Originally Posted by ColSebastianMoran
Focusing on cameras for producing best images...
Interesting essay by Ming Thein
about sensor size.
Compare shooting with these three very different systems: Olympus E-M1 mark II, 17/1.2. Nikon Z7, Z 35/1.8 S. Hasselblad X1D, XCD 45/3.5. (Doesn't include really inexpensive options, but there's a big cost progression in these.)
In daylight or in a studio, the MF 'Blad wins big for image quality.
But, indoors hand-held in dim lighting you might well have these shooting options:
- Olympus E-M1 mark II, 17/1.2: 1/8s f1.2 ISO 200 (excellent IBIS)
- Nikon Z7, Z 35/1.8 S: 1/30s f1.8 ISO 1600 (IBIS, but not as effective)
- Hasselblad X1D, XCD 45/3.5: 1/60s f3.5 ISO 12800
Interesting; more $ and more weight for MF gear doesn't get you better IQ in this scenario. I'll take the smaller, lower cost gear with the faster lens and IBIS. And, of course, there are faster lenses for the Olympus and Nikon.
I do a lot of shooting indoors, and I prefer ambient light. Ming's essay reinforces my experience that something smaller than 24x36mm sensor is the sweet spot for my photography.
It is an interesting article, but still does not quite address a key question: Does sensor size mean anything relative to how large of a print you can make- and I mean not just at "appropriate viewing distances". Is a pixel a pixel a pixel, given there is enough light that those other factors come into play (stabilization, hand holding, dof, etc.)? This may portend more to the future of digital cameras then to the present state as the linked article illustrates well.
For instance on a sunny day or maybe in open shade I get a 40 MP image from all with the same angle of view (say a "normal" lens) with no camera shake, no IBIS or OIS needed (even use a tripod if you want):
1. a good quality mobile device
2. a micro-4/3
3. an ASPC
4. a "Full frame" (35mm) sensor
5. A MF sensor
Can I make the same enlargement (say by ink jet or scanning enlarger on silver emulsion), put them all (1-5) up on a wall and and view them from far and near. Would they all look more or less the same?
If the answer is yes then within some limits (all the things in the article and more) a pixel is a pixel is a pixel. If the answer is no, then the actual size of the sensor still matters.
With film it is clear- if the same film and development is used (say FP4 in DDX using the recommended time for format) for any 1 degree of view the larger negative size will have more pixels per degree and will thus render better both in terms of resolution but also achieving full tonal variation. Also due to optical enlarging, optical effects will also come into play both on camera (which will some effect on the digital example) plus at the enlarger. If we scan the negative then ink jet print or use a laser scanning enlarger on silver emulsion, this aspect is in the same boat as the digital case, leaving mainly the grains/degree aspect.