more pixels are better!

Started Dec 14, 2008 | Discussions thread
Graystar Veteran Member • Posts: 8,373
Re: more pixels are better!

Iforgetwhat8was4 wrote:

I'm not trying to compare digital compacts with SLR's.

Okay, got it.

Rather I'm
suggesting that in some situations - good light, huge blow-up - a
high pixel count P&S can rival a smaller count SLR.

I understand your suggestion. The answer is no. With the right content it is possible that it may look more detailed, as I've mentioned earlier. However there are two points to make. First, of course, it that it will always have more noise. You can't get around that. Second, the difference in detail isn't as great as the MP difference might suggest. DSLR images respond better to resizing than compact images. A 6MP image from a compact, no matter how optimal the conditions, will not exhibit the same apparent detail that a 6MP image from a DSLR will. So, back to your example, the likely result is that you probably won't gain as much detail as you think, but the extra noise of the small sensor will always be there. Under those condition my wager would be on the P&S not “rivaling” the DSLR.

Not to be overlooked, however, is John Sheehy's comment that he likes the detail even with the extra noise. It appears that, along with beauty, IQ is also in the eye of the beholder.

One could do
this with faster lens like the LX3's 2.0, but that is more expensive,
and the SLR can always slap on a 1.7...

Before you look at lens speed...what ISO are we discussing? Are we comparing performance at base ISO (which, I believe, loosely means the point at which gain = 1 for the sensor)? If you're matching ISO speed then the lens speed doesn't matter. Fast lens/fast shutter vs. slow lens/slow doesn't make a difference because the same amount of light is captured. Of course, the LX3's fast lens makes a difference at the kid's birthday party when compared to a camera with a slower lens. But that has nothing to do with image quality.

whereas we do not (yet) have
interchangable back end sensor modules... Perhaps putting 12Mp in,
instead of 6Mp is simply a cheap and easy way to extend the P&S's
envelop of performance.

I don't think it makes a difference. The latest sensors perform better than older sensors because technology marches on. But when comparing sensor of equal manufacture, where the only difference is MP count, in that case the print from the higher MP count will have more detail but the same noise level. Depending on the size of the print, the detail may or may not be noticeable...the reverse of the low MP image where pixelization may or may not be noticeable.

Anyway, I'm guessing there are 3 liimits on pixel count (density) -
noise, optical resolution, and pixel precision (how finely it can
register light values before it is saturated). Or is noise a product
of the latter two? I am hoping somewhere theres a discussion of what
these limits are and how close we are getting to them...

There's lots of good info available on these areas. Personally, the final print is all the info I need

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