The large Canon lineup of digital SLR cameras makes choosing a Canon DSLR camera body or kit a daunting task, complicated by the huge number of specifications and choices available across Canon’s product range. This article will hopefully make your search for a Canon DSLR camera body an easier task by looking at two specific factors to consider while making your Canon DSLR choice: lens compatibility and image sensor size.
Full Frame Image Sensors vs. 1.6x Field of View Crop Factor Sensors
Choosing the wrong image sensor size can impact how your lenses will function and, to some degree, how much use you will get out of a camera body if you decide to purchase high quality Canon lenses in the future. Canon Digital Rebel Series, D60, D30, 50D, 40D, 30D, 20D, and 10D bodies all have a 1.6x field of view crop factor (FOVCF) image sensor. The image sensor in these bodies is smaller, and as such the focal length of a lens is effectively multiplied by about 1.6 times when used in conjunction with these camera bodies.
For example a lens with a 100mm focal length on a Canon Digital Rebel becomes about the same focal length as a 160mm lens. Canon also offers 1.3x FOVCF image sensor bodies. Additionally, Canon’s professional lineup of bodies including the Canon 5D have full frame image sensors. These full frame image sensors are great for wide-angle photography. Full frame sensors also improve image quality and sharpness.
EF-S Lens Mount Compatibility:
Lens compatibility is a second important consideration. Canon cameras that use a 1.6x FOVCF work with both Canon EF-S lenses and Canon EF mount lenses. Cameras with a 1.3x or full frame FOVCF will not work with EF-S lenses. EF-S lenses deliver a smaller amount of light to an image sensor, designed to only cover the size of a 1.6x sensor. If used with a large full frame image sensor, significant vignetting (an effect where the edges of images are very dark or non-existent) occurs.
As a final note, the body choice you make may limit your photographic potential. If you intend to purchase expensive and high quality Canon lenses designed for professionals it is a good idea to purchase a full frame image sensor body. A 1.6x FOVCF body will not deliver the full potential of professional grade lenses, although they will still work with great results.
Moreover, many recommend that the beginning photographer purchase a 1.6x body as the cost of a full frame body and more expensive professional lenses are very high. If you plan on using Canon’s range of EF-S lenses, which are high quality tools designed for the consumer level photographer, it is a good idea to purchase a 1.6x FOVCF body.