Is bigger always better? Somewhat esoteric...

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Erik Kaffehr
Erik Kaffehr Senior Member • Posts: 2,036
Is bigger always better? Somewhat esoteric...


Sorry for posting on S&T forum, but it is less infected than other forums...

There are always users dreaming of 6x6 or 6x7 cm sensors. I don't see that happens as I think I see that development is moving in the direction of smaller, cheaper and better.

A great master suggested that bigger is always better, assuming that identical technology is used. But, technology may not be identical...

My understanding is that lens performance by and large scale with focal length, if you assume that an 80 lens achieves 60 lp/mm at 50% MTF the same lens rescaled to 50 mm would achieve 96 lp/mm, ignoring diffraction. But diffraction could not be ignored at 96 lp/mm of course.

Anyway, if you take an existing 6x6 camera design and put on a 44x33 mm sensor the result may be not so great. If the cameras is designed around that 44x33 mm sensor from the ground up,  the small format optimized camera will probably be the better performer.

In MFD, we now have 54x41 mm sensors at 100 MP, but 150 MP is around the corner, with several models that can be ordered from Phase One.

With 44x33 mm the next generation of sensor is 100 MP, and Fuji has made a development announcement for the GFX-100S.

So, we may ask if the GFX 100S with it's 44x33 lenses can be good alternative to the three times more expensive Phase One 100 MP models?

We may also keep in mind that the Fuji lenses need less stopping down for same DoF and they are also available at larger apertures. I would also guess they are more complex designs using more AD/SD glass.

So, the smaller format may have a technological advantage.

Now, 54x41 mm is going into 150 MP. It is possible that 150 MP at 54x41 mm will yield higher image quality under optimal conditions, like good light. But it is quite possible that better lens designs could compensate for the size and MP advantage of the larger format.

I don't think that going into 56x56 mm or 56x69 mm would be a major win, as I don't think that film era lenses would play well with high resolution sensors and I would guess that 645 lenses are designed for 54x41 mm rather than 6x6 formats.

Photographers wishing for 6x6 or 6x7 sensors often say that they would be fine large pixels, like 9x9 or 12x12 microns. But large size low resolution sensors would not be much cheaper to make than high resolution sensors of similar size.

So, I don't see that happening...

What is your take?

Best regards


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Erik Kaffehr
Magic uses to disappear in controlled experiments…

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