more pixels are better!

Started Dec 14, 2008 | Discussions thread
OP Iforgetwhat8was4 Contributing Member • Posts: 795
Re: more pixels are better!

Graystar wrote:

Iforgetwhat8was4 wrote:

Let me take another shot at understanding...

For a given sensor size and given chunk of light (more or less base
ISO), the camera can fill its pixels with enough photons that it can
statistically supress noise. This allows a 12mp compact, in good
light, to produce a file that can be enlarged beyond a 6mp DSLR
without showing pixelization. (Other limitations of the small format
might separate the image quality, however.) This is the easiest way
for a compact to rival some of a DSLR's capacities, so the designers
are motivated to do so.

No, sorry...this is a strike. Given similar pixel technology, noise
depends entirely on sensor size. Given the same framing, the small
sensor image will have more noise than the large sensor image. It is
possible that the image from the 12MP compact will have more detail.
That's certainly a possibility in good light. But even with more
detail, it will have more noise. Even if the detail is reduced to
match the 6MP sensor, it will have more noise.

Smaller sensor = more noise. There's no way around it. This, along
with some other reasons, is why compacts with small sensor can't
rival DSLR images (and they really don't...really.)

I think we may be saying the same thing. A smaller sensor with more noise but twice the "resolution" (pixel count) can enlarge twice the size of the larger sensor, provided the absolute noise level is small enough. I'm guessing that in good light, this is possible for a P&S, and this is what's driving the designs. (?)

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