Camera Sensor 101: A Brief Guide To Sizes And What They Do

Camera Sensor

Are you a beginning photographer? If so, you’re probably overwhelmed by all of the information you need to learn. One of the most important aspects of photography is camera sensor size and type.

A camera sensor is a system that collects light information. As light passes through the aperture, the camera sensor collects information on the color and overall intensity of the image.

This is why choosing the right camera sensor size is essential; the right sensor size affects the overall quality of the image and diminished intrusive aspects such as noise.

What are the different camera sensor sizes? Continue reading what they are and how they differentiate from each other.


Many smartphones and entry-level point and shoot cameras use a CMOS sensor. These sensors work by converting light to electronsOpens in a new tab..

There are many different types of CMOS sensors and they come in a range of sizesOpens in a new tab.. For example, the iPhone 5 camera has a sensor size of 4.54 x 3.42 mm while the Olympus TG-1 iHS has a sensor size of 6.17 x 4.55 mm.

Micro Four Thirds

Micro four-thirdsOpens in a new tab., also called M4/3, is a sensor size introduced by Panasonic and Olympus in 2008. Its size is 13.5 x 18mm.

This helps the sensor still collect more information from the images while the camera includes a compact lens sizeOpens in a new tab., which is convenient for travel photographers.

In addition, M4/3 cameras have better in-body image stabilization (IBIS) which helps you increase your apertureOpens in a new tab..


APS-C is one of the most common camera sensor sizes. Cameras made with this sensor size are some of the cheapestOpens in a new tab., which is why many entry-level DSLRs offer a crop sensor.

While crop sensors produce good-quality images, they also pack in more noise and less range than cameras with larger sensors.

This doesn’t mean crop sensor cameras are bad. It all depends on what you need.

Many photographers engage in the craft as a hobby. In addition, crop sensor cameras are perfect for beginners. But don’t be surprised if you realize you need to upgrade to a camera with a larger sensor size.

Full Frame

Full-frame is the standard for professional cameras. In addition, this is the first upgrade a hobbyist usually makes. Full frame cameras provide fantastic image quality.

These cameras are a little bit more expensive than crop sensor cameras but are still affordable.

Medium Frame

Medium format is the largest camera sensor size. Because of the quality of images they produce, they’re the staple for professional photography. They produce the highest quality images, catching every detail and color.

These cameras are also the most expensive.

Looking for a Camera Sensor? Try Shooting M4/3

Now that you know the camera sensor size matters, are you looking for a new camera? Try shooting with M4/3. Professional photographers shouldn’t have to carry huge cameras with a large sensor size to receive good-quality images.

M4/3 cameras are the size of a point and shoot while producing professional-quality images. M4/3 cameras produce the same amount of light, color, and detail in each pixel that a professional camera can.

The future of photography is M4/3. Read this postOpens in a new tab. for more information.

John Kilmerstone

I'm an Aussie living in Japan who enjoys traveling and photography. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of Micro Four Thirds photography. Discover the advantages of carrying a small yet powerful camera system.

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