End of Megapixel wars and EF-S buying decisions

Started Feb 23, 2006 | Discussions thread
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David Martin Forum Pro • Posts: 17,056
End of Megapixel wars and EF-S buying decisions

Those of you who are happy with around 8MP will not have to concern yourself in any way with this information, but some of you may be buying EF-S and thinking that in future that the number of pixels in the 1.6 format will increase quite a bit, as it has done historically in the past.

This now appearsrather less likely, and I will put into this post the various bits of information which tend to that conclusion so that you can make your own minds up:

A little while ago Chuck Westfall (Canon Technical) did an interview in which he said that we had come about as far as we could in putting more pixels in - he was actually talking about compact cameras, and I can't remember if he entered the caveat 'at present technical levels'

Unfortunately the post is now been pulled, but I include a link to the site here which confirms the header and gives a link where those who want to check further can do so:


This has now been given further weight by a new interview with Chuck at IR where he talks about the reason for the 30D having the same number of pixels as the 20D - and this one has got the caveat 'at current technical levels:

Paul Pope, whom some of you may not know has excellent contacts with Canon, and frequently has access to models and prototypes before release, confirms that there was a higher megapixel count 1.6 around which dissappeared - perhaps it is not unreasonable to infer from Chuck's interview that Canon could not get the high MP count to give decent results, although that is not cast-iron, of course:

Finally, here are a couple of links to more techinical info, firstly one explaining condsiderations of sensor size and pixel density:

And one on diffraction - what it is, and at what pixel size it starts to become important:

What this one boils down to is that as you start to go to greater pixel density than the 20D/30D, diffraction really starts to kick in and hurt.
So to summarise:

SO FAR AS WE KNOW AT THE PRESENT TIME (Sorry to shout, but I really thought that needed emphasis),

Pixel count for the respective size sensors given the noise performance Canon likes to give us, yields around:
1.6: 8MP

1.3: 12MP (I know, it seems a bit unlikely that we will see too much of that senssor in future!)
1.0: 22MP

PS - for anyone who is thinking that the Nikon D2000 is APS-C sized, and has 10MP two considerations must be bourne in mind:

the Nikon sensor is 1.5, the Canon 1.6, so in fact to have the same density as the 30D the Nikon would have around 9MP anyway.

The D200 has rather worse noise performance than the 20D - different sensor tehnology, a manufacturer which is not so experienced in NR, - but even so, worse than the 20D.

Things may change, of course, but the question I would now be asking myself before buying EF-S glass is 'Willl 8MP suit me for the foreseeable future?'

Rather than'I will probably get the extra rez I could really do with in the next generation of camera'
That is something of a paradigm shift

Please see profile for equipment

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