About new NEX cameras sensors...

Started May 30, 2011 | Discussions thread
RussellInCincinnati Veteran Member • Posts: 3,201
format size matters, since bigger format users accept less depth of field

SeaChicken: So here's a question: assuming this 24MP is the limit for APS-C, what are the equivalent limits for other formats (assuming comparisons are done at the same depth of field, not the same f-number)?

Well you've posed the question in an interesting way. On a tangent, I don't agree that it's pointless to have pixel counts above 24million on APS-C. Because I'd welcome up to 96 megapixels to increase color accuracy in 100 meg raw files (of which a $140 dollar memory card could hold 640 such images).

Anyway, ignoring depth of field issues, for example at F4 however many pixels max out APS-C, a sensor twice as big as APS-C could make use of twice that many.

Assuming of course the larger format lens had as perfect resolution as the APS-C coverage optic at F4.

But you might say "Russell, I'd need F5.6 or whatever to get the same depth of field with a larger sensor as APS-C has at F4. And at F5.6, the bigger-format lens wouldn't need more pixels than the APS-C camera has, because of the greater diffraction blurring at F5.6". And you'd be right.

However, there are apparently plenty of people on this forum (not me) who feel they can take pictures with adequate depth of field at F2.8, F2, F1.4, heck F1, whatever. And those folks would be perfectly happy to use a twice-as-large format sensor and lens combo at F4, with twice the pixel count, and to get images that have a lot less depth of field than we get on the Nex at F4, but a lot more image quality out of what they do manage to get in focus.

That's why 8x10 inch view cameras still exist. You can use'em at F22, perhaps with focus-plane tilts, to get some amazing amounts of detail in photos that have almost no depth of field at all by typical Nex user standards.

So overall, yes at same depth of field as APS-C at F4, perhaps all cameras max out (to some extent, see above) at 24 megapixels. But bigger format cameras can make good use of higher pixel count sensors, if they've got great F4 or faster lenses...whenever their users accept less depth of field than APS-C F4 at the same angle of view.

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