PIX 2015

Give me more megapixels on my sensor!

Started Apr 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Give me more megapixels on my sensor!
Apr 27, 2013

The HX100, (I had one - I gave it to a friend, and now she wants to give it back to me, so I think I'll make a movie), and the HX200 are perfectly fine little cameras, but they don't have enough megapixels on their sensor.  To get a really good picture you need a lot of megapixels. I'm wishing I had money so that I could get an HX300.

I'm amazed after all these years that there are still people who think that more pixels are a bad thing on a sensor.  I believe that they have this mental picture of little water buckets that fill up too quickly.  But light is a difficult thing to get a mental picture of.  Because Einstein had a head full of physics and math he could imagine surfing on a light wave, and looking back to see what was happening behind him. (I read that's how he discovered something important in physics).  But for the rest of us it's not easy to understand what light does to a sensor.

Noise is related to the size of the sensor. The number of pixels is irrelevant. I can explain this.  Imagine that it's 1960 and you live in Elbow, Saskatchewan, 120 miles outside of Saskatoon as the crow flies and you are trying to tune in the only TV station, CBC in Saskatoon, on your little TV set with rabbit ears.  Of course, you have strung up metal coat hangers from the curtain rod to the rabbit ears to get more signal. But it's 50/50 between snow and the image. You are the only one who has patience to watch this.  At certain hours of the day the picture is better, and during a thunderstorm you can tune in religious programs from Houston, Texas.  But basically, your limitation is that the distance from the TV station is too great, so your image has a lot of noise.

If your family moves closer to Saskatoon you will get a much better image on your screen, and if they go into Saskatoon, the noise will completely disappear.  This is because the signal is stronger and the signal to noise ratio is much greater. In this metaphor, the signal increases as you move closer to Saskatoon.  In your camera the signal increases as your sensor gets bigger.

If it were possible to buy an HD TV set 50 years ago, this wouldn't make any difference to your image, but the megapixel shy would still prefer my little TV set, because they would contend that it had a clearer picture. And maybe it would, but not because there were fewer picture elements on the screen.

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John Dunn

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300
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