Full-frame lenses: 4 quick tips for the first-timer

Full-frame lenses: 4 quick tips for the first-timer

All lenses create a circular image, and your camera’s sensor simply records a rectangular portion of this. A full-frame compatible lens creates an image circle the covers the full-frame sensor, and provides a cropped image with a smaller ‘crop-factor’ sensor. In this quick guide we offer four must-know tips for getting to grips with full-frame lenses for the first time.

Full-frame lenses: 4 quick tips for the first-timer

1 Compatibility
Full-frame lenses are designed to work with cameras with full-frame sensors, but are fully compatible with smaller APS-C sensors. You’ll need to multiply the focal length of the lens by x1.6 to work out the ‘effective’ focal length.

SEE MORE: Full frame sensor size – how to exploit its advantages and cool effects

2 Wide-angle woes
The sensor size has a negative impact when using a wide full-frame lens on an APS-C camera: a 24mm full-frame lens gives roughly the same angle of view as 40mm lens. When it comes to choosing a wide full-frame lens, go wider than you think you’ll need…

3 Tele advantage
…this magnification effect is a bonus for long lenses. A 70-200mm lens on an APS-C camera delivers the same view as 112-320mm on a full-frame camera, while a 500mm telephoto lens effectively becomes a whopping 800mm!

Full-frame lenses: 4 quick tips for the first-timer

4 Full frame
Using a full-frame lens on a full-frame camera means that not only do you get the full picture when shooting wide-angle pictures, you can also achieve shallow depth of field effects more easily – great for producing pro-looking portraits.


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  • Hectic B

    I stand t be corrected but I think the crop and zoom factor of x1.6 applies to Canon only if I’m not mistaken. I believe Nikon has a factor of x1.5.