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Thread started 27 Feb 2018 (Tuesday) 08:57
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When will we get better pixels instead of just more ?

 
Bsmooth
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Feb 27, 2018 08:57 |  #1

I keep seeing this over and over, and its not just Canon. More Mfg just keep piling on more pixels in there sensors instead of giving us fewer better quality pixels.
I think Sony and Fuji may be heading in the right directions along with a few from Nikon (D500 comes to mind).
Canon has a great system of lenses and bodies, but in the end there only as good as the sensors in there cameras, and it seems to me there lagging right now.
Yes the 5DIV is a great camera, and the sensor is very good, but it just hasn't gotten down to there crop sensor cameras.


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John ­ Sheehy
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Feb 27, 2018 09:11 |  #2

Bsmooth wrote in post #18573532 (external link)
I keep seeing this over and over, and its not just Canon. More Mfg just keep piling on more pixels in there sensors instead of giving us fewer better quality pixels.
I think Sony and Fuji may be heading in the right directions along with a few from Nikon (D500 comes to mind).
Canon has a great system of lenses and bodies, but in the end there only as good as the sensors in there cameras, and it seems to me there lagging right now.
Yes the 5DIV is a great camera, and the sensor is very good, but it just hasn't gotten down to there crop sensor cameras.

Any benefit of larger pixels for lower high-ISO noise per unit of sensor area is temporary and has no ultimate value. The fact is, the prototype of the sensor that counts photons and has no added camera noise has 1.1 micron pixels, which would make for a FF sensor of about 715MP. Today's cell phone sensors have less high-ISO read noise per unit of sensor area than older 12MP FF cameras. Someone will come out with a 24, 28, or 30MP DX camera with less noise than the D500; it's inevitable.

I'm hoping for both pixel density and low high-ISO read noise to happen together in my next cameras; not a reduction in pixel density to get a temporary, slightly lower noise. It would have to be a *huge* reduction in high-ISO (pre-gain) read noise to make me swing to lower pixel density, and that would be special-purpose; not general-purpose.

A lot of what you ascribe to pixel quality potential at various sizes probably has more to do with temporary technological issues with bandwidth and video scaling, and budget levels for electronics in cameras depending on the projected sale price. When I examine the black frame read noise of my compact sensor cameras of a few years back, it looks more like array readout slop dominates the noise more, as opposed to pixel-derived noise, compared to my more expensive FF and APS-C cameras.

Any temporary benefit to big pixels at high ISOs is really just a house of cards, ready to fall. Pixels will only be big to reduce file size and bandwidth, in the future.




  
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Bsmooth
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Feb 27, 2018 13:42 |  #3

I still think I'd take it regardless. I believe it too about the cell phones. The images are very good considering what they have to work with, but again there cramming more and more sensors into very limited areas, which just creates more noise.
So more MP per same size sensor is essentially just kicking a dead horse, but again that doesn't seem to stop the Mfg from doing it.


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yellowt2
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Feb 27, 2018 14:02 |  #4

Very few going this direction, and mostly for video; see Sony A7S and A7S2, and Panasonic GH5s.

Reality is that more pixels create a better image. Yes there is more pixel level noise (especially at higher ISOs), but if you downsize the result you'll get an equal or better image than just having a sensor with fewer (bigger) pixels. At lower ISO you get a way better image.
The main advantage to fewer pixels is for read speed, which is why manufacturers go that route in cameras that are designed for video (A7S, GH5s) and cameras designed for fast burst speeds (like the Sony A9).




  
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Feb 27, 2018 14:54 |  #5

Bsmooth wrote in post #18573532 (external link)
I keep seeing this over and over, and its not just Canon. More Mfg just keep piling on more pixels in there sensors instead of giving us fewer better quality pixels.

.
What you are speaking about is a myth; a thing of the past that no longer is true.

It used to be that larger pixels would provide better, cleaner image quality, but that is no longer the case. . That concept is based on the sensor technology that was in place many years ago.

As others have already said, with today's sensor technology, we get the best results from a greater number of pixels, even when that means that the individual pixels are very small.

BUT ......... what's to say that some future technology won't be developed in which we once again have the dynamic of larger pixels = cleaner IQ?

I mean, maybe someday someone will figure out a way to make a sensor (or other type of light-gathering & recording device) in which every single pixel has its very own Color Filter Array. . And I don't mean that half-assed Foveon sensor stuff - all that does is use three pixels and combine them into one, so it's not really making each pixel better - it takes three pixels to do the job of making one pixel better. . Whatever.

I mean where each pixel - standing alone and not being combined with other "sister pixels" - will have its very own Color Filter Array. . An entire processing engine behind each and every pixel. . Just imagine how incredible the images would be!

So yeah, maybe something will be done many many years from now where we invent some radically new technology that isn't anything at all like what we have now. . Heck - in that case they might not even be using 'sensors', but instead some new light-gathering device that no one has yet even conceived.

And that is probably when they will give us better pixels instead of just more. . But as long as we are using digital sensors, I think we are beyond the point where "larger = better".


.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
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gjl711
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Feb 27, 2018 15:07 |  #6

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18573794 (external link)
.
... And I don't mean that half-assed Foveon sensor stuff - all that does is use three pixels and combine them into one, so it's not really making each pixel better - it takes three pixels to do the job of making one pixel better. . Whatever.

I mean where each pixel - standing alone and not being combined with other "sister pixels" - will have its very own Color Filter Array. . An entire processing engine behind each and every pixel. . Just imagine how incredible the images would be!..

But it takes 4 pixels in the Bayer array to make one pixel in sensors today. Foveon is in many ways far superior to the bayer based technology and much closer to color film. We just need someone like Sony to license the technology and do their magic.


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Wilt
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Feb 27, 2018 15:11 |  #7

I agree with the crazy spin toward more pixels, when we were told that what we really needed was wider dynamic range. Now we have cameras with 13+EV of dynamic range, and good ISO invariability (ability to 'push' underexposure). so do we need more megapixels?

With the A9 we have about 25MP, the 5DIV has 30MP, the 5DS has 50MP, even the lowly T7i has 24MP. With the A9 we could shoot 100 images in 5 seconds and fill up our buffer with 47MB per image. Transfer to harddrive, and we consumed almost 5GB. So with 50MP images, now we're consuming 10GB per 5 seconds of shooting. Oh joy. Yes, storage is cheap, but now when we need to migrate data from old outdated storage hardware to the new current hardware which obsoleted the old stuff, it takes 2-4X as long as it did for the same volume of images. Oh joy.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Feb 27, 2018 15:15 |  #8

gjl711 wrote in post #18573806 (external link)
But it takes 4 pixels in the Bayer array to make one pixel in sensors today. Foveon is in many ways far superior to the bayer based technology and much closer to color film. We just need someone like Sony to license the technology and do their magic.

Yeah, but I am talking about something that will come along someday that goes way, way, way beyond that Bayer / Foveon stuff.

What I'm talking about is, like ...... well, imagine if you took someone from the 1600's - way before they had any cameras of any kind. Now imagine telling them about digital cameras and sensor tech and so forth. It would be so far beyond anything they had ever imagined that they would have no idea how to even think of it.

That is the kind of thing I am talking about - something so completely different from anything any of us have ever seen or even imagined.

THAT is when I think that we may once again get back to the dynamic of where pixels (or whatever else they call them by that point) may provide better IQ if they are larger.

In other words, I think that the accurate answer to the OP's title question is, "at least a couple hundred years from now".


.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Wilt
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Feb 27, 2018 15:27 |  #9

This discussion brings us back to the reality of Physics and Optics.

Every lens has a limit due to diffraction, caused by light trying to bend and get thru little openings in the aperture.
Every sensor ultimately can do no better than the optics, it cannot record images of higher quality when the lens is at its diffraction limit.

IOW, until someone can make 'near Infinite' quality lenses where only diffraction Phyics limits the lens resolution, and do so at affordable prices, the 'near infinite' pixel count sensor is absolutely POINTLESS.


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JeffreyG
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Feb 27, 2018 17:09 |  #10

I don't understand this thread, really. Sony's 42MP backlit sensor from the A7r2 and A7r3 has about the best IQ available. The 24MP sensor from the A9 has worse IQ, mainly because the focus of the stacked sensor is speed, not pure IQ.

Anyway - the history of the Sony Exmor in both Sony and Nikon bodies shows there is nothing magic about lower pixels.

I guess if you look at 1:1 views, the lowest pixel sensor will probably look best, but that is because you are looking at a smaller image. I wonder how much of this myth comes from people not adjusting their viewing sizes to match their pixel counts.

It's like the myth that more pixels will make images less sharp due to motion or bad lenses. Nope.....they just let you see flaws you had before but couldn't see because you couldn't zoom in close enough. In the same size print, they can only be better, not worse.


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Wilt
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Feb 27, 2018 17:20 |  #11

Human visual acuity often stated to be one second of arc...at a viewing distance of 12", the eye can discern something as small as 0.00348".
If you have a 50 MPixel sensor like the 5DS, only with a print that is 20 x 30" would you be at the limit of human vision...but you should be viewing such a print at 36", not from 12" away! At 12" you cannot even perceive well the entire print, since peripheral vision quality in the human frankly sucks, it is good only for detecting a tiger about to pounce on you...motion.

So do we really need 50 MPixels? There is a video on YouTube that shows that even a huge billboard can be made with a lowly 2MPixel image, so size is not truly a reason to 'have to have' 50MPixels.
So while small pixels may no longer be a noise-limited factor, since circuits now can be made so much better that we need not rely upon 'bigger pixels' for noise quality, if we do not need high pixel count, why are we burdening ourselves with slower times to transmit a single file, and more space to save a single file! just because we CAN?!


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gjl711
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Feb 27, 2018 17:25 |  #12

Wilt wrote in post #18573910 (external link)
...
So do we really need 50 MPixels? There is a video on YouTube that shows that even a huge billboard can be made with a lowly 2MPixel image, so size is not truly a reason to 'have to have' 50MPixels.

In my previous job I took pictures of telephony equipment meant for brochures, training materials, and posters for trade shows. Some of these were 8x10 as in feet all taken with the lowly 5Dc. They looked fantastic even that big.


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JeffreyG
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Feb 27, 2018 17:29 |  #13

Wilt wrote in post #18573910 (external link)
Human visual acuity often stated to be one second of arc...at a viewing distance of 12", the eye can discern something as small as 0.00348".
If you have a 50 MPixel sensor like the 5DS, only with a print that is 20 x 30" would you be at the limit of human vision...but you should be viewing such a print at 36", not from 12" away! At 12" you cannot even perceive well the entire print, since peripheral vision quality in the human frankly sucks, it is good only for detecting a tiger about to pounce on you...motion.

So do we really need 50 MPixels? There is a video on YouTube that shows that even a huge billboard can be made with a lowly 2MPixel image, so size is not truly a reason to 'have to have' 50MPixels.
So while small pixels may no longer be a noise-limited factor, since circuits now can be made so much better that we need not rely upon 'bigger pixels' for noise quality, if we do not need high pixel count, why are we burdening ourselves with slower times to transmit a single file, and more space to save a single file! just because we CAN?!

I made images I like from my 13MP sensor in the 5D. But the 42MP sensor in my Sony is better. It has lower noise, it has better resolution, with good lenses I can crop the hell out of it and retain a ton of detail.

Do I need 42MP in every shot, or even most? Nope.

Does having 42MP hurt? Nope. Like I said, the 42MP sensor is about the best currently available. Tell me how this pixel count is hurting?

Here's a quarter, go buy yourself a few more terabytes of storage.  :p


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Wilt
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Feb 27, 2018 17:35 |  #14

gjl711 wrote in post #18573912 (external link)
In my previous job I took pictures of telephony equipment meant for brochures, training materials, and posters for trade shows. Some of these were 8x10 as in feet all taken with the lowly 5Dc. They looked fantastic even that big.


Which illustrates the point that one second of arc is a measure not of actual distance, but fineness of detail. I often have said

"If I view 8" x 10" print from a distance of 12", that is IDENTICAL IN QUALITY to looking at an 8ft x 10ft print from a distance of 12 feet."


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Wilt
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Feb 27, 2018 17:40 |  #15

JeffreyG wrote in post #18573922 (external link)
I made images I like from my 13MP sensor in the 5D. But the 42MP sensor in my Sony is better. It has lower noise, it has better resolution, with good lenses I can crop the hell out of it and retain a ton of detail.

Do I need 42MP in every shot, or even most? Nope.

Does having 42MP hurt? Nope. Like I said, the 42MP sensor is about the best currently available. Tell me how this pixel count is hurting?

Here's a quarter, go buy yourself a few more terabytes of storage.  :p


Bold text, very valid advantage to more pixels.

Thx for the quarter. Will you come help me migrate the 26 old 5-Terabyte harddrives to my new Petabyte SSD , and watch that everything goes smoothly as the big files move from one to the other? You only have to switch harddrives every 5TB!


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When will we get better pixels instead of just more ?
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