Canon PowerShot SD870 IS vs. Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS30

Comparison

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PowerShot SD870 IS image
vs
Lumix DMC-ZS30 image
Canon PowerShot SD870 IS Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS30
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Megapixels
8.00
18.10
Max. image resolution
3264 x 2448
4896 x 3672

Sensor

Sensor type
CCD
CMOS
Sensor size
1/2.5" (~ 5.75 x 4.32 mm)
1/2.3" (~ 6.16 x 4.62 mm)
Sensor resolution
3262 x 2453
4906 x 3689
Diagonal
7.19 mm
7.70 mm
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 size

Note: Actual size is set to screen → change »
vs
1 : 1.15
(ratio)
Canon PowerShot SD870 IS Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS30
Surface area:
24.84 mm² vs 28.46 mm²
Difference: 3.62 mm² (15%)
ZS30 sensor is approx. 1.15x bigger than SD870 IS sensor.
Note: You are comparing sensors of very different generations. There is a gap of 6 years between Canon SD870 IS (2007) and Panasonic ZS30 (2013). Six years is a lot of time in terms of technology, meaning newer sensors are overall much more efficient than the older ones.
Pixel pitch
1.76 µm
1.26 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.
Difference: 0.5 µm (40%)
Pixel pitch of SD870 IS is approx. 40% higher than pixel pitch of ZS30.
Pixel area
3.1 µm²
1.59 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:
vs
Pixel area difference: 1.51 µm² (95%)
A pixel on Canon SD870 IS sensor is approx. 95% bigger than a pixel on Panasonic ZS30.
Pixel density
32.18 MP/cm²
63.43 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.
Difference: 31.25 µm (97%)
Panasonic ZS30 has approx. 97% higher pixel density than Canon SD870 IS.
To learn about the accuracy of these numbers, click here.



Specs

Canon SD870 IS
Panasonic ZS30
Crop factor
6.02
5.62
Total megapixels
8.30
18.90
Effective megapixels
8.00
18.10
Optical zoom
3.8x
20x
Digital zoom
Yes
Yes
ISO sensitivity
Auto, 80 ,100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600. 3200, 6400
RAW
Manual focus
Normal focus range
45 cm
50 cm
Macro focus range
2 cm
3 cm
Focal length (35mm equiv.)
28 - 105 mm
24 - 480 mm
Aperture priority
No
Yes
Max. aperture
f2.8 - f5.8
f3.3 - f6.4
Max. aperture (35mm equiv.)
f16.9 - f34.9
f18.5 - f36
Metering
Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure compensation
±2 EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
±2 EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
Shutter priority
No
Yes
Min. shutter speed
15 sec
15 sec
Max. shutter speed
1/1600 sec
1/2000 sec
Built-in flash
External flash
Viewfinder
None
None
White balance presets
5
4
Screen size
3"
3"
Screen resolution
230,000 dots
920,000 dots
Video capture
Max. video resolution
Storage types
SD/SDHC/MMC card
SD/SDHC/SDXC
USB
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI
Wireless
GPS
Battery
Lithium-Ion NB-5L battery
Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
Weight
205 g
198 g
Dimensions
93 x 59 x 26 mm
108.3 x 58.9 x 27.7 mm
Year
2007
2013




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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 SD870 IS diagonal

The diagonal of SD870 IS sensor is not 1/2.5 or 0.4" (10.2 mm) as you might expect, but approximately two thirds of that value - 7.19 mm. If you want to know why, see sensor sizes.

w = 5.75 mm
h = 4.32 mm
Diagonal =  5.75² + 4.32²   = 7.19 mm

Panasonic ZS30 diagonal

The diagonal of ZS30 sensor is not 1/2.3 or 0.43" (11 mm) as you might expect, but approximately two thirds of that value - 7.7 mm. If you want to know why, see sensor sizes.

w = 6.16 mm
h = 4.62 mm
Diagonal =  6.16² + 4.62²   = 7.70 mm


Surface area

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

SD870 IS sensor area

Width = 5.75 mm
Height = 4.32 mm

Surface area = 5.75 × 4.32 = 24.84 mm²

ZS30 sensor area

Width = 6.16 mm
Height = 4.62 mm

Surface area = 6.16 × 4.62 = 28.46 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

SD870 IS pixel pitch

Sensor width = 5.75 mm
Sensor resolution width = 3262 pixels
Pixel pitch =   5.75  × 1000  = 1.76 µm
3262

ZS30 pixel pitch

Sensor width = 6.16 mm
Sensor resolution width = 4906 pixels
Pixel pitch =   6.16  × 1000  = 1.26 µm
4906


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

SD870 IS pixel area

Pixel pitch = 1.76 µm

Pixel area = 1.76² = 3.1 µm²

ZS30 pixel area

Pixel pitch = 1.26 µm

Pixel area = 1.26² = 1.59 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

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

SD870 IS pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 3262 pixels
Sensor width = 0.575 cm

Pixel density = (3262 / 0.575)² / 1000000 = 32.18 MP/cm²

ZS30 pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 4906 pixels
Sensor width = 0.616 cm

Pixel density = (4906 / 0.616)² / 1000000 = 63.43 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.

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

SD870 IS sensor resolution

Sensor width = 5.75 mm
Sensor height = 4.32 mm
Effective megapixels = 8.00
r = 5.75/4.32 = 1.33
X =  8.00 × 1000000  = 2453
1.33
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 2453 × 1.33 = 3262
Resolution vertical: X = 2453

Sensor resolution = 3262 x 2453

ZS30 sensor resolution

Sensor width = 6.16 mm
Sensor height = 4.62 mm
Effective megapixels = 18.10
r = 6.16/4.62 = 1.33
X =  18.10 × 1000000  = 3689
1.33
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 3689 × 1.33 = 4906
Resolution vertical: X = 3689

Sensor resolution = 4906 x 3689


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


SD870 IS crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 7.19 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 6.02
7.19

ZS30 crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 7.70 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 5.62
7.70

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).

SD870 IS equivalent aperture

Crop factor = 6.02
Aperture = f2.8 - f5.8

35-mm equivalent aperture = (f2.8 - f5.8) × 6.02 = f16.9 - f34.9

ZS30 equivalent aperture

Crop factor = 5.62
Aperture = f3.3 - f6.4

35-mm equivalent aperture = (f3.3 - f6.4) × 5.62 = f18.5 - f36

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