Are bigger pixels less noisy?

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 69,811
Re: Are bigger pixels less noisy?
2

57even wrote:

I don't think that - at moderately high ISO - pixel size makes a significant difference. Or rather, the design of the pixel makes a bigger difference than the size. Read noise is quite unpredictable and doesn't correlate all that well with sensor size.

I think the problem with the approach that you are arguing against is the desire to find absolute rules such as 'bigger pixels means less noise'. The actuality of designing sensors is one of trading off many different design parameters, and it is not a given that one design parameter on its own only gives benefits. Let's take pixel size, for instance. A big pixel might improve the proportion of incident light captured due to a higher fill factor. But then it will need a higher saturation capacity if it is to operate at the same exposure. That means a lower conversion gain which will increase read noise. Then the potential gradients in a large pixel will be shallower, so it might be more difficult to transfer the charge to the read gate, so the conversion efficiency might be lower than a small pixel. The only way to make generalised statements is to look for trends in performance data, and those don't show significantly better noise performance for bigger pixels.

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