**Celebrating ‘Pinhead’ Sensor Bridge Cameras**

Started 10 months ago | Discussions
Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,539
**Celebrating ‘Pinhead’ Sensor Bridge Cameras**
10

When we handle any bridge camera the size of the FZ300, we could be forgiven for thinking that its image sensor is much larger than it actually is. We may even hear the widely bandied term ‘postage stamp’ sensor in relation to these cameras, which again gives the wrong impression of the average size chip found in most. In reality, the postage stamp analogy overeggs things considerably here.

Even when we discover that the sensor in the FZ300 and largely most other bridge models is actually a mere 1/2.3’’ diagonally from corner to opposite corner, or that its dimensions amount to a total of just 6.17 x 4.55 mm, we may still not initially comprehend just how small that is in relation to the full size (35mm) sensors found in overall more expensive DSLRs/ILCs.

Even most illustrations we see don’t really drive home why the tag ‘pinhead’ sensor is actually more appropriate a label than postage stamp.

So, to gain more perspective in visual terms, pop both of your thumbs together end to end, nail to nail (as shown in my illustration below) and imagine the larger rectangle outline depicts the edges of the full frame. Study it for a moment and, as a way of balancing out differences between thumb sizes of small, medium and larger readers, imagine you have an old 35mm film negative covering the whole rectangle. Got it? Yep! That’s how big a full frame digital SLR sensor is.

In comparison, now study your little fingernail and imagine the size of the small rectangle drawn in the same illustration. It equates to no more than half the size of the nail and represents the image recording area of the 1/2.3 sensor. That’s how small the average sized bridge camera sensor is.

Now look at my second illustration and note how many 1/2.3 sensors you could roughly fit into a full frame version (around 30) and you’ll see why the term pinhead is more appropriate than the postage stamp label. You’ll note that I’ve also included outlines of 1inch and M4/3rd sensors for further comparison of size in relation to both full frame and 1/2.3 varieties.

I’d always known these sensors were small since I began using FZs in 2004, but it’s only during the last few years that I’ve paid more attention to their actual physical size and come to appreciate them all the more for it. Since then, my admiration for what they represent as a whole has increased substantially. To me, the pinhead sensor found in most FZ and similar cameras is a marvellous feat of engineering in terms of the image quality it can afford.

In my view, the pinhead sensor should be embraced, appreciated and celebrated as an extraordinary piece of technology often seen to punch well above its weight in terms of output. After all, cameras like the FZ300 can and do churn out some pretty impressive images, the quality of which can be much higher than we might initially anticipate based solely on specification of chip and processor.

So, if you’d care to join in my celebration of the pinhead sensor with either a comment or example images (or both), you’re more than welcome to contribute below.

PLEASE NOTE:If you’re posting photos, remember to change the heading appropriately so we can all see where they’ve been inserted. Note also that as this thread’s specifically in celebration of the 1/2.3 sensor, example photos from any camera donning the pinhead chip would be most appreciated and other makes and models beyond the Panasonic range, whether old or current, are very welcome, too.

Thank you in advance,

Kind regards and happy shooting to all...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300
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OP Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,539
*Some of my FZ330 Examples*
9

All OOC Jpegs have been resized and/or cropped for uploading purposes, as my internet connection is slow by today's standards:

Thanks for looking. Hope to see some of your examples posted below.

Cheers and happy shooting...

PJPfeiffer Senior Member • Posts: 1,186
A few of my fz-300 (pin head) images
2

These images all started from raw and were processed for entry into our local photo club's annual competition ... 8x10 jpgs only

Male Broad Billed Hummingbird

Rising Corn Moon

Cholla Sunset

Tumacacori, AZ

Early Morning Cactus

Saguaro sunrise

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Dale108
Dale108 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,406
Re: *Some of my FZ330 Examples*
3

Great work Stevie and you abely show that these small light cameras can punch above their weight.

Dale

Stevie Boy Blue wrote:

All OOC Jpegs have been resized and/or cropped for uploading purposes, as my internet connection is slow by today's standards:

Thanks for looking. Hope to see some of your examples posted below.

Cheers and happy shooting...

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 Olympus TG-5 Sony RX10 IV Pentax K-1 Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
Jerry045
Jerry045 Forum Pro • Posts: 13,114
Some of my pinhead shots
2

Here's a few from my ZS19.

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gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 9,017
2007 to 2020 - S3is, SX10is, FZ200, FZ330, TZ60, TZ90
5

In 2007 after I retired I restarted photography after a pause of several decades and bought a Canon S3is. I used that until 2009 and then used a Canon SX10is until 2013, when I bought an FZ200. In 2016 I bought an FZ330. In 2013 I bought a Canon SX240, in 2015 a TZ60 and in 2018 a TZ90.

While using these 1/2.3" sensor cameras I also used larger sensor cameras some of the time. Starting in 2011 I used micro four thirds cameras - G3 then G5, G80 and G9, and from 2014 a Canon 70D dSLR. However, I kept coming back to 1/2.3", especially for close-ups of invertebrates, one of my two main subject areas (the other being flowers etc). And (not having a smartphone) a 1/2.3" pocketable superzoom remains my go to device for "out and about, just in case something turns up", not that I did any of that in 2020.

In the second half of 2020 I moved away once more from 1/2.3" for invertebrates, this time to a full frame setup. Whether this will be a permanent move, or whether as with micro four thirds and APS-C I go back to 1/2.3" remains to be seen.

Stevie Boy Blue wrote:

In my view, the pinhead sensor should be embraced, appreciated and celebrated as an extraordinary piece of technology often seen to punch well above its weight in terms of output. After all, cameras like the FZ300 can and do churn out some pretty impressive images, the quality of which can be much higher than we might initially anticipate based solely on specification of chip and processor.

While my bridge cameras, and especially the FZ200 and FZ330, have been sturdy workhorses, the cameras that have struck me as particularly extraordinary have been the pocketable superzooms ("travel cameras"). I have not used them a great deal as I don't get out and about much outside of our small town. But even so they have managed to impress me from time to time with what they can produce, with the really extraordinary thing for me being that despite their huge zoom range they fit comfortably into a pocket.

Here are 10 images from my 1/2.3" sensor cameras. Those from the S3is and SX10is were shot as JPEGs, the Panasonic images as raw. They have all been post processed.

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8

#9

#10

Jack Tingle
Jack Tingle Contributing Member • Posts: 699
Re: **Celebrating ‘Pinhead’ Sensor Bridge Cameras**

Duplicate post due to slow electrons.

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Jack Tingle
Jack Tingle Contributing Member • Posts: 699
Re: **Celebrating ‘Pinhead’ Sensor Bridge Cameras**
2

You overstate the size slightly. 1/2.3" is the diameter of the manufacturing blank once used to make the sensor. They don't make'em like that anymore.

Crop from a ZS70.

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PJPfeiffer Senior Member • Posts: 1,186
iPhone 11 pro images
1
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Jerry045
Jerry045 Forum Pro • Posts: 13,114
Pinheads from my FZ150
2

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kkardster
kkardster Forum Pro • Posts: 10,014
Re: **Celebrating ‘Pinhead’ Sensor Bridge Cameras**
1

A 1/2.3" sensor is not 1/2.3" diagonal, rather that's an archaic tube size value predating digital cameras. If you take the square root of the (length squared + width squared), you get something considerably smaller.

diagonal (mm) = sqrt(6.17^2 + 4.55^2)

= sqrt(38.07 + 20.70)

= sqrt(88.77)

= 7.67mm

diagonal (inches) = 7.67mm / 25.4mm-per-inch = 0.30 inches, so just over a quarter inch diagonally! Pinhead may sound somewhat derogatory but is somewhat apt in relation to other sensors.

-- hide signature --

Bruce
You learn something new every time you press the shutter

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Rodger1943
Rodger1943 Forum Pro • Posts: 16,596
They are amazing sensors
3

I've had lots of FZ models, the last of which with the small sensor was the FZ200.  It served me well and gave many great (in my opinion) results and the images looked like they were taken with a more expensive camera. I compared it to my FZ1000 for image quality and I could not better the image with the FZ1000, in fact in each test the FZ200 did better. I don't know how such a tiny sensor can show so much detail, but it can and does. The two shots below are from the FZ200 and are of a male and female Spotted Pardalote. I chose them as both birds are very small and have lots of details, as you can clearly see.

Thanks for this post Steve.

Female Spotted Pardalote

Male Spotted Pardalote.

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Panasonic FZ1000 FZ200 Sony RX10 iv

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bluzman
bluzman Senior Member • Posts: 1,255
Nikon ‘Pinhead’ Sensor Bridge Cameras
2

Although I no longer own any camera with the 1/2.3" sensor, I did have several from Nikon...P530, B700, P1000, and A1000.

Brewer's Blackbird

Point Cabrillo Light Station, Caspar, CA

Ground squirrel

Point San Luis Lighthouse, San Luis Obispo, CA

Male Red Tailed Hawk

Santa Fe FP45 Locomotive

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, Ilwaco, WA

Female Belted Kingfisher

Muscovy Duck

Red Eared Sliders

Swan Goose

Canada Goose

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Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II Nikon D7500 Nikon Z50 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 Nikon D500 +16 more
DUBTEMPLE
DUBTEMPLE Contributing Member • Posts: 757
Some FZ200 shots
2

From 50 meters away with TC15ED converter

Owl ,.. 10m distance

Macro

With TC17ED

Stockholm SE

Bat out of my house

Not perfect but there

At the lake

1/1000

Almost darkness ,.. but still it delivers

Sweden

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Nikon Coolpix P100 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic FZ1000 Panasonic FZ80/FZ82 Canon EOS 500D +1 more
OP Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,539
Re: *Some of my FZ330 Examples*

Thank you, Dale. Kind of you to post.

Please feel free to share some of your own shots.

Cheers and happy shooting to ya…

OP Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,539
Re: A few of my fz-300 (pin head) images

Thanks for posting, PJ. Some nice examples there.

Cheers and happy shooting…

OP Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,539
Re: Some of my pinhead shots

Nice efforts, Jerry. Thanks for sharing…

OP Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,539
Re: 2007 to 2020 - S3is, SX10is, FZ200, FZ330, TZ60, TZ90

Thanks for the images plus narrative, Nick.

Still love the wasp shots, although all are excellent.

Cheers and happy shooting…

OP Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,539
Re: **Celebrating ‘Pinhead’ Sensor Bridge Cameras**

Nice shot, Jack. Thanks for sharing.

Cheers

OP Stevie Boy Blue Senior Member • Posts: 1,539
Re: iPhone 11 pro images

Thanks again PJ.

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