Do pixels matter? What 20" x 30" prints reveal.

Started Jun 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
Great Bustard
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Re: I have some questions.
In reply to qianp2k, Jun 18, 2013

qianp2k wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

misolo wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

  • Or put it all together -- a modern day compact, like the G15, vs modern day FF, like the 6D with good lenses? Is there any noticeable IQ difference between the compact and FF?

The sad truth is that, in good light and if you're not looking for shallow depth of field, there isn't that much difference. Still, you'll only pry my 5DIII from my cold dead fingers...

MASTERPPA wrote:

BS.

Even in the BEST of light, a G15 vs a 5D3, on a good sized print (20x30) I can see the difference in a second. Mostly from DR, and edges.

The 5D3 and G15 have about the same DR. What do you mean by "edges"?

Not ture. I don't own G15 but similar 1/1.7" sensor S95 and I do own 5D3. The difference between two cameras are HUGE. FF 5D3 is vastly better than much smaller sensor G15 in highlight headroom for example and much lower SNR, no comparison even at base ISO that 5D3 color tonality, shadow noises and highlight clipping are much better.

The DR / pixel for the 5D3 is 11 stops at base ISO:

http://www.sensorgen.info/CanonEOS_5D_MkIII.html

The DR / pixel for the G15 is 11.5 stops at base ISO:

http://www.sensorgen.info/CanonPowershot_G15.html

Of course, we all know (especially you) that per-pixel measurements are meaningless when comparing photos made from different numbers of pixels. To that end, the DR / µphoto is 13.2 stops for the 5D3 and 13.3 stops for the G15 -- basically the same.

If the pic is a landscape, I can tell instantly at about 2 feet. A portrait, except for DOF is much harder if it is a soft image. But as soon as I look at the hair and eye lashes, I can tell.

So you've seen landscapes and portraits of the same scene from the G15 and 5D3 printed at 20 x 30 inches side-by-side? I never have, so I don't know if I could tell. But a lot of people here are saying that they wouldn't be able to tell.

I never print my S95 photos to 20x30" as no reason but I believe it will have significant difference. The difference is not really in amount of MP but in SNR, color tonality, natural sharpness, clarity, highlight clipping and shadow noise even at base ISO no mention in high ISOs.

The dynamic range is the number of stops in lighting where you can see detail from shadows to highlights, and, as demonstrated above, it's the same for the 5D3 and G15.

Among the same format (sensor size) cameras, the difference in amount of MP is much smaller. I don't see much difference between 5D1 and 5D2 when print to 20x30" that I do have a few prints from each camera. Even at base ISO 5D3 color tonality, shadow noises and highlight clipping are much better than 1/1.7" sensor based G15/S110.

Where the 5D3 will pull ahead of the G15 is that the photos will have less noise for any given exposure, as more light will fall on the larger sensor of the 5D3 and the sensors are rather close in terms of efficiency.  In addition, 22 MP will record more detail than 12 MP, but since that doesn't seem to be an issue for the 5D vs 5D2, then it wouldn't be an issue for the G15 vs 5D3, so that leaves us with noise.

So, is the noise differential really what makes the difference between the systems, even at base ISO, as opposed to the additional detail captured with more pixels?  Or is noise, like more pixels, another overhyped measure, since the print and/or our eyes are the weakest link in the chain and severely curtail the utility of better tech, with the exception of significantly lower light and larger prints, where what constitutes "lower" and "larger" are largely scene dependent?

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