Accurately comparing FF vs APS-C sensor performance? An open discussion.

Started Apr 8, 2013 | Discussions thread
tko Forum Pro • Posts: 12,638
you did it the hard way

There's a proven theorem that's been around for a while. By "proven" I mean mathematically derived from lens and sensor properties. It states that for equal DOF, all sensor sizes offer about the same performance, assuming equal sensor and lens technology. Yes, this applies to diffraction as well.

So, the major advantage of FF occurs with reduced DOF. You're trading DOF for low light performance. But remember you can always stop FF down, but you can't open smaller systems past the capabilities of their lenses.

Put another way: given enough light, the same DOF, and assuming a high enough quality lens and sensor, a cell phone and a medium format camera will have about the same image.

Yes, in the real world this might not be true. Possible the cell phone has the most recent, state of the art sensor. Perhaps the larger sensor has a greater dynamic range due to larger sensor sites. There are a ton of practical differences between a tiny and large sensor.

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