More pixels?

Started Mar 2, 2014 | Discussions thread
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 58,595
Re: More pixels?

pcm81 wrote:

Allot of people talk about d800 with its 36mp and the future models with even more MP. I am one of those people who actually shoots d800, although not professionally. Bottom line is, pixel count on it is not all that much better than my d90 had in 09, but the dynamic range and color accuracy is a major upgrade. Is more pixels than 36 a bad thing? No, of course not. But the real trick is not to just bump up pixel count, but also improve dynamic range of the sensor. Cleaner higher ISO. I'd love to see a 24MPX camera with 6400ISO matching the 200ISO of d800 in per pixel IQ.

You will never, ever see that. Most of the noise is shot noise, proportional to the square root of the number of photons collected per pixel. The area ratio between 24MP and 36MP is 1.5, so a 24MP pixel collects 1.5 times as many photons as a 36MP sensor for the same size and efficiency. So, even on per-pixel measurements (which don't make a lot of sense in the first place) the best you'll see is a 300 ISO matching 200 ISO - which is just as you'd expect. If any manufacturer had some magic want which would make their sensor collect 32 times as many photons, they could apply it just as easily to the 36MP sensor as the 24MP. In any case, there are not that many photons to collect, modern sensor collect about half of the available. Even if you could make a 100% efficient sensor which collected all the available photons at each pixel, that is nly six times what we have at the moment.

Pixel count race will continue, b/c more is better in the minds of the consumer

Actually, it's because increasing the pixel count is the most direct way for a sensor designer to satisfy a requirement for better IQ.

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