FocusEd: The Basics of Sensor Size

On this B&H video (made by Kelby Training) photographer Larry Becker talks about the different camera sensor sizes and their effects on your photography.

Consumer digital cameras have been around for about 20 years and sensor technology have evolved considerately in this time frame. However some aspects did not change and one of them is the importance of sensor size to the general image quality.

As a rule of thumb – if we are talking about a sensor from the same generation (typically roughly the same year) we should expect a larger sensor to perform better in terms of sensitivity, dynamic range and color than a smaller size of the same generation (sensitivity is generally more effected by this).

On the video Becker and fiends go over some of the most common sensor sizes and cameras that you might find them in. Our general advice for anybody who is interested in buying a new camera is to go for at least 1″ type sensor in their camera – anything below that and you might as well stay with your camera phone. In general try and get the largest sensor that you can afford (but of course don’t neglect other factors – such as the lens – just because you must have a larger sensor size).

To help you understand the different camera sensor sizes we created the following table

Sensors size-01-01You can watch many more photography tips on the LensVid technique section. You can check out more videos from the FocusEd series here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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