Do Crop Lenses Work On A Full-Frame Camera?

Do Crop Lenses Work On A Full-Frame Camera?
Arif H Fahim

Many photographers wonder do crop lenses work on a full-frame camera. We hate to break it to you but it isn’t really possible to use a crop sensor lens with a full-frame camera.

Digital cameras nowadays have two primary sensors- one is the full-frame camera sensor the other one is the APS-C crop sensor. The full-frame sensors are roughly 35 mm-sized film frames, whereas the crop sensors are 2 or 3 times smaller than them.

You can use a full-frame lens with your crop lens camera, but you cannot use a crop sensor lens with your full-frame camera. Why is that and what should you do when you can’t fit them together? Let’s find out, shall we?

Do Crop Lenses Work On A Full-Frame Camera?

What is a Crop Sensor Lens and How does it work

The standard size of a camera lens is 35 mm, whereas crop lenses are 15 mm to 20 mm in size. The crop sensor inaugurates a crop factor to the pictures we take with our camera. The pictures would be cropped to the edges for a tighter FOV.

Let’s give you a basic idea about it by a simple example when you use a 50 mm lens with an APS-C crop sensor camera with a 1.5x multiplier effect on it, you will get a focal length as effective as a 75 mm camera lens.

The crop sensor lens basically multiplies the amount of magnification by the lens’ focal length to find a similar angle of view for the lens on an APS-C crop sensor camera. But it doesn’t work with full-frame cameras. Although you can use a full-frame camera with a crop sensor lens camera.

Can you use cropped lens on full-frame

Yes, we already mentioned that you can’t use a cropped lens on a full-frame camera, but we didn’t tell you why you can’t use it and what will happen if you use them together. Let’s see what is the reason you can’t do so.

In the case of Nikon cameras, if you use the DX lens on an FX camera lens body, the mount would be just the same, but the image circle of the DX lens won’t be able to cover the full-frame sensor entirely. The same goes for most other cameras.

The main problem would be with the focal length. Look, when you use a full-frame lens with a crop sensor camera, you will get the exact same picture that you would get with a crop lens because the full-frame lens won’t be cutting any edges or circles out of it.

But when you use an APS-C crop lens on a FF sensor camera, it will cut some portions out of the picture. The magnification that was supposed to occur by the lens’ focal point to find a similar field of view won’t be happening then.

In conclusion, you can mount a cropped lens on some particular full-frame cameras, but you cannot get the proper and magnificent result out of it like you would get from a crop sensor camera with a crop sensor lens on it.

What cameras are compatible with a crop lens on a full-frame camera

As a matter of fact, you can never use a crop sensor lens on a full-frame Canon camera. So, if you ever asked the question: Can I use crop lens on full-frame Canon? Then the answer is NO. Although you can use crop lenses on a Nikon or Sony full-frame camera. But they have their conditions. 

If you use a crop lens on either Nikon or Sony full-frame camera, you have to make serious adjustments and compromises. The issues you will be running into are compromising focal length, the field of view, and tighter view, which will make the pictures more compressed.

Let’s see what lenses these renowned companies make for their crop lenses and full-frame lens cameras.

Canon Crop and Full-frame Lenses

The Canon company makes EF lenses that are mainly designed for full-frame cameras, but you can also use them for crop camera lenses. Whereas, the EF-S lenses are only made for Canon crop sensor cameras. You cannot fit them into any Canon full-frame cameras.

Nikon Crop and Full-frame Lenses

The Nikon FX lenses are originally made for full-frame cameras and the DX lenses are made for crop sensor cameras, unlike Canon cameras, you can use DX lenses on full-frame cameras.

Sony Crop and Full-frame Lenses

The same goes for Sony cameras, as they go for Nikon cameras, the E lenses are designed for crop sensor cameras, and FR are designed for full-frame cameras. And you can use the E lenses on full-frame cameras, of course, you have to make compromises.

Final Thoughts

The entire discussion summarizes that you can only mount crop lenses on a full-frame camera for certain brands like Nikon, Sony, Leica, Pentax, Fujifilm etc. The Canon cameras can never let you use both of them together till now.

If you really want to get the best picture out of your camera, you should use either full-frame lenses or crop sensor lenses with a crop sensor and use full-frame lenses with full-frame cameras.

The rest is up to you. Good Luck.

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Do Crop Lenses Work On A Full-Frame Camera?

Arif H Fahim

I, Arif H Fahim is a proud camera enthusiast, come with CameraGuider. Here, I write detailed reviews about different camera gears including cameras, lenses, flashes, and tripods.