mpx count vs noise levels

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emdee91 Junior Member • Posts: 29
mpx count vs noise levels

Hello everyone,

I 've been wondering how does mpx count affect noise levels in photos (not videos) when comparing sensors of the same size and technology with varying megapixel count, eg the nikons z7 and z6 or equivalent.

The fact that the larger pixels capture more light thus less noise is generated is well known however the question was how does noise reduction in postprocessing deal with the higher amount of information captured by the higher mpx sensor and what is the result in terms of noise:details ratio.

What I did was that I downloaded raw files from dpreview image quality test scene for the said cameras, choosing iso 800,3200,12800 respectively, loaded them into lightroom and compared the exported jpges with various levels of noise reduction applied to each. I was not looking at the photos in 100% view/1:1 as that is not my use case , I simply zoomed in to have the same crop of the image on the screen for both cameras.

What appears to me is, that in the lower ISO images the shots from z7 keep more details with applied NR than the images from z6 to the level that I am able to apply more NR and get less noise in the jpg while having more details compared to z6.

This is becoming less and less true as the ISO goes higher and at 12 800 it's rather questionable - to my eyes (important subjective factor), if there's any more details in the z7's shot over the z6. while some lines appear sharper, some textures are more washed out, etc.

Additionally I did the same test in topaz denoise, letting it automatically choose the noise reduction value applied to both of the 12800iso images, where the z7 actually takes the win over z6 in the amount of details captured.

So the question is, while  I hear people opt for z6 when light gets too low, is this true/when is this true(based on the postprocessing workflow). In my above observation for example, it appears to me that even if I shot z7 at 12800iso (which rarely happens in reality) I would still prefer the result over z6 having applied my workflow including topaz denoise. If I was using built-in NR in lightroom, I may choose z6 at that point though.

What are your thoughts/experience? Thanks and have a nice day.

Nikon Z6 Nikon Z7
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