Today, we will talk about the most important component of cameras, the image sensor.
First, we must understand that there are 3 basic components of the camera that allow the camera to see the image. We can simply say that the camera sees as a person sees, or more precisely, a person invented the camera based on his understanding of how a person sees.
He can see based on 3 main things If he had a problem of any of the 3, the person would not be able to see.
• The first thing, the formation of the outer eye, which we represent with the lens.
• Then the formation of the inner eye or the retina, which we represent with the image sensor that captures the light that enters the lens.
• The third thing, and one of the most important Things is the brain, which we are going to represent, as the processor that understands all the data that processes the image it captured.
So the most important 3 components at all, to get the best possible image, you must have the best lens and the image sensor to be the best image sensor, and the processor can process all the data that the sensor entered in a very excellent way.
In this article, we will talk about the image sensor and how it affects the camera in general.
Camera Sensor Types
The image sensor has very many characteristics, as characteristics differ, the quality of the image differs.
In general, the image sensor has a specific type and a certain size.
The types of sensors that exist are very different, meaning that each one is based on a specific technology that differs from one to the other, and this topic is very large, but in general, the advice that I always say is don’t buy old technology I always care about buying modern technology, because it is the best in addition to the technology in The sensor is a very basic and main thing that affects the camera as a whole and all other camera parts, which is the sensor size.
Camera Sensor Size
The size of the sensor ranges from very small to much larger sizes.
The larger the sensor size, the more different it affects all the other parts of the camera.
First, we need to understand and know about the sensor to imagine the different sizes of sensors and how this affects the rest of the camera part..
We said that the sensor is like the retina of the eye, the thing on which the light falls, and after that, we read from this thing the data related to the image, and we start making the image from it.
Camera Sensor Size Chart
I will show you the pictures that compare the different sizes and different types of sensors.
This picture is a very excellent table that compares the name of the sensor, the size of the sensor, its area, and the Crop Factor, and this is a very important thing that we will talk about later, then a picture of the size of the sensor and examples of some cameras that have this sensor size.
If we look together at the size of the sensor called full-frame, we will find that Crop Factor 1 denotes in short that the full-frame is the standard for sensors greater than 1 and smaller, but Full-Frame is the standard for other sensor sizes.
Most of the cameras that you can use for filming in your life will often be the size of a sensor less than a full-frame, and when you reach the level of professionalism and keep enough money with you, you will buy a full-frame camera.
As for medium format cameras, it is often the very large media companies that can buy cameras that have a medium format sensor.
The most famous sensors ever are the full-frame sensors, the APS-C sensors, the micro 4/3, and the 1 inch, and after that the lower sensors that are often in mobile phones or in cameras called point and shoot.
There is a basic thing to note when we compare the different sensors that the size of the sensor increases, the larger the size of the camera in general, so the size affects the size of the lenses, it affects the size of the camera in general.
So if the size of the sensor increases, all you have to do is install a larger lens to cover the entire sensor area, therefore, the size of the lens increases, and we must understand in general that the larger the size of the sensor, the more often its price increases.
The bigger sensor will be more expensive, and it will need a bigger and more expensive body, and it will need bigger and more expensive lenses, and so on.
That is why full-frame cameras in general are relatively more expensive than cameras that have fewer sensors, and the lenses of full-frame cameras are generally more expensive than the lenses of cameras that have a smaller size.
Here is another picture showing the size of the different sensors compared to the size of the full-frame sensor, as we said is that the full-frame has a Crop Factor 1, it is the standard for larger needs and smaller needs, but mostly you will deal with a full-frame or less.
We note that the full-frame is the largest sensor and then the APS-C, and this is a very famous sensor and its size is less. In comparison, the gray color is the size of the full-frame that is larger than the APS-C sensor, and there is also the Micro 4/3 sensor that is smaller than the APS-C, and then the 1-inch sensor is smaller from the micro 4/3.
Image Sensor Pixel Size
Also, among the things that affect the size of the sensor, in general, are the number of pixels in the sensor and the size of the pixels in the sensor.
We always hear that this sensor is x megapixels 12, 24 or 30
A pixel is simply a point in the image, so the image you see is divided into very, very small points.
The more the number of points in the image increases, the more accurate the details in the image increase, and the larger the pixel size, the often the pixel quality increases.
So when the size of the sensor increases as a whole, the number of pixels covered increase and the number of pixels is larger at the same time, I can take a better picture as a whole.
It’s very important to keep in mind that all different types of sensors with different sizes can show the same image or the same video as numbers, but the quality of the image, the style of the image, or the nature of the image will differ.
I mean, I can use a camera with a very small sensor and shoot a 4k video, and the 4k is a specific resolution, and I can use another camera with a larger and I shoot 4k and still have the same resolution, but does this mean that the sensor of the mobile that shoots 4k will get the same image quality Do you have a professional camera sensor that is bigger than it??
No, of course, what we need to understand is that the sensors are of different sizes, but they may have the same numbers, meaning that the APS-C camera has a rather large sensor, but it is 12 megapixels, and in a mobile sensor the size is very small, but it is also 12 megapixels. We must expect that the image that will come out of the camera professional is better than the picture that comes out of the mobile camera.
One of the most important things that differentiate in terms of image quality, which is based on the size of the sensor, is the size of the pixels themselves.
If I had a small, pure, and crowded sensor with 12 megapixels, and I had a larger sensor distributed among them, the 12 megapixels.
This means that the larger sensor will be able to put larger pixels in it, but the smaller sensor will crowd the same number of them, so the size of the pixels will be smaller.
The larger the pixel size, the higher the quality of the image, because the larger the pixel size means that it can take in more light, this means that it can take more Data, as the picture remains better, in addition to this, the performance of the camera that has larger pixels in weak lighting will be better.
And one of the things that differ greatly in the style and nature of the image is that the larger the sensor size, the larger the depth of field and the better isolating the background will be much easier, the larger the sensor size, so you can get greater background isolation.
And easier and naturally through the APS-C sensor camera.
As for the camera of the mobile phone, which has a small sensor, isolating the background will be through the software, not normally.
That is why cinema cameras have larger sensors because the insulation is what gives the feeling that the picture is cinematic.
The most important thing that the sensor size affects on the rest of the camera in general.
We said that the sensor is the one on which the light falls, and this light is the data that I am collecting to see the picture.
The larger the sensor size, the larger the lens should be used to cover the sensor, and a larger camera size.
But the most important thing is that I will deal with much more data. Therefore, I must have a very powerful processor who can read this data quickly and process it, and this will make the processor heat up more.
The more data dealt with, The camera must be designed in the appropriate way to get rid of overheating, this point is very important and makes a very different difference between the different cameras.
The size of the sensor is larger, which means more data, which means more processing, which means more heat
So what do companies do in general?
It is possible to limit the possibilities that I can use with this much data because the camera does not get hot, or make the camera with very many processing capabilities for this data, so maybe the camera gets too hot when using it.
This is the main difference between cameras like Canon Full-Frame and Sony Full-Frame cameras. Sony cameras are known all over the world that they are cameras that heat up, why?
Because Sony gives you huge capabilities, so the processor works very rigidly, as the cameras heat up in exchange for all this work. As for Canon full-frame cameras, it gives you modest capabilities in exchange for stable performance.
And that is why many companies are still sticking to cameras that have smaller sensor sizes, because the processing volume will be less, which means that the cameras will heat up less
So, for example, if I want to shoot a 4K video at 60 frames per second, you must understand that shooting videos with these specifications will be much more difficult.
The larger the sensor, so we find cameras that have less sensor size, but they may have much more capabilities than other full-frame cameras.
For example, if we look at Sony full-frame cameras such as the A7 mark iii, the maximum video quality will be 4k, at a speed of 30 frames per second, because it uses the entire sensor, and this requires a lot of effort and often the camera heats up.
If we look at, for example, FujiFilm x-t3, we will find that it has an APS-C sensor whose size is less than full-frame, but it can shoot 4k 60 frames per second.
If we look at other cameras that have sensors of lesser size, such as the Lumix Panasonic gh5, we will find them very easily, shooting 4K 60 frames per second with fantastic quality, because in the end, you are dealing with a small sensor.
So that we can understand this topic, we can say in short that the size of the sensor affects all the following things:
1/ The size of the sensor increases, the size of the camera increases, and the larger the lenses, the higher the cost or price.
2/ The quality, style, or nature of the image, the larger the sensor, the larger the pixels, the larger the pixel size, the better the image quality, the better the camera’s performance in low light, and the larger the sensor size, the larger the image I can see Better and easier cinema.
3/ The larger the sensor size, the greater the data, the greater the processing power, and this causes the camera to heat up more.
Now you should understand two very important things:
The crop factor and how the size of the sensor affects the image that we can get from the camera.
This leads us to an important question:
Characteristics Of A Good Video
What are the characteristics of the image that I want to see from the camera?
If you see a video image on YouTube, for example, what are the characteristics of this video, so that when you watch the video, I can judge it. Is this video good or bad?
We will list together more than one element and see whether the size of the sensor affects it or not?
• The resolution or The dimensions of the video are 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080 4k as we explained before, the dimensions of the video are not related to the size of the sensor, it is possible for a small sensor to easily photograph 4k.
• The speed of video frames, in How many frames per second am I shooting?
Am I taking pictures with 24 fps, 25fps, 30fps, 50fps, 60fps, 120fps, or 240fps?
The size of the sensor does not affect the speed of video shooting, whether you shoot on 24 fps or shoot on 120 fps, this topic will have a greater impact on the processor Not on the sensor.
• Next is the need for the colors of the image and the details in the image, such as Saturation, Contrast, Sharpness, and Dynamic Range.
All the needs are the size of the sensor, do not touch them, the quality of the sensor will affect it, but not the size of the sensor.
So, for example, a camera like Lumix gh5 has Micro 4/3 the sensor, dynamic range is very high, the colors of the image and the details of the image are excellent, but the sensor is a small size.
How Sensor Size Affects The Photos?
The two most important needs, the size of the sensor, will affect them.
1/ The area of the cadre that you see.
2/ The depth of field or the extent to which the background is isolated from the person or thing you focus on.
And the two points are those that have to do with the need that we call the Crop Factor.
We explain the topic with an example so that the topic is understood.
We assume that this rectangle is the sensor.
What should I do about the lens?
I am supposed to design a lens in the form of a circle that touches the four corners of the rectangle, so as I explained that the larger the sensor size, the larger the circle I should draw because it represents the light that falls on the sensor, the smaller the sensor size, the smaller the light area.
And this rectangle is a full-frame sensor that takes Crop Factor 1, and this sensor can take a picture of this size, because I draw a circle around it, which is a lens, expecting light that covers the sensor completely, in an entire image, it will cover this size.
Imagine that this is a smaller APS-C sensor that covers half the size of the full-frame sensor.
If we say that the amount of light that falls on the sensor, the full-frame paints a complete picture.
This picture is not painted over the smaller picture, It is as if I cut a large picture of the size of the smaller sensor, and this cut is the meaning of the crop factor.
Thus, the word crop means to cut off, and this is the percentage that I will deduct from the big picture because the size of my sensor is smaller.
This Crop Factor will affect you very much in terms of lenses, and the lenses are supposed to be designed according to the size of the sensor.
Therefore, if I have a full-frame camera, I must install full-frame lenses on it that cover the full frame camera sensor.
If I have a smaller sensor, such as an APS-C or micro 4/3 sensor, the small sensors will have lenses fitted to the size of their sensor, so if I put a full-frame lens on a body that is not a full frame, what will happen? the Crop Factor will happen.
I mean, I have a lens designed to cover the large sensor, so when I come to the body of the sensor, I have a smaller one, the lens is designed to work light that covers a larger sensor size, so what I will see when I install a full-frame lens on the APS-C body, I will see that the picture is cropped, there is wasted light from the full-frame lens when I put it on a smaller sensor as if I zoomed more on the image.
We can say the following:
Lenses designed for larger sensors can be installed on cameras with smaller sensors, but they will still have a crop factor.
This Crop Factor is the cut-off percentage of the image that I would have seen if I had installed the full-frame lens on the full-frame sensor, but I installed the full-frame lens on a smaller sensor because the smaller sensor will not be able to catch all the light that the big lens throws at it, so it cuts off the light from this space. This is the Crop Factor.
So, what do we benefit from the crop factor, and the size of the sensor affects how the nature of the image I can see from the camera?
Full-Frame Lens + APS-C Sensor
The space of the cadre that I see, if I have a full-frame lens, I will install it on a full-frame camera and install it on an APS-C camera, a sensor that is smaller than the full-frame, and this means that I will enter the Crop Factor.
This means that when the distance between the camera and the person is fixed, the image that I see from the same lens when I put it on a small sensor, the image that I see will remain small as if the person zoomed in.
Full-Frame Lens + Full-Frame Sensor
If I wanted to equate the two cadres, meaning that I have a full-frame lens on the sensor, full-frame. The distance between the person and the camera shows a certain cadre space.
I want to see the same space like this, but I will install the full-frame lens on a sensor of a smaller size, so I will have to do what I will have to move the camera back, to enlarge the image when it is farther away, I will find that the background isolation remains less.
What I want to make clear is that the full-frame is the standard, If I see a certain picture, a certain cadre isolate a certain background on the full-frame to achieve the same look that I see on the full-frame with a lower sensor, I must take in consideration the crop factor, not only in the focal length of the lens but also in the aperture of the lens, which has a great role in isolating the background.
In other words, a full-frame lens with an aperture of 1:1.8 will lead to much greater background isolation than another lens designed for lower sensors, but the aperture of the lens is as much as 1:1.8. The point is that many people are deceived by it.
Best Image Sensor
In the end, there is no such thing as the best camera for all people, but the camera that is best for you is the one that is more suitable for you and the occasion is more suitable for the nature of your work.
• It may be that the most important thing for you is that the camera is small, so you choose the camera that has a small sensor, and this is more important to you than anything else.
• Perhaps someone has the most important need for the style of the image, the nature of the image, and the cinematic shape, so he should choose a camera with a larger sensor size
• It is possible for someone who needs to shoot a high-definition video, such as 4k 60 frames per second, or Full HD at 120 or 240 frames per second. He will often choose a sensor camera that has a rather small size, but with a very powerful processing so that he can view the video with these specifications.