Gear Talk > PowerShot

P&S - Faster lens or bigger sensor?

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DanielW:
Dear CR gurus,
Technical question: for P&S cameras, is it better to have a larger sensor or a faster lens?
Background: I want to buy a decent P&S for my wife, but I've seen that truly pocketable cameras have either faster lenses or bigger sensors, but not both at the same time; e.g., the Canon S110 has a somewhat larger sensor than most P&S and is really small, but the max aperture of its lens is only f/5.9 at the telephoto end. On the other hand, a soon-to-be-released Olympus ZX-10 has a faster lens (f/1.8-2.7), but a smaller sensor.
(I'll get myself a Fuji X20 or an Olympus ZX-2 for carrying around later on, but she prefers something even smaller and cheaper.)
Any thoughts on larger sensor vs faster lens?
Thanks in advance!
Daniel

neuroanatomist:
Bigger sensor would be the better choice, IMO.

DanielW:

--- Quote from: neuroanatomist on February 27, 2013, 05:03:19 PM ---Bigger sensor would be the better choice, IMO.

--- End quote ---
That's great news, because the S110 is a tad cheaper (and the S100 is a lot cheaper!).
Thanks! :)

neuroanatomist:
Personally, I'd get the S100 over the S110 - the improvements were marginal, IMO (unlike the S100 vs. the S95).

If I were to replace my S100 today, it would be with a Sony RX100 - same form factor with an even bigger sensor.

elflord:

--- Quote from: DanielW on February 27, 2013, 04:59:25 PM ---Dear CR gurus,
Technical question: for P&S cameras, is it better to have a larger sensor or a faster lens?
Background: I want to buy a decent P&S for my wife, but I've seen that truly pocketable cameras have either faster lenses or bigger sensors, but not both at the same time; e.g., the Canon S110 has a somewhat larger sensor than most P&S and is really small, but the max aperture of its lens is only f/5.9 at the telephoto end. On the other hand, a soon-to-be-released Olympus ZX-10 has a faster lens (f/1.8-2.7), but a smaller sensor.
(I'll get myself a Fuji X20 or an Olympus ZX-2 for carrying around later on, but she prefers something even smaller and cheaper.)
Any thoughts on larger sensor vs faster lens?
Thanks in advance!
Daniel

--- End quote ---

The bigger sensor will perform better in favourable lighting (e.g. when you don't have to crank up the ISO). In less than ideal lighting, it's a wash (though again the difference in maximum aperture may be smaller at the wide end in which case the camera with the larger sensor may still do better)

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