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What is it About the Larger Sensor?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by tjdean01, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    In this case I'm saying m4/3s is the bigger sensor over the 1/1.7" type sensors that are in Canon s110 or Nikon P7700. So, you're on vacation and realize you forgot all your m4/3s gear except what is already on it, which is the crappy 15mm f8 body cap. You also have your your Olympus XZ-2 or Panasonic LX7 with you so you just opt to use that. But, that's your wife's camera so you're forced to use m4/3s. Sure, you lose 4 stops being stuck at f8 but there's still light outside and ISO800 is no problem so no big deal.

    Anyway, I've been in this situation. What is it about the larger m4/3s sensor that makes the images so much better; even with m4/3's worst lens. It's the color, I believe; but why?
  2. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Nah - it's not the sensor, it's the photographer! They just think BIG!
    • Like Like x 2
  3. RMills

    RMills Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 7, 2014
    The lower pixel density (and larger size) increases light sensitivity, allowing great results at higher ISO. You're also enlarging less with a larger sensor. That being said, smaller sensors have come a long way. I just sold my Nikon D610 (Fx) and all my gear to move to Oly. I'm confident I can get excellent 16x20's which is usually the largest print I sell.
  4. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    Killarney, OzTrailEYa
    its the same with the reason that "Full Frame" provides a better image. It boils down to:
    * better contrast due to less magnification of the image (like draw the dimensions of a sensor on a piece of paper and compare that to what's on the screen)
    * better signal gathering (due to less magnification of that)
    * better control over depth of field (should you wish it) because the DoF is related to aperture diameter in mm while the f-stops relate to a ratio of focal length divided by aperture diameter

    There are of course swings and roundabouts ... 8x10 sheet film cameras are harder to use in the field than an LX7 . Larger formats require a smaller apereture (larger fstop) to actually have any DoF and so you end up needing 400ISO in the shades in the daytime.

    I have no idea why people even use these ... go get a 14mm f2.5 and live it up

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    • Like Like x 1
  5. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    +1 - best lens cap eva.
  6. Lionroar

    Lionroar Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 10, 2014
    The bodycap is an underrated lens.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    Killarney, OzTrailEYa

    I thought I'd illustrate this with some images:
    this is a scan of 6x9 (that's cemtimeters) film taken with a Bessa RF camera which has an angle of view about equal to a 35mm lens on "full frame"
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    now, when we expand that more we can begin to see that the trees in the distance are actually out of the focal zone
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    and zooming in more we can be certain of that
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    this was taken with f5.6 which would have a much greater DoF if indeed a 35mm lens was used on a 5D, but as its a 100mm lens f5.6 the aperture is 17mm in diameter (or about an f2 setting on the 35mm lens on a Full Frame camera).
  8. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing

    Technically I think if it's being rated as a lens at all it's doing pretty well for itself.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    If you don't you could get dust on your sensor when you take the lens off for storage. 14mm is a lens that stores with the other lenses. I didn't want to really get into a discussion about the merits of the 15BCL but the way I look at things, you spend money for the best value. For most purposes a $250 PM2 is a better value than a $1000 EM1. Same with 45 vs 42.5. When it takes you a long time to save $800 the choice is obvious. But $35 for a body cap is a luxury I can afford! What's funny is that most people with the OMD cameras just have pieces of plastic for body caps whereas mine can take pictures! :)  I don't go out shooting with it but there are times when I need 15 and it just happens to be there and be better than the cell phone.

    Back on topic...

    The "better contrast" and "less magnification" must be what I'm seeing. Or maybe just the magnification because IMO the PM2's colors are always much nicer than on the D700 (but the D700 really out-bokehs it to give some great shots). So, I see why the bigger sensor is more appealing. But now to part two of my question.

    I tried the cell phone, Fuji F200exr, and Pentax Q vs any m4/3s lens (I chose the BCL because I figured it's the worst). And as I've said I like m4/3s shots better. But, there are those times when I want more DOF which isn't possible on a largish sensor like m4/3s. But, IMO, none of the compacts produce shots like the one below that was taken on an old small sensor P&S. This sensor was 1/1.6".

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Not that using m4/3s and the 17mm a around f8 for that shot wouldn't have looked great an with more DR, but a) the compact sensor does give more DOF and b) I don't know why I like the shots from that particular P&S but not the rest of them. It was a Fuji F30. Maybe 1/1.6" is the sweet point and 1/1.7" is too small. :tongue:
  10. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    Killarney, OzTrailEYa

    I don't know what you mean here ... my cameras came with plastic body caps, however I never use them. I leave a lens on the camera and have done with all of my cameras. I've got EOS cameras which I've not removed the lens from the camera for over a decade to no issue and that's go electronic mounts of the same type.

    As to dust on the senor, unless you're changing lenses while working in a concrete factory or on a mining site roadside with trucks going by I don't think I've considered dust a problem ...

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    To my recollection the entire m43 range by Oly and Pana have gone to great lengths to put on super sonic wave filters to prevent dust from even getting to the "sensor" surface ... and I say "sensor" because the sensor is under a multitude of filters and sealed.

    I used to have to clean my Canon's filters but never had such problem with the m43

    I would rate this as being a bit more "overboard" than needed
  11. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    We can talk and talk all we want about what makes one thing better than another. That doesn't really help anyone as experience using the systems week really be the litmus test of what it can provide you and if you really need it or not.
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