Sunday Snapshot: Nerding Out on Crop Factor

They say that the best camera is the one you have in your hand. For the last two years, that camera has been my trusty Canon EOS 7D Mark II. Until now. 

My latest and greatest purchase is a Canon EOS 6D

What inspired this change, you ask? It all started when I rented a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV for a work project. I was photographing an NBA player and needed a full frame sensor to capture his entire height in one shot. My 7D camera was simply not going to cut it. 7Ds have a 1.6x crop factor on their sensors, which basically means that it zooms the focal length on a lens by 60%. So, a lens with a 50mm focal length actually has a focal length of 80mm when placed on a camera with a 1.6x crop factor. This is great if you're shooting something far away like wildlife or even landscapes, but a real annoyance for everyday use. If I had a nickel for every time I was pressed up against a wall to get an entire subject in my frame, I could retire.

I had the 5D rental for an entire week, and boy did I take full advantage. I carted that camera around with me everywhere. I used it to re-shoot some of my favorite shots around the city under higher quality conditions. (Not only is the 5D a full frame camera, but it also has many other qualities superior to my 7D like better sensors, larger photos, etc.) 

The first time I used my 7D after I returned the 5D, I knew I was in trouble. I'd been so spoiled by the 5D's full frame sensors that my 7D just wasn't cutting it. Or rather, it was cutting it too much! (camera humor) 

I knew owning a 5D was pretty much unattainable at this point. They're really nice, brand new cameras, that are well out of my price range. But that didn't mean I couldn't find a comparable full frame camera at a better price! 

Enter B & H Photo. Their online store features a refurbished equipment section that typically has some pretty stellar deals, complete with warranty packages. It's here that I found my beautiful new 6D. This is the perfect camera for me right now because it's:

  1. waterproof (I won't let the rain stop me!)
  2. half the price of a 5D mark iv
  3. has nearly identical specs to my 7D

With this camera, I feel like I'm photographing my cake and eating it too. Let me show you how big of a difference a crop factor can make:


The photo above was the last photo I took with my 7D Mark II. It is an upward shot of a chandelier at Union Station in Kansas City. I had to stand perfectly still to get the entire circumference of the chandelier in my shot. Is it a beautiful photo? Yes. But was it nearly impossible to get without laying on the ground in the middle of Union Station? You bet.

Now here's that same shot, taken with my new 6D. (Nevermind that the lighting was completely different in this photo. Different day, different conditions.) Look at how much more of the ceiling is captured with this camera! I could re-align and crop for days.

Here's another example:

Shot with my 7D mark ii (1.6x crop factor)

Shot with my 7D mark ii (1.6x crop factor)

Shot with my 6D (full frame!)

Shot with my 6D (full frame!)

The difference is night and day! And I couldn't have made the switch at a better time. Vince and I just got back from a week-long hiking/camping trip through some of America's most beautiful national parks. Toting around the 6D let me capture entire mountains and landscapes in one shot. Expect to see photos from that adventure on the site soon!