How big is big enough? Sensors, IQ, and all that

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
124
Troy, NY
I love my Canon G12, and I have had hundreds of pictures published from my 3 mp Olympus D-550.

But the other day I got caught in the rain with my G12 (luckily I was able to protect it), but it raised the issue of maybe a weather-resistant carry camera for me.

The new Olympus OMD is dust and splash resistant, but bigger than the G12. None of the "prosumer" cameras is weather resistant that I know of. The new Lumix TS4 has some manual controls and a bunch cool toys, but it's a small sensor and 12 mp, which means small pixel pitch.

My experience with digitals is limited. The G12 has bigger than point-and-shoot pixel pitch; and I presume the D-550 has big pixels with so few mps.

So, the question: what's the smallest sensor you would recommend for decent IQ? Or has so much progress been made at the small end of the scale that it is not so much of an issue?
 

BillN

Hall of Famer
Aug 25, 2010
123
S W France
Bill
IMHO - one of the considerations would be the kind of photography that grabs you

not only MPs but also the different characteristics and drawbacks of smaller sensors, nomatter how many MPs they have

The D800 looks marvellous to many ......36MP, (sorry, I should say 36.3 mega pixels) ..... and it will sell by the "bucket" load

just look at some of the sample images on the Nikon site and you will be amazed
 

Grant

Veteran
Nov 12, 2010
68
Lunenburg Nova Scotia
I mage quality can be measure in in many ways. I suspect the size of your final image will determine the size of sensor that you favour. Well that and the type of images you take. I have seen wonderful images taken with a LX5 not only wonderful but stunningly beautiful. If you like massive amounts of DOF then a small sensor can be a thing of beauty. But for a person that shoots the way I do it is not a good choice. I like shallow DOF and for me the larger sensors deliver less DOF. I have a M4/3 and if I am careful it behaves reasonably well in the DOF area. That being said I tend to use cameras with larger sensors.

So before you consider what it he optimum sensor size you should look into what you want to use your camera for.d
 

Isoterica

Hall of Famer
Dec 6, 2011
123
If you love your canon you could go for the waterproof housing. A little overdone for just rain but really when I have something I like I tend to work with it and it's limitations and until it's limitations call for something else, I don't budge.
 

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
124
Troy, NY
I mage quality can be measure in in many ways. I suspect the size of your final image will determine the size of sensor that you favour. Well that and the type of images you take. I have seen wonderful images taken with a LX5 not only wonderful but stunningly beautiful. If you like massive amounts of DOF then a small sensor can be a thing of beauty. But for a person that shoots the way I do it is not a good choice. I like shallow DOF and for me the larger sensors deliver less DOF. I have a M4/3 and if I am careful it behaves reasonably well in the DOF area. That being said I tend to use cameras with larger sensors.

So before you consider what it he optimum sensor size you should look into what you want to use your camera for.d
Grant,

You raise a good point. Lately, I have been very taken with sky photography, and great DOF is just the thing to have!

Cheers, Jock
 

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