Sensor Sizes

Imaging sensor dimensions

Nikon Coolpix S3000 sensor
Nikon Coolpix S3000 sensor
Photo: Bresson Thomas
There's a lot of misunderstanding about sensor sizes, much of it goes to the strange and convoluted manner in which they can be expressed. For smaller, compact cameras they're given in fractions of an inch (1/N inch format).

You should be aware that 1/N designations do not tell you the diagonal of the sensor. The true diagonal is approximately two thirds of the specified size.

This weird and confusing way of designating sensor sizes dates back to the 50s and is related to the way the first Vidicon TV cameras were described. It has nothing to do with digital photography.

Why then is this odd convention still in use? Probably because of marketing reasons. They can put a slightly bigger number on the box, which I guess looks better. Luckily, sensor sizes of higher end cameras are given in millimeters (width x height).

The following is a list of all sensor sizes (actual sizes) with their corresponding dimensions:

Note: Actual size is set to screen → change »
Actual sensor size Diagonal Surface Area Aspect Ratio
1/4" (~ 3.20 x 2.40 mm) 4.00 mm 7.68 mm² 4:3
1/3.6" (~ 4 x 3 mm) 5.00 mm 12.00 mm² 4:3
1/3.4" (~ 4.23 x 3.17 mm) 5.29 mm 13.41 mm² 4:3
1/3.2" (~ 4.5 x 3.37 mm) 5.62 mm 15.17 mm² 4:3
1/3" (~ 4.8 x 3.6 mm) 6.00 mm 17.28 mm² 4:3
1/2.9" (~ 4.96 x 3.72 mm) 6.20 mm 18.45 mm² 4:3
1/2.7" (~ 5.33 x 4 mm) 6.66 mm 21.32 mm² 4:3
1/2.5" (~ 5.75 x 4.32 mm) 7.19 mm 24.84 mm² 4:3
1/2.4" (~ 5.90 x 4.43 mm) 7.38 mm 26.14 mm² 4:3
1/2.35" (~ 6.03 x 4.52 mm) 7.54 mm 27.26 mm² 4:3
1/2.33" (~ 6.08 x 4.56 mm) 7.60 mm 27.72 mm² 4:3
1/2.3" (~ 6.16 x 4.62 mm) 7.70 mm 28.46 mm² 4:3
1/2" (~ 6.4 x 4.8 mm) 8.00 mm 30.72 mm² 4:3
1/1.9" (~ 6.74 x 5.05 mm) 8.42 mm 34.04 mm² 4:3
1/1.8" (~ 7.11 x 5.33 mm) 8.89 mm 37.90 mm² 4:3
1/1.76" (~ 7.27 x 5.46 mm) 9.09 mm 39.69 mm² 4:3
1/1.75" (~ 7.31 x 5.49 mm) 9.14 mm 40.13 mm² 4:3
1/1.72" (~ 7.44 x 5.58 mm) 9.30 mm 41.52 mm² 4:3
1/1.7" (~ 7.53 x 5.64 mm) 9.41 mm 42.47 mm² 4:3
1/1.65" (~ 7.76 x 5.81 mm) 9.69 mm 45.09 mm² 4:3
1/1.63" (~ 7.85 x 5.89 mm) 9.81 mm 46.24 mm² 4:3
1/1.6" (~ 8 x 6 mm) 10.00 mm 48.00 mm² 4:3
8.64 x 6 mm 10.52 mm 51.84 mm² 1.44
2/3" (~ 8.8 x 6.6 mm) 11.00 mm 58.08 mm² 4:3
10.82 x 7.52 mm 13.18 mm 81.37 mm² 1.44
1" (13.2 x 8.8 mm) 15.86 mm 116.16 mm² 3:2
14 x 9.3 mm 16.80 mm 130.20 mm² 3:2
Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm) 21.64 mm 224.90 mm² 4:3
18.1 x 13.5 mm 22.58 mm 244.35 mm² 4:3
1.5" (~ 18.7 x 14 mm) 23.36 mm 261.80 mm² 4:3
20.7 x 13.8 mm 24.88 mm 285.66 mm² 3:2
21.5 x 14.4 mm 25.88 mm 309.60 mm² 3:2
22.2 x 14.8 mm 26.68 mm 328.56 mm² 3:2
22.3 x 14.9 mm 26.82 mm 332.27 mm² 3:2
22.4 x 15 mm 26.96 mm 336.00 mm² 3:2
22.5 x 15 mm 27.04 mm 337.50 mm² 3:2
22.7 x 15.1 mm 27.26 mm 342.77 mm² 3:2
22.8 x 15.5 mm 27.57 mm 353.40 mm² 3:2
23.1 x 15.4 mm 27.76 mm 355.74 mm² 3:2
23 x 15.5 mm 27.74 mm 356.50 mm² 3:2
23.2 x 15.4 mm 27.85 mm 357.28 mm² 3:2
23.4 x 15.6 mm 28.12 mm 365.04 mm² 3:2
23.5 x 15.6 mm 28.21 mm 366.60 mm² 3:2
23.7 x 15.5 mm 28.32 mm 367.35 mm² 3:2
23.6 x 15.6 mm 28.29 mm 368.16 mm² 3:2
23.5 x 15.7 mm 28.26 mm 368.95 mm² 3:2
23.7 x 15.6 mm 28.37 mm 369.72 mm² 3:2
23.6 x 15.7 mm 28.35 mm 370.52 mm² 3:2
23.7 x 15.7 mm 28.43 mm 372.09 mm² 3:2
23.6 x 15.8 mm 28.40 mm 372.88 mm² 3:2
24 x 16 mm 28.84 mm 384.00 mm² 3:2
27 x 18 mm 32.45 mm 486.00 mm² 3:2
27.65 x 18.43 mm 33.23 mm 509.59 mm² 3:2
27.9 x 18.6 mm 33.53 mm 518.94 mm² 3:2
28.7 x 18.7 mm 34.25 mm 536.69 mm² 3:2
28.7 x 19.1 mm 34.47 mm 548.17 mm² 3:2
35.6 x 23.8 mm 42.82 mm 847.28 mm² 3:2
35.8 x 23.8 mm 42.99 mm 852.04 mm² 3:2
35.8 x 23.9 mm 43.04 mm 855.62 mm² 3:2
36 x 23.9 mm 43.21 mm 860.40 mm² 3:2
35.9 x 24 mm 43.18 mm 861.60 mm² 3:2
36 x 24 mm 43.27 mm 864.00 mm² 3:2
45 x 30 mm 54.08 mm 1350.00 mm² 3:2
44 x 33 mm 55.00 mm 1452.00 mm² 4:3

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