The heart of every digital camera is a rectangular light-sensitive silicon chip commonly known as the sensor. They come in a variety of sizes, from full-frame (36 mm x 24 mm) to tiny sensors found in point & shoot cameras. At digicamdb.com it’s easy to see how big (or rather how small) sensors really are.
Sensors in point & shoot cameras tend to be very small, most of the times smaller than the size of the fingernail on your little finger. Compared to point & shoot cameras DSLRs have enormous sensors. Take this extreme example – Nikon D4 vs. Nikon S01:
The difference in surface area is a staggering 4563%, meaning that a full frame sensor can be as much as 46 times bigger than a sensor in point & shoot camera.
If you ever wondered why point & shoot cameras can’t possibly produce the same image quality as DSLRs (althought they might have a similar pixel count), the answer, or at least one of the biggest factors, is sensor size.
At Digital Camera Database you can compare actual sensor sizes and other important sensor characteristics (such as pixel pitch, pixel area, pixel density, etc.) for more than 3200 digital cameras.