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View Poll Results: Would you rather have upgraded Dynamic Range, or Upgraded Resolution?
Same Resolution, Better Dynamic Range 4095.24%
Same Dynamic Range, Better Resolution 24.76%
Voters: 42. You may not vote on this poll

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03-02-2014, 04:34 PM   #1
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What's a better increase in a camera, Dynamic Range, or Resolution?

Just wondering out there-- there's still kind of a MegaPixel war going on, especially with phones and the like these days. Personally, tiny little details don't make or break most photographs.

Even shooting landscapes, I find the 12-16 megapixel range MORE than enough, and can capture most of what modern lenses can put out. So, I'm posing a question.

Who hear would rather Megapixel numbers NOT increase, and eventually approaching the dynamic range of Portra 400 color film, capturing ever last bit of varying light from top to bottom, and who hear would rather get every scrap of detail possible with an APS-C sensor, keeping DR in the current range that requires grads and very careful exposure?

Personally, I think resolution has been high enough for a few years, and it's pointless to upgrade based off of resolution when you're already at 16 megapixels. I'd rather get a new camera that was still 16 megapixels, yet have, for example, 3 to 4 more stops of usable dynamic range.

Let's see what everyone else thinks!

03-02-2014, 04:40 PM   #2
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Sensor => dynamic range
Lens => resolution
03-02-2014, 04:44 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnyates Quote
Sensor => dynamic range
Lens => resolution
My thoughts exactly. a 16MP sensor can record about 100 lp/mm of lens resolution-- which takes a pretty nice lens to acheive, and an aperture of about f/8 or wider, so unless you're using the nicest primes, 16mp is more than enough =)
03-02-2014, 05:04 PM   #4
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I want as much dynamic range as possible without doing HDR.

03-02-2014, 05:11 PM   #5
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I'm for dynamic range. If we could have something approaching Ilford's C41 B & W or even C41 colour it would be absolutely marvelous.
03-02-2014, 05:11 PM   #6
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Yet there's about a 20-25% increase in resolution going from a D7000 to a D7100... with some of the "weakest" lenses showing the most increase. Some of the worst lenses actually closed the gap, with 60% increases while the average was somewhere 25%-30%. The numbers don't confirm the stated "truths." My take is, that lenses were actually being limited by the sensors they were being used on, and that we haven't yet truly produced a camera where the sensor is held back by any lens produced after the K-mount was introduced.

The K-3 has slightly less dynamic range than a K-5, but more resolution. I'm not sure increasing the dynamic range is even a possibility with current technology, so it's pretty much a theoretical exercise. Now if you said better low light performance as in a Nikon D3s (no noise up to 25,600 ISO , 16 Mp) or more resolution, 24 Mp K-3, now we could actually get some images and discus what we see.
03-02-2014, 05:24 PM   #7
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I'm also all for dynamic range. My K-30 with it's 16 MP sensor provides plenty of resolution, even after cropping shots. I wish I could lift details out of shadows and not have so many highlights blown out.

Now if only image printing technology caught up with the clarity of a monitor display!
03-02-2014, 06:56 PM   #8
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It depends, doesn't it. The K-5 dynamic range was a big improvement over previous Pentax DSLR's. I very seldom need to blend images unless the sun is in the frame. Decreased dynamic range is why I have not purchased a K-3. Although, if I already had the K-3, I'd be unlikely to replace it with a K-5. I want both higher resolution and increased dynamic range.

03-02-2014, 07:20 PM   #9
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I didn't know that it was an either/or situation.

I vote for both.


Steve
03-02-2014, 08:14 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I didn't know that it was an either/or situation.

I vote for both.


Steve
Just posting a hypothetical-- I'd rather see improvement on the same sensor in DR instead of MP count, but sadly, the latter is what seems to sell cameras to amateurs a lot of the time... Think of what the companies could do that design sensors if they didn't have to keep increasing megapixels? If there wasn't the demand for more MP, I'm sure more research would go into getting a better SNR, and more DR.
03-02-2014, 09:04 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
...My take is, that lenses were actually being limited by the sensors they were being used on, and that we haven't yet truly produced a camera where the sensor is held back by any lens produced after the K-mount was introduced.
This appears to be an accurate way of looking at it. And I was as surprised as anyone when I stumbled on folks claiming this a couple years ago. An MTF score is a systen score - lens + sensor. Increase the resolution of one, the whole system MTF score goes up. We're far from a point where putting a higher-MP sensor behind the same (typical) lens gives no MTF benefit, low-aperture diffraction realms aside.

QuoteQuote:
The K-3 has slightly less dynamic range than a K-5, but more resolution. I'm not sure increasing the dynamic range is even a possibility with current technology, so it's pretty much a theoretical exercise.
Even if it's possible, are we even using all the DR in the Sony sensors right now? I think personally I'm cropping more often than pushing DR to the very limit in most of my images - that is to say I use about 3/4 of my DR, but I'm using my resolution all the time with downsampling and cropping, and I think I'd miss the resolution more than if I magically lost that last 1/4 of my dynamic range. I rarely need to 'save' anything beyond that, at least not to make anything look better aesthetically when I get the exposure right. Might just be me though, my typical shooting, there could be more DR-taxing shooting out there that I don't usually do.

---------- Post added 03-02-14 at 10:12 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I didn't know that it was an either/or situation.
In reality it's not.

Last edited by jsherman999; 03-02-2014 at 09:15 PM.
03-03-2014, 05:00 AM   #12
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There is an awful lot of dynamic range in current sensors. Would I like a another EV or 2? Sure, but it certainly wouldn't make a huge difference in most shooting. I can currently bring up the shadows about four stops at base iso on either a K5 or K3 and have decent results. I do think we are getting to the point as far as resolution, where it is tough to take full advantage of 24 megapixels -- in the sense (a) that I don't print or view my photos big enough to see that and (b) the higher the pixel density on the sensor, the harder it is to hand hold it and get pixel sharpness.

I guess the thing I would like to see would be better dynamic range in high iso situations. Some full frame cameras (1D) seem to really hold on to dynamic range as they go up in iso. Most cameras drop fairly quickly.


03-03-2014, 09:59 AM   #13
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I would add a third factor - quality of AA filter. Obviously, if you can have the best of both worlds as the K3 provides, you should take advantage of it. The next best, it seems, is the mild implementation provided by the K-01/30/50/500 which yields a visibly sharper result than the K5.

Resolution beyond about 16mp or so is more important if you plan to print larger than 13x19 on a regular basis. On line, you certainly don't need more.

Dynamic range only comes into play in a limited number situations, with landscape being the big one. If you are using a camera primarily in controlled light and portrait situations, it doesn't come into play. To the extent that a sensor exhibits roll off in highlights (something CCD did better than most CMOS), holding highlights is more important than the (often arbitrary) rating for detail in shadows.
03-03-2014, 10:06 AM   #14
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We're already pushing diffraction limits with the current resolution.

I prefer better dynamic range! True 14 and 16 bit sensitivity would be ideal in a 5 to 6um pixel size.
03-03-2014, 11:55 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by smigol Quote
We're already pushing diffraction limits with the current resolution.

I prefer better dynamic range! True 14 and 16 bit sensitivity would be ideal in a 5 to 6um pixel size.
I wonder how real diffraction limits are in most shooting. I see more resolution with the K3 than the K5 at f11.
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