The Nikon D750 in Crop Mode

Crop or Full-Frame?


Since I got a new camera I thought to tell you something about it. It is the Nikon D750, a full-frame camera. I have been shooting bald eagles lately to test it out. These two images show the camera’s sharpness, especially being handheld. The original image is below.


Which to consider when buying a new camera, a full-frame or crop sensor camera? The decision should be based on your needs and goals. My needs are nature, birds, macro, and landscape. A full-frame camera is perfect for my wide-angle lens and landscape shots. But is it good for my bird photography?

You might know that a full-frame camera will take an image the size of a 35mm camera or 36 x 24mm. A Nikon crop-sensor camera is 23.6 x 15.7mm. My D7000 is a crop-sensor camera. My tiny Nikon P510 has an even smaller sensor, 6.17 x 4.55 mm., and it too is a fine camera.


A full-frame camera has the ability to produce a higher quality image. With full-frame, a larger portion of a scene is captured, but the 1.5 crop factor in Nikon’s DX line “magnifies” the output of the lens used. A 400mm lens becomes a 600mm output. In bird photography, that can be a real benefit.

So why did I get a full-frame camera? When I need the crop-sensor “magnification” (actually aspect ratio technically speaking), I still can get it from this camera. When I shot the eagles, I had the camera in crop-mode of 1.2x much of the time which gave my 400mm lens the little extra distance needed.

Until I can afford a 600mm lens for my bird photography, I will shoot most birds in crop-mode. The smaller file size, more shots in the buffer and faster speed, makes crop-mode very useful. The camera takes sharp photos, so it really is nice to have the best of both worlds. One can always crop an image after it is shot like I did above.

On Nature and Wildlife Pics, I have a post on something a professional photographer posted recently. It really made me scratch my head.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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31 Responses to The Nikon D750 in Crop Mode

  1. Wow! Impressive……both the eagle and the photograph!

  2. Lovely shots. Cropped means smaller aspect ratio not magnification. The advantage of cropped sensors is better depth if field, as the apertures are also afffected by the cropping. On whole i prefer cropped sensors for tat reason.

    • Thanks for adding that Victor. I did have it in quotes because most of my readers are beginners and likely do not relate to aspect ratio. They are usually my audience when I do my photography posts. A few of them bought the P510 after I did a review on that camera. A couple of others got the D7000. In this post, they might just know a camera like the D7000 makes a “bigger or closer” picture. I will change it in the post though to avoid confusion. I keep my 80-400mm lens on f8-f9 generally because it is a better sweet spot of this particular lens, and DOF is less of my main concern. When I shoot with my macro lens with this camera, I will find out how it really handles DOF. I only had it a few weeks so far. Still learning on it myself.

  3. Olivia May says:

    Now I know what “full-frame” “crop-sensor” .. mean, thank you!

  4. Oh, you make me lust for better equipment!

    • I myself always wanted a pro camera, but Nikon still considers this an Enthusiast camera along with the cheaper D7100. The new D7200 is rumored to be coming soon and that will have all that the D750 has in improvements I hear. That will be one fine camera.

  5. Such a wonderful article on a technical topic. It is articulate and insightful in helping us understand what would make us interested in this and what the impacts are. Thanks so much, Marilyn

    • Thank you. I do find talking about photography rather pleasurable. Although not a professional in the sense of selling images for profit each day, I have been at it for over thirty years. And all with Nikons too.

  6. M E Cheshier says:

    Great shot!

  7. debsgarden says:

    I watched the video above; it was, as you said funny and informative. Your shots of the eagle are great!

    • Thanks, Deb. I had to laugh at his presentation. Zack is a pretty well-known photographer and I liked that he poked fun at the debate of choosing one or the other. I myself see value in having both. I also see value in having a small travel camera too although it has less manual settings. I just hate manually focusing the P510 because of the way one has to do it. But that is only because I have been using the bigger cameras all my life.

  8. aussiebirder says:

    A great shot Donna, you have captured the eagle so clearly and the colours are so vivid. I find it difficult at times to get the colours especially on a cloudy day, but yours looks great and the blue sky background also.

    • I find on a day with deep blue sky, I can get a pretty good exposure often. When the sky is light and cloudless, I agree, color is hard to pull from the image. I was there for two days and one of the days had a bald pale sky. The eagles head always blew out.

  9. Your photos were awesome! I liked the video, too. I still have a lot to learn about photography, and this information helps. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Sue. I have a post coming up on photographing birds (January 27th when I am away) that might interest you. It has a few things I never mentioned before and they help quite a bit on things making it easier. It is things people do incorrectly that are easily corrected.

  10. Your photos will always be incredible–no matter what camera you use. Thanks for explaining the benefits of both, Donna.

  11. As you know, I’m a Canon girl. But for me the quality of the full frame and RAW image is far superior than a crop sensor image. I can crop the full frame image and the integrity holds up, while in the crop sensor the image begins to degrade. Once full frame, I’ll never go back.

    • When I was at Conowingo after Christmas, I kept looking at one woman with a Canon camera wondering if she was you. I should have told you I was coming. You are right the image quality is better, but until I get a 600mm prime lens, I reserve my preference until then. I have Nikon’s 35mm professional film camera (F2) so I guess saying I always wanted a professional full-frame is not accurate. I looked at the D810 but did not need that many pixels – mainly did not want to sacrifice frames per second – even though it is comparable to the speed of my new D750. I just worried shooting RAW would not make that camera good for wildlife – buffering speed. It is unbeatable (for Nikon) for landscape though. The D4 is just too heavy and expensive, yet great for wildlife.

  12. Your eagle shots are just stunning, love the amazing detail you captured.

  13. About a few months ago I discovered how to edit Judy’s photographs. I crop frequently now and sometimes try to correct lighting. She has a Nikon 5300 I think.

    • Nice you are learning. Cropping helps out quite a bit. The D5300 is considered by Nikon as an “advanced beginner” camera and is in the DX (cropped-sensor) line. Nikon just started categorizing cameras under different groupings in the last year I think. Formally it was an “entry level” camera, now they made it sound a level up from that. My camera actually should have been considered a pro camera, but it did not make that title in the new way they group them. It has a number of pro features and was camera of the year. It has the same autofocus and metering technology as the D4 – a top of the line Pro camera.

  14. Beautiful photos. Such a majestic bird.

  15. Robert says:

    Would you know if the crop modes in video are as sharp and clean as the full frame mode?

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