As a photography enthusiast, you must have noticed the recent trend to produce cameras with ‘full-frame’ sensors. By full-frame, we mean that the format or size of the sensor is 24 x 36 mm or something very close to it. Let us go back a little in time and look at the origins of this term. We will see later the impact of the full-frame sensors on images.
Film that was 35 mm in width and used in movies was adopted by some camera manufacturers for still photography. To facilitate easy loading, the film came spooled in cassettes (Picture 1) and was also known as ‘135’, this being an internal designation of the Eastman Kodak company, though it was used by everyone later. There are two interesting points here. First, when shown in a theater, this film runs vertically.
However, in still cameras (called 35 mm cameras), it runs horizontally. Second, for the former the active image area (frame) is 22 x 16 mm whereas the corresponding numbers for the latter were 24 x 36 mm. The movie frame was called ‘single-frame’ and that of stills ‘double-frame’ or ‘full-frame’. However, these words were seldom used during the film era.
While several frame sizes/formats were tried with the 35 mm film, the aforementioned frame of 24 x 36 mm promoted by Leica became very popular. While initially thought to be not good enough for serious work,