Ever wonder why camera manufacturers these days are describing often sensor sizes with fractions instead of millimeters? Roger Cicala of LensRentals explains:
[...] then we get into all of these fractional-inch-type-measurements for the smaller sensors. That measurement system originated in ancient times (the 1950s to 1980s) when vacuum tubes were used instead of CCD or CMOS sensors in video and television cameras. The image sensor was, in those days, referred to in terms of the outside diameter of the vacuum tube that contained it.
Why do manufacturers keep using such an archaic measurement? Because it helps them lie to you, of course. If you do the math 1/2.7 equals 0.37 inches, which equals 9.39 mm. But if you look at the chart above you’ll see that a 1/2.7″ sensor actually has a diagonal of 6.7 mm. Why? Because, of course, a thick glass tube used to surround the sensors. So they calculate the sensor size as if the glass tube was still included. Makes perfect sense to a marketing person who wants to make their sensor seem larger than it is. What sounds better: 1/2.7″ or ‘less than 10% the size of a full frame sensor’?
If you have a few minutes, give his entire post on sensor sizes a read — it’s quite illuminating.
Sensor Size Matters [LensRentals Blog]
Image credits: Photograph by Sphl
This photo published by Chinese site xjrumo may be the first to show the APS-C sensor found in Fujifilm’s upcoming sleek mirrorless camera. The sensor is rumored to be a revolutionary organic sensor that will allow its performance to rival that of larger full frame sensors.
Fuji Sensor APS-C (via Photo Rumors)
If you’re a fan of Fujifilm’s X100 and X10, then you might want to brace yourself: the company’s next camera might be the one mirrorless camera to rule them all. Fujifilm’s upcoming mirrorless camera will likely have the same sleek styling as the X100, but with one colossal difference: a revolutionary new “organic sensor”. Fuji has been developing the technology for years now, and the new camera — supposedly named the Fujifilm LX — is rumored to be the first to pack the sensor.
Here’s a helpful video that attempts to demystify the concept of DSLR sensor sizes. If you’ve never been able to understand how sensor size (and its crop factor) affects resulting photographs, this video will help.
Nikon says the megapixel race ended years ago, but its upcoming camera is rumored to be a 36MP beast. Canon, on the other hand, actually took a step backward in terms of megapixels, dropping from 21 in the 1Ds Mark III to 18 in the new 1D X. However, the company states that camera’s resolution is by no means worse than the 1Ds Mark III, despite what marketers want you to believe. A representative recently spoke to Amateur Photographer, saying:
We have designed the Canon CMOS sensor for the EOS 1DX so that it is much thinner than before and so that the photodiodes are closer to the surface of the sensor. This way the pixels collect more light and produce a better, clearer, signal.
With less noise, and our new improved processing algorithms, the camera is able to reproduce more detail. While using MFT is perhaps not the best way to measure the resolution of the camera, if you did use this method the results for the EOS-1D X and EOS-1 Ds Mark III would be very similar.
The 1D X also has a mirror that utilizes mechanical movement both ways rather than gravity, allowing for faster frame rates while at the same time reducing mirror bounce.
Canon EOS-1D X Equals ’21MP’ DSLR, Claims Firm [Amateur Photographer]
Here’s a photograph by the The Bangkok Post showing Sony’s sensor manufacturing plant in Thailand submerged under flood waters roughly 3 meters (~10ft) high. The shutdown of the 502,000 square foot, 3,300 employee plant doesn’t just affect Sony, as other companies — including Nikon and Apple (in the iPhone 4S) — rely on Sony image sensors as well.
(via Bangkok Post via Nikon Rumors)
Image credit: Photograph by Pattarachai Preechapanich/The Bangkok Post
Engadget has published a lengthy review on the Pentax Q that confirms what many people have assumed since the camera was announced: that using a tiny sensor just to make an interchangeable camera system small isn’t a good idea:
Pentax really has managed to design the world’s smallest interchangeable lens camera — and yes, it does work. But there’s no magic at play here. The Q is small because all of its components were downsized — Pentax took everything from the lens to the image sensor to the mode dial and shutter release and gave them the shrink ray treatment. [...] The result is an attractive, pocketable ILC that doesn’t quite follow its powerful pedigree.
[...] If money is no object and you’re not keen on capturing incredible images and video footage, then perhaps you’ll still consider picking up a Q. As for the rest of us — we’re perfectly happy with our larger, much more capable ILCs, and wouldn’t dare consider making such a sacrifice just to carry a bit less weight on our shoulder.
There’s a ton of competition in the mirrorless camera market now, and one of the big selling points is having a DSLR-caliber sensor in a compact camera body. Lose the sensor quality, and there isn’t too much of an advantage over all the other options out there.
Pentax Q interchangeable lens camera review [Engadget]
Here’s a cross section view of the consumer light field camera unveiled by Lytro yesterday. Many people have been wondering about the camera’s output resolution. The official specs are enigmatic in this regard, as the resolution isn’t listed in megapixels (it boasts “11 Megarays”). If the diagram is to scale, however, we can learn a little about the sensor’s size. The camera is listed as being 41mm tall, so the sensor appears to be between 7.5×7.5mm and 10.5×10.5mm — roughly the size of a Fujifilm X10 sensor.
Update: Photographer Jim Goldstein did his own calculations can guesses that the photos are equivalent to 1-2 megapixels.
DxOMark has just published its findings on the quality of Nikon’s new mirrorless camera sensor, and the verdict is that Nikon did a pretty good job milking quality out of the small 1-inch sensor:
With regard to its size, this ranking is a big surprise, as the Nikon J1 sensor manages to score close to or even better than larger sensors (including 4/3 sensors).
[...] On the other hand, its low-light ISO score is a bit low: 372, which reflects the impact of the sensor size. Indeed, this score is naturally dependent on the sensor size: the bigger the sensor, the more light it captures. So even though the quality of the pixels provided by Nikon is very close to that of its main competitor, its sensor size physically limits the image quality.
If low-light shooting is your thing. then you might want to look into cameras with larger sensors. However, for everyday photography the new Nikon line perform surprisingly well given how much smaller its sensor is compared to its competitors.
Interchangeable Lens cameras by Nikon (via Nikon Rumors)
Many Nikonians would have been overjoyed if Nikon’s mirrorless cameras had been announced with an APS-C sensor instead of a 1-inch one, but are DSLR-sized sensors the best fit for smaller interchangeable lens cameras? Michael Johnston over at The Online Photographer says no, arguing that Micro Four Thirds is the optimal size:
APS-C sensors work fine in fixed-lens mirrorless cameras, such as the Leica X1 and the Fujifilm X100. And while NEX is making its own splash and winning its own adherents, many have pointed out that the over-large sensor is distorting the size of the lenses, preventing them from being miniaturized in proportion to the cameras. On the other hand, Micro 4/3 really does seem to have it right: the sensor is big enough, but not too big; small enough, but not too small. The cameras are right-sized, the lenses are right-sized. Everything’s in balance. Everything fits.
Since one of the main reasons for going mirrorless is compactness, perhaps APS-C sensors should be left to larger DSLR-sized cameras like the Sony A77 (which has been getting some glowing reviews, by the way).
Micro 4/3 is the Big Kahuna [The Online Photographer]
Image credit: Goldilocks by violscraper