Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Questions About Nature Photography? I'm Here to Help!


Hi Everyone! I'm Tim, a senior technician here at Canon. I'm going to be here on the Canon Forum, live later today, from 3:30-4:00pm EST to kick off a community discussion on Nature Photography! I'll be here to answer your questions, provide tips and bounce ideas around, so drop on by and join in on our conversation!


I'm a long time photographer with over fifteen years of technical and photographic experience with Canon and the imaging industry. I particularly enjoy working with full-frame cameras and Canon's Cinema EOS gear, and take every opportunity I can to capture the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean near my home.

Did this answer your question? Please click the Accept as Solution button so that others may find the answer as well.

The reply was not entirely directed towards you. But to both you and Tim so it reflected both.

But you are free to call the camera any thing you like. However, when trying to explain to a new person or someone that doesn't not know what is actually going on, it is somewhat confusing.

And the fact a “crop” camera does not actually crop anything is a reality.

It is easier to say “crop camera” and that phrase has entered our jargon. It is likely to remain but does not release us from explaining to new photographers what it really means.


I have talked with some new people that believe the focal length changes depending on what body it it used on. Some of them are right here on this forum. Unless we correct at least the basics, this is likely to continue. Not that is really matters to most people but the effort is there.  Most people could care less what those numbers stamped on a lens mean.


You as a seasoned photographer should realize this. No, maybe not?

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

@ebiggs1 wrote:

And the fact a “crop” camera does not actually crop anything is a reality.

No, it's not.  It provided a cropped image relative to a 35mm sensor.





@ebiggs1 wrote:

You as a seasoned photographer should realize this. No, maybe not?

Heh.  Ad hominem attack aside, not necessarily, no.  As you implied, the numbers don’t actually mean anything, it’s only the result I get of one number relative to others.  Do I care that the physical distance from the rear lens element to the image plane is 70mm in both systems?  Or do I care that the APS-C system will show me, ahem, a cropped field of view relative to the 35mm system, about what I would get if I was at 112mm.  The engineer in me likes to know how and why, but the photographer only cares about the image it provides.

No matter how many pretty pictures you show with colored lines on it, no crop takes place. The crop camera never sees that. It doesn't know it even exists. There is nothing to crop. Most DSLR owners never have or use a FF camera in first place. Nobody tries to claim P&S's are crop cameras. The 1 series cameras are generally not considered crop cameras. Are 4x5's considered enlargement cameras? No. Because this is all photographic jargon to try and explain the relationship of the focal length of the lens. You are entering a time where lot's of people never used a film camera so "crop camera" is actually meaningless to them. When they here that they think some sorta crop takes place in the camera and that is wrong. I'll bet Tim wishes he never said a word!
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Put me in the camp with those who call them "crop" cameras.  I say it is the perfect term to use because I think it does best job of describing the relationship between the various camera formats. 


The 35mm SLR has become a sort of "Gold Standard" when it comes to photography, and everything else is either a crop camera or a large (or medium) format camera.  Larger formats like 6x7 or 4x5 are not very well known, but most people have at least some knowledge of  the 35mm Single Lens Reflex or SLR camera.  


Even if the reader has never seen or heard of a 35mm film camera, they are bombarded with the 35mm focal length equivalent.  This is evidenced by the fact that most photography websites and reviewers will include the 35mm equivalent when the focal length of any camera or camera/lens combination is talked about. 


Mike Sowsun

Mike I have no problem calling them “crop cameras” either. As I stated that has entered our jargon. It is likely here to stay. The only thing I try to do is explain what actually are the facts. Because the term is mis-leading.


Most of the people in my classes, these days have no idea what film or 35mm is. Also most do not go to the photography forums. They just want to shoot, in this case nature photos. Somebody inevitably brings up the word crop camera. Immediately that new person thinks the $1000 they just spent was on an inferior camera.


EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Would just like to clarify, I fully understand the size difference of the sensors, how much image comes through the lens and is projected on the sensor, I grew up and studied using 35mm film, the question is not for shooting nature but for shooting wild wildlife and yet I still am not wrapping my mind around WHY or HOW an APS-C sensor is getting me 1.6x closer to that bear than my FF camera (both with the same lens setup).


To me the following equation does not make sense, but this is how it is:


APS-C Camera + 300mm = FF Camera + 300mm + 1.4extender (roughly)


Any how, rather enjoying the discussion.



Here is a simple way to understand it:


Take a full frame camera and then VERY carefully apply tape to the image sensor to mask off (crop) the sensor until it is the same size as your 1.6 crop camera.  


Now take a photo. The photo will need to be cropped to remove the area that is not exposed.  When you print that image or view it on a computer screen,  it will be look as though it was taken with a lens that is 1.6 times longer.









Mike Sowsun

Correct Mike, thus it apears 1.6x closer but in fact is not.

So when a company describes a lens as a 600mm or a 960mm equivelant on a APS-C camera, it is infact misleading.


Bringing this question up because I have noticed other well published wildlife photographers shooting a subject only to remove their Mark III from the lense and put on a 70D to shoot the exact same angle, lighting, etc, when infact the same result could be achieved in post production.

The reason they remove their "Mark III" and use a 70D is so that the pixel density is higher on that "Cropped" image. If you had a huge megapixel camera, you wouldn't need to use the 70D.  

Mike Sowsun

"Would just like to clarify, ..."


The term crop factor has confusing implications. A similar term could be "focal length multiplier". (FLM)   It is often used sometimes for this reason.


Lenses, of a given focal length, seem to produce greater magnification on crop-factor cameras than they do on full-frame cameras.  This is an advantage for say bird photography, where photographers often strive to get the maximum "reach".


A given lens casts the same image no matter what camera it is attached to. There is no crop. The actual specification that does change is “angle of acceptance”. Plus there are other factors to consider too like DOF (depth of field). Which will be exactly the same is the projected image is exactly the same, BTW.


The best advice is to forget the term crop camera or crop factor and get a lens that shows you, in your view finder, what you want. Whether it is a 300mm, 480mm equivalent or whatever.


This is just the surface of factors that determine what an image looks like in the end.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!