sensor sizes in prosumer vs inexpensive dslr cameras

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Terence, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. Terence

    Terence Guest

    I just don't get it.

    I'm trying to understand the difference in sensor sizes between the
    more expensive prosumer digicams out there i.e. the Sony V3, Canon
    G6/Pro1, etc... compared to something like the Digital Rebel, as an
    example.

    It would seem to make sense to me that for your cheaper entry-level
    digicams, the relatively small CCD's they use is adequate, but for
    prosumer digicams which could potentially cost 3 times as much, I
    don't think it's unreasonable to expect a proportional increase in
    sensor size.

    The cost of the Canon Pro1 itself is comparable to that of the DRebel
    (and I'm even referring the ones which include the 18-55mm lens kit).
    But the CMOS of the latter is close to 6 times larger in terms of
    surface area. In fact, if they stuck a DRebel sensor into the body of
    a Pro1 while maintaining the Pro1's pixel density, you would end up
    with a 48mp camera!

    Why not produce a prosumer digicam with a CCD sized somewhere between
    they tiny sensors you get with your typical P&S digicam and that of a
    DSLR? I'm not asking for miracles here. I would certainly like to
    think they can produce a $700 fixed lens camera which is relatively
    noise-free at ISO 400/800 (bulb mode would be nice too but that's
    another story). And I don't mean 12-24 months from now; this should be
    something that can be done right now.
     
    Terence, Dec 3, 2004
    #1
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  2. Terence

    TAFKAB Guest

    Sensor sizes are related to two driving forces: money and results. For most
    consumer applications, the smaller sensor sizes are more than adequate, and
    cheaper to manufacturer. I shoot with a Sony 828 that uses a small sensor,
    and 90% of the time, it's enough. Larger sensors cost more, and higher pixel
    densities cause more noise. It's a matter of suiting the sensor to the
    application.

    Don't compare the Pro 1 to the Digital Rebel. There's no comparison. The
    DSLR is much faster, and produces pix with far less noise than the Pro 1.
    But, in some cases, you may want to carry the Pro 1 instead of a larger DSLR
    system.

    There is an "in between" system, but not in a P&S camera. The Four-Thirds
    system, a so-called open standard system, uses a sensor slightly smaller
    than the current APS sized sensors. While it isn't available in a fixed-lens
    digicam, Olympus (and others may follow) are selling cameras with this
    sensor. The system is the first DSLR system designed as a digital system
    from the ground up. It's a very nice system, too. Hopefully, it will catch
    enough market share to entice other manufacturers to enter that market.
     
    TAFKAB, Dec 3, 2004
    #2
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  3. Terence

    fortknight Guest

    You're right. Smaller pixel size generally is not better. The
    dynamic range of a given sensor (Both the absolute difference between
    zero and full, and the distinguishable level differences from 0-full) is
    generally greater with a larger sensor. That said, smaller sensors
    allow "sharper" images. Smaller sensors are also much cheaper.

    The Pro1 sensors do provide better pictures than the Drebel with the
    same number of "pixels".

    But it is not the end of the story. The firmware, the electronics, the
    image processor, the IP logic, the speed of moving bits around the
    interior, and a bunch of other things make the difference between pro,
    prosumer, and consumer level equipment.
     
    fortknight, Dec 3, 2004
    #3
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