This article should be read by everybody

Started Dec 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
K E Hoffman
K E Hoffman Veteran Member • Posts: 5,103
Thanks - Sensor Designer Sony Confirms my Opinion

Robsphoto wrote:


Subdividing a sensor using similar technology and design DOES increase NOISE.. Just a fact. Smart people each year find ways to reduce noise so the smaller pixel has a better Signal to Noise Ratio and the noise cost of More MP is reduced..

Does the noise price undo the value of more MP?... in all but the extreme cases.. I don't think so. I am less worried about 1:1 pixel sensor noise than I used to be.. because scaling does help and PP software gets better. But you can't make up facts.. buy ignoring actual changes that happen in a sensor when it is subdivided and thinking of it as a theoretical collective when noise increase happens per pixel.

Thanks very much for a very interesting post in which you say that:

“The key is NOISE does not happen at the SENSOR level. It happens PIXEL by pixel.”

I would be interested in your opinion about this statement from Sony about the relatively high pixel count of the Sony RX100:

Question to Sony:

"Why did you want a 20.2-megapixel sensor? I heard that this incredibly high pixel count would negatively impact noise levels, thereby decreasing image quality at high ISO settings.

Answer from Sony:

Ueda (Image Quality Design)

"It’s true that increasing pixel count increases noise. But since we manufacture our own sensors, we can easily tweak sensor specs to suit specific needs. This allowed us to craft a totally new sensor that delivers superbly detailed images with low noise. For high-sensitivity shooting we managed to reduce noise levels below those of existing Cyber-shots by combining technologies from Cyber-shot and α Series. As a result, we can shoot at up to ISO 6400 for normal photos and up to ISO 25600 when using Multi Frame NR."

Also in the above statement, Kaimi (Product Design) said this:

"Some compact cameras keep noise down with lower pixel counts. But there are users who really want super-fine images, which require a high pixel count. But if the higher pixel count leads to unacceptable noise levels that the noise reduction system can’t reduce without affecting image quality, it is essentially self-defeating. Our new sensor achieves both super-fine images and low noise so even distant landscapes shot at telephoto focal lengths show great detail. People are going to love this compact camera for travel photography."

This question is to K E Hoffman and asks, in light of the information given in your very informative posts to this thread, do you think Ueda’s statement that “it’s true that increasing pixel count increases noise” is reasonable from a technical point of view? If so, do you think that Ueda was referring to noise at the pixel level, or noise that would be visible at the IMAGE level (if Sony hadn’t “managed to reduce noise levels below those of existing Cyber-shots”)?

Incidentally, I have started to construct a page on my web site that includes expert opinion from many different web sites so that readers can make up their own minds about these issues when they are deciding which camera best suits their needs:



My opinion is that he said exactly what I have been saying. Increased Pixel count in same size sensor increases noise.. but you can improve the design of the sensor (that includes pixel level improvements and support electronics improvements to reduce that noise)

Since this comes from an member of a sensor design team, not an academic. And it is released with marketing team approval who would love to say there is no noise cost to more MP. It tells me the MYTH is that MORE MP doesn't affect noise.

IT does, he says so as one of the leading sensor makers on the planet. He is also very proud that they find ways to improve the sensor response and reduce noise.

But also as I say in several of my posts.. the noise coverage in reviews is overblown and there is no current DSLR where you would not apply some NR to the RAW PP and they always compare RAW with no NR.

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K.E.H. >> Shooting between raindrops in WA<<

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