The Truth About Sensor Size - what is it?


New Member
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.


Hall of Famer
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.