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Pixel binning: a myth?

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Thread started 17 Sep 2008 (Wednesday) 07:46   
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wem
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Hello everyone,

I have been looking all over the internet to find an answer to the question below, but I get contradictory results. Could someone please explain to me the following:

In order to reduce observable noise in a picture, one could use pixel binning. I am told on other sites (and contradicted as many times) that this is merely lowering the resolution of the picture. So, for example, when one shoots a 21MP picture and then later on lowers it to about 10MP, the amount of observable noise should drastically improve.

My first question: is this correct?

My second question: if I immediately shoot in sRAW and have a 10MP output of the 21MP sensor, is this also considered pixel binning? Does this reduce the noise as much as in the method above?

Thank you very much, I am really looking forward to your answers!

Post #1, Sep 17, 2008 07:46:30


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René ­ Damkot
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I'd say yes and yes.

Post #2, Sep 17, 2008 09:33:07


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Pete
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First Question:
Yes. It's true. I've noticed quite a few times that simply resizing your shots to a dimension suitable for the end use cuts down noise a great deal more effectively than running noise reduction first.

It doesn't take that long to resize and re-assess before you start working on noise reduction. I've always stated that too much noise reduction will ruin a shot (makes it look all nasty and plastic).

Second question:
No. Stick at the highest resolution your camera can output. There's no real sense in throwing away valuable data. What would happen if someone wanted a high resolution version of something you've shot (say for a big poster). You'll lose out if your capture doesn't have enough resolution. Downsizing from 21Mp to web-size won't be much different than downsizing from 10Mp to web-size.

Storage is cheap these days. If you handicap yourself at capture time, you don't get that resolution back.

Post #3, Sep 17, 2008 09:35:46


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wem
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Ok, thanks a lot!

Post #4, Sep 17, 2008 10:26:39


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René ­ Damkot
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Pete wrote in post #6324759external link
Second question:
No. Stick at the highest resolution your camera can output. There's no real sense in throwing away valuable data. What would happen if someone wanted a high resolution version of something you've shot (say for a big poster). You'll lose out if your capture doesn't have enough resolution.


While I agree (in theory) with what you are saying here, it doesn't answer the question I think :p. (emphasis mine)

wem wrote in post #6324050external link
My second question: if I immediately shoot in sRAW and have a 10MP output of the 21MP sensor, is this also considered pixel binning? Does this reduce the noise as much as in the method above?

If the answer to that question is "yes" (and I think it is), this statement

Pete wrote in post #6324759external link
Downsizing from 21Mp to web-size won't be much different than downsizing from 10Mp to web-size.

implies the answer is yes (you say "not much different", and IMO the resulting noise probably will be low to notice anyway, but in theory it is different ;))

Post #5, Sep 17, 2008 11:44:28


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lowcrust
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So sRAW still use the whole sensor?

If in fact this would reduce noise, and you wanted to get as clean as possible web-sized images, would it be more efficient to shoot 21MP or sRAW? Both would have to be resized.

Let's throw another example out there; if I were to print native 10MP sized images, would I benefit, in terms of noise, from a 10MP sRAW? Or would a 21MP re-sized to 10MP in Lightroom yield as good, or better, results?

Post #6, Sep 18, 2008 05:14:00


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Damo77
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I would say easily as good, with the added bonus of being able to print large if ever required. No contest, for mine.

Post #7, Sep 18, 2008 05:20:30


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cvt01
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Let me warm up this thread. I'm confused with this pixel binning stuff a little. I'm not even sure what it means. Here is what I understood so far based on what I've read: Resizing is certainly not pixel binning as it throws away pixels based on a very simple mathematic formula. Pixel binning on the other hand would compare neightboring pixels and average them out while eliminating the peaks. I imagine this method would get rid of chroma noise (hot pixels) very effectively. I'm not sure on the luminance noise though.
Pixel binning sounds like a software feature because it involves computing only. I imagine that if it was "built in" in any camera's sRaw capture process it would work like this: the camera takes a full resolution raw image and the processor do the math of comparing the neightboring pixels in it and downsizing to the new resolution using those averaged out pixels.

Some people is really interested if the new 5DII has this "technology" implemented in the body when using sRaw. I don't think it has. If the aboves are true (which I'm not sure), I think the pixel binning would arrive in raw converters like DPP, lightroom/ACR etc. first. It wont effect the speed of the camera and we have all the time we need for processing. I look at it as sharpnening, yes there is a way to dial in sharpening in-camera, but the ultimate way to do it in three steps in Photoshop.

Am I way off here?

Is there any word about this in PS CS4?

Post #8, Oct 07, 2008 09:20:12


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