A Short Course Book
Sensors, Pixels and Image Sizes

Image Sensor Sizes

 
 
Image sensor sizes range from the tiny up to ones as large as a frame of 35mm film-called a full frame sensor.
 
 
Click to explore the sizes of image sensors.
 
 
Click here for a PDF extension on pixels and read Part 1 on aspect ratios.
 
 
Image sensor sizes range from the tiny up to ones as large as a frame of 35mm film-called a full frame sensor.
Image sensors come in a variety of sizes with the smallest ones used in point and shoot cameras and the largest in professional SLRs. Consumer SLRs often use sensors having the same size as a frame of APS film. Professional SLR cameras occasionally use sensors the same size as a frame of 35mm film—called full-frame sensors. (Large format cameras use even larger sensors).

Larger image sensors generally have larger photosites that capture more light with less noise. The result is pictures that are clearer, brighter, and sharper. Because the size of photosites is so important, a large 6 Megapixel sensor will often take better pictures than a smaller 8 Megapixel sensor. Not only is noise a problem but smaller sensors also require better, more expensive lenses, especially for wide-angle coverage. Here are some typical sensor sizes:

 
Size

1/4
1/3
1/2
2/3
1
APS-C
Full frame
Width (mm)

3.2
4.8
8
11
16
22.2
36
Height (mm)

2.4
3.6
6.4
8.8
12.8
14.8
24
Used in

Point & Shoot Cameras
Point & Shoot Cameras
Point & Shoot Cameras
Point & Shoot Cameras
Point & Shoot Cameras
Point & Shoot Cameras
Point & Shoot Cameras
 
A 16:9 wide-screen mode captures images and film clips that are perfect for display on your widescreen TV or computer monitor.


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