The Case Against Full Frame

Derrick Story
3 min readOct 14, 2020

If we’ve learned nothing else from the surge of smartphones in photography, we’ve seen that size doesn’t matter, brains do.

The Apple Event on October 13, 2020 debuted the iPhone 12 with Apple ProRaw that can go up against any enthusiast camera for general photography. It provides tremendous capability with an image sensor that’s minuscule compared to those in many interchangeable lens models.

What Apple, Google, Samsung, and other smartphone makers are leveraging is smarts, not muscle. Computational photography depends less on the light-gathering sensor itself and more on the programming and processors that comprise the image pipeline.

It’s revenge of the nerds all over again.

In everyday life, do you care about the physical prowess of the pilot flying the plane or the surgeon repairing your knee? Should we judge a Supreme Court nominee by the size of his or her biceps? In 2020, how did the photography industry become so obsessed with the dimensions of the image sensor in the camera?

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In my decades of experience as a photographer, writer, and educator, I have made images with hundreds of different cameras, ranging from a Fujifilm X20 to a Nikon Z5. And I have found something to appreciate in every one of them.