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

Started Mar 13, 2014 | Discussions thread
Reilly Diefenbach
Reilly Diefenbach Forum Pro • Posts: 12,674
Re: My own conclusions

Pasmia wrote:

After all these thoughtful comments (mostly) and whatever reading I've been able to do on the subject, I've come to my own conclusion that the major difference simply come down to cropping and sensor technology.

The idea that a M43 25/1.4 will take the same picture as a FF 50/2.8 was proven wrong by some dude, can't find source. The background blur was still more significant than the 25/1.4. What would take the same shot is a ff camera with a 25/1.4, cropped down by 4 times (for sensor area difference). This significant amount of cropping would bring an image from a D800 down to a 8MP picture. These tiny little pixels are being blown up to be used 4 times larger in comparison to pre-cropping, that the SNR will be magnified dramatically. Sensor technology will have to be pretty darn spectacular to hold up a ff crop vs a m43 sensor size. The same goes for m43 vs a 1 inch sensor and so on and so forth.

What I think his proves though, is that megapickles aren't the noise making nuances that we're thinking they are, so long as technology keeps up with SNR per sensor size requirement.

I think an interesting experiment would be to show this in action by making a panoramic image with a m43 camera and a 25/1.4 lens to mimic the point of view of the same picture taken with a 25/1.4 on a ff camera. Of course, the aperture and focal length doesn't have to be this precise setting, so long as they are the same as each other.

What I am thinking is that, if your were to use the older m43 12MP sensor and do his experiment vs a d800, the two images would look practically identical. The d800 would come out on top simply due to being newer sensor technology. It would be a comparison between a hypothetical Panasonic 46MP sensor vs the D800's 36MP. If you were to use something like the GX7 sensor, it would then be a 64MP sensor. These new 16MP m43 sensors are pretty rad in this respect, but they are still, only 1/4 of its hypothetical 64MP big brother.

I think the smaller the sensor is, the more technology is required to make it shine. For instance, doesn't the song rx100 have a 20MP 1in sensor? If this sensor was a ff sensor or if you made a panaroma to match the above experiment, the image would be a 144MP picture.

I think with these thoughts, it's kind of weird that there isn't already a 100MP ff camera. If you grouped a bunch of smaller sensors together into a camera, wouldn't it be the same? I have a feeling a panoramic rx100 would out class a d800 image, so why not just make that a reality?

If the pixel count is a lot higher in the pano, at some point.

Anyways, as a final thought, I think it really comes down to physics and how one poster mentioned that it is just easier to achieve great results with big sensors but not entirely necessary. If you're pro though, and you're getting paid to get 9/10 of your shots nailed, why wouldn't you go for the best of the best, even if it is marginally so.

Or even an amateur :^)

My lack of interest in photography for a couple of decades had a lot to do with the "meh" quality of 35mm and the grainy prints it produced.  Prints are pretty dull in general, I find.  With the advent of high MP digital and 1080p monitors, soon to be 4K, the thrill factor has  increased exponentially for a lot of us.  These are great times for photographers, any format you prefer.

I believe a D800 produces more pleasing images OOC than a M43 camera, shot for shot, hands down, cannot be persuaded otherwise.

Correct. Much lower noise, better color, finer detail presented unstrained, the whole package.

I also believe with a lot of planning and setting up, you can mimic practically any shot a d800 can do with an any M43 camera or any other manual camera with adequate lenses. You'd have to do a panoramic HDR for some shots, you'd have to try again over an over and over to get proper focus for some shots. You'd have to have a bit of luck some times. And you'd have to do a lot of professional grade post processing. But I think it's possible.

That may be your final conclusion, but the D800e does a quieter, more naturally detailed pano with fewer artifacts at the same file size than the D7100 (which is no slouch.)  Try it and see.

This is my final conclusion. Practically any manual camera, especially ILCs, can take the exact same images with equivalent IQ, indistinguishable anyways, it's just that some need more work than others; planning for (ie: lighting) and post processing.

Not a night and day difference, but it is definitely there for the perfectionists among us.

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