I currently use a Canon 550D and am considering moving to a 6D. One of the often-mentioned benefits of a full-frame camera is the ability to produce large prints. Given that the jpegs from the 6D are only a few hundred pixels taller/wider than those from my 550D, how can this be? Or do you have to shoot in RAW and convert it to a jpeg that has larger dimensions than the SOOC jpegs? If so, theoretically the same could be achieved with 550D.

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    The difference in megapixels isn't as large between full frame and crop sensor cameras as it once was, and in some cases it is even the inverse. Because of that this statement is less true when strictly considering the ability to print large. Other factors aside such as ISO performance, sharpness, etc. In other words, don't move to full frame just so you can print larger, unless you are also looking for improvements in other areas not related to megapixels. – dpollitt Apr 26 '14 at 20:51
  • It kind of depends. If you're shooting in low light the advantage of the larger pixels on a FF compared to an APS-C will allow better results even if the resolution is the same for the two cameras. The larger you print the more critical noise becomes. – Michael C Apr 26 '14 at 21:29
  • Larger prints isn't one of the reasons I'm considering moving to full frame, it's just something that you see in most discussions about the benefits of full frame but is never fully explained. Given that my 550D is 18mp and the 6D is 20.2mp I couldn't see how it could possibly be significantly better for larger prints. – oneill17 Apr 26 '14 at 21:37
  • Although I do appreciate there will be a difference at high ISOs. – oneill17 Apr 26 '14 at 21:43
  • @oneill17 When you magnify the smaller pixels of the APS-C by a larger factor than the pixels of the FF to get to the same size print you also magnify the noise by a larger factor. It is more noticeable at high ISO, but it is there even at ISO 100 when I compare shots in the same conditions taken with my 5DII versus my 7D, even though the 7D usually has a 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II mounted and the 5DII likely has a 24-105mm f/4 IS mounted, so the difference definitely isn't the lenses used. – Michael C Apr 27 '14 at 16:34

Theoretical discussions of print size per megapixel don't take the real world into account. But once you have a sufficient amount, megapixels aren't really the biggest factor in image detail. Enlarging a print from the recording medium (film or sensor) by the smallest amount is an inherent advantage — everything is multiplied by a smaller factor. And full-frame has that advantage.

Of course, there's some line where older full-frame technology is beaten by newer smaller sensors, but for roughly equivalent technology, lower enlargement is better.

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    Partly because the lower magnification factor of the full frame image doesn't magnify flaws in the lens to the same degree the higher magnification factor of the APS-C image does. And then there is the generally higher quality of upper tier FF lenses vs. APS-C only lenses which tend at best to be comparable to mid-grade FF lenses. – Michael C Apr 27 '14 at 16:31

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