Sensor Size, 3 basic sizes

Does sensor size really matter? (yes) Size DOES Matter 😉

I will explore in layman terms, the advantages and disadvantages of different sensor sizes.


SENSOR SIZE The Different sizes

OK, we have all heard it’s the sensor size that determines the final image quality. This is true if you are comparing sensors that have a fairly wide size difference.

But, remember, the glass you using also has a factor in the final image quality. The better lenses will resolve more detail than a cheaper lens.

So here is a list of common sensor sizes with total area in MM’s

Point/Shoot Sensors:

Type – Area(mm2)


1/6″ – 4.32

1/4″ – 9.72
1/3.6″ – 12.0
1/3.2″ – 15.5
1/3″ – 17.3
1/2.7″ – 21.7
1/2.5″ – 24.7
1/2″ – 30.7
1/1.8″ – 38.2
1/1.7″ – 43.3
1/1.6″ – 48.56

2/3″ – 58.1
1″ – 123


  • 4/3 & m4/3  14×18 221,  Olympus/Panasonic, (2x Crop Factor)
  • APS-C  16×22 329 All Crop sensors’ that are 1.5 or 1.6 crop. Pentax, Nikon, Fuji X, Sony (1.5 Crop Factor),  Canon (1.6x Crop Factor)
  • 35mm 24×36  864 Full Frame DSLR  Sony A900, A850, Nikon D700, D3 (1x No Crop Factor), Leica M9

As you see, the DSLR Cameras with APS-C sensors have a sensor around  6.7x to 15x (+/-)  larger than the most common sensor sizes (in bold).

If all the above sensor sizes had a 10mp resolution, then as the sensor size gets larger, the Pixel (Photo Site) gets bigger, and the detail available to record gets finer and has a  better Tonal range too.

The other thing to know is that the larger sensors gather lower light levels faster and allow for better and faster focusing.

So, it’s logical to say that the larger the sensor, the better the image quality is, and the quicker the lower light response is.

Now you have a real basic, layman explanation of different sensor sizes and the main two reasons larger sensors deliver a better Image Quality.

1) More detail can be recorded – Larger Photo Sites – (Plus: Greater Tonal range..In the Shadows and Highlights)

2) Better low light performance because of the larger photo sites….