Demystifying Digital Camera Sensor Size
The soul of any digital camera is its digital sensor—to determine the resolution, camera sensor size, depth of field, low-light performance, dynamic range, lenses, and even the camera’s physical size but the camera sensor is the key.
The camera image sensor is a solid-state device. This is the part of the video camera’s internal hardware that captures light and converts it into a crispy and beautiful image. The camera sensor is the electronic equivalent of film.
With film cameras, you could choose from many film stocks, each with its own unique characteristics. With digital cameras, much of the technology is already built into the camera’s hardware, and you have a choice of hundreds of looks you can apply later in post production.
The camera sensor size determines how good or bad your footage looks. The video quality doesn’t solely depend on the size of the camera sensor, but also on how sensitive to light and how many pixels (light-sensitive photosites) fit on it, and the size of those pixels.
The camera sensor size affects what you see on your LCD screen or through the viewfinder. Smaller sensors apply the dreaded “crop factor” to your lenses, capturing less of the scene than full-frame sensors do and not getting the most out of lenses. Full frame camera sensors are the same size as traditional 35mm film.
The Science of Camera Sensor Size
Confused yet? Don’t be. A lot goes on under the hood when you press “REC” – check out the fascinating science behind film and electronic camera sensors. Take a look at the video below from the good folks over at Filmmaker IQ.
DSLR vs. Mirrorless Cameras As Fast As Possible
DSLR cameras have been the go-to technology for high-end photography for some time now, but could the newer mirrorless cameras give them a run for their money? Does camera sensor size really matter?
BONUS: The History of Frame Rate for Film
Explore the history of the frame rate – the engine that gives motion to the motion picture from the earliest versions in silent pictures to the frame rates of broadcast television.
BONUS: The Changing Shape of Cinema: The History of Aspect Ratio
John Hess traces the evolution of the screen shape from the silent film days through the widescreen explosion of the 50s, to the aspect ratio of modern digital cameras.
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