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Significance of sensor size

The size of the sensor in a digital camera is just as important, maybe more so, than the megapixel count

Sensor size determines the light-gathering power of the device and strongly influences the quality of the resulting images

Sensors in DSLRs are on the order of 1 inch across (except in Olympus E-1) or larger

Sensors in non-SLR type digital cameras (point and shoot and "prosumer" types) are much smaller, even in the new $1000 8-megapixel models

Because of the limited light-gathering power in the smaller sensors, ISO capability is severely limited

For an extensive discussion of this topic, see Ken Rockwell's article, The Two Classes of Digital Cameras

 

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

 Pluses and Minuses of Digital SLRs            © Robert Harrington 2004