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Old May 9, 2004, 5:27 PM   #1
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Being a registered techno-dummy, I noted with interest in a forum somewhere a reference to CCD size, and didn't quite understand the relevance.In considering a new DC, I've also noted that some 4 or 5 mp cameras have a "1/1.8" CCD, and other 4 or 5 mp have a "1/2.5." Other things being equal, does this mean anything? Is the 2.5 automatically better than the 1.8, or is it the reverse? Thanks....

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Old May 9, 2004, 6:12 PM   #2
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Old Rooster,

I'm no expert on the topic, but if digital cameras are anything like digital videocams, a larger CCD will usually result in better low light performance.

Usually a larger CCD means more megapixels.

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Old May 9, 2004, 7:08 PM   #3
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Larger is definetly better, but also definetly more expensive. Here's a link to a discussion regarding DSLR's and in there I mention about what sensor size does for image quality:


Most consumer cameras will top out at 2/3" sensor size, and prosumer and professional cameras will take on from there. Larger sensors gather more light and alow for cleaner images at higher senitivities (ISO 800 and above).
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Old May 10, 2004, 5:40 AM   #4
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O.K. So, a 1/2.5 CCD is actually smaller than a 1/1.8. Right? I noticed a comparison by JimC of Marietta re: the Canon A80 and A75 pointing that out regarding low-light conditions. So, in my case, I'm looking at a Canon S410 with a 1/1.8 CCD and a Pentax S40 with a 1/2.5 CCD - both 4mp. Again, other things being equal (lens quality, etc.), should the smaller (1/1.8 mp) Canon preform better generally, and specifically in low-light situations? Thanks, again...

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Old May 10, 2004, 8:40 AM   #5
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In theory the bigger the sensor the better its low light performance, all else being equal, but I wouldn't rely on it. There are going to be variations between the various sensors' sensitivityso it's not a hard and fast rule. Ifyou specifically want to shoot in low light situations you need to check atwhat ISO rating the camera can produce reasonable pictures, i.e. pictures without too much noise. Also check how fast the lens is - f2.8 is better than f3.5. Most compact digital cameras can't really be relied on to shoot muchabove ISO200 without picture degradation - and probably don't allow you to set this rating anyway.I doubt that any of them can produce a decent picture at ISO800.

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Old May 10, 2004, 9:14 AM   #6
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IMO CCD size is only important if one tries to increase the ISO... If someone never use anything above ISO-100 then the issue of CCD size is less citical. Don't let the camera auto set the ISO, but limit the ISO yourself just like picking a particular brand of film.

In low-light some cameras take two shots of the same scene (one with the shutter close) and subtract out the noise from the dark-frame producing quite decent pictures: http://www.pbase.com/image/6428981
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Old May 10, 2004, 11:41 AM   #7
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imager (CCD) sizeis also important in detail oriented images having a larger imager allows one to crop the images to produce another from within the original. cropping can change the entire feeling of your image. but you want to maintain the image quality so more info is necessary to do so. as was said above though you can cram 8mp into the space a 5mp imager took and you risk a higher s/n ratio.

cropped 20%11mp full frame image shot wide open and at low shutter speed at ISO 640

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Old May 10, 2004, 11:54 AM   #8
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This should give you an idea how much the size of sensors varies.

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Old May 10, 2004, 10:59 PM   #9
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That is an excellent diagram, thanks!
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