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While looking to replace my 10 year old digital camera, the argument was heavily tilted towards DSLR by a few friends. Not only was this due to advanced modes and changeable lenses, but also due to the sensor size. Thus, I got into the debate of ‘sensor size’.

On going through a lot of material and having purchased a DSLR (initially I was against this purchase and wanted to buy a bridge camera – a Nikon P610), I can confidently state that sensor size plays a very important role in the quality of the photograph.

While the number of mega-pixels on the sensor allow us to capture more detail, packing the same number of pixels on a larger sensor means that we have less noise in the output photographs.

Hence, while choosing your first or next digital camera, look at the size of the sensor used in the camera. Even if you have a camera with a smaller pixel count for the same size, but with a large sensor, go for the larger sensor camera. It will matter in the long run.

The size of the sensor on my camera – a Kodak DX6490 – is 1/2.5 inches.

Some sensor size I came across during my research were:

  • 1/3.2in – 4.54mm x 3.42mm
  • 1/2.3in – 6.17mm x 4.55mm
  • 2/3in – 8.8mm x 6.6mm
  • 1in – 12.80mm x 9.60mm
  • 4/3in – 17.3mm x 13.00mm
  • APSC (Canon) – 22.20mm x 14.80mm
  • APSC (Nikon, Sony, Pentax) – 23.60mm x 15.60mm

Most point and shoot and bridge (super zoom) cameras have a 1/2.3in sensor. Apparently, this sensor is also used in most smartphones.

PS: I did not look at full-frame cameras and their sensor size primarily because they were out of my budget for the camera and there was no chance of me purchasing a high-end camera, irrespective of the quality.