How to get the most out of any camera.
No matter what type of camera you opt for, here are a few practices you can adopt to get the best shot possible with the gear you’ve got.
Invest in full-frame lenses.
“If you’re going to use a crop sensor, the best thing you can do for yourself is invest in a full-frame lens,” says Silva. “At the end of the day, the glass is more important than anything.” Lenses tend to hold their value better than camera bodies and are equally, if not more, responsible for the image quality you can get out of your camera.
“You can use a full-frame lens on a crop sensor, but not the other way around,” adds Whitehouse. If you want to save money on a crop sensor but think you might upgrade to a full frame later, it’ll be less expensive in the long run to invest in quality glass now. This will help you to easily scale up your kit without having to sell and replace costly items.
Shoot in RAW.
Uncompressed RAW files capture much more information than a compressed JPG, but the good news is that both crop and full-frame sensor cameras can shoot RAW. To maximize your image quality, shoot in RAW whenever possible. With RAW files, you can recover highlights and shadows in post that would be lost if left to JPGs.
The camera doesn’t make the photographer.
At the end of the day a camera is a tool, much like a paintbrush is to a painter. You can make a good photo with your smartphone or with a $10,000 Leica, but the most important parts of photography come down to your eye as the photographer. Consider the basic blueprints of strong visuals, such as light, composition, color, and contrast, and you can come away with a good photo no matter what camera you have in your hand.
Which sensor size is right for you?
While full frames will almost always be considered the industry standard for working professionals, there are so many great camera options that the decision between the two often comes down to the individual photographer’s needs and goals.
“Crop sensor cameras are getting so good that image quality alone isn’t enough of a reason to choose a full frame over crop sensor,” says Whitehouse. In many cases, a full frame might be more camera than you need — at least right now. Know your needs and from there weigh the pros and cons of each option.
“The most important thing is to assess what you’re taking images of,” says Whitehouse. “Many people shoot full frame who don’t need to. A crop sensor is a good place to start because you get great quality at a lower price point.”
Now that you know the ins and outs of sensor sizes, you’re ready to pick the camera that best suits your style. Remember that technical specs are important, but they’re not everything; if the camera inspires you to get out and shoot, it’s the one for you.