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Canon Full Frame or Not?

by Miles Hanley
(Columbia, SC)

Canon 90D Camera

Canon 90D Camera

"I am an enthusiast photographer who will be retiring next year. I plan on doing some photography on the side. I've done several events for friends in the past and have gotten quite a few requests. I have been using a Canon xsi and recently upgraded to the 90d. In your opinion will the 90d suffice for a small side or should I consider getting a full-frame camera with it? And if so, which one would you recommend? Also, should I consider getting mirrorless (seems to be the direction Canon is going) or stick with a good DSLR which can be had for a bargain? (Sorry about the multiple questions.)"

Hi Miles,

Congratulations or your upcoming retirement! That's exciting. That will be quite a change for you, I'm sure.

The question of whether to go with a full frame Canon to stick with your 90D is an interesting one and exactly the same decision I faced, but with a totally different situation behind it.

Canon Full Frame vs. "crop" 90D

I don't think you need to invest in a full frame camera to shoot events. The 90D is such a great camera, capable of outstanding image quality, for both video and stills. I just bought my 90D (as a back-up) and like it so much that I have been using it exclusively, instead of my full-frame Canon 5D Mark III, except for wide angle landscapes and my portraits photography. Your 90D is such a HUGE upgrade from your Xsi-you're going to be thrilled with its performance.

Unless you are shooting a lot of existing light photos under dim lit conditions, where high ISO noise could be an issue, the 90D (small pixels) will serve you well. I bought my 90D because of its superior video capabilities and the 10 frames-per-second wildlife/birds in flight photography abilities.

Canon 90D backup

If you're shooting once in a lifetime events, like weddings, you might want to consider if your Xsi is an adequate backup. Your 90D will be very reliable, but "Pro" photographers should always have a backup camera accessible if you're being depended upon to capture an important moment in time.

Canon 70Ds and Canon 80Ds have become very affordable since the arrival of the 90D and would work perfectly if you feel the need to have a better backup camera for important shoots.. You've already got the EF-S lenses from your Xsi. Going full frame or changing over to mirrorless will likely force you into investing a lot more money for lenses to match.

I hope my answer is helpful to you and please let us (The Canon Geek Readers and me) know how you progress with your decision.

Thanks so much,

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Full Frame For Canon?
by: StephenBP

I went from a 7D mk 1 to a 5D mk 3.
Somewhat later I am very fortunate to have a 1Dx mk 3 and my back up is a 5d mk 4.
Whilst my number one pursuit is birds in flight and they are always too far away so a 1.6 crop factor seems tempting, the shear quality of the pictures that I have taken with my full frame bodies is amazing
When I had the 7d my favourite lens was a 70-200 My number one choice now is a 100-400 mk 2.
Disregarding cost if weight is an important factor to you sticking to the 1.6x crop factor may have advantages. I have a friend who has given up her full frame kit purely on that basis.
Having just bought my amazing 1Dx it will be a long time before I change it but if I was starting from scratch today ( noEF lenses you worry about) I would be watching the developments in mirror less. This isn’t a definitive answer but may contribute.

Thanks StevenBP! :-) Reminder from Bruce: Using a 1.6 crop sensor camera instead of a full frame does not make a given lens any more powerful. It just uses less of the image circle and crops the image tighter because the light is hitting a smaller sensor. There ARE the advantages to APS-C crop cameras of being able to use EF-S or EF lenses, being cheaper, and easier to facilitate fast frame rates (FPS).

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Author Bruce Lovelace
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Bruce Lovelace is the publisher of Canon Camera Geek. Read more about him on the About Page. He also publishes how to articles and camera gear reviews at the Photography Tips website.

View some of Bruce's photos on Instagram  and Flickr  Join the Tribe: YouTube. Visit the Canon Geek FaceBook Group. Bruce runs photo workshops and provides 1 on 1 digital photography coaching.

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