Photo Cameras With an APS-C Image Sensor Format. What Does This Mean?

APS-C or Advanced Photo System type-C  is one of the most popular type of an image sensor widely used in consumer level photo cameras.

APS-C sensor size

It is more or less equal in size to the size of negatives which are used in an analog photography. The dimensions of these negatives  are 25.1 × 16.7 mm (while 35 mm standard film measures 36×24 mm) and their aspect ratio is 3:2. APS-C sensor size from manufacturer to manufacturer varies between 20.7×13.8 mm to 28.7×19.1 mm.

Photo Cameras With an APS-C Image Sensor Format. What Does This Mean

My typical APS-C sensor camera – Pentax K-r having 23.6 x 15.8 mm size image sensor

APS-C size influence to the picture

If all other factors (setup of the camera, type of lense, conditions of light and space etc.) are the same, image quality increases using larger sensor, because of its higher resolution. APS-C sensors also increase the obvious focal length of the lens, which determines that the lens seems to be longer than its real option (e.g. 450 mm instead of 300 mm). There are also various other negative side effects rising in the process of operation of smaler sensors with various lenses and other photo hardware.

Price of a photo camera with an APS-C sensor

Mathematics here is really simple: camera size, its weight and price decrease along with decreasing sensor size.

Be careful! Dedicated lenses for cameras with APS-C sensors

You have to be cautious bying lenses for your photo camera having inside APS-C sensor. Considering factors mentioned above and various other particularly neutral – for non professional photographer – distortions noticable in pictures taken with APS-C sensors, nearly all DSLR manufacturers and third-party developers designed lenses to fit APS-C cameras. Here are the designations by brand:

  • Canon: EF-S
  • Konica Minolta: DT
  • Nikon: DX
  • Pentax: DA
  • Samsung: NX
  • Sigma: DC
  • Sony: DT, E
  • Tamron: Di II
  • Tokina: DX


It’s not a problem at all if it is now, when you discovered that your camera is not a kind of full frame. APS-C sensors still can do much hard work. They are budget and reliable tools to learn basics and a lot more in photography and its business. And one of my favourite advices: you do not need to have expensive devices to make good pictures and to become famous. You need ideas. Here is an example of a recent success story of a lithuanian artist Tadao Cern. Think awhile, what type of camera and lens you would need for his project “Blow Job”, which brought him a fame: Yes, you are right – that’s not important at all. He needed just an extremly powerfull fans to make human faces crazy and use any camera at the end.

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