Incredible low-light video footage from Canon

Started Mar 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
Cy Cheze Senior Member • Posts: 2,028
A Sure-Fire Way to Cut "Noise" Over Pixel Size Debate

Eric Fossum wrote:

I am sorry but this is just incorrect.

This is a perennial hot argument that inspires all sorts of conjecture and hypotheses, whose tests are either nonexistent or opaque.

Are there any "fair" side-by-side comparisons of JPEGs shot, at various ISO levels, with devices which are identical in every respect, except for pixel count or size?  Presumably, the differences, if any would be greatest at ISO over 400 in the case of a 1/2.3" sensor, or perhaps smaller.

Or is any comparison difficult because cameras are all designed to cut "noise"?

Several Canon videocams employ 2MP sensors which do quite well in low light.  Some presume this is because fewer pixels mean less noise at low light, but you infer that is not the case.

What of the elimination of low-pass filters on some new cameras?  Was the "received wisdom" about the filter's role to cut aliasing or moiré unfounded?

My myopic, peon, worm's-eye observation is only that most low ISO pictures, wether shot with a 4mp CCD camera in 2003, or a 25mp CMOS in 2013, look the same to me.  Friends see no difference between a phone-camera shot and other images anyway.  To recognize the face or pet is enough.

How a 12,5000 ISO shot looks when zoomed to pixel level seems like judging a car by how it "handles" in city traffic at 100mph: in practice, unknown movements of the traffic, and driver error, offset any marginal improvement in agility.   If and when one actually "needs" ultra ISO, something else is apt to flaw the result: light balance, flare, blow-outs, or sheer lack of viewer appeal.

With due respect for expert opinion, I vaguely suspect that adding pixels or high ISO is driven more by marketing than by utility.  See-in-the dark cameras or video for security cameras or nocturnal wildlife tracking is quite interesting, or maybe the intrepid noight owl paparazzi, but not for the usual commercial photographer.  Meanwhile, plenty of myopic peons will be curious to view the output of such devices with their worm-eyes.

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