Many people snap pictures with their iPhone camera and other smartphone cameras nowadays. However, for those who want to take photographs that look more professional, a high-quality camera might be a good investment.  People tend to praise full-frame digital cameras — but they can be pricey.  What gives?

Why are full-frame cameras so expensive? Full frame cameras are equipped with a variety of features that enhance your options as a professional photographer. Because of the more sophisticated equipment, the camera is more expensive.

If you want to know more about whether you should consider purchasing a full-frame camera, you might want to learn more about its features. Then, you can decide whether the cost of a full-frame camera will be worth it to you.

What Makes Full Frame Cameras So Pricey Anyway?

Of course, if you are considering buying a full-frame camera, you will want to know why these tend to be so expensive. The reason is the unique makeup of this camera.

One major reason why these cameras are more expensive than the average camera is the larger sensors. The sensor of a camera is the part that detects the information that is used to create the image that you end up seeing in the photograph. It converts information from the light waves into signals that end up creating the image.

Typically, the sensor is the most expensive part of the camera when it comes to the actual manufacturing process. The sensor of a full-frame camera has over 2.5 times the surface area of the typical sensor. This larger sensor is part of what you are paying for when you purchase a full-frame camera. The larger sensor adds to a production cost. In addition, the lower volume of production of these larger sensors is also a factor in the higher price of these cameras.

Additionally, you should keep in mind that full-frame cameras are typically meant for professional photographers. Because of this, there are certain features that these cameras have that enhance their performance. The build of the camera makes it more expensive, and you have to decide whether these features are necessary for your purposes or not.

What Are the Advantages of Using a Full Frame Camera?

Of course, you know that full-frame cameras are going to be more expensive than other digital cameras. It helps, then, to know exactly what you are paying for when you purchase one of these cameras. There is an array of advantages that comes with a full-frame camera.

Larger Pixels

Because of the larger sensor in the full-frame camera, each pixel will be larger as well. In case you didn't know, a pixel is a two-dimensional capture point within the image. If you have larger pixels, you're able to capture more color details. You can also get more incoming light into the image with more efficiency, meaning less unwanted color information, or “noise.”

The lack of noise is one of the main factors that is responsible for the better performance of a full-frame camera. These sensors are also capable of capturing a larger dynamic range and differentiating smaller color variations. All these details will make the image in the photograph more realistic and accurate.

Higher Resolution

With a full-frame camera, you can increase the number of pixels as well. Increased pixels make for a higher resolution within the photograph. When you do this, you will be making each of the individual pixels smaller, but they will still be big enough to provide high quality within the image.

Even in situations where there is a low amount of light, you will likely be able to create a high-quality image with a large sensor. This is because the larger surface area of the sensor allows it to gather more light, which will ultimately lead to a better image.

Not will you be able to have better images, higher resolution means high quality oversized images. Because more information is captured at each pixel point, you can print out these images in very large sizes without compromising the quality of the image. Many photographers who are shooting images for billboards, for example, will use a full-frame camera to do so.

You can also crop these images significantly without compromising the quality of the image. Because they give you more information per pixel and image that is overall much more detailed, cropping the image is much less likely to compromise the quality of the photograph than it would be without a full-frame camera.

Better Use of Wide Angles

Cameras with larger sensors come with wide-angle lenses as well. This means that a full-frame camera will take a photograph that covers the entire field of 24 mm. With a regular camera, you'll have a crop factor that will reduce the field that is covered.

Better Depth-of-Field Control

With a full-frame camera, you will need longer focal length lenses. Because of this, you will have a shallower depth of field at any given aperture. The shallower depth will allow you to create certain effects in photographs that you may not have been able to with a smaller sensor. It makes it easier to zero in on your main subject if this is what you would like to do.  Specifically, you can more easily take pictures where the subject of focus is separated from a relatively blurry environment and stands out significantly.

Does One Need a Full Frame Camera for Great Pictures?

It is true that a full-frame camera provides you with several advantages when it comes to taking quality photographs. However, you may not necessarily need one. There are perks that come with smaller sensors as well. For example, a camera with a smaller sensor will make it easier to take pictures with extended zoom ranges.

While you can typically create a better-quality photograph with a full-frame sensor, it is usually the lens that gives you the detail you want in the image. It is possible to put a full-frame lens within a crop frame body camera and get fantastic results that way. This way, also, you would save money on the camera.

You should also keep in mind that there are disadvantages that come with full-frame cameras. They tend to be big and bulky, so they can be hard to carry around on a regular basis. Also, even though they give you the shallow depth-of-field that is so popular in many photos nowadays, this may not be what you want.

Essentially, it is about the kind of pictures you want to take. If you value a very shallow depth-of-field and want to have that additional ability to take certain types of pictures, you may want to invest in a full-frame camera. However, if you can have your photographic needs met without the larger sensor and everything that it has to offer, it might be best to stick with an inexpensive, yet high-quality option.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are definite reasons why a full-frame camera is so expensive. The components of the full-frame camera, particularly the larger sensor, drive up the manufacturing costs and ultimately what you end up paying for the camera.

At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide whether the full-frame camera is right for you. You just need to think of the additional abilities that you would have with the larger sensor and decide whether the extra money you would spend would make this purchase worth it.