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With photography, sensor size is king

When it comes to shooting the perfect shot, it turns out size really does matter! Not the size of your camera, but the size of your camera’s sensor. Whether you are snapping some happy memories with the grandkids or orchestrating a perfectly composed sunrise scene, sensor size is king!

In simple terms, the sensor in a digital camera is like a solar panel that gathers light to create an image. A larger sensor will gather more light, creating a better image overall.

While the 35mm full-frame sensor is the gold standard among serious photography enthusiasts, these cameras are generally much larger and far more expensive than cameras with smaller sensors.

However, there are a number of cameras that can still give amateur photographers professional results, minus the hefty price tag and heavy kit. Cameras with APS-C sensors are capable of capturing nearly any kinds of images, from portraits to sports to landscapes and streetscapes. They are usually also smaller and lighter than their full-frame counterparts, which makes them easier to carry around, particularly when travelling.

Photographer Rhys Martin recommends either the Fujifilm X100VI (RRP: $2,799.95) or the Ricoh GR III HDF (RRP: $1,699.95). The latter he personally owns and has used all over the world.

“Sensor size is king and having an APS-C sensor in a camera that I can fit in my jeans pocket is invaluable. It’s also far more inconspicuous, so is less likely to draw the attention of would-be thieves while travelling,” says Rhys.

Due to the hype created on TikTok and Instagram around these two cameras, it may take some time to get your hands on one. The second-hand market is now higher than the retail store price! And it can be difficult to find these cameras instore at the moment.

A step down from the APS-C sensor is the 1” sensor. These cameras are smaller and lighter again, making them popular with backpackers and hikers. Rhys recommends either the Sony RX100 Mark VII (RRP: $1,699.95) or the Canon Powershot G7X III (RRP: $1,099.95).

“These cameras are little ‘pocket rockets’. Both include optical zoom for that extra reach and have fantastic video capabilities.”

Then there is the camera we all have at hand every day… our mobile phones! The smartphone is now the go-to imaging device for billions of hobby photographers around the globe, and has left conventional standalone digital cameras far behind in terms of both sales and popularity.

If you want the very best performance out of your smartphone camera, Rhys recommends either the iPhone 15 Pro (RRP: $1,849) or the Google Pixel 8 Pro (RRP: $1,699).

“Both these phone manufacturers put a lot of effort into their photo and video research and development. Just remember that not all phones are created equal.”