Megapixel cramming

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by McQueen278, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. McQueen278

    McQueen278 TPF Noob!

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    With the news of the latest batch of +20 megapixel cameras with 24x36mm sensors and +15 megapixel crop sensor cameras, when will it end. If you pack more and more pixels into the same amount of space, eventually you'll start seeing worse ISO performance. The first thing you read about a new camera is how many megapixels it has, I'd much prefer an empirical assessment of noise performance.


    Do you think the big names will be able to stop increasing the megapixel count now that they have based so much of their marketing on the megapixel race?

    Will we see a 5D Mk4 with 50MP and worse noise than the 5D Mk1?

    Assuming that the 1D/1Ds will always be kept in good proportions for best performance, could the 5D pass them in megapixel count?



    All of this clearly also applies to Nikon, but for the sake of conversation I used Canon because I am most familiar with their product line.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think that most photographers hoped that the mega pixel race would have stopped by now. Besides a relatively small bunch of professionals, we don't need that many pixels. I've heard and read from countless professionals that have said that 8, 10 or 12 mega pixels is plenty enough for them. Not to mention that 16, 20, 24 mega pixels are just too much for current set ups. I know a few who have had to upgrade their computer, just to deal with the files from their new cameras. I just read another thread about Keith having to upgrade because of the video on the 5D II.

    I think that most of us would rather have a higher dynamic range, cleaner high-ISO performance and auto focus that actually works and works well.

    I heard a rumor that the Canon engineers could have made the 5D II, better than it was...but the were forced to increase the mega pixels rather that improve image quality.
     
  3. McQueen278

    McQueen278 TPF Noob!

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    I'm MORE than happy enough with my 5D at 12.8MP. If it stayed at 12.8MP and received a increase in dynamic range that was closer to film and maybe a good ISO 25 setting and better weather sealing I'd pay $4,000 for a new one.
     
  4. rufus5150

    rufus5150 TPF Noob!

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    How do the high-ISO comparisons look when the newer versions are shooting in downscaled sRAW vs the old in their highest-res RAW? Do the scaled-down sRAW produce similar results to the previous camera? (In which the high megapixels just become an option when shooting in the low-ISO range.)
     
  5. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well their excuse is that the space between each pixel is smaller and so there really is no loss, each pixel gets the same amount of light, or maybe even more, even though there are more pixels. Also, to some people (like studio photography, they use low ISOs anyway because they have their own lighting. There are some who do need the large MP, which of course isn't for the average person, which is also why it cost so much. Its not for the average photographer.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That's a great question.

    You would also have to figure in that newer cameras usually have better noise handling anyway, with better sensor technology and firmware etc.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    One bonus for more MP in a camera (as I have said elswhere) is that you can crop a photo more and yet still print to a decent size without quality problems. In journalistic, wildilfe, sports and other areas where the photographer is not in full control of the scene there are times when they can't get the shot right in the camera. Maybe they can't move closer or they don't have time to change to that longer telephoto lens - or maybe they left it at home because its too heavy.

    Either way there is a support for more MP = however like many others I would like move developments in other areas - high clean ISO capacity with retention of detail; greater dynamic range and other features as well.
     
  8. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes overread, I know someone use 1Ds MKIII and took photos of his daughter indoor ball games. And some other parents may ask him if he have a photos of their children. And he said a lot of time, he can just crop it out and gave the cropped photos to the other parents so that they can print it out on a regular size photo paper and still looks good.

    I believe he used 85mm L lens for the ball games and the photos came out well exposed and sharp even after cropped. So more megapixels help in this situation.
     
  9. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    And as for the ISO performance with more megapixels in the future. I believe technology will advance to a point (as seen in the other thread about "Black Silicon") the sensor is so sensitive to light so packing more pixels is not going to be a problem.
     
  10. McQueen278

    McQueen278 TPF Noob!

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    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/mpmyth.htm

    Read it a bit and keep in mind that his tests are always practical application. He actually prints something to see the difference as well as referencing several very reputable sources. Chances are that he can crop because of the 85mm f/1.2 L he uses more than the 1Ds Mk3.

    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0810/08101701black_silicon.asp

    As far as the black silicon goes, it looks as though it won't be used in conventional photography. Even if it were, the question remains At what point will less be more in the megapixel race? It has been established that there is a limit to how many pixels are feasible in a point and shoot, so what will that ceiling be in the DSLR market?
     
  11. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh god a KR link. RUN!

    On a more serious note you're missing two obvious points. Your assumption of a ceiling in the megapixel race assumes that technology does not change. Consider the D200. Its highISO noise level as bad as it is, can still compare to older cameras with large photosites on the sensor (lower megapixels). The same idea applies to microprocessors. How many times have you heard over the last few years that moore's law has hit the ceiling? I think it happened once at 60nm where they said practical lithography has reached it's limits. What are we up to now, 45nm? And IBM has recently said they have developed a method which could be though of as a logical successor to lithography that can produce sizes starting at 10nm.

    These principles apply the same way to sensors. They will keep getting larger and larger, ISO performance will keep going up along with it, and eventually you hit some fundamental law of physics. Then what happens? New technology gives you a different law of physics to make your new goal.

    The second problems is one that counter's Ken Rockwell? Megapixels are not a myth. They are a feature of the sensor. Just because you produce 6x4 prints doesn't mean you should only buy 3mpx Cameras. There have been plenty of times when I have wanted to crop and play with and image which would have pushed it out of the bounds of 'photo quality'. Now admittedly I see no real advantage to owning a 24mpx camera personally, but there are people in the industry who's very jobs depend on it. This isn't a race to the bottom it's a race to get cameras into the hands of more pros. The landscape users who shoot large format film, the studio users who shoot medium format digital and currently cough up $30000 for a 45mpx Phase1 Digital Back could probably tell you of countless examples where they simply needed the resolution.

    I have to admit that Ken Rockwell has a point for consumers. A Point and Shoot does not need 12megapixels, but consumers is where his argument, like all of his not well thought out arguments comes to a grinding halt.

    Btw I was commissioned to make a 1.5m wide print with very specific requirements that I could not do with my D200 directly. I ended up having to make a stitched panorama totalling 75mpx. It would really have helped if I could just have taken the damn picture and been done with it. Maybe in 5 years I can.
     
  12. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Great! We all need cameras with 100MP and an ISO 25,600 that looks like our current ISO 100, and all we have to do is mortgage the house and sell a couple of our kidneys... lol

    We all know that the MP race is just that, a marketing race to do the old "mine is bigger than yours" adolescent attitude. The average person's needs were already exceeded at the 5MP range, everything above that was cake.

    For the pros, well there is no real limit to their needs... maybe.

    That 100mp joke that I used above could well be the difference between getting the long distance shot or not, along with a nice 3000mm F/1.0 lens (and the requisite 18 wheeler truck to use as your tripod... lol).

    My point being... how are these pros managing now? How did they manage in the past? Do even they need that level of firepower? Seems that we are getting to a point where needs have been met, exceeded and now the bar is continually raised simply just for marketing bragging rights!

    We are at the point where we have to increase higher ISO noise (or lose access to higher ISO altogether), to to increase MP. I mean, what the heck... why? Yes we all know that a good reason is to get more crop capability, and that is valid but up to a point too. If it is so important to get close, we already have lenses that are in the 4-digit mm range, why does anyone need to crop more other than for simple convenience?

    Time to slow down the technological advances and return to some basic facts... like that the vast majority of photographers do not need 20+ MP cameras and matching lenses where package prices are well into 5-digit US dollars.

    Funny thing... last night I was at a client and had my D700 with me.

    Him: "how many MPs does it have?".

    "A bit over 12", I answered.

    The guy smirked and said, "I have a Samsung TL34HD with almost 15 mp coming soon... guess it will take better pictures and is one quarter the size of that big old thing!"

    "oh yes, I am sure it will", was my answer.

    It was the politically correct thing to say becuase I get a lot of money from this client on a yearly basis, but if I had not bit my tongue, it would have been easy to tell the guy to turn out the lights, tell him to flick open his lighter, take a pic at ISO 6400 and give him that as something to try with his beloved P&S.

    A true exercise in futility on many levels.
     

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