Can I Use a Full-Frame Lens on a Crop Sensor Camera?

It’s possible to use a full-frame lens on a crop sensor camera. However, you won’t get the full advantages of using a full-frame lens when doing so. That’s not to say you shouldn’t do it. Full-frame lenses are generally of higher quality, even if you don’t get all their benefits.

I’m Caleb, and I have five years of photography experience. Most of my experience comes from the sports photography niche, where I’ve covered various teams and leagues from the college to the semi-pro level.

In this article, I’ll explain using a full-frame lens on an APS-C camera and whether it’s worth doing. I’ll break down the pros and cons, so if you’re on the fence and unsure what to do here, keep reading for a simple explanation.

Can I Use a Full-Frame Lens on a Crop Sensor Camera?

Yes, pairing a full-frame lens with an APS-C camera is possible, assuming they have compatible mounts. 

For example, Canon’s modern APS-C cameras are compatible with EF and EF-S lenses. A full-frame lens from the EF line would work with one of Canon’s crop sensor cameras, while a Nikon F-mount lens would be incompatible without an adapter.

However, there are some drawbacks to using a full-frame lens with a crop sensor camera. Because the lens is designed for use with a larger sensor, the outer areas of the photo will get cut off. This is known as the crop factor.

The crop factor makes photos look more zoomed in than they really are, which can be positive or negative depending on what you’re going for.

The Pros

The overall quality is the most significant advantage of using a full-frame lens with a crop sensor body. Generally, the best-performing lenses are designed for full-frame bodies. 

In some fields, like action photography, you more or less need a high-quality full-frame lens to get good results, regardless of what camera body you’re using.

If you can’t afford to buy a full-frame camera and lens at the same time, getting just the lens and using it with your existing APS-C body can be a good alternative.

The Cons

The obvious con is the crop factor. Depending on the kind of photos you’re trying to take, this can be a major negative.

For example, let’s say you want to take a wide shot of a sprawling landscape. Even if you’re using a wide lens, the end result will still look more zoomed than if you were using a full-frame camera.

Also, these lenses are more expensive, thanks to their typically higher quality and better components. While this quality is an upside, it makes them costlier than their APS-C counterparts.

Before getting a full-frame lens for your APS-C camera, you should consider whether you need the added quality. Otherwise, you may spend a lot more for little benefit.


These are some of the frequently asked questions about crop sensor cameras and full-frame lenses.

Can You Use a Full-Frame Lens on a Crop Sensor Sony Camera?

Yes, you can use Sony’s full-frame lenses with their crop sensor camera bodies, assuming the lens mounts are compatible. In Sony’s case, this usually means having an E mount camera.

Can I Use a Nikon FX Lens on a DX Camera Body?

Yes, Nikon’s full-frame FX lenses are compatible with their crop sensor DX cameras.

What is the Difference Between Full-Frame and APS-C Lenses?

The biggest difference is that full-frame lenses are designed for a larger camera sensor. The bigger sensor is what gives full-frame cameras their higher image quality, as well as some other advantages like better low-light performance.


It is possible to use a full-frame lens with a crop sensor camera body, and this can be a good option if you can’t afford to upgrade to a full-frame camera yet.

However, you should weigh things carefully before getting a full-frame lens for your APS-C camera, as they’re more expensive and will force you to deal with the crop factor.

Do you think the downsides here are worth it? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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