Since 2016, a “1-inch Type” sensorsize has optimized the portability of serioustravel cameras (recommended here). In comparison, cameras using larger APS-C sensors require heftier 11x to 19x travel zoom lenses which struggle to sharpen the edges of the frame. Cameras using even biggerfull-frame sensorsrestrict zoom range and overburden travelers. Sensors smaller than “1-inch” size can support super zoom ranges, but at the cost of poor image quality, especially in dim light. Smartphones compensate for tiny cameras via computational power and instantly-shareable images, but zoom poorly and fumble in dim light.
The archaic inch-sizing ofcamera light sensors is clarified in the illustration and table below, with relativesizes andmillimeters. Legacy sizing labels such as 1/2.5″ Typeharken back to antiquated 1950s-1980s Vidicon video camera tubes!
For a given year of technological advance, a camera with physically bigger sensor area tends to capture better image quality by gathering more light, butat the cost oflarger-diameter, bulkier lenses. Recent digital sensor advanceshave shrunk cameras and increased optical zoom ranges while preserving image quality.An evocative imagecan clearly be created with any decent camera in the hands of a skilled or lucky photographer. Topsmartphone cameras can potentiallymake good 18-inch prints and share publishable pictures. But I recommend a bigger camera for superioroptical zoom,better performance in dim light, and sharperprints.
Below, compare sensor sizes for digital cameras:
This illustration compares digital camera sensor sizes: full frame 35mm (which is actually 36mm wide), APS-C, Micro Four Thirds, 1-inch, 1/1.7″ and 1/2.5” Type. For new digital cameras, a bigger sensor area captures better quality, but requires larger-diameter, bulkier lenses. As of 2018, 1-inch Type sensors optimize the size of a serious travel camera. “Full-frame 35mm” sensor (36 x 24 mm) is a standard for comparison, with a diagonal field-of-view crop factor = 1.0; in comparison, a pocket camera’s 1/2.5” Type sensor crops the light gathering by 6.0x smaller diagonally (with a surface area 35 times smaller than full frame).
Click here for Tom’slatest camerarecommendations.
1″-Type sensor size is now optimal for travel camera portability
I upgrade my digital camera every 2-4 years becausethe latest devices keepbeating older models. Since 2016, 1″-Type sensors optimize the bulk of serious travel cameras, as in the following which captureexcellentdynamic range (bright to dark) with exceptionally fastautofocus:
- The best & brightest pocketable zoom camera is Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI (at Amazon)(2018, 11 oz, 8x zoom 24–200mm f/2.8-4.5)— my favorite backpacking camera. Upgrading to Sony RX100 VII focuses even faster. Read my RX100M6 review.
- Cheaper alternative: Panasonic LUMIX ZS100 camera (Amazon) (2016, 11oz, 10x zoom, 25-250mm equivalent, 20mp). The pocketableZS100 (read my review) is not as sharp as the 3x-zoom Sony RX100 V, IV or III cameras, but captures close macro at more zoom settings and enormously extends optical telephoto reach 70-250mm, which clearly beats digitally cropping those 3x-zoom rivals.
- Capturing 20 high-quality megapixels, both the Panasonic ZS100 and superior Sony RX100 version VI rival the daylight image quality of all my camera systemsused over 34 years until 2012(beating my cameras up to 4 times heavier, up to 11xzoom range, up to 12 megapixels, shot at base ISO 100). Since the release of Panasonic ZS100 in 2016 and Sony RX100 VI in 2018, publishable image quality can now come from pocketsize cameras having versatile 10x or 8x zooms!
- My main camera:Sony RX10 IV (price at Amazon) (2018, 37 oz, 25x zoom)is the world’s most versatile midsize camera for on-the-go photographers(read my RX10 IV review).
APS-C size sensor
Although I prefer the above portable all-in-one solutions for travel convenience, a topAPS-C-sensor camera (such as Sony A6300) lets you interchange lenses and capture less noise in dim light at ISO 3200+.
Traditionalists wanting anopticalviewfinder, more lens choices, and night photography maypick a bulkierDSLR-stylecamerawith APS-C sensor:
- Nikon D3500mounted withversatile Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC lens is a good-value 32-ounce DSLR travelsystem.
Micro Four Thirds Cameras
Over the years, I have seriously considered the excellent Panasonic and Olympus systems with Micro Four Thirds sensor, but so far, the timing hasn’t work out, as of 2022.
I’ve oft admired the solid quality of recent Micro Four Thirds cameras such as Olympus, who made my beloved OM-1N film camera back in the 1980s. But Olympus upgrades have come too late for me, such as their sensor improvement from 16 to 20 megapixels (in Olympus M1 Mark II & III in 2016 & 2020, and in M10 Mark IV in 2020). In comparison, the Sony A6xxx camera series is nearly as compact, yet collects more light onto a physically larger 24mp APS-C sensor. Pricing can also be similar comparing APS-C vs 4/3 when shopping for slightly older versions or used gear. And for zoom ranges larger than 8x, the 1″-sensor Sony RX10M4 & RX10M3 cameras beat all comers anywhere near their weight class (37 oz), with a surprisingly sharp 25x zoom system.
During the past decade, the 16-megapixel sensor and performance of the early models of Olympus M1 (Mark I, introduced in 2013) and M10 (I-III) paled in comparison to the 24-megapixel sensor APS-C systems that I used from 2012-2016 (on Sony A6300 and predecessor NEX-7, using Sony 18-200mm lens, 11x). When I examine Micro Four Thirds systems with interchangeable lenses like the Panasonic GX80 (2016), for that weight and expense class, you get more for your money and a much larger sensor (APS-C) if you go with a Sony A6400 or A6300 camera, which have similar system weight, generally better quality images (24 MP vs 16 MP), better viewfinder, excellent hybrid focus system, and longer battery life (400 versus 290 shots per charge).
After test trials in 2016, I switched from APS-C to the 20mp 1-inch-sensor Sony RX10M3, which more than doubled my optical zoom to 25x, while equaling or improving overall image quality from edge-to-edge. Upgrading to Sony RX10M4 in 2018 strengthened the deal by speeding autofocus. This sharp 24-600mm f/2.4-4 zoom camera system weighing just 37 ounces has been a game-changer for hiking & general travel photography.
Caveat: although it’s one of the most versatile cameras ever invented, Sony RX10M4 isn’t necessarily the most optimal for night photography, wedding photography, or certain other professional specialties that don’t need a large zoom range.
To emulate a 25x zoom with Micro 4/3 lenses is a heavier and pricier proposition (debatably without a commensurate gain in image quality) compared with Sony’s 1″ sensor on RX10M4. For example, consider this high-quality 69+ ounce system with two lenses covering 24-800mm equivalent zoom range mounted on Micro Four Thirds sensor:
- Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 Power OIS lens (2016, 35 oz, 72mm filter size, 3.3 x 6.8″), mounted on Panasonic DMC-GX9 mirrorless camera (2018, 14 oz body, 20mp, 260 shots per battery charge CIPA), both weather-sealed.
- Add 20+ ounces for one or more zoom lenses to cover 24-200mm equivalent.
- That makes 69 ounces total for a 24-800mm equivalent zoom system (14 oz body + 35 oz + 20 oz), using two lenses spanning an impressive 33x. Although I wouldn’t want to carry it around my neck very long while hiking, this system might be attractive for a vehicle-based professional photographer who might consider incremental image quality gains to be more important than the extra system cost, bulk, weight, or inconvenience of swapping lenses.
Compared to APS-C, the step up tofull-frame-sensor cameras costs extra, adds bulk, and isonly needed if you regularlyshoot in dim light higher than ISO 6400(such as for indoor action), or specialize in night photography, or oftenprint images larger than 2 or 3 feet in size (to be viewed closer than their longest dimension by critically sharp eyes).
But there’s no need to go overboard. Let’s put this in perspective:huge effective billboards can be printed from small 3-megapixel cameras (read my article).
How to compare cameras
- MyCAMERASarticle updates Light Travelcamera recommendations several times per year.
- If possible, compare camerasshotside-by-side under a variety of actual field conditions (which I do just before selling a former camera to confirm the quality of thenew replacement camera).I like to “pixel-peep”a side-by-side comparisonof two different cameras capturing the same subject under same lighting conditions in the field. Be sure to mentally or digitallynormalizeany two given shots tocompare their fine detail as if printed with equal overall image size.
- Judge image quality and resolutionat 100% pixel enlargement at the authoritative dpreview.com (owned by Amazon since 2007) and handy Comparometer at imaging-resource.com, using standardized studio test views for many cameras.
- Check other review sites comparing telephoto capabilities of different cameras side-by-side. This comparison is often overlooked, despite being crucial for zoom cameras.
Yearly advances of 2014-16 put the sweet spot for serious travel cameras between 1”-Type and APS-C size sensors. Then from 2016-2021, camera designs using 1”-Type sensors surpassed the portability of APS-C models for capturing publishable images within a wider zoom range.
Most cheaper compact cameras have smaller but noisier sensors such as 1/2.3″ Type (6.17 x 4.56 mm) —tiny enough to miniaturize a superzoom lens, but poor for capturing dim light or for enlarging prints much beyond 12-18inches.
Smartphones canhave even tinier sensors, such as1/3.0″ Type(4.8 mm x 3.6 mm) in Apple iPhone versions 5S through 8. Remarkably, top smartphone cameras have improved miniature sensors to the point wherecitizen journalists cancapturenewsworthy photos with imagequality goodenough for fast sharing and quick international publication. The best cameras are in the latest Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, and Apple iPhones. My former Samsung Note5 smartphone (same camera as in S6 & S7 with 1/2.6″ sensor) captures sunny 16-megapixel images sufficient to make a sharp 18-inch print, virtually indistinguishable from that taken by a larger camera.
Smartphone tips:To isolate subjects, avoid the digital zoom on smartphones, which records extra pixels without adding quality. Instead move closer before shooting, or crop at editing time. Use your phone’s 2x telephoto camera (~50mm equivalent lens), if any. Tiny subjects can be enlarged best at close focus using the 2x tele lens, as on Samsung Galaxy S9+ or my Note9.
Read thispointedperspective on how far imagequalityhas progressed from early DSLR to 2014 smartphone cameras. Historically, evocative images can clearly be captured regardlessof camera size or modernity. But for a given year of technological advance, tiny-sensor cameras can have severelimitations compared to physically larger cameras in terms of print enlargement, autofocus speed, blurred performance in dim/indoor light, and so forth. The “best” travel camera is the one that you are willingtocarry.
The non-standardized fractional-inchsensorsizing labels such as1/2.5-inch Typeand 1/1.7″ Type confusingly refer to antiquated 1950s-1980s Vidicon video camera tubes. When you see those archaic “inch” size labels, instead look up the actual length and width in millimeters reported in the specifications for each camera:
Table of camera sensor size, area, and diagonal crop factor relative to 35mm full-frame
|Sensor Type||Diagonal (mm)||Width (mm)||Height (mm)||Sensor Area (in square millimeters)||Full frame sensor area is x times bigger||Diagonal crop factor* versus full frame|
|1/3.2″ (Apple iPhone 5 smartphone 2012)||5.68||4.54||3.42||15.50||55||7.6|
|1/3.0″ (Apple iPhone 8, 7, 6, 5S smartphone)||6.00||4.80||3.60||17.30||50||7.2|
|1/2.6″ Type (Samsung Galaxy S9, Note9, S8, S7, S6, Note5)||6.86||5.5||4.1||22.55||38||6.3|
|1/2.3″ Type (Canon PowerShot SX280HS, Olympus Tough TG-2)||7.66||6.17||4.56||28.07||31||5.6|
|1/1.7″ (Canon PowerShot S95, S100, S110, S120)||9.30||7.44||5.58||41.51||21||4.7|
|1/1.7″ (Pentax Q7)||9.50||7.60||5.70||43.30||20||4.6|
|2/3″ (Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone with 41 MP camera; Fujifilm X-S1, X20, XF1)||11.00||8.80||6.60||58.10||15||3.9|
|Standard 16mm Film Frame||12.7||10.26||7.49||76.85||11||3.4|
|1” Type (Sony RX100 & RX10, Nikon CX, Panasonic ZS100, ZS200, FZ1000)||15.86||13.20||8.80||116||7.4||2.7|
|Micro Four Thirds, 4/3||21.60||17.30||13||225||3.8||2.0|
|APS-C: Canon EF-S||26.70||22.20||14.80||329||2.6||1.6|
|APS-C: Nikon DX, Sony NEX/Alpha DT, Pentax K||28.2 – 28.4||23.6 – 23.7||15.60||368 – 370||2.3||1.52 – 1.54|
|35mm full-frame (Nikon FX, Sony Alpha/Alpha FE, Canon EF)||43.2 – 43.3||36||23.9 – 24.3||860 – 864||1.0||1.0|
|Kodak KAF 39000 CCD Medium Format||61.30||49||36.80||1803||0.48||0.71|
|Hasselblad H5D-60 Medium Format||67.08||53.7||40.2||2159||0.40||0.65|
|Phase One P 65+, IQ160, IQ180||67.40||53.90||40.40||2178||0.39||0.64|
|IMAX Film Frame||87.91||70.41||52.63||3706||0.23||0.49|
* Crop Factor: Note that a“full frame 35mm” sensor/film size (about 36 x 24 mm) is a common standard for comparison, having a diagonal field of view crop factor of 1.0. The debatable term crop factorcomes from an attempt by35mm-film users to understand how muchthe angle of view of theirexisting full-frame lenses would narrow (increase in telephoto power) when mounted on digital SLR(DSLR)cameras which had sensorsizes (such as APS-C) which are smaller than 35mm.
With early DSLR cameras, many photographers were concerned about the loss of image quality or resolution by using a digital sensor with alight-gathering area smaller than 35mm film. However, for my publishing needs, APS-C-size sensor improvements easily surpassed my scanning of 35mm film by2009.
An interesting number for comparing cameras is “Full frame sensor area is x times bigger” in the above table.
- In comparison to full a frame sensor, a pocket camera’s 1/2.5-inch Type sensor crops the light gathering surface 6.0 times smaller diagonally, or 35 times smaller in area.
- An APS-Csize sensor gathers about 15 times more light (area) than a1/2.5” Type sensor and 2.4 times less than full frame.
- APS-C sensors in Nikon DX, Pentax, and Sony Ehave 1.5x diagonal field of view crop factor.
- APS-C sensors in Canon EF-S DSLRs have 1.6x diagonal field of viewcrop factor.
- 1 stop is a doubling or halving of the amount of gathered light. Doubling a sensor’s area theoretically gathers one stop more light, but depends upon lens design.
Lens quality & diameter alsoaffect image quality
For improving image quality, thequalityand diameterof the lenscan rival the importance ofhaving a physically larger sensor area. Prime (non-zoom) lenses usually are sharpest for larger prints, but zoom lenses are more versatileand recommended for travelers.
A small sensor can beat larger withnewerdesign (BSI) plusfaster optics:
In my side-by-side field tests, the sharp, bright 25x zoomof Sony RX10 III(read my version IV review) resoundinglybeats the resolution of 11x SEL18200 lens on APS-C Sony A6300at90+mm equivalent telephoto, even as high as ISO 6400. (Wider anglezoom settings show little quality difference.) Apparently RX10’s faster f/2.4-4lensplusbackside illumination (BSI) technology magically compensate for the sensor size difference,1″-Type versus APS-C.Like most APS-C-sensor cameras in 2016,A6300 lacks BSI.Surprisinglylittle noise affects RX10’s image quality at high ISO 6400 in dim light. Its larger lens diameter gathering more light also helps in this comparison (72mm filter size of RX10 III versus 67mm SEL18200 on A6300).
Larger lens diameter can help dim light photography:
In my field tests, the sharpness of Sony’s high-quality SEL1670Z3xzoom f/4lens on A6300isonly about 5% betterthan Sony RX10 III f/2.4-4 in bright lightin the wider halfof its 24-105mm equivalent range, but no better in dim light. I expect thatRX10’scatch-up inquality underdim light is due tosuperior light sensitivity of BSI sensor plus larger lens diameter gathering more light, 72mm versus 55mm.
Using sweet spot of full-frame lenses on APS-C may not improve quality:
In principle, you might expect a slightly sharper image on an APS-C sensor when using the sweet spot of alens designed for a full frame (which has a larger imaging circle), but results actually vary, especially when using older film-optimized lenses. In fact, a lens which is designed and optimized specially “for digital, for APS-C” can equal or exceed the quality of an equivalent full-frame lens on the same sensor, while also reducing bulk and weight (as in theSonyE-mountexample further below).
Theoretically, new full-frame lenses “designed for digital” (using image-space telecentric design) may perform better on a digital sensor than would older lenses designed for film:
- Unlike film, digital sensors receivelight best when strucksquarely rather than at a grazing angle.
- Digital cameras perform best with lenses optimized specially “for digital”, using image-space telecentricdesigns, in which all the rays land squarely on the sensor (as opposed to having incoming rays emerge at the same angle as they entered, as in a pinhole camera). The light buckets (sensels) on digital sensors require light rays to be more parallel than with film (to enter at close to a 90 degree angle to the sensor).
- Film can record light at more grazing angles than a digital sensor. Because older film-optimized lenses bend light to hit the sensor at more of a glancing angle, they reduce light-gathering efficiency and cause more vignetting around the edges (which is somewhat mitigated by the image circle being cropped by the APS-C sensor, which uses just the center part of the full-frame lens).
Side-by-side testingworks better thantheoryto distinguish lenses:
Compare the following two Sony E-mount zoom lenses, full-frame versus APS-C:
- 2015 full-frame “Sony E-mount FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS” lens (27.5 oz, 36-360mm equivalent).
- 2010 APS-C “Sony E-mount 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS (silver SEL-18200)” lens (18.5 oz, 27-300mm equiv).
Both lenses are optimized for digital, yet the APS-C lens is much lighter weight and performs equal to or better than the full-frame lens. Side-by-sidecomparisons and alsoDxOMark tests on a Sony A6000 camera show that while they are about equally sharp, the Sony 24-240 has more distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberration than the 18-200mm.
Raw format and advantages of large sensors over small
For a given angle of view, cameras with larger sensors can achieve a shallower depth of field than smaller sensors, a feature which movie makers and portrait photographers like to use for blurring the background (at brightest aperture setting,smallest F number value) to draw more attention to the focused subject. Conversely, smaller-sensor cameras like the Sony RX10 III and RX100 III tend to be much betterat capturing close-focus(macro) shotswith great depth of field (especially at wide angle), at ISO up to 800. But the macro advantages of small-sensor cameras can diminish in dim light or when shooting at ISO higher than 800.
Landscape photographersoften preferto capture a deepdepth of field, which can be achieved with both small and large sensor cameras.Optimal edge-to-edge sharpness usually occurs when stopping down the aperture once or twice from brightest opening, such as between f/4 to f/5.6 on 1-inch Type sensor, or between f/5.6 to f/8 on APS-C (which also helps diminish chromatic aberrations). Stopping down further with f/numbers larger than this increases depth of field, but worsens diffraction through the smaller pupil opening (such as at f/11-f/16 on 1″ sensor or f/22 on APS-C), noticeably softening detail.
To maximize raw dynamic rangeofbrightness values from bright to dark, usebase ISO(around ISO 100 or 200 in most digital still cameras), rather thanhigher ISO settings which amplify noise (blotchiness at the pixel level, most-visibly in shadows). However, using the latest full-frame sensors at high ISO values 6400+ can capture unprecedentedly low noise and opennew possibilities for dim-light action photography at hand-held shutter speeds, indoors or at night.
Without the help of a flash, night and dim indoor photographyis best with a full-framesensor to gather more light with less noise. Low-noise night photographyis usually bestshot on a tripod atslow shutter speeds inraw formatbetweenISO 100 and 800 (oras high as 1600-3200 on the latest large sensors).
For a given year of technological advance, cameras with larger sensors typically capture a wider dynamic range of brightness values from bright to dark perimage than smaller sensors, with less noise. In 2016, Sony’s 1″-Typebackside illumination (BSI)sensors capture sufficientdynamic range for my needs.
Camera raw format allowsediting recovery of several stops of highlight and shadow detail which would be lost (truncated) in JPEG file format(if overexposed or underexposed). Alternatively, PC softwareor camera firmware using HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging lets any size of sensorgreatly increase an image’s dynamic range by combining multiple exposures.But for me, the greatdynamic range of a singleraw file(from 1″-Type BSI or APS-C sensor) usually makes shooting extra images for HDR unnecessary.
Despite advanced circuitry, cameras are not smart enough to know which subjects are supposed to be white, black, or midtone in brightness.By default, all cameras underexpose scenes where white tones (such assnow) predominate, and overexpose highlights in scenes where black tones predominate. IMPORTANT TIP: To correctly expose forall tones, you need to lockexposure upon a perceived midtone (such as agray card; or on a linehalfway between light and shadow) in the same light as your framed subject.
For greatesteditingflexibility, rather than shooting JPEGformat, serious photographers should record and edit images in raw format, which is supportedin advanced cameras (but often not in small-sensor devices).Editing raw format fullyrecovers badly-exposed images − allowing you to “point and shoot” more freely than with JPEG. Even so, I carefully shoot to expose each histogram to the far right while avoiding truncation of highlights, in order to capture the highest signal-to-noise ratio in each scene. Try to stayclose to base ISO 100 or 200. I typically first shoot a test shot on automatic Aperture-preferred priority, inspectthe histogram, check any blinkinghighlight warnings, then compensate subsequentshots using Manual Exposure (or temporary Exposure Lock grabbedfrom the scene). Tonal editing ofJPEGs can quicklytruncate color channels or accumulate round-off errors, oftenmaking the image appear pasty, pixelated, or posterized. White Balance (Color Balance) is easily adjustable after shooting raw files, but tonal editing often skews colors oddly in JPEG. 12-bit Raw format has 16 times the tonalediting headroom and color accuracy compared to JPEG (which has only 8 bits per pixel per red, green, or blue color channel). In their favor, automatic point-and-shoot JPEG camera exposure modes get smarterevery year, making advanced larger cameras less necessary for many people.
Detailed full-frame comparison of low-light Sony A7S 12 MP versus A7R 36 MP
How can we distinguishtheimagequality captured by different cameras? Images are best compared at a normalized pixel level (with fine detail examined on a monitoras if printed with equal overall image size) aftershootingside-by-side in the field with comparable lensand shutter speed settings. Consider twosibling full-frame-sensor cameras:
- Sony Alpha A7S (12 MPoflarge-bucket photosites optimized for high ISO, low light, and videography plus stills, new in 2015) versus
- Sony Alpha A7R (36 megapixelsof smaller-bucket photosites optimized for high resolution, new in 2014)
Despite itstinier but denserphotositebuckets(also calledsenselsorpixel wells for catching light photons), the36 MP Sony Alpha A7R beats the dynamic range of 12 MP Sony Alpha A7S in a normalized comparison of raw files (seedpreview article). While both cameras spread their photosites across the same surface area ofafull-frame sensor, the 36 MP A7R trumpsthe 12 MP A7S for exposure latitude flexibility in raw post-processing at ISO 100 through6400. Overall image qualityof the12 MP A7S doesn’t beat the A7R until ISO 12,800and higher(but only in the shadows through midtones under low-light conditions). SonyA7S is betterfor low-light videographers, whereas A7R is better for low-light landscapephotographers who value high resolution and dynamic range.
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Full-frame and APS-C formats indicate the sensor's physical dimensions, which is different from pixel count. A full-frame sensor has 36mm by 24mm size based on the traditional 35mm film format. An APS-C sensor is 1.5 times smaller, 25.1mm by 16.7mm, and named after Advanced Photo System type-C film format.
What is this? Sensor size is the physical dimensions of the sensor, not how many pixels are on the sensor. A full-frame sensor measures 36mm x 24mm – the traditional size for 35mm cameras. An APS-C sensor size is smaller, measuring 23.6mm x 15.7mm.
Generally, full-frame cameras feature superior low-light and high-ISO performance. This results in much better image quality than crop-sensor (or Micro Four Thirds) cameras can achieve.
Because the sensor area of APS-C is 1.6 times the area of the micro four thirds sensor, it provides 1.6 times more total light gathering capability, or about 0.7 stops. Therefore, in many cases, APS-C will provide a bit of a performance advantage over micro four thirds.
You tend not to get both. A full frame sensor will give better low light performance and dynamic range than an APS-C sensor of the same resolution, OR a full frame sensor can offer a much higher resolution while equalling the noise performance and dynamic range of a lower-resolution APS-C sensor.
For night photography, full frame sensors win hands down over APS-C sensors. Full frame systems also produce more finer details because the pixels are larger, creating a better dynamic range than an APS-C sensor would with the same number of pixels.
1 inch or 4/3" sensor for a compact camera.
|Shutter speed||1/50 sec|
When you use an APS-C lens with a full-frame camera, you're only using part of the sensor. This, in turn, reduces the resolution of the final image. You'll be forced to crop, or your camera will crop for you–so that a 24 megapixel sensor produces a 10 megapixel image.
If your older crop sensor model is limiting your results in low light, and you are constantly frustrated by high levels of noise, you might benefit from an upgrade to full frame. However, keep in mind that it's convenient to blame a camera for taking poor images, but it may not be the camera that's holding you back.
Micro four-thirds (MFT) cameras have been on the market for 10 years now and have grown to be a preferred option for professionals and amateurs alike. The small camera bodies (you might even say tiny) house high-quality features including high dynamic range, high ISO sensitivity, and 16mp (or greater) sensors.
Generally, a full frame sensor can provide a broader dynamic range and better low light/high ISO performance yielding a higher quality image than a crop sensor. Full frame sensors are also preferred when it comes to architectural photography due to having a wider angle which is useful with tilt/shift lenses.
The Micro Four Thirds system's greatest appeal is to achieve high image quality, compactness, and lightness for photographers who want to enjoy a camera anytime, anywhere. The open standard means you can use lenses and camera bodies from a range of manufacturers.
The image sensor of Four Thirds and MFT measures 18 mm × 13.5 mm (22.5 mm diagonal), with an imaging area of 17.3 mm × 13.0 mm (21.6 mm diagonal), comparable to the frame size of 110 film. Its area, ca.
|Sensor Type||Diagonal (mm)||Sensor Area (in square millimeters)|
|Standard 16mm Film Frame||12.7||76.85|
|1” Type (Sony RX100 & RX10, Nikon CX, Panasonic ZS100, ZS200, FZ1000)||15.86||116|
|Micro Four Thirds, 4/3||21.60||225|
|APS-C: Canon EF-S||26.70||329|
A Micro Four Thirds camera runs very similar to a standard Four Thirds, however it is even more compact. This is due to a smaller sensor and smaller lenses. Most of the Four Thirds lenses will fit a micro Four Thirds camera body, however it may require some adapters.
The APS-C cameras featured here are professional powerhouses that churn through photoshoots without breaking a sweat. They offer weather sealing, most offer IBIS, they have incredible autofocus systems and they're reliable.
In general, a full-frame sensor will produce higher-resolution images than crop sensors because they let in more light and detail. And for the same reason, they're also better in low-light conditions. They provide sharper, clearer images without having to set higher ISOs and therefore have less noise.
The Sony A7C really excels at achieving great image quality at high ISOs. For candid and most types of general photography, literally every full-frame camera these days offers excellent image quality up to ISO 3200 or even 6400.
Depth of field: The high depth of field in a cropped frame sensor makes the most of the magnification of telephoto lenses, making an APS-C camera ideal for shooting events from a distance and for macro photography (close-up shots of small subjects). 5.
Full-frame cameras have bigger, better pixels
Larger pixels can capture more color information and also capture incoming light with greater efficiency and less noise than smaller pixels. This is the main reason full-frame sensors can deliver better performance at higher ISO settings than so-called crop sensors.
Full-frame mirrorless models compare favorably to full-frame DSLRs, APS-C mirrorless models are the size of compact point-and-shoot cameras, and Micro Four Thirds mirrorless models are generally tiny. If you like to take your camera with you wherever you go, you'll have a much easier time with a mirrorless camera.
The 35mm full-frame sensor type is the gold standard among professional photographers who want the highest-quality images. The dimensions of a 35mm sensor are typically 36×24mm.
APS C SENSOR DEFINITION
APS C is an adopted term for the image sensor format approximately the size of the now-defunct Advanced Photo System film negative classic, of 25.1×16.7 mm, with an aspect ratio of 3:2.
Most good quality 1/2.3 sensor cameras will probably satisfy the average person without any real knowledge of photography, but probably not satisfy the average person found here at dpr. And the longer zooms that only go to 600mm equivalent or so are not going to impress much in comparison to larger sensor cameras.
When you mount a full-frame lens on a camera with an APS-C sensor you will get what is called a crop factor. This means your camera's APS-C-size sensor magnifies the scene to produce an image that will match the lens's full-frame image circle.
Should you apply Crop Factor to APS-C Lenses? - YouTube
Crop Lenses on Full-Frame Cameras (Canon, Nikon, Sony & Pentax)
Many professional photographers choose to use crop sensor cameras. Similarly, many amateur photographers use full frame cameras. It's virtually impossible to distinguish between the image quality of a photograph shot in good light using a full frame or a crop sensor camera.
“You can't achieve the same low-light performance with a crop sensor that you can with full frame; full frame is so much sharper, clearer, and gives you less noise and more detail,” says photographer Felipe Silva.
In general, a full-frame sensor will produce higher-resolution images than crop sensors because they let in more light and detail. And for the same reason, they're also better in low-light conditions. They provide sharper, clearer images without having to set higher ISOs and therefore have less noise.
Can I Use a Full Frame E-Mount Lens (aka FE Lens) on a Camera with an APS-C Size Sensor? Yes, you can use an FE lens on an E-Mount camera that has an APS-C sensor. The image in the center of the lens is automatically cropped to the APS-C size, so there are no dark corners surrounding the picture to cause vignetting.