With all the talk of new cameras i thought it might be beneficial to go over sensor sizes again. This time i’ll make it really down and dirty and try to use as close to a universal measurement standard as i can. This is NOT scientific. When it comes to truly measuring image sensor you have to be far more precise and take into account variables such as aspect ratio and active pixel areas. This is the “quick guide” if you will, purely for the sake of giving some kind of universal language to work off of.
1/3”- Measurement diagonally is 0.22 of an inch. This is the standard found in most under $10k traditional ENG video cameras, hand held or shoulder mount.
2/3”- Measurement diagonally is 0.45 of an inch. This is the standard found in most full size shoulder mount broadcast ENG cameras. Typically these cameras start at least $15,000.
Super16mm- Measurement diagonally is 0.55 of an inch. This is classic film standard that is used less commonly these days. Interestingly enough there has been a bit of a “digital resurgence” of late. The BMD Pocket and the Digital Bolex are both natively this size and the Sony F5 & F55 can underscan and offer Super16 lens compatibility.
Micro Four Thirds- Measurement diagonally is .85 of an inch. This format was first created by Panasonic and Olympus for the still photo world. It has made inroads in cinema cameras both as a sensor size and as a lens mount style.
Super35mm- Measurement diagonally is 1.15 inches. This format has been and continues to be the most commonly used format for motion picture creation for the past 70 years. It is an industry standard with a high degree of lens compatibility. It is very similar to APS-C, a still photo standard that measures about 1.04 inches.
Still Photo Full Frame- Measurement diagonally is 1.7 inches. This format has been a universal format for still photography for over 70 years. It is till held up as the “gold standard” for still photo digital SLRs. It is also the standard by which most people think of when the envision lens focal length to angle of view ratios. It as little application for motion picture, the depth of field is considered to be almost too shallow for common use. But people continue to have success using cameras such as the 5D and the new Sony A7s for Full Frame video acquisition.
Anomaly Format: BMD 2.5K- Measurement diagonally is 0.7 of an inch. Some formats are really only used in 1 or 2 applications. So far the original BMD 2.5K sensor size has not seen any forward momentum and most likely will fade away. Post by Eric C. Petrie