Multi-aspect sensor

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by drd1135, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    I'm clearly missing something here. Why all the fuss about multi-aspect sensors? I could understand if by some magical way all of a sensor's pixels could be shifted to the the new format, but that's not true. It seems like it's just a crop that the the camera does at exposure time. With all the fuss abut raw processing, etc, this seems like a very very minor PP step that any software can do. I'm not trolling here; I just don't get it and want to know what I'm missing.
  2. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Real Name:
    The sensor in the Panasonic GH1/GH2 is slightly larger than the standard 4/3 sensor (it's 19mm wide instead of being 17mm wide). This allows the camera to maintain the same angle of view regardless of the current aspect ratio (the pictures will be less tall, but they will be wider). If you crop the image taken with the standard sensor, you will narrow its angle of view.

    To illustrate my point, on the Panasonic GH2 the image sizes are:
    4608 x 3456 (4:3)
    4752 x 3168 (3:2)
    4976 x 2800 (16:9)

    And on the Panasonic G3 they are:
    4592 x 3448 (4:3)
    4576 x 3056 (3:2)
    4576 x 2576 (16:9)
  3. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    What stratokaster said. It means I can shoot my GH1 at 3:2 and still use the full image circle of the lens. I use my 9-18mm almost exclusively on the GH1 since the multi-aspect sensor allows me to shoot it w-i-d-e. You can crop a 4:3 image from a regular sensor down to 3:2 but you can't add the extra pixels on the side.
  4. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    As stratokaster explains, there's a difference between a sensor cropped to different aspect-ratios, and a multi-aspect sensor - multi-aspect, found only in the GH series, maintains a constant field-of-view between 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9 (the diagonal of the frame remains constant).

    For most stuff this won't not matter much, but for specific applications (and if you're picky, like I am) it can be awesome. For instance, using an ultra-wide like the 9-18 or 7-14 at it's widest setting and then using the 16-9 format makes for a pretty crazy perspective.


    It's also handy if you shoot a lot with primes as it gives you the ability to subtly shift the framing of a subject.
  5. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    OK, so you do get extra pixels. That was the data I was missing, having a lowly G2 as I do. It just didn't make sense why people thought this was such a good feature.