The Science Of Film & Digital Sensors | An Intro To How They Work & Why It’s Practically Important To Know

In certain ways, photographers are like race car drivers. No, not particularly fit or fearless, but in that we drive the machinery to deliver a result, and like drivers, when it comes to the engineering and physics of the machines, we don’t typically know what really goes on.

The good thing is, we don’t necessarily need to for our day to day work, but if we are to be the type who like to discuss, pass judgement on an critique we should have a greater understanding. And make no mistake, to a certain degree, understanding how these systems work, will help make you a better user of your gear, and assist you in making the right purchase decisions.

You’ll begin to understand too why some pieces of equipment cost more than others, and then determine how important that is to you. A simple example would be, if you’re considering buying a new camera, and perhaps you’re torn trying to decide why the Sony A9 costs what it does. Well, if you understand that CMOS sensors are typically prone to rolling shutter and why that’s so, you’ll understand that the incredibly fast readout from the A9’s sensor largely mitigates that problem, resulting in a mirrorless camera with good resolution and overall sensor performance that doesn’t really have an issue with rolling shutter. To some, that matters little, and to some that matters a lot, but you’d be able to choose for yourself.

[Sony A9 Review: Sony A9 Review / Overview | The Affirmation Of Mirrorless & Wish Fulfillment]

In this video from Filmmaker IQ, John Hess walks us through the basics of how film works at a chemical level, and how CCD and CMOS sensors work as well. While much of it might go over your head, there’s enough in here to make the watch worthwhile from a practical standpoint.

Source: Filmmaker IQ