megapixels and sensor size

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by mallard, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. mallard

    mallard TPF Noob!

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    I was walking up the beach last weekend and was talking to a guy takin pics with a canon DSLR and he said that Pentax was crap because it had 14 megapixels on a small sensor (an APS size as opposed to a 35mm size). is there really that much of a difference? he said that more megapixels on a smaller sensor made for more noise.

    then again, im used to people only favoring one product and saying everything else was bunk
     
  2. KhronoS

    KhronoS TPF Noob!

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    Well, he was right. But hugely depends of the sensor. If it's the exact sensor and one has 10 MP and another has 14MP, well the 14MP will not take better photos, maybe just enlarge them a bit. The fact is that on a sensor with more MP, the extra pixels are crowded together, it's like you put in a car 8 people in stead of 5 people as it supposed to be. So yeah in this case this thing might generate some more noise.

    I might be wrong though.

    Anyway don;t worry about it, usually the difference is unnoticeable to the eye :)
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    There are several factors that influence the amount of noise.

    Yes, it's usually true that the less 'crowded' the sensor is, the less noise it will produce. This is a big reason why digi-cams are so noisy...they cram 8, 10 even 12 MP onto a tiny little sensor.

    However, you can look at a camera like the Canon 40D, which I think is 12MP....on the same size sensor as the digital Rebel or Rebel XT etc. The 40D will give you less noise because it's newer technology and the camera's processor handles noise better, especially at high ISO.

    It does sound like they guy was a gear snob...don't worry about it. A good photographer can make great photos with either camera.
     
  4. mallard

    mallard TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the input. From what I read, the highest end Pentax, although it has the smaller sensor size, is a CMOS instead of a CCD (whatever those are) and its chips and software are supposed to be good.

    he told me I could do better with a canon 5D which should be coming down in price.....but its still more (twice as much) than the pentax K20d
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    CMOS and CCD are different types of sensors...CMOS does seem to be the preferred type for higher end cameras.

    The 5D is a 'full frame' DSLR and has a large sensor (same as 35mm film)...which gives it an advantage over most other DSLR cameras. It does have a fairly high price tag though.

    You should have told him that he could do better with a Canon 1Ds mark III ($8000)...or a Nikon D3....or a 60 mega pixel Hasselblad digital camera :roll:

    There is always something better...but to some people, whatever they have, is always better than what you have...and they like to let you know about it.
     
  6. mallard

    mallard TPF Noob!

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    actually I can do better with a crown graphic and a real darkroom.....but if im limited to digital im trying to be as informed as i can. I can understand some people wanting to think that certain brands are better than others. I support CATIA software.....I think UG NX is just about as good....but i think Pro-E is crap. Then again, that is my field of expertise...cameras arent other than a fun avocation.
     
  7. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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  8. mallard

    mallard TPF Noob!

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    excellent links....thanks

    another thing I forgot about was dust....it can be hell keeping dust off an 8X10 negative. Although compared to that, im sure it still can be an issue with the larger the sensor gets, the more chance you have to get dust on it
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well if dynamic range is what you're after I suggest you look at the Fuji cameras (I think), you know the ones built in the Nikon bodies. I believe they have a different sensor layout then the standard 4 pixel bayer GRGB, and include a greyscale luminance sensor too. Taken from the visual system of the human eye which has 3 rods (RGB) and a cone (grey scale luminance for low light) it apparently gives better dynamic range.

    I'm talking from what I've heard here only, I've never actually used the thing.
     
  10. fishacura

    fishacura TPF Noob!

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    I don't notice "sensor size" as a spec on many of the sites when looking for new cameras. Is it called something else?
     
  11. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Dust can be a problem, but with a digital sensor you only have to fix the file once, and if you screw up you just start over. Compared to retouching a neg of any size, or spotting every print it's a breeze.
     
  12. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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