NOTE: Not all cameras process color the same way. The example below shows the tonal values of black to white communicated with varying degrees of precision, by different bit depth systems. If there were absolutely no gaps between light sensing "pixels", you would at this point lose half the red and some of the green light since their length range goes over 500 nm, up to 740 nm. Becoming a histogram expert is critical to understanding why camera sensor size matters, in turn producing the best image quality. The following graphic shows a camera sensor size … But the size designation is still nothing like as simple as the diagonal measurement of the sensor. What does matter is sensor size! Here are some camera recommendations, least expensive to most expensive, crop to full frame. In terms of point-and-shoot cameras, the Sony RX100 brings a 1-inch type sensor to the party, and Canon has released the not-quite-a-compact G1 X with a 1.5-inch sensor. Tweet. The undisputed king of smartphone sensors, the Nokia 808, has a 1/1.2-inch sensor (10.67 x 8 mm). The sensor surface area also determines the size of each pixel. While we'd like to see all camera manufacturers listing the size of their sensors in millimeters, we can't see it happening any time soon. No more. The adult can describe this scene in vivid detail using a large number of descriptive words & complex vocabulary. A 2-bit photo would contain 4 possible choices, black, white, dark grey and light grey. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. As ISO increases the amount of undistorted signal which reflects the dynamic range, also decreases. APS-C Sensor Crop Factor = 1.5 to 1.6 depending on model. A 3-bit depth system would contain 8 possible choices or outcomes, ranging from (0,0,0) to (1,1,1). Previous: Blue Light Flashing on Your GoPro? Physical sensor sizes are provided in terms of width and height, usually in millimeters. For example, Red ( 12 ), Blue ( 6 ), Green ( 15 ) would create unique color and Red ( 1 ), Blue ( 2 ), Green ( 4 ) would create another unique color. You can see a few side-by-side crops from the video below: Then they moved on to a dynamic range, where they took portraits of Merrill indoors on a bright sunny day. Camera sensor size is the most important factor in determining overall camera performance & image quality, given the optimal focus, f-stop, ISO, and shutter speed settings have already been obtained. It's clear that more people are realizing that bigger image sensors mean better quality photographs (at least as much as, if not more than, megapixels) and thankfully manufacturers are beginning to cater to this demand with cameras like the Sony RX100 and Nikon COOLPIX A, which are presumably just the beginning. For example, a camera with high dynamic range capability could shoot directly into the bright sunlight & still collect information from dark shadow regions, without producing much noise. Quick Reference – Standard Camera Sensor Crop Factors: Digital cameras can be broken up into 3 different categories for sensor sizes, largest to smallest respectively, Medium Format, Full Frame, and Crop. There is, I think, a sweet spot when it comes to trade-offs, and there is no substitute for area under low light conditions no matter how good the processing. The following videos supplement the learning material found in the guide below, making it much easier to visualize. Here, we take a closer look at the main sizes of sensor used in today’s cameras. Each pixel is covered with a color filter, either red, green or blue. The first, and most obvious impact of a bigger camera sensor is that of size; not only will the sensor take up more room in your device, but it will also need a bigger lens to cast an image over it. For detail, you’ll want your subject to be quite close. Bigger sensors can also be better for isolating a subject in focus while having the rest of the image blurred. The change in the tones shown above is easily discernible to the human eye, which is unacceptable for photography. Budget compacts simply don't have sensors big enough to produce significantly better images. Therefore the number of possible choices, for each pixel, in a small 8-bit file is 256^3 power, or 256*256*256 which equals 16,777,216. ISO determines the amplification the light information receives as it’s conveyed into the digital world, where it’s stored on a memory card as a picture file.