Steve's Digicams Forums

Steve's Digicams Forums (
-   General Discussion (
-   -   Better pix from 3.1 or 5.0 (

PTguy Mar 25, 2003 10:36 PM

Better pix from 3.1 or 5.0
Without getting into a pissing match about these 2 cameras (2 different manufacturers), I wanted to know which camera would have a more pleasing (sharper image, nice colors, etc.) picture to the average person taking pictures of the family, vacation pictures, some macros of flowers...

A 3.1 megapixel with minimal noise or 5.0 with modest the 4X6 print, 5X7, and 8X10

All the other camera features I have decided which I like better, but the picture quality is the most important part of photography to me.

Eddie J Mar 26, 2003 4:49 AM

In theory you'd expect to 5MP to be a little better at 810, but I'm afraid it's not as simple as that.

The difference in the output of any two cameras (especially those made by different people) goes a lot deeper than it MP rating though. They will probably both handle colours very differrently for example which will make the photos look very different.

A 3MP camera should be enough for 810 prints, so you best bet is to get a few sample shots for each camera ( probably has some in their reviews section) and print a couple out. Then compare them side-by-side to see which is acceptable to you.

BillDrew Mar 26, 2003 7:56 AM

Re: Better pix from 3.1 or 5.0

Originally Posted by PTguy
(which to get) ... A 3.1 megapixel with minimal noise or 5.0 with modest noise ....

Hard to say, but I'd guess it would depend on the how you use the camera, e.g., how many low light (long exposure time) shots are you going to do? How important are those shots going to be? Shooting outdoors on a bright day, you won't see any noise from even a BarbieCam. If you try shooting a several hour exposure of star motion, you are going to have trouble with anything much short of the Hubble.

Keep in mind that downsizing an image will reduce the noise level by "averaging" adjacent pixels. I would expect the noise level to go down by something like the square root of the ratio of pixels, i.e., 21% in your example.
It does seem that the noise level goes up as the pixel count goes up - just what I'd expect if more detectors are crammed into the same space. I am not at all sure how that increase in noise compares to the expected decrease from downsizing.

Of course there are MANY other factors that come into determining the amount of noise so just looking at the pixel count is a vast oversimplification.

Mike_PEAT Mar 26, 2003 8:11 AM

You can't forget these are consumer cameras, cheapies. I saw a 6mp picture that was done with a digital back on a medium format camera and it blew away what any consumer camera could do (at least for a portrait shot). Of course in that situation the digital back would have costed at least $15,000, the body of the camera another $4,000 and the lens another $4,000.

I don't expect that kind of performance from a camera that may have costed $500-$1000. Just like I don't expect TV studio performance from my home camcorder (TV cameras cost between $20,000 to $100,000).

steve6 Mar 26, 2003 1:19 PM

As far as I'm concerned the low noise 3mp would easily win. My old Oly3020 was noiseless and the pics were very clean and pleasing.

voxmagna Mar 26, 2003 3:33 PM

As far as I'm concerned, low noise, sensitivity, fast lens and autofocus/white balance that works well, would push me to a 3.1 Mpix if I couldn't get these in a 5Mpix cam.

What's the point of 5Mpix if you can't expose or focus the shot? I bought my 602 so that when pushed I could use 1600 ASA at 1Mpix. I'd have liked a 1.8 lens.

OK you say, what use is 1Mpix? Well it gets a discrete low light, no flash shot you might not otherwise have got, or that fast shutter action shot. Photography is about getting pics - not always Megapics!!

gibsonpd3620 Mar 26, 2003 4:30 PM

I want less noise and the mp are not as important. My camera has a 1.8 lens and makes for great pics.

PTguy Mar 26, 2003 7:53 PM

Thanks soooooooooo much guys. This also saves me hundreds of dollars!!!! I want to buy 1 camera for the next 20 years and it seemed the 5 mp camera at the MUCH higher price was the

Thanks to all for the help!!!!!!! :D

BillDrew Mar 26, 2003 10:43 PM

The 5Mpixel camera may well be a much better camera - but not just because it has more pixels.

Whatever camera you get now, it is very unlikely that you will be satisfied with it 20 years from now. Digicams are close to PCs in the sense that there are almost certainly going to be very substantial increases in quality over the next several years. Better white balance, less shutter lag, more dynamic range, better layout of controls, wider lenses, cheaper, ...., and maybe even more pixels.

Mike_PEAT Mar 27, 2003 12:55 AM


Originally Posted by PTguy
Thanks soooooooooo much guys. This also saves me hundreds of dollars!!!! I want to buy 1 camera for the next 20 years and it seemed the 5 mp camera at the MUCH higher price was the "better"camera.

That's not realistic. Yes I had my fully manual SLR for 20 years (and I'd still be using it if digital hadn't started catching up) but I'm already on my third digital camera. Unlike film cameras which have matured, digital is still in its infancy. Even the camera I'm using now which finally encouraged me to give up film has a lot of shortcomings and I'm looking towards my next camera and eliminating those shortcomings with it.

Also, people are wearing out their digitals faster because they take a lot more pictures with them due to the low cost of taking a 7 months I've taken over 1000 pictures myself...that's almost 30 rolls of film (it would take me years to shoot that many with the SLR due to the cost of film, etc.). It's not unheard of for some people to shoot 20,000 pictures in a year with their digital.

Ask how many people here are still using the digital camera they bought 20 years ago...oops...there weren't any digitals then, and the Canon Xapshot still video camera didn't come out until the early 90's. OK, make it 5 years many people here are using a digital camera from 5 years ago?

I'm not trying to make fun of you here...just trying to show you that you may want to rethink your plans. Look not on how many years you plan to make the camera last...if you take good care of it, it should last a while (I have computers that are 20 years old, but they're dinasours today). Instead, look at your photographic abilities, look at what you want to do with the camera, think about if you want a lot of zoom, more wide angle, ability to add filters or converters to extend the range of your camera, or do you just want a basic one that you can pop in your pocket...and be prepared to buy another one in 5 years because they will be a lot better then, but don't limit yourself now.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 9:55 PM.