The Illusion of the 45 / 30mp Foveon Sensor

Started Oct 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
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abijake
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The Illusion of the 45 / 30mp Foveon Sensor
Oct 26, 2012

DP2 Merril and SD Merrill cameras

There are claims that we have a 46pm sensor (3x15), equivalent to a 30mp Bayer. Claims have been made that the DP Merrill and SD Merrils equal medium format cameras in their ability to resolve detail. That claim was the original justification of a USD 10,000 price tag for the SD1.

My thesis is that this is an unsupportable claim that has been made possible by confusing photosite density on the sensor with end resolution. This is such a simple point that alluded me until recently as I was trying to explain to myself why images shot with my DP2S started to look  pixelated printed above A3 size.

To me it is now clear that with a file size of 4800 x 3200 from the DPx Merrill vs say a file size from a Sony A900 of 6048 x 4032 , the Foveon will be approaching or perhaps even just surpassing the IQ of a full frame camera. That is no mean acheivement, but with the current pedigree of Foveon sensors that edge in IQ will break down with ISO's over say 800. Another penaly paid of course are the very slow write times associted with processing 3 layers of sensor data into a meaningful output.

I cannot any longer contend that we have a medium format equivalent in a small package - the figures just do not stack up. I see that another author has eloquently criqued the 'viewing at 100% mistake' which is an alternative way of understanding the illusion of impossibly high IQ from an APS sized sensor.

The Foveon sensor is a great achievemnt but care should be taken not to delude oneself into thinking medium format.

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The Future Shall Make Fools of All of Us

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