THE FOCUS OF the world at the moment is on the COP26 conference and the spotlight this is rightly throwing on environmental issues. We’re going into more detail on the part that photographers can play in helping to reduce the impact of their own environmental footprint in our special feature this month, but one crucial way that individuals can make a serious difference is by looking to trade up the gear that they’re working with where possible rather than always looking to work with the very latest cutting-edge kit.

There are, of course, always going to be technological advances that can make a real difference to the services you offer, but these days it’s not always necessary to be the first out of the blocks in terms of adding the latest kit to your armoury. Go for gear that’s still in great condition but maybe a year or two past its launch date, or perhaps the previous model to the one that’s current, and you won’t be that far off the curve. You’ll also be saving money and, by joining the increasing number of pros looking to trade up, you’ll be recycling your own used kit and finding it a good home.

Second hand specialists such as MPB have helped to change the entire landscape of selling and buying, and it’s now straightforward, safe and profitable to sell on the things you don’t need any more to raise the cash for fresh purchases or to trade up and to acquire what you’re after via the second-hand route as well.


Making the Move to Full Frame

WHILE FULL FRAME has been with us for a long time – the Canon EOS-1Ds first arrived nearly twenty years ago now – back in those early days the cost of sensors was sky high and these were cameras that were out of the price range of all but the top end pros.

Since those early days, however, this part of the market has become way more affordable, while the arrival of full frame mirrorless models has also extended the range of options. By and large, however, a full frame camera will still carry a premium over a crop sensor model, and will still be seen as a more professional option, though it’s important to realise that models with smaller sensors can still do an amazing job that’s well up to the highest professional standards.

MPB Full Frame Prices

Sony Alpha A7R III price from £1719
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV from £1559
Nikon Z 6 price from £959
Sigma fp price from £1099

However, it stands to reason that the larger the sensor the better the quality of your end result, and there are other reasons why full frame can also benefit your photography. For a start, while it shouldn’t really make a big difference to today’s contemporary operator, there is still a certain satisfaction to be gained by working with a camera that has such a direct link to tradition by offering the same format as a frame of 35mm film, namely 36x24mm.

From a practical point of view this means that if you’re working with older lenses – and the used market in optics is hugely buoyant right now since vintage glass never really ages – then the effective focal length stays exactly the same, and it’s easy to work out what a lens will offer you. Crop sensor cameras use a smaller part of the field of view and so you’ll extend the focal length: useful perhaps if you’re a wildlife or sports photographer who could do with a longer telephoto, but it could create issues if you need an extreme wide-angle.

There are also other considerations to bear in mind, such as the effect of pixel density. If you were to take a full frame sensor and one that’s, say, APS-C, and both were 24MP, then to fit all of the pixels on to a smaller surface area would require them to be smaller in size and squeezed closer together. The larger pixels on the full frame version would capture more light and deliver better quality images in high contrast or low light situations, and so there would be less noise and the ability to offer attractive shallow depth of field performance at wider apertures.

What is Full Frame Perfect For?

❚ For those who still think of focal lengths in terms of 35mm film it’s easy to know what each will provide and it makes it straightforward to work with older optics.

❚ A full frame sensor will be physically larger than a crop sensor, so pixels don’t have to be squeezed in so much, meaning that there’s better high ISO performance.

❚ Bigger sensors will also mean less depth of field, so if you’re working with a bright lens and wide aperture you’ve got more chance of achieving beautiful bokeh when working close in.

❚ Full frame means focal lengths aren’t cropped, and so wide angles remain wide, which can be really useful.

Disadvantages of Full Frame

❚ Full frame cameras are likely to be bulkier than their crop sensor equivalents, although the issue is not so noticeable if you’re working with a mirrorless model.

❚ If you’re a wildlife or sports photographer looking to work with the longest focal lengths a crop sensor camera will naturally make telephotos lighter and more powerful.

❚ Even these days full frame cameras tend to be more expensive and are usually higher end models.


IT’S WORTH REMEMBERING that, when trading up from a crop sensor camera to one that’s full frame, you’ll also need to consider the optics that you’re working with, since lenses designed for use with crop sensor cameras might well introduce vignetting if used in a full frame system. So, your budget will need to stretch not just to a replacement camera but possibly also some new glass, although vintage optics designed for film cameras could well do the job for you, even if you might need to use an adaptor.

Because you’ll lose the crop factor it will mean that you have a wide choice of reasonably priced wide angle lenses, including some superwide optics, but conversely you’ll find yourself with reduced options on the telephoto end since longer lenses will now give you their defined focal length. You could always opt for a 1.5 or 2x extender if you’re looking for a budget way to extend the range.

Look around and decide what’s best for your requirements and then when you’re trading in your used gear MPB will give you the option to buy exactly what you’re after, all as part of the same transaction.

Potential Trade-Ins: (all Excellent Condition):

❚ Canon EOS 90D: trade-in £665
❚ Nikon D7500: trade-in £540
❚ Fujifilm X-T3: trade-in £540
❚ Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM: trade in £98
❚ Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6: trade in £140
❚ Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art (Nikon fit): trade in £295

The MPB website offers trade ins and you’ll be able to input details of kit you have to sell and also add at that stage any gear you’re looking to buy. You’ll be able to work your way up to the cost of the kit you’re looking to acquire, topping up the amount with cash or coming away with a surplus paid direct into your bank account.


© 2021, Professional Photo Magazine and respective content owners.. All rights reserved.

Series Navigation<< Time to Trade Up – Changing SystemsTime to Trade Up – Essential Accessories >>Time to Trade Up – Travelling Light with a Compact Pro Camera >>