What the FFormat?

Something has been “bugging” me recently.

“35mm Full frame equivalent”

If you are into photography you know what I mean. If you’re not then you won’t care I guess.

Fuji XE1 7Artisans 55mm f1.4 lens (82.5mm FFE)

Why do camera magazines in particular and also many enthusiasts feel the need to convert the focal length of lenses used with their (non full-frame) cameras when captioning their images? For anyone who has never used a full-frame camera it is probably meaningless or at least not something they can visualise easily. I suspect that many readers really don’t give a FF and that those to whom it matters will be knowledgeable enough to work it out for themselves.

I came to digital photography from film SLR cameras so it could be argued that I come with baggage as it were. Turns out that those film cameras I used for 30+ years were full frame all along. Who knew? Based on this arbitrary standard therefore my newly acquired Canon 400D had what was called a “crop sensor”. Clearly I had a lot to learn as I transitioned from analog to digital.

I took up digital photography around 2002/2003 and certainly do not remember converting to “FFE”, it just wasn’t a thing back then – and I really don’t think I was worse off for it not being a thing either. But now it seems to matter. Why?

So here’s my point. I suspect that many people coming to photography these days have never shot with film and more likely than not started their photographic endeavours with what are now known as crop-sensor digital cameras. For them there is no FF baggage, no FF background as it were. If they are in the majority (and I have done zero research on this) then wouldn’t it be more logical to caption images captured on a FF camera with the APS-C equivalent? And if so which standard – 1.5x, 1.6x, 2x? Or should we just let those who are interested work it out for themselves? It’s hardly Olympic standard mental arithmetic after all.

I guess if you are paid by the word though you might consider the extra wordage necessary?