Sensor Size

Custom House, Belfast
Custom House

As you will know if you’ve read some of my recent posts I’ve been using Panasonic cameras for general stock shooting.

I’ve came to these little cameras from a full frame Canon 5D MK2 and one of my concerns was the smaller sensor.

I’m using the Panasonics because of their size and weight and also cost. I’ll be upfront and admit the overall image quality is not as good as a full frame camera, especially in low light. Few photographers would argue otherwise.

It’s unreasonable to expect the same quality and the images the Micro Four Thirds cameras produce are easily good enough for general stock shooting.

SSE Arena, Belfast
SSE Arena

I think, because I’ve been experimenting with smaller sensor cameras, I pay more attention to sensor sizes than I used to. So when I came across a review recently of the Fuji GFX 50S medium format camera I read it with more interest than I would’ve in the past given that it costs £6200.

The GFX 50S means that Fuji have a medium format camera and a selection of cropped sensor cameras in the X series. What they don’t have is a camera with what we call a full frame sensor. They obviously don’t feel they need it.

When you think it through you realise that sensor size is no more important than many other aspects you take into account when assessing a camera. You should make your decision, taking into account what aspects are important, depending on your intended use.

Clarendon Dock, Belfast
Clarendon Dock

At present full frame, with around 24 megapixels is the ideal balance between image quality and cost for most general practice photographers shooting subjects from portraits to landscapes. That’s why full frame cameras around this mark are so attractive.

If you do need more resolution you have the option, depending on the manufacturer you prefer of the Canon 5DS, DSR, Nikon D810 or Sony Alpha 7R ll to name the the most popular.

With a medium format camera you get even better quality but you have to pay for it. Cameras such as the Fuji GFX 50S and Hasselblad X1D are edging prices down but they could never be considered cheap.

I’ve decided I don’t need a full frame sensor for stock. The improvement in image quality doesn’t compensate for the increase in weight of the cameras and lenses.

For easily accessible  landscapes and anything that doesn’t involve carrying a large camera for any kind of distance I wouldn’t come to the same conclusion so I will keep my full frame Canon and run both systems together.

Clarendon Dock
Clarendon Dock

Any views? I’d like to hear others thoughts.