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4/3 vs APS-C sensor size

Frank Gross , Jun 15, 2012; 09:28 a.m.

We all know and accept that the two most determining factors to image quality are the sensor size (not necessarily the most # of pixels) and the lenses.
I am buying a small compact for when I don't want to take my 5DmkII out for 'street shooting' and want to have maximum image quality so that I dont feel compromised or that I cant make a large print (e.g. 16x20")
I am considering the Nex 7 or the Olympus OM-D.
Both are exccelllent but on all counts except sensor size (and that the accessory grip is necessary for my big hands on the Olympus) the Olympus wins out for me - weather sealed, IS in the body, range of lenses, quieter shutter ...
the Nex 7 sensor size is 23.5 x 15.6mm
and the Olympus is 17.3x13mm
All along I've been thinking it has to be the Nex 7 for the larger sensor size, and it just occurred to me that aside from the proportional/ratio difference - one being 3:2 (1:1.5) and the other 4:3 (1:1.3) - they're not all that different (2.6mm in height) -the Olympus 4/3 sensor is really almost the same as using the larger Sony APS-C sensor but cropping the long dimension into the 4:3 format.


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Tony Leinster , Jun 15, 2012; 10:11 a.m.

Except, perhaps, that 2.6mm represents 20% in one direction and it's nearly 36% in the other, plus more pixels. I agree that the OMD is a great camera, just not sure if it would blow up as well as an APS-C. I'd be interested to see some actual same size blow ups at 100%.

Starvy Goodfellows , Jun 15, 2012; 10:19 a.m.

Frank, you might want to try out the Panasonic variations if you have bigger hands.

John Do , Jun 15, 2012; 10:40 a.m.

Not a scientific comparison but there are some test shots and a funny video on their reviews series.

http://m.digitalrev.com/#article? id=22506446

Frank Gross , Jun 15, 2012; 11:26 a.m.

I couldn't access the link henry.

Peter Gilbert , Jun 15, 2012; 12:06 p.m.

Consider the lenses you want to use. Do you need AF lenses? Primes? Quality Zooms?
I use a Sony 5N but only with Voigtlander prime lenses made for Leica M (and Nikon S). If I needed or wanted reliable autofocus primes wide to short tele I would likely go with the OMD at this point in time, or the Fuji XPro 1. The Fuji is designed more as a street shooter camera from what I've been reading, maybe that's right in your wheelhouse. It's somewhat larger than the OMD as well, which might be good for your larger hands

Frank Skomial , Jun 15, 2012; 12:07 p.m.


the blank space in the link from Henry blew it. After removal of the space, the page shows up. Not that I am recommending it in any way... just a bit of help.

Bruce Rubenstein , Jun 15, 2012; 12:17 p.m.

Basing IQ and acceptable print sizes on sensor dimensions is a gross over simplification.

Either camera can deliver technical image quality that can be used for prints larger than 16" x 20".

Leslie Cheung , Jun 15, 2012; 12:48 p.m.

The Nex 7 is the better camera IMO and better for adapting legacy lenses, the OMD has better, more lenses, better features, and faster AF...

JC Uknz , Jun 15, 2012; 07:28 p.m.

To me the crux is that Frank wants a smaller rig ... the body is only part of the question ... the important part is the lens ... the NEX being APS-C needs bigger heavier lens ... though that might not be a problem when comparing both fitted with pancakes.

Myself I have a M4/3 with x10 zoom which happilly for me turns out to be about the same size as as my bridge camera with its x12 zoom. Downsides .. it starts from a wider angle and the lens is slower.

The zoom lens was noted by dpreview to be as fast with its contrast detection as phase detection in most situations and from my experience it doesn't suffer from needing f/8 or faster to work properly. In any light level so long as there is some contrast in the target area it snaps into focus* ... I also think my bridge camera is pretty fast .... Panasonic/Leica seem to have the edge here.

*I did with great effort and care manage to find a small area with no contrast and managed to keep the focus light blinking ... but it was hard :-)

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