Macro Photography

Sensor Size and Macro Photography

Comparing relative camera sensor sizes

As one would expect if you are trying to shoot at or above life-size you are severally limited in subject matter by the size of your sensor. The picture above shows the relative sensor size of three of the most popular sensors. The black line is a film camera or full frame sensor, while the yellow line is an APS-C size sensor, and the red line is the size of a point and shoot camera. Two other sensor sizes that are not shown are Canon’s APS-H, which would be about half way between the APS-C and full frame sensor, and the Four Thirds System which would be a bit smaller than the APS sensor. Specifically…

                  Other Sensor Sizes

  • Full Size Sensors/Film is 36 x 24 mm, or about 1 ½ x 1 inch.
  • APS-H Sensors found in some of Canon’s pro cameras 28.7 x 19 mm.
  • APS-C Sensors are 22.2 x 14.8 mm (Canon), 23.6 x 15.7 mm (Nikon DX).
  • Four Thirds System 17.3 x 13 mm.
  • 1/1.7″ The largest point & shoot format 7.6 x 5.7 mm.

So while a life size photo of a US Quarter would fit on a full frame camera, on cropped sensor camera you would be cutting off the top of George’s head.

Another way that sensor size will affect macro photography is in their depth of field. While as we will discuss later, depth of field can be severally limited in macro photography, smaller sensors will inherently have a greater depth of field.

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