Photography Tutorials and Articles

Digital Camera Sensor Size

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Confused about the differences in digital camera sensor sizes?

Digital Camera Sensor Sensor size is important in digital photography because it has an impact on image quality. If you have two cameras with the same pixel count, but one has a physically larger sensor than the other, the one with the larger sensor will usually produce better quality images. In simple terms a larger camera sensor allows the pixels to be made bigger and this has a positive impact on image quality, with noise levels being reduced and dynamic range extended. A similar result can also be achieved by keeping the pixel count down on a smaller sensor.

What is a Full Frame Digital Camera Sensor?

In Wikipedia a full frame camera sensor is explained as:

The term Full Frame is used by D-SLR users as a short-hand for an image sensor which is the same size as 35mm format (36×24 mm) film. Historically, 35 mm was considered a small film format compared with medium format, large format and even larger. This is in contrast to cameras with smaller sensors (for instance, those with a size equivalent to APS-C-size film), much smaller than a full 35 mm frame. Currently, the majority of digital cameras, both compact and SLR models, use a smaller-than-35 mm frame, as it is easier and cheaper to manufacture imaging sensors at a smaller size.

What are the other sizes of sensors?

There are several different camera sensor sizes. The most popular ones are APSC and Micro Four Thirds. There are also smaller camera sensors for Mirrorless and Point and Shoot cameras as well.

Why is camera sensor size important?

If you have two cameras with the same pixel count, but one has a larger sensor, it means that each of its pixels are larger than the smaller sensor camera. The larger sensor can capture more dynamic range, has less noise and improved low light performance.

digital Camera sensor size

A full frame camera sensor provides sharper image and less image noise.

Should I upgrade to a full frame camera?

Not necessarily! Camera sensor technology has improved a lot in recent years and the technology keeps getting better every year. Many APSC size and Micro Four Thirds cameras have amazing sensor capabilities. As the image sensor technology advances we will continue to see higher image quality from non full frame cameras.

This concludes a basic discussion about camera sensor size. If you want to learn more check our Upcoming Classes as we offer several beginners to advanced workshops in 2016. For example our Digital Camera Bootcamp is an 8 week program which includes two field trips. This program starts on January 13 and you will learn even more about digital camera performance and controls.

Ted and the Omnilargess Team