Pixel Density is GENIUS!

Started Jul 13, 2008 | Discussions
RRJackson
OP RRJackson Senior Member • Posts: 2,555
Re: you're all wrong

John Sheehy wrote:

You clearly have NO idea about noise.

I'm fairly familiar with it.

My point was that the output from the Fuji at least appears to be much less ridden with it than the Canon, and that's whether you compare the Canon's jpeg or RAW output to the Fuji's jpeg output. Now then, perhaps that's because Canon doesn't want to apply too much in-camera noise reduction (which has never seemed to bother them in the past), or maybe Fuji is just applying too much, but the Fuji delivers much less noise at ISO 800 than the Canon. Anecdotal though that may be, it works into the large body of anecdotal evidence that suggests that smaller photosites deliver noisier images.

You are not very good at sarcasm, so I can't tell if you really think
that the G9's output is impressionistic or not, but the G9's output
is much closer to the RAW than the Fuji's. The Fuji's is more like
an artist's rendition; and artist that you can't change.

You can apply noise reduction to that horrid Canon image, but the gigantic blotches of noise are distorting lines much more visibly than whatever the Fuji is running. Again, the Canon may be theoretically capable of much better, but in a practical sense it's not something I'd want to deal with. I took that chart sample into Noise Ninja just to see what a typical consumer NR program could do with it and there was nothing it seemed capable of doing to reduce the noise levels to something comparable to the Fuji without the image completely falling apart.

RRJackson
OP RRJackson Senior Member • Posts: 2,555
Re: you're all wrong

John Sheehy wrote:

Here's the 6MP Fuji sensor in the F30, F31, and 6500 at ISO 800, with
no noise reduction, and upsampled 141% to match the full image size
of the G9 at 100% pixel view:

And you got this image where?

You were saying?

That the Fuji provides a less noisy image output than the Canon. I thought I'd been explicit.

RRJackson
OP RRJackson Senior Member • Posts: 2,555
Re: Pixel Density is GENIUS!

Dennis wrote:

I agree that 5-6MP is sufficient for the digicam market, except for a
niche market that isn't well served by much of anything that's out
there. But I fail to see why you're mentioning the D3 in the same
discussion. "Same range of conditions" ?

Low light particularly, but also in cases of high contrast (usually direct sunlight) images. And I didn't mean to single out the D3 specifically, but it's a much fawned-over product that excels at low light photography and I think that's an area that's actually more useful for the amateur than the pro a lot of times, though obviously sports shooters need to crank up the ISO as much as possible to keep shutter speeds high.

WBirch Senior Member • Posts: 2,836
I don't fawn over cameras anymore

RRJackson wrote:

Dennis wrote:

I agree that 5-6MP is sufficient for the digicam market, except for a
niche market that isn't well served by much of anything that's out
there. But I fail to see why you're mentioning the D3 in the same
discussion. "Same range of conditions" ?

Low light particularly, but also in cases of high contrast (usually
direct sunlight) images. And I didn't mean to single out the D3
specifically, but it's a much fawned-over product that excels at low
light photography and I think that's an area that's actually more
useful for the amateur than the pro a lot of times, though obviously
sports shooters need to crank up the ISO as much as possible to keep
shutter speeds high.

My 2 cents is that too many digital photographers have become lazy
and use higher ISO's as a crutch and then complain when they see
some "noise" in the photo. Not many really learn their own digi-cam
and what it can really do combined with proper post processing.

Remember how much "noise" there was in an ASA 400 colour film SLR pic?
We are certainly spoiled nowadays.

WB.
=================

RRJackson
OP RRJackson Senior Member • Posts: 2,555
Re: I don't fawn over cameras anymore

WBirch wrote:

My 2 cents is that too many digital photographers have become lazy
and use higher ISO's as a crutch and then complain when they see
some "noise" in the photo. Not many really learn their own digi-cam
and what it can really do combined with proper post processing.

Remember how much "noise" there was in an ASA 400 colour film SLR pic?
We are certainly spoiled nowadays.

WB.

Exactly. Like I said, I understand sports shooters need the extra high-ISO real estate to keep shutter speeds up, but most pros should seldom ever run into a situation where they need to shoot at 6400. It's amateurs who need high-ISO and a ton of latitude. A pro isn't going to try to shoot a portrait in direct sunlight unless there's no choice (or if they're making some "bold" aesthetic statement...heh...), but to an amateur that's not a "challenging shooting condition"...it's just where Aunt Judy was standing when they decided to snap her 'pitcher.'

Amateurs are the ones who really need ISO 6400 and a ton of latitude. Although, there are obviously reasons for pros to need those things, too. Wedding photographers probably curse whatever western traditions evolved into wedding attire that requires them to pull detail out of a white dress and a black tux, frequently outdoors in full sunlight. But most of the time it's amateur family shots where one of the cousins wasn't standing under the shade of the porch when ma shot the photo that would really benefit from more latitude. Or grandpa's birthday dinner when everyone was sitting around in the living room after dinner and Aunt Bunny wanted to take some pictures.

nawknai Senior Member • Posts: 1,062
I don't care

I think a smaller DSLR, or camera models similar to the Sigma DP1, are coming.

I think that in 3 years time, we're going to see an Olympus E-4xy camera that's even smaller. I like the effort by Olympus, but with its sensor, I don't see why it can't do what Sigma did with its DP1, but smaller. For all the talk about how a smaller 4/3rds sensor will lead to smaller, lighter DSLR, it hasn't really happened. Some lenses are lighter, but really did expect a camera smaller than the E-420. It's a bit narrower than a Nikon D40, but that's it. Chop the hand-grip off a D40/D60, and you have something comparable in size to the E-420.

I'm also a bit disappointed by the Olympus 25 mm pancake lens, which isn't really pancake-ish enough. Thinner lenses have existed. Is it more difficult to produce a small, thin lens for a small-sensor camera? I figured it would have been easier, as every glass element was smaller (in all three dimensions) than it's film SLR equivalent.

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RRJackson
OP RRJackson Senior Member • Posts: 2,555
Re: I don't care

nawknai wrote:

I'm also a bit disappointed by the Olympus 25 mm pancake lens, which
isn't really pancake-ish enough. Thinner lenses have existed. Is it
more difficult to produce a small, thin lens for a small-sensor
camera? I figured it would have been easier, as every glass element
was smaller (in all three dimensions) than it's film SLR equivalent.

Pentax has their line of pancakes, but they're screw-driven. If I'm not mistaken, Olympus is the first company to build a pancake with an internal motor. And it's pretty small, given how much stuff is crammed in there.

That said, at f/2.8 it's a full stop slower than the 40mm f/2 pancake they made for the OM system. Not very tempting, really. I don't think it was meant to be an enthusiast lens, though. I think Olympus has backed themselves into a corner with their smaller, noisier sensors and they wanted to pair up the 420 and the pancake as a graphic example of how small and affordable the 4/3 system could be. If they'd made an f/2 pancake it would have cost as much (or more) than an E-420 and wouldn't be something people would pick up as an impulse buy at Costco.

Andrew dB Contributing Member • Posts: 970
Re: I don't care

nawknai wrote:

I think a smaller DSLR, or camera models similar to the Sigma DP1,
are coming.

I think that in 3 years time, we're going to see an Olympus E-4xy
camera that's even smaller. I like the effort by Olympus, but with
its sensor, I don't see why it can't do what Sigma did with its DP1,
but smaller. For all the talk about how a smaller 4/3rds sensor will
lead to smaller, lighter DSLR, it hasn't really happened. Some
lenses are lighter, but really did expect a camera smaller than the
E-420. It's a bit narrower than a Nikon D40, but that's it. Chop
the hand-grip off a D40/D60, and you have something comparable in
size to the E-420.

I'm also a bit disappointed by the Olympus 25 mm pancake lens, which
isn't really pancake-ish enough. Thinner lenses have existed. Is it
more difficult to produce a small, thin lens for a small-sensor
camera? I figured it would have been easier, as every glass element
was smaller (in all three dimensions) than it's film SLR equivalent.

Those lenses would have been smaller if Olympus had made 4/3 an effective shrink of the 35mm system. As it is, they used a minimum backfocus that was proportionally much bigger than that found in 35mm SLRs which dictates much more retrofocal lens designs thus increasing size, weight and costs.

A bit of a missed opportunity IMHO. You'll never see a equivalent to a cheap 50mm f1.8 on either APS-C or 4/3 for that reason.

RRJackson
OP RRJackson Senior Member • Posts: 2,555
Re: I don't care

Andrew dB wrote:

Those lenses would have been smaller if Olympus had made 4/3 an
effective shrink of the 35mm system. As it is, they used a minimum
backfocus that was proportionally much bigger than that found in 35mm
SLRs which dictates much more retrofocal lens designs thus increasing
size, weight and costs.

Well, when Olympus decided to base the 4/3 system on near-telecentric lens designs they had to know that it was going to mean unusually large lenses with more elements. You can look at the old OM lenses and see how much more complicated the new designs are. The sensor is a quarter the size, but the lenses are almost all as big or bigger than their nearest OM counterparts. Advertising the system as a compact alternative to APS designs probably wasn't the best approach.

On the other hand, the Olympus 4/3 system is remarkably well-behaved when it comes to vignetting and the extremely wide lens mount (given the sensor size) seems to take advantage of the (to quote the APS guys) "sweet spot" that's usually relatively free of problems with corner softness. Though a lot of the wide-angle lenses do seem prone to chromatic aberration.

aclo Regular Member • Posts: 480
Re: No really, it isn't

RRJackson wrote:

John Sheehy wrote:

To judge high pixel density by compressed, noise-reduced converted
output of tiny sensors is foolish, regardless of the percentage.
They tell us ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about pixel density.

Maybe not theoretically, but right this minute there's a notable
practical correlation.

And even with RAW conversion, this is what DPR got from the 12.1
megapixel Canon G9's RAW output at ISO 800 (28 MP/cm² pixel density):

http://a.img-dpreview.com/reviews/canonG9/samples/raw/ISO800_RAW+ACR43-002.jpg

And this was their ISO 800 result from an in-camera jpeg from the 6.1
megapixel Fuji F31D (Pixel density 14 MP/cm²):

http://a.img-dpreview.com/reviews/FujifilmF31fd/Samples/crops/Fuji_F31fd_ISO800-crops.jpg

So at this stage in the game it looks to my eyes like the
"compressed, noise-reduced" output of the Fuji kicks the snot out of
the RAW output of the newer Canon G9.

I downloaded the g9 crop and smoothed out the a and b channels in Lab a bit (also the L channel but not so much). This is the result:

If you do something more sophisticated than blurring the channels (eg if I use the L channel to work out where the boundaries are in the a and b channels too etc) then you can get it much cleaner-looking.

I suspect though that this won't convince anybody of anything

Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 19,070
Re: I don't care

RRJackson wrote:

and they wanted to pair up the 420 and the pancake as a graphic
example of how small and affordable the 4/3 system could be.

If the E-420 or the pancake lens had IS, I'd own one by now, as a carry-everywhere camera. But it's not that small (and the E-5xx series less so). Oly should own the market for fixed lens "large" (4/3 would be large in this context) digicams. Instead they're leaving it up for grabs ... too bad nobody has grabbed it yet

Still looking for the digital Minolta HiMatic 7sII ...

  • Dennis

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RRJackson
OP RRJackson Senior Member • Posts: 2,555
Re: No really, it isn't

aclo wrote:

If you do something more sophisticated than blurring the channels (eg
if I use the L channel to work out where the boundaries are in the a
and b channels too etc) then you can get it much cleaner-looking.

I suspect though that this won't convince anybody of anything

It's interesting to see what you were able to do with it. I still don't think you're going to convince many pros to dump their 1DIII and start shooting with a G9.

simpy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,090
Re: No really, it isn't

RRJackson wrote:

It's interesting to see what you were able to do with it. I still
don't think you're going to convince many pros to dump their 1DIII
and start shooting with a G9.

Which was hardly the point, was it? The point is that your example didn't really hold up to closer scrutiny. An extended discussion such as this thread only makes sense if you're willing to stay on topic and, when necessary, concede that you made a mistake.

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Andrew dB Contributing Member • Posts: 970
Re: I don't care

RRJackson wrote:

Andrew dB wrote:

Those lenses would have been smaller if Olympus had made 4/3 an
effective shrink of the 35mm system. As it is, they used a minimum
backfocus that was proportionally much bigger than that found in 35mm
SLRs which dictates much more retrofocal lens designs thus increasing
size, weight and costs.

Well, when Olympus decided to base the 4/3 system on near-telecentric
lens designs they had to know that it was going to mean unusually
large lenses with more elements. You can look at the old OM lenses
and see how much more complicated the new designs are. The sensor is
a quarter the size, but the lenses are almost all as big or bigger
than their nearest OM counterparts. Advertising the system as a
compact alternative to APS designs probably wasn't the best approach.

Apparently many FF lenses are as telecentric if not more so than a lot of the Olympus designs. They didn't need to use such a big lens mount and the choice of such a large minimum back focus seems very strange given the effect it has when trying to build 'normal' lenses.

It strikes me that a more pragmatic approach to system design would have produced a more competitive camera system overall. The fact that you can't buy a tiny, relatively cheap 25mm f1.4 as an ideal standard lens is, to me, an indictment of the design philosophy at work.

aclo Regular Member • Posts: 480
Re: No really, it isn't

RRJackson wrote:

It's interesting to see what you were able to do with it. I still
don't think you're going to convince many pros to dump their 1DIII
and start shooting with a G9.

Obviously, that is not at all what I was trying to do. Not much point in having a discussion where the other party switches context randomly.

RRJackson
OP RRJackson Senior Member • Posts: 2,555
Re: No really, it isn't

simpy wrote:

Which was hardly the point, was it? The point is that your example
didn't really hold up to closer scrutiny. An extended discussion such
as this thread only makes sense if you're willing to stay on topic
and, when necessary, concede that you made a mistake.

It still looks more artifact-laden than the Fuji sample, but certainly better than I was able to clean it up. The point that at least one person in this thread has made is that pixel density has no effect on sensor noise (although I believe there was a stipulation that the D3 and 1DIII were excluded from that claim). So my little joke, which obviously miffed a couple of you, was that perhaps professionals should abandon their APS and 135 sensors for a G9 (or comparable point-and-pray). I intended it as a friendly jibe, not a random derailment of the topic.

I understand that you have an enthusiasm for the potential of small sensors. Which is peachy. But assuming that I'm completely unable to discern the beauty in the output of what's apparently a world-class imaging system in a Lumix or Powershot point-and-shoot, why are people who review the cameras and people who shoot with them professionally still using APS and 135 sensors? Which is the essence of my jibe about the 1DIII, though I shouldn't have used that particular camera for the purposes of a joke since it had already been disqualified through a prior stipulation.

RRJackson
OP RRJackson Senior Member • Posts: 2,555
Re: I don't care

Andrew dB wrote:

It strikes me that a more pragmatic approach to system design would
have produced a more competitive camera system overall. The fact
that you can't buy a tiny, relatively cheap 25mm f1.4 as an ideal
standard lens is, to me, an indictment of the design philosophy at
work.

I have that 25mm f/1.4, actually. Very pleasant optically, though I suspect that testing will show that it's very soft in the corners wide-open and vignettes more than most 4/3 lenses until it's stopped-down. Still, it adds a level of usability to the system that wasn't there before. It's a full stop faster than anything Olympus makes, but there's no sub-f/2 DOF penalty like there was shooting wide open with a 50mm f/1.4 on my 5D.

Roland Karlsson Forum Pro • Posts: 28,238
Re: No really, it isn't

RRJackson wrote:

I understand that you have an enthusiasm for the potential of small
sensors. Which is peachy. But assuming that I'm completely unable to
discern the beauty in the output of what's apparently a world-class
imaging system in a Lumix or Powershot point-and-shoot, why are
people who review the cameras and people who shoot with them
professionally still using APS and 135 sensors? Which is the essence
of my jibe about the 1DIII, though I shouldn't have used that
particular camera for the purposes of a joke since it had already
been disqualified through a prior stipulation.

Now - to make the discussion more useful. Could you please take a mental note that no one here claims that small sensors are as good as large sensors?

The discussion is about pixel density. And the two opposite claims are that you get better or worse image quality if you increase the number of pixels for the same size sensor.

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Roland

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RRJackson
OP RRJackson Senior Member • Posts: 2,555
Re: No really, it isn't

Roland Karlsson wrote:

Now - to make the discussion more useful. Could you please take a
mental note that no one here claims that small sensors are as good as
large sensors?

The discussion is about pixel density. And the two opposite claims
are that you get better or worse image quality if you increase the
number of pixels for the same size sensor.

Well, that is useful. Because given the choice of getting 12 megapixels from a 1/1.7" sensor or a 135 sensor I'd much rather have the lower pixel density of the 135 sensor.

But sticking with like-sized sensors, I notice that the 1DsIII is a lot noisier at high ISO than the D3. Another one of those unfortunate coincidences that keeps piling up on the mountain of anecdotal evidence?

simpy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,090
Re: No really, it isn't

RRJackson wrote:

Well, that is useful. Because given the choice of getting 12
megapixels from a 1/1.7" sensor or a 135 sensor I'd much rather have
the lower pixel density of the 135 sensor.

That means you'd rather have a larger sensor, which is a different point entirely. The discussion in this thread is not about sensor size, it's about pixel density at a given size.

But sticking with like-sized sensors, I notice that the 1DsIII is a
lot noisier at high ISO than the D3. Another one of those unfortunate
coincidences that keeps piling up on the mountain of anecdotal
evidence?

Is it that much noisier if you downsample both to the same resolution? It may be, of course, but I haven't seen any evidence to think it is. If it is, it goes on the pile of anecdotal evidence indeed, but please forgive me in pointing out that you have also conveniently ignored the image samples by John Sheehy that would go on the pile of counterevidence.

Simon

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