I suppose there will always be folks who criticize various camera brands and formats that other people buy… especially small sensor naysayers. Ever since I bought my first Nikon 1 camera in the summer of 2013 I became more aware of this phenomenon.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Why some people feel the need to criticize the camera choices of others is anyone’s guess. Maybe its rooted in their own personal insecurities.
Or perhaps it is more an indication of someone’s inability to get the most out of the camera gear that they own. Maybe they assume that since they have not been able to get satisfactory performance from a particular camera that no one else can.
Many people go through life having unrealistic expectations of things. They make illogical comparisons so they can ‘win’ a debate. Some have a ‘my glass is half empty’ orientation towards life. All I know is that some people criticize the camera choices of others… and it can become very tiresome if we pay any attention to it.
Obviously cameras are different and have varying performance characteristics. That doesn’t make one particular format better than another… just different.
I remember reading scathing reviews that stated a Nikon 1 camera was terrible in low light, and that they could not be used over ISO-400. Well, I initially used mine up to ISO-800. After a while I started to experiment with software.
I soon discovered that the arbitrary ISO-400 limit espoused on the internet was just that… arbitrary. I routinely shoot my Nikon 1 gear at ISO values much higher than ISO-400. I’m at the point that I never hesitate to use my Nikon 1 cameras up to ISO-3200.
Regardless of the sensor size in our cameras it is a best practice to use the lowest ISO possible in terms of having the most dynamic range and colour depth in our images. So, I’m not advocating using a higher than needed ISO.
The point is not to accept what we read on the internet at face value. Cameras that utilize various sensor sizes all have their place. The key is to find the format that best fits your particular needs and budget.
I think it is important to view the software we use as an integral part of our overall camera system. There’s no doubt that DxO PhotoLab 2 and its PRIME noise reduction helps to extend the ISO shooting range of my Nikon 1 gear.
That doesn’t make my Nikon 1 gear bad, or make DxO PhotoLab 2 a ‘crutch’. All it means is that the integrated camera system that I built for my Nikon 1 gear may be different than what someone else may choose for their gear.
Assumptive thinking abounds on the internet. One assumption that small sensor naysayers make is that an APS-C camera’s sensor will always outperform a M4/3 sensor. I like to look at independent testing when such claims are made.
It is true that cropped sensor cameras that use Sony sensors do score higher in DxOMark testing than the 20.4 MP M4/3 sensor in the E-M1 Mark II. The same cannot be said for Canon APS-C cameras.
At the time of writing this article there are no Canon APS-C cameras showing in the DxOMark sensor testing database that have an overall score higher than the OIympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. A few Canon models do score a bit higher on one measure or another like Portrait, Landscape or Sports. If you take the time to go into the DxOMark website you’ll discover that the sensor in the E-M1X Mark II actually outperforms most Canon APS-C cameras.
I don’t bring this up from a ‘gotcha’ standpoint… but only to illustrate that just because something is assumed doesn’t make it true. We need to consider how much dynamic range, colour depth and low light performance we actually need for what we create. Assuming that we need a full frame sensor is just that… an assumption.
At the end of the day all of this sensor size debate is a complete waste of time and energy. All that each of us needs to do is to fully understand our photographic requirements. Then we can go out and purchase camera gear that is best suited to what we individually need.
That may be a small sensor camera. Or an APS-C camera. Or a full frame camera. Maybe even a large format camera. What another photographer chooses doesn’t matter to me at all. It’s their money and their decision. Not mine.
There is one assumption that is prudent to make. When someone buys camera gear, we should assume that they know a whole lot more about their photographic needs than we know about their needs.
What about all those small sensor naysayers? I’d suggest doing what I do. Just ignore them and don’t waste your precious time debating with them. Your time is much better spent going out with your camera and having fun creating images!
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process.
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