Do pixels matter? What 20" x 30" prints reveal.

Started Jun 14, 2013 | Discussions
Schwany
Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,129
Re: aunt

Mako2011 wrote:

Schwany wrote:

Well, I think just about everyone knows what they are taking a picture of, and that's the content. Babies, pets, kids playing sports, the girl or boy next door, flowers in the garden, wildlife, the new bathroom, it all matters to some extent.

Had you seen my aunt with her camera...you might come to understand, there are exceptions.

OK I can see that. he he

I'd still like more pixels.

As do I, as long as they are quality pixels and improve upon the past.

Absolutely, improvement is the one thing that makes it work.

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Schwany
Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,129
Re: "quality pixels"

Great Bustard wrote:

Mako2011 wrote:

Schwany wrote:

I'd still like more pixels.

As do I, as long as they are quality pixels and improve upon the past.

There are three primary aspects to a pixel's "quality":

  • QE (Quantum Efficiency -- the proportion of light falling on the pixel that is recorded)
  • Read Noise (the additional noise added by the pixel and supporting hardware)
  • Saturation Capacity

There's no evidence that the size of a pixel has any substantial effect on QE, as the pixels from the 6D have basically the same QE as the pixels from the G15, despite the fact that the 6D pixels have 11.5x the area as the G15 pixels.

As for read noise, we need to compare area for area, not pixel for pixel. For example, the combined read noise of 11.5 pixels from the G15 (same area as one 6D pixel) is 8.5 electrons vs 26.8 electrons of the 6D at base ISO (1.7 stop advantage smaller pixels), but 5.8 electrons vs 2.0 electrons at ISO 6400 (1.5 stop advantage for larger pixels).

Lastly, so long as the saturation levels for the pixels are in proportion to the area, there will be no relative advantage. For example, 11.5 of the G15 pixels have a saturation of 84630 electrons as opposed to one 6D pixel which has a saturation of 76606 electrons (negligible difference -- 0.14 stops apart).

So, as we can see, for the same generation tech, the relative difference in sensor efficiency is essentially the same for a huge range of pixel sizes. In other words, a 230 MP FF sensor made with G15 pixels would have been as efficient as the 20 MP 6D sensor.

In other words, any argument against more pixels has to come from an operational argument (frame rate, file size, processing time) as opposed to IQ, since 230 MP over 20 MP of equally efficient pixels would most certainly have the IQ advantage.

I fell asleep before I got through this. I'm sure it is inspirational though.

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Great Bustard Forum Pro • Posts: 41,915
Re: "quality pixels"
1

Schwany wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

Mako2011 wrote:

Schwany wrote:

I'd still like more pixels.

As do I, as long as they are quality pixels and improve upon the past.

There are three primary aspects to a pixel's "quality":

  • QE (Quantum Efficiency -- the proportion of light falling on the pixel that is recorded)
  • Read Noise (the additional noise added by the pixel and supporting hardware)
  • Saturation Capacity

There's no evidence that the size of a pixel has any substantial effect on QE, as the pixels from the 6D have basically the same QE as the pixels from the G15, despite the fact that the 6D pixels have 11.5x the area as the G15 pixels.

As for read noise, we need to compare area for area, not pixel for pixel. For example, the combined read noise of 11.5 pixels from the G15 (same area as one 6D pixel) is 8.5 electrons vs 26.8 electrons of the 6D at base ISO (1.7 stop advantage smaller pixels), but 5.8 electrons vs 2.0 electrons at ISO 6400 (1.5 stop advantage for larger pixels).

Lastly, so long as the saturation levels for the pixels are in proportion to the area, there will be no relative advantage. For example, 11.5 of the G15 pixels have a saturation of 84630 electrons as opposed to one 6D pixel which has a saturation of 76606 electrons (negligible difference -- 0.14 stops apart).

So, as we can see, for the same generation tech, the relative difference in sensor efficiency is essentially the same for a huge range of pixel sizes. In other words, a 230 MP FF sensor made with G15 pixels would have been as efficient as the 20 MP 6D sensor.

In other words, any argument against more pixels has to come from an operational argument (frame rate, file size, processing time) as opposed to IQ, since 230 MP over 20 MP of equally efficient pixels would most certainly have the IQ advantage.

I fell asleep before I got through this. I'm sure it is inspirational though.

Most do.  It's the same reason more people watch American Idol than How It's Made, for example.

Dan_168 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,412
Re: Do pixels matter? What 20" x 30" prints reveal.

TTMartin wrote:

Dan_168 wrote:

As a landscape shooter and current owner of D800E and 1DS2, 1DS3 1D2 & Sony NEX7, and previously 5D2 and D3, 20D, D300, I am really surprised to heard so many people claimed there is no difference between high resolution and low resolution when everything else being equal.

Maybe some people understand it doesn't matter how many cameras you own, or how many megapixels those cameras have.

What matters most is the person behind the camera.

Buying more cameras and more megapixels doesn't make a person a better photographer, and it certainly doesn't develop their artistic eye.

Thanks for the lecture,  I finally understand the photographer is one very important factor and if you know what you are doing there is no difference if you are shooting with a disposable or 36MP FF camera, very informative, thanks again, but I still don't feel like trash my 36Mp camera and use my iphone for upcoming event though, unfortunately I have some bill to pay so I can't just get on the high horse like some people.

talico Contributing Member • Posts: 614
Re: Do pixels matter? What 20" x 30" prints reveal.

AlbertInFrance wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

talico wrote:

I guess what I was trying to say is that if you take a scene and crop into it you have a wider perspective than if you took the shot you wanted from the start. If I want a tight head shot, the perspective is different if you get there by cropping or by using a different lens. For instance, an 85mm on a full frame camera has a different perspective than a 50mm on a cropped sensor even though the angle of view might be similar . I do understand that if I take a photo on a full frame camera with a 50mm lens, the look will be the same on a cropped sensor, you will just have a cropped view of the same scene. This difference is why medium format has a different look. You can use a higher focal length to capture your subject which provides more compression and can create a more pleasing look/perspective.

Nope!

If you take a photo of a scene at, say, 24mm, and take a photo of the same scene at 200mm, and then crop the 24mm photo to the same framing as the 200mm photo, the perspectives will be identical.

The perspective is the relative arrangement of the objects in the scene, and is a function solely of the subject-camera distance (more properly, the subject-aperture distance).

Correct.

I've shot (and cropped) formats ranging from 1/1.7 P&S tp 5"x4". The ONLY thing that affects the perspective is the distance.

Take two photographs from the same position with different formats. For each one use a lens that will render the main subject as the same relative size (e.g. half the frame height). Print both of them on the same size paper (e.g. 6"x4") so that the whole height of the frame is printed the same size.

If you have done things right the main subject will be the same height (2" in my example) on both prints. Measure any other object in the picture and it will be the same size in both prints.

Depth of field may be different, but the perspective will be identical.

You guys are both right of course.  I never thought about the distance being the only determining factor of perspective.  Thanks for correcting me.

Tom
My photos http://www.alicoatephotography.com

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Schwany
Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,129
Re: "quality pixels"

Great Bustard wrote:

Schwany wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

Mako2011 wrote:

Schwany wrote:

I'd still like more pixels.

As do I, as long as they are quality pixels and improve upon the past.

There are three primary aspects to a pixel's "quality":

  • QE (Quantum Efficiency -- the proportion of light falling on the pixel that is recorded)
  • Read Noise (the additional noise added by the pixel and supporting hardware)
  • Saturation Capacity

There's no evidence that the size of a pixel has any substantial effect on QE, as the pixels from the 6D have basically the same QE as the pixels from the G15, despite the fact that the 6D pixels have 11.5x the area as the G15 pixels.

As for read noise, we need to compare area for area, not pixel for pixel. For example, the combined read noise of 11.5 pixels from the G15 (same area as one 6D pixel) is 8.5 electrons vs 26.8 electrons of the 6D at base ISO (1.7 stop advantage smaller pixels), but 5.8 electrons vs 2.0 electrons at ISO 6400 (1.5 stop advantage for larger pixels).

Lastly, so long as the saturation levels for the pixels are in proportion to the area, there will be no relative advantage. For example, 11.5 of the G15 pixels have a saturation of 84630 electrons as opposed to one 6D pixel which has a saturation of 76606 electrons (negligible difference -- 0.14 stops apart).

So, as we can see, for the same generation tech, the relative difference in sensor efficiency is essentially the same for a huge range of pixel sizes. In other words, a 230 MP FF sensor made with G15 pixels would have been as efficient as the 20 MP 6D sensor.

In other words, any argument against more pixels has to come from an operational argument (frame rate, file size, processing time) as opposed to IQ, since 230 MP over 20 MP of equally efficient pixels would most certainly have the IQ advantage.

I fell asleep before I got through this. I'm sure it is inspirational though.

Most do. It's the same reason more people watch American Idol than How It's Made, for example.

Yeah, I'm really dumb. Hardly understand a thing about photography. What's American Idol?

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Just another Canon shooter
Just another Canon shooter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,691
Re: "quality pixels"
2

Schwany wrote:

What's American Idol?

It is like dpreview with wannabe photographers replaced by wannabe singers.

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Schwany
Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,129
Re: "quality pixels"
1

Just another Canon shooter wrote:

Schwany wrote:

What's American Idol?

It is like dpreview with wannabe photographers replaced by wannabe singers.

Oh how I wannabe. Is this when I say it takes one to know just another one?

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bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 58,131
Re: "quality pixels"

Great Bustard wrote:

I fell asleep before I got through this. I'm sure it is inspirational though.

Most do. It's the same reason more people watch American Idol than How It's Made, for example.

I went through a phase of trying to provide more 'inspirational' examples to go with the technical discussions. DPR pulled the threads and banned me. I think they prefer the technical discussion to be 'pure'.

-- hide signature --

Bob

bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 58,131
Re: might
3

Mako2011 wrote:

TTMartin wrote:

Buying more cameras and more megapixels doesn't make a person a better photographer, and it certainly doesn't develop their artistic eye.

It might help though. A new expensive purchase might be just the catalyst and motivator for improvement.

I'm a firm believer that comfort with the tools of the trade is a big part of proficiency with them. Most matsters of an art have particular tools that they just like more than others. It's why one should never argue against someone's personal choice of camera. One might argue against spurious rationales for that choice - in the end 'because I like it' is good enough.

-- hide signature --

Bob

abi170845 Regular Member • Posts: 348
Re: Do pixels matter? What 20" x 30" prints reveal.

I still use my 5D Classic and it is starting to fall apart. I still use it for portrait work and getting the 6D in August or whenever my 5D is unusable.

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John Sheehy Forum Pro • Posts: 20,576
Re: aunt

Mako2011 wrote:

Schwany wrote:

I'd still like more pixels.

As do I, as long as they are quality pixels and improve upon the past.

Most pixels are of sufficient quality to obtain near-ideal imaging with enough of them. The only typical limitation to the pixel that limits the image is black-clipping; otherwise, a sufficient number of pixels has no IQ limits, given enough pixels. Line noises or banding can reduce the benefit of a given number of pixels more, but they are not really caused by the pixels, but the electronics to read the sensor.

Schwany
Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,129
"quality inspiration"

Bobn2 wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

I fell asleep before I got through this. I'm sure it is inspirational though.

Most do. It's the same reason more people watch American Idol than How It's Made, for example.

I went through a phase of trying to provide more 'inspirational' examples to go with the technical discussions. DPR pulled the threads and banned me. I think they prefer the technical discussion to be 'pure'.

So who actually thinks about all the inspirational technical wisdom with regard to the imaging sensor in their camera when in the field?

Raise your engineering diplomas, or google search strings

I'm sure you got banned for something other than providing inspirational technical information. Threads usually get pulled because of people's attitudes.

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robert1955 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,903
Re: "quality inspiration"

Schwany wrote:

So who actually thinks about all the inspirational technical wisdom with regard to the imaging sensor in their camera when in the field?

Actually we're not in the field taking pictures, but discussing whether it is useful to go out in the field with a camera with more pixels. In that a sub-subject arose about 'quality pixels'. Then GB described what qualities pixels have. So far no-one has brought an argument where he is wrong,but there is some evidence that some think it is a form of reality tv.

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Just another Canon shooter
Just another Canon shooter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,691
Re: "quality inspiration"

Schwany wrote:

I'm sure you got banned for something other than providing inspirational technical information.

You can be banned here just for discussing why somebody else was banned.

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Schwany
Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,129
Quality care

robert1955 wrote:

Schwany wrote:

So who actually thinks about all the inspirational technical wisdom with regard to the imaging sensor in their camera when in the field?

Actually we're not in the field taking pictures, but discussing whether it is useful to go out in the field with a camera with more pixels. In that a sub-subject arose about 'quality pixels'. Then GB described what qualities pixels have. So far no-one has brought an argument where he is wrong,but there is some evidence that some think it is a form of reality tv.

As it turns out, I'm neither in a field nor discussing anything. I'm preparing for my debut on American Idol.

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Schwany
Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,129
Yeah, that's probably true

Just another Canon shooter wrote:

Schwany wrote:

I'm sure you got banned for something other than providing inspirational technical information.

You can be banned here just for discussing why somebody else was banned.

Yikes my complaint count must be getting near critical mass.

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Per Inge Oestmoen Senior Member • Posts: 1,795
Pixels do matter very much, but that is dependent on the subject

LaszloBencze wrote:

I do completely agree with you and "canonero" above that certain types of subject matter will certainly benefit from more pixels and have stated as much in several replies.

However, my main point is that MOST pictures (and certainly most of the pictures I take) are not of this type. They do not have intricate textures or fine detail to resolve. So these types of pictures do not demand high megapixel counts to look good.

The answer to the question "does pixel number matter" depends entirely on subject matter!

That also means that it is not possible to say that "MOST" pictures do not need exquisite visual detail in the image. That is generally true for portraits and sports.
However:
For those who love landscapes and nature images, and who truly appreciate small nuances and subtleties in grasses, foliage, structures in stones and in the patterns of tree trunks - everything viewed both five feet away and nine inches away and everything in between, detail is alpha and omega. And then the number of pixels describing the subjects will be decisive.

Per Inge Oestmoen, Norway

primeshooter
primeshooter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,813
Yes. Yes they do.
3

LaszloBencze wrote:

I currently have a show of 38 20" x 30" prints appearing at the Viewpoint Photographic Art Center in Sacramento. Most of the pictures were taken with either a 5D MKII or 5D MKIII. However, some of them come from the Canon 1D MKII and 1DMIII which are not full frame and have about half the number of pixels of the 5D cameras (8 & 10 megapixels vs over 20 for the 5Ds).

What I noticed is that I could not tell which pictures were taken with the lower pixel count 1D cameras. They do not stand out as obviously inferior. In fact all the pictures look good and are indistinguishable in terms of sharpness or resolution.

Now I'm sure that there are benefits of the 20 megapixel cameras. And I do own two of them. But my point is that real life photo situations with large areas of bland texture or out of focus areas do not reveal such differences. This is a bit of a surprise for me but a reassuring one.

If you happen to live in the Sacramento area, you're welcome to look for yourself. The gallery is at 2015 J street and is well identified with signage.

Let me see here. If you cannot tell the difference between a 12MP image and a 36MP image at 20 by 30, you are blind! Yes, and you said do pixel's matter, what I have just said proves this point. Also, you have not considered that generally the more pixels, the higher the dynamic range. Certainly true for the new sony sensors in the nikons.

Put it this way, pixels will matter alot more when canon release a 40MP camera.

Just another Canon shooter
Just another Canon shooter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,691
Re: Yes. Yes they do.
1

primeshooter wrote:

Put it this way, pixels will matter alot more when canon release a 40MP camera.

Yeah, as they suddenly tried to matter to the Nikonians after the release of the D800. Remember the time when 12mp was enough?

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