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If you shoot the same lens/aperture on a cropped sensor body and a full frame body and then crop the FF image so that you only use the APS-C size center section, what happens is actually pretty simple to understand:
1. If the two cameras have the same number of pixels in the section used in the crop, the image quality should be the same, assuming that the cameras otherwise perform equally.
2. If the APS-C size section from the cropped full frame image has fewer pixels than the cropped sensor image, you could be somewhat more limited by the lower pixel resolution.
(3. I suppose we can imagine a comparison between a very high photo site density full frame camera and a very low density cropped sensor camera, in which the FF body has the higher image quality potential.)
Looked at in isolation, what happens in these cases is pretty simple. However, there is larger context for most people trying to act on this, namely questions of whether or not other aspects of full frame and cropped sensor performance better meet their overall needs, and just how significant the difference in resolution is in their photography. Such decisions are rarely made on the basis of a single parameter.
Edited on Jan 14, 2013 at 05:14 PM · View previous versions