This article should be read by everybody

Started Dec 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
tbcass
OP tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 38,810
Re: Sony's 16.41mp phone sensor and its small pixels: Apple increases pixel size on the iPhone 5S

K E Hoffman wrote:

Physics and Electronics have truths.. Small pixels for no cost in noise AND / OR RD and better tech is a fantasy.

Except that a sensor with twice the pixel density has twice as many pixels. The article I referenced at the beginning showed that the signal to noise ratio of 2 small pixels combined is the same as one pixel twice the size. This is why the total noise produced depends on the size of the sensor not the number of pixels. Thus the concept of downsizing a higher resolution sensor to match the noise of a lower resolution sensor at high iso for 100% comparison.

While a 24mp sensor might have more pixel level noise at iso100-800 than a 16mp sensor which has more noise than a 10mp sensor (etc) the noise at lower iso is below the S/N threshold where noise becomes a problem. It's at iso 1600 and above the high resolution sensor loses it's advantage and things become equal.

If a 16mp sensor truly has better equalized S/N ratio than a 24mp sensor why stop there? Why not 8mp for even less noise or 4 mp? It's because other than filesize there is no drawback to more MP (up to the point where the chip wiring becomes a limitation). Some suggest that with existing tech 24mp is the the high limit for APS-C thus is the ideal pixel count for best IQ.

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Tom
Look at the picture, not the pixels
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Miss use of the ability to do 100% pixel peeping is the bane of digital photography because it causes people to fret over inconsequential issues.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/63683676@N07/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/25301400@N00/

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