Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > General Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jun 3, 2010, 6:43 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 6
Default sensor size an issue?

Hi all,

I was wondering, do people place importance on the "sensor size" when choosing a dslr camera?
Is it my imagination that Nikon sensors (on the whole) are larger than Canon?

just a harmless query
Whiting
whiting is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jun 3, 2010, 9:28 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

Canon dSLRs use three different sizes of image sensors: 36 x 24mm ('Full Frame'), 28.1 x 18.7mm ('APS-H'), and 22.3 x 14.9mm ('APS-C').

Nikon dSLRs use two differnet size imeage sensors: 36 x 24mm ('Full Frame'), and 23.6 x 15.8mm ('APS-C').

Is it important? That depends on what you want to do. If you want to shoot landscape with an entry level APS-C dSLR, you might be better off with a Nikon because of its slightly wider angle of view. But if you want to shoot wildlife with an entry level APS-C dSLR, you might be better off with a Canon because of its slightly narrower angle of view.

But in general, there are more important reasons for selecting one over another.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 3, 2010, 10:27 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Ordo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: BsAs
Posts: 3,452
Default

TCav: appart from sensor sizes, are they different in terms of IQ? Is one sensor better than other? Who's fabricating sensors for the digital camera market?
Ordo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 3, 2010, 11:53 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 6
Default

Hi,
thanks for the reply...it's interesting (from a novice view) that the larger sensor sometimes has less pixel and the smaller sensor has more - almost counterbalancing.

Whiting
whiting is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 4, 2010, 8:12 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ordo View Post
TCav: appart from sensor sizes, are they different in terms of IQ? Is one sensor better than other? Who's fabricating sensors for the digital camera market?
There isn't really enough difference between different image sensors that you could characterize one type as inherently better than another.

To my knowledge, Sony, Samsung and Kodak are the biggest OEM manufacturers of image sensors. Canon makes their own for their dSLRs and probably for some of their P&S digicams, but they don't sell their image sensors to other companies.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 4, 2010, 8:15 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by whiting View Post
Hi,
thanks for the reply...it's interesting (from a novice view) that the larger sensor sometimes has less pixel and the smaller sensor has more - almost counterbalancing.
There's greater pressure in the low end of the market for higher resolution, but the latest releases of 'Full Frame' dSLRs all have 20+ MP image sensors.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 4, 2010, 8:39 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,093
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
There isn't really enough difference between different image sensors that you could characterize one type as inherently better than another.
I wonder whether that is true. ISTM that the A/D converter's number of bits is a significant variable. Canon has begun to use 14-bit converters, and apparently is talking about going to 16-bit ADCs. Nikon, at least in the consumer end of the market, uses 12. I don't know how many the Pentax k-X uses, but it would not surprise me if it were 10 or so -- the k-X is notorious for having no headroom in its raw data and easily blowing highlights. Nikon has what it calls "Auto-DLighting," where a curve is applied to the raw data to retain detail in highlights and shadows when coverting to JPEG. It is quite effective, and seems to be behind the much greater resistance to blown highlights in Nikons than in the k-X. I presume that the Canon greater range would only further increase the robustness of the image in this way.

[ETA: I checked the ADC on the k-X: it is 12 bits. So my simple-minded idea of why the k-X has so much less headroom in its raw format is not true. I just don' know what accounts for this limtation in that camera.]

Last edited by tclune; Jun 6, 2010 at 10:04 AM.
tclune is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 4, 2010, 8:39 AM   #8
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

Quote:
There's greater pressure in the low end of the market for higher resolution, but the latest releases of 'Full Frame' dSLRs all have 20+ MP image sensors.
Nikon's newest dSLR model is the D3s, and it uses a Nikon designed 12MP Full Frame Sensor. ;-)

For best results at higher ISO speeds for existing light shooting, the D3s is hard to beat, with improved IQ compared to the D3 and D700 (which also used Nikon designed 12MP full frame sensors).
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 4, 2010, 8:42 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 584
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by whiting View Post
Hi all,

I was wondering, do people place importance on the "sensor size" when choosing a dslr camera?
Is it my imagination that Nikon sensors (on the whole) are larger than Canon?

just a harmless query
Whiting
As TCav said. Canon and Nikon use several sensor sizes. IMHO, the
small size difference between the Canon APS-C and Nikon DX sensors
is not significant. There will be a noticeable difference in performance
when you compare sensors with a radically different size.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_sensor_format
corkpix is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:59 PM.