What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
dikipix
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Re: What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*
In reply to bobn2, 6 months ago

Lots of close attention to the sensor here, but the other two key elements are less well considered. Cameras or more correctly imaging, comprises three main elements, lens, sensor and digital processing (in camera)

To me, it seems the lens accounts for a large amount of the image quality in the finished image. For instance, put a high quality lens on an ordinary camera, you can get remarkable results. Put an ordinary lens on a high end camera, the results are less likely to be impressive.

One of the severe limitations of smaller cameras, is smaller lenses. It is difficult to make a small lens perform like a larger lens, the real estate is just not there to enable that to happen. Add to that cost, it will cost a lot more to manufacture a small lens that performs at a similar level to a larger lens, because the tolerances will have to be much finer. But, no one wants to spend more money, on a smaller item. Yes, manufacturing has improved immensely in recent times, but the improvements are applied to small and large alike.

Similarly, large sensors, with more real estate available, can capture far more information than a smaller sensor, it's a question of available real estate. The result, you get much better headroom, meaning you can apply more post processing to the image, and still have good information remaining in the image to support that processing.

Then there is the final arbiter, the chipset, the digital processor that each manufacturer includes with the camera. Each chipset is a finely honed set of compromises, able to apply a series of mathematical algorithms to give the camera the best imaging possible, for a given set of lens-sensor-camera settings that have been applied. Digital processing has to evaluate the captured information from the sensor, apply the algorithms and turn it into an image in the smallest amount of time, for the smallest amount of power consumed. Manufacturer algorithms also account for much of imaging quality, and the variations between different cameras.

When film was used, the same film went into all cameras. Those days have gone, now it's a combination of sensors and digital processors, which can vary a lot.

Bottom line, give the processor more information, it will be more likely to return a much better outcome.

I guess it could also be argued that the final image quality tool will be the monitor the image is viewed on. Typically any current flat screen monitor is vastly out performed by most cameras at the moment, so the monitor becomes the ultimate weak link in the imaging process. Printed images should typically give better results, but how many people have access to precision printing equipment, and use it to evaluate their pictures?

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