What comes after 36 MPixels and why?

Started 7 months ago | Discussions
BillyInya
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to dellaaa, 7 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?

Crazy isn't it.

The file sizes to have to work with, then the reducing in size to what you want to use it for, I mean even 24MP is way over the top in my opinion.

I reckon 16MP is around the sweet spot but even then that's a huge number. Seriously, when does anyone actually use every bit of that at its full resolution and size? let alone 24 or 36MP. I guess if you can't frame your shots properly and need to crop your brains out to get the subject matter sized the way you need it then massive res is going to be helpful.

As far as other sensors go, I'd get a DSLR syle mirrorless Nikon in a heart beat is it had the Fuji X-Trans sensor in it. Color purity and depth, skin tones, sharpness are all stunning with the X-Trans.

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SushiEater
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Re: 37 MPixels=Prime number
In reply to paulski66, 7 months ago

Impossible to make in to 2:3 or 3:4 format.

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Grevture
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Aha.
In reply to Tony Beach, 7 months ago

Tony Beach wrote:

Grevture wrote:

Tony Beach wrote:

Tom Nokin wrote:

I tend to put the main subject of my photos in and around the center of the frame. What do you do?

I have many photos where a face or something I want to draw your attention to is not in the center of the frame. When I do landscape/architecture photos, even when everything "important" is closer to the center of the frame I find soft edges distracting and downright disappointing.

... that is still a lens issue, not a sensor issue.

True, and I am not saying I don't want a higher resolution sensor because some lenses are poor performers in the corners. I was merely responding to your question (even though it wasn't directed to me specifically).

Aha, I thought I recognized you signature as one of those who does not live in mortal fear of more pixels

What I find confusing is that some posters keep using soft corners and soft lenses as arguments against higher resolution. That to me is mostly a unrelated issue.

BTW, the question was Tom's, not mine

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MrCrowley
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Re: But still ...
In reply to Grevture, 7 months ago

Grevture wrote:

Tony Beach wrote:

Tom Nokin wrote:

I tend to put the main subject of my photos in and around the center of the frame. What do you do?

I have many photos where a face or something I want to draw your attention to is not in the center of the frame. When I do landscape/architecture photos, even when everything "important" is closer to the center of the frame I find soft edges distracting and downright disappointing.

... that is still a lens issue, not a sensor issue. To me it remains a mystery why at times bad corner performance is brought up as an argument against higher sensor resolutions. If anything, the higher resolutions increase the opportunities to deal with sub par corner performance caused by the lenses. And why should we limit the center image resolution just because the corner resolutions is not as good?

It is like those arguing higher resolution sensors are pointless since some older zoom lenses cannot utilize the sensor to its fullest performance. That is a bit like arguing it is pointless to have a car which can go faster then 20 Mph since we at times are stuck in traffic ...

To turn the question around: Should we limit our sensors so not to embarrass our worst performing lenses (or the worst corners of lenses) or should we make sensors which can utilize the very best of our lenses?

I certainly prefer the latter

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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

Nothing wrong with your view(point) I agree on it... but as far as my next move or upgrade is concerned it will have to be the glass.. and I own a bunch of the better Nikon lenses already. The D800 sure is hard on them (for some of my photography). It would make little sense (for me) to crank more Mpixels through some of them.

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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why? more....
In reply to dellaaa, 7 months ago

More MP's starting with 54MP. The Pentax K3 and Nikon D7100 are more pixel dense than the D800  and appear to have wonderful files.

So...more....

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J Mankila
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Depends what "around the centre" means...
In reply to Tom Nokin, 7 months ago

Tom Nokin wrote:

I tend to put the main subject of my photos in and around the center of the frame. What do you do?

I try to place the subject anywhere else but the centre of the frame.

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regards
Janne Mankila, Finland

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Jay Paul H
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to Tom Nokin, 7 months ago

Tom Nokin wrote:

Megapixel will steadily increase, because it is technically possible and because it will be demanded. Though the increase will come at a much slower pace. The step from 36 to 54 isn't that much in resolution. To double the resolution you need four times more megapixel. So the increase of 18 MP from 36 to 54 is only 12,5% in resolution power, in theory! From 6 MP to 24 MP "only" doubled the resolution.
The limiting factors will be noise (no one will accept a step back), camera processing speed (D800 has only 4fps for a reason) and most importantly of course lens quality.
I am using a great number of older MF and AF lenses with my D800 (together with some new premium lenses) and I can say, most of them give good results, but only the very top lenses make full use of the extra resolution the D800 sensor provides. E.g.: I am also using a AF 3,5-5,6 28-70 Standard-Zoom from the early nineties, a decent, but not top lens and for most purposes with very good results. But don't expect the extra resolution to make a real difference to using the same lens on a D700. Lens quality will improve though. Almost all Nikons newest premium lenses are significantly better, Sigma released some very very good lenses and Zeiss just introduced a line (Otus) of stellar performers. But this will also be a slow process.
In that sense, it is very likely, that camera cycles and significant improvements will lengthen. Cameras like the D800 will remain very competitive for a much longer time than previous camera releases 7 or 8 years ago. So.... get a D800 for the rest of this decade!

I think you have nailed it. At least in the near future, baring some quantum leap in sensor technology.

I see several parallels between sensor technology and computer chip technology. Computer performance has slowed considerably - at least at the CPU level - most of the recent performance gains have been the result of peripheral advances - SSD drives, USB 3, Thunderbolt, etc.

As the data stream becomes larger, heat will begin to be a problem as well as battery life. With the currently accepted form factor in cameras, this will be challenging for the industry.

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hewhosculpts
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to dellaaa, 7 months ago

To be honest, I don't think it makes much sense to go beyond 36 MP. As it is, the 24MP APS-C senor is a wasted effort on cameras like the D3200, D5200 abd D7100 except when shooting with the best possible lenses. Therefore, if Nikon comes out with a 54MP D900 for say $3500 then we'd have to spend another $10,000 to $15,000 to get a minimal kit of the high end lenses (which wouldn't be all that light weight or easy to shoot with.)  Now, that is pushing into the low end medium format price range and I'd expect that the very same senor improvements that made a 54MP FF sensor cheap enough to be commercial would also help push down the price of medium format digital cameras...

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hewhosculpts
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Re: A problem for the camera companies...
In reply to maljo@inreach.com, 7 months ago

There is plenty of room for better lenses... For instance, the 24-70 is well over do for a major overhaul. Also, I use a 24-120 F4 as my walk around lens and I'd drop it in second if there was a replacement as good as the 70-200 F4 available.

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hewhosculpts
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Re: D7100 points at 56.5 Mpix
In reply to Bob GB, 7 months ago

They are also somewhat delusional if they think they are really getting 24 MP worth of resolution with the lenses they use. I suspect the users of the D800 are knowledgeable enough to spot a camera that has a useless amount of resolution from it's sensor.

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anotherMike
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Re: A problem for the camera companies...
In reply to hewhosculpts, 7 months ago

Yea, that was what I was thinking too - lenses lenses lenses. Sure - when my D800E breaks/wears out and the next model is available, I'll get it. Having more data is not a bad thing, even if the perceptible improvement in resolution won't honestly be noticeable in the vast majority of cases, even with the best lenses, since the apertures most of us shoot at will be into the land where diffraction impacts are robbing the slight bit we might theoretically gain back, but if they were to get 54mp with similar DR and color (or better) than the 800E, when the time comes, I'll upgrade.

But getting to your point - my question is also: where the hell are the lenses? Nikon knows glass - they've made great stuff, but where are the top end lenses that will match up to the best zeiss and sigma offer right now? Sure - the 58/1.4 was a nice pet project for a senior lens designer, and for its intended tasks, it's awesome, but it's not a resolution oriented lens and I'd think it's high time Nikon came out with STELLAR updates to the 20, 105, 135 and 180mm primes along with very high performing but more reasonably priced/slower aperture updates to the 24/2.8 and 35/2. I love Nikon glass, but in the higher rez world we live in now, my most used lenses are a Zeiss 21 for landscape (better than any Nikon offering - I tested enough that I sold my 14-24) and a Sigma 35/1.4 for fashion/studio, with the Nikon 24/1.4G coming in next for landscape as my other most used lens. Ten years ago if you had told me that my two most used lenses would NOT be Nikkors, I would have told you to go fly a kite. Times have changed.

Nikon wants to sell some gear - get the lens designers off their rears, working on some very high quality designs that compete with the best that's out there. I'll be a buyer for sure. Right now, barring some announcements from the mothership, my next three lens purchases over the next two years don't include a single Nikon, which is shocking. (Zeiss or Sigma 135/2, Zeiss 18, Zeiss 50) - 4 grand or so heading into Zeiss and/or Sigma's pockets instead. Perhaps some day Nikon will get the hint....

-m

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Leonard Shepherd
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Re: Clarifying a detail
In reply to dellaaa, 7 months ago

dellaaa wrote:

in many instances, out resolving the lens.

Clarifying a detail no film or sensor has ever out resolved any reasonable lens. This is why when you go from 12 to 24 or 36 MP you get more image resolution - with every lens you already own.

This is not the same as saying the best films and sensors do not help produce the very best image quality when used with the very best lenses. The best sensors used with the best lenses are capable of the best results.

Those who suggest 36 MP at 100 ISO (the optimum speed) contributes more to the final image quality than a top lens at optimal aperture are probably right - though you need good quality light and top technique to get optimal quality whatever equipment you us.

I think sensors are going to improve much faster than lenses over the next 5-10 years at any given price point.

I expect 50 MP or more within 5 years with a bit more resolution and better tonal gradation and edge detail sharpness when making large prints. There is, of course, much more to image quality than MP in isolation as with the D3s major advance with noise and the D7000 major advance with dynamic range.

Whatever comes next I will consider it and if I think it will help my photography enough and falls within my budget I may buy it. Lets not overlook lenses! While the D7100 and D800 have contributed to an improvement in the quality of my images, for my wildlife work the 80-400 AF-s has been a very good buy.

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Grevture
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Finally!
In reply to Leonard Shepherd, 7 months ago

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

dellaaa wrote:

in many instances, out resolving the lens.

Clarifying a detail no film or sensor has ever out resolved any reasonable lens. This is why when you go from 12 to 24 or 36 MP you get more image resolution - with every lens you already own.

A fact suprisingly many users are oblivious to.

This is not the same as saying the best films and sensors do not help produce the very best image quality when used with the very best lenses. The best sensors used with the best lenses are capable of the best results.

What so many posters tend to forget is that the resulting image resolution is a result from the total system resolution - where 'system' mean the combination of lens and sensor. What gives the highest resolution results is obviously when combining the highest resolution sensors with the highest resolution lenses.

So both lens and sensor are limiting factors for the resulting image resolution. Plus of course factors like camera shake etc. But if we focus on the gear part, and as things stands today, even with a 36 megapixel sensor, it is still the sensor which is the bigger factor in limiting the resolution in the final image. We still have quite a bit to go before the lenses are even the dominating limitation, much less the only limitation for the final image resolution.

Those who suggest 36 MP at 100 ISO (the optimum speed) contributes more to the final image quality than a top lens at optimal aperture are probably right - though you need good quality light and top technique to get optimal quality whatever equipment you us.

Precisely, even with a pedestrian 12 MP camera or even a lowly 6 MP camera (like my old D70s) putting the camera on a sturdy tripod, or using very fast shutter speed will have a very noticeable impact. This of course becomes even more evident with a 36 MP D800 (or a 24 MP D7100), but only gradually so.

I think sensors are going to improve much faster than lenses over the next 5-10 years at any given price point.

Exactly. Improving the sensors still is and will for a while remain the most cost efficient way of improving total system resolution.

I expect 50 MP or more within 5 years with a bit more resolution and better tonal gradation and edge detail sharpness when making large prints. There is, of course, much more to image quality than MP in isolation as with the D3s major advance with noise and the D7000 major advance with dynamic range.

Whatever comes next I will consider it and if I think it will help my photography enough and falls within my budget I may buy it. Lets not overlook lenses! While the D7100 and D800 have contributed to an improvement in the quality of my images, for my wildlife work the 80-400 AF-s has been a very good buy.

As always, it is a combination of factors which gives the best final results: A high res sensor, a good lens, good technique, a tripod, choosing good light ... All factors matter, but increasing the sensor resolution is one technically straightforward and obvious way for the manufacturers to help us along. And of course develop new better versions of lenses (like teh new 80-400 which is a noticeable improvement over the old one).

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Grevture
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Eh ... No.
In reply to hewhosculpts, 7 months ago

hewhosculpts wrote:

To be honest, I don't think it makes much sense to go beyond 36 MP. As it is, the 24MP APS-C senor is a wasted effort on cameras like the D3200, D5200 abd D7100 except when shooting with the best possible lenses.

Have you actually tried?

It takes about one minute of shooting with almost any lens you can find to realize you are wrong in your assertion. And, yeas I have tried - a lot

Therefore, if Nikon comes out with a 54MP D900 for say $3500 then we'd have to spend another $10,000 to $15,000 to get a minimal kit of the high end lenses (which wouldn't be all that light weight or easy to shoot with.) Now, that is pushing into the low end medium format price range and I'd expect that the very same senor improvements that made a 54MP FF sensor cheap enough to be commercial would also help push down the price of medium format digital cameras...

You are way off target. A 54 MP D900 would make very good use also of low cost lenses (like 28/1.8, AF-S 50/1.8, 85/1.8). Actually, such a camera would mean improvements for more or less any lens currently sold by Nikon or third part manufacturers. More obviously with some, of course, but still very clearly with the vast majority and still noticeably with even the worst ones.

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calson
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to dellaaa, 7 months ago

The next step will be better analog to digital signal processors to improve image quality and improve processing speed for higher fps and write speeds to compact flash, along with better autofocusing systems. Autofocus is still the weakpoint of every camera sold today including ones that sell for more than $5500. The D4 is only marginally better in terms of its AF system's performance than the D7100 that sells for 80% less. And video autofocus is still in the dark ages.

Not that different from computers where people would focus exclusively on the CPU and ignore the other performance bottlenecks like the DMA for the RAM, IO for the hard drives, video processing, and application memory resources (amount and speed).

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Tony Beach
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Re: Aha.
In reply to Grevture, 7 months ago

Grevture wrote:

Tony Beach wrote:

Grevture wrote:

Tony Beach wrote:

Tom Nokin wrote:

I tend to put the main subject of my photos in and around the center of the frame. What do you do?

I have many photos where a face or something I want to draw your attention to is not in the center of the frame. When I do landscape/architecture photos, even when everything "important" is closer to the center of the frame I find soft edges distracting and downright disappointing.

... that is still a lens issue, not a sensor issue.

True, and I am not saying I don't want a higher resolution sensor because some lenses are poor performers in the corners. I was merely responding to your question (even though it wasn't directed to me specifically).

Aha, I thought I recognized you signature as one of those who does not live in mortal fear of more pixels

Yep.

What I find confusing is that some posters keep using soft corners and soft lenses as arguments against higher resolution. That to me is mostly a unrelated issue.

True.

BTW, the question was Tom's, not mine

My "bad."

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Tony Beach
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to hewhosculpts, 7 months ago

hewhosculpts wrote:

To be honest, I don't think it makes much sense to go beyond 36 MP. As it is, the 24MP APS-C sensor is a wasted effort on cameras like the D3200, D5200 abd D7100 except when shooting with the best possible lenses.

Here's the difference on a $200 lens.

Therefore, if Nikon comes out with a 54MP D900 for say $3500 then we'd have to spend another $10,000 to $15,000 to get a minimal kit of the high end lenses (which wouldn't be all that light weight or easy to shoot with.)

A complete PC-E lens kit runs less than $6000.

Now, that is pushing into the low end medium format price range and I'd expect that the very same sensor improvements that made a 54MP FF sensor cheap enough to be commercial would also help push down the price of medium format digital cameras...

If you fudge the numbers for both systems, with the 135 format upwards and the MFDB downwards then you get close, but any realistic comparison leaves them farther apart than you are suggesting.  What's more, DSLRs have better AF, more available lenses, are smaller, etc.  At best, you are comparing apples to oranges.

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Tony Beach
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to Tony Beach, 7 months ago

Tony Beach wrote:

hewhosculpts wrote:

To be honest, I don't think it makes much sense to go beyond 36 MP. As it is, the 24MP APS-C sensor is a wasted effort on cameras like the D3200, D5200 abd D7100 except when shooting with the best possible lenses.

Here's the difference on a $200 lens.

I forgot for a moment that this is a 10 MP to 16 MP comparison.  Nonetheless, there is no doubt more that can be squeezed out of this and many other affordable lenses with a higher resolution sensor.  The more practical question isn't the lens, but the support and discipline necessary to realize that greater resolution.

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samfan
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Re: What comes after 36 MPixels and why?
In reply to dellaaa, 7 months ago

The next step is 42.

If they skip that and go to 54 they'll never find the answer to the resolution, bokeh and everything.

Someone needs to make a 42 MPx sensor to find it.

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Grevture
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And I who thought ...
In reply to samfan, 7 months ago

samfan wrote:

the answer to the resolution, bokeh and everything.

... we would have to wait for the Nikon D42 to find that out

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