Sensor Size

(CLICK HERE or scroll down to see what a camera sensor looks like and the inside of my Samsung Digimax 200)

Here's a great article about sensor size I found on  Basically what it's telling us is the larger the sensor the better the photo.  Here's a graphic I found on the website that helps sum up the difference in sensor sizes.

A larger sensor captures more "information."  You can take the full photo of the lady above with any sensor size but you'd have to use a different lens.  Snapshot cameras don't have interchangable lenses.  You can zoom with them but but some shots simply can't be taken unless you move in closer or out away from the subject.  Ever try to take a photo with a snapshot camera of a large group of people in a small room?  You can't get them all in the same frame, can you?  You need a wide angle lens with more capactity to "zoom out" like those available on more expensive cameras with interchangable lenses.  But if you could change the lens and capture the shot on an inexpensive camera, would there be enough light to take the picture?

That's another reason why a bigger sensor is important.  It captures a more defined image in lower light conditions.  So just how small are sensors in small cameras?  You wouldn't believe me if I told you.  The sensor in our Canon DSLR model 30D we bought in 2007 is about 15mm X 20mm, just under the size of a postage stamp.  Different sites give difference sizes but it's the APS-C size you see above, just below Full Frame.  By contrast, the sensor in my first digital camera, a little 2.1 Megapixel Samsung, wasn't much bigger than the head of a pencil eraser.

Samsung 2.1 Megapixel sensor up close and personal

I purchased the little Samsung Digimax 2.1 MP camera 12/26/2002 for $148.64 plus tax.  On 01/25/2013 I dug it out of storage.  It wouldn't work.  I hadn't used it in years.  It was obsolete technology.  Time to trash it.  Me being the curious person that I am, I wanted to see what the inside looked like.  Hey, I was gonna trash it anyway.  No harm, right?

I took photos so I could share the excitement!  The first photo is what the camera looked like before I gutted it.  Photo #2 is just after I took apart the major parts.  That's a small, double-ended screwdriver I used to dismantle it by the white saucer full of parts as well as the obsolete, wafer-thin card used to store photos.  Photo #3 is the main board with the lens still in place and photo #4 is with the lens removed exposing the sensor.  The sensor is the tiny, sea-blue object in the center of the main board.  As you can see it's not much bigger than about 1/2 the size of my finger nail.  Hard to believe you could capture an 8 X 10 photo on something that small, isn't it?