What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*

Started Mar 13, 2014 | Discussions thread
knickerhawk Veteran Member • Posts: 5,774
Re: What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*

69chevy wrote:

I'm not sure there is a correct answer.

My guess is that it has to do with pixel size.

No, it really doesn't have that much to do with pixel size unless, of course, the original Canon 5D is better than the 5D II and 5D III.

If a sensor is a light catcher that can only interact with a finite amount of photons before being full, then it only makes sense that more surface area represents a more accurate sample of light.

This is better because you're now talking about sensor surface area and not pixel size.  However, it's not just as simple as increasing sensor area solves all problems.  There are some countervailing tradeoffs as you increase sensor size.

If light was made of M&M's of every color, pixels were buckets, and you were trying to catch a rainfall of M&M's that represented exactly the pattern they were falling in, the bigger you made each bucket, the larger sample you would collect. This gives the advantage to the bigger buckets.

Not if the buckets covered the same area.  Pixel size used to be more relevant when there weren't gapless microlenses and there was measurable loss of photons due to the borders between the sensels.  That's pretty much a non-issue these days.

Some will argue that a smaller bucket would still accurately reflect the pattern, but as with any gathering, the larger the cross section, the more accurate the results.

I poll 500 people on their beliefs and find that they are split 50/50. Then I poll 2000 (full frame is about 4 times the surface area of 4/3). I find that the split is 45/55.

Bad analogy for supporting your argument if what you're talking about is pixel size and not sensor size.  Your analogy actually is indicating that you should increase the number pixels, which is generally what all camera makers are doing (and successfully so).  IQ has not suffered as a result.  It has improved.

Both collected samples are accurate, but one is a better representation of reality.

A full frame sensor interacts with more photons per exposure.

You need to carefully define what you mean by "exposure" and they you will quickly find yourself getting deep into issues of equivalence and what that means.

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