Why not a low light GOD: 6MP FF sensor w/ gigantic photon wells?

Started Feb 12, 2008 | Discussions thread
John Sheehy Forum Pro • Posts: 25,110
Re: ISOs

Gregory King wrote:

Now I know why I don't design sensors.

"can give" or "will give"?

"Will" would be too strong promise. There are all kinds of ways to screw up a product, or paint oneself into a corner, when designing cameras.

So, why then did they put 12mp on the D3 if 25mp would have given the
same or lower noise, by your explanation?

With current technology, there doesn't seem to be a way to get high-ISO optimization with limited sensor space for the support circuitry. This is Nikon's first foray into this type of thing, so you have to wait to see what else they offer, but the 12MP count makes for faster writing to the card.

More numerous smaller pixels can give better performance at the low ISO end, including more image DR, and this can be simulated with existing sensors. Any high-MP P&S camera will outperform any big-pixel DSLR with the same absolute subject size on the sensor; IOW, if you fill a frame with a subject on a 10MP P&S, and take a 5D or D3 and use the same size subject image in a crop, the P&S will have not only more resolution, but more image DR at base ISO. The 5D, and D3, however, have high ISO optimizations and may be slightly better (but not drastically).

I suspect that the path towards maximum IQ would require two different sensors; one for maximum performance at base ISO, with ultra-high resolution, and high-ISO sensor that can't do low ISOs, with possibly lower resolution if lots of sensor space is still needed for the circuitry.

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