New large sensors limited by the lens in low light?

Started Aug 30, 2011 | Discussions thread
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GregGory
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New large sensors limited by the lens in low light?
Aug 30, 2011

Assuming , for a given sensor technology, the image noise is more or less independent of the pixel count. IOW, for a high density sensor, the higher total noise of the added pixels is cancelled out by the higher 'signal', leaving roughly the same S/N. I know, this is simplified, but let's not derail the topic here.

My question: For the best low-light performance, Is it somehow possible to calculate the optimum MP for a given lens (having its MTF charts)? Or vice versa: calculate a minimum MFT for a given sensor/ pixel pitch?

Considering the new 16Mp m43, and 24MP APS-c sensors. Maybe we haven't reached this limit yet, but I would expect some (especially legacy) lenses wide open cannot resolve these new dense sensors, hence we end up with the higher total noise of the added pixels, but cannot offset it by an equally higher signal (resolution). IOW, we end up with a worse S/N, not due to the sensor technology, but due to the limited resolving power of the lens.

Is this a correct assumption?

Should the low light shooters take the MTF chart of their preferred lens into consideration, when choosing a sensor (body)?

Ps. Even though the implications are similar, it's not just another thread about diffraction, since being diffraction limited at high ISO is an unusual event. It's about real life low light performance with less than stellar glass wide open.

Pps. Please don't turn this thread into a popular vote about how many MP you need etc.

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