Why so much complaining about image size?

Started Apr 25, 2012 | Discussions
lost_in_utah
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Why so much complaining about image size?
Apr 25, 2012

Cameras and lenses are expensive, hard drives are not. Many people won't think twice about spending several thousand on a camera, but the thought of buying several new hard drives that can stores thousands of photos for $100 makes many of you scared. I don't get it!

Someone help me understand this irrational behavior!

freddyNZ
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Re: Why so much complaining about image size?
In reply to lost_in_utah, Apr 25, 2012

The image size for storage doesn't bother me. But for rendering or processing raw files, it's a bit of different. I don't think I could put up with trying to deal with 36mp D800 raw files, without a serious computer upgrade.

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stromaroma
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Re: Why so much complaining about image size?
In reply to freddyNZ, Apr 25, 2012

Yes I work on a small laptop (for travel). I don't have tons of horsepower, I don't want to bog down with needlessly huge files.
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Okay, too much stuff, yes I know I need to whittle it down a bit.

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jfriend00
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Re: Why so much complaining about image size?
In reply to lost_in_utah, Apr 25, 2012

For me, it's not about the storage space - it's about the time to process images in my workflow.

  • Time to download RAW images to computer and write to disk

  • Time for LR to generate previews

  • Time to backup RAW images to online backup service

  • Time to sort through 800 images from a typical sports shoot, selecting 200-300 keepers, then tweaking white balance, exposure and crop on the selected images.

  • Time to export the images to JPEGs

So, if I switch to a new camera that has 2x or 3x the number of pixels that I shoot with now and I want to maintain the same type of workflow speed I have now, I'll have to do some serious hardware upgrades: new computer with USB3, faster hard drives (might even need a couple SSDs), more RAM, faster memory cards, faster USB3 card reader, faster internet connection (upload to backup service), etc...

It's not only about the money for the new hardware, it's also a tremendous amount of work (multiple days of work) to get a new computer all set up with everything I use on it and properly configured.
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olyflyer
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Re: Why so much complaining about image size?
In reply to lost_in_utah, Apr 25, 2012

lost_in_utah wrote:

Cameras and lenses are expensive, hard drives are not. Many people won't think twice about spending several thousand on a camera, but the thought of buying several new hard drives that can stores thousands of photos for $100 makes many of you scared. I don't get it!

Someone help me understand this irrational behavior!

It's not irrational behaviour at all. Larger files take longer time to transfer to the computer and to read/write, they demand more CPU power, maybe also a new computer, as well as new, larger CF/SD cards and so on. As a matter of fact, adding all that together the price of all that can end up at the same level as a D800 body costs, making the investment not just $100, but twice as expensive and maybe without any real benefit for the user. Most people don't actually need more than 12-16MP and regard 24MP to be far more than needed or desired for.

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lost_in_utah
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Re: Why so much complaining about image size?
In reply to olyflyer, Apr 25, 2012

So the complaints were only about file size, but also the time to convert and process each photo? That makes more sense. Still, computer technology has come a long way in the past three years. My last CPU (i7 920) is not bested by laptop quad core CPUs. I currently have a 2700K @ 4.6 GHz, so my CPU welcomes a nice challenge of processing large, unnecessarily sized photos!

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dseventy
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I'm not complaining
In reply to lost_in_utah, Apr 25, 2012

I would love to a 24mp D400. Sure, it will take longer to process my files, but that's a small price to pay for larger printers and the ability to crop wildlife photos (and still get a large print).

Bring it on Nikon!

Besides, if you shoot RAW+Jpg, you can do a lot of gruntwork sorting through the jpgs, and then work on the RAWs.

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Suntan
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Re: Why so much complaining about image size?
In reply to lost_in_utah, Apr 27, 2012

We're all happy that you have a big computer and enjoy the idea of "making it work hard."

That said, image-size-just-for-the-sake-of-image-size holds little appeal to most of us.

-Suntan

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john Clinch
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Re: Why so much complaining about image size?
In reply to Suntan, Apr 28, 2012

Computers have got faster in terms of processors

But hard disk speeds don't seem to keep up

But I agree storage costs are low

I think I read that hard disk space is cheaper per image than the plastic wallets to put slides in....
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Brandon birder
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Re: Why so much complaining about image size?
In reply to Suntan, May 1, 2012

Suntan wrote:

We're all happy that you have a big computer and enjoy the idea of "making it work hard."

That said, image-size-just-for-the-sake-of-image-size holds little appeal to most of us.

-Suntan

But it's not image size for the sake of image size is it?

The latest improvements in dynamic range and high iso have been due to image size increases. That's why the D800 is a s good as it is. Sensor technology has reached a plateau (for now?) and the increases we now see in DR and iso are entirely due to the effects of small sensels in a big sensor.

What's odd though is that film plate technology of a 100 years ago with very large plates gave resolution greater than we accept now in digital cameras. Our ancestors would be laughing at us moaning about more resolution and detail and "film speed".
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Suntan
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That's a bit of an untestable assumption
In reply to Brandon birder, May 1, 2012

You're making a blanket assumption that the newset camera released today has great image quality because it has a lot of pixels. When in truth the image quality may be great dispite having a lot of pixels.

What do we know? We know that image sensors are able to record images by accumulating the photons that fall on their individual pixel substrate and converting them to an electrical charge. The more space you have for that substrate, the more opertunity you have to catch photons. Even with back-side illumination technology developed only recently, and advances in micro-lens arrays, for a given cross sectional area - the amount of space available for catching photons goes down as you increase the number of pixels.

Take a one square foot sheet of paper, a ruler and a1/4" thick black marker. Section the paper into 10 uniform sections, with a 1/4" thick line black lines. You know have less white space (think photon catching space) than before you started sectioning it.

Now separate it into 20 sections, all with a 1/4" black line separating them. You now have even less white space left over.

The same thing, generally speaking, happens when you increase pixel count but don't increase the size of the imager.

In any case, I personally tend to print up to about 20" on the longer side and view the digital image on a 1080P projector at 10' on the diagonal from no closer than 11' away. At these sizes, more pixels really won't do much for me.

Although I'd love to still have improvements in all the other areas you talk about. If Nikon (or Canon) can only improve those by increasing pixel count, I'll go along. But I doubt that is the case.

-Suntan

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Brandon birder
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Re: That's a bit of an untestable assumption
In reply to Suntan, May 1, 2012

Suntan wrote:

You're making a blanket assumption that the newset camera released today has great image quality because it has a lot of pixels. When in truth the image quality may be great dispite having a lot of pixels.

No I'm not, it's based on the hundreds of threads presented in the D800 forum and the many papers and research articles posted there. Too many for me to post. It's also the very reason that the DXO mark is so high.

Look the D4 managed just to maintain similar iso compared with the D3s and increase dynamic range with a modest pixel increase 12-16mpx.

The D800 in DX crop mode is similar (slightly better) than the D7000 and worse than the D700 in high iso but has better dynamic range. This is due to sensor technology.

Increase the mpx to 36 in the D800 FX mode and it has better iso than the D700 at the same output size and astonishing dynamic range. This is entirely due to having more small pixels in a bigger sensor. The sensor technology is the same, just more senseless in a bigger sensor.

Currently there really is no technology that increases dynamic range and iso further. Sensor efficiencies are very high indeed.That may well change in the future but that will be some years ahead.

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Suntan
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Re: That's a bit of an untestable assumption
In reply to Brandon birder, May 1, 2012

Brandon birder wrote:

No I'm not, it's based on the hundreds of threads presented in the D800 forum and the many papers and research articles posted there. Too many for me to post.

No need to post all the other's arguments. But I would be interested to hear you explain why more pixels = higher dynamic range. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that is one of the things you are claiming. Could you at least explain why you think that is?

-Suntan

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Brandon birder
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Re: That's a bit of an untestable assumption
In reply to Suntan, May 1, 2012

Suntan wrote:

Brandon birder wrote:

No I'm not, it's based on the hundreds of threads presented in the D800 forum and the many papers and research articles posted there. Too many for me to post.

No need to post all the other's arguments. But I would be interested to hear you explain why more pixels = higher dynamic range. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that is one of the things you are claiming. Could you at least explain why you think that is?

-Suntan

There are a myriad of threads about this. A search on Bob2n or Bclaff will lead you to as much information as you may need to know to understand this.

My simple understanding is that
1 small pixels have lower read noise

2 small pixels (exmoor) have high efficiencies (they convert more of the very few photons into electrical information than the larger older ones do.

3 The efficiency has reached a level that any further improvements can only increase dynamic range by a stop at maximum.
4 However large sensors collect more light so FX beats DX

5 So match large sensors with small highly efficient pixels give better dynamic range than the same size sensor populated with larger pixels.
6 Large sensors produce less noise than small sensors

7 Large sensors with small pixels produce significantly less noise when down sampled to that of large sensors with big pixels.

8 Now the D800 is out and being used by a lot of people, the fact that a D800 produces better (less noise, more detail, greater dynamic range) than the D700 (large sensor with large pixels) has been so easily demonstrated that even diehard D700 users have stopped arguing these points.

Now I have come from a D90, through a D7000, D300s to a D800 so I have direct experience with a small sensor large pixel camera (D90 and D300s), a small sensor small pixel camera (D7000) and a large sensor small pixel camera (D800).

The D7000 IQ is significantly better than a D90 and the D800 IQ is significantly better than the D7000.

It is an FX camera with a very good usable DX crop mode and AF better than a D300s which was good anyway.

If Nikon had produced a 24mpx DX camera with a modified exmoor sensor (small sensor medium size pixels) I would probably have upgraded to that , but I have no faith that this will be so and Nikon aren't saying. I ordered a D800 on the expectation that I would have to wait for 6 months to get to the top of the list in which time a D400 may have been announced, but I got lucky and got my camera in 3 weeks. I have to say I am very pleased with it and no longer yearn for a DX replacement.

I hope Nikon produces a 16-24mpx dx camera as many people are hoping for this, but if you can't wait lots of pixels in a large sensor and great body, work very well indeed.

I couldn't explain this in any more detail but as i say there are plenty of people who can.

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McCool69
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Re: Why so much complaining about image size?
In reply to lost_in_utah, May 1, 2012

lost_in_utah wrote:

but the thought of buying several new hard drives that can stores thousands of photos for $100 makes many of you scared.

Not at all.

But even the small jump from 12mp to 16mp was quite noticeable on my PC (which is not slow by any means), so making the jump to something that is more than twice of what I have to deal with today per image is not something I am looking forward to at all.

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joaquin100
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Re: Why so much complaining about image size?
In reply to lost_in_utah, May 1, 2012

lost_in_utah wrote:

Cameras and lenses are expensive, hard drives are not. Many people won't think twice about spending several thousand on a camera, but the thought of buying several new hard drives that can stores thousands of photos for $100 makes many of you scared. I don't get it!

Someone help me understand this irrational behavior!

Ok i will try to help you

File size is not only related to the final storage. is a Pain over there to PP big Files. second choice is to joint the bills of the dirt-cheap HD with a big muscle MAC Pro (over 2500 bucks)...OK PC are not that expensive but is another bunch of compromises.

my 6 megapixel S5 is very good when it comes to big Files, thanx God is not 36 megapixels ala D800.

Actually i havent noticed this much complaining the headline suggests.

Peace.

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stanginit
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try it and see
In reply to lost_in_utah, May 2, 2012

Do you do much post processing? Ever use an application like Topaz? Bigger files = more demand on your processor. Hard drives are cheap and will eventually become obsolete. Solid state will be the new standard. Unless you're printing banners, no need for it.
That's my take on it.

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Brandon birder
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Re: try it and see
In reply to stanginit, May 2, 2012

stanginit wrote:

Do you do much post processing? Ever use an application like Topaz? Bigger files = more demand on your processor. Hard drives are cheap and will eventually become obsolete. Solid state will be the new standard. Unless you're printing banners, no need for it.
That's my take on it.

I have topaz and a D800 and yes it takes from the same upto twice as long to render an image depending on whether I the file is DX 16mb or FX 36mb. However most post processing in Aperture takes no more time at all and that is for most of my files. I use a 2011 13" MacBook pro, so nslouch but not top of the range.

Heck when I started digital in 2000 I was using 1 mb files and they took longer to process than 36mb files do today because transfer times were longer and pc memory was not enough! I must admit then that I never thought we'ed be having this sort of discussion though, we were crying out for more resolution.

The thing is unless some new tech breakthrough occurrs only large sensors with small pixels will continue to improve resolution dynamic range and reduce noise. That means more megapixels.

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