There’s plenty of articles about the crop factor on digital cameras. If you shoot with a DSLR you’re probably familiar with a full frame sensor versus a cropped sensor. Here’s one titled Crop Sensor (APS-C) Cameras and Lens Confusion, and if that’s not technical enough for you, check out the Wikipedia articles Image sensor format and Crop factor.
Done reading? Good. Does your head hurt? That’s not good! Let’s look at some pictures instead. (Note that the same lens, a Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 set to 28mm was used for all of the following shots. It’s an FX lens, not a “cropped” DX lens.)
Fig. 1: Nikon D300
Fig. 2: Nikon D3x
If you’re familiar with the Nikon world, the D300 is a cropped sensor camera, also knows as a DX format camera. (Or APS-C in some circles.) While the D3x is a full frame sensor. Simplified, the D3x sensor is bigger than the D300 sensor.
You’ll notice the photo from the D3x shows a whole lot more. Same lens, same focal length, but different size sensor. The larger sensor of the D3x gives us a wider angle of view.
That all makes sense, right? So let’s look at the RED ONE.
Fig. 3: RED ONE at 2K Resolution
Fig. 4: RED ONE at 3K Resolution
Fig. 5: RED ONE at 4K Resolution
Whew, look at that… You’ve got a much wider field of view when you shoot at higher resolution. The difference here is that with the Nikon D300 and D3x, we’re using two completely different cameras with two different sized sensors, but with the RED ONE, it’s still the same camera, we’re just changing the effective size of the sensor by changing the resolution. Shooting at 4K uses the whole sensor, while shooting at 3K uses only a portion, and 2K uses an even smaller portion.
So when using the RED ONE, the resolution you shoot at is going to affect the amount of sensor used, as well as the angle that your lens will capture. Important things to remember when you need that wide shot.