What's your favorite sensor? Why? And what is particularly good at?

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Jock Elliott, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    I'll start the ball rolling: I find my Canon G12 generally renders the colors of the sky more pleasantly than either of my Panasonic superzooms.

    Cheers, Jock
  2. bartjeej

    bartjeej Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Mind if I take a step back and wonder if it's actually a ball that's rolling?
    Two of my four cameras don't do raw, and one of the other two (my Fuji X100) is good enough at jpegs that I use those in >99% of the cases, which means that for me, most of my shots are influenced by the camera's jpeg engine... and even if you do use raw, there's no guaranteeing that what you're seeing is exclusively due to the sensor; lenses, raw demosaicing algorithms etc play a role too.
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  3. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY

    I take your point. Would it be better to ask: "Which camera's jpegs do you like the most and why?"

    Cheers, Jock
  4. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Regular

    Jan 10, 2014
    I can't judge sensors, because the software that controls it in a specific camera implementation that most impacts the results, not the sensor.

    OTOH, Fuji Velvia was my favorite sensor, back in the day.
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  5. Biro

    Biro Super Moderator

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    While it's certainly true that a given camera's processing engine is primarily responsible for the image quality I get, offhand I'd have to say Sony's venerable 16mp APS-C sensor would be my personal favorite. Yes, there are newer sensors with more resolution but it seems to me that there's a bit of a price to be paid for that.

    It is my personal position that 16mp continues to be the sweet spot for APS-C sensors when it comes to balancing dynamic range, high ISO performance and resolution. No doubt this will change as sensor technology marches on. But it is my humble opinion that, even though newer sensors have already been introduced, we're not quite there yet. One more generation may all that it'll take, however.
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  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    For daylight shooting, the 24mp full frame Sony sensor that's in the the RX1, A7, A99 (I think?), Nikon D610, and soon to be Nikon 750. Incredible, overwhelming dynamic range, great resolution, and still very good in low light.

    For low light, the 16mp full frame sensor in the D4s and Df. It lacks the dynamic range of the 24 and 36mp Sony sensors that Nikon and Sony are using, but it's insanely good in low light, both in terms of noise and color fidelity. I shoot this comfortably at 12,800 and it'll get by for many uses at 25,600.

    For APS, I'll take the 16mp Sony sensor that's in almost everything right now. I have it in a Nikon A, but there are a lot of cameras using some variant of this sensor. I've heard good stuff about the 24mp chip in the D7100, but no personal experience with. My previous limited experience with 24mp APS sensors had me preferring 16mp...

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  7. ivoire

    ivoire All-Pro

    Dec 3, 2011
    chicago burbs
    Foveon in the DP Merrill series for the incredible detail in daylight. Sony 24mpx in the RX1 for it's all around balanced performance.
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  8. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Since a sensor does not exist in a vacuum, I guess that what we are really talking about here is the end results from the whole imaging pipeline from sensor to on-board processor to jpeg, or to raw file and then raw converter.

    There's not a whole lot to stop most modern cameras delivering great results and big prints, so the differences are in the subtleties. Judging by the final processed output from Lightroom for each camera, my favourite would be the Samsung NX300 for when too much resolution is not enough, for the dynamic range and for the lovely natural colours.

    2nd would be the Canon G1X (in spite of it's lack of dynamic range) for it's clarity and for something else that I can't quite put my finger on.

    Special mention goes to the Olympus E-M1 which is close enough in performance metrics to the NX300 that it hardly matters, and surprisingly (for an Olympus) has a similar colour palette which is nicer than that of the older E-M5 and E-P5 models which use a Sony sensor and a one generation older processor.

    They all do well enough in low light but I don't find myself there all that often anyway.
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  9. BruPri

    BruPri Top Veteran

    May 11, 2011
    Seattle, Washington USA
    Bruce J. Pritchard
    The Leica M9 Kodak CCD. I wish I still had that camera. On a previous point, I believe there have been better and worse implementations of Sony sensors in various cameras, it all comes down to how each manufacturer designs the system for the sensor. I've seen some Sony cameras that render the sky blotchy, others that have even rendering. (same alleged sensor)
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  10. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Hall of Famer

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    I'm only talking about cameras I have or have had. Of those the Sigma Merrill for it sheer ability to capture amazing detail. and the e-M5 sensor for overall good performance.. I shoot raw, so I don't know how much the processing engine matters, certainly less than it would in jpegs.

    I'd happily take a Leica M9 out for a test run, or any of the other great cameras way beyond my current means, but I can usually get what I need and want out of the E-M5.
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  11. BruPri

    BruPri Top Veteran

    May 11, 2011
    Seattle, Washington USA
    Bruce J. Pritchard
    Yes second place to the M9, would be the Merrill sensor in the DP
  12. drd1135

    drd1135 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    The engine/sensor combo I like is the one in the e-pm2 et al bodies. Never had a Leica of course.
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  13. RT Panther

    RT Panther All-Pro

    Dec 25, 2012
    Agreed 100%
    I wish that Kodak would have been able to put more R&D into that as I've always preferred the CCD look over the CMOS - especially since video doesn't mean that much to me....
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  14. RT Panther

    RT Panther All-Pro

    Dec 25, 2012
    The Kodak CCD sensor Olympus bodies also....
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  15. I'm with those who prefer the "look" from a CCD sensor. Its hard to get a good camera with CCD these days without selling an arm, a leg, your firstborn and your granny. ie Leica. Can't afford. Have to make do with CMOS.
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  16. donlaw

    donlaw All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    I don't really look at the specifications on sensors that closely, so I am not qualified to state which ones are shared by various camera despite the brand.
    I am much more interested in the features a camera offers and the results I see.
    And I mostly take JPEG rather than RAW with the exception being photos I am being paid to take and photos in difficult lighting situations.
    So I am not really sure my comments contribute well to the question posed in this thread?
    But i will say that my three favorite cameras for JPEG images straight out of the camera are:
    Fuji X100 (the original not the X100s) (12.3mp)
    Nikon D800 (36mp)
    Nikon Df (16mp)
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  17. val

    val Veteran

    Dec 27, 2013
    There is certainly something special about the Fujifilm sensors, I've used almost every M43/APS-C/FF camera available right now and yet I still enjoy using Fuji..

    It's a tie between that and the Sony 24mp, other than resolving detail and dynamic range, the Sony is simply pleasing and plays nicely with LR.

    behind them both is the current 16mp Panasonic/Olympus sensor, it's good and all but it doesn't have the resolving power of the 24mp Sony, the dynamic range of the Fujifilm and default rendering is the most "digital" of them all although I would rate it above the current Canon APS-C sensors.

    This was with the X-E2 and I love the fact that it almost looks like film.

    14998604587_cb95751fe6_b.jpg after the rain by William Solis, on Flickr
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  18. Right now it would have to be the Fuji X-Trans series. The "look" of the images is wonderful. I was looking at some work I did last year with a Canon 5D Mk II and as technically wonderful as they are they have a "digital" look. The Fuji C-Trans cameras - X100s, X-Pro1 and XE-1 all deliver images that seem to have an analog feel.
    Even the XF-1 delivers images that are remarkable for a camera of its type, cost and size.
    I'm very happy right now makin' pictures with the Fuji X series cameras.
    . . . David
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  19. john m flores

    john m flores All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    Sigma Merrill continues to blow my mind.
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  20. usayit

    usayit Veteran

    Sep 4, 2010
    Leica monochrom samples always amazes me.
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