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11-23-2007, 12:41 PM   #1
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K10D: Pixel Binning

I struggle a bit with deeply complex discussions, but try this on for size:

My *understanding* of this term is when a camera's pixel count for its sensor is effectively reduced. In real-life terms, if the K10D pixel count is "reduced" in the camera menu from 10MP to 6MP, pixel binning has occurred, and the pixels are in effect made larger.

How am I doing so far?

If the pixels are larger, noise is reduced for lower shutter speed, lower ISO, low light images.

If this is the case, then the K10D can perform relatively better in low light conditions.

My question: Is any of the above true??

Thanks for all replies.

11-23-2007, 12:49 PM   #2
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As I understand it, this is only really effective at increasing sensitivity in a way that decreases noise when done at the hardware level when reading from the CCD. Once you've got a RAW image, it's too late.

However, I must admit that I have no idea about the physics behind that because it makes no sense to me.

What I do know is that in subjective comparison, ISO 1600 6Mpix images from my K10D seem noisier than those I'd taken earlier with my K100D. And there doesn't seem to be much if any improvement at the overall level in going from 10Mpix to 6Mpix when both resulting images are printed or viewed on screen at the same size.
11-23-2007, 12:58 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lucky Sky Quote
I struggle a bit with deeply complex discussions, but try this on for size:

My *understanding* of this term is when a camera's pixel count for its sensor is effectively reduced. In real-life terms, if the K10D pixel count is "reduced" in the camera menu from 10MP to 6MP, pixel binning has occurred, and the pixels are in effect made larger.

How am I doing so far?

If the pixels are larger, noise is reduced for lower shutter speed, lower ISO, low light images.

If this is the case, then the K10D can perform relatively better in low light conditions.

My question: Is any of the above true??

Thanks for all replies.
Never read anything about the K10 binning, just simply downsampling the 10mp image.
See no point whatsoever in 6mp mode except to save a bit of space on the card
11-23-2007, 02:32 PM   #4
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No, 6MP is NOT less noisy at all. Pixels cannot become larger or smaller, pixels are photoelements on the matrix and they are of a fixed size no matter what. When you switch down the resolution, there is 2 ways to physically adress that.
1) Ignore a border of the matrix, taking image only from the center 6MP part of it. So it's like having smaller 6MP matrix with the same density of pixels. This way is used on Panasonic Superzooms, and it gives you greater increase in focal range (virtually smaller matrix mens greated EFR for same optics)
2) Ignore some pixels all over the matrix. Like 2 pixels are used, then one is not used, then two used again, and so on... This is what we got in Pentaxes (EFR does not change in 6MP mode), this just saves card space, nothing more.

11-23-2007, 03:44 PM   #5
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Thanks For The Replies

MattDM, Jeffkrol, and Snowcat-

All makes sense now (to a numbskull like me)......these photosites are a physical entity that can't be altered. Downsampling simply is a means to save card space.

Appreciate the info.
11-23-2007, 08:55 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Snowcat Quote
No, 6MP is NOT less noisy at all. Pixels cannot become larger or smaller, pixels are photoelements on the matrix and they are of a fixed size no matter what. When you switch down the resolution, there is 2 ways to physically adress that.
1) Ignore a border of the matrix, taking image only from the center 6MP part of it. So it's like having smaller 6MP matrix with the same density of pixels. This way is used on Panasonic Superzooms, and it gives you greater increase in focal range (virtually smaller matrix mens greated EFR for same optics)
2) Ignore some pixels all over the matrix. Like 2 pixels are used, then one is not used, then two used again, and so on... This is what we got in Pentaxes (EFR does not change in 6MP mode), this just saves card space, nothing more.
That's not quite complete -- there's third option, which I'm pretty sure is what Pentax (and everyone else, for that matter) uses. Every pixel in a full-resolution JPEG is formed by interpolating color data from the surrounding pixels, which is necessary because of the Bayer filter. (Not every photosite sees every color -- half are green, and a quarter each are red and blue.) When you choose a smaller-resolution JPEG, it interpolates color (and now also luminosity) from a wider number of photosites.

This helps reduce noise in the sense that it's averaged-out -- but it's basically doing the same as scaling down the image in a photo-editing program. (Well, in a RAW-based photo editing program.)

If they were just ignoring pixels, the results of a 2Mpix image from the camera would be significantly worse than what you'd get by taking a 10Mpix image and scaling it down -- and that isn't the case.
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