Quality? What do you mean by quality?

Started Oct 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
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SomebodyFamous
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Quality? What do you mean by quality?
Oct 14, 2013

I have just had a look at the DPReview sample images from several different sensor sized cameras. Honestly I don't see any difference between cameras of different brands or models for the same sensor size so I'm just talking about sensor size.

Ignoring cameras with no interchangeable lens, we have:

  • Pentax Q system with the smallest sensor
  • Nikon CX system with the next smallest sensor
  • 4:3 format 
  • APS-C (bundling together the 1.5 and 1.6 factor)
  • Full frame 36x24.

I have looked at the sample images and while I can criticise all of the samples of each camera of not really testing the camera capabilities all that thoroughly, I do note that at 100 ISO there is precious little difference between any of them.

I look at my own photography - I've been using a Canon S1 IS as my compact and my Canon XT/30D as my SLR. I very rarely if ever go above 100 ISO because I like maximum image quality. To me, using a higher ISO would degrade the image too much. Having said that, there have been times when I have used a higher ISO, such as this test shot.

I don't find personally that high ISO is really my thing. When I shot 35mm I always used Ilford HP5 or Ilford FP4. We are at the point at 8 megapixels where what we can achieve is already in excess of what can be achieved from film. How much quality do you really need?

I'm looking at replacing my large DSLR system with a more compact ILC system. I like the EVF on my S1 IS in all but low-light situations. Having said that, I don't normally shoot in low light situations. The above was a dimly lit bar and I used normal focussing methods. I did not use extra illumination.

To my mind, I see little difference between the four sensor sizes for final results. There are comments about fringing being more prevalent on smaller sensors. I saw some on the CX sensor on one photo but only on one which makes me suspect it could have been anomalous.

I see people mentioning the lack of shallow depth of field with smaller sensors. My problem has always been the opposite - insufficient depth of field. Virtually every photography issue I have had has been with lack of depth of field. If I want to isolate a subject, I can always fiddle around in Aperture and blur the background.

Have we got to the point where sensor size does not equal image quality and where all cameras are pretty much the same? I'm saying pretty much yes. My only issue with modern cameras is the almost complete lack of affordable prime lenses.

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I take photos for my own pleasure. I write books for my own pleasure too. If people buy them then fine. If not then I don't really care. The fun was in writing them. Income is just icing on top of the cake.

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