Too many megapixels? Six is enough for an 8x10.

Started Apr 26, 2009 | Discussions
PhotoGo Senior Member • Posts: 1,688
Too many megapixels? Six is enough for an 8x10.

From ABC News.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/AheadoftheCurve/story?id=7421825&page=1

ABC
Why More Megapixels Don't Make Better Pix
Have a Pocket-Sized Camera? Watch Out for Too Many Megapixels
By CHRIS GAYLORD

April 25, 2009 —

When it comes to electronics, more is better. Consumers want more
features, more hard-drive space, more cellphone minutes and more
battery life.

But with digital cameras, it's not that simple. Many stores will tell
you that the worth of a camera is measured in megapixels. The more
manufacturers can pack in, the better, right?

Not necessarily, says Amit Gupta, founder of Photojojo.com, an online
newsletter for camera tips and projects.

A high-megapixel count doesn't always equate to better image quality.
Actually, if camera designers try to cram too many megapixels into a
small camera, it can have the opposite effect.

Such a counterintuitive snag mostly affects tiny digital cameras, the
ones compact enough to fit in your pocket.

To keep sizes down, manufacturers place itty-bitty image sensors
inside their point-and-shoot models. These small parts perform well
within a certain range. But when companies try to raise the megapixel
count without increasing the dimensions of the camera, the same size
sensor now has to do more work.

The result are larger but less accurate images, Gupta says. The
overburdened sensor can lose sharpness, struggle in low-light
situations and add "noise" (small blotches or odd colors).

Digital SLR cameras are bulkier than sleek point-and-shoots, but the
extra room allows for much bigger sensors and often better image
quality per megapixel.

Cameras are rarely advertised on their sensor sizes, which makes the
warning difficult to act on. But the problem usually pops up when
companies release two very similar models, one with more megapixels
and, most likely, a higher price. In those situations, the extra few
hundred dollars doesn't necessarily buy you a better camera.

Sensor technology improves all the time, making the issue of cramped
megapixels less important each year. Improved lenses and anti-shake
features also dampen the effect.

But even if companies could make a flawless 18-megapixel camera the
size of a deck of cards, few people will ever need that much, Gupta
says.

Start With 8 Megapixels

He suggests that shoppers start looking at eight megapixels, consider
10, but think hard before shelling out for a 12-megapixel camera or
higher.

"Six megapixels is great for 8-by-10 prints," he says. "We use a six-
megapixel camera for everything on the site. ... In fact, we're making
a Photojojo book and shooting with the same camera for all of those
pictures."

-- hide signature --

PhotoGo

bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 61,433
hardly an authoritative source.

PhotoGo wrote:

From ABC News.

When it comes to electronics, more is better. Consumers want more
features, more hard-drive space, more cellphone minutes and more
battery life.

But with digital cameras, it's not that simple. Many stores will tell
you that the worth of a camera is measured in megapixels. The more
manufacturers can pack in, the better, right?

Yes, right, by and large.

Not necessarily, says Amit Gupta, founder of Photojojo.com, an online
newsletter for camera tips and projects.

Who is this guy? Anyone can start a web site.

A high-megapixel count doesn't always equate to better image quality.

Increasing the megapixel count is the most direct way of increasing image quality.

Actually, if camera designers try to cram too many megapixels into a
small camera, it can have the opposite effect.

Wrong, increasing the pixel count almost never reduces image quality. It generally increases it.

Such a counterintuitive snag mostly affects tiny digital cameras, the
ones compact enough to fit in your pocket.

To keep sizes down, manufacturers place itty-bitty image sensors
inside their point-and-shoot models. These small parts perform well
within a certain range. But when companies try to raise the megapixel
count without increasing the dimensions of the camera, the same size
sensor now has to do more work.

A complete load of codswallop.

The result are larger but less accurate images, Gupta says. The
overburdened sensor can lose sharpness, struggle in low-light
situations and add "noise" (small blotches or odd colors).

Complete nonsense.

Digital SLR cameras are bulkier than sleek point-and-shoots, but the
extra room allows for much bigger sensors and often better image
quality per megapixel.

Well this is true, but that's an argument for bigger sensors.

Cameras are rarely advertised on their sensor sizes, which makes the
warning difficult to act on. But the problem usually pops up when
companies release two very similar models, one with more megapixels
and, most likely, a higher price. In those situations, the extra few
hundred dollars doesn't necessarily buy you a better camera.

Like for like, it generally does.

Sensor technology improves all the time, making the issue of cramped
megapixels less important each year. Improved lenses and anti-shake
features also dampen the effect.

But even if companies could make a flawless 18-megapixel camera the
size of a deck of cards, few people will ever need that much, Gupta
says.

He's wrong. They will benefit in a number of ways from more pixels.

Start With 8 Megapixels

He suggests that shoppers start looking at eight megapixels, consider
10, but think hard before shelling out for a 12-megapixel camera or
higher.

Flaky advice.

"Six megapixels is great for 8-by-10 prints," he says. "We use a six-
megapixel camera for everything on the site. ... In fact, we're making
a Photojojo book and shooting with the same camera for all of those
pictures."

Good for him, bad for the people who want more than 8x10, or need to crop.

When will people stop peddling this big lie?
--
Bob

Oly Canikon
Oly Canikon Senior Member • Posts: 1,278
Urban Myth?

Where does this stuff come from?

There are many factors that determine noise and dynamic range but number of pixels isn't one of them. If it is, can someone please explain how it's possible?

I suspect that at some time in the past some camera came out with more MPx and at the same time screwed up the design to give more noise, assumptions were made and there you have it the myth was born. But try as I might I can't find an example of a camera that proves this out.

oly

MusicDoctorDJ Forum Pro • Posts: 12,400
There is no big manufacturers conspiracy . . .

It is only here in the chats where people think that the camera manufacturers are brainwashing people into thinking that they need more megapixels.

The only reason megapixel keeps rising is because it can . . .

Nothing more . . . nothing less.

It really is just that simple.

-- hide signature --

J. D.
Colorado

Remember . . . always keep your receipt, the box, and everything that came in it!

RedFox88 Forum Pro • Posts: 29,144
All true essentially

Overall it's rather well put for the average camera user and buyer. They pack more and more pixels into P&S cameras for users that either never print and upload 800x600 photos for photo sharing or print 4x6 that only need 2MP. True that cropping is needed sometimes so they should make them 6 to 8MP and leave it there. Oh and put the image sensor sizes back to 1/1.8" as a standard maybe even an occassinal 2/3"

misha marinsky3 Senior Member • Posts: 1,330
Re: There is no big manufacturers conspiracy . . .

In order to double the resolution, the diodes/pixels have to be quadrupled.

The more diodes are crammed onto that tiny real estate, the higher the noise, or artifacts. The diode well becomes smaller, and the gain, or volume, has to be turned up, and noise increases.

ISO on a digital is increased by turning up the gain. Just as turning up the volume on your audio amplifier increases harmonic distortion, or noise.

Olympus has stated they are not going above 12MP, and they are correct. They want to concentrate on improving the chip's amplifiers, and dynamic range.

When I was in college, I never made prints bigger than 8x10, and used Tri-X 99% of the time, pushed to 1600 in Diafine.

My websites:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ubereye/

http://ubereye.deviantart.com/

http://newyorkleftist.blogspot.com/

misha marinsky3 Senior Member • Posts: 1,330
Re: All true essentially

RedFox88 wrote:

Overall it's rather well put for the average camera user and buyer.
They pack more and more pixels into P&S cameras for users that either
never print and upload 800x600 photos for photo sharing or print 4x6
that only need 2MP. True that cropping is needed sometimes so they
should make them 6 to 8MP and leave it there. Oh and put the image
sensor sizes back to 1/1.8" as a standard maybe even an occassinal
2/3"

Exactly. Thank you. See my post.

My websites:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ubereye/

http://ubereye.deviantart.com/

http://newyorkleftist.blogspot.com/

bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 61,433
Re: There is no big manufacturers conspiracy . . .

misha marinsky3 wrote:

In order to double the resolution, the diodes/pixels have to be
quadrupled.

The more diodes are crammed onto that tiny real estate, the higher
the noise, or artifacts. The diode well becomes smaller, and the
gain, or volume, has to be turned up, and noise increases.

That is completely untrue.

ISO on a digital is increased by turning up the gain. Just as turning
up the volume on your audio amplifier increases harmonic distortion,
or noise.

Harmonic distortion and noise are not the same thing. Small pixels need no more amplifier gain than large ones.

Olympus has stated they are not going above 12MP, and they are
correct. They want to concentrate on improving the chip's amplifiers,
and dynamic range.

They won't improve dynamic range by limiting pixel count.

When I was in college, I never made prints bigger than 8x10, and used
Tri-X 99% of the time, pushed to 1600 in Diafine.

Bully for you.

-- hide signature --

Bob

bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 61,433
Re: All true essentially

RedFox88 wrote:

Overall it's rather well put for the average camera user and buyer.
They pack more and more pixels into P&S cameras for users that either
never print and upload 800x600 photos for photo sharing or print 4x6
that only need 2MP. True that cropping is needed sometimes so they
should make them 6 to 8MP and leave it there. Oh and put the image
sensor sizes back to 1/1.8" as a standard maybe even an occassinal
2/3"

Except that the new high MP cameras seem to outperform, in general, the old lower MP cameras. Annoying when the truth gets in the way of a good myth, isn't it
--
Bob

Oly Canikon
Oly Canikon Senior Member • Posts: 1,278
Re: There is no big manufacturers conspiracy . . .

misha marinsky3 wrote:

The more diodes are crammed onto that tiny real estate, the higher
the noise, or artifacts. The diode well becomes smaller, and the
gain, or volume, has to be turned up, and noise increases.

Why do you have to turn the gain up? The signal level scales with the pixel size.

When I was in college, I never made prints bigger than 8x10, and used
Tri-X 99% of the time, pushed to 1600 in Diafine.

Please explain how this relates???

My websites:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ubereye/

http://ubereye.deviantart.com/

http://newyorkleftist.blogspot.com/

Lobalobo
Lobalobo Senior Member • Posts: 2,458
Re: hardly an authoritative source.

bobn2 wrote:

PhotoGo wrote:

A high-megapixel count doesn't always equate to better image quality.
Actually, if camera designers try to cram too many megapixels into a
small camera, it can have the opposite effect.

When will people stop peddling this big lie?
--
Bob

Hard to answer your question, Bob, considering that he's right and you are wrong. As this site explains carefully and persuasively, all else equal, pixel density is an enemy of quality. Increasing megapixels can increase resolution, but at a price of lost dynamic range, lost tonal quality, and noise in general. This is why Mamiya and Hasselblad get pros to pay $20,000 or more for large sensors; they frequently need both the resolution of many megapixels and the image quality of low pixel density, and there is no free lunch. So you're not right, but at least you're very loud.

David Clarke29 Contributing Member • Posts: 787
Megapixels

Certainly on most p&s with the 1-2.5 ish size sensor Mr. Gupta is quite correct! Even on SLR's pushing up the sensor count increases high iso noise. Read the tests on comparison sites - mid range SLR's will show an increase of noise filtering the higher the photodiode count given the same physical size sensor.

This rule applies to all sensors. The smart part is the noise reduction algorithm. After having many cameras over the years I'm afraid Mr. Gupta is right.

Dave. (UK)

Anastigmat Forum Pro • Posts: 12,664
Re: Too many megapixels? Six is enough for an 8x10.

That is well known and much discussed, but it is not easy to find good cameras with a sensible number of pixels.

Often manufacturers put more pixels on a more desirable camera, making it a difficult choice between 2 models that are similar. The more expensive model may have a longer range zoom but more pixels, while a similar model may have fewer pixels, the same sized sensor and a shorter zoom range. It is the same way in DSLR cameras. Often the cameras with the least pixels (but ironically better high ISO performance) are put in bottom of the line cameras, where you get a pentamirror, a low frame rate and a lousy autofocus module. Want a pentaprism, a decent frame rate and a superb AF unit? Then you have to take the noisier sensor along with the rest of the camera body. Look no further than the Nikon D40 and D90. The D40 has a 6mp CCD sensor with low noise at high ISO settings, but it lacks many of the niceties of a Nikon D90. So which camera should you choose? The D40 for better image quality or the D90 for better AF and better viewfinder?

It would be nice if we can buy cameras the way we buy bicycles. Then we can custom built our cameras with the exact sensor, AF, viewfinder, and shutter units that we want instead of taking bundled deals that may not be ideal for our individual needs.

PhotoGo wrote:

From ABC News.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/AheadoftheCurve/story?id=7421825&page=1

ABC
Why More Megapixels Don't Make Better Pix
Have a Pocket-Sized Camera? Watch Out for Too Many Megapixels
By CHRIS GAYLORD

April 25, 2009 —

When it comes to electronics, more is better. Consumers want more
features, more hard-drive space, more cellphone minutes and more
battery life.

But with digital cameras, it's not that simple. Many stores will tell
you that the worth of a camera is measured in megapixels. The more
manufacturers can pack in, the better, right?

Not necessarily, says Amit Gupta, founder of Photojojo.com, an online
newsletter for camera tips and projects.

A high-megapixel count doesn't always equate to better image quality.
Actually, if camera designers try to cram too many megapixels into a
small camera, it can have the opposite effect.

Such a counterintuitive snag mostly affects tiny digital cameras, the
ones compact enough to fit in your pocket.

To keep sizes down, manufacturers place itty-bitty image sensors
inside their point-and-shoot models. These small parts perform well
within a certain range. But when companies try to raise the megapixel
count without increasing the dimensions of the camera, the same size
sensor now has to do more work.

The result are larger but less accurate images, Gupta says. The
overburdened sensor can lose sharpness, struggle in low-light
situations and add "noise" (small blotches or odd colors).

Digital SLR cameras are bulkier than sleek point-and-shoots, but the
extra room allows for much bigger sensors and often better image
quality per megapixel.

Cameras are rarely advertised on their sensor sizes, which makes the
warning difficult to act on. But the problem usually pops up when
companies release two very similar models, one with more megapixels
and, most likely, a higher price. In those situations, the extra few
hundred dollars doesn't necessarily buy you a better camera.

Sensor technology improves all the time, making the issue of cramped
megapixels less important each year. Improved lenses and anti-shake
features also dampen the effect.

But even if companies could make a flawless 18-megapixel camera the
size of a deck of cards, few people will ever need that much, Gupta
says.

Start With 8 Megapixels

He suggests that shoppers start looking at eight megapixels, consider
10, but think hard before shelling out for a 12-megapixel camera or
higher.

"Six megapixels is great for 8-by-10 prints," he says. "We use a six-
megapixel camera for everything on the site. ... In fact, we're making
a Photojojo book and shooting with the same camera for all of those
pictures."

Daniel Browning Senior Member • Posts: 1,058
[1/2] Noise power is a function of spatial frequency

David Clarke29 wrote:

Even on SLR's pushing up the sensor count increases
high iso noise.

It does not, despite the fact that 99% of photographers, web sites, and magazines promote the idea.

Read the tests on comparison sites - mid range SLR's
will show an increase of noise filtering the higher the photodiode
count given the same physical size sensor.

Yes, camera manufacturers are adding more noise reduction on JPEGs, but the raw files and sensors themselves still have the same noise (or less), despite the smaller pixels.

The model used by "small pixels baaaad" proponents is this:

  • "A single pixel, in isolation, when reduced in size, has less sensitivity, more noise, and lower full well capacity."

So far so good. In the case of a single pixel, it's true. Part two is where I disagree:

  • "Therefore, a given sensor full of small pixels has more noise and less dynamic range than the same sensor full of large pixels."

The briefest summary of my position is Noise scales with spatial frequency. A slightly longer model describing what I think happens with pixel size follows:

  • "The amount of light falling on a sensor does not change, no matter the size of the pixel. Large and small pixels alike record that light falling in certain positions. Both reproduce the same total amount of light when displayed."

My research and experiments bear that out: when small pixels and large pixels are compared in the same final output, smaller pixels have the same performance as large.

Spatial frequency is the level of detail of an image. For example, a 100% crop of a 15 MP image is at a very high spatial frequency (fine details), whereas a 100% crop of a 6 MP image is at a lower spatial frequency (larger details). Higher spatial frequencies have higher noise power than low spatial frequencies. But at the same spatial frequency, noise too is the same.

A high megapixel image can always be resampled to the same detail level of a low megapixel image. This fact is sometimes disputed, such as by Phil Askey in a recent blog post; however, it was thoroughly debunked:

There is ample proof that resampling works in practice as well as in theory. Given that fact, it's always possible to attain the same noise power from a high pixel density image as a large-pixel one. And it follows that it's always possible to get the same noise from a high resolution image as a low resolution image.

The "small pixels have worse noise" idea has become widespread because of the following unequal comparisons:

  • Unequal spatial frequencies

  • Unequal sensor sizes.

  • Unequal processing.

  • Unequal expectations.

  • Unequal technology.

Unequal spatial frequencies.

This is the most common type of mistake. To compare 100% crops from cameras of different resolutions is the most frequently-made error. This is magnifying one to a greater degree than another. It would be like using a 2X loupe to examine one and an 8X loupe to examine another. Or examining a small part of a 30x20 print vs. a wallet-size print. It's necessary to scale for size in order to measure or judge any aspect of image quality.

The standard measurements for sensor characteristics such as noise are all measured at the level of one pixel. Sensitivity is measured in photoelectrons per lux second per pixel. Read noise is variously measured in RSM electrons/pixel, ADU/pixel, etc. Dynamic range is measured in stops or dB per pixel. The problem with per-pixel measurements is that different pixel sizes have different spatial frequencies.

Nothing wrong with per-pixel measurements, per se, but they cannot be used for comparison with sensors of unequal resolution because each "pixel" covers entirely different spatial frequencies.

Using 100% crops and per-pixel numbers is like comparing two lenses at different MTF frequencies. If they have the exact same MTF curve, but you measure one at 50 lp/PH and the other at 100 lp/PH, you will draw the incorrect conclusion that one is better than the other. Same if you measure one at MTF-75 and the other at MTF-25. (Most people do not make this mistake when comparing lenses, but 99% do it when comparing different pixel sizes.)

Pixel performance, like MTF, cannot be compared without accounting for differences in spatial frequency. For example, a common mistake is to take two cameras with the same sensor size but different resolutions and examine a 100% crop of raw data from each camera. A 100% crop of a small pixel camera covers a much smaller area and higher spatial frequency than a 100% crop from a large pixel camera. They are each being compared at their own Nyquist frequency, which is not the same frequency.

Continued in part 2...

Daniel Browning Senior Member • Posts: 1,058
[2/2] Noise power is a function of spatial frequency

[...continued from part 1]

Unequal sensor sizes.

It's always necessary to consider the impact of sensor size. The most common form of this mistake goes like this:

1. Digicams have more noise than DSLR.
2. Digicams have smaller pixels than DSLR.
3. Therefore smaller pixels cause more noise.

The logical error is that correlation is not causation. It can be corrected by substituting "sensor size" for "pixel size". It is not the small pixels that cause the noise, but small sensors.

A digicam-sized sensor with super-large pixels (0.24 MP) is never going to be superior to a FF35 sensor with super-tiny pixels (24 MP).

Unequal processing.

The most common mistakes here are to rely on in-camera processing (JPEG). Another is to trust that any given raw converter will treat two different cameras the same way, when in fact none of the commercial ones do. For example, most converters use different amounts of noise reduction for different cameras, even when noise reduction is set to "off".

Furthermore, even if a raw converter is used that can be proven to be totally equal (e.g. dcraw), the method it uses might be better suited to one type of sensor (e.g. strong OLPF, less aliases) more than another (e.g. weak OLPF, more aliases).

One way to workaround this type of inequality is to examine and measure the raw data itself before conversion, such as with IRIS, Rawnalyze, dcraw, etc.

It's important to be aware of inequalities that stem from processing.

Unequal expectations.

If one expects that a camera that has 50% higher resolution should be able to print 50% larger without any change in the visibility of noise, despite the same low light conditions, then that would be unequal expectations. On the other hand, if one only expects to it be at least print the same size and the same noise for the same low light, then that would be equal expectations. Such output size conditions are arbitrary and in any case does not support the "small pixels are noisier" position.

Unequal technology.

If you compare a 5-year-old camera to a 1-year-old camera, it will not be surprising to find the new one is better than the old one. But in one sense, it will never be possible to compare any two cameras with completely equal technology, because even unit-to-unit manufacturing tolerances of the same unit will cause there to be inequalities. It's common to find one Canon 20D with less noise than another Canon 20D, even if absolutely everything else is the same. Units vary.

I don't think that means we should give up on testing altogether, just that we should be aware of this potential factor.

So that summarizes the reasons why I think the myth has become so popular. Here is some more information about pixel density:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034& ;message=31584345
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1032&amp ;message=16107908
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1029&amp ;message=21440105
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1029&amp ;message=23296470
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1019&amp ;message=31512159
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1018&amp ;message=30211624

A paper presented by G. Agranov at 2007 International Image Sensor Workshop demonstrated that pixels sizes between 5.6 and 1.7 microns all give the same low light performance.

http://www.imagesensors.org/Past%20Workshops/2007%20Workshop/2007%20Papers/079%20Agranov%20et%20al.pdf

Eric Fossum said that FWC tends to increase with smaller pixels: "smaller pixels have greater depth (per unit area) and saturate 'later in time'". ( http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1000&message=30017021 )

So the question might arise: what should be considered with regard to pixel density? There are at least three things to consider:

  • File size and workflow

  • Magnification value

  • Out-of-camera JPEG

File size is an obvious one. Magnification is what causes telephoto (wildlife, sports, etc.) and macro shooters to often prefer high pixel density bodies (1.6X) over FF35.

Out-of-camera JPEGs are affected by pixel density because manufacturers have responded to the throngs of misguided 100% crop comparisons by adding stronger noise reduction. If JPEG is important to you and you can't get the parameters to match your needs, then it becomes an important factor.

Higher pixel densities require bigger files, slower workflow, longer processing times, higher magnification for telephoto/macro. For me this is not a factor, but it may be important to some shooters. Lower pixel densities result in smaller files, faster workflow, and lower magnification.

I'm sorry this post is so long, I did not have time to make it shorter.

Noise scales with spatial frequency.

-- hide signature --

Daniel

caterpillar Veteran Member • Posts: 7,585
Not worried with the megapixel race

RedFox88 wrote:

Overall it's rather well put for the average camera user and buyer.
They pack more and more pixels into P&S cameras for users that either
never print and upload 800x600 photos for photo sharing or print 4x6
that only need 2MP. True that cropping is needed sometimes so they
should make them 6 to 8MP and leave it there. Oh and put the image
sensor sizes back to 1/1.8" as a standard maybe even an occassinal
2/3"

Actually, 3mp with a good 1/1.8" sensor is good enough. My first digital camera was the famous Kodak 4800 w/c had that sensor. 3mp. Large mp count in 2001. And they cost about U$1,200 in those days. It was a 28-80mm 35mm equiv in FOV if I recall. It made very nice prints at 28mm. Very nice indeed for a 3mp.

6-8mp is just fine. In fact, in aps-c sized sensors, 8-10mp maybe is the best overall. My 8mp 20d still surprises me to this day. ISO 1600 is still clean if you expose properly. The 5d mk2 has the same pixel size (to my recall) as the 20d, hence it is no wonder it is such a fine camera in low light, except you have 21mp at your disposal. But I bet even a 1/2.5" sensor at 8mp would look fine in good light, and only would suffer in higher ISOs.

But in fairness, there are applications that do require more pixels. Lanscape shooters and some macro and advertising shooters and PJs would require maybe 10-15mp if only to be able to crop. Of course landscape shooters need all the pixels they can get to resolve details of small objects like grass or leaves w/out cropping. But for most folks, I think 8mp is a safe bet overall, with 10mp as the threshold.

I am not worried with the megapixel race. I know it is a losing proposition for the sensor/camera makers. In the long run, they know they have to find "differentiation" of product lines elsewhere. There is no doubt that they can take the aps-c sensor to 20mp or more but there is a point where the cleverest software and use of technology will bog down to get a clean image at higher ISOs. The 35mm FF has still some room to go, maybe 30-40mp, but it will be a tough sell in time for smaller sensors.

Even P&S, as we are seeing are going to larger and larger sensor sizes if they are still to play the megapixel race. They still have room to grow as there still have to go 1/1.8" size so one can get 12mp or more with "clean" high ISO (for a P&S).

But I think the next competitive selling point will not be sensor size or pixel count, but other feature sets. And the one that will be driving it is video. Like it or not, that's how they will be marketed in the future. Any ancellary requirements of video will drive the new models (e.g. faster AF, quiter zoom lenses, higher bit-rates, 1080-60p, etc). The reason is easy to fathom. People will realize, they don't need all that pixel count for stills. And video will become the focus for many as well as stills. And then the tide will turn.

The megapixel race is a dead end proposition. The megahertz race in cpus is also a dead-end proposition for both Intel and AMD. The problem is not technology. They can sure make 6, 8, 16 cores in the future running at 3ghz per core. But to most typical consumer, as the high sales of netbooks has shown, don't really need all that horse power. Netbooks are low powered single core cpus. Today's dual/core 2 duo cpus do well for most chores. Only video and multimedia editing require quadcores and higher megahertz. And I am sure AMD and Intel are aware of those issues. There is a lot of lesson to be learned from the P4 architecture.

Same with the megapixel race. It is bound to stop simply because it is not sustainable. Technology-wise, unlike cpus, the hurdles to be overcome as far as noise reduction on higher ISOs are harder to go over. And if video does become the driver for the new cameras, then salesmen will be harping other pixel counts like 1080-30p/60p in the future, etc.

By that time, we hope that sensor makers will start concentrating on other issues like dynamic range, better AWB, or some other feature set. It's bound to happen simply because the megpixel race is a dead end proposition.

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Panasonic FZ1000 Canon EF-S 10-22mm F3.5-4.5 USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 +22 more
Lobalobo
Lobalobo Senior Member • Posts: 2,458
Re: Too many megapixels? Six is enough for an 8x10.

Anastigmat wrote:

The D40 has a 6mp CCD
sensor with low noise at high ISO settings, but it lacks many of the
niceties of a Nikon D90. So which camera should you choose? The D40
for better image quality or the D90 for better AF and better
viewfinder?

It would be nice if we can buy cameras the way we buy bicycles. Then
we can custom built our cameras with the exact sensor, AF,
viewfinder, and shutter units that we want instead of taking bundled
deals that may not be ideal for our individual needs.

Well put. It is truly a shame that whenever a manufacturer attempts to give the consumer a choice, competition pushes the wrong way.

misha marinsky3 Senior Member • Posts: 1,330
Re: All true essentially

Except that the new high MP cameras seem to outperform, in general,
the old lower MP cameras. Annoying when the truth gets in the way of
a good myth, isn't it
--
Bob

The latest Canon G10 is fine at its base ISO, but above 400, yuck.

I have a Lumix L1. The chip went down from 8MP to 7.5MP, to reduce the noise without affecting resolution. Excellent camera.

The smaller the diode, the higher the amplification. DPReview lists pixel density in their database; it is significant.

My websites:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ubereye/

http://ubereye.deviantart.com/

http://newyorkleftist.blogspot.com/

fldspringer Senior Member • Posts: 1,427
Re: hardly an authoritative source.

bobn2 wrote:

When will people stop peddling this big lie?

I like examples. They are tough to come by on an apple to apple comparison. I'll do the best I can.

I'll start with the Canon 1DIII (1.3 crop and an older sensor) to the latest 1DsIII full frame. Check out the "dynamic range" button.

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image-Quality-Database/Compare-cameras/ (appareil1) 289%7C0 (appareil2) 291%7C0 (onglet) 0 (brand) Canon (brand2) Canon

Second choice is the Nikon D3 (older sensor) to the latest and greatest and much more expensive D3x. Once again, click the "Dynamic Range" button.

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image-Quality-Database/Compare-cameras/ (appareil1) 297%7C0 (appareil2) 287%7C0 (onglet) 0 (brand) Nikon (brand2) Nikon

It is clear the curves of the lower pixel count cameras are clearly above the newer high density sister camera. In the case of the Canon, its a smaller sensor to boot. In both cases there were additional optional ISO choices available for the lower pixel cameras.

Why would they do that???

Maybe, just maybe there is more truth in the lie than your willing to admit.

-- hide signature --
 fldspringer's gear list:fldspringer's gear list
Olympus E-3 Nikon D3S Nikon D500 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50mm 1:2.0 Macro Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF +11 more
Oly Canikon
Oly Canikon Senior Member • Posts: 1,278
Re: Too many megapixels? Six is enough for an 8x10.

Lobalobo wrote:

Anastigmat wrote:

The D40 has a 6mp CCD
sensor with low noise at high ISO settings, but it lacks many of the
niceties of a Nikon D90. So which camera should you choose? The D40
for better image quality or the D90 for better AF and better
viewfinder?

It would be nice if we can buy cameras the way we buy bicycles. Then
we can custom built our cameras with the exact sensor, AF,
viewfinder, and shutter units that we want instead of taking bundled
deals that may not be ideal for our individual needs.

Well put. It is truly a shame that whenever a manufacturer attempts
to give the consumer a choice, competition pushes the wrong way.

-- hide signature --

His example would be more convincing if it were true. This example proves the opposite of what he says.The D90 is better than the D40 in every way.

If reducing pixels would give an immediate improvement in noise and DR one of the manufacturers would do it right now. They would have a good market among low light shooters.

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