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Buying a Digital Camera: The Sensor Size Database

If there’s a single factor that predicts the quality of the photos you’ll get from a camera, a single letter grade that lets you compare cameras, it’s this: the sensor size.

Big sensors absorb more light, so you get sharper detail, better color, and clearer low-light images. Small sensors, on the other hand, pack too many light-absorbing pixels into a tiny space. So heat builds up, creating digital “noise” (random speckles) in your photos.

But here’s the problem: it’s really hard to find out how big a camera’s sensor is. The manufacturers diligently bury this detail. It’s not on the box, it’s not in the ads, and sometimes it’s not even on the camera’s Web site.

From NY Times.

There is a conversion chart HERE at sensor-size.com.

There is also a database for lot of digital cameras.

So, while the camera makers want you just to look at the megapixel count, while it’s important, it’s kind of like just looking at horsepower numbers when buying a car …

I highly recommend the Panasonic Lumix cameras … in case you need closeups of diecast CARS, it’s excellent. 🙂

But if you are a tech early adaptor – check out the new Lytro camera.

Here’s the impressive & amazing thing. Just point and shoot.

Photographs are never out of focus.

You even get to decide the focus later.

After the photo is taken, hop on your Mac (Mac only for now) and change the focus subject of the shot AND you can switch later – pretty amazing (presuming it’s true) … for instance, if you take a photo of someone standing in front of a bridge, you can change the focal point of your shot to the bridge later! You can fiddle with photos on the Lytro website.

Available for sale only at Lytro for now.


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24 October 2011 Design, Gadgets 3 Comments


  • Tom says:

    I agree on the Lumix as well. I have a larger model with a big zoom lens and the wife has a point and shoot.
    We have tried Nikon and Sony but the Panasonics we own produce the best images. They also use Leica lenses. Not sure if the glass is actually made by Leica or just their design. In any event, excellent camera obscuras, Panasonics are.

  • Micky says:

    I agree about the Panasonic Lumix cameras. I have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40. It’s the best compact camera I’ve ever had. I have always been a Nikon snob and still use my Nikon SLR for work but when it comes to outdoor, vacation, fun shots, the Lumix is great.

    That Lytro looks like it would be great fun!

  • John in Missouri says:


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