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Old Feb 2, 2005, 6:16 PM   #1
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OK, I searched for this topic but couldn't find what I am looking for. How do you compare CCDs? Which one is better from the following:

4MP with 1/2.5" CCD


5PM with 1/1.8" CCD
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Old Feb 2, 2005, 6:42 PM   #2
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I hate to say this, but.... The problem is that your question isn't possible to answer. At least, not without huge qualifications that remove the answer from reality.

The only way to compare them is if everything else is equal... and it ever is. Here are some of the issues, in the "ideal" world:
The smaller the CCD the more noise in the image. Noise reduces detail.
The smaller the CCD, the faster the noise gets worse as you increase the ISO setting.

But not everything is equal, and we aren't in the "ideal" world. For example. The Canon 1D MkII camera is an 8MP camera (with a 36 x 24 mm sensor). The Canon 20D is an 8MP camera (it's sensor is 22.5 x 15.0 mm in size.) The 20D's sensor is noticably smaller (by almost 40% of the surface area, I believe.) Based on what I said above, you'd think that the 1D MkII would have much less noise. But guess what? It doesn't. It is slightly better, but not by a lot.

This is because technology marches on. Canon found new and better ways to reduce noise to overcome the drawbacks of the smaller sensor. And there isn't even a year between the release dates of the two cameras.

And we haven't even mentioned that the 10D is only 6MP, is the same size sensor as the 20D and guess what? The 20D has slightly less noise than the 10D!

It really isn't possible to give a reasonable answer except by taking it out of the real world and putting it on a test bed and talking about "theory". You don't use cameras on test beds do you?

You can't just compare sensors. A digital camera is an entire package. If you want help picking a camera, you have to talk about what you'll do with the camera (take pictures of jewlery? Kids? Model planes? Buildings?) What you'll do with the pictures (print them? Put them on the web?) And I haven't even gotten into the physical camera its self. Is it too big? To small? Do the buttons fit your hands?

Then, and only then, can people really tell you which camera is a better choice for you.

eric s is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 9, 2005, 4:07 PM   #3
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Well, Eric...gold star for you!!! Good answer. Wouldn't it be nice if it really was easy to guage performance in things like CCD's just by size. Makes buying a new digital camera a science project almost. Best regards,

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