What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*

Started Mar 13, 2014 | Discussions thread
knickerhawk Veteran Member • Posts: 5,669
Re: What really makes big sensors produce more appealing images? *Serious*

69chevy wrote:

knickerhawk wrote:

69chevy wrote:

I'm not sure there is a correct answer.

My guess is that it has to do with pixel size.

No, it really doesn't have that much to do with pixel size unless, of course, the original Canon 5D is better than the 5D II and 5D III.

Many people think it was. If the shortcomings of the body weren't so severe, I would still be using it.

Digital nostalgia...

Aside from the inherent irony of it, there's no arguing with empty nostalgia claims.  Now if you'd like to get specific and explain (perhaps with real examples) how your old 5D shots were better, perhaps we can have a meaningful discussion.

If a sensor is a light catcher that can only interact with a finite amount of photons before being full, then it only makes sense that more surface area represents a more accurate sample of light.

This is better because you're now talking about sensor surface area and not pixel size. However, it's not just as simple as increasing sensor area solves all problems. There are some countervailing tradeoffs as you increase sensor size.

I never said it solved all problems. I said it produced better images, which it does.

You need to be more specific about how the bigger sensor size creates better images.  Otherwise, this just devolves into a "yes it does...no it doesn't" argument.

If light was made of M&M's of every color, pixels were buckets, and you were trying to catch a rainfall of M&M's that represented exactly the pattern they were falling in, the bigger you made each bucket, the larger sample you would collect. This gives the advantage to the bigger buckets.

Not if the buckets covered the same area. Pixel size used to be more relevant when there weren't gapless microlenses and there was measurable loss of photons due to the borders between the sensels. That's pretty much a non-issue these days.

If the number of buckets were equal, the bigger buckets are more accurate.

"Accurate" in what sense?  Again, as long as you are non-specific about how you're using terms, this is just going to go in circles.

20MP 4/3 cameras have 20mil buckets covering 225mm^2.

20MP full frame cameras have 20mil larger buckets covering 864mm^2.

Some will argue that a smaller bucket would still accurately reflect the pattern, but as with any gathering, the larger the cross section, the more accurate the results.

I poll 500 people on their beliefs and find that they are split 50/50. Then I poll 2000 (full frame is about 4 times the surface area of 4/3). I find that the split is 45/55.

Bad analogy for supporting your argument if what you're talking about is pixel size and not sensor size. Your analogy actually is indicating that you should increase the number pixels, which is generally what all camera makers are doing (and successfully so). IQ has not suffered as a result. It has improved.

I never knew my statement was an arguement.

Fine analogy too btw. It was to show more interactions provide more accurate results. Full frame sensors have more photon interactions than smaller sensors.

No your analogy illustrates the sloppiness of thinking about pixel size vs. sensor size.  Your reference to more polling samples fails to address the fundamental question of population size.  Have you changed the population you're surveying in order to get more samples or are you increasing the number of samples within the same population?  These are two different things just as increased sampling within a given sensor size is something different from increasing sensor size.  You can't waffle about this when it comes to discussions about pixel size and its ultimate impact on IQ.

Both collected samples are accurate, but one is a better representation of reality.

A full frame sensor interacts with more photons per exposure.

You need to carefully define what you mean by "exposure" and they you will quickly find yourself getting deep into issues of equivalence and what that means.

I see no need to re-define a word that is already defined. Nor do I need to do anything you say.

In photography, exposure is the quantity of light reaching a photographic film, as determined by shutter speed and lens aperture. In digital photography "film" is substituted with "sensor".

This is from Wikipedia but came fron the Oxford dictionary. It was updated to remove a bad definition created by someone like yourself.

Someone like me, eh?  You smoked me and my fellow exposure-truthers out.  Well done...

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