Sensor Size - CSC or Bridge ?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by keeper, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. keeper macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2008

    I'm currently using an ageing DMC-TZ7 a nice simple point and shoot.
    At some point i'd like to turn this more into a retirement hobby and have greater flexibility in manual settings.

    I will mainly be using the camera while out walking in the Peak District in the UK where I live and on holidays.

    I have two questions.
    1/ I will be looking at the photo's on my 13" MacBook pro or cheap 24" monitor, i don't intend to print any.
    Does sensor size really matter if viewing using the above methods?

    2/ I don't want a big SLR and lens costs, however i'm open to a CSC with 2 lenses.
    Is a CSC like the Sony A6000 the right way to go or something like the Nikon P900?
    What size lens reach will i need to provide me good creative learning opportunity.
    I'm not sure if a Bridge camera just leaves me in point and shoot land although providing a long lens.

    Many Thanks Phil
  2. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2010
    I would normally chuck m4/3 cameras into the mix...

    ...but it sounds like you will be shooting a lot of landscapes and they start to suffer diffraction from around F8 and from F11 to 22 it can be more noticeable, not normally that much of an issue but if your shooting a lot of landscapes you might be better of with a slightly larger sensor.

    A crop sensor sounds perfect for you, I think the Sony has one...Fuji also do some nice small crop sensor cameras so they might be worth having a look at too.
  3. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2014
    I think sensor size matters if your shooting in natural light. Unless you live in a very sunny area with long days, smaller sensors will be limited in their ability to control noise at even moderately high iso's. For landscape, where you will likely be stopping down, a small sensor only exacerbates the problem.

    Any modern monitor, no matter how cheap, will readily display the IQ difference. I have a Sony RX100 (1" sensor) and a couple of 16 mp APS-C Fuji's. The difference at iso's >200 is obvious.

    For landscape I suggest buying the lens and tacking any compatible body to it. The used market makes a lot of sense here.
  4. Hughmac macrumors demi-god


    Feb 4, 2012
    Kent, UK
    The Sony a6000 sounds like a good idea so far; about £550 from Currys with £50 cashback, 16-50mm kit lens included. Just add the 55-210mm lens and you're away.
    There are tons of better quality lenses to be had once you have bedded in.

    2nd hand, these sort of things appear regularly on eBay for much less £££.

    Hope this helps, cheers :)

  5. ChrisA, Aug 2, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    By "sensor size" do you mean the number of pixels or do you mean the physical size of the entire sensor as in how many millimeter across it is?

    With modern cameras the pixel count is unimportant but the physical size of the sensor matters a lot for three reasons
    1) All else being equal a larger sensor has better low light performance and a lot less "noise" or "grain".
    2) A larger sensor can record a larger dynamic range, that is the range of light to dark
    3) A larger sensor allows the possibility of a smaller depth of field when you want it. You can use this to isolate a subject from a background.

    And well, maybe the pixel count might matter. It's true that a screen can show only a few megapixels and every camera now days records far more than can be shown but having all those pixels allows for post processing, things like rotations to level the horizon or crops can be done and they don't show. Even the best new 4K monitor shows only 4 MP and any new camera will have more than twice as many pixels as needed. So yes lots of pixels are needed but you can't avoid getting enough.
  6. drzen macrumors regular


    Aug 8, 2017
    I happen to own the same camera (TZ7) - have had it since when it first came out and 720p video was a big deal. I just recently got myself the Panasonic LUMIX GX85, along with the 25mm f/1.7 prime lens, and the 14-140 f/3.5-5.6 zoom. Found like-new on eBay, total cost of body + lenses was $1000. You could just get the camera with the kit lens for much less.

    I've never shot anything other than point and shoot and my iPhone, but after doing a lot of exhaustive research, settled on this camera. I wanted something compact and not a DSLR, which shot 4K video as well. For the price point, you can't do much better than the GX85.
  7. keeper thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2008
  8. Ledgem macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    That diffraction starts to set in around f/8 on µ4/3 isn't as much of an issue as you might think. The reason to close down the aperture with landscapes is to increase the depth of field, but by going with a smaller sensor (and the associated shorter focal lengths) your depth of field increases. Just for an example:

    A full-frame sensor with a 14mm lens, focusing at 20 feet from the subject with an aperture of f/11, gives you a focus starting at 1.73 feet and extends to infinity.

    By comparison, a µ4/3 camera with a 7mm lens (14mm equivalent) focusing at 20 feet and with an aperture of f/8 gives you focus starting at 1.26 feet and extending to infinity.

    In other words, the advantage of µ4/3 for landscapes is that you have a greater depth of field at larger apertures, which can come in handy if you're going without a tripod and/or if you're trying to do something like mixed astral and landscape photography. This advantage is considered a disadvantage in portraiture, where the current fad is to work with razor-thin depth of fields. µ4/3 simply can't generate it in the way that larger sensors can.

    That's not to say that µ4/3 is the perfect landscape camera. It used to suffer in not having as many pixels are larger sensors, which is arguably still the case; however, Olympus' pixel-shift technology, which utilizes the image stabilization mechanism to shift the sensor around for multiple exposures, generating a 50 megapixel image (for the E-M1 Mk II; 40 megapixel for the E-M5 Mk II).

    The other area where µ4/3 falls behind compared to full-frame sensors that matters to landscapes is in dynamic range. This difference isn't as dramatic as it once was, and it can easily be overcome by taking multiple exposures to create a high-dynamic range image (which can also be automated in-camera). However, it still requires a bit of extra work and multiple exposures, which doesn't work for all subjects.

    Long story short, µ4/3 is still highly worthy of consideration. It has the advantage of being smaller and lighter than competing equipment, and is usually a bit cheaper, too.
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I have a catalog of images shot over a 45 year period. The very best quality landscapes were shot with my medium format film camera. It uses a 6 x 7 cm frame size. This is four times the size of a so-called "full frame" dSLR.
    The negatives scan to 100 megapixel files. I think the lenses on my old Mamiya RB67 where better then any of my Nikon lenses.

    People have given up a huge amount of quality for the convinance of digital. You can buy a high quality medium format system for 1/2 the price of a used 4/3 system. But I would not recommend it.

    If I ever go back to shooting film it will be large format as there is not much reason for small and medium format film
  10. Nathan King macrumors regular

    Nathan King

    Aug 24, 2016
    Omaha, NE
    You can scan a 6x7 negative to 100 megapixels, but are all of those quality pixels? Unless you're very careful with your film stock selection, use a very solid tripod and utilize mirror lock up then probably not. You're also looking at around $50 per frame for a good drum scan. Walking a city all day with a medium format camera and a few lenses isn't fun either. Exceedingly few people need that sort of resolution anyway. I've never had a client complain that the really, really large prints I've created from 24 or 30 megapixel files were inadequate.

    I use a DSLR only because the perspective control lenses I need for architectural photography don't exist or don't work as conveniently with a mirrorless system. Micro four thirds isn't quite the standout that it was several years ago before camera manufacturers figured out how to stuff an APS-C sized sensor into nearly as small of a camera body, but Olympus is doing some exciting things with the OM-D series. I would take a good hard look at the Fujifilm X-T2. If I didn't photograph architecture professionally I would probably buy that system.
  11. ChrisA, Aug 13, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    A 100MP scan from 6x7 has about the same pixel density as a 20MP image from a "full frame" 35mm camera. Put the sensor has four times the area. Modern professional MF camera typically use 36mp or 50mp sensors. but the sensors are far smaller about 1/2 the size of a 6x7 frame. on 6x7 a 100mp scam only picks up about 50 lines per mm. That's not a huge amount

    A full frame 35mm sensor has 8.6 square centimeters and the 6x7 camera as 42 square cm. 42/8.6 is 4.88. So 100mp really is the same as scanning a full frame 35mm negative at 20mp.

    Yes everything has to be dead-on right to get film worth scanning. But the subject was landscape. So we have time for a big tripod, only take the image if the light is just right and I can wait l for lulls in the wind. And the optics on those big studio camera were likely better than anything we use today.

    But I wouldn't and don't shot 6x7 film today. I sold all that stuff a long time ago.

    I even sold my perspective control Nikon lens. It was useful with film but today I can do the same job in Lightroom or Photoshop.

    People today look at photo on their phones. so if the files output file was 2mp, that's enough

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