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Full Frame vs Crop Sensor: Which is Better for Portraits?

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If you shoot portraits and you’re not sure if you should upgrade from the APS-C system you’re using to that full-frame body you’re coveting, read this first. Photographer Manny Ortiz gives you a side-by-side comparison between the APS-C Sony a6000 and the full frame Sony a7 II for portrait photography so you can see the difference for yourself.

Manny created this video comparison because he keeps on getting this question: “should I upgrade to a full-frame camera.” His followup question is always, “do you shoot portraits” and this video explains why.

For the comparison, he brought out his Sony a6000 with a Sony 55mm f/1.8 (equivalent focal length 82.5) and his a7 II with the Sony GMaster 85mm f/1.4. The GMaster was shot at f/1.7 and the 55mm at f/1.8. Check out the results below:

Sony a7II
Full frame. Sony a7II
Sony a6000
Crop sensor. Sony a6000
Sony a7II
Full frame. Sony a7II
Sony a6000
Crop sensor. Sony a6000
Sony a7II
Full frame. Sony a7II
Sony a6000
Crop sensor. Sony a6000
Sony a7II
Full frame. Sony a7II
Sony a6000
Crop sensor. Sony a6000

Initially we were going to post these in random order and let you guess before we told you which was which… but the difference is too obvious. The a6000 images have a much clearer background. So rather than make this a guessing game, we’ll let it be a straightforward comparison.

In the end, Ortiz says what I think most professional photographers would tell you: it doesn’t really matter if you’re shooting APS-C or Full-Frame for your portraits as long as you’ve got good glass in front of that camera. Yes, there are advantages (as you can see above) to shooting full-frame using the same equivalent focal length, but it’s not make-or-break.

Check out the full live comparison up top, and if you want to see more from Manny, visit website, subscribe on YouTube, or give him a follow on Instagram and Facebook.


Image credits: All photographs by Manny Ortiz and used with permission.

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