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Old Nov 19, 2008, 10:41 PM   #1
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Hi,

Articles by David Pogue of the NY Times have me looking only for cameras with sensors larger than 1/2.5.

One fairly standard size larger than that is 1/1.8, but it seems they are quite rare, especially under $200, which is what I'm hoping to spend.

Assuming that my main criterion is image quality, is it worth it for me to keep searching for a camera with a sensor larger than the very common 1/2.5? Orcan I findrecent 1/2.5 cameras that perform as well as something with a bigger sensor?

Thanks.
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Old Nov 19, 2008, 10:57 PM   #2
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All things being equal, a larger sensor is better than a smaller one because the larger sensor will permit you to increase the sensitivity with less digital noise than the smaller sensor. This is important when shooting under low light conditions.

However, very often, cameras with a larger sensor also have more megapixels, which counteracts the advantage of the larger sensor. For instance, the Canon SD990is has a sensor size of 1/1.7 inch but also has 14.7 megapixels. Its pixel density is practically the same as the Canon SD880is, which has a sensor size of 1/2.3 inch with 10 megapixels. Low light shooting ability is about the same between the two cameras.
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Old Nov 20, 2008, 9:22 AM   #3
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Pogue is outrageous. That's why people read his colums. In his noble efforts to make complex things simpler, he goes too far and, thus,misleads. As with your question and AndyfromVA's excellent explanation, much of what he says needs to be readjusted to fit the known universe.

There is no Gospel according to Pogue. Take everything he says with a grain of salt.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 12:57 PM   #4
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Thanks Andy and TCav,

A further question on the same topic:

I get it that more MPs canundercut a large sensor size (in Pogue's defense,I had heard that from him).

But what if I had a large sensor, AND excessive MPs--but I kept my camera set to shoot at no more than 5 or 6 MPs?

Wouldmy camera's mere capability to reach 14 MPs still underminemy pic quality, even though I didn't shoot at 14 MP?

Thanks again.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 1:11 PM   #5
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losdavos wrote:
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Thanks Andy and TCav,

A further question on the same topic:

I get it that more MPs canundercut a large sensor size (in Pogue's defense,I had heard that from him).

But what if I had a large sensor, AND excessive MPs--but I kept my camera set to shoot at no more than 5 or 6 MPs?

Wouldmy camera's mere capability to reach 14 MPs still underminemy pic quality, even though I didn't shoot at 14 MP?

Thanks again.
I know that it wouldn't help, though I don't know the technical reasons why.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 3:56 PM   #6
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No, it would not help. Noise comes from a lot of different sources. The noise thatis related to pixel density happens in each pixel, whether that particular pixel is used in the final image or not. Also, each pixel is only used for a color (red, green or blue) and the camera puts them all to gether to make the final image. Noise that happens in a pixel will affect adjacent pixels, whether that individual pixel is used in the image or not.
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