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02-09-2015, 09:43 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Size does matter

Some time ago I mentioned that the original Q would have produced better images if the original sensor had been limited to 6MP or at the most 8MP which would allow each individual pixel to be larger. My original Olympus C-2100 had the same size sensor and was 2.1MP which resulted in some great images. I had several people who had been engineers during the early stages of sensor design tell me that the maximum number of sensors that could be packed into that size sensor without compromising quality would be around 4MP.

Here is a link to an article I read some time ago that agrees with what those engineers told me, Pixel size is more important than the number of pixels. But advertising less does not sell cameras so they advertise more and compromise quality.

Size Matters, Especially with Pixels | Reed Hoffmann


02-09-2015, 10:19 PM   #2
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One of the best, simplest explanations of pixel density vs. quality was an article about 10 years ago that likened the sensor to a cupcake/muffin baking pan. The number, size and spacing of the 'pots' relative to how many different things could be successfully stuffed in 'em was enlightening. In essence, would ya rather eat a few large blueberry muffins with lots of 'stuff' in 'em or a bunch of mini-muffins with fewer goodies per muffin. Obviously there's a practical compromise somewhere in the mid-range that satisfies most muffin-eaters.

A micro-muffin that only holds a few byte-sized blueberries isn't going to have the taste appeal of a big 'un that holds 256 berries . . . uh, shades of grey?
02-10-2015, 12:32 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by CWRailman Quote
Some time ago I mentioned that the original Q would have produced better images if the original sensor had been limited to 6MP or at the most 8MP which would allow each individual pixel to be larger. My original Olympus C-2100 had the same size sensor and was 2.1MP which resulted in some great images. I had several people who had been engineers during the early stages of sensor design tell me that the maximum number of sensors that could be packed into that size sensor without compromising quality would be around 4MP.

Here is a link to an article I read some time ago that agrees with what those engineers told me, Pixel size is more important than the number of pixels. But advertising less does not sell cameras so they advertise more and compromise quality.

Size Matters, Especially with Pixels | Reed Hoffmann
Really? So you don't think that sensor tech has improved in all those years?
btw: SONY have successfully advertised less with the 12Mp FF camera...
02-10-2015, 01:51 AM   #4
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The number of pixels are important, it gives more flexibility when cropping.

But when I don't need to crop, the photos taken with my crusty old 5MP Olympus E1 are just a good as images taken from my Panasonic GX7.
In fact I would say they are actually better!

Over the years megapixels have improved, image quality hasn't.

02-10-2015, 05:29 AM   #5
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I agree there's a certain "LOOK" that lower megapixel cameras had that seems almost gone today..........I had a Canon D30, which was Canon's 1st DSLR and it was like 3.2 megapixel.........I still have those images saved and there's a certain look they have that is really impressive......imagine an APS-C sized sensor with only 3.2 megapixels- the photo sites on the sensor must have been huge compared to todays 24 megapixel tiny photo sites......I do understand sensor performance has improved but the look the older images have is best described as "pristine"..........Sony has come closest to that look with their A7 series of cameras.
(This is my opinion of course- but I've thought about this sensor photo site size issue!)
02-10-2015, 08:08 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
Really? So you don't think that sensor tech has improved in all those years?
btw: SONY have successfully advertised less with the 12Mp FF camera...
Steve,
The actual improvement in light capturing ability and quality of individual pixels (forgot what they are actually called) were well refined by the early 2000ís. Much of the claims you currently hear come from overzealous advertising agencies. That is what I have heard from some of the engineers who were involved in early sensor development.
02-10-2015, 08:21 AM   #7
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Then how did they get such good performance out of the 645z and Sony A7s?
02-10-2015, 08:40 AM   #8
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It seems like camera companies could do something like Nokia did with their 41 megapixel camera -- bin the extra pixels when you don't need them and allow the camera to shoot in a lower megapixel mode or allow for the extra pixels to be used individually if you need extra reach or the light is decent. Seems like it would be a win-win. I suppose you can just do it in post as well. In the end, the extra pixels shouldn't make the photo worse as long as you view or print the images at the same size.


Last edited by Rondec; 02-10-2015 at 12:40 PM.
02-10-2015, 12:10 PM   #9
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Also bear in mind there is a difference between CCD and CMOS sensors. There has been continuous improvement in sensors but merely counting megapickles makes little sense for 90% of photographs.
02-10-2015, 02:14 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
Also bear in mind there is a difference between CCD and CMOS sensors. There has been continuous improvement in sensors but merely counting megapickles makes little sense for 90% of photographs.
Truer words were never spoken. And yet camera companies and most of their customers can't seem to help themselves. Still chasing megapixels. It used to be the same way with the computer industry. Higher processor clock speeds with each and every iteration. Once we passed 1ghz, it didn't seem to be as important as it used to be. I thought we'd have reached that point with cameras by now. But higher resolution is something the camera industry knows how to do easily enough and they're desperate for sales. So anything they can do to make it appear that the new camera is better than the last is in there.
02-10-2015, 02:35 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Then how did they get such good performance out of the 645z and Sony A7s?
The Pentax 645Z has a CMOS sensor which in itself is superior to a CCD sensor when it comes to capturing light.

Secondly the 645Z sensor is 44mm x 33mm = 51mp

The original Q sensor is 6.17mm x 4.55mm = 12.4mp

Original Q is 6.17 x 4.55= 28.0735mm square 12.4mp/28.0735 = 441697.7 pixels per sq mm

645Z is 44 x 33 = 1425 mm square 51mp/1425mm = 35123.9 pixels per sq mm

That means that the size of each pixel in the 645Z is approximate 12.5 times larger than the pixels in the original Q.

If you look at early Pentax cameras such as the highly rated K-100D, K-110D series, itís CCD sensor is 23.5mm x 15.7 = 6mp

23.5 x 15.7 = 368.95 mm square 6mp/368.95 = 16262.3 pixels per sq mm so those would be larger than even the 645Z and that camera produces great images. The K-110D is what I used for many years to do my electronic technology product shots which were used in company brochures and I continue to use it for images posted on my WEB site.
02-10-2015, 02:59 PM   #12
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You conveniently forgot the A7s.
02-10-2015, 03:49 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
You conveniently forgot the A7s.
You can figure that one out for yourself.
02-10-2015, 04:01 PM   #14
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I have. It's a stop and a half better for low light than anything up to 2 years ago. But I don't see how that fits in to your theory, I'm afraid that's something I'm not capable of figuring out.
02-10-2015, 05:06 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by CWRailman Quote
Steve,
The actual improvement in light capturing ability and quality of individual pixels (forgot what they are actually called) were well refined by the early 2000ís. Much of the claims you currently hear come from overzealous advertising agencies. That is what I have heard from some of the engineers who were involved in early sensor development.
So it's hearsay then..
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