The APS-C sensor is sampling the central part of the image with 1.6 times the pixel density of the FF sensor. If the glass is up to it and you are in the lower iso ranges you get better resolving power and equivalent noise out of APS-C (assuming same generation of sensors.... can't compare new to 4 year old...). Use poor glass and the FF outresolves... and at high ISO FF has less noise. Sampling the smaller area is problematic for wide angle shots but benificial to long shots... Lenses can be made smaller, cheaper, and lighter for APS-C, but at the cost of resolving power.... There is no easy answer, just a bunch of tradeoffs.
-Rant- And there is no such thing as a FF nay-sayer. Some people think they prefer crop cameras over FF, but they just don't realize that their dinky toy sensors is utter crap in comparison to FF. I know this because I used to be one of them. .. Oh, those lost years.
I agree... I was one too lol. I don't understand the "reach" arguement. Your lens is what gives you reach. A smaller sensor doesn't magnify what's in the frame, it crops. Even if the cropped image is made up of more megapixels than the same frame cropped from a full frame image, wouldn't the full frame image still be better in terms of IQ, bokeh, etc ?(assuming all else is constant...)
Clarification on the highlighted bits above:
APS-C pixel density relative to FF depends entirely on the number of pixels. A 7D has more than twice the pixel density of a 5D Mk III. A Nikon D800 (FF) has a higher pixel density than a Canon 40D (APS-C).
If an FF image is cropped to match an APS-C image (i.e. the same subject taken from the same distance with the same lens, focal length and aperture), the two images will have identical bokeh.
Glad that there is SOME sense in this thread... (eg the above 2 posts). And a few others that state that the 7D (and even other APS-C cameras) are really decent. If people have issues with the 7D's AF, they've probably not learned how to use it. I have used both FF and APS-C, and know the benefits of both, and when to use what. Just because a FF is generally superior for eg landscape, portrait, etc doesn't mean it's 'useless' or 'a toy'.
I'm glad the original poster (OP) humbly admitted that he's not the world's best photog. He's not. (And note, neither am I - though I have some photos that have won awards and been greatly appreciated) Some of the OP's photos are quite good, and I'm sure various viewers genuinely appreciate them.
However to suggest that equipment is more important than skill isn't true. It seems that the OP has managed to compose with his new FF DSLR and 50mm f/1.4 Kudos, but very similar images could have been produced on an APS-C with eg a good 35mm lens. The difference isn't as great as some people think.
I've seen people take stunning photos with point and shoot (P&S) cameras. Knowing how to capture light AND how to use one's equipment to maximum benefit is very important. Of course having great equipment helps, and there are some types of photos one can't do with a P&S.
And then there was the person who wrote: "i could never get over the crop factor killing the wide angle end of my lenses and hated the idea of getting lenses that couldn't migrate to any body i would get in the future."
Well it's a shame that people get EF lenses and don't realise there are so many great, dedicated lenses for APS-C. I have used various UWA lenses on eg Canon's 7D - and let me say that wide open at equivalent of 14mm and 16mm (in FF comparison) - the Sigma 8-16mm, Sigma 10-20mm's or Canon 10-22mm and Tokina 11-16mm, etc really shine. Often they're much sharper in the corners than FF can do with eg a 17-40mm or 16-35mm.
And someone else wrote that they couldn't compose with a APS-C - but could with a FF. Hmmm... again it seems people don't understand that you NEED the right lens for the job. I have used eg a 24-105mm on a 5D, as well as a 15-85mm on a 7D. Get and use the lens you need, but don't complain if you are using the wrong lenses on a crop body.
I've been both impressed with the 5DmkIII and 6D as recent FF cameras, and I'm also certainly interested to see what Canon will release with a 7DmkII... Different cameras for different purposes. As someone else had stated, it's also important to remember that building both APS-C bodies and lenses to match saves significant costs. So again, there is place for both FF and APS-C, in terms of the target market / budget, etc.