• Please use real names.

    Greetings to all who have registered to OPF and those guests taking a look around. Please use real names. Registrations with fictitious names will not be processed. REAL NAMES ONLY will be processed

    Firstname Lastname

    Register

    We are a courteous and supportive community. No need to hide behind an alia. If you have a genuine need for privacy/secrecy then let me know!
  • Welcome to the new site. Here's a thread about the update where you can post your feedback, ask questions or spot those nasty bugs!

"Super 35" sensor sizes?

Doug Kerr

Active member
We are used to the fact that certain families of digital camera sensor sizes are commonly named in terms of some existing film "frame size", often a very bad "fit" being attained in the process. One such moniker is "APS-C", used to refer to sensor sizes of perhaps approximately 22.5 mm × 15.0 mm (Canon) or approximately 24.0 mm × 16.0 mm (Nikon), whereas actually APS-C (one of the three "print crop" sizes of the APS film system) refers to a frame size of 25.1 mm × 16.7 mm.

Lately we often see, especially in connection with certain "cinema" cameras, reference to their frame size being "Super 35." I have to assume that this name is drawn from the "Super 35" frame scheme used in professional motion picture photography with 35-mm film.

There are many different flavors of the "Super 35" paradigm, but if we consider the "four-hole pulldown" forms the basic frame dimensions are 24.89 mm × 18.66 mm (aspect ratio 4:3). There are of course many ways to operate withing this "gross" frame, as needed for various aspect ratios, for the "wide" ones using "squeezed" and "non-squeezed" technique, and so forth.

This in fact essentially represents a reversion to nearly the camera frame size used in the "silent" era of professional cinematography (about 24 mm × 18 mm). With the advent of sound pictures, the delivered frame used on release prints was made smaller (eventually standardized at 21.0 mm × 15.2 mm) in order to accommodate room for the optical sound track.​

So, all that having been said, when we read that some new digital cinema camera has a "Super 35" sensor, what size is that likely to be?

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Active member
I see from the Wikipedia article on the Canon EOS C500 cinema camera (2012) that its sensor is said to be "Super 35" size and has dimensions of 26.2 mm × 13.8 mm (1.89:1 aspect ratio).

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Active member
It appears that the "Super 35" sensor in the Panasonic VariCam 35 and VariCam LT 4K S35 has dimensions 26.688 mm × 14.184 mm (1.88:1 aspect ratio).

So we can perhaps conclude that a "Super 35" sensor in a digital cinema camera has a width of about two dozen mm and a height to suit the native aspect ratio.

Or a width of about one inch.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Ruth Crawford

New member
I always thought a full frame was 36x24mm (Canon 5D) and Super 35 Sensor was 24.9x14mm (Alexa?)
Full frame refers to a still image camera, Super 35 refers to a motion picture camera? Am I wrong? In a traditional still camera, the images were parallel with the length of film, and in motion picture, the images were perpendicular to the length.
 

Doug Kerr

Active member
Hi, Ruth,

I always thought a full frame was 36x24mm . . .
Well. to be rigorous, the nominally 24 mm × 36 mm frame size is called "full-frame 35-mm", but it is of course in our "circles" almost always called "full frame". (There are of course many other "full frame" format sizes; "full frame 8 × 10" is, for example, about 8" × 10" in size.) and Super 35 Sensor was 24.9x14mm.

Full frame refers to a still image camera . . .

Well, it is a size designation based on a widely-used still camera film format

Super 35 refers to a motion picture camera
Indeed, that is a size designation based on a modern motion picture film format)
Am I wrong?
No, you are doing fine.

In a traditional still camera, the images were parallel with the length of film . . .
Well, in a full-frame 35-mm camera that was so, but not for all film formats. For example, in the half-frame 35-mm format, the long dimension of the image was across the length of the film.

. . .and in motion picture, the images were perpendicular to the length.
Quite so, for most cinema film formats (and certainly for "Super 35").

Best regards,

Doug
 
Top