Sunday, March 18, 2007

D2Xs, CMOS Sensor Sizes & Lens Quality

I think you can clearly see from the D2Xs that it may be foolish yet to doubt Nikon's strategy of sticking to a cropped sensor. The advantage of only using the 'sweet spot' area of the lens is clear.

You might say "but Cory!" the full-size 35 mm sensors has been the dream of digital photographers since this age began! The issue is that they do place much bigger demands on the lens -- which means more costs, more mistakes and more lens that didn't quiet live up to the test across the entire sensor...

Certainly, at some point we will reach an upper ceiling of sensor density and larger sensors will be necessary -- perhaps even larger than what we call a "full frame sensor."

The fact of the matter is, you are concerned about resolution and lens quality as a combination -- not as individual issues. Nikon's approach is clearly the more technically aggressive and should win out in the medium to long term (20 years?) by allowing higher and higher resolution sensors to work with increasingly affordable, but high-quality, optics.

Larger sensors require more glass. They require less engineering effort to build the sensor of equal MP (they have more space to work with) and Canon (and other manufacturers of 35mm form-factor) have used that extra space (today) to pull ahead by about 16% in the Mega Pixel race.

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