The End Of The Megapixel Race. A New Era of Photography.

Started Sep 24, 2011 | Discussions thread
Jay Turberville
Forum ProPosts: 12,646
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Re: Absolute nonsense
In reply to skyglider, Sep 28, 2011

IMO, the amplifier noise for each photosite is a greater percentage of the signal when each photosite is smaller. That's the main reason why some manufacturers went backwards to 10MP CCD sensors for better low light image quality. Larger photosites = higher signal to noise ratio.

No. What you just describe is more noise per pixel. You failed to account for the notion that more pixels means more signal.

I'm not sure why they went back. But they did so only on the smaller sensors. My guess is that they were running into issues that due to process limitation it was harder to continue to efficiently shrink the pixel so that the support circuitry wasn't robbing too much of the area that could otherwise be used for pixel well. Another reason could be that they were already diffraction limited anyway. And yet another could be that its cheaper and faster to process 10Mp than 16Mp - which can help either with responsiveness or by lowering the camera price.

Either way, they are quite OK with 10Mp on a tiny sensor. Extrapolate that out to a full frame sensor and you are probably in the hundreds of megapixels - which is where I think we will eventually end up - or at least should.

I bought 3 small sensor P&S cameras in the past year and returned all 3 because of excessive noise reduction processing in low light images. The NR artifacts were visible when looking at the entire image full screen, not just by pixel peeping. We have a tiny Canon 7.1 MP camera that does not exhibit the NR artifacts in low light images.

It is sensor size and good sensor design that really matters. Pixel density itself isn't a key issue. In fact, some of the most efficient sensors have the smallest sensors according to DXO labs test results. This test shows the net result of the image data of a sensor (Coolpix 8400) with twice the density of another sensor (Olympus E-500). Bother are CCDs. I matched focal length, shutters speed and aperture so that we have the image covering the same area of the sensor. Since the 8400 has more pixels, I downrezzed its image to match the resolution of the E-500. The image shows that the higher pixel density isn't giving up anything to the lower pixel density in this low light image. Given good light, the higher density sensor can record lots more detail. I'd be very happy to have a 32Mp 4/3" sensor in one of my cameras.

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