Format? What Format? What Is Your Format? Is It Better? What Is it? What Does It Mean

Sensor_sizes1Who the hell made 35mm size sensor format the standard for the consumer.  Why was it not APS?  Why was it not 2 1/4 by 2 1/4, and why not the one inch size?  I mean let’s get down to the nitty-gritty as to how much difference there is for the average everyday consumer, which is the majority by the way, does it really make in the final image that gets posted or printed in the most popular sizes of 4×5, 5×7, 8×10.  By the way those most popular viewing sizes is what most of us can fit on our walls and albums.

It was not too long ago  at a person I know bought their first digital interchangeable lens camera.   She put her point and shoot camera in a desk draw, swore to stop using her phone and concentrate on this new camera that was going to open her whole world to superb photography. She bought a Fuji Xt1 and a couple of zooms and while like other cameras of this type, there were many new controls, menu items, and things that she needed to learn how to use but she was excited about this new adventure.

Did I steer her towards the Fuji X system?  Yes I did.  I did that because coming from the world of point and shoots and phone cameras, the Fuji offered a power house of features that unlike many other cameras were easy to access.  The fact that I use Fuji was not the reason for my advice.  There are a lot of good cameras out there.  Olympus Micro Four Thirds, Panasonic Micro Four Thirds, Nikon, Canon, Pentax, etc.  But in my opinion and only my opinion in this case the Fuji was the easiest to work with.  Others may disagree, but the final decision was hers because the camera and lenses had to be comfortable for her to use.

Note: The Fuji X system uses an aps-c sensor and it gives a 1.5 crop factor

Enter stage left or perhaps stage right, another friend of hers and mine who professes to being “professional” photographer, did exactly what a friend/mentor/advisor giving advice to a new Interchangeable Len Camera user really should not have done. He told her that she had made a serious mistake by buying the wrong camera. His “professional” logic was based on the fact that her camera was using a Aps-c sensor instead of a full frame sensor.

This was a conversation that he and I had in the past and I had challenged him on several occasions to show me, putting printing wall size murals, if he could see a difference in the same image, one taken with the APS sensor camera and one taken with the a “full frame sensor.” He could not and most people whether they are professional photographers, advanced beginners, or just starting out can or will ever be able to point out serious issues with either sensor size whether it be one inch, micro four thirds, Aps or full frame.

Note: A full frame sensor is equal in size to a 35mm film frame

Putting aside the sales hype from camera manufacturers, I feel that photographers hoping to educate and inspire new photographers should keep their mouths shut when it comes telling other photographers that they are “wrong” simply because they purchased a APS or Micro Four Thirds sensor camera.  That not only puts doubts in a new photographers mind, and gives them a lack of confidence about the gear they just slapped down thousands of dollars for.

I grew up learning photography early on from my dad.  He always stressed that it was never a matter of what equipment I used, but how I used it and most important how I produced the photograph in my own way.  He knew then and I know now that is not the gear but the photographer behind the viewfinder of the camera.

The camera is a tool used to gather light. And, like any tool, there are different cameras for different jobs. The DSLR might be the photographic equivalent of a pocket-sized multi-tool, but it is not always the right camera for every job. Continuing that thought process, there is not only a market for the DX sensor cameras, there are real-world benefits to their operation and those fans of DX should not be criticized for their choice of tools.

So, if you are shopping for a new DX DSLR camera, or you are a fan of the DX sensor and its advantages, know that there is no reason to bury your head in the sand or feel envy when someone comes by with their FX machine—the world will keep spinning about its axis. Meanwhile, go out and create some great photographs with your camera—regardless of the sensor size.

There are proponents on all sides, and everyone is right and everyone is wrong.  But to say I favor one over the other would be one heck of an exaggeration.  I do not care.  Every sensor size has a purpose and to tell someone who they made a mistake in what they bought is simply self-defeating.  Instead, if you are capable, help them improve their photography instead of putting them down for what they own.

This video sort of wraps it all up in a nice package.



One thought on “Format? What Format? What Is Your Format? Is It Better? What Is it? What Does It Mean

  1. Comment try two. The biggest decision is about the glass. My son uses lenses I bought 50 years ago. Cameras will change as digital technology evolves. Lenses will improve to but probably much more slowly than the cameras.


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