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APS-C vs Micro 4/3: What’s The Difference?

If you have been reading my articles, you know that I follow the logic of knowing the product and then comparing, purchasing, or even coming to a conclusion of your own. So, before getting to compare the APS-C camera sensor and the Micro 4/3 we will get to know something more about each of those camera sensors and then we will get to compare them, and if you don’t have time to read this article in full, then feel free to skip this part, but I do encourage you to read it. 

In order to understand which of these sensors is better than the other one, it is important to understand how digital cameras work. Digital cameras work by capturing light with the help of an image sensor which then converts it into data that build up an image as the ultimate result. Variety is key, especially when it comes to photography! Different kinds of sensors are used for different kinds of cameras and different kinds of photography.

Let’s start with APS-C since it is a widely used sensor format. Advanced Photo System type-C (APS-C) is an image sensor format used in digital photography. APS sensors come in a range of formats, including high-definition (APS-H), panoramic (APS-P), and classic (APS-C). The kinds of photos these sensors produce are affected by the way in which these sensors crop the images they record.

APS-C vs Micro 4/3

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Sensor size

The area of an APS-C sensor is about 1.6 times the area of a micro four-thirds sensor, even though with an aspect ratio of 3:2 for APS-C rather than 4:3 for micro four-thirds.

The size of APS-C varies, as well. Depending on what camera is using the sensor, APS-C sensors come in different sizes, for example, Canon uses a very slightly smaller sensor in their APS-C DSLRs compared to Nikon, Pentax, and Fuji.

I know full-frame sensors are not a point to be made in this article but in order to make the best comparison, it is mandatory to mention them, as well, so, the difference between APS-C and micro four-thirds is a bit less than the difference between full-frame and APS-C sensors. The difference in sensor size is there and it is quite noticeable.

Lens Compatibility

The larger the sensor, the larger the camera body and the larger the camera body, the larger the lens can be.

Usually, Micro 4/3 cameras benefit from smaller lenses than APS-C cameras, and not only, because of the specific architecture of the lens mount, with Micro 4/3 and with the appropriate adapter it is possible to use many brands of lenses outside of the standard Olympus and Panasonic lenses.

Whereas, with APS-C cameras you will be more limited with your choice, but you can still use lenses outside of their own system.

Image quality

Image quality is what every photographer wants more than anything. The whole work would be useless if as a result in the end you have a poor image quality.

This feature is again closely related to the size of the sensor. The larger the sensor, the better it will capture the light and the better the signal can be amplified, so the better the amplification is supported, the better the image quality.

However, image quality is not dependable only on the size of the factor. Depth of field plays a huge role in image quality, as well. Many believe that a larger sensor does not reduce the depth of field, but in order to get the same field of view with a smaller sensor, you will have to take a shorter focal length or move backward, or you can do both, your choice.

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Main characteristics of APS-C:

Depth of field – APS-C sensors are masters when it comes to depth of field, and by the depth of field I mean the distance between the furthest and nearest in-focus objects in an image. Having an APS-C sensor makes it easier to fill the frame with a subject from a great distance and that’s why these sensors are widely used among photographers whose passion is to capture sporting events or wildlife, which the photographer normally might not be able to approach from the first row.

Aspect ratio – The classic aspect ratio of a camera is 3:2. The aspect ratio is the feature of an image sensor such as APS-C to produce images with a characteristic ratio of width to height. The APS-S sensor happens to match that classic aspect ratio which makes it possible to capture images with a smaller area and a narrower angle of view.

Crop factor – This factor is a very important factor for those who really understand hop photography and creativity match. Having a full-frame sensor will give you the chance to capture the whole field in front of you, but having an APS-C sensor will do that and much more, and by more I mean, it will capture the whole field and it will give the viewer the impression of being closer to the subject and sharpens the background of the image, and that would lead to producing a very different style of photography than a full-frame sensor will.

Main characteristics of Micro 4/3:

Flange distance – This means that with Micro 4/3, the camera bodies can be much, much smaller. And also, Micro 4/3 has the 2x crop factor, which leaves space for the lenses to be shorter and more compact.

Weight – As we have mentioned many many times, weight in photography matters and Micro 4/3 cameras and lenses are significantly lighter than the equivalent full-frame designs.

Cost – For those on a budget, Micro4/3 is considerably cheaper than other devices with similar features as theirs.


Final Words

Each of these sensors has its own tricks and you have to be quite cautious while choosing them, in view of the fact that no doubt these sensors will affect your work and the direction of your creativity. You won’t be making a mistake with whichever sensor you choose, but if you know exactly what you are looking for, you will know which one to purchase.