New Gear: Larger Sensors in Smaller Cameras

New Gear: Larger Sensors in Smaller Cameras

How big is your sensor? While bigger is more expensive, bigger is also better -- always. Thankfully, camera manufacturers are now able to fit larger sensors in smaller bodies, and for less money. And we like that. Check out these new announcements to stay on top of your large-sensor cameras.

Sony recently announced a compact camera with a somewhat larger sensor, the RX100 (Pre-order here for $648). At 1", this sensor is the same size as Nikon's CX format in the Nikon 1 cameras. However, that entire sensor is still fit within a compact, point-and-shoot-style body. It's not your micro-four-thirds or APS-C camera, but it's still a good bump that should result in better quality images (especially in low-light situations) for other cameras in its class.

If compact cameras just don't get you excited no matter how large the sensor is, perhaps more exciting is Canon's 'other' rumored full-frame camera body. As Nikon gears up for its much-anticipated D600 entry-level full-frame DSLR, everyone thought Canon was done after wrapping up releases of the new 5D Mark III, the 1D X, and even the cine version, the 1D C. But has evidence of an imminent announcement for some kind of larger-sensor body. And since bigger is better, we like the sound of that. Whether this falls in the upper, pro/prosumer range or just below the 5D Mark III in the entry-level range is unclear, but we're excited none-the-less. Nothing beats full-frame (except maybe medium format...or film). Stand by for updates as they come in, and let us know what you think is coming out and what you'd like to see Canon (or Nikon) do in the comments section!

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Nothing beats a Full Frame? Nothing beats a Full Frame "for bulk, size and weight"... Bad setup guys.. Much better to have said something like "Nothing beats a Full Frame for image quality".

A few months ago the argument that of smaller sensor or high pixel density would fail miserably in low light was strong but recent entries into the market, the OMD for example and the D800, are starting to eat away at the idea.  

Beyond DOF, if that is a big issue for you, there are many reasons for buying a smaller sensor. Change is tough.

James Robertson's picture

I'm trying really hard to figure out what you're complaining about..

Not really a complaint. The statement that "Nothing beats a Full Frame" is not always true (stressing "not always"). The truth is that there are down sides but the statement ignores that.

I like these guys (this site)... I want them to be the best they can be. Of course this is a blog which is mostly about opinion. 

John Godwin's picture

It's like I'm reading English, but the words are connected in a way that makes no sense.

Sorry John.... I went over your head.

Felix's picture

Big is not always better!

Even gold ingots suck for some people. That's the nature of humanity.

Ha... Not trying to give you a hard time, but I don't think I'd equate FF to gold ingots. 

A pro Nikon photographer here in town (a normal, healthy female with decent strength) was telling me that when shooting her D700 with her 200-400mm on it she can only get off about 3 shots before she is shaking so much that it is unusable. 

If it is hard and/or difficult to use... and in the end does not get used... it is not better. I've been noticing many of the older and female photographers who, when handed a big gun like the above mentioned rig (which I think is just fabulous), their jaws drop. They will never by into this idea that bigger is better. 

When those photographers that hate the size and weight realize that there are other options now that are getting pretty dam close to what their present day tanks are giving them and they can do most if not all of the same work with ease and comfort.... .Nikon (Canon... whoever) will loose them. 

The idea that bigger is better (FF vs APS vs 4/3rds) in terms of IQ.. I'll buy... But beyond that, for a significant number of users, actually a majority,  it no longer matters.

Hi Tom, thanks for your short but elaborated response. I can see what you mean. I just bought a G1X for the moments when I don't want to carry something any bigger. I wasn't thinking about FF anyway, but for any little camera where a manufacturer tries harder to successfully put a bigger sensor while keeping the camera small. I think Sony has a true winner here. On behalf of the FF sensors, I believe they are the holy grail in digital photography. They offer the best IQ before things get insanely expensive and complicated.

Yes Eduardo.. this entire class of smaller but able cameras is exciting in a lot of ways. Many times I've been out bike riding and run right into a great shot and where was my camera, back at the house! They are starting to get good enough to take seriously.... at least in situations like that.

Sony will be a significant force to deal with on every front. You guys do a great job with this site.... Keep it up!

RUSS's picture

Thinks to self "hmmm, six HUNDRED and fifty bucks for a sony point and shoot sized camera that has a larger sensor......NAH!"
I think I can force myself to carry my dslr, and save 650 bucks. Yup it may be inconvenient at times. But i aint paying 650 bucks for that damn thing.

as for canon's probable announcement, i'd guess it's a camera body comparable to nikons d600 rumor.