, is that we need not be choosy on the kind of camera formats we use for video.

I basically would say that each of the formats has its own peak of performance depending on their capability in different film environments and experiences.

After getting to understand what effect the two have on the final video outcome we can get to critically review our debate on which of the two is a good selection for filmmaking both at an individual and professional levels.

Full Frame vs Crop Sensor

It is quite a predicament to really decide which format should suit you well if you just acquired a new camera. What I would advise in that case is that you need not worry about the image quality since the hands with the camera decide that.

Camera Sensor Size

Shots have been taken on both formats and they tend to look more or less the same depending on how well you capture the events. The main focus should be on what you really plan to be taking videos of.

If you plan on calm scenarios, the full-frame cameras would do you good. The reason why I choose this for storytelling and calm events is that it is not as easy to pull focus with such a camera especially in scenes that require instant adjustment of focus.

You can slowly pull in and out to capture the best of the event at any time with a full-frame. You can also use full-frame cameras for all low lighting scenes and wherever you need to fix still images as you go by.

On the other hand, if you need to take nice videos in what some people describe as a guerilla setting. That simply means a film with some quick action with an intense need for movement and adjustment to get the clearest of the focus you would need to consider a dedicated focus puller.

Some models consider the fact that a manageable size would suit that best and have a fix for this. You can consider a crop sensor for such scenes since they can capture such scenes well.


It is still not clear which of the two formats is the best for video shooting but at least we are now able to see which one is best for which place or type of video. As I mentioned early, what you shoot with the camera is far much important than what format you use.

It is therefore still not very clear that which one is best or better for that case when we are talking about full frame vs crop sensor for video. The decision fully relies on what you are shooting a video of.


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