Reasons for wanting higher mega pixel count

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JimKasson
JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 26,894
The point

Scottelly wrote:

I see, but what's the point in talking about full-well capacity limits, as they relate to are of the sensor and density, if the technology is constantly changing, and the ratio doesn't apply, since the sensor is new vs the old one you're comparing it to? This bothers me, because if things are not limited by physics, but only by the technology used, and the technology is not static, there seems to be no point in mentioning the full-well capacity and the number of pixels vs sensor area.

Here's the point.

This is a discussion about the desirability of more pixels on the sensor. If we are to have that discussion, we should not conflate it by comparing sensors of different generations. The proper comparison would be the a7RIII to the a7III, or the Z6 to the Z7.

Within a generation, pixel pitch is a second order effect with respect to PDR.

Jim

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Scottelly
Scottelly Forum Pro • Posts: 14,010
Re: My only reason

Batdude wrote:

dv312 wrote:

Cropping, cropping, and more cropping

Ultra necessary for birding

Everything else is just icing on the cake

Just curious, I am not a BIF photographer and own zero zoom lenses and the longest FL I have used was the Sigma 150-600 at the camera store parking lot. From my own personal experience and the very little I have used long lenses what I understand is that it is not easy to photograph moving objects with long lenses, but the point is this, don't you have to be extreme careful as to how you shoot anything that is moving specially with higher MP cameras?

Doesn't it get worse as you increase MP? When you crop, and crop and crop (or in general) isn't there more blurr if one doesn't know what they are doing? You make things sound very simple

Oh, it's far from simple. I've tried to shoot static subjects at 300mm and found that even from a tripod it's really difficult to get an animal in focus and captured without motion blur (camera or lens motion blur, rather than subject movement), but if you're shooting at f8 1/2,000 sec. at ISO 400 or 800, you can sometimes catch an animal, even a moving one, without much blur. If you can then crop to a 12 MP photo instead of an 8 MP photo, it'd be nice. It's not going to make or breake the photo, and sure motion blur and focus are your biggest challenges, but that added benefit of being able to crop a little more and still end up with 8 MP gives the photographer with the 60 MP sensor an advantage, however small that advantage might be. But we're talking race cars here. The A7r III is a top camera. We're not talking about upgrading from a lowly Sony A7 here. You're not going to win any races in a 1998 race car, if you're running in the Daytona 500 next year with it.

It's the same concept with BIF. You'll do better with the A7r IV than you would with the A7r II or III . . . a little better . . . and a lot better than you would with the A7r or the A7 . . . and maybe a whole lot better than you would with a NEX 7. Here's a thought though: If you spend about $3,000 on a good new 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS lens kit with a 1.4x teleconverter and $500 on a Sony A6000, you'd probably do better catching good photos of birds in flight than if you were to upgrade from an A7 to an A7r IV, but kept trying to shoot with your old 24-240mm f3.5-6.3 OSS lens.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1386848-REG/sony_fe_70_200mm_f_2_8_gm.html

In other words use the right tools for the situation. An A7 is great for shooting indoors, and that 24-240 is a very versatile lens. You CAN use such a kit for shooting BIF, and you CAN upgrade by moving up to the A7r IV, but you can also upgrade by getting a better lens and a second body with a crop sensor for the same money. Then you have two kits, and you can upgrade your indoor shoots with that f2.8 lens too, while keeping the reliability of having two bodies. In some situations the A7r IV would do better, even with the super-zoom lens, but sometimes the better f2.8 lens will shine, and you can get better photos than you would with the super-zoom on the better A7r IV body.

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Scottelly
Scottelly Forum Pro • Posts: 14,010
Re: Reasons for wanting higher mega pixel count
1

JimKasson wrote:

Scottelly wrote:

Horshack wrote:

canonpfs wrote:

2. Lower noise. Provided the 61MP sensor provides the same high ISO performance as the 42MP sensor the larger sensor will result in lower noise when down sampled. Noise just seems to magically disappear with down sampling. So if you have noise in the 61MP image just down sample it and the perceptible noise will be less.

3. Higher usable ISO. For the same reason as mentioned above the higher mega pixel count allows you to use a higher ISO because the additional noise generated by the higher ISO will be cancelled out by down sampling the image (within reason of course).

This is a oft-quoted theory but is incorrect when you think through it more deeply. The only situation where extra pixels yields can yield better High ISO results in terms of noise and detail (ie, the ability to apply more NR to the higher-resolution image to yield better downsampled results vs an image from a lower-resolution sensor) is when you compare the two using locked-down tripod shots, at identical shutter speeds. In other words, only in an artificial comparison that never can happen in the real world.

The reason it can't happen in the real world is because High ISO is used when you're either shutter speed or DOF/aperture limited. For example, to get a fast enough shutter speed to avoid motion blur from a moving subject or shake blur from hand-holding a camera , or when you need to step down the aperture to get sufficient DOF. In both scenarios if there isn't enough available light to accommodate that faster shutter speed and/or smaller aperture then one must increase ISO in order to maintain the same pixel-level sharpness desired (ie, absence of undesirable blur).

As the pixel density increases one must increase the shutter speed a commensurate amount in order to maintain the same pixel-level sharpness. Pixel-level sharpness is necessary in order to take advantage of the detail advantage from downsampling a higher MP image to achieve better post-NR detail results vs a lower-resolution sensor. Otherwise the higher MP image will just be oversampling motion blur, yielding no detail benefit when downsampled.

Since a higher shutter speed is necessary for a higher MP sensor to achieve the same amount of pixel-level sharpness, the ISO must be increased on the higher MP sensor vs a lower MP sensor. And with that the presumed detail+noise advantage from a higher MP sensor suddenly disappears...because the amount of ISO increase necessary to keep per-pixel sharpness scales directly with pixel density.

As indicated, the only situation where you don't lose the presumed Higher MP advantage is in artificial test scenarios, where you lock both the higher MP and lower MP cameras on a tripod shooting a static, non-moving subject and with both cameras set to identical shutter speeds. In the real world you can't do this because, again, the only reason to use Higher ISO is to avoid blur, so if you have the ability to avoid blur at any shutter speed on a tripod then you would necessarily be using a lower ISO to begin with.

Wrong. I can think of a siuation off the top of my head in less than ten seconds, where what you're saying is incorrect. Take a shot of a night scene, for example. You might want to reduce the motion blur of people walking along a street, so you step up the ISO from 800 to 3200.

To reduce the motion blur, you'd increase the shutter speed. Whether or not you increase the ISO is a separate decision. At a base ISO of 800 with an a7RIII, I probably wouldn't increase ISO at all.

https://blog.kasson.com/?s=a7riii+shadow+noise

Jim

Good point Jim. I guess there's really no much point in pushing up the ISO past 800, huh?

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sportyaccordy Forum Pro • Posts: 15,486
Re: Reasons for wanting higher mega pixel count
2

Jacques Cornell wrote:

Cudacke Dees wrote:

Jacques Cornell wrote:

Cudacke Dees wrote:

10 years ago people say 12MP is enough.
12MP which is 4272 x 2848 on Sony camera.

It is only slightly larger than my 8MP 4K resolution 15 inch HP spectre x360 laptop screen which I look at every day no farther than 2 foot.
I won't even be able to APS-C crop it and still get a full screen image.

with 24MP a APS-C crop barely larger.

so yea unless you are planning to die in 10 years.....

What's your point? Ten years later, a 12MP file is still sufficient to display full-screen without upscaling on a 4K display of any size or to make a print at least 12"x18". If your laptop 10 years from now has an 8K display, your eyes won't be able to discern the difference.

what do you mean?

I am already seeing the difference on my 15 inch 4K screen every day.

I don't believe you. Or rather, I don't believe that what you're seeing results from increased resolution in the original file. 4K is 8MP. TBH, I have not done a controlled test with my 12MP, 14MP, 16MP, 20MP, 24MP and 42MP cameras, but it is my belief that files from these cameras, downsampled to 8MP, will show identical levels of detail.

You would be wrong sir

https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/image-comparison?attr18=daylight&attr13_0=sony_a7riii&attr13_1=sony_a7ii&attr13_2=sony_a7sii&attr13_3=canon_eos5dsr&attr15_0=jpeg&attr15_1=jpeg&attr15_2=jpeg&attr15_3=jpeg&attr16_0=100&attr16_1=100&attr16_2=100&attr16_3=100&attr171_0=1&normalization=print&widget=1&x=-0.4586390398550724&y=-0.7120842717717718

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Scottelly
Scottelly Forum Pro • Posts: 14,010
Re: Reasons for wanting higher mega pixel count

JimKasson wrote:

Jacques Cornell wrote:

JimKasson wrote:

SilvanBromide wrote:

Jacques Cornell wrote:

Cudacke Dees wrote:

There are people saying 12mp is enough 10 years ago.......... which is correct. It is enough. But we can have better and better is better.

But, if you're printing 12"x18" or smaller, "better" is invisible. ...

Not true. If you apply processing (to reduce noise, lift shadows, enhance detail etc.) prior to downscaling for print, the difference will be palpable, even at 12"x18" or smaller.

It's not a processing issue.

The difference will be visible no matter what the shadow lifting. It take 6500 pixels for an 18 inch wide print at 360 ppi

Yes, but your eyes likely cannot resolve 360ppi. That 360ppi number is widely cited, but it is randomly selected and bears little relation to the average person's eyesight. Furthermore, it assumes that you view prints with your nose on the paper, which nobody but pixel-peeping photo tech enthusiasts does.

I find almost no visible difference, even at a viewing distance of 12", between 200dpi and 300ppi in a print that's been appropriately sharpened for the specific media and output size. Try it. You may first have to learn how to appropriately sharpen for print. You can start by trying Pixel Genius' now-free PhotoKit Sharpener.

( a few more than you can get with a 24 MP 3:2 camera). A 12 MP camera will get you about 240 ppi. That's good enough for most things, but not for all uses. If you print on matte paper, there's probably no visible difference.

Some folks will do just fine with 12 MP. Others

who examine prints with a 4x loupe

will want more.

Actually, IMO, 360 ppi isn't enough.

Print out a B&W image on a 360 ppi/2880 dpi inkjet printer. Take that print and an 8x10 B&W contact print, hold them in your hands, and take a good look. You'll see that even the 360 ppi print is visibly unsharp compared to the 8x10 contact print.

And, if you really want to drive the point home, print out a 360 ppi color print and compare it to an 8x10 Ektachrome original -- not a copy, but the film that was in the camera at the moment of exposure.

If you suffer from presbyopia, you'll need your reading glasses for this experiment.

I am sorry that Cymbolic Sciences is gone.

Jim

I agree. I'd like to see a full-frame camera that captures enough pixels that we could print 60" x 90" at 600 ppi without having to scale up the original image. That's not likely to happen any time soon though (because we'd have a 200 MP camera then, or at least very close to it).

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sportyaccordy Forum Pro • Posts: 15,486
Re: Reasons for wanting higher mega pixel count

Scottelly wrote:

Good point Jim. I guess there's really no much point in pushing up the ISO past 800, huh?

Sure there is... holding ISO at 800 means having to manually expose, and losing the visual feedback enabled by live view. Plus every stop you push is a stop of dynamic range lost, which basically amounts to pushing ISOs higher. I just don't think this is a practical way to shoot in faster paced + varying shooting situations, which can be as simple as taking shots of an event indoors.

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Scottelly
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Re: Reasons for wanting higher mega pixel count

JimKasson wrote:

Scottelly wrote:

JimKasson wrote:

Scottelly wrote:

JimKasson wrote:

Scottelly wrote:

JimKasson wrote:

canonpfs wrote:

Much is said about the Sony A7R IV's "too high" mega pixel count. It seems the only reason that people can think of for needing a high mega pixel count is cropping. Besides cropping, here are two additional reasons for wanting more mega pixels:

1. Sharper images. Have you ever looked at an image on your rear LCD and thought that they were sharp only to find them blurry on your home monitor? Yes, I know we should look at our images on the LCD at higher magnifications but please bear with me for a moment. The reason why the blurry images looked sharp on the LCD is because a large image is displayed very small. So you shoot in low light and there is a breeze. You are already at a high ISO to get a higher shutter speed but the flowers in the foreground are still slightly out of focus. With lots of mega pixels available this image can be down sampled. At a smaller size the flowers are now sharp. Taking an image from 61MP down to say 18MP sharpens slightly out of focus areas.

That is true, but it's a second order effect if the CoC of the blurry flowers is much bigger than the pixel pitch. It occurs because the sharpening algorithms work better with more samples. By the time the CoC gets to 4 or 5 pixel pitches, the improvement is virtually gone.

2. Lower noise. Provided the 61MP sensor provides the same high ISO performance as the 42MP sensor the larger sensor will result in lower noise when down sampled. Noise just seems to magically disappear with down sampling. So if you have noise in the 61MP image just down sample it and the perceptible noise will be less.

This is true if you use nonlinear noise reduction. If you use linear noise reduction, it's pretty close to a wash, since the full well capacity for a given sensor technology is mainly proportional to the area of the pixel.

This is something I've been reading for years and years, yet the new 61 MP Sony sensor offers more dynamic range than a similar sized (full-frame) 42 MP Sony sensor. Since the technology is mature, and since both are back-lit sensors that have basically maxed out their possible fill-factor, shouldn't the 42 MP sensor offer more dynamic range, rather than less, if what you're saying is really true?

You are ignoring the words "for a given sensor technology" in the above.

I see, but what's the point in talking about full-well capacity limits, as they relate to are of the sensor and density, if the technology is constantly changing, and the ratio doesn't apply, since the sensor is new vs the old one you're comparing it to? This bothers me, because if things are not limited by physics, but only by the technology used, and the technology is not static, there seems to be no point in mentioning the full-well capacity and the number of pixels vs sensor area.

That is meant only to apply within a sensor generation, not across generations.

Then there's no point in mentioning this stuff, because the new sensor is not from the same generation, right?

I was offering general information. The FWC and the RN numbers for the a7RIV are as far as I know unavailable, so it is impossible for me to offer specific information. It appears that I have offended you. If you find the information that I've posted useless, please ignore it.

Sorry, but it just seems like a form of misinformation to me.

Misinformation: "false or inaccurate information, especially that which is deliberately intended to deceive"

In what sense is anything that I have written false?

Are you saying that I intend to deceive?

I've been mislead in the past to think things that weren't true, and as a result I ended up spending more money than I probably should have at the time. It didn't hurt me per say, but it bothers me when I see things that I think are misleading.

This concept of photo-sites with larger area being better for dynamic range bothered me when the Nikon D7100 came out, offering more dynamic range than any previous full-frame camera from Nikon or Canon, despite the photo-sites having a much smaller surface area. Nobody was ever able to explain to me why the little, APS-C sensor could capture so much more dynamic range than the older full-frame sensors. Sure, they said there was newer technology in the Nikon D7100 sensor, but that only goes so far, when people continue to make claims like this one you've just made. Given the fact that technology continues to improve, I don't see how what you're saying can be applicable, yet people keep saying stuff like, "They can't get much more out of a sensor, because the limits of the laws of physics have nearly been reached."

Have you ever seen me make that claim, except in the case of QE?

Well, you seem to be alluding to the same old claims that it's physics, but it's not, because it's technology, and that's constantly changing, isn't it?

Are you suggesting that QE's in excess of unity are on the horizon?

I'm saying that we are not reaching the limits of physics, but only the limits of today's technology, and that will change tomorrow or next week or next year, and for people to think there is some physical limit, because of the thing people suggest are happening, is a mistake.

I think a QE of greater than 1 is a limit, unless you have electron cascades, which doesn't really help.

Why is it not a limit?

People should not be mislead by things that people say that seem to be about physical limits, because it's not the physical limits that we are approaching. It's just the limits of today's technology, and next year or the year after there will be a better sensor that lets photographers do things they can't do with today's best sensor.

You qualify your statement above by mentioning the "given sensor technology" right? What's the point in mentioning all the other stuff, if you're going to basically negate what you said by "qualifying" it with an out phrase?

Again, please ignore what I've said if you find it inappropriate.

I'd rather not ignore things that I find inappropriate. "The only thing that evil needs to succeed is for good men to do nothing." Not that I'm saying what you wrote is evil, but if I don't agree with something, I think it's my duty to say so, and either find out why I am wrong, or convince others that what I think is right. There are limits, of course, but as I read through forums here, if I see something that bothers me, and I think I have something helpful or useful to say, then I normally say it, as I'm sure you do too.

I've read comments like that for more than ten years, yet camera/sensor companies keep on making sensors that have smaller photo-sites, yet can somehow capture more dynamic range.

What are your thoughts on this Jim?

It's unclear to me at this point how much Claff PDR improvement the a7RIV offers over the a7RIII.

Of course. Sony's claiming 15 stops. It will be interesting to see what Bill's calculations show.

It is true that full well capacities (FWCs) per square um tend to (fractionally) increase with each generation, and that read noise (RN) tends to decrease,

And that seems almost impossible,

Why do you say that? There is no physical limit to FWC that I know.

I was just commenting about the fact that full well capacities per square um tend to increase with each generation.

You said it was "almost impossible". Why should it be so?

Well, I said "that seems almost impossible." I mean how can we keep seeing big improvements in something that was near its maximum possible limits ten years ago. I'm thinking of an article in a well-respected website with the word Landscape in the name. Maybe I'm just remembering it wrong, but from the various things I've read over the years, I was lead to believe that back when full-frame sensors hit 12 MP and APS-C sensors were at 6 MP and 8 MP we were at about the limits of design, with regards to fill factor and the physics involved. That has turned out to be totally wrong.

Trees don't grow to the sky, but FWCs aren't like QE, where we're within a binary order of magnitude of theoretical.

What does it mean to be within a binary order of magnitude? Are you talking about 10% of theoretical limits? Are you suggesting we can go many times farther than we have come so far? If that's so, then why has it taken Sony so long to step up from the 24 MP sensor in the A900 to the 61 MP sensor in the A7r IV? The cameras are about the same price, but it's been about 15 years, and they've barely doubled the number of pixels their flagship sensor captures. To me that seems pathetic, but I realize there are a lot of hurdles to get over, and I also realize that image quality has improved in ways other than just resolution.

I'd think at some point they'd reach a maximum, but that just doesn't seem to happen. The sensor manufacturers just keep finding ways to make smaller photo-sites catch more energy. I guess it's like the efficiency of solar panels though. They've got a long way to go, though we were mislead to believe they were about at their maximum possible efficiency years ago.

I never saw any such claim about solar panels, and I have been reading about them in IEEE publications for years.

Well, since I don't read IEEE publications, maybe that's why I saw stuff that was inaccurate or just lies. It could be that I read something written by an anti-solar-energy Big Oil shill. It's possible, right?

when we read some of the things we read about limits of physics in sensor noise,

What things?

but improvemets keep on happening. It's amazing.

Within limits, it's predictable. Look at the curves for disk areal density vs time. Or transistors per unit area. There are gross effects that change those curves over a long enough time, but you can go a long way towards making many prections with a ruler and a piece of log paper.

so I would expect some PDR improvement. I would expect EDR -- unnormalized EDR, which is the only form I think makes sense -- to get somewhat better because of RN decreases, but again, at this point the is unknown, as Sony has not provided the protocol for their EDR claims.

Over time, as the pitches become finer, Claff PDR becomes more a measure of RN and less one of FWC, but we are a long way from the RN being the only important component, so, within a generation of sensor technology, I'd expect PDR to be about the same regardless of pitch.

O.K, but it's almost never within the same generation, right? This new Sony sensor is going to be compared to sensors from older generations, like the Nikon 45 MP sensor and the Sony 42 MP sensor and even the really old Canon 50 MP sensor. It might be compared to the new Fuji sensor too, but then the massive difference in size comes into play, and we'd be comparing apples with oranges.

All I can think is that this sensor is new and in a camera that's in the same price range, so it's probably significantly better. That seems to be the way it goes pretty much every time.

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JimKasson
JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 26,894
Re: Reasons for wanting higher mega pixel count

sportyaccordy wrote:

Scottelly wrote:

Good point Jim. I guess there's really no much point in pushing up the ISO past 800, huh?

Sure there is... holding ISO at 800 means having to manually expose,

Not necessarily. You can use the EC dial.

and losing the visual feedback enabled by live view.

Which is not useful for judging exposure if you're shooting raw.

Of course, there is a point (for me it's usually about three stops) when the game is no longer worth the candle.

Plus every stop you push is a stop of dynamic range lost, which basically amounts to pushing ISOs higher.

Except for the highlights.

I just don't think this is a practical way to shoot in faster paced + varying shooting situations, which can be as simple as taking shots of an event indoors.

I do it all the time, usually using aperture mode and riding the EC dial.

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JimKasson
JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 26,894
QE and binary order of magnitude
2

Scottelly wrote:

What does it mean to be within a binary order of magnitude?

Within a factor of two.

Are you talking about 10% of theoretical limits?

No, that would be a decimal order of magnitude.

Are you suggesting we can go many times farther than we have come so far?

No.

If that's so, then why has it taken Sony so long to step up from the 24 MP sensor in the A900 to the 61 MP sensor in the A7r IV?

It's not so.

The cameras are about the same price, but it's been about 15 years, and they've barely doubled the number of pixels their flagship sensor captures.

Now you're no longer talking about QE.

To me that seems pathetic,

You are entitled to your opinion. I don't find it so.

but I realize there are a lot of hurdles to get over, and I also realize that image quality has improved in ways other than just resolution.

Yes.

I'd think at some point they'd reach a maximum, but that just doesn't seem to happen. The sensor manufacturers just keep finding ways to make smaller photo-sites catch more energy. I guess it's like the efficiency of solar panels though. They've got a long way to go, though we were mislead to believe they were about at their maximum possible efficiency years ago.

I never saw any such claim about solar panels, and I have been reading about them in IEEE publications for years.

Well, since I don't read IEEE publications, maybe that's why I saw stuff that was inaccurate or just lies. It could be that I read something written by an anti-solar-energy Big Oil shill. It's possible, right?

Sure, but you need to consider the source.

Jim

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JimKasson
JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 26,894
Stitch!

Scottelly wrote:

I agree. I'd like to see a full-frame camera that captures enough pixels that we could print 60" x 90" at 600 ppi without having to scale up the original image. That's not likely to happen any time soon though (because we'd have a 200 MP camera then, or at least very close to it).

Stitching to the rescue, at least for some subjects.

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