does a high resolution sensor mean bad low-light capabilities?

Started Jan 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
Midnighter
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Re: does a high resolution sensor mean bad low-light capabilities?
In reply to James Bligh, Jan 10, 2012

Its been debated afresh in the Sony forum for APS-C 16MP Vs 24MP. In my opinion there is a threshold (with comparable sensor technologies) when extra resolution + image downscaling is overpowered by pixel level light starvation that a lower resolution sensor can still cope with. Since noise climbs out of less exposed areas first the more an image relies on dark/shadow for its visual quality/impact the more important clean ISO performance is compared to extra resolution detail in the image. For the Sony argument I would say there is a 2 stop range where resolution VS high ISO performance dukes it out, 24MP being superior to 400ISO, 16MP being superior at 3200+. Lots of arguments for and against that view, but the opinion I originally came up seemed to be echoed by the tests at luminous landscape:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/sony_nex_7_rolling_review.shtml#28

That said they came to the conclusion it was splitting hairs unless you pushed it to crazy ISO values beyond ISO3200 (which might not be so crazy for some).

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