It’s possible to use an APS-C lens on a full-frame camera, if they have compatible lens mounts. However, you may want to avoid doing so, as this comes with certain drawbacks that can impact your final product.
I’m Caleb, and I have five years of experience as a photographer. My main specialty is sports photography, and I’ve shot games across a number of sports and leagues from the college to semi-pro level.
In this article, I’ll take a look at whether you can use an APS-C lens with a full-frame camera, and also if it’s something you should try doing at all.
If you’re thinking of getting a full-frame camera, and you’re not sure if your APS-C lenses will carry over, keep reading for a simple explanation.
Can I Use an APS-C Lens on a Full-Frame Camera
Yes, it is possible to use an APS-C lens with a full-frame camera. It’s worth noting, however, that the lens mounts have to be compatible. For example, Canon’s full-frame DSLRs are capable of accepting both the EF and EF-S mount.
That’s not to say that APS-C lenses work perfectly with full-frame cameras. They’re designed for smaller sensors, and can’t fully cover the full-frame sensor. The result of this is called vignetting, which refers to the darkening of the edges of the frame.
There is a way to deal with vignetting. Many full-frame cameras have the option to crop out the edges of the picture when using an APS-C lens. However, this effectively reduces the capability of the camera, as the final result will be lower resolution thanks to the cropping.
Pros of Using an APS-C Lens
While using an APS-C lens with a full-frame camera generally isn’t recommended, there are some upsides to it. These benefits are mainly cost related.
For one, if you’re moving to a full-frame camera from an APS-C one, you can keep using your existing collection instead of buying new lenses. Obviously, this can save you a lot of money if you have a large lens collection already.
Also, new APS-C lenses are cheaper compared to new full-frame ones. While it’s recommended to use full-frame lenses with full-frame cameras when possible, APS-C lenses can be a good alternative if you don’t have the budget for one.
Cons of Using an APS-C Lens
Even if APS-C lenses are cheaper, there’s good reasons why they aren’t recommended for use with full-frame cameras.
The obvious problem is vignetting. While vignetting might look good in some cases as an intentional technique, it definitely won’t look good on every photo.
It is possible to avoid vignetting by using a cropping mode on your camera. But this has drawbacks of its own. It basically turns your camera into an APS-C one, giving you worse resolution.
And really, if you’re going to be limited to the resolution of an APS-C camera, why bother using a full-frame one at all? You also won’t be able to fully utilize the full-frame sensor, which would normally give bigger advantages in areas like low-light shooting.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about full-frame and APS-C lenses.
Are Full-Frame Lenses Sharper Than Crop Sensor Lenses?
Yes, full-frame lenses are sharper than their APS-C counterparts, because they’re able to properly utilize the camera’s full-frame sensor.
Is it Possible to Use a Full-Frame Lens on a Crop Sensor Camera?
It is possible to use a full-frame lens with an APS-C camera. However, the camera won’t be able to take advantage of the full capability of the lens.
Why Would You Use APS-C Mode on a Full-Frame Camera?
The main reason to use APS-C mode on a full-frame camera is to avoid vignetting at the edges of the frame while using an APS-C lens.
It’s possible to use an APS-C lens with a full-frame camera, but you should be aware that you’ll sacrifice performance by doing so. This mainly comes in the form of vignetting or reduced resolution.
Do you see the drop in performance as worth it? Let us know in the comments!