You Had Me at Full Frame Sensor... Today’s lesson is about digital cameras.

Back in the fall of 2005, when I got my first dSLR, the Canon EOS 20D, I didn’t know anything about this sensor stuff. I thought they were all the same, and just like SLR cameras. I got my 50mm lens for Christmas 2005, a few weeks later I took a photo class at the junior college (not to learn about photography as much as to get to play in the darkroom and earn the art credit that I needed for a degree), and when shooting with a true SLR camera – you know, using film – I realized that the 50mm lens on that one produced images that were cropped completely different.

It was then that I learned about the crop factor (1:1.3) sensor that is found in the majority of digital SLR cameras out there on the market.

See, there is a sensor at the back of the camera, which acts as your film. Only thing is, it isn’t as large as piece of film, it is a cropped sensor – so you don’t get to use the full frame of what a 35mm frame of film would be. It is as if your camera has a bit of a zoom to it, built in. If you want to take a zoomed photo, this isn’t a bad thing really, and it is something you learn to work around if you’re even aware of it.

(In case you wondered, SLR stands for “Single Lens Reflex” if you wondered – the camera has a mirror, which allows you to see exactly what you’re going to photograph. You push the button, the mirror goes up, the sensor is exposed, the mirror goes down and you have a photograph.)

Canon introduced the 5D back in 2005, and it was among the first full frame sensor cameras to hit the market. (The first at a somewhat reasonable price, as the other Canons that included it were geared towards the $8000 market!) A lens on this camera functions just like a lens on a SLR. Nikon has just announced that they are releasing a full frame sensor camera at last, and it has the pro photographers buzzing. However, I have Canon lenses, and I’ve wanted this camera for a long, long time. With the most recent weddings that I have booked, my financial advisor (aka Mike) and I sat down and analyzed the business end of things and decided that it was time to do it. My 30D will now move to position of backup camera and hold the 10-22mm EF-S wide angle lens that I love, because the only downside to the EF-S system of lenses is that they don’t work on the 5D. (Yes, I knew this when I got the lens.) My 20D will now become my backup backup camera, and Jason can use it more freely without me stressing out about it. Mike could take it with him on business trips. The list goes on.

And, since it often comes up, I don’t think a photographer that is starting out needs a 5D. I don’t think a photographer that has been taking photographs for 20 years necessarily needs a 5D. The Canon Rebel XTi is an AWESOME camera, and one that I highly, highly recommend. The new Canon 40D will also be very great – like the 20D and 30D before it, it has different controls than the XTi, and probably a slightly heavier body and other features I’m not aware of, so if I was just moving into the dSLR market, those are the two cameras I would probably be looking at. I started out with the 20D because I purchased it used and got a very good price on it.

When it came to getting the 5D, we made the decision based on the fact that I need a camera that is great in low light situations like weddings and receptions (the 5D rocks, even in candlelight conditions) and because of the very nature of weddings – a once in a lifetime event. With clients trusting me and investing in me, I must invest in using the very best that I can use to capture those priceless memories for them. Equipment and workshops will continue to be a part of my business plan – it simply makes sense and helps me be the best that I can possibly be.

All that said, I do have to confess – the full frame sensor makes me a little bit giddy. I may have squealed when I opened the box from Amazon today, and nearly hugged the UPS man when he showed up with it.

Cross posted at Big Pink Cookie.

Along Came a Spider
Spineybacked Orb Weaver, identified thanks to Elaine and Jeff, with a web across about 5 feet of my backyard. Photographed with the 30D early this morning – before UPS arrived.

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Christine

Author, Coach, Blog Geek. Blogger of 15 years, I named WordPress. My Superpower: Helping entrepreneurs like you use the power of storytelling across blogging & social media to magnetize clients and dominate your market. It is time to stop believing the lies of the Perfection Culture. I live in Houston, Texas when I'm not traveling in my Mini Cooper.
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