Canon EOS M vs. Sony Alpha NEX-5N

Comparison

EOS M image
vs.
Alpha NEX-5N image

 

Canon EOS M Sony Alpha NEX-5N
Megapixels
18.00 16.10
Max. resolution
5184 x 3456 4912 x 3264
Price
Amazon, B&H Photo, Adorama Amazon, B&H Photo, Adorama

Sensor

Sensor type
CMOS CMOS
Sensor size
22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.4 x 15.6 mm
Sensor resolution
5196 x 3464  4914 x 3276 
Diagonal
26.82 mm  28.12 mm 
Surface area
332.27 mm²  365.04 mm² 
Sensor size comparison
Sensor size is generally a good indicator of the quality of the camera. Sensors can vary greatly in size. As a general rule, the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality.

Bigger sensors are more effective, because they have more surface area to capture light. An important factor when comparing digital cameras is also camera generation. Generally, newer sensors will outperform the older.

Learn more about sensor sizes »
Actual sensor sizes:
Canon EOS M
vs.
Sony Alpha NEX-5N
 
Surface area:
Canon EOS M
Sony Alpha NEX-5N
Difference: 32.77 mm² (10%)
Sony Alpha NEX-5N has approx. 10% more surface area than Canon EOS M.
Pixel pitch
4.29 µm  4.76 µm 
Pixel pitch tells you the distance from the center of one pixel (photosite) to the center of the next. It tells you how close the pixels are to each other.

The bigger the pixel pitch, the further apart they are and the bigger each pixel is. Bigger pixels tend to have better signal to noise ratio and greater dynamic range.
Pixel pitch
Canon EOS M
Sony Alpha NEX-5N
Difference: 0.47 µm (11%)
Pixel pitch of Sony Alpha NEX-5N is approx. 11% higher than pixel pitch of Canon EOS M.
Pixel area
18.4 µm²  22.66 µm² 
Pixel or photosite area affects how much light per pixel can be gathered. The larger it is the more light can be collected by a single pixel.

Larger pixels have the potential to collect more photons, resulting in greater dynamic range, while smaller pixels provide higher resolutions (more detail) for a given sensor size.
Relative pixel sizes:
Canon EOS M
vs.
Sony Alpha NEX-5N
Pixel area difference: 4.26 µm² (23%)
A pixel on Sony Alpha NEX-5N sensor is approx. 23% bigger than a pixel on Canon EOS M.
Pixel density
5.43 MP/cm²  4.41 MP/cm² 
Pixel density tells you how many million pixels fit or would fit in one square cm of the sensor.

Higher pixel density means smaller pixels and lower pixel density means larger pixels.
Pixel density
Canon EOS M
Sony Alpha NEX-5N
Difference: 1.02 MP/cm² (23%)
Canon EOS M has approx. 23% higher pixel density than Sony Alpha NEX-5N.
To learn about the accuracy of these numbers, click here.

Other specifications

Crop factor
1.61  1.54 
Total megapixels
18.50 16.70
Effective megapixels
18.00 16.10
Optical zoom
n/a n/a
Digital zoom
No No
Iso
Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800 (25600 with boost) Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600
Auto focus
Yes Yes
Manual focus
Yes Yes
Normal focus range
n/a n/a
Macro focus range
n/a n/a
Focal length (35mm equiv.)
n/a n/a
Aperture priority
Yes Yes
Aperture
n/a n/a
Aperture (35mm equiv.)
n/a  n/a 
Metering
Multi, Center-weighted, Spot, Partial Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure compensation
±3 EV (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps) ±2 EV (at 1/3 EV steps)
Shutter priority
Yes Yes
Min. shutter speed
60 sec 30 sec
Max. shutter speed
1/4000 sec 1/4000 sec
Flash modes
Auto, On, Off, Red-eye Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Rear Curtain, Fill-in
Built-in flash
No No
External flash
Yes Yes
Viewfinder
None Electronic (optional)
White balance presets
6 6
LCD display
Yes Yes
LCD size
3" 3"
LCD resolution
1,040,000 920,000
Min. image resolution
720 x 480 2448 x 1376
Selftimer
Yes Yes
Storage types
SD/SDHC/SDXC SD/ SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo
USB
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec) USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Batteries
Lithium-Ion LP-E12 rechargeable battery & charger Lithium-Ion NPFW50 rechargeable battery & charger
Weight
298g 269g
Dimensions
109x66x32 mm 111x59x38 mm
Year
2012 2011



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Diagonal

Diagonal is calculated by the use of Pythagorean theorem:
Diagonal =  w² + h²
where w = sensor width and h = sensor height

Canon EOS M diagonal

w = 22.30 mm
h = 14.90 mm
Diagonal =  22.30² + 14.90²   = 26.82 mm

Sony Alpha NEX-5N diagonal

w = 23.40 mm
h = 15.60 mm
Diagonal =  23.40² + 15.60²   = 28.12 mm


Surface area

Surface area is calculated by multiplying the width and the height of a sensor.

Canon EOS M surface area

Width = 22.30 mm
Height = 14.90 mm

Surface area = 22.30 × 14.90 = 332.27 mm²

Sony Alpha NEX-5N surface area

Width = 23.40 mm
Height = 15.60 mm

Surface area = 23.40 × 15.60 = 365.04 mm²


Pixel pitch

Pixel pitch is the distance from the center of one pixel to the center of the next measured in micrometers (µm). It can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel pitch =   sensor width in mm  × 1000
sensor resolution width in pixels

Canon EOS M pixel pitch

Sensor width = 22.30 mm
Sensor resolution width = 5196 pixels
Pixel pitch =   22.30  × 1000  = 4.29 µm
5196

Sony Alpha NEX-5N pixel pitch

Sensor width = 23.40 mm
Sensor resolution width = 4914 pixels
Pixel pitch =   23.40  × 1000  = 4.76 µm
4914


Pixel area

The area of one pixel can be calculated by simply squaring the pixel pitch:
Pixel area = pixel pitch²

You could also divide sensor surface area with effective megapixels:
Pixel area =   sensor surface area in mm²
effective megapixels

Canon EOS M pixel area

Pixel pitch = 4.29 µm

Pixel area = 4.29² = 18.4 µm²

Sony Alpha NEX-5N pixel area

Pixel pitch = 4.76 µm

Pixel area = 4.76² = 22.66 µm²


Pixel density

Pixel density can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel density =  ( sensor resolution width in pixels )² / 1000000
sensor width in cm

You could also use this formula:
Pixel density =   effective megapixels × 1000000  / 10000
sensor surface area in mm²

Canon EOS M pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 5196 pixels
Sensor width = 2.23 cm

Pixel density = (5196 / 2.23)² / 1000000 = 5.43 MP/cm²

Sony Alpha NEX-5N pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 4914 pixels
Sensor width = 2.34 cm

Pixel density = (4914 / 2.34)² / 1000000 = 4.41 MP/cm²


Sensor resolution

Sensor resolution is calculated from sensor size and effective megapixels. It's slightly higher than maximum (not interpolated) image resolution which is usually stated on camera specifications. Sensor resolution is used in pixel pitch, pixel area, and pixel density formula. For sake of simplicity, we're going to calculate it in 3 stages.

1. First we need to find the ratio between horizontal and vertical length by dividing the former with the latter (aspect ratio). It's usually 1.33 (4:3) or 1.5 (3:2), but not always. 22.8 × 15.5 sensor for example has a ratio of 1.47.

2. With the ratio (r) known we can calculate the X from the formula below, where X is a vertical number of pixels:
(X × r) × X = effective megapixels × 1000000    →   
X =  effective megapixels × 1000000
r
3. To get sensor resolution we then multiply X with the corresponding ratio:

Resolution horizontal: X × r
Resolution vertical: X

Canon EOS M sensor resolution

Sensor width = 22.30 mm
Sensor height = 14.90 mm
Effective megapixels = 18.00
r = 22.30/14.90 = 1.5
X =  18.00 × 1000000  = 3464
1.5
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 3464 × 1.5 = 5196
Resolution vertical: X = 3464

Sensor resolution = 5196 x 3464

Sony Alpha NEX-5N sensor resolution

Sensor width = 23.40 mm
Sensor height = 15.60 mm
Effective megapixels = 16.10
r = 23.40/15.60 = 1.5
X =  16.10 × 1000000  = 3276
1.5
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 3276 × 1.5 = 4914
Resolution vertical: X = 3276

Sensor resolution = 4914 x 3276


Crop factor

Crop factor or focal length multiplier is calculated by dividing the diagonal of 35 mm film (43.27 mm) with the diagonal of the sensor.
Crop factor =   43.27 mm
sensor diagonal in mm


Canon EOS M crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 26.82 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 1.61
26.82

Sony Alpha NEX-5N crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 28.12 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 1.54
28.12

35 mm equivalent aperture

Equivalent aperture (in 135 film terms) is calculated by multiplying lens aperture with crop factor (a.k.a. focal length multiplier).

Canon EOS M equivalent aperture

Aperture is a lens characteristic, so it's calculated only for fixed lens cameras. If you want to know the equivalent aperture for Canon EOS M, take the aperture of the lens you're using and multiply it with crop factor.

Crop factor for Canon EOS M is 1.61

Sony Alpha NEX-5N equivalent aperture

Aperture is a lens characteristic, so it's calculated only for fixed lens cameras. If you want to know the equivalent aperture for Sony Alpha NEX-5N, take the aperture of the lens you're using and multiply it with crop factor.

Crop factor for Sony Alpha NEX-5N is 1.54


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