Long have the trials and tribulations of 35mm vs APS-C sensors been debated and I certainly don’t expect this blog post to rise to the top of the sea of posts which have debated the topic in the past. However I feel that such a post would not go a miss on this site.
In my quest to improve my photography, I have progressed for several iterations of camera setup. But the concise journey is as follows: m4/3 to APS-C lenses on a 35mm sensor, to 35mm lenses on a 35mm sensor.
Why is 35mm better than APS-C?
Firstly a definition of APS-C:
Advanced Photo System type-C (APS–C) is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the Advanced Photo System film negative in its C(“Classic”) format, of 25.1×16.7 mm, an aspect ratio of 3:2.
The 35 mm format, or simply 35 mm, is the common name for the 36×24 mm film format or image sensor format used in photography. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43 mm.
A picture paints a thousand words and the above is not exception. This image was created using my Nikon D600, which has the ability to use FX (full frame) and DX (APS-C Crop) lenses. As you can see the major benefit of the 35mm image is the increased field of view (FOV). A greater field of view permits a greater amount of flexibility for landscape shots. It’s not just still images that this applies to, video shot on a 35mm camera will also see the benefits of this naturally wider FOV.
The Drawbacks of 35mm?
“With great field of view, comes great file sizes” – nobody in history.
There are two considerable draw backs to a 35mm camera vs APS-C and other sensor formats of a smaller form factor. These include, but are not limited to:
- Camera Size and weight; a bigger sensor means a bigger camera body to house it.*
- Image file size increase, due to increased amount of light and data captured by the larger sensor**
* Yes Is is 2019 and the small form factor, full frame sensor explosion is well underway. Sony, Panasonic and even Canon are paving the way with new mirrorless 35mm sensors. But for those of us who are stuck in yesteryear or using sloppy seconds off the used market, 35mm cameras are usually hefty units.
**This could be seen as a blessing or a course but for those who are travel with a limited amount of equipment and mobile storage, Having smaller file sizes might be a major benefit and allow you to store more images while carry less storage on your travels.