I like taking photos of formula 1 cars. I try and sit close to corners where they're going as slow as possible; this means sitting about 100m/330ft away from cars going 100kph/60mph. I'm currently using a point and click Samsung that's about 10 years old. Not got it on me to check model no, but the specs are:
- 1/2.3" sensor
- Max 31.5mm focal length
I always use the maximum focal length to get maximum magnification. This normally leaves the car as quite a small part of the picture, so I digitally crop it afterwards.
The picture quality is OK, but I want better. I am therefore looking at buying a new camera, and am trying to work out what specs will give me a better quality image. I'm mainly considering compact superzoom cameras, for size and weight reasons. For these cameras the lens isn't changeable, and with the current options on the market a bigger sensor comes with the trade-off of a shorter focal length.
Focal length vs sensor
I've read mattdm's excellent answer on field of view. My understanding based on that is that the focal length is what determines the ratio between the real size of an object and how big it appears on the sensor. With the same focal length a bigger sensor will give you a wider field of view, meaning you'll see more background. But if I'm going to crop it to the f1 car anyway, this is useless to me.
So, presumably, all I need is to find the camera with the longest focal length, the sensor size doesn't matter. And that's true focal length, not 35mm equivalent.
Question: Am I missing something? Bigger sensors are more expensive, so I expect they should be better. But maybe they're not actually better for the specific type of photo I'm taking. Maybe I'm failing to take account of other important aspects of a bigger sensor (better performance in low light, more pixels per square inch) which would make the quality of the cropped photo better for the same focal length. Maybe it's actually 35mm equivalent focal length I should compare and not actual focal length.