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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk
Thread started 07 Jun 2009 (Sunday) 22:20
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Small pixel sensors do not have worse performance

 
tkbslc
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Jun 11, 2009 14:08 |  #61

cdifoto wrote in post #8091504external link
In other words, this is all hypothetical. ;)

Since most of what makes a good image is subject, lighting and focus, I would say it is all pretty silly to worry about. Especially since all recent Canon SLR cameras perform very well in a variety of conditions. Good enough, anyway, that it rarely comes down to the sensor or pixel size.


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cdifoto
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Jun 11, 2009 14:09 |  #62

Yeah that's my take on it as well.


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tdodd
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Jun 11, 2009 14:12 |  #63

Daniel Browning wrote in post #8091472external link
The large pixels of the 1D3 will always blur the image so much that it's impossible to see the motion blur underneath it. The 50D makes it possible to see what was always there.

Personally, I want to make sure my sensor never adds more blur than the other parts of the system.

There we differ, sort of. I'd rather store and process 10MP/14MB image files that look good, than store and process 15MP/21MB image files that don't. Who wants to store and process noise and blur? Not me.

But sure, I don't want the sensor to be the weak point in the system. There's just no point in it being so good that it far exceeds the capabilities of (a number of) other parts of the image recording chain.

Bottom line (in simple terms) - if it moves, use the 1D3; if it doesn't, use the 50D. The 40D is for people that shoot both types of subject but only have one camera :)




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Daniel ­ Browning
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Jun 11, 2009 14:19 as a reply to tdodd's post |  #64

Good point about file size. In the future there may be software solutions for that, but until then your point stands.

[REDCODE is one example of having the benefits of smaller pixels without the penalty of larger files / slower processing. Hopefully software like that will eventually make it to the Japanese Giants.]


Daniel

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PIXmantra
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Jun 11, 2009 21:41 as a reply to Daniel Browning's post |  #65

This, unfortunately, is not true...

...Simply because increasing head-room for brights (well-depth), and cleaning up the darks (read noise and other garbage), at the same time, beats everything else, even if you use LESS pixels with such formula.

What happens is that you are describing a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy which is nothing else than the product of being inexorably bounded to physics and dynamics of ever shrinking sensels-surface, which is the only choice left with smaller and smaller sensels (for now).

It is your own rationalization of defeat (no pun intended).

And for that, my friend, I have a demonstration of the opposite dynamics of what you describe, with an ACTUAL image:

(40D on the left, and 50D on the right, both converted with LR, and NO further noise-reduction nor sharpening applied, just the crude conversion+color mapping):

http://www.pbase.com .../image/113052992/or​iginalexternal link
http://www.pbase.com .../image/113052997/or​iginalexternal link


And want to know what happens when you do your very best on the NR department? (much better than DiGiCIV)?

Well, you lose. You lose at the entry of the workflow (above), therefore you lose at the exit too (NR):

http://www.pbase.com .../image/113053006/or​iginalexternal link

Check the red-cloth, which is an inmensely valuable area for establishing overall image integrity before-and-after and what happens when you go "too far" when trying to pull out similar results to, say, 40D's reference.

Love,

PIX


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lungdoc
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Jun 11, 2009 22:05 |  #66

WOW, this is a GREAT thread. Thanks Daniel!


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Daniel ­ Browning
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Jun 12, 2009 00:10 |  #67

PIXmantra wrote in post #8094056external link
And for that, my friend, I have a demonstration of the opposite dynamics of what you describe, with an ACTUAL image:

Hey, come on now; the OP has "actual" images too! :)

PIXmantra wrote in post #8094056external link
(40D on the left, and 50D on the right, both converted with LR, and NO further noise-reduction nor sharpening applied, just the crude conversion+color mapping):

The flaws in your comparison include at least unequal spatial frequencies and unequal processing.

Specifically, you cropped smaller portion of the 50D, it's missing much of the text on the wine bottles. A correct comparison requires the crops (or the entire file) to be the same size and have the same content.

Furthermore, you used Lightroom, which applies different processing to each camera, and also performs averaging-based noise reduction even when noise reduction is set to "off".

What follows is a correctly-executed comparison of the 50D and 40D by Emil Martinec. They are the same size and contain the same content. They were generated from the RAWs posted at Imaging-Resource using DPP with NR off:

40D test imageexternal link

50D test imageexternal link


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PIXmantra
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Jun 12, 2009 07:19 |  #68

Talk about a self-inflicted distortion of reality...

Daniel Browning wrote in post #8094777external link
Specifically, you cropped smaller portion of the 50D, it's missing much of the text on the wine bottles. A correct comparison requires the crops (or the entire file) to be the same size and have the same content.

They are irrelevant. These images speak VOLUMES in three (3) very important areas: the multi-colored cloth surfaces (esp. deel purple, green and red), the black mug and the black (folded) cloth-edges underneath it, as well as the deeper shadow casts and darker parts of the bottles. THERE is where you learn about the truth.

Daniel Browning wrote in post #8094777external link
Furthermore, you used Lightroom, which applies different processing to each camera, and also performs averaging-based noise reduction even when noise reduction is set to "off".

Lightroom did not apply any such differentiated processing. In fact, LR is pretty unforgiving when NR & Sharpness set all to ZERO/OFF, and don't make me post the RawAnalyzer vis-a-vis samples, because they just confirm what Lightroom is reporting. In short, your claim in this example is FALSE.

Daniel Browning wrote in post #8094777external link
What follows is a correctly-executed comparison of the 50D and 40D by Emil Martinec.

That is HARDLY a correctly "executed" outcome, from a professional image processing point of view. It is well executed and dressed around the academic argument in hand (e.g. trying to do something with a larger buch of noisier sensels), but, rest assured, it has little resemblance to the what you would deliver to a client, though. :cool:

Cheers,

PIX


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cdifoto
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Jun 12, 2009 08:20 |  #69

I don't know about spatial frequency and all of that, but I do know what my eyes tell me.


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Daniel ­ Browning
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Jun 12, 2009 12:01 |  #70

PIXmantra wrote in post #8095892external link
They are irrelevant.

It's interesting that you find spatial frequency to be irrelevant. Do you think it matters for MTF? If so, would you kindly explain how MTF is different than noise power?

PIXmantra wrote in post #8095892external link
...don't make me post the RawAnalyzer vis-a-vis samples, because they just confirm what Lightroom is reporting.

Rawnalyze would certainly address the "unequal processing" objection.

PIXmantra wrote in post #8095892external link
It is well executed and dressed around the academic argument in hand (e.g. trying to do something with a larger buch of noisier sensels), but, rest assured, it has little resemblance to the what you would deliver to a client, though.

You're saying that a realistic comparison must have a 50D crop that is 22% smaller in each dimension than the 40D crop. I have a hard time imagining how that resembles what I would deliver to a client.

Does it reflect the idea that you will always print the 50D 22% larger than the 40D? 36.6x24.4 for the 50D instead of 30x20 for the 40D? 10x12 instead of 8x10?

Or does it resemble your professional technique in that when you crop the image, if at all, you will always crop the 50D 22% smaller? Headshot on the 50D instead of head-and-shoulders on the 40D? ECU on the 50D instead of a headshot on the 40D?

Since I don't do any of the above, I find that cropping the same portion of the image out of both cameras resembles what I give to a client.


Daniel

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cdifoto
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Jun 12, 2009 12:11 |  #71

What I give to my client is what resembles what I give to my client. That's why looking at 100% crops (without measurbating them to death) is the only way to compare cameras and their sensors. It gives you a worst-case scenario. That's why the 40D crop PIXmantra posted is smaller than the 50D crop he also posted.


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tkbslc
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Jun 12, 2009 12:21 |  #72

A client is going to order a specific sized print, regardless of what camera you took the image with. So the output size is going to be the same - say 8x10 or 11x14, etc. Yoru picture will also contain the same subject and details regardless of what camera you took the image with. So normalizing the output sizes when making IQ comparisons seems fair, unless you plan to print everything 50% larger when moving from a 40D to a 50D, etc.


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cdifoto
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Jun 12, 2009 12:23 |  #73

To my mind there's no point in comparing "normalized" images. If you're gonna do that, there's no sense in upgrading equipment in the first place. Might as well just use what you have. If you're comparing because you're upgrading, you probably want to know how much MORE you can get out of the new kit. Thus, 100%.

In other words, if my gear is already great for the sizes I print and I know I won't be printing any bigger than I already do, I'm not going to buy more pixels.


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hairy_moth
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Jun 12, 2009 12:43 |  #74

Daniel Browning wrote in post #8091472external link
Personally, I want to make sure my sensor never adds more blur than the other parts of the system.

This is an interesting point. So what you are saying is you want your lens to add more blur than your sensor. (okay.. maybe you didn't say that exactly..)

But the concept is interesting:

What should be the weakest point in the system?

There are a few answers that come to mind.

1. The "photographer should be the weakest.." You should not want to be limited by your equipment, your equipment should be limited by you.

2. In terms of equipment, the most expensive piece to upgrade should be the weak link. But that changes based on focal length.


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Daniel ­ Browning
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Jun 12, 2009 12:54 |  #75

cdifoto wrote in post #8097391 (external link)
That's why looking at 100% crops is the only way to compare cameras and their sensors. It gives you a worst-case scenario.

Sorry, I'm having a really hard time following this logic. Here's a 100% crop:

IMAGE NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
http://www.canon.com ...mple/1996_ps-600_pix1.jpg (external link)
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO


It's from a 14-year-old Powershot 600 at base ISO. (And wasn't cropped at all, since that was the entire image, but since it fits on the screen, it's still "100%".)

When you compare that with the ISO 3200 shots on the 40D, it looks like the powershot is far superior. But in fact, if you resample both images to the same spatial frequency (e.g. same print size, or same crop size), it becomes clear that the 40D has has less noise, even at ISO 3200, than the 14-year-old digicam.

I hope that helps illuminate the flaw with 100% crop methodology. (Some people actually believe the Powershot 600 was the height of technology and things have gone *downhill* since then, so sometimes posting this image doesn't help.)

cdifoto wrote in post #8097448 (external link)
To my mind there's no point in comparing "normalized" images. If you're gonna do that, there's no sense in upgrading equipment in the first place. Might as well just use what you have. If you're comparing because you're upgrading, you probably want to know how much MORE you can get out of the new kit. Thus, 100%.

In other words, if my gear is already great for the sizes I print and I know I won't be printing any bigger than I already do, I'm not going to buy more pixels.

First of all: that's fine. If you wont upgrade unless you can get the same noise power at *higher* spatial frequencies, that's fine. You are expecting more performance from the new camera than the old camera, and that's OK. But it's not correct to say that the 50D is noisier than the 40D. It can do everything the 40D can do (same noise at the same spatial frequency), but it has the option of doing more (higher spatial frequencies), if desired by the photographer.

Second, there will always be higher noise power at higher spatial frequencies because of photon shot noise caused by the quantum nature of light. Given that quantum efficiency is already near the maximum theoretical limit, and Canon has only improved it 30% in the last three years (5% in the last 12 months), new cameras will always have higher noise power at higher spatial frequencies. (But, again, they will still retain the same low noise power at lower spatial frequencies as the old cameras.)


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Small pixel sensors do not have worse performance
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