WANNA KNOW HOW BIG YOUR SENSOR IS??

Discussion in 'Photography Talk' started by ARMANDII, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. ARMANDII

    ARMANDII Low Flying Administrator Staff Member

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    The question of camera sensors has been "turned over" a few times in several photo Threads and what the difference was in size between the different ones on our cameras. So here's a visual example of the image that your particular type of camera sensor would see against what is known as Full Format or the old 35mm format.
    [​IMG]
     
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    • wiseowl

      wiseowl FRIENDLY ADMIN Staff Member

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      Good morning Armandll my friend what a great thread , :ThankYou: worth being a sticky

      The size of sensor that a camera has ultimately determines how much light it uses to create an image. In very simple terms, image sensors (the digital equivalent of the film your father might have used in his camera) consist of millions of light-sensitive spots called photosites which are used to record information about what is seen through the lens. Therefore, it stands to reason that a bigger sensor can gain more information than a smaller one and produce better images.

      Sensors come in two forms – either a charged-coupled device (CCD) or a complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) – and are predominantly used in digital cameras: everything from your smartphone to a point-and-shoot, a Four Thirds to a DSLR, to a medium format system. They range from 3 to 3,200 megapixels, although the consumer market at the moment lies below the 80MP range.


      Think about it this way, if you had a compact camera with a typically small image sensor, its photosites would be dwarfed by those of a DSLR with the same number of megapixels, but a much bigger sensor. Able to gain more information, the large DSLR photosites would be capable of turning out photos with better dynamic range, less noise and improved low light performance than its smaller-sensored sibling. Which as we know, makes for happy photographers.:)
       
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      • Scrungee

        Scrungee Well known for it

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        Doesn't the Canon Powershot SX50 have one of the smaller sized sensors (1/2.3" 6.17 x 4.55 mm?) making it much easier to achieve that 50x zoom than using a telephoto zoom lens on a camera with a much larger sensor?

        And if greater magnification resulting from a smaller sensor means a shorter focal length is required, that must make it easier cheaper for lenses with a greater maximum aperture.

        Surely there must be some sort of chart available sowing the difference sensor size makes to magnification and DoF, etc.?
         
      • JWK

        JWK Gardener Staff Member

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        The number of pixels must have a big influence on this. So for example a smaller sensor with 12 mega-pixels will generally take a higher quality image than a bigger sensor with 10 mega-pixels. All you have to do with a smaller sensor camera is move yourself a couple of steps backwards to get the same framing in the image as the bigger sensor - or simply zoom out if your camera has a wide angle lens.
         
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        • shiney

          shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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          This all sounds absolutely brilliant but I don't really understand any of it! :scratch:

          What are all the letters/numbers beneath the chart? Where do I find them on the camera?

          I'll probably have lots more questions when I understand what I'm supposed ot be looking for. :)
           
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          • wiseowl

            wiseowl FRIENDLY ADMIN Staff Member

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            (APS-C) Advanced Photo System type-C /MFT Micro four thirds system,the rest is self explanatory:heehee::blue thumb:
             
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            • shiney

              shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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              Thanks for your help Woo :blue thumb::) but I'm not sure it is self-explanatory. :doh:
               
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              • Scrungee

                Scrungee Well known for it

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                I thought it was the other way round and that cameras with smaller sensors but with massively high amounts of mega-pixels were more likely to have noisy, inferior images than cameras with larger sensors.
                 
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                • wiseowl

                  wiseowl FRIENDLY ADMIN Staff Member

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                  Good morning now let Woo clear this up:heehee::blue thumb:

                  12mpix P&S — Sensor area approx 28mm2
                  12mpix m4/3 EVIL — Sensor area approx 223mm2
                  12mpix APS-C DSLR — Sensor area approx 343mm2
                  12mpix Full Frame DSLR — Sensor area approx 864mm2

                  Assuming all the above cameras are 12mpix, then each pixel is about 36x bigger on a FF DSLR compared to a P&S. Which means more light rays that fall on the pixel, meaning more accurate interpretation of the image.

                  Of course as technology improves, sensor pixel photosites are getting more sensitive and accurate, but it is still a long way to go before tiny P&S sensors could improve 36x over. But then again, bigger sensors are also improving as time goes, smaller sensors will always be lagging behind.
                   
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                  • JWK

                    JWK Gardener Staff Member

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                    Thanks Woo, but my point was about pixel density. The same number of pixels spread over a bigger sensor means each pixel is going to give a grainier image. For example a smaller sensor that has 4 times as many pixels per square mm (density) will capture 4 times more detail (all other things being equal).

                    I'm just trying to point out that bigger isn't always better :)
                     
                  • JWK

                    JWK Gardener Staff Member

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                    Yes I think in the real world that must be true. It must be more difficult/costly to make smaller sensors with higher amounts of pixels that can match a bigger sensor size in terms of quality per pixel.
                     
                  • wiseowl

                    wiseowl FRIENDLY ADMIN Staff Member

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                    Hello :)

                    How many megapixels you need depends on the how you are going to use your images. Here are some common uses:

                    Viewing OnMegapixels Needed
                    Computer Monitor / Online1-3 megapixels
                    6×4 prints2 megapixels
                    10×8 inch prints5 megapixels
                    14×11 inch prints or larger7 megapixels
                    If you only enjoy your photos on your computer screen, or uploading to a photo website to share with friends, you really only need a 1 megapixel camera. That is because your computer monitor is usually about 1000×1000 pixels = 1 megapixel! I’d err on the safe side and use a 3 megapixel camera or higher to enable cropping though, When you print your images, you will need more megapixels. If your megapixel count isn’t enough for the size of image you print, your images won’t look sharp.

                    Use the above table as a guide for the number of megapixels you need. Notice how I say “14×11 inch prints or larger” on the last line of the table. You only really need a 7 megapixel camera for any prints larger than 14×11. Even huge 30×40 posters. That’s because we normally stand further away from larger prints, so we don’t notice when they are less sharp:sofa:;)

                    In Conclusion:)

                    David Pogue, a tech columnist for the New York Times, took the same image and made three 16x24 prints at a photo lab. One image was the full 13 megapixels, one was 8 megapixels, and one was 5 megapixels. He put up the posters in Times Square and asked people walking by if they could figure out which print was which. During his test, about 95% of the people could not tell the difference. One person correctly figured it out, but she was a photography professor :)
                     
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                    • ARMANDII

                      ARMANDII Low Flying Administrator Staff Member

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                      Life gets complicated don't it??:dunno::heehee:

                      Here's a technical explanation to the question but while the experienced photographer might get to the other side, some won't, so give me some time and we'll see if we can come up with some laymen's language to make it less :doh:

                      Well, that made my head ached for sure, anyone got any tablets?:dunno::snork:
                      I think a "Health Warning" is needed for this thread because most of us picked up a camera to record family events and members, holidays etc, but now Digital photography presents to the photographer the ease of automation, ability to see images immediately and also the ability to reject them immediately, and the desire to find that "perfect shot" we could lose that original sense of fun and pleasure in the morass of technical features.. It has also brought a proliferation of different types of cameras, sensors, lenses, accessories and technical abilities, terms, that can overwhelm us and make us lose sight of why we originally picked up our first camera. For me, just picking up my K5 gives me a sense of anticipation and excitement and while camera specifications and all that jazz is great to explore let's not forget why we picked up that camera!!:hapydancsmil::heehee:

                      Right, now where were we???:dunno::scratch::snork:
                       
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                      • shiney

                        shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                        That's what I've always said! :lunapic 130165696578242 5:
                         
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                        • Steve R

                          Steve R Soil Furtler

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                          I could, but wont, write reams on the subject, most of it will go straight over the heads of many here, not because they don't understand it, but because they do not need/want to understand it and this is a gardening forum after all. The OP posted a good graphic to show the difference between full frame cameras, crop sensors and lower and it is a useful comparison.

                          Camera technical is a huge subject, very nerdy but not necessary for most people to understand, and I've seen more disagreement on the subject than I care to remember. If your camera works for you then that is all that really matters. Its good glass that really matters and a thinking photographer helps things along. I'm happy with my crop sensor camera and the shots I get, but Joe Cornish could get better shots than me using a disposable camera and the bottom of a coke bottle for a lens!

                          Spend more time taking photos than analysing the specs of your camera, and most importantly, enjoy it!

                          For those who want to know a bit more about the techie side of photographyI would suggest they go have a look at the Cambridge in Colour website, I used to send students there as the tuts are so well considered and then written, and if you don't understand something on the first read through, you will on the second. http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/

                          Steve...:)
                           
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