The Truth About Sensor Size - what is it?


New Member
May 27, 2011
Hi. This is a suggestion for a topic that I think would be VERY interesting to a lot of SC readers: Truth about sensor size.
A LONG time ago dpreview had an article explaining that a sensor size listed as 1/2.3" for example on a compact camera is NOT anywhere near a half an inch but is based on an ancient standard for video tubes. But David Pogue had a recent article where he contradicted that and said that the sensor size is just what you'd guess -- 1/2.3" means 1/2.3" diagonal measure. A new website Sensor-Size: Compare & Convert Digital Cameras keyed off of Pogue. Was dpreview wrong? We're not talking about a minor quibble. We're talking about a difference that can be a factor of 10x in sensor area! Here's the old dpreview article:
Making (some) sense out of sensor sizes: Digital Photography Review
EXAMPLE: 1/1.8" - actually a pretty decent sensor qualifying for serious compact status - has a diagonal of less than 9mm.
If dpreview was right, this has to be one of the biggest SC misconceptions out there.
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Administrator Emeritus
Jul 7, 2010
betwixt and between
maxrockbin, first of all welcome! If you'd like to start this topic off that's the fastest way to get things going. Let me know, and I'll be happy to move your post and create a new thread with it.

P.S. Also, please stop by the Welcomes and Introductions forum and tell us a little about yourself, too.


Hall of Famer
Jul 3, 2010
This has been well established by a number of reputable sites, and DPR has it correct. Pogue didn't do his homework, incorrectly assumed that 1/2.3" referred to the diagonal, and his reader who made that website assumed him to be correct.
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