Why Are There Various Sensor Sizes, and What Are the Differences Between Them?

Do you know about the different sensor sizes you can get in cameras and how one sensor size might be better than another in certain situations, regardless of what some people might tell you?

Nothing quite gets photographers riled up like a good old gear debate. Whether it's mirrorless bodies versus DSLRs versus film, or prime lenses up against zoom lenses, you can guarantee that advocates will defend their gear choices with every last breath. Well, you can throw sensor sizes into the mix too. You've got full-frame sensors, APS-C format sensors, and micro four-thirds sensors to choose from when you're thinking about purchasing a new camera body, but what are the differences? And why might you choose one over another if you were presented with all the relevant information you needed? In this video from The School of Photography, Marc Newton breaks down the different sensors and runs through a whole host of things you might like to consider, such as the reasons for different sensors, how they differ, how they might affect lens choices, and some of the pros and cons of each.

I must admit, when I first started out with photography I had absolutely no idea about sensor sizes. I simply bought my Canon APS-C format camera because it was the only one I could afford at the time, and it came with two kit lenses as opposed to the one that a similar priced Nikon was offering. It was only later when I wanted to buy some new lenses and was informed that they weren't compatible with my camera that I actually realized there were significant differences. A whole new world opened up. Now, I have a full-frame Canon 5D Mark IV and an APS-C format Canon 7D Mark II and use them both for specific situations.

To learn more about sensors, give the video a watch, and let me know your thoughts in the comments below, especially those of you who might own all multiple sensor-size cameras.

Iain Stanley's picture

Iain Stanley is an Associate Professor teaching photography and composition in Japan. Fstoppers is where he writes about photography, but he's also a 5x Top Writer on Medium, where he writes about his expat (mis)adventures in Japan and other things not related to photography. To view his writing, click the link above.

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How many articles will FS run about this SAME subject matter......

"Clicks" ?

Crop Sensor vs Full Frame ... meh ... doesn't matter! .. the difference is minuscule when you compare them all to Film formats 6x7 , 4 by 5 , or 8 by 10 ...