Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sensor Sizes...

When the Nikon Coolpix P7000 finally ground to a halt, I went for a while using a Ricoh GXR with the P10 lens/sensor module installed. I'd never really meant to try using the GXR as a shirt pocket camera; I'd only bought it to use with the A12 module and Leica M-mount lenses, but I'd bought the spare body on eBay and it came with the P10 module, so...

On paper, it should have been at least a wash. The Ricoh interface and control layout on pocket cameras is handy and easy to use, both cameras had nominal 10MP resolution, both could shoot in RAW, and I was going from an equivalent 28-200mm lens on the Nikon to a 28-300mm equivalent on the Ricoh.

However the P10 had a smaller 1/2.3" sensor to the Sony's 1/1.7", which generally translates to noisier images at higher ISO settings. And I'd be spending more time at higher ISO settings, since the lens on the P10 could only open to f/3.5 on the wide end, versus f/2.8 for the Nikon, a difference that was exacerbated by the disparity in sensor sizes.

I tracked down the other pocket zoom module for the GXR, the S10. It had a larger sensor, still 10MP but a 1/1.7" CCD like the Sony's. The lens was slightly faster, opening to f/2.5 on the wide end, but it was only a 24-72mm equivalent. I was getting okay results, but as I began getting better with my work cameras, I started wanting better results from my pocket fun cam, too.

This is how I wound up playing with Micro 4/3 format, and eventually settling on a used Panasonic Lumix GF3 with a collapsible lens as my pocket "go everywhere" camera. The Micro 4/3 is generally considered to be the smallest of the large sensors, being about the size of a 110 film negative.

While there are some APS-C sensor cameras very nearly as small as the GF3, the bigger sensor needs bigger glass. Every time I tried to slide the NEX-5T and its 16-50mm collapsible lens into the document pocket of my shirt, the heavy glass would cause it to rotate nose down and I'd start getting bruises on my ribs from the corners of the camera body. The little GF3 doesn't suffer from this malady.

So I thought I was done with small sensor cameras until Bobbi cracked a joke while she was cooking a couple weeks ago:
"I'm surprised Tamara Keel doesn't have a teal camera."
OMG, why hadn't that silly play on words ever occurred to me?

I remembered that Pentax made some bitty little mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that harked back, stylistically, to their Auto 110 SLR from the '80s, and I spent much of the first part of last week down the rabbit hole of the Pentax Q, looking for a teal camera for Keel, Tamara. I took a gamble on one last Thursday, and it showed up yesterday...

The Q10 has a little 1/2.3" sensor, like the Ricoh P10 module, which means that the bitty little kit zoom lens on that camera is a 28-83mm equivalent.

That's "aqua", which is a little too blue, so I guess I'm still looking for "mint".

I'm guessing it's not a common color, but it will provide some happy hunting on eBay for a while to come.