sensor size (camcorder)

Discussion in 'UK Photography' started by Stephen, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. Stephen

    Stephen Guest


    I have a canon hv40 camcorder that has a 1/2 inch sensor. I see the
    latest canon (hf r506) has a 1/3 inch sensor. The actual sizes are not
    integer fractions and I confess I had to google them to work out which
    was largest and what they all meant!

    I was thinking of upgrading the hv40 because it uses tapes and I worry
    that for the cost of buying twenty tapes I could buy the 506. So would
    it be more economical in the long term to get something that uses a
    memory card?

    I should explain that I only use the hdv tapes once - the hv40 was my
    first and only camcorder but rightly or wrongly I didn't want to reuse
    tapes partly for fear of losing quality. Am I doing this right or
    should I be reusing them and if so how many times cant hey be reused
    before recording quality becomes an issue?

    At the moment I have transferred the recordings onto dvd (because I
    don't have a blurray recorder - hence another reason to keep the tapes
    until I do). It takes an hour per tape to transfer whereas copying
    from a memory card would be (I assume) a lot faster.

    However, despite these apparent advantages of running cost and
    transfer speed, that's no good if the sensor is much worse. Is there a
    noticeable difference between the sensors or has the technology
    improved such that a newer camcorder with a 1/3" sensor is better than
    an older camcorder with 1/2" sensor?

    Stephen, Mar 22, 2014
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  2. I'm not familiar with camcorders, but I assume sensor sizes are
    consistent across the equipment.

    For some peculiar reason, sensor sizes are given in linear inches across
    the diagonal. So a 1/2" sensor is larger than a 1/3" sensor. My camera
    is 4/3"! But in addition is the pixel count.

    I assume the smaller sensor is because sensor technology is improving so
    the newer 1/3" may have similar s/n ratios of the older 1/2"; that
    permits the use of cheaper/ more powerful optics.

    Michael J Davis, Mar 22, 2014
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