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Thread: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

  1. #1

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    When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Camera comes in so many flavors. They have so many different functions and abilities now it's insane. Some of these functions may be more important to you then someone else. You may want to be able to look at your DSLR pictures on your iPhone and send them to friends before getting home. Some DLSRs can do that now. Some characteristics may seem important, like MegaPixels, in reality effect the final image a lot less then you'd imagine.

    One characteristic that's often overlooked when comparing features is the sensor size. You've probably heard the terms "Full Frame", "APS-C", Crop Sensor, 1.6X, 1.5X, Micro Four Thirds, etc... These are all terms that relate to the sensor size in some way.

    To me, because of the subjects I shoot, this is the most important part of my camera.

    The good then about having a larger sensor is that:
    -It's easier to get a zoomed out picture.
    -The ISO can go up higher without causing as much noise. This means you can take pictures in lower light. This can be up to 4 stops less light. This can be the difference between getting the picture or not in certain low light environments.
    -Final image has more in focus. This is a bit misleading and basically is due to not having to have the magnification of the crop sensor lens. Read about Circle of Confusion if you want to learn the truth behind this.

    The bad thing about having a larger sensor:
    -The larger the sensor the more the camera cost.
    -It's harder to get a zoomed in picture (though you can crop in).

  2. #2

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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Mark welcome to CIC, it would be helpful if you could go to your setting and let us know what part of the world you are in. I am having some problems with your statements.
    Size of the sensor has little to do with some of your statements, I shoot both a crop sensor camera (D7000) and a full frame camera (D600).
    Zooming is done with the lens or your feet,
    If you mean you will get a larger field of view with a FF camera with a lens set at a certain XXXmm than the same XXXmm on a crop camera then you are correct
    Your ISO statement is incorrect, when the D7000 came out the amount of noise at low light was better than the top of the line D3 and D4. This was because it was the new Sony sensor and the in camera noise reduction program was improved. This family of sensors are now used in the D800/D800E, D600, D7100 models. If talking about DSRL camera this statement is completely wrong in my way of thinking.
    Final image has more in focus, if you mean that because the area of view of the larger senor is larger than that of a crop sensor than you are somewhat correct as the view area is greater, however if it is a crop senor it does not mean that less of the view area is out of focus as all the view are will be in focus if you have properly focused on the image. Another thing a crop camera will give you about 1 more stop, depth of field at the same f-stop as the same setting on the full frame, so this makes a crop senor really able to put more in focus.
    The larger the sensor the more the camera cost, true however it is the full frame body is a pro body, it is build better to handle the conditions a profession photographer may have to work in, is also has a lot of extra bells and whistles. The crop body is not built is the same standard plastic parts as compared to metal, it is build for the pro-consumer.
    The last item true if using the same XXXmm lens, or can not zoom with feet, however if your crop sensor is 16MP, my FF is 24 or 36MP, then I match your view area by cropping in then we print a large image say 20 x 30 I am going to say that my final printed image will be of better quality.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    This kind of thread starters reminds me of another (ex?-)member who also had the habit of throwing out a series of statements, w/o any apparent reason, or question behind them...

    I'd like to hear why this is posted... (as Allan remarked, some of OP's statements are ambiguous or open to misinterpretation)

  4. #4

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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Was wondering myself as someone's first post comes across as the final forum chapter.

  5. #5

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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Revi. Very odd request but easily answered. I was trying to summarize the physical characteristics of sensor size without using jargon to explain what really matters to someone selecting a camera.

    Allan
    I'm very energized by your desire for everything to be technically accurate. This language and focus is my forte, I like to live there. Being technically accurate sometimes loses the bottom line. It's usually more effective to describe the end effect as it matters at the persons comprehension in language they understand. If they want to know why, which is a great way to learn, then the explanation is readily available.

    That's wonderful you shoot with a full frame and crop sensor camera. I do as well. Isn't it great to have different bodies for different purposes.

    If you decrease the size of your sensor you are effectively zooming in. In terms of magnification you can think of it as effectively increasing your focal length of your lens. Are you actually zooming in or changing your focal length? Of course not. My statement is true. If you increase you sensor size (all other things being held constant) it is easier to get a zoomed out picture. You aren't really "zooming" out. But if you only have a 24-70 lens and are constantly frustrated wishing you could get more foreground in your images because you want the 17mm's 104 degree angle of view to get the flowers in the fore ground then it is useful then to know when selecting the next camera.

    My ISO statement is correct. ISO is effected by a lot of things. Sensor size is one of them. If all other things are held constant it's the most dramatic effect. Lots of other things effect it because it's a thing that happens at the sensor. It's changed by sensor contraction, software, etc... Even the design of the space between photo receptors effects ISO. As technology improves generally speaking ISO are getting higher and higher for the same noise. This is what you're talking about with the D3 vs. the D7000. The D3 is from 2007. The D7100 is 2013. ISO wise this is not a fair comparison for the reasons you say. You sayIf talking about DSRL camera this statement is completely wrong in my way of thinking." I don't know what you mean though by your way of thinking. My way of thinking is that if you compare two camera bodies, holding all other things constant, the larger sensor can get you to higher ISOs with less noise. This is the statement important to someone buying a camera. If low light matters to you then look at ISO performance. In most cases the larger sensor will have a tremendously better ability to get useful images at low light. This matters to people taking pictures of their kids during July 4th holding a firework, or a client signing on dimly lit stage.

    100% agree that generally more expensive bodies are better built. This has mostly all positive take aways. Only negative is size and weight. I for one would take a 20% heavier camera though if it meant I could drop it a couple more times. I'm not sure if thats' true for everyone though.

    RE Focus. Please read about Circle of Confusion. I agree with you first statement about focus. It sounds though like you MAY (but maybe not) need a brush up on this concept. Focus is not decided only by correcting dialing in focus. It's a subjective viewer dependent concept that quantified as best as possible with a very cool equation. It's really neat to read about. Bottom line for this discussion is that if you want to record the exact same image and do both on two different sensor sizes then you will get more in focus with the larger sensor. The issue is that you can't do this and hold everything else constant. You have move the camera or put on a different lens. The thing is the magnification caused by a smaller lens makes larger circles of confusion, less is in focus. This is true because of stepping closer or putting on a longer focal length lens, not directly caused by the sensor. But when tasked with shooting a specific picture, choosing a large sensor will mean more is in focus.

    Re your statement. "Another thing a crop camera will give you about 1 more stop, depth of field at the same f-stop as the same setting on the full frame, so this makes a crop senor really able to put more in focus." What's a stop of depth of field? What physically is causing this? I think we just discussed how this isn't the case. That center portion of the image plane has the exact same information on a crop sensor as a full frame. It's changing the distance or lens that changes DOF.

    Your last statement is an odd one. Your'e saying a 24MP Full Frame (then cropped) will have a better print then a 16MP crop sensor? I don't agree. This is the prime example of being able to explain what a crop sensor camera is. The images would be exactly the same( I didn't do the math but they would be almost exactly the same). Thats what a crop sensor camera is, cropping at the image plane and recording less information. It's curious though because a better argument would compare a 16MP Full Frame to a 24MP crop sensor. I think that's what you meant though since you've been technically accurate up to that point.

    Sigi. What do you mean that my post "comes across as the final forum chapter."

    I am excited to be in this community. I'm here to help people learn. It sounds like you are too. I also got the feeling I stepped into another gorilla's territory. I'm sure that's not the case though since you guys are adults. I think it's super cool you want things to be technically accurate! Let's please focus on helping people learn about this super cool craft.

  6. #6
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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Hmmm.... I am going to do my best to stay out of this.

    John

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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Treen View Post
    Camera comes in so many flavors. . .

    The good then about having a larger sensor is that:

    -Final image has more in focus. This is a bit misleading and basically is due to not having to have the magnification of the crop sensor lens. Read about Circle of Confusion if you want to learn the truth behind this.
    There is much ambiguity in the opening post.

    As for one example:

    One MAIN reason why many Wedding and Portrait Photographers choose to use 135 Format rather than APS-C format DSLR Cameras is so that they can exploit the SHALLOWER DoF capacity of the 135 Format.

    ***

    I have read the subsequent explanation:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Treen View Post
    Bottom line for this discussion is that if you want to record the exact same image and do both on two different sensor sizes then you will get more in focus with the larger sensor. The issue is that you can't do this and hold everything else constant. You have move the camera or put on a different lens. The thing is the magnification caused by a smaller lens makes larger circles of confusion, less is in focus. This is true because of stepping closer or putting on a longer focal length lens, not directly caused by the sensor. But when tasked with shooting a specific picture, choosing a large sensor will mean more is in focus.
    These statements also occur to me, to be ambiguous. And that's fine.

    The end.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 2nd September 2013 at 09:42 PM.

  8. #8

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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Mark looking forward to viewing the work that you post.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    How well do you folks like your marshmallows toasted?

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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Colin- I like my marshmallows completely brown on the outside. I let them cool slightly and eat the outside shell. Then I do it again on the next layer. I looked at your FB page and liked the pictures a lot so I hit the Like button.

    Allan- Thanks!

    WW- Yes, ambiguity........

  11. #11

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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Several things come to mind when referring to Canon...
    A crop camera body utilizes the center portion of a full frame camera's FOV using the same lens, but...
    according to Canon's MTF characteristics, that's precisely where most lenses are at their best.
    Therefore that crop camera only gives you the very best of that lens.
    That crop body will put more pixels on target, birds in flight or that child playing BB in the gym,
    than will that FF camera, pixels on target determines IQ.
    Image size...that 18 MP crop body image taken with multiple exposures and photo-merged to the
    field of view of the FF camera magically turns into about a 46 MP image.

    I would submit that nobody in our viewing audience could discern whether a print was made from a
    crop camera or a FF camera, assuming reasonable print size.

  12. #12

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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Quote Originally Posted by chauncey View Post
    Several things come to mind when referring to Canon...
    A crop camera body utilizes the center portion of a full frame camera's FOV using the same lens, but...
    according to Canon's MTF characteristics, that's precisely where most lenses are at their best.
    Therefore that crop camera only gives you the very best of that lens.
    That crop body will put more pixels on target, birds in flight or that child playing BB in the gym,
    than will that FF camera, pixels on target determines IQ.
    Image size...that 18 MP crop body image taken with multiple exposures and photo-merged to the
    field of view of the FF camera magically turns into about a 46 MP image.

    I would submit that nobody in our viewing audience could discern whether a print was made from a
    crop camera or a FF camera, assuming reasonable print size.
    First marshmellow toasting now ...

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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Very interesting post.

    Chauncey:
    I would submit that nobody in our viewing audience could discern whether a print was made from a
    crop camera or a FF camera, assuming reasonable print size.

  14. #14
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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Treen View Post
    One characteristic that's often overlooked when comparing features is the sensor size. You've probably heard the terms "Full Frame", "APS-C", Crop Sensor, 1.6X, 1.5X, Micro Four Thirds, etc... These are all terms that relate to the sensor size in some way.
    Welcome to the forum, Mark,

    This characteristic (sensor size) has been beaten to death on every forum that I've seen. So where exactly has it been "overlooked", may I ask? Certainly not here:

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...ensor-size.htm

    When selecting a new camera look at sensor size
    Last edited by xpatUSA; 3rd September 2013 at 03:09 AM.

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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Yes welcome to CiC but apart from thinking you are drawing incorrect conclusions I will leave it at that
    People consider I do the same becuase I regard DSLRs as a neccessary evil the profesional has to suffer with but thankfully not myself any more
    I think that is a bridge camera in my avatar but my current camera is quite similar so I cannot tell at that size if I updated the avatar or not

  16. #16
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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Treen View Post
    The good then about having a larger sensor is that:
    -It's easier to get a zoomed out picture.
    -The ISO can go up higher without causing as much noise. This means you can take pictures in lower light. This can be up to 4 stops less light. This can be the difference between getting the picture or not in certain low light environments.
    -Final image has more in focus. This is a bit misleading and basically is due to not having to have the magnification of the crop sensor lens. Read about Circle of Confusion if you want to learn the truth behind this.

    The bad thing about having a larger sensor:
    -The larger the sensor the more the camera cost.
    -It's harder to get a zoomed in picture (though you can crop in).
    I don't agree with a single point you've raised there but most of these things have been done to death, there's never agreement and someone usually gets banned.

    Other than that what I can agree with is "When selecting a new camera look at sensor size" although I'd modify that slightly and say that when selecting a new camera you should consider the sensor size along with the other technical aspects and the implications these things have for you.

  17. #17
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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    What a strange thread! I feel like I am attending a lecture aimed at naughty students by a teacher (or "gorilla") who has walked in and assumed that everyone needs remedial work

    Personally I couldn't really care less about sensor sizes or the technicalities of them. I have full frame and crop DSLRs and they are different tools each suited for different jobs. Practically any modern camera equipped with good quality glass will achieve more than satisfactory image quality in the hands of a reasonably skilled operator.

    In my view many people on forums spend a lot of time fretting about technical differences that really matter very little in the context of learning the craft of photography. I quite enjoy the technical debates, but I would be deluding myself If I thought that
    it affects my limited creative abilities!

    I am sure you are going to be a real hit here Mark. Instant impact

    Adrian

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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Welcome Mark,

    What gives me the feeling we got a very competent PRO in our midst?

    I sure hope the gorilla is going to stay as I have a strange feeling I might just learn something from the gorilla.

  19. #19
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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Quote Originally Posted by xpatUSA View Post
    Welcome to the forum, Mark,

    This characteristic (sensor size) has been beaten to death on every forum that I've seen. So where exactly has it been "overlooked", may I ask?
    Mark?
    .

  20. #20

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    Re: When selecting a new camera look at sensor size

    Wow, this really is a fun group!
    Thanks for the welcomes and heated not so welcomes. It means you guys really care. (except for the guy who said it doesn't really matter, which I kind of agree with except for ISO/low light, and crop factor if you're limited on lenses).
    All these things are much less important then the ability to compose a shot. But if you have that ability and want a camera that can X, my post may have been helpful.

    I wrote this post for exactly the reason I stated. I don't understand why you guys ask. What other reason would it be? It's my first step for world domination? Maybe I'm developing a new world order? We it's just to help someone who may not want technical reasons make a more educated decision when selecting a camera. I didn't know any history or how frequently this had been discussed in the past. The link you gave to the parent site doesn't really discuss all the things we are discussing here.
    Again, thanks for welcoming me!

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