16MP sensor improvements?

Started Apr 24, 2013 | Questions thread
azazel1024 Senior Member • Posts: 1,139
Re: Keep in mind.....

richarddd wrote:

tedolf wrote:

Msnap wrote:

How much better is the new sensor that Olympus use in the E-PM2 and other recent models? I know it's higher resolution, but I imagine it has a measurable improvement in terms of Stops? Or can it just go to higher ISOs?


that you will have more diffraction effects with more pixels on the same size sensor.

"For a given sensor size and lens, more pixels always result in more detail -- that's a fact.  As we stop down and the DOF deepens, we reach a point where we begin to lose detail due to diffraction softening.  As a consequence, photos made with more pixels will begin to lose their detail advantage earlier and quicker than images made with fewer pixels, but they will always retain more detail.  Eventually, the additional detail afforded by the extra pixels becomes trivial (most certainly by f/32 on FF).  See here  for an excellent example of the effect of pixel size on diffraction softening."


The 12mp sensor can be stoped down to f/11-16 without a lot of noticable diffraction.

With the 16mp sensor you are going to start seeing diffraction at f/8.

So the extra resolution is not without cost.

Important for macro and wide angle shots with something in the foreground.

Also, most people rarely print above 16 x 20 so the extra resolution really isn't neccessary.

Dynamc range does seem to be better but there are other ways to handle that.


Yup. Not a lot to say other than to re-enforce that.

If you upscale a 12mp m4/3 image taken at f/16 to 16mp and then use the same lens with a 16mp m4/3 image taken at f/16, the 16mp image will have more detail still. At f/16, the difference will not be extreme, it will be very small, but there will be slightly more detail.

At f/11 you have the samething, at f/8, f/5.6, etc, etc, etc. The only difference is that the difference is more noticable less diffraction is limiting the real resolution of the image. You will notice diffraction earlier with the higher MP count image only because more detail is evident, it doesn't mean that less detail is being captured.

In my experience comparing my wife's E-PL1 with my OM-D E-M5 at ISO400-800 noise is around 1 stop lower, at ISO1600 and up it is two stops lower. In shadows the difference is even greater in large part because the new 16MP sensors in the Olympus cameras have significantly better shadow response as well as very low chroma noise until you get to VERY high ISOs (more luminance based, which is much prettier to look at). Shadow noise is at least 2 stops better at all ISOs and I'd say maybe 3 stops better at ISO1600 and up.

Dynamic range isn't hugely improved, probably a stop and a half, maybe a hair more. However, the highlight response is much better. The older 12MP sensors tended to hit the ceiling on dynamic range and just cut off. The new 16MP sensors have a much smoother roll of with highlight response. It looks a lot more natural (call it film like if you want, whatever) than the harder clipping that the old 12MP sensors have.

You also have those two extra stops of high ISO if you need them (I rarely shoot above ISO1600, occasionally ISO3200 or 6400. Yes I have used ISO12800 and 25600. I even have a print of one ISO12800. A nice B&W. It is very heavily grained, but it works for the shot. I don't have a single ISO3200 shot from my wife's E-PL1 that is useable and only a few ISO1600 shots that are).

The difference truely is profound. That doesn't mean you can't make nice pictures with the old 12MP cameras...but the flexibility and benifits of the new 16MP sensors are very hard to understate.

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Many things dealing with Olympus and their OM and Pen cameras, plus my general photography and musings http://omexperience.wordpress.com/

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