If you’re looking for an article on camera digital sensor size comparisons, stick around. While specs like dynamic range and ISO setting matter greatly, everything begins with the camera sensor. This will determine quite a bit about what your camera is capable of doing.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • A few main sensor types include frame systems, micro four thirds, APS-C format, and medium format sensors.
  • Compact cameras will have smaller size sensors, and larger models will have larger, more complicated options than compact camera sensors.
  • Producing quality images means that you need professional quality sensors, which offer an excellent dynamic range alongside other fantastic features.

Sensor sizes matters and the best cameras offer far more than compact camera sensors do.

Comparing Digital Camera Sensor Sizes

There are a plethora of sensors available, and each one has benefits and drawbacks. You’ll need to understand the differences between them to use your camera to its full potential.

Comparing a 6 mm vs an 8 mm on a digital camera will help you better understand image size and why the physical size of your lens matters.

Insider Tip

Keeping your lens aperture clean and clear will improve your image quality.

Full-Frame Sensor

You can find a full-frame lens in mirrorless cameras alongside DSLR models. Full frame cameras offer image noise reduction, a fantastic dynamic range, and excellent depth of field. Because of this, frame systems are the gold standard for professionals. It is imperative to understand the dynamic range and similar terms in photography. Our article comparing camera image stabilization in optical vs digital will help you learn more.

You can expect the following from a full-frame camera:

  • Boasts a 36x24mm sensor size
  • Has a crop factor of 1.5x

Medium Format Sensors

If you’re looking to achieve a shallower depth, then medium format sensors are perfect. Keep in mind that medium format sensors are only found in larger cameras, both expensive and bulky. However, their ability to capture shallow depth makes them highly desirable to professionals. They are also more prevalent in mirrorless cameras.

This is what you can expect from these:

  • Provides a variety of physical sensor sizes
  • Hosts multiple crop factors

Canon APS-C Sensor

This sensor is popular in both mirrorless cameras and DSLRs. The APS-C sensor is the most popular and provides fantastic adaptability to both beginners and professionals. The Canon EOS Mark II is a prime example of cameras that carry this sensor.

You can expect the following specs from an APS-C camera:

  • Features a range of sensor sizes across brands
  • Has a crop factor of 1.5

Micro Four Thirds

The Micro Four Thirds system is a standard for a range of professional cameras. Panasonic and Olympus are the brands responsible for creating the Micro Four Thirds system. The Olympus Mark III is an excellent example of a camera using this sensor type.

Here are the technical specs:

  • Uses a 17.3x13mm image sensor size
  • Has a crop factor of 2.0

Warning

The sensor type you choose can significantly affect the types of photography you can engage in, so choose wisely.

F.A.Q.S

What are the characteristics of larger sensors?

Unfortunately, a larger sensor size will take up more room in your camera. This is why compact cameras typically have a smaller sensor size. A larger sensor size provides a better range for the field of depth.


What is “depth of field” in photography?

Depth of field refers to the distance between the nearest and furthest viewable objects. Your depth of field will determine quite a bit about your shots. A shallow depth of field translates into beautiful portrait photos with blurred-out backgrounds.


Does the sensor size in digital cameras matter?

Yes, and it affects almost everything you do in digital photography. Generally speaking, people prefer larger sensors rather than smaller-sized sensors.


Do pixel counts matter in photography?

Yes, and every single pixel matters to create better image quality. A digital image is essentially just a gridwork of individual pixels, each one containing information about the scene you’re capturing.


STAT: In 2018, most households earning over $100,000 in the US reported that they owned Canon products. (source)

Beth Huston

Beth has an eye for all things editorial, overshadowed only by her drive to understand everything through dedicated research. You can find Beth reading fantasy in her spare time... especially if it's by Brandon Sanderson.

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