I have an APS-C format DSLR. Can I buy a full-frame lens for it? Will it be compatible with my camera?
P Shreyas, Tamil Nadu
This story was originally published in August 2014.
You can rest assured. A full frame lens is, indeed, compatible with a DSLR that has an APS-C sized sensor. However, it is important to know that crop factor will come into play when you use the lens on a cropped sensor body.
Since your camera has a smaller sensor than a full frame camera, the entire area of coverage of the lens will not be utilised. Due to this, the edges end up getting cropped andthe field of view you can see is different. For example, a 50mm lens on a full frame camera behaves like a normal lens. However, on an APS-C format DSLR, it will give a field of view of 75mm or 80mm, which means the corner of the image may end up being cropped.
This will mean that a lens that you would otherwise use for a particular kind of photography, may not be as relevant or useful for the same kind of photography. Consider a 28mm lens, that you would usually use as a wide-angle lens on a film or full frame camera. On an APS-C camera, the same lens will end up giving a normal field of view.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. The imperfections in any set of optics are usually towards the corners. So if you are using a full frame lens on a cropped-sensor body, the corners are anyway getting cut off, thus eliminating any problems like corner softness or vignetting that you might otherwise have seen.
Tags: Lens, DSLR, Question of the Day, APS-C, SENSOR, DECEMBER