Fast lenses, and High ISO

Started Jul 18, 2014 | Discussions thread
Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 40,681
Re: Understanding ISO

Austinian wrote:

mosswings wrote:

Good recasting of the subject, GB.

And the reason why sensors aren't getting rapidly better anymore.

Which is bad news for those expecting major sensor improvements in the immediate future, but good news for those fearing their existing gear will soon become obsolete.

Lowering the read noise, however, is important for increasing pixel counts. For example, the read noise at high ISOs for modern sensors is typically in the 2-3 electron range. Let's see the effect this has on various pixel counts over the same area of the photo (I like to use the µphoto, which is a millionth of a photo -- for example, 1 µphoto on a 24 MP sensor is 24 pixels) using a read noise of 2.5 electrons / pixel:

12 MP: 8.7 electrons / µphoto

24 MP: 12.2 electrons / µphoto

48 MP: 17.3 electrons / µphoto

96 MP: 24.5 electrons / µphoto

As we can see, every doubling of pixel count increases the read noise by 41%, assuming that the read noise per pixel is the same. If the read noise pixel were to be half as much for 4x as many pixels, then the read noise µphoto would remain unchanged.

So, there additional improvements in sensor tech with regards to read noise are very important with regards to increasing pixel counts.

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