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Sensor Size: Anyone have a chart?

Brent Bennett , Jul 01, 2007; 07:55 p.m.

I am really new to the idea of getting a digital camera. I've been using a Contarex for almost 50 years, so it may be a while before I get a digital. I realize that the cost of 24x36mm sensors is very high, but I would like to know what current models are available in "full frame". And what models might be produced in the next 2-3 years.

Is there a chart showing the full frame models currently available, along with the multiplier for all other current (and older) models? I am specifically interested in getting a DSLR. The reason is that I would like to use my Contarex lenses on a DSLR, so of course a full frame model would be ideal. There is also a problem with adapters; the only one available, apparently, is for the Olympus cameras, and they have a 2x multiplier. (By the way, why do they call them 4/3?).

I would like to communicate with people who have used vintage lenses, especially the Contarex lenses on the Olympus E-330 or similar. I realize it won't provide autofocus, but I would like to know how they work in actual practice, and what other difficulties have been encountered.

In advance, thank you for your comments and suggestions.


Fred C , Jul 01, 2007; 09:58 p.m.

If you really mean Contarex lenses made in the 1960s and not the Contax SLR versions from the 1970s onwards, there are no adapters made for them. Zeiss Jena M42 lenses are easily adaptable though.

What's your budget? The Canon 5D is currently the most affordable camera with a 24x36mm sensor.

No one knows exactly "what models might be produced in the next 2-3 years." Entry-level DSLRs will still have APS-C sized sensor (about 24x16mm). There might be Canon 6D that's more affordable than the current 5D.

The 4/3 system has a sensor with the aspect ratio of 4:3 (duh), as opposed to the traditional 2:3 ratio derived from the 135 format. Because of the sensor size, 4/3 cameras have very small viewfinders and there is less control over DOF.

Spend some time here: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs.asp

Fred C , Jul 01, 2007; 10:05 p.m.

OTOH, someone in Hong Kong got a custom-made Contarex-4/3 adapter: http://www.contax-club.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10632

Don E , Jul 02, 2007; 12:02 a.m.


"I would like to know what current models are available in "full frame""

Canon makes a couple.

"And what models might be produced in the next 2-3 years."

Who knows? Maybe something from Nikon.

"By the way, why do they call them 4/3?"

See above link.

Leopold Stotch , Jul 02, 2007; 11:24 a.m.

See this link for a sensor size comparison. As for which cameras have which FOV crop, check the chart fred gave you...but in general, Olympus has a 2.0x, Canon has 1.6x, 1.3x, and 1.0x available, Pentax, Sony ,and Nikon have 1.5x. Your choice of full frame cameras is limited to a Canon 1Ds(mkII) or 5D, or a Kodak SLR/c, or the Kodak SLR/n (Nikon mount version). As for your old lenses...to be honest, its best to start over with a new system.

Jim Strutz - Anchorage, AK , Jul 02, 2007; 12:55 p.m.

It's my understanding that 4/3 is not referring to the 4:3 ratio, but the actual size of the sensor. It's twice the size of a 2/3" sensor.

As I recall, it has to do with the theoretical size (four thirds of an inch) of an image tube (old TV technology) that would be required to make this sensor size. But perhaps I'm mixing things up here, as I wasn't paying much attention when reading this.

Canon is currently the only seller of full frame sensor cameras, although Kodak had a couple for a while. One in Nikon mount and the other in Canon mount.

Fred C , Jul 02, 2007; 06:27 p.m.

The Four Thirds standard specifies the aspect ratio in addition to the size of the imaging circle. Claim 1 of US patent 6,910,814, mentioned earlier in this article, is quite specific: " ... said camera body having an image pickup device having an imaging range with an aspect ratio of 4:3 on an imaging surface within the image circle ... "

-- From Four Thirds System

Paul Maslanka , Jul 03, 2007; 12:37 p.m.

Fred is correct, 4/3" is both aspect ratio and image circle size. Paul

David W. Griffin , Jul 05, 2007; 05:16 p.m.

I have a Contarex, not sure which one you have, but you must be a glutton for punishment. My bullseye is beautiful but a b&^%$ to use. I doubt seriously you will find any adapters to ... well anything. The Contarex mount is one of a kind and murder to adapt to in either direction.

I have a Canon 5D too. It's full frame and the closest you can get to an economical full frame camera. Great machine, great resolution, but it's been out for a while and I can only assume there's a successor in the works at Canon somewhere, but who knows when. The resolution you'll get with a 5D will blow away the Contarex. You won't be dissapointed. I went from the Contax RTS III to the Canon 5D and was quite satisfied. And the substantial weight of the Canon 5D and it's lenses will make you feel right at home ;-)

Erik M , Jul 15, 2009; 03:03 p.m.

If you're looking for a comparison of the different digital image sensors out there, then check out this page: http://tr.im/imagesensor" rel="nofollow">http://tr.im/imagesensor This chart compares medium format, Nikon FX (full frame), Canon's "full frame", Nikon DX, Sigma, Four Thirds, 1/1.7", 1/1.8", and 1/2.5". It's a very handy chart for comparing the different size CCD and CMOS chips.

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