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

Started Mar 13, 2014 | Discussions thread
papillon_65 Forum Pro • Posts: 27,030
Re: Smoother, more natural, richer, better tonality

Ontario Gone wrote:

papillon_65 wrote:

Going from the smallest sensors through to the largest you get better colour depth as the size increases, that's clear to see in images and shown in colour depth scores in DXOmark, it's not a figment of anyone's imagination.

LOL hey Tony, here we are again. You are right, but if you adjust each format with an ISO handicap equal to it's crop factor, they even out. What would this suggest other than an innate gain change that corresponds to the format?

Yes indeed

We can take any sensor size, FF vs apsc, FF vs MFT, FF vs 1", or any combination therein. It works almost like clockwork. At equal ISO yes the larger it is, the better the numbers. But, if you adjust the FF up by the crop factor of the smaller sensor, the numbers match. Im not saying this is "better", but it is what it is.

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Well sensor efficiency is the key in my fairly limited understanding. Take for instance m4/3's, which I know very well. The EPL-1 had a relatively inefficient Panasonic sensor and has quite a distinctive contrasty image quality (one I quite like actually). Now compare it to an E-M5 (A camera which I also owned) and you will see much smoother results because it has a newer more efficient Sony sensor. The sensor size is the same but the difference in colour depth is 1.3 in favour of the E-M5 and the signal to noise ratio is also better on the E-M5 because of it's more efficient sensor. I can definitely see a difference in the files from these camera in terms of tonality and richness. My Canon 5D2, an older FF camera still outscores the current best m4/3's camera, the E-M1 in terms of colour depth. The difference is now pretty small but it will be larger on a newer full frame camera with a newer more efficient sensor so colour depth must have some correlation with sensor size ( Amount of light hitting the larger sensor ). Combine that with differences in dof and I believe that this is the difference you can see in the end results on the larger formats. For instance, wide angle shallow depth of field is a look you can achieve easily in FF, add the increased colour depth and you have your visible difference IMHO. Sometimes it is very minimal, at other times much more noticeable, depending on the lens and camera (sensor) used, which are both key variables.

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