What is a Camera Sensor? Phone & DSLR Difference

Camera Sensor

Recently I posted a blog post where I mentioned why a smartphone camera can never replace a DSLR camera. Also, I mentioned that a camera sensor plays a huge role in a camera. So, what is a camera sensor?

In case you have missed that blog post, here is the link: Camera Quality – Is Megapixel Everything?

In this post, I am covering the same Camera Sensor in detail using the most layman language. I know you are never going to forget this analogy of Indian Thali.

Any foodies here?

What is a Camera Sensor?

An image sensor is responsible to convert a clicked image into digital form in your camera. 

Ah! That was a pretty boring explanation similar to what they teach in Engineering colleges.

Let’s move to practical understanding!

Difference between a DSLR Sensor and Mobile Camera Sensor

Mobile Phone Camera Sensor

Imagine that you visited a restaurant and you ordered a thali. Since you were hungry, all you wanted is a plate food of the menu items to satisfy your hunger.

However, you noticed that the waiter brought you a small plate with smaller bowls. That obviously all had menu items but the quantity was really less.

What is a Camera Sensor? Phone Camera Sensor
Mobile Camera Sensor with 16 Megapixels
Image Source: Whatsuplife

You just got to taste everything but that didn’t satisfy your tummy.

More number of small bowls = more megapixel counts = Mobile Phone Camera

DSLR Camera

Since you remained unsatisfied with the quantity of the previous restaurant, you visited another restaurant.

Again you ordered a thali but this time you got a massive plate with larger bowls.

What is a Camera Sensor? Phone DSLR Sensor
DSLR Sensor with 10 Megapixels
Image Source: Peepintomyplate

Although the number of bowls was less, the size was more. You got some quality food with the right amount that could satisfy your hunger.

While hungry, you don’t really care about the number of items unless it contents your hunger.

Less number of larger bowls = less megapixel counts = DSLR Camera

You need quality, not numbers!

If you still didn’t understand the anology then I am making simpler for you.

In the above example, the plate was your sensor and bowls were your megapixels.

Even if you have many megapixels (bowls) but your sensor (plate) is small and poor then your image quality will still be mediocre.


It doesn’t really matter how many megapixels your phone has as long as it has a larger sensor than the rest of the competitors.

You need a huge plate with equally matching megapixels to get some nice pictures.

That’s pretty much of it. This blog post was just a part of that blog post which you read previously. So, I am linking it to the bottom of this post.


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