MP wise, where's sweet spot on FF sensors...
/forum/topic/1155125/1

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Photon
Registered: Jan 19, 2003
Total Posts: 10159
Country: United States

EB-1 wrote:
About 80-100MP.

EBH

That sounds about right to me. When we get there, and when the processing and storage is easily handled by cameras and computers, we'll be at a point where pretty much any lens will be able to show its full potential through the sensor (at least to a point of diminishing returns). Aliasing will be a non-issue, I would think. Noise at the level of the whole image shouldn't be a problem, certainly not at low ISOs used when max image quality is sought. Maybe there would still be a use for specialty cameras using larger pixels optimized for extreme high sensitivity, but for most purposes the current 36 MP Sony/Nikon does fine, so...
I predict that within two years there will be a FF sensor in the 80-100 MP range aimed at supplanting medium format. This will first be a very expensive proposition, and only worthwhile to those using perfect shooting techniques; later it will become the norm and inexpensive, much like ISO 100 color neg film ca 1980.

As for the "sweet spot" among current cameras, I'm happy with my 18-22 MP FF sensors, because they just happen to be in the newest and best cameras I have, which are "best" mostly for reasons other than the exact pixel density.



wilt
Registered: Sep 06, 2005
Total Posts: 1046
Country: United States

The sweet spot is when the typical lenses are well matched to the pixel count, so that both become simultanously the limiting factor to IQ.



RobDickinson
Registered: Sep 25, 2009
Total Posts: 3576
Country: New Zealand

wilt wrote:
The sweet spot is when the typical lenses are well matched to the pixel count, so that both become simultanously the limiting factor to IQ.


P&S and phone cameras have much higher pixel density than any SLR yet, theres lots more room to go.



alundeb
Registered: Nov 06, 2005
Total Posts: 4561
Country: Norway

wilt wrote:
The sweet spot is when the typical lenses are well matched to the pixel count, so that both become simultanously the limiting factor to IQ.


This kind of approach sounds good at first, but it will not lead to an answer. The reason is that the pixel limiting factor to resolution is a hard limit, while the lens continues to resolve more and more detail at gradually fading contrast. It will also depend on where you look in the frame.

A typical L zoom like the 17-40 F4 L is the limiting factor in the corners at 12 MP. Another typical L zoom, the 70-200 2.8 IS II, will outresolve a 360 MP sensor in the center at 10% MTF.



n0b0
Registered: Sep 22, 2008
Total Posts: 5654
Country: Australia

Michaelparris wrote:
In your opinion. If not your opinion is there technological proof of where the sweet spot is...


IMO, depends on your display resolution.

I find that a B&W high ISO, and therefore noise, image from my 7D looks worse on my 1080p TV which has bigger pixel pitch than my 2560 x 1440 27" monitor. All the flaws were not only shown on the TV screen, they're magnified.



Beni
Registered: May 31, 2005
Total Posts: 8583
Country: United Kingdom

I think diffraction and lenses will define the answer to this question more than the numerical megapixel count in the years to come...



cineski
Registered: Oct 22, 2004
Total Posts: 4222
Country: United States

I'm less worried about number of megapixels and more concerned with quality of those megapixels. I'd much rather have really good megapixels, with lots and lots of depth. If I had to say a number, I'm perfectly happy with 22. 46 would be fine as well as long as the small RAW retain quality. I'd love 46 is doing a landscape.



ausemmao
Registered: Mar 31, 2011
Total Posts: 359
Country: United Kingdom

The sweet spot will likely eventually be the resolution at which an AA filter provides no useful benefit to an image.



EB-1
Registered: Jan 09, 2003
Total Posts: 23143
Country: United States

My D800e had none. There is nothing worong with having extra pixels if and when they can provide the appropriate qualities.

EBH



EB-1
Registered: Jan 09, 2003
Total Posts: 23143
Country: United States

Photon wrote:
EB-1 wrote:
About 80-100MP.

EBH

That sounds about right to me. When we get there, and when the processing and storage is easily handled by cameras and computers, we'll be at a point where pretty much any lens will be able to show its full potential through the sensor (at least to a point of diminishing returns). Aliasing will be a non-issue, I would think. Noise at the level of the whole image shouldn't be a problem, certainly not at low ISOs used when max image quality is sought. Maybe there would still be a use for specialty cameras using larger pixels optimized for extreme high sensitivity, but for most purposes the current 36 MP Sony/Nikon does fine, so...
I predict that within two years there will be a FF sensor in the 80-100 MP range aimed at supplanting medium format. This will first be a very expensive proposition, and only worthwhile to those using perfect shooting techniques; later it will become the norm and inexpensive, much like ISO 100 color neg film ca 1980.

As for the "sweet spot" among current cameras, I'm happy with my 18-22 MP FF sensors, because they just happen to be in the newest and best cameras I have, which are "best" mostly for reasons other than the exact pixel density.


I was scanning 120MP images over ten years ago and have more MP than that with pans today, so I don't think that computers are a limiting factor in individual sensor pixel count. Users of higher-end gear can find the computing power and it's not all that expensive even now. By the time we see more MP, it will not be an issue for any but the lower-grade gear.

EBH



Pixel Perfect
Registered: Aug 16, 2004
Total Posts: 19928
Country: Australia

Michaelparris wrote:
In your opinion. If not your opinion is there technological proof of where the sweet spot is...


Based on past FM responses, somewhere between 12MP and 50MP it appears. Curiously Canon seems to be stuck on a strange attractor centred on around 21MP. I have it on good authority the next big megapixel monster will be 23MP.



RobDickinson
Registered: Sep 25, 2009
Total Posts: 3576
Country: New Zealand

A 19mp Crop sensor seems the logical way forward.



stanj
Registered: Aug 05, 2003
Total Posts: 9777
Country: United States

While I would love to have a 100MP sensor, my recent extensive experience with the D800E showed that there's very little glass currently on the market that can handle 36MP, let alone 100. Let's face it, people are already now freaking out about the prices of new L glass, and for 100MP the lens quality would have to go up yet again. To call it a "sweet spot" is a bit misleading, I think. It's what I'd like to have, but not what's likely going to be feasible anytime soon. Besides, the need for such super resolution is really limited - and I'm one of those who print 60x40 or even bigger. My 1DX and 5D3 deliver for 99% of the needs.

Computing and storage power will be here way way before those sensors.



ardvorak
Registered: Jan 05, 2005
Total Posts: 483
Country: United States

The "sweet spot" is always changing. As technology evolves, so too does the sweet spot.



RazorTM
Registered: Mar 04, 2008
Total Posts: 625
Country: United States

Michaelparris wrote:
In your opinion. If not your opinion is there technological proof of where the sweet spot is...


The Nikon D800 proves that technology can overcome the problem of too many pixels on the sensor, so I don't think there's a sweet spot--more is always better, at least from here on out.



timbop
Registered: Dec 29, 2005
Total Posts: 6437
Country: United States

Michaelparris wrote:
All things considered, IQ,DR,High ISO shooting....Just as with anything there is an apex where everything is performing at or close to its peek...Just curious as to where some may think that is. There has to be a point where there are too many mp's for that size of sensor and a point where you have not got the most out of it....


IMHO 18MP is too many for a cropper (7d), but the 22 on the 5d3 are "better" than the 12 that were in the 5d classic. That is, I could crop the 5d2 quite a bit at iso 3200- 4000 and still get a good image; so far the 5d3 seems a little better than the 5d2 but that is only in test shots.



R.H. Johnson
Registered: Oct 08, 2006
Total Posts: 2012
Country: United States

the bigger the bucket the more water it will hold. the bigger the photo-site the more light it can absorb. personally i believe canon has found the sweet spot in sensors. imho there is a distinct difference in the noise patterns of the 5D & the 5D MKII noise patterns. the 5D has a more film like quality in imaging vs. the 5D MKII. from what i've seen (i don't own or have shot the 1Ds MKII) the 1Ds MKII has that film like quality. i wonder why Canon choose to step down in mega pixels for their new flag ship the 1DX. could it be for the larger deeper photo wells at 18 mega pixels? i have not pixel peeped a 1DX RAW image but, if logic holds true it should have an absolutely gorgeous film like noise pattern. i saw this in a post:

www.uncagethesoul.com/night-photography/best-canon-night-camera/

i'm convinced that the size and depth of the photo-sites makes the WOW factor or sweet spot. just mho. the results of the comparisons on that link have me thinking skip the 5D MKIII and buy the 1DX, ouch. the 1DX out resolved the 5D MKIII with less mega pixels. how can this be?



Michaelparris
Registered: Sep 15, 2008
Total Posts: 2361
Country: United States

timbop wrote:
Michaelparris wrote:
All things considered, IQ,DR,High ISO shooting....Just as with anything there is an apex where everything is performing at or close to its peek...Just curious as to where some may think that is. There has to be a point where there are too many mp's for that size of sensor and a point where you have not got the most out of it....


IMHO 18MP is too many for a cropper (7d), but the 22 on the 5d3 are "better" than the 12 that were in the 5d classic. That is, I could crop the 5d2 quite a bit at iso 3200- 4000 and still get a good image; so far the 5d3 seems a little better than the 5d2 but that is only in test shots.


Someone who gets the question



Michaelparris
Registered: Sep 15, 2008
Total Posts: 2361
Country: United States

R.H. Johnson wrote:
the bigger the bucket the more water it will hold. the bigger the photo-site the more light it can absorb. personally i believe canon has found the sweet spot in sensors. imho there is a distinct difference in the noise patterns of the 5D & the 5D MKII noise patterns. the 5D has a more film like quality in imaging vs. the 5D MKII. from what i've seen (i don't own or have shot the 1Ds MKII) the 1Ds MKII has that film like quality. i wonder why Canon choose to step down in mega pixels for their new flag ship the 1DX. could it be for the larger deeper photo wells at 18 mega pixels? i have not pixel peeped a 1DX RAW image but, if logic holds true it should have an absolutely gorgeous film like noise pattern. i saw this in a post:

www.uncagethesoul.com/night-photography/best-canon-night-camera/

i'm convinced about the size and depth of the photo-sites makes the WOW factor or sweet spot. just mho.


Someone else who gets the question. The 1Dx and the Nikon D4 are the reasons I made this post....



bushwacker
Registered: Jun 12, 2005
Total Posts: 894
Country: United States


a 50GP (giga pixel) sensor would be nice.



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