Full-frame versus APS-C: Portrait photographer Manny Ortiz pits the Sony A9 versus the A6500


posted Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 4:00 PM EDT


Full frame versus crop cameras…a battle which has been going on for a long time with no indication that it'll be ending anytime soon. If you're reading Imaging Resource, there's a good chance you've debated between a crop sensor and a full-frame camera yourself at some point and perhaps you've owned both. Diving deep into gallery images and test shots reveals that, all else equal, there is a difference in image quality in different situations when you change the size of a sensor. How much does this matter in real-world shooting?

Portrait photographer Manny Ortiz wanted to find out. In a recent video, seen below, Ortiz used a full-frame Sony A9 with a Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master lens and a crop-sensor Sony A6500 with a Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 lens. To help even things out with respect to depth of field, he shot the 85mm lens at f/2.8 (except for when shooting night photos, which he did at f/1.8). Of course, it is worth considering that one of the potential advantages of a full-frame camera over an APS-C camera is the difference in depth of field. Nonetheless, can you tell the difference between the images shot with the A9 and the A6500 in the video below?

Personally, I think the images out of both cameras are fantastic. With that said, there are definitely situations when each sensor has distinct advantages. For example, all else equal, a full-frame sensor typically delivers better dynamic range and offers better image quality in low light. On the other hand, the crop factor when shooting with an APS-C camera can be very advantageous for sports and wildlife photographers. As is almost always the case in photography, what matters is getting the right gear for you and your personal workflow. There are many great options out there and amazing cameras come in nearly all sensor sizes.

(Via Manny Ortiz