What comes after 36 MPixels and why?

Started 9 months ago | Discussions
dellaaa
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What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
9 months ago

I am the owner of a Nikon D800 and NEX7.  I love the D800, the NEX7, not so much.

My question may be naive but I will post anyway.  In using the D800 and from most accounts, 36 MP really taxes both the lenses attached and the shooting techniques.  In the film days, it would be analogous to loading Kodak's Tech Pan and shooting it at ISO 25, tremendous resolution capabilities, in many instances, out resolving the lens.

So, my question is this, what is the next step in higher resolution FF sensors, and why?  I read recently that Sony is developing a 54 MP FF sensor.  Does this make sense? Unless newer, better lens technology becomes available (and I have no doubt that it will, but it maybe a ways off) why produce a sensor that will out perform all existing glass?

Is 36 MP all that anyone can really utilize, let alone need?  What about non Bayer pattern sensors, like the Sigma Fovon.  It is in theory a 46 MP sensor, but there are only 16 MP for each color channel.  Would boosting this any further increase low ISO performance?

What do you all think?

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paulski66
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37 MPixels
In reply to dellaaa, 9 months ago

Because 37 comes after 36...

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Hugo First
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to dellaaa, 9 months ago

i never expected to become so enthusiastic about the 36mp files of the D800. i think reading stuff like thom hogan and his warnings and cautions to those who lusted after the D3x put me of the mind that those high-mp sensors were some forbidding territory.

it turned out to be completely different in my hands, though. after some getting used to the discipline of shooting with it, i found myself totally underwhelmed by the lowly D700, with its 12mp chip.

obviously, 12mp is enough for most kinds of photography, but 36 definitely turned out to be not too much, either.

at the same time, i think for practical purposes, between 24 and 36mp is probably enough -- at least for now, and for current sensor tech and so forth. i'm sure the manufacturers and marketers can't help themselves, and will push the envelope, but as far as i'm concerned they've hit the sweet spot, and they'll really have to show me if they try to seel me more.

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Horshack
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54MP is next
In reply to dellaaa, 9 months ago

Which is a 24MP APS-C pixel in a FF form factor. As to the why, it's so that camera companies stay in business.

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ranalli
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to dellaaa, 9 months ago

I don't think 36MP is bad per say but the size of the resulting files is just prohibitive to me at this point.

With a 12MP file I frequently am in the 1-2GB range for a Photoshop edit.  I can't imagine how large that file would be for a 36MP raw file.

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blue_cheese
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to dellaaa, 9 months ago

dellaaa wrote:

I am the owner of a Nikon D800 and NEX7. I love the D800, the NEX7, not so much.

So, my question is this, what is the next step in higher resolution FF sensors,

It would be 54MP FF

and why?

Because we have APS-C at 24MP, so to get the same level of detail/reach/density (call it whatever makes you feel good) it is 24MP * 1.5 h * 1.5 w = 24 *2.25 = 54MP

That simple.

I read recently that Sony is developing a 54 MP FF sensor. Does this make sense? Unless newer, better lens technology becomes available (and I have no doubt that it will, but it maybe a ways off) why produce a sensor that will out perform all existing glass?

Nonsense, the DX cameras at 24MP have aptly proven that the sensor resolution has benefit and does not out resolve lenses.

Is 36 MP all that anyone can really utilize, let alone need?

I heard that argument about 6MP being all someone needs, yet people are so happy with the D800 (Except for the guy that didnt want to work the files on his iMac)

What about non Bayer pattern sensors, like the Sigma Fovon. It is in theory a 46 MP sensor, but there are only 16 MP for each color channel. Would boosting this any further increase low ISO performance?

Certainly, the additional pixel density can also be used in a number of other creative ways such as interleaved single shot multi exposure capture (ie getting 3 exposures at full dynamic range with a single shutter push for HDR), or light field capture that allows for post capture focus selection.

What do you all think?

I think technology is fantastic and I hope to see it move forward.

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lickity split
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to ranalli, 9 months ago

ranalli wrote:

I don't think 36MP is bad per say but the size of the resulting files is just prohibitive to me at this point.

With a 12MP file I frequently am in the 1-2GB range for a Photoshop edit. I can't imagine how large that file would be for a 36MP raw file.

Around 41 mb

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user_name
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In reply to dellaaa, 9 months ago

Because it sucks right now.

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user_name
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to blue_cheese, 9 months ago

blue_cheese wrote:

Nonsense, the DX cameras at 24MP have aptly proven that the sensor resolution has benefit and does not out resolve lenses.

At least in the center of the lenses.

We will see what happens to the current line of full-frame lenses in the edges and corners...

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fotolopithecus
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to dellaaa, 9 months ago

dellaaa wrote:

I am the owner of a Nikon D800 and NEX7. I love the D800, the NEX7, not so much.

My question may be naive but I will post anyway. In using the D800 and from most accounts, 36 MP really taxes both the lenses attached and the shooting techniques. In the film days, it would be analogous to loading Kodak's Tech Pan and shooting it at ISO 25, tremendous resolution capabilities, in many instances, out resolving the lens.

So, my question is this, what is the next step in higher resolution FF sensors, and why? I read recently that Sony is developing a 54 MP FF sensor. Does this make sense? Unless newer, better lens technology becomes available (and I have no doubt that it will, but it maybe a ways off) why produce a sensor that will out perform all existing glass?

Is 36 MP all that anyone can really utilize, let alone need? What about non Bayer pattern sensors, like the Sigma Fovon. It is in theory a 46 MP sensor, but there are only 16 MP for each color channel. Would boosting this any further increase low ISO performance?

What do you all think?

37.

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shigzeo ?
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to user_name, 9 months ago

user_name wrote:

blue_cheese wrote:

Nonsense, the DX cameras at 24MP have aptly proven that the sensor resolution has benefit and does not out resolve lenses.

At least in the center of the lenses.

We will see what happens to the current line of full-frame lenses in the edges and corners...

I understand the logic, but only to a certain extent. There are very few instances where anything but the centre area of a lens must be sharp. Where you focus generally in most good portraits, is removed from the background by last least a good, long step, if not much more. Stopped down, almost any half-decent lens will be sharp out to the edges. 54 megapixels: I can't wait. Getting sharp what matters and getting at high res- that's creme on the cake.

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user_name
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to shigzeo ?, 9 months ago

For landscape you want sharp edges and few lenses really perform well in this domain.  The Zeiss 21mm is one example, but most lenses have trouble in the corners and must be stopped down a good bit to compensate.

Field curvature complicates the analysis of the lens to determine the real root cause, but there are few lenses in the F mount line up that really do well in the corners.

DX is much easier to do than FX, so when you see good results from a D7100 it does not imply that FX lenses will meet the demands in the corners with 56 mp.

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shigzeo ?
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to user_name, 9 months ago

user_name wrote:

For landscape you want sharp edges and few lenses really perform well in this domain. The Zeiss 21mm is one example, but most lenses have trouble in the corners and must be stopped down a good bit to compensate.

Field curvature complicates the analysis of the lens to determine the real root cause, but there are few lenses in the F mount line up that really do well in the corners.

DX is much easier to do than FX, so when you see good results from a D7100 it does not imply that FX lenses will meet the demands in the corners with 56 mp.

I think there are few people that shoot landscape all the time wide open. Stopped down a few stops will get pretty damn sharp images from all but bad lenses. I don't use any of Nikon's new lenses, so I don't know how they perform, but on my a7r and D800, all of my Ai lenses except for one are blistering sharp in the centre, and with one or two stops, critically sharp at the edges for all but close range focusing.

I'm sure we'll all be fine. Sharp lenses only get sharper with more resolution.

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Grevture
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The Corner Red Herring
In reply to user_name, 9 months ago

user_name wrote:

For landscape you want sharp edges and few lenses really perform well in this domain. The Zeiss 21mm is one example, but most lenses have trouble in the corners and must be stopped down a good bit to compensate.

But putting any lens on a 54 MP camera will in no single instance ever look any worse then it did on a 36 MP camera. Or a 12 MP camera for that matter.

On the contrary, it will in most cases look slightly or noticeably better with a 54 MP sensor then it did with any of the previous resolutions.

If a lens has bad corners, it will be bad already with a 6 MP camera, but with higher resolution you will get every little bit of performance out of those corners - and you have better oppurtunities to adjust for lens shortcomings like distortion or CA.

Bad lens corner performance is not a valid argument against higher resolution sensors. At the very worst, you will get the same corner detail you got with a lower resolution sensor. Never ever will it be worse.

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Grevture
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Don't worry so much :)
In reply to dellaaa, 9 months ago

dellaaa wrote:

I am the owner of a Nikon D800 and NEX7. I love the D800, the NEX7, not so much.

My question may be naive but I will post anyway. In using the D800 and from most accounts, 36 MP really taxes both the lenses attached and the shooting techniques.

Only slightly more then a 12 MP camera does.

In the film days, it would be analogous to loading Kodak's Tech Pan and shooting it at ISO 25, tremendous resolution capabilities, in many instances, out resolving the lens.

So, my question is this, what is the next step in higher resolution FF sensors, and why? I read recently that Sony is developing a 54 MP FF sensor. Does this make sense?

Yes

Unless newer, better lens technology becomes available (and I have no doubt that it will, but it maybe a ways off) why produce a sensor that will out perform all existing glass?

Because the "sensors outperforming lenses" is for the most part a misunderstanding. As it is to today, and even with a 36 MP sensor, the opposite problem, the sensor limiting the sensor, is still the bigger problem.

This is a two way street: Both sensors and lenses contribute to the limitations of the entire system, and as things stand today, it is still the sensor which is the most significant limitation in regards to the entire system.

Is 36 MP all that anyone can really utilize, let alone need?

No.

What about non Bayer pattern sensors, like the Sigma Fovon. It is in theory a 46 MP sensor, but there are only 16 MP for each color channel. Would boosting this any further increase low ISO performance?

The Foevon technology has a lot of limitations and problems in itself, and the higher resolutions we get, the less problem the Bayer interpolation cause. Foevon technology made sense back when we were at single digit megapixel counts, but today it is just a very complicated way of getting no real advantage at all.

What do you all think?

Somewhere along the line we will probably get at least 50 MP aps-c cameras and 100 MP FF cameras. Beyond that it seem we really get into diminishing returns territory where further increases in resolutions just add file size without giving much practical contributions to the end result. If you want to read a good writeup on this, try this excellent post by FalK Lumo.

In most cases we are fine with around 10 megapixels, or 20 if we want to crop a bit too. But resolution is basically like chocolate - more is always better

Just because you have a 36 or 54 or 100 MP camera, you do not need to fully utilize that resolution in each and every image. It is a potential you can explore when you want to. You can do casual vacation shooting also with a 100 MP camera, no image will ever look worse just because you used more resolution to capture it. But when you want it, the higher resolution is there for you, to be used.

The only real draw back is file sizes, but that is actually a minor inconvenience compared to not having good resolution at your disposal when you want it.

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Tony Beach
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Re: 54MP is next
In reply to Horshack, 9 months ago

Horshack wrote:

Which is a 24MP APS-C pixel in a FF form factor. As to the why, it's so that camera companies stay in business.

It should eliminate any moire issues.

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user_name
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Re: The Corner Red Herring
In reply to Grevture, 9 months ago

Grevture wrote:

user_name wrote:

For landscape you want sharp edges and few lenses really perform well in this domain. The Zeiss 21mm is one example, but most lenses have trouble in the corners and must be stopped down a good bit to compensate.

But putting any lens on a 54 MP camera will in no single instance ever look any worse then it did on a 36 MP camera. Or a 12 MP camera for that matter.

True, but you didn't put it on a 54mp camera to look the same.

On the contrary, it will in most cases look slightly or noticeably better with a 54 MP sensor then it did with any of the previous resolutions.

But may not look as good as it could.

If a lens has bad corners, it will be bad already with a 6 MP camera, but with higher resolution you will get every little bit of performance out of those corners - and you have better oppurtunities to adjust for lens shortcomings like distortion or CA.

Bad lens corner performance is not a valid argument against higher resolution sensors. At the very worst, you will get the same corner detail you got with a lower resolution sensor. Never ever will it be worse.

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I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every moment of it!
By the way, film is not dead.
It just smells funny

Look, I bought the D800 because I wanted to maximize the performance I could get.  While it is true I could get good performance with a good lens it soon became clear that the only way to extract the full potential out of the camera was to pay the price for the best glass I could get.

As an example, my 70-200 VR I did pretty well on my D700, but it prevented the D800 from returning the best IQ that it was capable of.  In order to go further required a better lens.

It's like owning a Ferrari or other high performance car and putting Sears' fire sale tires on it.  Sure, the car performs better than a Buick, but it never will perform as well as it would with the OEM tires it was delivered with from the factory.  You don't buy a Ferrari just so you can run sub-par tires.  You can, but it's not the best use of the car.

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user_name
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Re: Don't worry so much :)
In reply to Grevture, 9 months ago

Good link and I think it helps me better understand your point about what the true upper limits can be for FX.

Thanks.

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Grevture
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Re: The Corner Red Herring
In reply to user_name, 9 months ago

user_name wrote:

Grevture wrote:

user_name wrote:

For landscape you want sharp edges and few lenses really perform well in this domain. The Zeiss 21mm is one example, but most lenses have trouble in the corners and must be stopped down a good bit to compensate.

But putting any lens on a 54 MP camera will in no single instance ever look any worse then it did on a 36 MP camera. Or a 12 MP camera for that matter.

True, but you didn't put it on a 54mp camera to look the same.

But looking the same is the worst case scenario, most of the time it will look better. And we still get a noticeable performance boost in the most of the image. So what is the problem?

On the contrary, it will in most cases look slightly or noticeably better with a 54 MP sensor then it did with any of the previous resolutions.

But may not look as good as it could.

That is a odd argument. With that as an argument we should never have ventured beyond the 1,3 megapixels or thereabouts we had in early digital cameras - because for every increase in resolution, it may not look as good as it could

If a lens has bad corners, it will be bad already with a 6 MP camera, but with higher resolution you will get every little bit of performance out of those corners - and you have better oppurtunities to adjust for lens shortcomings like distortion or CA.

Bad lens corner performance is not a valid argument against higher resolution sensors. At the very worst, you will get the same corner detail you got with a lower resolution sensor. Never ever will it be worse.

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I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every moment of it!
By the way, film is not dead.
It just smells funny

Look, I bought the D800 because I wanted to maximize the performance I could get. While it is true I could get good performance with a good lens it soon became clear that the only way to extract the full potential out of the camera was to pay the price for the best glass I could get.

Ok.

As an example, my 70-200 VR I did pretty well on my D700, but it prevented the D800 from returning the best IQ that it was capable of. In order to go further required a better lens.

Ok.

It's like owning a Ferrari or other high performance car and putting Sears' fire sale tires on it. Sure, the car performs better than a Buick, but it never will perform as well as it would with the OEM tires it was delivered with from the factory. You don't buy a Ferrari just so you can run sub-par tires. You can, but it's not the best use of the car.

Your comparison is a bit flawed. The thing with a D800 is that it can be a Ferrari when you put a good lens on it. But it can also act as a very easy to use beat up ol' station wagon when that is what you want. A D800 is a great tool to produce excellent quality images - and it is also a great vacation camera where you only utilize a fraction of its potential.

It is the same with a 54 MP or for that matter a 100 MP camera. It can be used to get the very outmost in image quality - and it can also be used to get just a fraction of its potential.

Seriously, do you always, in every single picture you take, want to get the absolutely perfect image quality corner to corner? It that really is your goal, then you should just not stay with the very best lenses, you should also get the biggest and most stable tripod you can buy and never ever use the camera without it. And never ever shoot without using Mirror-Up.

In real life we only occasionally use the full potential even of a pedestrian 12 MP camera. The greta thing about having 24, 36, and a future 54 MP camera is they can provide even more performance when you want it. Some people for some unknown reason see this extra potential as a problem, other seem to think it is pointless unless you always utilize it.

I see it as a great asset and potential to use those times I need or want it, and at others times I just use the camera as I would have used any 3, 6, 12 or 24 MP camera.

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I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every moment of it!
By the way, film is not dead.
It just smells funny

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tektrader
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to dellaaa, 9 months ago

Everyone thinks 36Mpixel is too much till they start to print BIG...............

I recently got a HP large format printer and have been disgusted to find my D7000 files which looked pretty good before, are really a steaming pile of poo when printed at 24 inches by 47 inches.

As far as I am concerned give me as many pixels as you can fit in it while not sacrificing other aspects of its performance. The D800 is a dream machine..........

For this reason alone I would not touch a DF, I just want a D800 with 8 FPS

I find the D800 RAW file sizes manageable after building a new PC, so IMO there is no real restriction in the big files. PC horsepower is very cheap compared to what I have spent on Camera equipment.

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