Questions About Sensor Size and Pixel Pitch

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 19,185
Re: Questions About Sensor Size and Pixel Pitch

Chaplain Mark wrote:

This seems to suggest that detail capture (resolution) is more about sensor size than pixel density?

It's more about pixel count ... Take a FF sensor with 24MP and an APS-C sensor with 24MP. The larger sensor has larger pixels and lower pixel density. But each sensor has 24 million photosites to capture detail.

In practice, the FF sensor will likely capture more detail, because it is less demanding on the lens ... if you imagine 24 million photosites on a little sensor, the image projected by the lens onto that sensor has to be very detailed. The smaller the sensor, the smaller the projected image, the more detail per unit area. Theoretically, it's easier to make sharp lenses for a small image circle, but if you look at lens tests across cameras with similar MP ratings, there are more lenses scoring higher on larger sensors.

So more MP with a sufficiently sharp lens gets you more detail, regardless of sensor size, but more MP on a larger sensor gets you more detail with more lenses. (Diffraction can come into play, too ... carried to an extreme, you might say "a 100MP 1/2.3" sensor can capture as much detail as a 100MP medium format sensor" but diffraction will prevent the lens on the tiny sensor from being "sufficiently sharp" ... also, noise could end up being a factor that reduces detail in such extreme scenarios).

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