Does Camera’s sensor size
make a difference?
This is a very good questions. When it comes to detail and sharpness, does it really matter what sensor size you use? If you want to do some post processing on your images, will larger size sensor provide more data? How about the Dynamic Range in smaller sensors? There are tons of articles about this topic, some say yes and few say no. But what is the right answer? In this article Tamara from Beyond Exposure, nicely explained some important facts about this widely asked question.
Many people ask me what the difference is between a compact camera and an SLR (interchangeable lens) camera. While there are many differences between the two, the digital age has added a new player into the mix called a sensor. Back in the days when compact camera users put a 35mm roll of film into a compact camera that was the same size as the 35mm roll of film that they put into an SLR, they were on a level playing field in terms of capture surface area. Digital technology has changed this dynamic by utilizing smaller sensors in compact cameras (and also some of the mirror less cameras) and bigger sensors in DSLRs. Even within the DSLR category there are cameras whose sensors are medium sized (4/3) and others whose sensors actually reach the same physical size of a traditional 35mm negative – commonly referred to as “Full Frame Cameras.”
Link for picture above: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/digital-camera-sensor-size.htm
Sensor size affects several things within a photograph, however, the most important difference for us as photo editors, is the amount of information we are losing with a smaller sensor. Though not a hard and fast rule, the trend is that the larger sensor sizes have larger pixel sizes also. This means that they are able to capture more detail, deliver lower digital noise, and have a slightly higher dynamic range. The ability of these sensors to perform well is also based, in part, on manufacturing and materials used, but the general rule remains true. When it comes to sensor size: Bigger is Better.
Photo to the left shows the size comparison between a compact camera sensor (left) and a DSLR camera (right)
Do you want to know more about how this added capture surface affects our editing capability?
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